Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012

Hi family,
It sounds like you've had some exciting things going on this week! You guys sure are busy! Thanks for sending all the fun photos and forwarding Tanner's email. It makes me appreciate Tokyo a lot more when I compare my experience to cold showers and hot dogs every meal and living with 3 natives! I bet he's doing great though.
This week was hard for me, like usual, but thank you all for your encouragement! I really appreciate every bit of "Hang in there" and "Learn from this" because I need all the help I can get! One thing that's really helped is this week we got to hear from the Asia Area Seventy (first counselor I think?), his wife, and our mission presidency. The mission president's wife, Sister Budge, gave an AMAZING talk about studying our patriarchal blessings to gain counsel and insight. I wanted to share her study suggestions with you:
1. List specific gifts, talents, and tools, especially spiritual gifts. Which ones help you become a better missionary?
2. List counsel, warning, and anytime it says "Remember..."
3. List promised blessings.
4. Based on your blessing alone, who does the Lord tell you you are?
5. What is your role in your family?
6. What is your role in the Lord's kingdom?
7. What does your blessing teach you about your personal ministry?
8. What does the Lord tell you will help you reach your goals?
9. What doctrine are you taught?
10. What items are repeated?
11. Is there a theme?
12. What life events are foretold?
13. Are there patterns or formulas?
14. Can certain phrases be interpreted differently at different points in your life?
15. Pray to receive the Lord's interpretation of your blessing. It's okay to pester Him about yourself!
16. Pray to strive to fulfill the promises.
17. Memorize your blessing.
18. Treasure its words, ponder them, and live worthy of them.
Up until this week I'd read my blessing dozens of times but probably never actually STUDIED it. I learned so much! It really helped my blessing become personal scripture and trust more in the Lord's guidance, especially that first study suggestion. In my blessing, the Lord specifically lists my talents, and when I studied this week I noticed that every single talent listed can help me in my missionary work. It will help me with direction to focus on as I'm developing my skills here in Japan teaching these people, and of course all that I do will help me be a better person throughout my life. My blessing promises that too---that my mission will help me improve my character. So far I don't think it's worked much but maybe little by little I'll get Christlike by the end. You're right, Mum, I am struggling with my purpose here. Like, specifically, why Japan? Why Matsudo? I don't have the answer yet but I'm working diligently to find it. As we teach our investigators how to find answers to their own prayers, I learn a lot about how the Lord will answer mine, and it's the same way: scripture study, church attendance, and sincere prayer. Heavenly Father loves us and will answer.
I hope everyone has a great week! Stay out of trouble (ahem cough LACEY cough) and choose the right! Let's make it to the celestial kingdom together!
Lots of love,
Long Shimai

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