Things here are HOT. I went out with some of the bros (I mean Elders) yesterday to play soccer, and I was sweating bullets before we even got to the soccer field. I think I've lost two or three pounds in sweat alone. The days are going fast. Back at the Academy, people always said that "the days are long, and the weeks are short." It's true here as well.
Last week our district was struggling with a few issues within companionships, but through lots of prayer and inspiration many have been resolved. Our district grows closer together as a family each day. It's going to be a real bummer when we all have to say goodbye.
We are all SO excited to get out to the mission field. The rice fields of Japan are white and ready to harvest, lemme tell ya. We keep getting told that there is an unprecedented amount of missionaries getting sent to Japan right now, more than ever before. My branch president worded it thus: "Why do you think that the Lord is sending so many missionaries to Japan right now? I am convinced that this is because the nation of Japan is ready for an explosion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Seriously, I got goosebumps reading over that again.
The language gets better every day. I've been having dreams in Japanese now, for real. Still not sure if that's a good sign or a bad sign or not, haha. It is seriously such a cool language though.
In Japanese, the way you speak is dependent on your relationship with the individual with whom you are speaking. When speaking to someone of younger or equal status (i.e. a child, or a close friend), you use "plain form." When speaking to someone you've just met, or someone of higher status (i.e., someone on the street or an elderly person), you use "masu form," which is more polite. As missionaries, we're taught to use the "masu form" with just about everyone. There's another way we call the "honorific form." This is reserved for people of extremely high status, and also for speaking about deity.
Disclaimer: I know hardly anything about this language. To anyone reading this who actually knows something about Japanese, I apologize for sounding like an idiot in that description.
My favorite part of being district leader is the opportunity to interview members of my district at the end of each week. We sit down one-on-one and discuss the past week and how the individual missionary and his companionship are getting along, and how they are progressing. People are open about their concerns and anxieties, a wonderful opportunity for me to listen to the Spirit and be guided and directed on what to say to them. It's also a great opportunity to connect on a personal level and be their friend. I feel a sincere love for every single missionary in our district. There are 14 of us. I could not possibly have been placed with better people.
For some really beautiful and thought-provoking scriptures, read 2 Timothy 1 and 2 this week. Those chapters have been on my mind a lot.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind . . .
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord . . .
Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works,
but according to his own purpose and grace . . .
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus . . .
The Lord knoweth them that are his.
Mom and Dad, thank you so much for your frequent and much appreciated letters. I am so blessed to get mail every week. Eric and Joe, you are in my prayers every single night. I miss you both so much.
And to all the rest of my friends out there, you are on my mind often. I hope all of you are safe and well. Shoot me a letter any time. I have made it a goal to send a personal reply to every hand-written letter that I receive, and I've kept it so far. Thank you to all who have written to me. It really means a lot.
Ai shite imasu!!