Hi everyone! Thanks so much. The cookies were great even though I only ate a few and gave the rest to the Japanese Elders. They are so great! They were really happy to get them too. I hope you weren't expecting me to eat all of them haha I told you what would happen when you did ;) Thanks for the running shoes, socks, and granola bars too! I had just ran out! I also figured out a better method of keeping my soap from disintegrating so I probably won't have to use the new soap for a while. Thanks so much for the letters though. I am so excited about everything that everyone is doing! Congratulations mom!!! I'm so glad that blessings are coming your way because you deserve them so much for helping me to get out here and working so hard. I love you!!! I hope that the washing machine or sprinklers don't have anymore problems! Hopefully the rest of the house holds up too, eh? You will definitely be able to make it through all of the crazy stuff that comes your way! Especially if I can survive the MTC!!! Haha it really isn't bad, but things are starting to get slower and it's feeling like I've been here a lot longer already. I am learning lots and lots more japanese and I speak with the Japanese missionaries during meals and other times almost everyday. I can't say a lot, but listening to what they say and just opening my mouth are pretty much the biggest part of it. I just think about D&C 33 where it says open your mouth and it shall be filled. I also found out that I would probably only be here for five weeks if I had called the MTC in advance... It is probably way way too late to do anything like that now, but I asked the branch president in my weekly letter if he knew anything about it. If I am supposed to stay here all 12 weeks then that is ok with me! It is daunting, but if it's the case then the Lord has obviously intended for it to be! I remember what Nephi said all the time about us not receiving a trial that we wouldn't be able to handle. Plus, my Japanese will hopefully be even better by then too! So we'll see about that.
I'm proud of Adam for going for it with his eagle project! I hope everyone isn't too stressed out about it. I'm glad he found something to do for it! Don't give up and I think he'll be able to pull it off. Don't overwork yourselves though please! I'm glad you figured out the badge situation too... I don't really understand it, but I'm glad it's working out.
Thanks for telling me about the testimonies too. That is definitely something that I have been needing to hear. With Japanese, being a good example to my district, and trying to prepare and work with my companion, every little thing feels like the straw on the camel's back sometimes. I know that that is how I am supposed to learn and grow though. I think about how I used to always say that if my mission isn't hard it won't be worth it. Let's just say that it has definitely been more than worth it so far! (In the good way of course!) It's built me up so much. I'm growing more and more patient and understanding more and more about how Christ loves and knows each and everyone of us more than we can imagine. I know that they are by my side and I am grateful. I think about my mission scripture sometimes to remember that.
I'm excited for Dallin! Make sure to tell him hi! That's neat he got to make it home for the 4th! I will almost definitely be able to see the stadium of fire fireworks from my window because it faces the stadium directly! The other day a bunch of jets flew over. I am pretty sure they are practicing and stuff. I don't know what I'm going to do with those glowsticks hahaha... As far as the fourth goes though I think my district and I are going to wear matching ties or something. We are cool like that I guess! I don't think that I can print anything here so I will eventually send a disk with pictures using Andrew's thingy. Sorry I have only taken like ten pictures since getting here. I don't like taking my camera around and there is hardly any sort of time. At least it seems like that. I hope that you get my plaque figured out though! I want to see a picture of it when you are done. I like the picture Mya sent and it is on my wall.
The devotionals here are like the best thing ever. I cry at almost every single one of them. They are so good and so eye opening! The thing that gets me the most is singing with the whole MTC afterwards. For some reason songs can get to me and help the doctrine that I learn really sink in. It's hard to keep track of them without searching my whole study journal for them, but the one on Sunday was a guy who did a massive monologue type thing as Willard Richards. He was basically Joseph Smith's secretary and knew him really well. Anyways he just spoke about his whole life history, mission, and work with Joseph Smith all the way down to the martyrdom. It was way amazing and inspiring. We sang Praise to the Man afterwards and it was so great. On fast sunday instead of priesthood and relief society everyone meets for mission conference where the MTC presidency and their wives speak. Way amazing. They spoke about a ton of topics, but Pres Brown spoke about the missionary purpose and dissected it a lot. It was so so good and I got some amazing notes.
Last, but not least thank you so much for the incredible scripture you shared with me (note: it was Alma 38:2). I really REALLY needed to read that. I feel like it related to me perfectly and I felt the spirit so powerfully through it. I am definitely going to try to share it when I teach and look back on it whenever I am having a tough time. I love you all so so sooo much. I wish I could write more!!!
Please tell Jeff Johnson thank you so much for his kind letter and thoughts. He also sent me a copy of a sacrament meeting program which was very kind and thoughtful of him. I will try to write him back sometime, but in case I don't get a chance let him know that I'm so grateful for his support and friendship and that I hope that he is doing great!!!