vrijdag 25 juli 2014

Jumping with Joy

"Hello there!

How are you? Ah, great. Oh, me? Oh, you know, I'm just FLIPPING EXCITED. In 5 days, I'll be in a plane. But it's not just any plane. It's a plane heading to 神戸(Kobe)!! I can't wait, haha! We got our final itineraries last week. I am currently jumping with joy as I write this.

This week's been very special. I got the opportunity to go to Temple Square! Whaaaa? Let me explain: international missionaries get the chance to visit the Salt Lake temple in their last weeks at the MTC. So they get one whole morning off so they can tour around Temple Square. Unfortunately, the temple was closed so we couldn't go inside and have a session. But we still got to see it from up close. SO COOL. MANY PICTURES WERE TAKEN.

The devotionals this week were pretty awesome as well! In one of them T.C. Christensen s, a movie director, spoke to us (The one who directed "17 Miracles". Remember that movie?)
He spoke about his experiences while directing that movie and why he made certain decisions. The main message of that devotional was: "Live your life in such a way that you can be ready to serve the Lord at any time." In the other devotional, The Ellis family spoke to us. What? Family you say? Yes! Family! Not only did Stanley G. Ellis and his wife speak to us, but their 8 returned missionary sons and daughters as well!! Crazy! They all bore their testimonies and missionary experience. The devotional as a whole focused a lot on obedience and hope. And I really like how it kind of linked to the previous devotional by T.C. Christensen: by following the commandments and rules, you'll be ready to serve the Lord and claim all His promised blessings." Like a jigsaw puzzle! Heheh.

We also demonstrated "How to begin teaching in front of tons of new missionaries. I was really scared for some reason, but it went really well and we learned a lot!

I learned so much here in the MTC. I'm grateful for all of the experiences I've had, be it good or bad. It has really strengthened me. This is my last post from the States.The next blog entry will come from Japan, haha!

Please note: p-days (in which I can update this blog) will change to monday and the mailing address is changed as well. From now on, please use my new address in Japan if you want to send me something awesome through mail, okidoki?

Elder Pedro Serra Santos
Japan Kobe Mission
4-6-28 Shinohara Honmachi
Nada-Ku, Kobe-Shi, Hyogo-Ken
Japan 657-0067

Use only 'Japan Post' ( no Fed Ex or UPS, etc.) to send your letters or packages.

I love you all and I hope to see you next time!!

vrijdag 18 juli 2014

Tempel Cleaning & Investigator on Skype

"Konnichiwa! Minasan wa genki??

This week has been pretty awesome! And here's why.

First off, we cleaned the temple. Sounds boring, right? WRONG. We went to clean different rooms inside the temple and because of that we could see some pretty special and holy chambers. The temple is a really beautiful and special place! I'm glad we got the privilege to go deeper into the temple and to see such sacred things.

Our lessons with our "shinpou shite iru kyudousha" (progressing investigator) have been great! Ever since I've been in a new douryougumi I've been able to teach with more faith and power! Monson chourou, my new douryou, really lifts me up and he really makes me a better person!! He is awesome!!

And even our classroom instructions seem to have been more powerful as well! I've learned a ton of stuff just because the spirit was so strong!! Some senkyoushitachi in our district were moved to tears, sometimes. Including me, by the way. Heheheh.
The devotionals have been a little different this week. Because they were cleaning up the building where we would normally have a devotional, we went to a different building OUTSIDE the MTC: the Mariott Center.
It was some kind of stadium, probably for basketball or something. But it was HUGE! And the devotionals were really awesome as well. One was about "Charity", by Richard I. Heaton. There was a big emphasis on teaching with love and how this love truly helps the investigator to feel the spirit. When you teach with charity, you teach with the spirit! Many people say: "What would Jesus do?" Brother Heaton, however, told us to also keep a similar phrase in our heads: "What would Jesus FEEL?" Really liked it.
The next devotional was in that same building, about "The sacred name of our Lord" by L. Edward Brown (former general authority). He told us about the importance and sacredness of the name "Jesus Christ" and how we shouldn't use it in vain. Not only does that mean that people shouldn't swear with His name or use His name in a bad way, but it also means that we, the senkyoushitachi, shouldn't slur off his name in a routine-like fashion. For instance, when we had a long day here and it was really late, I would just say a quick prayer and quickly end with the words "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." That's not how you do it, though. And brother Brown made that clear in his talk. I learned a lot from that as well. I made tons o' notes, so I can read them again later on.

What else... we did this fun little game in our district, called "Tanaka san". It's an SYL game (Study Your Language) In which someone gets to be Tanaka san and the others have to fin out who it is. And Tanaka san can only speak Japanese and can't understand any English for that day! Everyone speaks in Japanese as well, because at the end of the day we vote for who we think Tanaka san is. If someone gets the most votes WITHOUT being Tanaka san, then Tanaka san has to do something for the winner. It was really fun and it really helped us to learn more Japanese as well!! AWESOME!!

We also Skyped with a real Nihonjin yesterday! I was nervous!! But it went pretty well. I'd say I caught around 30-35% of what she said directly. But I was able to understand her completely, through context and known vocabulary. And, of course, through the spirit.

I hope you've all had a great week and I'll see you next week! BUH-BYE!!
~サントス 長老 "

vrijdag 4 juli 2014

Patriarchal Blessing

"Konnichiwa! Minasan wa genki?

Another week has passed here in the MTC and my counter currently stands at 5.5-ish weeks (3.5 remain). It's so weird. It seems as if time is flying by faster and faster each week! Hayai! I'll be in Nihon before you know it. Let's taco-bout this week, shall we?
I've finally received my patriarchal blessing this week! It was done by a Utah-branch patriarch. It was amazing. It seemed as if he knew so much about me, even though we've never met before!!
But when you think about it, a patriarchal blessing is actually Jesus Christ speaking directly to you... through a patriarch, that is. Haha.
But seriously though: I'm so grateful to be able to have the privilege of receiving such a special gift from my Heavenly Father. Direct counsel and motivation from the Lord. What more could you ask for. I'm gonna read the printed version thoroughly.
We did some more hosting this week. I got three amazing missionaries going to Australia (Korean speaking), Singapore (Malay speaking) and California (English speaking). I hope that these new missionaries, along with the rest of the newbies, will have an awesome time here at the MTC. I hope they will find happiness in their choice to serve the Lord for 2 whole years. They're gonna love it. I know I do.
Tomorrow is 4th of July! We're gonna have a special celebratory meeting tomorrow. There've also been rumors that we will be able to watch fireworks!! Keep your fingers crossed for me, will ya?
I have been drawing tons of stuff! I drew one of the chouroutachi <> in our district as a retired samurai and I also drew my teachers. They seem impressed. They want more. I will never stop drawing. Daisuki!!

This week's devotionals have been pretty good as well! Especially the Tuesday one, by Elder Snow (A former Seventy). It was such a powerful speech and I learned so much! It was about becoming disciples of Christ. I liked when he talked about how it's important that when people see you as a missionary, they must see you as Jesus Christ. For two years, you will bear His name and leave behind your own. You put your personal affairs on your shelf and take upon yourself the responsibility of being Christ's representative, so that people may see Him in His servants. Totemo yokatta!! I wrote down a lot of notes.
It has been a pretty normal week, aside from this. Our douryougumi is getting better and better and it really pleases me how our teamwork seems to be improving. Dekimasuyo!!
(I also crowned a good amount of newer chouroutachi with Pokemon stickers. They were really happy. Tanoshii!)
I hope you've all had a super swell week. I love you all. See you next time!
~Santos chourou