Well I head out in just about a week! We got our flight plans yesterday. Everyone was really excited, and I mean I was. But it really wasn't a huge deal to me. I'm way more excited to go to the temple, since it's been closed for 6 weeks. (Ironic how the longest time thus far since I've been to the temple since being endowed has been in the MTC.)
But I really am so excited to go! It's going to be so great to teach and see and talk to real Japanese people everyday! But I actually don't really feel like I have any problem being trunky. It's probably partly that's only been 9 weeks. But I've learned to just enjoy wherever you are. In President Monson's words to enjoy the journey. I have actually come to love the MTC more and more the longer I've been here. And I just love Provo it in general. It'll be a little sad when I won't be able to look up and see the majestic mountains of my home anymore. But my excitement to go to Japan far outweighs that!
One thing I didn't really realize till now is how different the way the MTC teaches now than it used to even a year or so ago. I've been writing like they've always done it this way, so that might have been a little confusing. But I really LOVE how they teach and what their focus is here.
Basically the MTC's teaching focus is all about our "progressing investigators" which are really our sensei's acting as investigators. But they aren't just acting as some role. They're being real people who they know to the core. So we may be teaching people acting, but we learn to really love and pray for the real people.
Everything in our learning is centered around these investigators. We teach them around twice a week, and check up on them on other days. We pray for them and seek and answers to their questions. We watch their progress and invite them to make commitments. We study our language for them specifically. It's amazing how this really excels our learning, and helps us learn how to stop focusing about ourselves, to stop focusing on even becoming better missionaries. Because that's not our purpose. Our purpose to help people come to Christ. And everything else, learning the language, improving teaching etc...goes towards that purpose. It truly is inspired.
Also this week our first (and probably last) apostle came and spoke at the MTC. It was Elder Scott and he talked about personal prayer. I learned so much about how to just have a deep sincere conversation in personal prayer. It was so great! Even before he began speaking I could feel so powerfully that he truly was called by God. It was so clear that he loved us so much. General conference is great! But there's something different about being a missionary and being there live with them.
I used to have trouble thinking of what to write in my journal. As the weeks went on doing the same things I felt there was nothing to say, and would write only a few sentences or two. But then something one of our sensei's said and something Elder Eyring once said struck a chord in me. They talked about writing every night about the way you've seen God's hand in your life blessing you or a loved one, about looking for miracles everyday and writing them down. I decided to try and it and man! What a difference it has made! Where before I'd write a single paragraph, now every night it seems I'm filling an entire page or two or three with the miracles I'd seen that day.
Here's just one of the miracles I've seen, it's a small one. But it's a miracle nonetheless. We were thinking of what to teach to one of our investigators, Ryan. And we felt like we should just read the Book of Mormon with him and talk about Lehi's vision of the tree of life and what it means. So we got a picture ready, and read about it in the Japanese BOM. Then we went to our lesson, and when we asked him about his Book of Mormon reading he said he had read about Lehi's vision, but he didn't understand it. We were taken back with how it was exactly what we had planned. God is definitely guiding us as missionaries, even here in the MTC. It's so amazing. I love being a missionary!
I love all of you!