July 17, 2014
This week was both rewarding and incredibly trying at the same time, and it's surprising how frequently those two situations go hand in hand. I'm not going to lie. There were some moments where it felt like I hadn't actually learned any Japanese at all, and I had suddenly regressed to my first week at the MTC. We had the opportunity to Skype call some volunteers who are living in Tokyo right now, but when we were talking, it felt like my mind just went blank. I honestly couldn't think of anything to say, and I'm sure that it was quite the awkward experience for everyone! The volunteer was very patient, and while it was probably hard to understand our words, I hope that we were able to communicate our message through emotion. Some days, it feels like everything is a struggle. You forget vocab that you just learned, stumble over sentences that should be easy, and listening to Japanese just gives you a headache. These days are certainly the most difficult to push through, but I also learn the most from them. Reflecting on those trying times helps me to better understand my own weaknesses and failings, and despite my embarrassment and frustration, I know that I can and will get better! Along with the frustrating times, I've also experienced times where I've felt the comfort and peace that comes from missionary service. There is no greater joy than teaching others of truth and watching them gain a testimony of it themselves! I've never considered myself the greatest teacher, and before my mission, I felt that, as long as I understood the correct answer, it didn't matter what everyone else thought. Now, I can't imagine not sharing what I know to be true! The gospel of Jesus Christ is of eternal and universal worth. It can be applied to any and all fields of life, and if one, acting in faith, adheres to its principles despite trials and struggles, they will undoubtedly come to a knowledge of its truthfulness and experience true joy in their life. We need not struggle through life without a sense of purpose or a hope for something better. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland testified,
We should always remember that, no matter how alone, abandoned, and utterly defeated we feel, we are never truly alone nor are we failures. We only have to make the choice to endure once. We don't need to reinvent the wheel over and over again.
As Stephen E. Robinson said in a talk about enduring to the end