October 4, 2017


Provo MTC



Week 7: Christmas songs every day. Every. Single. Day.


The MTC is still a pretty great place. Also, 9 weeks is a long time to be here. However, 毎日MTCにいると言うことはしゅくふくです。For those of you who are not Nihonjin, that means "every day in the MTC is a blessing". I say this to myself every morning when I wake up, and every time someone asks me how my day is going. I say it so often that people now greet me with, "Hey, Bayless 長老 is every day in the MTC a blessing?" And I respond, "Absolutely! Every day in the MTC is a blessing!" I can say with certainty that a positive attitude is one of the only reasons I'm still doing so well after 7 weeks of studying Japanese in a classroom for 9 hours a day. Frequently in life our perspective/attitude about a situation dictates our emotional reality. Power of positive thinking and all that.

First important thing of the week: Japanese is the language of puns! This is such an important development for me. I found out very early on that Japanese does not have sarcasm. Which in turn means that Japanese people do not understand sarcasm at all. Zenzen wakarimasen. Even if the Japanese person is completely fluent in English, very, very, very few of them understand sarcasm at all. This was and is still my hardest trial with my mission language. However, I recently discovered that Japanese is rife with puns! Pretty much every word in the language has a minimum of 5 different meanings. Most of the time the meanings are completely unrelated. For example, I sometimes use the word Chou to address other elders. It's short for chourou, which means elder, but it also means butterfly and intestines. Kinda weird, but it gives me hope that I might be able to use that old Bayless humor passed down from my grandfather--the official king of puns!

Second thing of the week: We got a new district leader a while ago. He's wonderful and also happens to be our roommate. Anyway, for some reason he decided that every opening hymn at our meetings for this week was to be a Christmas hymn. We have literally sung Christmas songs every day this week. It's October. If he keeps this up, he's going to have a full scale district revolt on his hands!

Last thing of the week: We had another lesson. It went so well! This lesson was a little bit different, because it wasn't with an investigator but an oyasumikaiin (or a less active member)! This man had stopped coming to church, because he was offended by one of the church member's. We were meeting with him to see what we could do to help. We didn't really know what to share with him until we got in the lesson, but once we started talking to him the Spirit directed the conversation where it needed to go. We ended up sharing a few scriptures, but the thing that we shared that I believe was the most powerful was a excerpt from Elder Holland's talk "Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders Among You ".

The first quote we shared was as follows:

"The first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—that’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. That love is the foundation stone of eternity, and it should be the foundation stone of our daily life. Indeed, it is only with that reassurance burning in our soul that we can have the confidence to keep trying to improve, keep seeking forgiveness for our sins, and keep extending that grace to our neighbor."

We used this quote to talk a little about following the commandments of the Lord, one of which is attending church, and to talk about forgiving your neighbor his trespasses against you. We talked about God's infinite love for us, and then we shared this last quote from the talk:

"If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such. Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth “that all things work together for good to them that love God.” So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever."

After presenting this, we shared our testimony with Nakano-kyoudai about the blessings that we receive when we keep the commandments of the Lord. Keep in mind that all of this was shared in Japanese--including the quotes, of course. So, after I testified of these things, Eddington長老 started his testimony, and it was kind of incredible! Here's the gist of what he said translated into English: "Keeping the commandments is not only a way in which we can receive blessings from our Heavenly Father, but it is also the way by which we can become perfect like Him. I know that if you keep trying your best to follow this path you will feel his influence in your life. As Elder Holland said, 'Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.' I promise that if you follow His plan angels will be there to strengthen and support you."

First of all, this was the most complex idea my companion has ever expressed in Japanese. Second, I didn't know he knew the vocabulary nor the grammar to express this idea; but he did, and it was so powerful. I know what he said is true. Angels will support you if you let them.

I love you all.



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