Blog of Elder JT Lamoreaux

Sunday, September 28, 2014

1 Month down, 1 Month til Japan!

September 25, 2014

First off, I have grown so much on this mission.................. 7 pounds to be exact. :) This MTC food is making me fat! 7 pounds in 1 month! Goodness haha :)

Anyways, this week was miles better than last week. Let me tell you why.

Let's start on Sunday. I was still feeling a little sick, but I was fine. We were able to watch the first session of the Ogden Temple Dedication and was able to hear President Monson speak, which is always uplifting. I remember going to the Oquirrah (spelling?) Mountain temple dedication a long time ago, but now, since I've been through the temple, I understand so much more. What a blessing temples are! I encourage you to go do a session, sealings, baptisms, hanging out on the grounds, anything associated with the temple because they are the house of the Lord, literally. You can bless the lives of those who have passed on as well as yourself.
So that was an awesome experience. Then, we had a temple walk in the pouring rain, which was really fun and wet. I took many pictures and hopefully I'll have time to send them today. (sorry I'm so bad with pictures!) After the walk, I had an interview with Brother Robinson, one of the councilors in our branch. It was a really reassuring interview because he told me that he is proud of the way I am handling this difficult situation and that he is so sorry I have to go through this. he said that the Branch Presidency was aware of everything going on and that they know how hard it is. That interview brightened my mood so much.
Then, in choir practice, we sang "Joseph Smith's first Prayer" one of my favorite songs ever. It was super spiritual and the director, Brother Eggett shared many stories about Joseph Smith that are so powerful and miraculous. They also got word that the choir was invited to sing in Priesthood Session of General Conference. they had seats for 365 elders, but there are about 1000 who would want to sing in the choir, so they sent a survey around asking about the amount of singing experience they had as well as how good they think they can sing, and sight read. I filled it out, but doubted I would get in. I'll tell you more about it later. So that's Sunday, a great day and my mood was significantly better.
So now Monday. Monday was just a normal day, but then after class, Elder Lee, Our district leader, announced that the next day Tuesday, he had to go home because of health reasons. That was way hard, he is our district leader and such a good example to all of us. That put a damper on things for sure. Then in the mail, I got a letter saying that............... I was invited to be a part of the choir to sing in General Conference!!!!!! I am so so so excited for that! so be sure to look for me while you watch the Priesthood Session! It will be an amazing experience and I am so excited to sing for the Lord and for his servants that will be in attendance. So excited.
Then Tuesday. Elder Lee had to go so his companion elder Madruga had to be in a new companionship. President Stevenson, our Branch President, Interviewed Elder Ross and I and said that Madruga would be our companion. We would be in a three person companionship. I thought "Yes! that is going to help us so much. It will help this companionship so much" We accepted.Then right after he said "We are also in need of a new District Leader for this district. I feel impressed to ask you Lamoreaux Choro, if you would be the district leader." I thought "woah. that's awesome." I accepted. so now I am the new district leader and the senior companion in a three person companionship. That is so much responsibility placed upon me in a span of 2 minutes. I need to lead this district who had just lost one of its members, and need to be the companion of an elder who just said bye to his friend. This is going to be hard. I feel unqualified, and nervous, but I think this feels right. I need, now more than ever before, to rely on the Lord in all that I do.
To top this crazy day off, in the Tuesday Evening Devotional, we had another General Authority come. Elder M. Russell Ballard came to speak to us, and again it was broadcast to MTC's around the world. We sang the song for choir and I don't think I have ever felt the spirit so much while singing a song. That song is a testimony that Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ. It is such a powerful song and such a beautiful song. I love it so much. Then in the talk, Elder Ballard said one thing in particular that I felt was for me. I'm actually not sure exactly what he said, but I wrote in my notes "I will be ready to do anything the Lord needs me to do" I thought that was truly the words from the Lord. I need to rely on him so much more than I have. But I feel that the Lord has blessed me so much and he will continue to bless me if I do my best. What a day, what a week.
I learned so much this week. I learned that your mindset has such a strong impact on your experiences. I've been praying more than I ever have. I learned that I need to focus more on how I feel and how I react to things that are placed before me. I learned that as long as you do your best, that's all Heavenly Father asks. If we do our best, the Lord will do the rest. I learned that as long as I am happy with what I am doing, that's all that matters. My situations can be crappy and hard and "not fair" but those are tests. God is testing us. We need to completely rely on him to fulfill his will. I am working on giving all I have to the Lord, and so far, Things are much much better.
I love you all and I thank you so much for the support.

Elder Lamoreaux

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another week at the MTC

Sept. 18, 2014

Hi Everyone! Konnichiwa!

I hope everyone is doing great still!
this week was hard for me. definitely the hardest one yet. Both me and my companion are sick and it's horrible. We've missed some things but hopefully things are going to turn better for us. It seems like everyone here at the MTC is either sick, injured or both. There was some hard times, but this week was also one of the most spiritually uplifting weeks yet.
On Sunday, i was volunteered to sing in a 4 person group for sacrament meeting with our branch. We sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" it is definitely my favorite hymn that is not in the hymn book. in one verse, i sang the melody while another elder was singing the harmony, then in the last verse i switched to bass. With me being sick, I was able to hit really low notes. on the last note of the song, One sister went an octave higher than the soprano note, the other sister did it normally, the other elder sang the bass note and i went an octave lower. It was pretty sick to say the least. :)
Then on Tuesday, we had the Weekly Tuesday night devotional. Elder Richard G. Scott came. He was the first general authority we saw here and it was such a cool experience. He talked about prayer and the different ways we can receive answers. He said sometimes the lord doesn't answer you. That's when you need to use faith and act for yourself. The Lord trusts you enough to make your own decision on that particular matter. That is something i am striving to get better at. At the MTC, you pray a lot. i need to work on being attune to the Spirit and relying and trusting on the Lord to do what is best for me. The lord won't do anything that isn't for your benefit. Even though you can't see the light at the end of this long tunnel, Heavenly Father can see it and he knows what is best for you.
So that's some of the cool experiences I've had this week. Let's talk more about my awesome district.

We have 8 elders and 4 sisters in my district, district 27C. By the way, Choro=Elder, Shimai=Sister. Everyone one of us is going to Kobe. So we have Pinero Choro and Allen Choro. They are companions. A funny thing is, i used to work with Pinero Choro at Zupas months ago. It's so cool because back then, I would never have guessed he would go on a mission, but here, he has grown so much. He is going to be a great missionary and it shows me how one can have a change of heart like Alma the Younger. Allen Choro is from American Fork. He has 10 siblings and is a miracle for him to even be here. He has Type 1 diabetes and while he was submitting his papers, everyone told him he couldn't go out of the country becasue of his diabetes. He always knew though that he would go to Japan. He knew it for years, so when he got his call to Japan, everyone was surprised except for him. There just so happens to be a diabetes specialist in our mission next to the mission home. The Lord knows what is up and this is a testimony to me that there are no such thing as coincidences. Heavenly Father truly knows and makes a path for us.
Next is Lee Choro and Madruga Choro. Lee Choro is from Boise Idaho and he has lived in so many countries around the world. He has an amazing story as well. He dropped out of high school when he was a Sophomore. He later applied to BYU and made it in. He spent this past year studdying at BYU and now he's here on a mission. The crazy thing is, he turned 18 just this last July. He is super smart and i am so impressed with him. Madruga Choro is from Brazil. He is the funniest guy i think i have ever met. He has super interesting stories and he tells them so well. he is also very insightful and deep despite the broken English he knows.
Next is our roommates, Otani choro and Bateman Choro. Otani Choro is half Japanese and half Chinese. He knows much of the language already and is a very helpful teacher for us. He is from Bay area California and likes surfing. He went to BYU this past year and is very smart and spiritual as well. Bateman choro is from Lone Peak High School. He played baseball for them. He is in the same ward as Erik Mika and was friends with the Haws brothers and the Emerys. He is also a funny guy and has worked so hard on the language. He came from 0 japanese experience and now he is really good at it. he is probably the most improved one here, and it helps to have a Japanese companion. Oh and he is dating the voice of the Church's daughter. The one that says every conference "This is the 184th general........." He is dating that guys daughter.
Now for the Shimaitachi. I don't know as much about the Shimai so bear with me.
Helms Shimai and Hatch Shimai. Helms Shimai converted to the church last year and she is from California. She is a very proper sister and has a strong testimony. she also has a boyfriend that is 27... Hatch Shimai (@theratchethatchet) is a really funny girl. She is also from American Fork and went to Utah State last year. She is very insightful and spiritual and tells really funny stories.
Arnold Shimai and Madsen Shimai are the last companionship. Arnold Shimai is from Lindon and Graduated from Timpanogos in 2012. She likes sports and started off really quiet but is now showing us her true self. she is awesome. Madsen Shimai is from Brigham City and she is super funny. She struggles with Japanese but she laughs about it. I love that bout her. she brings such a good spirit to class and she will be awesome.
Well that's my district. i love each of them and i'm so glad they are with me. They are literally like my family and i love spending time with them. they make this MTC experience much better.
That's about it for this week. i'll send a letter to my parents and would ask them to type it up and send it out to everyone because it has more private things that i don't want to risk being shown here. That'll make more sense once you read the email.
Til next week! i love each of you and love hearing from you!
Ai shitte imasu!
Elder Lamoreaux

Saturday, September 13, 2014

1/3 of the way done with the MTC.... And it feels like I just got here.

Sept. 11, 2014

Hey everyone!

This week was a really good week for me. I am feeling a lot more confident with Japanese and teaching investigators. I am bringing less and less materials to every lesson which is a big step. I'm working hard everyday and I'm learning so much about the gospel, Japanese and being a missionary. I'm also learning very important things about being successful in life and this mission will be really rewarding in that aspect.

I hope all is well back home. Actually I know all is well because BYU is winning! I really wish I could see the team play especially after hearing how much we killed Texas on their home turf. This should be a fun season and I hope you all enjoy it and let me in on how we are doing. The first home game is tonight and I will be in class while they play. I might be able to hear some things because we are so close to the stadium.

So my mom asked me to share 'a day in the life of Elder Lamoreaux' so i will try to give a good overview right now.

The alarm goes off bright and early at 6:30 every morning. I get up, brush my teeth and get ready for gym time at 6:40. During gym time, we can go to the gym and play Basketball, Volleyball, or Four Square. I usually play Volleyball, but when I want to get a good workout in, I play Basketball. when i want to cool down, I play Four Square. Four Square is competitive in the MTC. Sometimes, we go out to the field by the Temple and play soccer, or sand volleyball. I feel like I am really improving on my volleyball skills so when I get back, we are going to play a lot of volleyball :)

Gym time ends at 7:30 so we get ready for Breakfast at 8:00. After breakfast, which is usually cereal, bagels, or eggs, sausage, even biscuits and gravy. at 8:30 we have a daily planning session where we plan our day and what we will study in Personal or Companion Study. We have to focus on the investigators that we are teaching and base our study based on their needs. Then at 9:00 we have personal study where we can go outside and enjoy the day and study on the nice benches on the campus of the MTC. then at 10:00, companionship study. 11:00 Language study, where I mostly review Vocab words and Grammar patterns and Speaking. Then we have "Additional Study time" at 12:00. Our district is now Mogi-ing (Role playing) and I feel that is helping a lot. then we have lunch at 12:50. Lunch is anything from a salad to hambergers and even hot wings sometimes. After lunch we have TALL time which is time given to us to use the computer language learning system for the MTC. I'll be honest, that is super boring.

Then at 2:30, we have classroom time. The teachers come and they speak in nothing but Japanese and we learn Japanese things for about an hour. then we learn gospel related things, still in Japanese. we learn things like teaching people, service and knowing why we are here and what we need to do to help our investigators. then the next hour, the people who are assigned to teach lessons teach their investigators while the others have more additional study time.

Then we have dinner which is always the best meal of the day. They have such gourmet things (at least i think its good. others don't think that highly of the food and i think they're crazy). After that, at 6:30 we have more class time which is the same exact thing as the afternoon class. Then at 9:30, we head back to our residence where we get ready for bed, hang out, joke around, eat snacks, write in our journal until 10:15 where the MTC gives us "Personal Devotional with the Lord" time, where everyone should be quiet in order for us to read the scriptures, pray, think about the day, and to calm down for bed. Then at 10:30 it's lights out and we sleep then do it all again..

There are differences depending on what day it is, but this is the normal schedule. on Tuesdays, instead of having the evening class time, we have the Tuesday Evening Devotionals, which are always so great. This week, there was a buzz that a general authority or one from the First Presidency would speak to us because the First Presidency and 6 of the Quorum of the Twelve were at BYU that day. Everyone was so excited all day but none of them showed up. A member of the seventy spoke. It was still a great talk but it was a little disappointing.

On Wednesday mornings, we have service, where we clean buildings around the MTC. and the past couple weeks we hosted the new missionaries coming in and that was fun.
On Saturday mornings we wake up earlier because we have service at 6:15. That's always a party! (not)

Sundays are completely different. We have a ton of study time that is centered around the gospel. We have a temple walk with our branch where we walk around the temple and can take pictures and enjoy the beauty of the temple and the mountains that I will miss so much. And we have Sacrament meeting at 2:45 which is mostly in Japanese which is really cool. Then we have a Sunday Evening Devotional which is always cool as well.

Thursdays are P-Days so we have a lot of free time. We wake up and do laundry around 7:00. Then we print out emails so we can read them throughout the day, since they only give us 60 minutes to be on the computer for email. Then we usually play in the gym or the field or take a nap (like today) Then we have lunch then we go to the temple for endowments or initiatories or sealings. We can't do baptisms though which I think is a little strange. then around 4:00 we email. Then there's dinner and then normal evening class time.

So there you have it. "A day in the life of Elder Lamoreaux" Busy days right?

I've also been asked questions about my district and who they are/what they're like, but that's going to have to come next week because I'm running out of time. I'll also send some stories like inside jokes that we have because we already have a lot. Have a great week!

Elder Lamoreaux

Friday, September 5, 2014

Week 2 is over!

Sept. 4, 2014

Well week 2 is done! That's crazy to think about... The days really do feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. I've been exhausted from long, long days but yet I feel like I've just gotten here. Want to hear something crazy? I was a new missionary host yesterday for all the new missionaries! I had to help them to check in, get their books and show them to their residences and classrooms. I don't even know my way around the MTC but I had to do it already. We also just got new Kohai (japanese missionaries who are "younger" than us). I don't feel like I've been here this long.

I appreciate the letters and packages and emails that are sent to me. I can feel all the support and I love it! keep it up!
We teach investigators everyday and I feel like I'm Improving a lot. They teach us how to teach people, not lessons and that is helping me a lot. I encourage you to watch the episodes of "The District" because they share some tremendous stories and can help you become a better missionary, which we all are, whether or not you are called as a full time missionary.
I love the devotionals we have here. I had the opportunity to sing in the choir for the last devotional and that brought an amazing spirit into the room. We sang "Where can I Turn for Peace" Look at the lyrics for that song and you will gain a better appreciation and testimony of Jesus Christ. One of the things the director said was "He answers privately, because he knows you personally" That hit me hard. I testify that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ truly know you personally. Christ suffered for each of our sins individually. It wasn't a big load all at once. I think there was a long line of people and one after the other, Christ suffered for each of their sins, sicknesses, afflictions, hardships and everything else. He knows exactly how you are feeling. Turn to him. He will bless you immensely.

That's about it for this week. My Japanese is getting better. However, my companionship is worse and I think I'm going to have to talk to my Branch President about it....
I ask for your prayers and I want you to know that this is the true church. I wouldn't be on a mission if I didn't know that it was true.
Love you all!
Elder Lamoreaux