I think I will start off with some exciting news that came in the mail for all of us last night...TRAVEL PLANS!! :D :D :D :D We are actually going to Japan! What! The MTC has honestly just blown by so quickly for me, and this last week probably will too. My flight leaves at 8:35 on March 23rd. So that is only 10 days away! We have about a four hour layover in LA between 9:30 and 1:00 California time. We will then land in Tokyo on March 24th at 4:30pm. BOOM! I can hardly believe it! Still seems so surreal to me.
Okay next I need to thank people for some absolutely wonderful
letters this week! They REALLY boosted my spirits and I just
appreciate them all so much. Thank you thank you thank you.
Knowing I am supported by such amazing people makes all the
difference on the hard days.
This week I ran into Andrew Campbell. If someone could tell his
parents this, that'd be awesome. He looked so good! When we ran
into each other he was surrounded by Elders from his district and
there seemed to be a really good feeling amidst the lot of them.
He seemed really happy and well and it was so good to see him
here. Also another random connection...one of the new Shimai is
from Australia and she said shes knows Elder Taylor Wilson! Her
name is Rodgers Shimai, and she said Elder Wilson helped her
little brother serve a mini mission and that they are really good
friends. SMALL WORLD.
Our district was asked to host the new missionaries this week.
This was a welcome break in our schedule, and such a pleasure to
see all the new missionaries and help them get started here at the
MTC. Yeah, I am a veteran now. Pretty awesome. I saw Aunt Dorene
again which is always fun. They are having us host next week as
I have still been sick this week, but I think I am finally getting
better. It's been frustrating being sick at the MTC, but it has
taught me a lot. I was actually pondering on this the other day,
about what I have gained from the experiences I've had here. For a
brief moment I was sad because I don't feel like I've progressed
in the language as much as I'd hoped, but then the Lord turned my
thoughts to all the things I HAVE learned and how I've changed
these past months. It really opened my eyes as I began realizing
how much has been put into my heart and how the Spirit has worked
with me, though I wasn't always able to see how I was growing and
changing. I feel really humbled and blessed and filled with this
sweet love that the Savior has for me and for all his children.
The Lord has opened my heart to learn about the Atonement here in
many personal ways. A story my companion told me really
illustrates what I've learned and how I feel about the Atonement.
Think of the Savior on the day of his crucifixion. He was taken to
Pilate that morning after being taken from place to place all night
long and being treated absolutely unfairly and unlawfully. He was
then put in the dungeons with another named Barabbas. This
Barabbas was a murderer. He had committed many crimes and was
deserving of whatever punishment awaited him. The dungeon chambers
were beneath the balcony where Pilate asked the people who they
wanted him to free. Though the noise was jumbled, he was possibly
able to hear the cries of the people when they yelled 'Barabbas!
Barabbas!' and then, moments later, he heard 'Crucify him! Crucify
him!' How this would have terrified Barabbas! He may have been
sitting there in a panic, overwhelmed with the sudden knowledge
that they wanted him crucified. Then he heard the footsteps of the
soldiers coming down the steps. His heart must've been pounding
through his chest. What a horrible moment this may have been for
him. The steps drew near and the Soldiers approach...and then they
We are Barabbas. We have sinned and are deserving of justice and
its punishment. But The Savior, our Lord and Redeemer, has made
intercession for us. Instead of us being taken, He was taken and
punished for our sins. Our pure, innocent older brother suffered
the punishment so that we don't have to, if we will only repent
and turn to Him. What a heart-wrenching, incredible truth. What a
beautiful gift He has laid at our feet. I hope I can always hold
precious in my heart these lessons that I have learned about the
Atonement. And I know I've only brushed the surface.
My time is gone. But I love you all so much. Thank you for all the
prayers and encouragement and love! I would not be here without