Nov. 25, 2011
This week has been great. I hope that it has been for all of you as well!!
This past Sunday, my companion and I blessed the sacrament, which was fun to do in Japanese. We were both pretty surprised with how nervous we actually were, but it went really well. Brother and Sister Mack spoke after the two missionary speakers. You remember Watabe Sensei telling us about them? Brother Mack is in my branch presidency. During his talk, Brother Mack actually told us that his grandfather was Spencer W. Kimball. He brought a pair of his slippers to the meeting. It was a good talk on enduring to the end.
Tuesday was great. We held the traditional kohai vs. sempai yakyu (baseball/softball) game. Ige choro, Taylor choro (another sempai elder), and myself hit home runs. It was a really fun game and a great way to get to know our kohai better. I'm sure Hee choro had a lot of fun as well. Before dinner, Coakley choro from Kohala had a senior couple serving in his home ward come visit him here in the MTC, as they were in Utah for some doctor appointments. Brother and Sister Kelson. It was fun meeting with them. We actually found out that my companion, Elder Barlocker, has some family in Kona! He had no idea there were even any Barlockers outside of Enterprise, UT where he's from. I guess the Kelsons know some Barlockers who own a car dealership and work in the temple. Tuesday night at dinner, one of our kohai came up to me and asked if my brother was Keawe. His name is Elder Baker, he's about 6'5" and he's the Kims’ cousin! And now that I think about it, he really looks like Joel. I guess he was up in Idaho with the Kims at the same time as Keawe! At dinner I also met an elder serving in Ogden, UT from Kona. His name is Elder Poha-Pali and he knows Uncle Kenny and his kids.
Tuesday night devotional was awesome. Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife spoke on the Spirit and missionary work. Sister Christofferson focused more on learning to hear the spirit. I'm actually learning two languages!! Japanese and that of the spirit. Coakley choro jokingly says he's learning three because he isn't too good with English coming from Kohala. I really enjoyed the words of Elder Christofferson. Did you know that one of his mission presidents in Argentina was Elder Richard G. Scott? I thought that was interesting. Anyway, for a portion of his talk he shared some things he would put more emphasis on if he could serve again. Those were good to hear... a few were: outcomes/results(fruit), earning the trust of members, and Helaman 3:35. He gave an Apostolic Blessing... and all could tell that he was really being led by the spirit. His last line was: "God bless you. This is his. And you are his." I was sitting in the fifth row to the left, about 20ft. from him... and I'm convinced that he looked me straight in the eye when he said those last words. That really made me feel them more. And at that moment I knew that he was an Apostle of the Lord. It was overwhelming and amazing. Our district devotional review after went really well too. Our district always has some very profound insights. At times, I feel like I almost get as much out of our reviews as the actual devotionals.
Thanksgiving was great as well. Our day began with breakfast at 7:00am and we had a morning devotional at 10:00am. Elder Russel M. Nelson spoke to us. My companion and I were able to get two really good seats in the third row. At the beginning of Elder Nelson's talk, he said if we were to write down anything, write down that Elder Nelson said thank you! And to translate that to those who love us. So, Elder Russel M. Nelson thanks all of you. And so do I! Thank you so much for all of your love and support. Thank you for all that you've given and done to help me reach this point in my life. I'm blown away when I stop to think about all that others have and do for me. Thank you!!
After our morning devotional, we had Thanksgiving dinner. It was at lunch time so the cafeteria staff could be dismissed and have dinner with their families. It was good. I didn't eat too much... but a little more than usual. After that, we made sack dinners to eat later, and we had a humanitarian devotional with all of the missionaries. Following that, half of us went to the cafeteria to begin a humanitarian project. My district and I stayed in the devotional and had another Thanksgiving devotional. Two recently converted missionaries shared their conversion stories and the spirit was strong. We went back to our residences to eat our sack dinners, but one of our kohai's mom actually shipped him 18lbs. of precooked brisket and tenderloin. Yes, he's from Texas. So we cut that up and microwaved it. It might be because I've been here for eight weeks... but that was some of the best meat I've ever had. After dinner, we all went to the cafeteria and continued the humanitarian project. 8,000 injury kits (similar to first aid kits) were made and will be shipped to Sudan. I was a 'supply runner'... so 30 missionaries sat around each table and each had a specific job (put two band-aids in a ziplock bag and pass it down, etc.) and when any supplies ran low I ran to get more. The media staff had church songs put to different beats playing and it was really fun. I'm grateful for the opportunity we were given to help the people of Sudan. Our day concluded with 17 Miracles... It's actually a really, really good movie about the Willie/Martin handcart company pioneers. It was such a treat to watch an actual movie. And they had popcorn for us too! You should all watch the movie, I highly recommend it.
Well, it was a great day. I missed all of you... but had so many amazing experiences here. I know that it will be a Thanksgiving that I never forget.
Anyway, tell me about how your week and Thanksgiving went. How has school and work been? And how's the ward? I think about you all... all the time. We are here in our bubble of church things. I wish you could see it. It's an amazing place. We're all hard at work, and we get over-stressed sometimes. But we remember our errand. And remember that our sacrifice is such a small price to pay. Again, thank you for you love and support! I'll send another email to you, mom. I love you all.
In closing... I'd just like to say that God has something to tell you. So listen! I love you!
God be thanked,