Oh my goodness, I LOVE getting letters from you all! Landon and Becky, thank you for the package! Those Haichu were fabulous and I am definitely going to use those stickers :) Give Asher and Claire a big hug for me!! He is so sweet! Janna, I can't wait to hear about your baby! I guess I'll be in Japan by the time you find out - wakuwaku! Jeremy and Lizzi thank you so much for the package - I have used everything in it! Thank goodness you guys were in Sandy to send me the things I forgot :) David and Karlee, I saw some of the pictures from Lizzi's blog last week (she emails it to me, don't worry :) ) and you guys are SO COWBOY it's ridiculous. And awesome. haha, I am actually very impressed by how well that role suits both of you. Mom forwarded me your letter, it sounds like you are having a blast! Make sure and send me some of the pictures when you put them on facebook! Dan, mom told me that you went to ASIJ this week for orientation? How was it? What did you think of the new building? School starts in one week right? Are you super excited? Mom, that is so great that you are running! Do you go with Sister Galbraith still to the big park? I had a chance to look through your song - it is amazing! I could sight read the vocal parts, but I couldn't quite hear the violins or piano in my head, and I'm sure that it is ten times more loevly with those - I can't wait to hear it someday! Maybe I can get that ring tone in Sapporo some how... :) Dad I love your made up word - I'm not exactly sure what it means, but from your defintion it sounds like a pretty good description of how I feel as well :) Thank you all so much for your love and support! I have the best family in the world. It's official :)
Well, a little bit about my week here at the MTC - its been great! Time is really starting to fly by. My official departure date is a week from Monday! Only 9 days left! I transfer back to the Japanese branch on Monday morning and will be with them for my last week here. I am excited to be able to study Japanese more, but a little intimidated - The other missionaries definitely have a head start on teaching in Japanese - but it will be good to learn from them before I get out there. I got a letter from Sister Evans (my mission president's wife) - she sent me the music for a program that our mission is doing for a stake on September 15 - It is almost ALL in Japanese, and we won't have music, there are about 5 songs, so I've got something to look at and memorize on the plane ride over! I am so excited to be there! Speaking of Evans, I went to devotional on Tuesday (or Sunday, I can't really remember haha) and guess who the speaker was? David F. Evans! He gave a GREAT devotional on missionary work and the parables in Luke 15, and Rescuing as well as converting. It was one of the best devotionals we've had yet. I fought my way to the front afterwards to say hi, and I got to talk to Elder and Sister Evans and Jeff and Julie for a little while, we took a picture, it was great to see them! It felt like a little bit of home :)
Oh goodness, it is so hard to think of everything that happened in the last week! I'm sorry that my letters are always so random and disorganized. Looking back on the week, I would have to say that the biggest theme has been learning about the atonement of Jesus Christ. I have learned more about the atonement in the past week then I think I ever have before in my life. It is truly incredible. I know that the atonement was personal and complete. He saw each and every one of us, and lived our lives - he has perfect empathy. Because of the atonement we can have joy. My favorite place where it talks about the atonement is the story of Alma in Alma 36 where after he turns to Christ and accepts the atonement he says, "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea my sould was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!". But my favorite part is what he did about it. He didn't just live a happy life for himself after that, but he spent the rest of his life bringing that joy to the rest of the world. To me there is no better way to apply the atonement and all that it means than to share it with other people so they can feel that joy too, and in a way lighten the load that the Savior had to bear. I still have a lot to learn, and I am still working on applying the atonement in my life, but this scripture has helped me this week a lot. So I thought I would share that with you.
I love you all so much! Sorry the letter is a little shorter today, but I will have another P-day on Tuesday (because I'll be back in the Japanese branch - I know I got super lucky!) So I will write again soon.
Until next week!!