Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 27, 2013

First off, I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas!  Here at the MTC it was amazing, but I'll get there in a second.

So first off, last saturday we had a substitute teacher, Sister Sagers, teach our class because our teacher brother sung was out of the state for break.  She was a really nice teacher, till she started the class.... She gave us a little bit of background about herself (in korean, who would've guessed!)  so we had to kind of guess at what she was saying and hope she was right.  After a couple of minutes of talking in korean she said in very plain english that we had three minutes to prepare and then she was going to leave the room and start walking around our building.  We had to find her, stop her, and share a short message about the gospel before setting an appointment to come meet with her at her home.  What a disaster that was!!!  Our korean is still not the greatest and we rely on our TALL books for a lot of words and phrases that we dont know.  Long story short, we flagged her down, told her god wanted to talk to her, I told her I loved her on accident instead of I care about your salvation (how did I mess up that bad!?) and somehow managed to get her phone number to contact her next time.  It was rough and definitely a realization about how hard it would be to street contact in Korea.
Then sunday in sacrament meeting some of the elders got together and sang joesph smiths first vision to the tune of come thou fount of every blessing.  What a treat!  The spirit was so strong throughout the entire day!  One of our branch presidency spoke about faith in christ during sacrament meeting and told us we "...Have the power of life over death through Christ,"  and that we need to bring that power to as many people as we can come into contact with.  Later on during our temple walk we made a snowman around seven feet high! (I'll try to get pictures, I forgot my camera that day) and then I tackled it.  Everyone laughed and I had never seen our zone be so close together.  
Still during sunday, at our night devotional, we had Brother Christopher Randall Director of Administration for Missionary Work come talk to us about success and failure.  The best part of it was him bringing Sister Payne, a missionary from the show The District, to come talk to us about one of her investigators she taught at the time, and things to help us with our teaching.  It was a very insightful and spiritual meeting.
Slide over to monday and nothing big happened really.  However, I had several people come to me throughout the day and tell me things like I'm becoming a great leader and they are happy I'm zone leader, I even had one elder say he looks up to me for an example.  What encouraging words to know that my zone supports me in the things that I do!  

Now the fun part begins as Christmas Eve came over the MTC.  Several things happened this day, but I'll share the best.  In no particular order.  I thought about the Atonement a lot throughout the day and what it has done for me.  I even expressed my love to all the elders in my district and zone all day, and reminded them that this is the reason why we are working, the salvation and eternal life of all mankind.  I could see a light burn in all of them so brightly as most realized the seriousness of our work and immediately put their noses in their scriptures, language study books, etc to get to work.  As we left the classroom at night, another Haka had happened and it was awesome, we even had several missionaries from our zone join in.  It was really fun and spiritual until security came over and started trying to break it up.  One of the missionaries from my zone that joined in got really mad and kept dancing, getting closer and closer to him.  We had a couple of other missionaries pull him away and take him back to residence where he got really angry.  At the residence we pulled out music and sang and ate and danced till a little while after lights out at 1030.  Others stayed up till 4 in the morning from what I heard!  

Christmas day arrived and I'll mention the really cool stuff.  About mid morning we had a MTC talent show where many people got up and performed music, magic, dances, funny pieces, etc.  It was really cool especially because about 1/2 the acts were from our zone.  Later on after lunch we had the great privilege of hearing from Elder David A Bednar from the quorum of the 12.  He came in and told us that he wanted to have a Q&A with us, and when someone asked how he would do this, about 20 people walked in with christmas bags filled with cell phones!  He allowed us to use 200 cellphones to text questions that would go straight to his Ipad on the pulpit.  It was awesome! Although he didn't answer any of my questions directly, they were all answered through the Spirit.  Afterwards, I walked out my usual exit, and found a mass of people waiting for his car to leave so that we could head back to our residences.  The crowd slowly thinned till there was about 30 of us left after about 10 minutes of waiting.  I thought we were just waiting for his car to leave so we could wave, no big deal.  But soon enough he appeared in front of us and wanted to shake our hands.  After waiting another 2 minutes I had the privilege of shaking hands with Elder Bednar!!! I'm never going to wash that hand!  Haha, But It was cool.  Later on at night we were able to listen to Ray Smith, Accomplished jazz musician, and the MOTAB Christmas special.  Both were amazing and I was glad we were able to feel the spirit so strongly on that glorious day.  After that, Thursday wasn't anything special, I taught a lesson with Elder Jarrett to our investigator about the Book of Mormon, when about halfway through he looks up and asks us, "What's the gospel?'  Now normally in english this would be a no brainer, but throw me into  another language and I couldn't figure it out.  I felt so bad telling him that we would have to wait till our next appointment to answer his question, but thats all we could do.  After he said that, we couldn't continue the lesson and had to cut it short.  We felt bad but knew that we could answer it and continue the lesson next time.  

As I continue my time into my 4th week here at the MTC I truly see the spirit working hard to strengthen me and guide me through my work.  There are times that I think there is no time to learn new words from Korean while preparing Lesson plans and studying out of the book of mormon while also memorizing our purpose and the baptismal commitment in korean.  But the spirit makes it happen and I feel it come into me as I diligently work hard and pray earnestly for the blessings that have been so helpful in my short time here.  I love it here, I love my family that I have made here and I am so thankful for every missionary in my zone.  I express my love and appreciation for them daily, telling them and encouraging them to work harder, try more, do better.  And they have, they make my days rough sometimes but I love them.  I love the work and I love my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for everything that they have given me, and all they have yet to give me.  I know this is the true church of Christ and that I have the power to bring eternal life and salvation to the sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven.  I love all of you at home and reading this so much, and I hope that you can find these truths for yourself.  Pray and ask earnestly to have your Father in Heaven guide and direct your life, and he will show you the path back to him.  In the name of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Without Wax,

-Elder Yamagata

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