Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful week full of good times and lots of laughs :) My week here at the MTC was amazing- as usual!
Here is an update on my foot situation: I am doing so well! I am so happy that I was healed. My feet are still a little swollen, and look pretty bad, but they feel GREAT. I can walk completely normal and have been able to return to playing basketball and volleyball every morning, so I am really happy about that. I cannot run yet, but I can shoot around and pass a volleyball, and for now that is enough for me :) Thank you for all of your kind words and prayers. I have felt your love immensely this past week.
Thursday: We did an activity after PDay was over, where we pretended to be someone from home, either a friend or family member, who wasnt a member of the church, and we were taught by a pair of missionaries. It was awesome to be able to see things from the investigator's perspective, and helped me develop new ideas and tactics that I will use out in the mission field. This week, with our investigators, we really stressed becoming personal with them, and developing a relationship. We are teaching people, we are not teaching lessons.
Friday: I got the braces for the sides of my feet and am SO HAPPY. They make my feet feel amazing haha it's like I'm walking on clouds. On friday, I wrote in my journal about how much I am loving the Japanese language. I love learning. Japanese is really hard, but it is so cool how much we are learning so fast. I can teach a whole lesson, bear my testimony about anything, pray, and form almost any sentence that I want, without any notes, and I have only been here for 5 weeks. It's crazy and such a blessing how much we learn.
Saturday: ONE MONTH. Holy cow. That is insane. The MTC is going by so fast. We only have one month left and I definitely do not feel ready to go to japan just yet! Haha but I know that we will continue learning and growing until the day we leave, and our learning will increase immensely once we get to japan. We played beach volleyball and basically have an ongoing war with the Korean missionaries haha. We always play them in sports, and then we will try and bury their ball, or kick their ball far away, haha it's pretty funny. and whenever we go up to their floor (they're in the same building as us) we say, "i'm going to invade korea now." It's like a constant joke/game haha but in all seriousness, the Korean missionaries are AWESOME and have become some of my closest friends. My goal for this week was to love others more. I read and studied the talk "The merciful shall obtain mercy" by Uchtdorf on saturday, and I loved reading the specifics quotes and writing them down and trying to apply them into my life. One thing I started saying to myself, and I wish that all of you would too, is that there is enough heartache in this world without me adding to it. Just be nice and uplift others :) That's my thought for you this week.
Sunday was AMAZING. Besides the fact that we will not be singing in general conference :( The elders get to sing during the priesthood session though, so that is exciting and we are very happy for them.... and extremely jealous haha. the ogden temple rededication was sunday morning, and I loved what was said during it. president monson spoke about loving the temple, and it was a really good talk. Rosemary M Wixom also spoke, and it was cool to watch her speak since I am related to her :) We also had the best sacrament meeting yet. Brother and Sister daniels (from our branch presidency) spoke on the holy ghost and told us specific stories about times they did listen and times they chose to ignore the promptings. One thing I loved that was said was, "Don't let a cloud hanging over you detract from your ability to teach and feel the spirit." For Sunday night's devotional, Gordon D. Brown spoke to us on how to be a successful missionary. there were 3 things I really liked:
1. Seek to be positive and retain a good attitude throughout the mission. We can choose to be happy :)
2. This first 3 hours of every day will either make or break your mission
3. "Give your sins to Jesus, for he is the only one who can take them." -Neil A Maxwell
For the movie on sunday night, there was not enough space in the room so we ended up sitting on the floor next to some Korean missionaries and they taught me some Korean! Learning Japanese and being able to speak it makes me want to learn other languages too. Haha I have been practicing my french with chapman shimai as well.... so who knows, maybe I will come home knowing english, japanese, korean, AND french. ;)
Monday: we had the best 3 hour block ever. A 3 hour block is personal study, companionship study, and language study. Sometimes I would have a hard time focusing, but this past week it has gotten so much better for me. I am starting to get lost in the work and i can see myself becoming a better missionary everyday. We also practiced door approaches, street contacting, and bearing our testimonies to random people walking by. it was such a fun activity and got me so excited for japan. a whole bunch of missionaries in my district though, were frustrated with how awkward it can be and how hard it is. But i decided that it is all about your attitude. You have to be confident and just accept that some times we are going to have awkward moments on the mission. Acceptance is going to be a huge part of my mission, I know that for sure. One of my biggest goals that I want to be for my entire mission is just to relax, be happy, and always have a smile on my face :)
Tuesday: I LOVE TUESDAYS. They are probably my favorite day of the week. either that or sunday, They are both such good days haha. For choir, we sang joseph smith's first prayer, and it was the prettiest version of it that i have ever heard. the devotional was broadcasted to all of the mtc's across the world again, and kaylee (Sister Widdison) said that she saw me on the screen both last week AND this week haha and apparently both times i had a close up... so that is kind of embarrassing haha. M. Russell Ballard came and spoke to us. it was cool because at the beginning of his talk, he said that he didnt write anything down, because he wanted to talk to us as if we were his grandchildren. It was so awesome to hear an apostle of the Lord speak to us so personally. 3 things he said that I really liked:
1. If you are drifting in any way, FIX IT. You fix it, and you fix it NOW. YOU fix it because YOU are the only one who can.
2. to become a a great missionary is a process, not a change overnight.
3. Get up and do the best you can every single say. You will have a successful mission if every night you go to bed and say, "I did the best I could today."
After the devotional, we had testimony meeting as a district. Jones Choro, and elder in my district, bore his testimony about how my experience with my leg/feet was a huge testimony builder to him. Then two other elders in my district did the same thing. It was truly amazing to hear that my experience has helped other people with things they are struggling with. and it is awesome to think that maybe the Lord had this happen to me, to strengthen other people as well as myself. So many random missionaries come up to me every day and ask how i am doing and tell me that they have been praying for me. Several sisters have come up to me, telling me that whenever they see me, they feel the spirit and think of me as a good example to them. they are constantly telling me how strong I am and how I have strengthened their testimonies and made them want to be better missionaries. How crazy is that?! It is so awesome. I tell you all this stuff not to brag, in any way, but to show that the Lord puts us through trials to not only lift us up, but to lift others up as well. It is such a blessing to have had the experience that I did with my feet. I am so lucky.
Wednesday: We got new missionaries! I love getting new missionaries haha they always look like lost puppies around this place, so i love helping them out and telling them about how much i love the mtc. chapman shimai and i's relationship gets stronger and stronger every day. she is my best friend here and i am so lucky to have her as a companion. she is such a hard worker and has definitely made me a better and stronger missionary.
on a random note, and this is probably going to make my mother laugh, but i am LOVING playing the piano. I eat all my meals in like 5 minutes just so i can go to an empty room and play the piano for the rest of lunch and dinner time. I have learned, by ear, the right AND left hand to come thou fount, and it has become my favorite song to sing and play. a few sisters and I are auditioning to sing in a devotional next week, so wish us luck! We are singing one of my dad's favorite songs, "The olive tree." It sounds so beautiful. Music here at the mtc has been a huge strength for me. I am constantly singing hymns to myself haha and always looking for chances to play the piano. a korean elder can play the entire pirates of the caribbean theme song, so i am trying to learn it too haha but its a harder piece to play.
Anyways, I love you all and wish you could be here experiencing this with me. I miss you and hope you have a blessed week. remember to keep your head up and always turn the Lord if you need someone to listen.
Ai Shite Imasu,
Kasteler Shimai :)