SO THIS MORNING I HIT A BUTTON THAT LOCKED MY KEYBOARD ON CAPS LOCK AND I DON`T HAVE ANY WAY OF TURNING IT OFF. MY JAPANESE COMPANION DOESN`T EVEN KNOW HOW TO TURN IT OFF SO I`LL BE SENDING THIS LETTER IN ALL CAPS THIS MORNING! I PROMISE I`M NOT YELLING.
THIS WEEK HAS BEEN PRETTY AWESOME! ON WEDNESDAY WE WENT TO ANOTHER AREA, IBARAKI, TO HAVE A ZONE CONFERENCE WITH ONE OF THE AREA SEVENTY PRESIDENCY MEMBERS, ELDER SCOTT D. WHITING. IT WAS SUCH AN AWESOME EXPERIENCE AND WE LEARNED A LOT OF GREAT THINGS FROM HIM. I GOT TO SEE ELDER B AT THE CONFERENCE TOO AND IT WAS GREAT! IT WAS SO GOOD TO SEE HIM DOING WELL. HIS COMPANION WAS IN MY DISTRICT IN THE MTC AND IT SOUNDS LIKE THEY`RE HAVING A LOT OF SUCCESS. ELDER WHITING WAS FANTASTIC. HE TALKED ABOUT THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF OUR CALLING AS MISSIONARIES. HE TOLD US THAT WHEN WE ARE SET APART, AND ESPECIALLY WHEN WE GET OUR MINISTERIAL CERTIFICATE, WE RECEIVE THE AUTHORITY OF OUR CALLING, BUT ITS UP TO US TO RECEIVE THE POWER THAT GOES ALONG WITH THAT AUTHORITY. HE RELATED A LOT FROM THE BOOK OF MORMON ON HOW WE CAN BEST ACHIEVE THE POWER THAT WE NEED TO DO THIS WORK, WE TALKED A LOT ABOUT THE ATTRIBUTES OF NEPHI AND HOW HE RECEIVED THE POWER THAT HE HAD. NEPHI WAS OBEDIENT, FAITHFUL, DILLIGENT, HUMBLE, AND HAD SO MUCH FAITH. ALL THE MEANS OF A TRUE DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST. IN ORDER FOR US MISSIONARIES TO RECEIVE POWER, FIRST AND FOREMOST WE MUST BE STRICTLY OBEDIENT TO MISSION RULES. THE BEST THING THAT I GOT OUT OF WHAT HE SAID WAS WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT HOW MUCH OUR ATTITUDE EFFECTS THIS WORK. Oh thank goodness I just figured out how to get off caps lock! Anyway, back to what I was talking about. He said that if we can work dilligently, with a great attitude, while being obedient, we are entitled to receive blessings because of our authority. Pretty cool how that all fits together right? Then he compared between the attitude of Nephi and the attitude of Laman in 1 Nephi 17:2 and 17:20. Laman and Lemuel did everything that Nephi did. They were just as obediant as Nephi was but it was their ATTITUDE and faithfulness that made the difference. I know this was revelation for me. I`ll admit sometimes I have a little bit of a bad attitude. It can be difficult sometimes to be with a Japanese companion and we tend to but heads every once in a while but I`m really working hard on bettering my attitude, loving him, and taking advantage of this amazing opportunity of having a native speaker as my companion! Elder Whiting talked to us about the Atonement as well. He talked about how most of us just think of the Atonement as covering for our sins but there`s so much more to be had of it. He talked about when he was with Elder Bednar in the Salt Lake Temple and he asked him, `Elder Bednar, how can you possibly do all of this?` and Elder Bednar responded with something like, `I can do nothing save it be for the grace of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. For without his grace I could not do this.` I don`t really think I`ve ever thought about the grace of the Atonement. It`s that grace that changes the hearts of men. He talked about how sometimes we say think like, `I can`t change, thats just the way I am, I`ve always been like that, my family is like that, thats just how it is so I can`t change.` Elder Whiting said that that`s like saying the Atonement didn`t cover that part for me. Like Christ didn`t suffer enough for that. What a terrible thought right? Through the grace and power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can do all things. We can change. I recognize the changes in my life that I have to make right now in order to be the missionary that I want to become and the Lord know`s I can become. I can feel that power working in my life. I`m becoming a lot more patient, submissive, and I don`t really get high strung anymore. The stresses of daily life are becoming easier as I pray and ask for the Grace to help me to change.
Isn`t this Gospel wonderful? I have a testimony that no matter what we are like, if we want to, throught the Atonement we can change ourselves, we can improve. It hit me after that this is what we are here in Japan to share with these people, the power of the Atonement. Everything else that we share is merely an appendage to that. I love it! My understanding of this gospel is growing so much!
Another thing that Elder Whiting shared that I though was kind of funny was his input on one of the reasons 18, 19, and 20 year old boys serve missions. He said as import as these two years are, they are more concerned with the type of Fathers and Mothers we will become after our missions. He said the Sisters are amazing for serving and choose to do so out of love for the gospel but sometimes the Elder`s have another, slightly different reason. Before our missions boys tend to mess around and screw up here and there but we all repent and thats why we are able to serve. He talked to us about Alma and the Son`s of Mosiah and how they were TERRIBLE before their missions but what what did they do? They got it together and served their Lord and Savior for 14 years! He said, `See Elder`s you`re here to redeem yourselves too, in order for you all to take one of the Lords precious daughters for all eternity one day you have to redeem yourself and prove yourself capable. That`s one of the reason`s your`re here!` I thought it was great. I felt like a little bit of a shmuck after but hey, thats ok! I`m just a mortal!
It was an awesome blessing to here from a General Authority this week. He was so great and I loved everything he said. He even said the we might just have the best Mission President in the church right now and I would have to agree. President Zinke is an amazing man. I know he will have a great impact on my life and one day I will tell my own kids about my awesome mission president. I can`t believe its already March. Time is flying by! It`s crazy that Jack is almost 8 as well! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK!
I hope you all have an awesome week! I love you all and I pray for all of you every day! Pray that we will see a Baptism by March 23! We really need it! I love you all!