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!