Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Less Than Two Weeks!

Dear Family and Friends,

Just this past week we figured out that our departure date is earlier than we thought--a week from next Monday I will fly to Japan!! I'm SOO EXCITED to go there, to be a missionary there and to share the gospel with the Japanese people! That is what the MTC has been preparing me for...and even, in many ways the Lord has prepared me throughout my life to go and do this!!!!! Although my Nihongo could always become better, I feel like I have a good enough grasp on the principles of speaking/understanding Japanese--I'm ready to go and continue to learn it there. As I've looked back on my MTC experience, I realize how much help I've received from the Lord in learning the language so that I will be able to share this most important message with the Japanese people. The gift of tongues is real!!

The other day, during gym time, I thought of an analogy that I think summarizes my time here at the MTC. I was running with Sister Rees, a solo sister who used to be in my companionship--since she's been here she and I have been "running buddies" during gym. She'd been a consistent runner before she came to the MTC--so when I started running with her, I couldn't always keep up. At first I would run with her as long as I could, and then once I started to ache/wasn't sure whether or not I could keep going, I gave up and walked the remainder of the time. Over time these past many weeks, I've built up endurance, as well as have TRIED to keep going, even when I didn't think I could. Before, I was afraid of failure if I kept going...but after a while I realized that if I did keep going , even though it would be hard (ie. I'd get a sideache, etc...), I'd progress this way, gain more endurance, and ultimately become a better runner.

Last Friday when we ran together, I realized how much endurance I'd built up, BECAUSE I'd tried and kept going even when I was afraid of failure. As a result, I'm definitely a better runner than I used to be (I still have a ways to go...:). I thought of how this applied to my entire experience here at the MTC. Learning a new language was hard for me--as well as many other things I was faced with--being a solo sister, etc. I used to be afraid to try something if I didn't know that I'd succeed. The hard trials and things I've had here have made me realize not only that I needed to TRY--but that I didn't need to be afraid of failure! Even when my trying wasn't enough, even when I was in class and didn't understand a certain Nihongo principle--it was ok because I'm supposed to be weak and have shortcomings! It's because I'm weak that the Savior can step in to comfort me, lift me up, and take me farther than I could ever have gone myself. And to think--if I had never tried, I never would have seen His marvelous power!

Ether 12:27 in the Book of Mormon says, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weaknesses. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

We all have weaknesses--certainly I have keenly realized my own, especially here in the MTC! But when we've tried and can do no more, the Savior is there to help us keep running, to help us finish the race! I testify that I have seen and felt the strength He has given to me--without Him there is no way I could do this! I rejoice in my Savior, Jesus Christ! I know He is there for each of us, because He's been here for me countless times. I've witnessed His help so many times in my life that I cannot deny it--HE lives!I love you all, and pray that you will seek to draw nearer to the Savior!

Swain Shimai

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