Monday, July 15, 2013

"Dendo" -- the best thing I could be doing right now

Beloved friends and family: below is Matt's report of his continuing adventures in the MTC.

He's catching heat and light! Thank you for your faith and prayers on his behalf.

I have the best district ever.

Last Saturday, my fellow chorotachi and I spent at least an hour taking light saber pictures of ourselves, which we learned how to do using scripture editing required.

On Sunday, my companion and I gave a lesson on repentance during district meeting. We wanted to make sure everyone was involved, so we had them look up a bunch of scriptures and we all discussed everything together as a group. I also used that Japanese story that Elder Ang told us at dinner back home, and everyone really enjoyed it, though I probably didn't nearly do it justice compared to his awesome storytelling skills. Overall, Sunday was just a really good day.

Tuesday night was devotional night, and we heard from an Emeritus Quorum of the Seventy member. He had a wicked Southern accent, from Louisiana. He gave a very interesting and motivating talk on prayer and personal revelation--something I really needed to hear. He mentioned how personal prayer is, and how the two-way communication with God works. If Heavenly Father chooses to answer 'yes' in answer to your prayer, then it is for your benefit. If He answers 'no,' then it is to prevent you from error. And if He witholds an answer, it is part of His infinite wisdom in an effort to help strengthen your faith. Cool.

My companion and I taught three more lessons this week, all in Japanese, for new "investigators" Higaki-san and Imai-san. We can all read and write in Hiragana, the most common of the three alphabets used in Japan. I'm working on Katakana too, which represents words foreign to the Japanese language, such as "Jesus Christ" (I-e-su Ki-ri-su-to) and "Mormon" (Mo-ru-mo-n).

I've started reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese now, which is just nuts. No joke, takes me 30 minutes to get through 2 or 3 verses. It's really cool reading it side by side with my English Book of Mormon and figuring out the wording in Japanese. The language is really big on context and implication. Words such as "I" and "you" and others are often left out of a sentence because meaning is implied. Also, some words sound similar or even identical, but have completely different meanings. It all depends on the context. I guess we have that in English too, but I'm so used to it that I never notice it.

I have also been making solid progress in the English Book of Mormon for my own reading. I made it to Helaman yesterday. I cannot express how much I love this book. I have never so strongly had the desire to just sit down and pick it up and read as much as I can in one sitting. I am taking in all the stories and messages, and I honestly feel like this new appreciation has awakened a part of my soul that previously had lain dormant. I feel a greater desire to love others, a greater desire to serve, and a greater desire to do something better with my life. I can't fully explain it, but it is a very real and very overpowering feeling.

My favorite person in the book so far is Captain Moroni. His constant faith and devotion to serving his country and preserving liberty is such a strong example to me. I would encourage you to start reading it again, with vigor. It simply does not work to just read a chapter or two a day. It has to be a constant and devoted exploration. I can promise that the Holy Ghost will manifest the truth and beauty of the book as you read.

I love what you shared with me in Doctrine and Covenants 50. I'm going to probably start reading that next after I finish the Book of Mormon. Then I will begin a study of the Bible. Good stuff.

We have a huge batch of missionaries leaving for Japan on Monday. They helped us get on our feet when we first walked through these doors almost three weeks ago with wide eyes and nervous hearts, and now they are heading to the field to begin a new legacy of love and service. I feel that time is going to come up fast for us, and we ourselves will be in the Land of the Rising Sun before we know it. I can't wait! The language scares the crap out of me, but I just can't wait to get out and serve.

I love it here. The MTC is hallowed ground. The Lord's presence is constantly here, enabling us to learn and grow. I feel a distinct difference here. The mission (dendo) is the best thing I could possibly be doing right now. It's an honor to serve.

Ai shite imasu! (I love you!)

Mata ne,
Elder Naylor

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