Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014

Hello Everyone!
It's good to hear that everyone's making the most of this summer! I wish that I had always been so motivated when I was younger because I think that I could have done a lot more, but the MTC is really pushing me to make the most out of every opportunity and always give my very best. Here's some fun news! I was made a zone leader with my companion after our daisenpai left for Japan, and it really has made my schedule much more interesting because the little personal time that I did have is now filled with all the responsibilities associated with taking care of the two districts (each one has about 10 missionaries) in our zone. We've already had to resolve some tension building between a couple people, but with any luck, that will be the only thing we have to worry about for a while! With our daisenpai gone, the number of Japanese missionaries in the MTC dropped by about half so right now we're almost running on empty! The other zones going to Japan got a few more groups of atarashii senkyoshi (new missionaries), but our zone doesn't get any until 3 weeks from now so we'll be pretty lonely for a while.
This week was incredible and very inspiring for me especially when I was feeling overwhelmed. On Friday of last week, I had been feeling pretty down and felt like I didn't really have a clear direction yet. I was trying my best to study in an outside of class, follow the advice of the leaders at the MTC, and do my best at everything , but I felt like there wasn't anything more I could do, which was kind of discouraging. That night, I talked with my companion, and he felt the same way. We tried thinking of some solutions together, but we didn't really make any progress other than deciding to pray desperately that things would work out. On Saturday,Sunday and Monday, everything changed. Random people would come up to me and my companion and give us encouragement and praise for how well we were doing. One of our sensei pulled me aside and gave me some personal insight on how he found purpose, direction, and guidance on his mission. Our daisenpai, who were leaving that week, gave us so many useful tips about time management, stress management, and language study, and on Monday, we were teaching a lesson to a volunteer, Brother de Klerk, who had served his mission in Japan a while ago. Normally, we teach the whole thing in Japanese (which is getting easier every day), but at the very beginning, he told us that he really felt like we need to feel the spirit of his message so he would mainly speak in English. Even though we were only schedule to take only 20 minutes, we ended up talking for over an hour about Japanese culture, the MTC experience, and overcoming our own difficulties. He shared a story about his mission that was really inspiring so I wanted to share some of it too!

He was about 13 months into his mission and was teaching a lesson when he suddenly passed out, and he eventually learned that one of his kidneys was full of cancerous cells. He was told that he would have to return to the United States for treatment, but that if he had faith, he would be able to make it back to Japan to finish his mission. After his treatment in California, he was told that he shouldn't return to Japan because of his health, and even if he wanted to serve, he would only be assigned to a stateside mission. He was determined to return to Japan, and he wouldn't take an alternate assignment. Then, just after a surgery,  he received a phone call from Spencer W. Kimball (the head of the church at the time) who told him that if he wanted, he could return to Japan  and finish his mission, which he did. 
This was pretty amazing for me to hear and made me truly thankful for all the blessings I have been given! 
Good luck to you all,

Elder Adam Christensen

1. Elder Kerr (one of the daisenpai)

2. Elder Burton (another daisenpai)

3. Some the elders going to Japan and one of our favorite native Japanese elders!

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