Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Week 6 (Humility and Simplicity)

Hello~Sawat dii~ Chot dii~Cosmos!

I hope that all of you are doing just fantastic. I'm sorry that I cannot reply more in depth to all of your emails, but know that I do so with gratitude and sincerity. 

This week has just been phenomenal. Just like the last five weeks! 

So to start, the rumors of Elder Holland speaking were not true..However, the speaker at our devotional was still excellent. I'm sorry, as I forgot my journal today, the details will be left out. 

Tomorrow we get 11 new Thai Elders. In total we will have a little over 30 new missionaries enter into our zone. The size of our zone will double! One of the Elders in our district had an idea to write a welcome letter to each new Thai Elder. I wrote to Brother Allen. It will be exciting to meet him in person tomorrow

The highlight of my week was my $3.20 purchase of a travel size Book of Mormon. I've developed a greater testimony and appreciation for the Book of Mormon these last six weeks. I cannot go a day without my spiritual fill. I have never been more aware of the literal power the Book of Mormon has. I bought my travel size so I can take it with me wherever I go and read it whenever I have a spare moment. I also carry around some highlighter crayons to mark them up. How I did not do this before my mission I do not know. There are so many things I wish I did differently to prepare for my mission. I guess I now know better.

Humility has been something I have had the opportunity of exercising and witnessing by the example of other Elders here in the MTC. An example would be an Elder personally apologizing with the way he conducted himself to the other Elders that were offended. His words were sincere, as he didn't want any ill feelings to be left between them. I saw a lot of courage in that Elder. Prior to the reconciliation of feelings, there was a lot of miscommunication between the Zones but as the Zone Leaders met together in humility, kindness, meekness, and love, an understanding of feelings and opinions was found. Power has always been in meekness. 

I feel that should you not be able to love someone, you simply don't know them as the Savior does. For he suffered and bled on the cross to bear the sins of all. To the Savior, your enemy was worth saving, loving, and caring for. Luckily for me, I don't have any ill feelings towards anyone. Unless my half-hearted rivalry during gym time with one of the Italian district counts. 

I've also been learning about the power of simplicity. I used to believe that some thoughts and opinions simply could not be understood by some due to there "lack" of intelligence. It was very humbling to learn that the fault lied with my own lack of intelligence in not being able to simplify the doctrine and to teach it through the directions and promptings of the Holy Ghost. It was I who did not understand the doctrine fully enough to teach it. It was I that fell into that trap of pride. 

In learning a new language, you learn to bear testimony like a child. You bear simple truths that you know to be true from the depths of you heart, and should it be sincere the words will be powerful. I'm so grateful for my many humbling experiences. I feel that one of the reasons I have been called to learn a difficult language is because the Lord desired of me to humble myself before Him. I hope that I am taking some steps towards becoming more selfless as He is. 

My testimony continues to grow and mature. 

Oh, I'll see you this Wednesday Dixon Mortimer! Soon if not already, Elder Mortimer!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Week 5 (Missionary Life)

Hello to all! I'm just going to jump right into it. 

The mortal ministry of Jesus Christ and the Atonement is probably my favorite verses of scripture to study. I have been so deeply touched by the atoning sacrifice of my Savior whom I represent and whom I serve with the entirety of my soul.

I am a little past my halfway point in the MTC! I don't know if I could ever say that I am "ready," but I am so excited to get out to Thailand! 

The reality of the Savior and His Atonement has been something I have been engraving into my heart. When studying things of the past, I learn things more as an ideal or a concept. It's very hard to accept it as something personal to me. But the life of the Savior has been more personal to me than anything else these last few weeks. Prior to the MTC, my feelings of "closeness" to the Savior was like a blinking flashlight. Now, it feels as if it is like an unwavering lighthouse. 

I realize that this closeness to the Savior is not necessarily my status as a missionary, but missionary life that dedicates an hour every day to studying the scriptures, the countless prayers, and the consistency of myself reaching out to the Savior in pleas of help, comfort, and direction. I pray that I may not abandon this "Missionary Life" after my mission, for it is something I wish to feel for the rest of my life. I wish I lived with such sincerity from the beginning.

As it seems that I have unintentionally shared a spiritual insight from my studies every week, I will share a short one. Abinadi has been one of my favorite Prophets as he bravely testified of the truths he knew to be of God and called King Noah and his Priests to repentance. The outcome of his bravery was death, but he did so with a courage very few of us come to hold in life.

So begged the question in my heart. How deeply am I committed to following the Savior? Elder Holland spoke of how we should be disciples of our Savior not just in the flush of comfortable times, but when all odds seemed stacked against us. When the cross you have been called to bear feels overbearing, and even when the road seems long, dark, and lonely. Elder Holland spoke, that we must do these things in deed, courage, and faith for that is surely how he Lived and died for us (For those interested, the talk is entitled, "None Were With Him") .

I'm out of time. Thank you for your moment of attention. 

Until next week, Elder Miyagi. 

P.S. Thank you Brother Nelson, and the class of Brother Nelson for your heart felt letters and beautiful care package! It was such a nice surprise after the evening classes. The donuts were devoured within moments by those in my zone. I wish I had the opportunity to write back to each and everyone of you, but just know that I am grateful for your words. I love and am grateful to you all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Week 4 (Hearts Turning Outward)

As new rules that were not included in the white handbook have been made known to me, I will be more strictly obedient in my diligence in keeping all of the rules,(big and small) so forgive me for my possibly shorter email today. 

These last 4 weeks have changed me in ways I would have never thought possible. In one great aspect, I have been humbled greatly. 

I have bore my testimony in Thai so many times that I can no longer count but yesterday, I was able to testify of God with the spirit resonating within me for the first time. We extended the invitation for baptism and she accepted. My investigator Phii Bam (actually Sister Cutler) was beginning to tear up. It will obviously be a lot harder in Thailand but I am beginning to really love teaching my mock investigators. Alone, I would have never been able to do this. Not even with years of studying the language but with the Savior and through the Holy Ghost, I was able to touch the heart of my investigator. The Savior is turning me into fishers of men.

I am still years away from the mastery of the language but the Lord has been qualifying me in ways I would have never imagined. This has made me realize the very real importance of always having the spirit to be with you. The promise that has been made possible by the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. The promise that you will never be left comfortless, lost in fear, or blinded in hatred should you turn your heart towards the Savior.


Elder Holland gave a talk in some great part of history inside of the MTC entitled something along the lines of "Missions are Forever" or "Missionary Work and The Atonement." Elder Holland talked about how we as missionaries have more authority on this Earth than any Prince, President, or member of parliament. With this, he stated with his sometimes blunt but true and resonating response of "Act Like It." It's sometimes hard to imagine yourself walking on behalf of the Savior, but when this is constantly within your memories reach your heart changes when something doesn't go your way. Your patience is extended, your love increased, the Lord will continually change you into the magnificent being He desires you to become. Elder Holland spoke something along the lines of,"no man  has been changed as greatly as I was on my mission."I hope that I may follow in his footsteps of great change. Of my heart turning outward to my Savior and those around me so that I may bear witness of the living Christ.

My heart once and still vain and prideful has begun to turn outward into the love of not myself but those that surround me. I have found a greater love and appreciation for my family, friends, District, and Zone. I thought I knew already, but I am learning how to love all over again. I thought I knew what a testimony was, but I am beginning to recognize what it truly is. 

On a side note, I am sorry for murmuring for the food in the MTC. I feel that I have been ungrateful for the blessings I have been receiving greatly and abundantly. It was selfish of me to be blessed so greatly, and complain about the one thing that isn't going my way. I'm sure I have a lot more to apologize for but until it is made known unto me through the Spirit, I will conclude this weeks email with that. 

I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve a mission. My heart is so full of joy. There is nothing else I would rather be doing. 

I'm sorry if I'm not able to reply to all of you. By following the rules I only have an hour a day to view and reply on P-day.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

MTC Week 3

The older group of Thai's left for Thailand on Monday night so our zone just shrunk in half. Bitter sweet. They definitely had a celebration that night with party poppers and the whole lot of it. Turns out it was against the white mission handbook. No comment as I may befall the same path.

In week 3, our district had the apparently rare opportunity to "host." These are the meet and greeters of the new missionaries dropped off at the MTC every Wednesday. That has actually been a really neat experience. We have been selected to do so again tomorrow. Fun fact-the folks we "hosted" are leaving the MTC before we do. Lucky them. However, I love Thai so it's okay. We started learning script by the way. The squiggles and lines. I can't believe I'll be reading out of the Book of Mormon in Thai in just a few short moments.

In terms of spiritual sustenance, General Conference has been wonderful. Although I would share my favorite quotes, stories, and parables, I have left my journal in my dorm room so most of it will be out of my recollection. I feel that I more than anybody else needs a journal for how I simply cannot remember things. But for now, my favorite shared quote will be "Boys Be Ambitious." Ambitious in Christ. To be anxiously engaged in the work! In matters of missionary work, the more ambitious and engaged you are, the more enjoyable your time in the work becomes.

To matters of the heart, I feel that my most spiritual week has been that of week 3. Although I do not feel the details of the event that allowed it to be so should be shared so openly, it was by the obedience of five Elders to the subtle but sure promptings of the Holy Ghost, that two Elders were able to feel comfort in the work and purpose of the next two years of their lives. We reflected upon the small but consecutive and or numerous string of miracles that took place that night. I am a witness that the Lord looks out for those that strive to complete His work. He knows the desires of your heart and the weaknesses contained within it. However, by your faith in Him he will magnify your talents and strengths.

A Thai teacher shared the story with the talents last night. He made a comment I had never considered, this comment being that some of us have received more talents than others. However, it is possible for us to magnify and expand our talents. As C.S. Lewis points out, there is no parable or example that perfectly reflects its truth but for purposes of helping us understand the truth, it can be useful. With this train of thought, I think that we are like chess pieces. The Lord gives us talents and it helps us determine the type of chess piece we are. We don't have to settle in being a pawn although many in the world seem to be content in being so. There is nothing wrong with being a simple pawn but what happens when you make your way across the board? You may attain a level of glory no lowly pawn would have ever imagined possible to befall them!(Reference: "The Weight of Glory") Such is the power of the atonement. What is interesting in this thought is that we do not become knights, bishops, or queens for ourselves. We strive to become better to better serve the will of the King. The will of God. Every blessing given to us is not meant to enrich our own lives. Its primary purpose is to enrich the lives of others. It is by consequence of doing so that our own lives are enriched.

It is beginning to sink in as to what I have gotten myself into. I could not be more excited.