Sunday, August 10, 2014

Letter to Mom - 7 August, 2014

Hi Mom!!

I love getting your emails! Thank you all for keeping me updated. I love writing you back, and don't worry, it's not that stressful. haha I just prioritize and make sure that I write you first! ;)

When we really strive to follow the Lord's will, He really does bless us more than we could ever know. I've seen that so often here. One of the things that is emphasized a ton at the MTC is exact obedience, as I've talked about before. There was this one day this week though that I had a cool experience with that. After lunch often times people get sleepy and find it hard to stay awake, because it is at that point the second three hour block of study and that can be hard to focus for that long. Also, your body just kind of wants to lay down after lunch, and so people (especially in the other residence room) have been tired. They have actually been staying up talking past the time they should be to bed. But, the other day I'm pretty sure that they went to bed right at 10:30, and that day I didn't notice anyone tired. One of the incredible parts of the Lord's promises is that He fulfills them as soon as we are worthy of them. So all we have to do is strive to be worthy of them!!

I really want to send you pictures! I will attach one picture that we got to take with a congressman from the Japanese Diet! Other than that, I think you should probably send me an SD card reader so that I can start sending them. Sorry I haven't been able to supply any so far. :P Do you know what is crazy? Tomorrow is the halfway point for my MTC stay! It has been the longest, shortest four weeks of my life! When I think about the Japanese that I know and can use and especially understand it is truly miraculous. I look back at where I was when I entered and I feel like I have been here for a million years, but then I think about how far I come and that it has only been four weeks and they have been the fastest four weeks of my life. It's also weird to see how your brain starts to rewire a little bit. For example, the word "hi" as in greeting other people has lost basically all of its meaning for me. haha The word "Hai" (pronounced the same way) is the Japanese word for yes, and you say it so frequently!! The other day I saw this teacher as I was washing my hands in the bathroom and he said hi and it took me a minute to register what he meant. Haha But it is also really cool to teach lessons!!

Speaking of which, let me tell you a little bit about teaching lessons. First of all, our investigator is a 22 year old woman named Taira Shimai (at least that is the person she is portraying) whose parents got divorced when she was young and her dad got remarried. She has a bad relationship with her dad, but wants it to be better he just won't be involved in her life at all. She has a boyfriend she has been dating for two years and they live together, so we'll have to address that soon haha. They want to get married so badly, but the boy she is dating wants a good job before they get married. She loves the gospel and is just struggling a little bit with the Joseph Smith story. She knows God loves her because she has prayed about it (she didn't know when we first started teaching her). One really cool thing about teaching is that the Lord knows the companions we need. Let me explain: Elder Nagano is probably the most advanced Japanese speaker in the district, but his favorite way/thing to talk about is people and their lives. He struggles a little bit (or thinks he does, so he isn't very confident) to express his feelings about the gospel and answer gospel related questions. On the other hand, I can basically only feel confident when I am talking about the gospel. I think because I've taken the time to learn the lessons well in English and know how to simplify things in English I feel confident when I talk about the gospel in Japanese. These two different preferences work brilliantly. He knows how to just communicate with her and connect with her life so much better than I do, and I am able to step in and explain gospel principles a little more when he feels like he can't, or when she has a question. The Lord really knows what we need, and who we need to teach with. The other incredible thing about teaching is that the Spirit is there, and it is real. It isn't just a roleplay. The people that our teachers portray are real people that they know, or have known in the past, and the spirit reaches out to them and us in a very genuine way when we teach. It isn't just a roleplay. It's real. And the spirit is real.

Well, I love you all so so so much, and I miss you!! Thank you for sending those pictures!! I love looking at them at night while I am writing in my journal and getting ready for bed and just remembering how much I love you and care for you!! I'll be in Japan before you know it, and then my emails will have even more fun stories!! haha Love you all!!

Elder Livingston

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