This week started out in a really interesting fashion. So last Monday I was on an exchange with my District Leader that lasted until Tueday night. It was the greatest. Working with Elder H is always the best. We laugh (a lot) we cry (like kids) and I think I learn more than I ever have before in my life. We had to go to a Ward Picnic in this way beautiful park called Banpaku Koen and it was probably one of the most beautiful places I`ve been on my mission. I guess it hosted the World Expo or something like that in 1970 and they`ve kept it up in tip top shape ever since then. It was so beautiful and I was so glad for the chance to unwind a little and enjoy a little bit of Japan. The picnic was a blast and we played a really funny game of duck duck goose. I didn`t know that was only an American thing because no one knew that we were talking about when they asked us for an idea for a game (trust me you run out of ideas for games over a year into your mission). It was great to see both young and old, parents and kids, playing a hilarious, and quite intense, game of Duck Duck Goose.
Our companion exchange ended with one of the most spiritual times of my life. We like to have an exchange review at the end of the exchange and I`m pretty sure ours would have gone all night if it wasn`t for a follow up with one of the Sisters. One of the greatest lessons I learned from that didn`t come from anything Elder H said, but it came from a letter he received from his Mother while he was in the MTC almost two years ago. That lesson is the subject of this email, `Teach Johnny Music`. Teaching is the way the material is presented. It represents the questions asked and the actual hands on involvement from the teacher with the student. Johnny is the student. He`s the one being taught. And Music is the actual material, or the lesson being shared. Now if we look at it from a gospel perspective, `Teach` refers to the skills of the teacher. They way and manner the teacher (or missionary) is able to share the material he has to teach. `Johnny` is the investigator (student). He`s the one receiving everything and entering into a whole new world. And `Music` is the gospel, or the actual message and gospel truths themselves. Now the question is this, which one is the most important? Is it the actual manner of teaching? Is it Johnny? Or is it simply the message being conveyed. The answer is Johnny. The most important thing is the person being taught. It doesn`t matter how good of a teacher you are, or how well the message is conveyed or even how good the message is, its all about the person being taught. That ended up being the mission theme of Elder H`s older brother`s mission when he was an Assistant in the Australia Perth Mission. I absolutely loved that. The people are whats important! Nothing else! If every missionary and member could understand that perfectly, the Lords work would touch the lives of many, many people.
As a mission we received a challenge from President W to finish the Book of Mormon by February 28th. We were all provided with a brand new, clean paperback copy of the BofM and challenged to take three different colors and mark, 1) All references to Christ and his name 2) Anything said by Christ or people quoting him and 3) Anything to do with his attributes. If you want the exact details just look in the back of PMG chapter 5 under Mission President, it`s right there. My challenge to all of you is to do the same thing! I`m in 1 Nephi 18 right now and I plan on reading it twice by February 28, 2015! I love the Book of Mormon and I know it is true! It is of God and it was translated through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I love this work, I love being a trainer, and I love being a missionary! I love you all!