Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MTC Week 7

Konichiwa mina san! Holy sweet goodness, I leave the MTC in a week and six days. Haha, pretty gnarly right?! Anyways! On with this weeks events. This week was pretty mellow, but I guess I'll start off with one pretty awesome story. I GOT TO SAY THE OPENING PRAYER IN FRONT OF 3,500 PEOPLE! So last Saturday I was just hanging out studying, and my branch President came in and asked me if I'd be willing to say the opening prayer at the Sunday evening devotional. I of course said "For sure!" but then it set in... This would be broadcast to the Wyview Campus, several different overflows around campus, and as well... It would have to be in English. You see, my Sensei has urged us all to only say prayers in Japanese, and so I hadn't said an English prayer in nearly 3 weeks! I was pretty dang nervous, but overall it was so awesome! Also, the second counselor in the MTC presidency (President Hacking) Knew Uncle Brad! He recognized my name pretty quick, haha. So that was probably the biggest thing that happened this week!

I'm so glad to hear you are all doing so well! Hopefully we aren't flying allegiant if that's how they treated Mamma, sorry about that! Oh! I talked to some of my Sensei's concerning packages, and apparently they got packages like... 3-4 times their entire mission. It's just WAY expensive, and take a long time to get there. Sorry Mom. :( But! Apparently you can use the dearelder.com website, and those are sent to Japan for like a dollar a letter? Yeah, being across the pacific is pretty pricey. But! This week, our senseis have been saying so much about the culture, their favorite mission moments, etc. And it really got me so excited to go. The Japanese people are so humble and kind, and they explained that the members are some of the strongest out there. I'm so excited to meet them!! As well, we got our Nihon-jin today! We have 4 Chorotachi and one Shimai (Sister.) One Choro is going to Tokyo with us, and the rest are going to Sapporo. They're all so kind and polite, and I already love them. What's amazing to here is their incredible determination to preach this Gospel. Most are new converts that answered the call, stopped their personal lives, and decided to go forward to serve. It's so incredible to witness this power of the Gospel, and witness true conversion. I love this Gospel so much! President Mack and I had a somewhat last interview before I go, and he asked me to explain to him what has been the biggest thing that I have learned from this MTC experience, and I really had to think cause there were so many different answers I wanted to say. I decided on this though.

This Gospel changes people. It does not matter what has happened in your past, or who you were before. It takes our old ways and brings them closer to God and His son Jesus Christ. it just has this incredible power to take the pain from our past and make it all right. Part of the Savior's plan was to do this for us, and it has been so incredible to see this happen in my own heart. We recently watched a talk by Elder Holland, and one of his lines was, "You are your first convert." And honestly, that line is so true. I feel so much more converted to this great Gospel, and I feel so lucky that in less than 2 weeks I get to go share it with the people of Japan. I just want to bear testimony that the Atonement is real. It's so real. No matter the sin, no matter the action, it can truly be cleansed through the Savior. His hands are always extended towards us, and His call is always sounding. You just have to answer and return to Him.

(Phew) Sorry, went off on a tangent there, but just wanted to say some stuff. :) To Alexa, don't worry about the brownies! Just through some guilt on your roomies, "Do you realize that you have just eaten a servant of the Lord's brownies??! Eternal condemnation!!" Haha, just kidding. ;) To Whitney, keep that head up!! You're doing so great, and I'm so proud of you for just going forward. I can't believe you only have one semester left! Seriously so crazy, you'll be all successful and such by the time I get back. ;) 

Just on another sidenote, I'm so sorry Virginia! it's just, I strap on that tie, and the Sisters come a-runnin'. I can't help it! I'll start drinking more chocolate milk, stop exercising, and hopefully the sisters will disappate. My heart is only with you though! (Hahaha.)

This whole MTC experience has been so incredible to be apart of though. A couple weeks ago they took the 3rd group photo in MTC history, and I'm in it! They said they may hang it up sometime soon, so hopefully after my mission I can see or something. But anyways! It's just been so great to be here, and feel of the Savior's prescence in my life. Honestly, when we feel we have reached the end of our rope, that's when we truly feel the Savior's love for us. That love is so personal, and it's there for all of us. The other day I was having a pretty rough day, and I just needed to pray. Being at the MTC, you are constantly surrounded by people, so I decided I would wait until the end of the day, and I would just go pray in the bathroom once everyone had gone to bed. Weird, yes, but at the MTC, this is your only chance to be alone, haha. But I sat down in the stall and just offered up my heart, in Japanese. I prayed as earnestly as I could in Japanese, and I just asked for some help. Next thing I knew, the words just started flowing. The grammar and sentence structure just clicked, and I began speaking. I felt the Spirit so strong, and I knew then that this was the right path. Whatever challenges may arise, I know that through the Savior I can overcome them. His love and power is so real, and He wants help us. Ahh, the Gospel is just awesome.

Well, I guess I'd better get going, but I love you all so much, and I pray for you all everyday. The Japanese people are amazing, and I'm itching to go! Also! if my facebook page gets a friend request from a Kevin Huefner or Tyler Ekins, accept! They're my Sensies, and they said they would add us this week. Anyways! So stoked, nervous, tired, and ready to go, and I'm so thankful to all of your support. Have an awesome week!! Oh! Dad, I think they'll let us know soon enough what to do with phonecall situation, it'll either be LAX or SLC that we'll call you. I get my travel plans tomorrow! So crazy! Haha, anyways, I love you all! This Gospel is true, the Book of Mormon is blue, and God loves you! (Good little District saying we came up with, haha.) Have a great week!

-Elder Justesen

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