Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26, 2014 Four weeks under the belt!

I did see the Hansen's! They were at the Tuesday Devotional, and we got to sing for 6 of the 12 Apostles, which was pretty amazing!  I tried to find them afterwards, but I think they had somewhere to be so I settled for a wave. It's always fun seeing people that I know in the MTC, and in the next few weeks, I'll have some more friends coming in too! I actually had no idea who Sister Taylor was at first. I was leaving from lunch, and all of a sudden, this random teacher walks up to me and says "you're Amanda's brother right? Here take a picture!" I was really confused at first. but it was fun to hear about another connection! ]
I know how Bennett feels to sprain an ankle badly. I don't know if you remember, but last year during the State Cup, I twisted my ankle pretty badly. You just have to give it plenty of time to heal and not rush the whole process. Take it easy during sports so that you don't re-sprain it, but I will definitely keep that in my prayers.
I'm really studying up on all kinds of spiritual and secular vocabulary, grammar, and common phrases. I'm starting to understand everything a little better, and I hope that I'll keep growing in the language.

I love you!

Another week in the MTC down and only 4-ish more to go! 
Our  guest speakers this week were Janice Kapp Perry and her husband. She was one of the primary church music producers, and she has written and composed some very inspiring music! They both gave great and inspiring talks and talked about the importance of music and the wonderful feeling that wholesome music brings into our lives. I even got to shake their hands afterwards and thank them for all that they've done!
The more I think about Japan and the more I learn about the culture and the people, the more excited and nervous I am at the same time! The people of Japan are some of the most respectful and polite people you could ever meet. We've had several groups of Japanese missionaries come through the MTC, and they're are so much fun to talk to and get to know! That being said, our culture, religion, and many other things are so much different from the Japanese way of living, and sometimes, I wonder if they will ever fully accept a pale, blond boy from America that only kind of speaks Japanese. I worry that they won't listen to me because I can't really relate to them, and I think I understand how they feel. It's always strange to have a complete foreigner/stranger tell you that they can help you. You wonder, "What could they possibly know what will help me? They don't know me or about my problems."
I'm serving a mission, not because I believe that I know everything about everyone, but because I truly want to bring joy to other people and learn to love them through service and hard work. If nothing else, I hope that I can express this desire to the Japanese people. In our Tuesday Devotional, we were privileged to hear from D. Todd Christofferson (one of our Church leaders), and he shared an inspiring message about why we do what we do as missionaries. His message was about the worth of a person, the worth of a soul. We all have an basic understanding of the worth of an individual and their soul. Whenever someone is struggling in life or is experiencing pain, we wish to help them because we understand that every person is special and of worth. But why? Do we ever think about why we care about the individual? There are some who might say that this concern is just a byproduct of our own animal instincts, but I believe it is something more. I've seen humanity's incredible potential for good, but because of our own weaknesses and mistakes, we rarely seem to live up to this potential. Sometimes, because of our weaknesses, others suffer and struggle. Because of our weaknesses, we all fall short of our true potential, but I have faith that there is a way that we can overcome our own shortcomings and that the injustices of this life can and have been atoned for by one who had an infinite capacity to forgive and to forget and who was completely free of sin, even Jesus Christ. This faith in Christ is what leads me to serve others because we are all the spiritual children of a God and Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally and has a plan for us to achieve our full potential as children of God. We have a divine potential for eternal and everlasting joy and love within us, but on our own, we can't achieve it. Because of this faith, I can press on through the trials of this life knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and there is a reason for all that we have to endure. Because of this faith, I can feel peace in a world that is full of hate and anger. This is why I'm a missionary!

I love all of you and I know that, even when your struggles seem too difficult to bear, you can overcome them because of the potential for good that you all have within you.

Elder Adam Christensen
Surprise meeting with Sydney Taylor, Amanda's mission comp. in Denmark.
(She teaches at the MTC)
Elders in the district

Elders in the residence

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