Wednesday, April 24, 2013
How is everyone doing! Just fyi, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't have a lot of time to respond so I will probably write back via letter. Dear Elders are still my favorite though because we get them everyday! Thank you so much for all the love you have sent my way through letters and packages! It really means so much to me!
This week, all the Japanese missionaries that came in with me become what we call Senpai. Thats means we're not longer Kohai (freshman) and become Senpai (juniors). In three more weeks will become Daisenpai (seniors) and will be the next to leave. We're excited for the new Kohai to come in tomorrow!
Last week after I finished my e-mail I mentioned I was singing in the choir for that nights devotional. GUESS WHO CAME?!? RICHARD G. SCOTT!! AHH!! It was so great! The missionaries don't know who the speaker is going to be until it starts. We were singing in the choir so we had great seats! Then when he walked into the room the whole room gasped and stood up! There is a special spirit when an apostale of the Lord enters a room. He talked specificly to the sisters for a short amount of time and was happy to see so much color in the room! He also promised missionaries who were learning another language that if we are diligent and obedient, we WILL MASTER our language. It was a powerful night. The spirit is always here at the MTC. I'm grateful to be here and even though I will be here for a really long time, I am grateful for this experience.
This friday was our first time in the TRC (Training Resource Center). In the TRC volunteers who speak foreign languages come in and missionaries teach them. The person does not pretend to be an investigator, rather they are themselves and acts how they would act. We were asked to teach an overview of the first lesson, (this is all in Nihongo remember?? ahah) It was really scary teaching but we were happy that we got to teacher an Returned Missionary and a girl whose mother is Japanese and she is preparing to leave to her mission in Sapporo Japan in June. We are getting better and teaching lessons. We know how to ask questions that can get people to talk. The only problem is trying to understand what they are saying! We will get to go to the TRC every saturday morning now until we leave.
Because the BYU semester is ending this week some of the teachers schedules have changed so we lost one of our teachers, Kosaka Sensei :( Kanashii desu nee!! He is Japanese and we've taught him from the beginning! He was great at going above and beyond and telling us about culture and how to behave politely. We're really going to miss him. I'll send a picture with him next week. Our new teacher is someone I kind of know through a friend. His name is Fowers Sensei. He is Amerikajin (American) and from Utah. The Daisenpai who had him before us say that he is a wonderful teacher! So even though we're sad to be losing our teacher I'm looking forward to see how Fowers Sensei teaches.
We get a new batch of Nihonjins today!!! youshh!! I love talking to them and spending time with them. It such a great opportunity to have them here! I will miss the ones who left but they are ready to go and they were really sick of our nasty American cafeteria food.
Relief Society here is really awesome. Its like a whole other devotional. A speaker comes and the sisters fill up the building! We sang As Sisters in Zion and the line, "How vast is our purpose broad is our mission if we but fulfill it in spirit and deed..." just pierced my heart as I looked around at all the sister missionaries standing and singing. We may not be perfect, we cannot speak our languages very well, but we have been called by a prophet of God to teach what we know to be true. How grateful I am for this opportunity to serve the Lord. We are heading all around the world to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is only through Him that we can return to live with our Father in heaven again someday. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to be a full time servant of the Lord and I know that my mission will become the foundation of my life. I know that there are people in Fukuoka waiting to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and through the spirit of the Lord the message will sound familiar to their ears. I pray for them, and I love them.
I love my family with all my heart. I know that I was meant to come to the Earth at this time with this family and experience lifes challenges so that I could serve this mission. There is no place I would rather be. I love you all!
Ai shite imasu!
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,
I hope you got my e-mail from last week...I didn't get a response so I'm just hoping it went through. I LOVE ALL OF THE LETTERS AND PACKAGES!! Oh my goodness! Thanks so much to everyone who has sent me packages and letters! Thanks to Mom, Dad, Aunt Mer, Aunt Jenny, Grandma Rosalie, and Kelsi :) Missionaries love letters so keep em coming!
Week 2 is complete!! How crazy is that!? It really has flown by so quickly. Everyday just go by so quickly. All the time I feel like I'm either studying or eating. Haha its crazy.
A typical day for me looks like this:
6:15 arise and get ready for the day
7:00 Classroom time (Planning)
8:20-11:20 Classroom with Sensei
11:20-12:25 Classroom Personal Study time
1:20 Gym time
2:45 Classroom Language Study
6:10-9:10 Classroom with Sensei
9:10-9:30 Additional Study time (Planning)
9:30 Get ready for bed
10:30 Lights out
If you know me well, you know that I love to have every minute of my day planned. So I'm a very happy girl. I'll give you some highlights of my week but just let me know what you want to hear about in my e-mails and I'll keep track throughout the week.
This Sunday was my first normal Sunday at the MTC because of General Conference last time. There are two small Japanese branches. Each week everyone has to prepare a short 3-5 minute talk IN JAPANESE because the missionary will be called on at random!! Ahh! Luckily, they don't usually call you for you first few weeks. BUT i was asked to give the closing prayer IN JAPANESE! So I wrote down the points I wanted to say and said it! Sacrament meeting in Japanese was an interesting experience! But I love that you can feel the spirit of the Lord even when you can't really understand whats being said.
So for the first week we were teaching an "investigator" named Kato-san. But this Friday he became our teacher! His real name is Kosaka Sensei and he is Japanese! We are so lucky to have one of our teachers be a native. We can learn better pronunciation and more things about the culture! We still have our other teacher Clark Sensei and I love her as well. Our lessons with "Kato-san" just keep getting better. We try to use less and less notes each time and try to create sentences on our own. Japanese grammar is very different than English grammar so trying to form sentences can be really difficult! But near the end of this lesson I wrote "Bear your testimony" and didnt write anything specific down. I was able to look kato-san in the eyes and bear a simple testimony that "God is our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ is our Savior, and we love you and want to help you" I felt the spirit guide me and all though I stumbled a little and went slow, I know it was meaningful. I love teaching! We have a new investigator we are teaching tonight (Clark Sensei) I'm excited to see how it goes!
For gym time I play volleyball or basketball! A girl in my district (Sharp Shimai) played in high school too so we have a lot of fun together!
I got really sick this week :( The MTC is full of people from everywhere so it was bound to happen. I just has a terrible cold and sore throat. I stuck it out though but after class ended at 9:10 my doryo and I left early for bed. The extra sleep helped. Then I lost my voice. I sounded like a little boy going through puberty. But today my voice is starting to come back, but I'm still coughing up a storm. My whole district has it :(
On the bright side, JAPANESE MISSIONARIES ARE HERE!!!!!!! When I first saw them all I about had a heart attack! I just love these people so much! So just to explain, Native Japanese missionaries come to Provo for two weeks to learn how to preach the gospel (no language training) and then they fly back. So I have been eating with them, talking to them whenever I can! My district calls me the Nihonjin Stocker and I don't mind that because its true! I don't think they all realize what an amazing opportunity it is to have native speakers here! Anyway, they are super helpful when I need to translate something or I just want to talk! I love them!!!
We went to the temple today and when we came out we were standing by the fountain taking pictures and a Japanese lady comes out of no where and starts talking to us/me. I COULD COMMUNICATE WITH HER!! She asked where we were going, I asked her where she was from, she asked where we were from and if we had any language experience. I told her that I lived in Tokyo five years ago and told her where! She told me my that i could speak japanese well! (joozu desu nee!!) That was a long story but the moral is I'm learning!
This week my doryo and I joined the MTC choir. We will be singing nearer my God to thee tonight (my voice is now gone but I will lip sync). He told us the story of that song. Its about Jacob and his dream of the ladder! I didn't know that!
Anyway my time is running out! Sorry this is so scrambled! Write me back and let me know what specifically you want to hear about! I love you so much! I know this church is true and more than ever I know that Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of His children. Especially the people in Japan. Each day my heart is opened a little more and Heavenly Father shares his love for them with me. I know that I was sent here to this Earth with a purpose and one of my purposes was to serve a full time mission in Japan. I know that we all experience hard times but it is those hard times that shape us into the person we were designed to be. God lives, He loves us so much that He sent His son, Jesus Christ. He suffered and died for us that we may live with our Father again someday :)
HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!!
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Wow the first week has really gone by fast! From day one we have been studying Japanese non-stop. Our teacher's name is Clark Shimai! She served her mission in Sendai and has a perfect accent because she lived in Tokyo for a few years when she was young. In my district we have 6 shimaitachi (sisters) and 6 chorotachi (elders). I love them all so much already. My Japanese experience is helping me so much! I feel like I have a slight advantage.
So on the first day after I was dropped off a friend of mine from BYU was able to be my host. She showed me to my room and my classroom but it really was all a blur. They gave us like a 10lb bag of Japanese books and materials. Once we got to the classroom we met our sensei. She only spoken Japanese to us until Friday when we had a one on one interview with her. I'm surprised on how much I understand. Since she is not able to speak to us in English I'm usually the one to translate so everyone knows what she's saying. So going back to Day One, after I got to the classroom I met my companion. Her name is Olsen Shimai from Heber, Utah. She is 19 years old. Even though I benefitted from the age change I am the 2nd oldest! Our district calls me the mother figure. haha We then had a missionary orientation where the MTC president spoke to us. Mom, you will be glad to here that we all loudly sang the primary song "Army of Helaman" and they changed the words at the end to, "We ARE NOW the Lords missionaries to bring the world His truth." Wow the spirit was strong.
The MTC is a magical place! The spirit never leaves here. I am on the verge of tears all the time because of the spirit. The best place to watch general conference is probably the conference center, but the second best place is definitely the MTC. Wow. Large rooms full of worthy full time missionaries sincerely listening and taking notes is the perfect atmosphere to the guided and directed by the spirit. My favorite session was probably Saturday morning. All of the talks hit me in the heart. Especially Sister Dalton's talk! I love her and so thankful for her dedicated service. While the Elders went to priesthood the Sisters were able to watch The Young Women's General Broadcast from last week! It was fantastic! I can see the young women's program getting stronger and stronger as the years go on. After priesthood and the YW broadcast we meet in our classroom as a district. We each talked about the favorite talks and it turned into a mini testimony meeting. Everyone was crying and bearing testimony. We then all got on our knees and prayed to our loving Father in heaven. Very few times in my life have I felt the spirit as strong as I did at that moment? We decided right then that we were each going to do all that we possibly could to be the best missionaries and the best district possible!
We taught our first "investigator" on Friday. His name is Kato-san and he is from Japan. I'm pretty sure he works for the MTC but he has a story that most likely once was true. We taught him on Friday and let’s just say it wasn't the best lesson. We planned but we just read things from Preach my gospel and we didn’t really know what we were saying. I don't think he could understand us either. So after that was over Olsen Shimai and I wanted to study really hard and plan a lesson focusing on bringing the spirit into the room for next time. We decided that we really had to understand what we were saying. Even memorize some Japanese so we could look him in the eye. We also wanted to bare simple testimony in Japanese to bring in the spirit. So on Monday we taught him again. We asked him about his concerns and I UNDERSTOOD HIM!! Well kind of. I understood that he was saying he was having trouble with his family and fighting with his wife. We then taught him to pray!!
Japanese is really difficult. The grammar is really foreign and the sentence structure is very confusing. But I know that I can do all thing through Christ which strengthens me. I know that this is God's true church on the earth today. I know that He sent his son to die for us that we may return to live with Him again someday. I know that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and restored the gospel to the earth and translated the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I know that Heavenly Father loves the people of Japan. He is beginning to open my heart and share that love for them with me. It is overwhelming the love I already feel for the people I haven't even met.
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!! I think this is what I was born to do! I love you all so much!