Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Week 6 DESU!

A great P-day! Crazy thing happened with Jones 長老's laundry. While doing our laundry, we sit and talk to each other. He went to go check up on his clothes; when he opened the dryer, some other person's clothes were in there. We thought someone mistook his clothes as their's and took off.We searched for about 15 minutes. When we were about to leave, we checked one more time. We found his clothes in the dryer next to the one we had first checked! Someone moved his clothes without telling him. That sure was a relief because it would have been pretty expensive to replace all those clothes. We went to the temple later on; it was great. TRC was amazing, as usual. We went in with no lesson planned, just vocab and a general idea of what we were gonna talk about. We taught about teaching the Sabbath day holy.One of the people we taught was in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! It was so cool!

木曜日 10-20-16
We didn't do much today. We taught Ota-san about the Book of Mormon. He agreed to start reading it.

Japanese grammar is tough.Through out the week, we learned various concepts such as "ba" and "nara". Both are equivalent to the English word "if". However, "ba" is used for general "if" statements and "nara" is used for hypothetical statements. Word order is still a little odd; some things are said backward. The weirdest thing is the passive form. Passive form in English is already a bit odd but in 日本語, its even harder. I have hope that we can learn though. Cuff 長老 had to go to BYU's student health center to get an x-ray. Earlier in the week, his thumb and knee were swollen so the MTC clinic said we should get it checked out. During exercise time, we left the MTC and walked down the block to the health center. It was so weird leaving the MTC. The MTC is like a bubble. I felt like the main character in The Giver when he left his "utopian" world.

Strauss 兄弟 told us about "iijou desu" or いいじょうです. It roughly translates to "that is all". It can be said when you have finished saying what you have to say. It basically means you have nothing else to say. We were joking around and said we'd use it in our investigator lessons. Also, my senpai (which are the dai senpai) are getting ready to leave on Monday. They passed around their bye-bye books for us to sign.

Another departure sacrament meeting. The senpai sung "I'll Find You My Friend" in English and
日本語. I didn't tear up as much as when my dai senpai left; probably because there was 4 special music performances that meeting and there was only one this time. Either way, I'm gonna miss them so much. They have served as great examples to me and the rest of the zone. For devotional, Stephen B. Allen spoke to us. It was great.

月曜日 10-24-16
We woke up early to see our senpai off. We went to travel center with them and said our last goodbyes. I miss them already. Whenever we played volleyball, Howell 長老 would say "Avatar yip yip!" when he served the ball. It's gonna be strange to not hear that anymore. We went to the health clinic to view the results from the x-ray. Thankfully, nothing was wrong with Cuff 長老's thumb or knee. For Yamazaki-san's lesson, we didn't plan anything at all. We decided to focus more on her needs and rely on the spirit. We ended up talking about faith in Jesus Christ. We made her tear up a little; the spirit was so strong during that lesson. Ota-san's lesson was great too; we were gonna teach about the Great Apostasy and the Restoration but he wanted to know more about the Book of Mormon so we did that. As a district, we are singing "Come Thou Fount" for next Sunday's sacrament meeting. District 5D is singing this coming Sunday. And the last Sunday that we are here, district 5B and 5D will be singing "I'll Find You My Friend". Its crazy to think that I'm a dai senpai now. When we went back to our dorms we had some amazing pistachios...we finished the whole bag within 20 minutes lol.

火曜日 10-25-16
Elder Nattress spoke to us about Christ. One of the things that really stuck out to me were these 5 words "Be not afraid, only believe". Every missionary goes through the "I'm not good enough" phase, including me. The most important thing to remember is that we need to forget ourselves and depend on the Lord. So that's something I've been working on within the last week.

It's weird to believe that I'm a dai senpai now. I feel like I don't know enough to be one, and I'm not the only one that thinks that. We are getting more missionaries today, some are Nihonjin.I'm excited! I love my district and zone so much. I'm glad I decided to serve a mission when I did. I believe this is what I needed in my life. In a couple weeks, I'll be in Japan. It's an amazing opportunity to serve the Lord. For those that are able to serve, do everything that you can to do it. I promise it will change your life as well as the lives of others in miraculous ways. I'm not perfect and no one else is. We've all made mistakes. But don't let that keep you from serving. Christ didn't perform the Atonement for nothing. Repentance is very important. So once again, live the gospel and go on a mission! 愛しています!


My senpai, district 5A! 

Zone leaders Bateman 長老 and Jensen 長老

Stay classy my friends! Starring Cuff 長老, Westoff 長老, and Barbosa 長老

The senpai left messages on our board before the left to Japan!

Bateman 長老's mom made some amazing Japanese flag cookies!

Morning yoga!

Branch 5!

Wilkins 長老 and I!

A perfect picture of district 5B!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Week 5 DESU!

SUIYOUBI 10-12-16
After laundry, Jones 長老 and I studied Nihongo and some doctrine. We prepared our lesson for TRC. Then we went to the temple for endowments. For TRC, Cuff 長老 and I taught about the Holy Ghost and how to recognize it. Both lessons were great! We taught Nielson 長老 relative again. I love teaching her because she gets so involved in our lessons. She doesn't give us simple, one word answers. We also got 20 kouhai today. They are a great group of missionaries. It'll take me a while to learn all their names though.

MOKUYOUBI 10-13-16
A lot of lesson planning today. We didn't get to teach Ota-san today because the companionships before us took up the time. We only had 5 minutes with him; we testified and then prayed with him. He said it was great and enjoyed it despite not teaching a lesson.

KIN'NYOUBI 10-14-16
We taught Aoi-san about prophets, dispensations, and Jesus Christ; another great lesson. It was a weird day though. Snow Shimai got sick so she-along with her companion Bills Shimai- didn't come to class until after lunch. Cuff 長老 was still feeling a little sick. The MTC is just like a bubble of sickness lol. It felt kinda empty through out the day. We were all just out of it I guess.

DOYOUBI 10-15-16
Super boring day today. We played the saddest game of volleyball ever. We all were lethargic and super slow. The ball would be right next to someone and they wouldn't try to hit it. We barely managed to get the ball going back and forth 3 times in a row. We had no energy at all. My district also had an Eigo Danjiki (English Fast) until dinner. We only spoke Nihongo until dinner. It was actually pretty fun. I learned a lot from it and it most likely won't be the last one we do. After all, when we get to Japan, we will mainly be speaking Japanese.

I love Sundays here. Vai Sikahema (I doubt I spelled it right) came to speak to us for devotional. He was an amazing football player. He played for several NFL teams including the Cardinals and the Packers. He spoke about the power of our influence. It was one of my favorite talks and I think it was what I needed to hear. We then watched Joseph Smith for movie night.

We taught Yamazaki-san about keeping the Sabbath day holy and she agreed to go to church. That's great because she wasn't going to church because she had work. But she talked to her boss and got the day off. Ota-san was great too. We talked about how the gospel blesses families and he agreed to go to church too. During dinner, we had Hawaiian chicken; it was soooo good. I sat with the kouhai and got to know some of them more, including Boyd Shimai.I found out she used to work at the MTC before she decided to serve a mission. 

KAYOUBI 10-18-16
I wasn't feeling up to par today. I didn't let that stop me though. We taught a great lesson to Aoi-san. Lynn G. Robins spoke for devotional and we sung "Be Still My Soul" for MTC Choir. Robins spoke about Christlike attributes and how it can help us after our mission. The Nihonjin (Morita Shimai, Park Shimai, and Furutani Shimai) taught us the bee song after devotional.It goes like this "Bun bun bun, ha chi ga to bun, o i ke no ma wa ri ni o ha na ga sa i ta yo, bun bun bun, ha chi ga to bun". What makes it hard is that it's sung really fast and in between every sound, you say "Ru". For example, its actually "haru chiru garu toru bun". Its such a fun song!

I start my 6th week today. I can't believe it. It feels like time is gradually speeding up week by week. I leave for Japan on Nov.14. I'm so excited! I get my katakana name tags next week! My senpai, which are dai senpai, leave on Monday. I feel like we just became senpai and now I'm gonna be a dai senpai next week. If the rest of my mission goes that fast, I'm considering extending my mission for a month. When I get back from my mission, most colleges will have already started the semester. So it would be nice to serve for an additional month. But I have two years to think about that. I hope all of you have a great week! あいしてます!

A side effect of studying all day!
Sorry for the lack of pictures this week. Nothing too crazy happened lol

Me, Cuff 長老, Weaver 長老 and Eppel 長老

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

MTC Week 4 Desu!

We wake up early to get our laundry done. There's always a ton of people that are there before us though. It's a good thing that laundry is free; the only thing we pay for is the detergent. Later on in the evening , we had TRC. Cuff Choro and I taught two people; one of them was Nielson Choro's mom! Nielson Choro left on the 3rd to Japan. He's serving in the Tokyo South mission, so I might see him in a few months. His mom showed us pictures that he sent; it was pretty cool.

The chorotachi(elders) in my district got our Japan mission shirts today. They are awesome! Now the whole district has matching shirts. Volleyball was kinda empty at first but more people joined later. It still felt odd without the dai senpai playing beside us though. Towards the end of our night class, our teachers asked us to role play sharing a scripture with our doryo(companion). We prayed about what to share with our doryo. I then opened up the Gospel Library app on my iPad and went to the Book of Mormon. I chose a random book, random chapter, and random verse. It was Mosiah 23:10. Some background on it: Alma prayed to God to know if he should be the leader of his people and to receive help. It is a great scripture for missionaries. Even though the language and the mission itself can be difficult, if we sincerely pray to God, he will make us into his instrument to spread the gospel. I felt like I received revelation from that prayer and I am thankful for it. After class, us chorotachi sung the "Elephant Song". It goes like this: Zou-san, Zou-san, o hana ga naga ino ne, Zou Oka-san mo naga ino yo". It was a wonderful day.

Pretty average day. However, we played a crazy game of beach volleyball against District 5D. I forgot to mention that we got new shimaitachi on Wednesday! They are Nihonjin! Only one speaks English but we are able to communicate with them through Nihongo. Anyway, they decided to join us for volleyball towards the end.I guess they've never played before because we had to teach them. It was a blast and they enjoyed it as much as we did. We then took district pictures after. 

Cuff Choro and I taught Ota-san today. We were planned to teach about the Atonement and the Book of Mormon. We reviewed what we taught him last time(which was the Atonement) but then he asked about prayer and apparently still didn't have a clear knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. We weren't prepared to answer those questions in Nihongo so our lesson kinda went down the drain. We were disappointed in ourselves. After the lesson, Strauss Kyodai(who roleplays as Ota-san) coached us for a bit on how to improve.We felt better after that and became to determined to try even harder next time.

Cuff Choro and I taught during district meeting(which is basically like Sunday school); we taught "How to Recognize and Understand the Spirit". We taught in English and it went great. It was also danjiki nichiyobi (fast sunday);we didn't eat breakfast and lunch. When we were coming back from our Sunday walk, Cuff Choro and I saw an Audi A7 in the parking lot. President Daniels was walking with us. I said "That's a nice A7". President Daniels said "I wonder who it belongs to" and reaches in his pocket and clicks the key to make it light up(meaning it was his car).Cuff Choro and I laughed so hard. We didn't expect that from our branch president; it was so smooth lol. For devotional, Brother Heaton talked to us about repentance. Then we watched "The Testaments" for movie night. 

Its been a full week since my dai senpai left for Japan. It still feels kinda empty. Cuff Choro and I taught Yamazaki-san on how the gospel blesses families. We didn't use our pre-written scripts on our iPads that much so we translated on the fly. It went well. Then we taught Ota-san again. We took it back to the basics and talked about God and Jesus Christ. We answered his questions and taught in Nihongo without even looking at our iPad/lesson plan. It was amazing! The spirit is able to teach so much more when we go that route. We had TACO BELL for dinner! I was craving it since I left home! 

We taught Aoi-san on how the gospel blesses families. Today's devotional was truly inspiring. While waiting for it to start, Elder Bednar and his wife walk in with the MTC presidency; it was a surprise because they never tell us who will be speaking before hand. The whole room stood up in honor. We felt like the spirit hit us like a wall when he walked in.Having an Apostle of God speak to us in person is such a blessing. He talked to us about his way of taking notes for conference talks. We sort out the talks by name and then make 3 columns: Doctrine & Principles, Invitation, and Promised Blessings. I'm not much of a note taker but I liked his way of doing it so I might start taking notes like that. For choir, we sung an arrangement of "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer". It's such a great song! Today was one of the most spiritual days in my life! 

Another week of miracles. Today, we get kouhai! We get 20 new missionaries! 12 chorotachi and 8 shimaitachi. I'm excited! I can't believe it's been 4 weeks already. One of the things I miss the most beside my family and friends is music. Great songs always end up being sung through out the day and we all wish we could listen to them one more time. I also miss playing music.I want to drum soo bad! Anyway, I hope all of you have a great week. Be sure to share the blog with everyone else and check out the rest of my district's blogs! The links are on the side bar. See you next week! あいしてます!

The dai senpai wrote messages for us before the left for Nihon

Davis Choro has an old school Polaroid camera from the 90s. This is what came of it!

Provo Temple!

District 5B

The infamous jumping photo!

Eaton Shimai with the Nihonjin!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Week 3 Desu!

It was a nice P-day. Updating the blog is still kinda difficult, especially with pictures. I think I've figured it out now though. I fixed my first week's post so feel free to check that out if you want to see the pictures from that week. Jones Choro and I studied some Nihongo and then prepped for TRC (Teaching Resource Center). Basically, we teach people that are already members of the church instead of investigators. We teach in full Japanese; it can be difficult at times but my companion and I are really picking up on the language. Most of the time, the people are return missionaries that served in Japan. TRC went so great! We taught about praying often and obedience. The two people really got involved in our lesson. I'm sure it'll get better from here. I tried to take a nap earlier in the day but I couldn't because there are some noisy elders-not the Japanese elders though- in our residence hall.

A much more relaxed day..It consisted mainly of studying Nihongo and the gospel. We were supposed to teach a lesson but plans changed because of the upcoming General Conference. For exercise, we played beach volleyball with the dai senpai (Missionaries that have been at the MTC for 6 weeks or more) one last time before they leave to Japan on Monday. Kamae Choro, one of the dai senpai, came to our room after our last class and played ukele and sung for us. We had a nice jam session. He's a great guy!

Cuff Choro and Davis Choro woke up super sick so they stayed in bed most of the day. We also didn't teach lessons today because our teacher, Waddell Shimai, had to get her wisdom teeth pulled out. We had a sub, Collyer Shimai, instead. I played volleyball again; it was one of the funnest games I've played because no one was playing aggressively; we all just had a good time.

The 186th General Conference began today. I'm not much of a note taker but I sure did learn a lot! One of the talks that stood out to me was by Kazahiko Yamashita. He spoke about a missionary with a prosthetic leg who got called to serve in Japan. The elder did not want to serve somewhere that would require him to ride a bike because it would be difficult for him. However, he did it anyway because he knew that's what the Lord wanted. Despite his prosthetic leg breaking and the pain, he never complained. Eventually, he was reassigned to a mission in which he would use a car for transport. However, his diligence to serve and endure is inspiring. Yamashita Kyodai also mentioned some other missionary advice, including "being ambitious for Christ". The MTC choir also performed in the afternoon session of conference. I believe 19 missionaries from my zone was in the choir. They sung 4 songs but my favorites were "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" and "Hope of Israel". One of the greatest moments was when the camera zoomed in directly on Kamae Choro's face lol. After the choir sung, everyone sung the missionary theme song, aka, Called to Serve. The afternoon session was amazing; I felt it was meant for us missionaries. I'm glad I got to watch it at the MTC with about 2100 missionaries!

The Sunday sessions were also amazing! After conference, we had one of the most entertaining devotionals! BYU's "Vocal Point" came and sung for us as well as talk to us. Vocal Point is an a cappella group with amazing talent. They are all return missionaries! If you haven't heard them sing, you're missing out! My favorite song was their version of "Nearer My God to Thee". After devotional, we watched the 3 new segments of "Meet the Mormons". The last segment was about a Japanese, family-based, vocal group called Bless4. All the Japanese missionaries especially loved it because we got an insight of what Japan is like. When we went to the residence hall, we had our last zone devotional with the dai senpai. They gave my room all of their food and laundry stuff because they couldn't take it with them on the plane. Sundays are amazing here!

We got someone new to teach. Her name is Yamazaki-san. She's a return missionary who has fallen away from the church. Our teacher, Chau Shimai is roleplaying as her. Our lesson with her was decent. However, our lesson with Ota-san, played by our teacher Strauss Kyodai, was great! We talked about Christ and prayer. And then we gave him a pamphlet about the Atonement. We had Chic-fil-a for dinner. I was craving their chicken sandwiches since I've been at the MTC lol. It was soooooo good. We played volleyball again; it was our first game without the dai senpai. They left at 3AM and 6AM. I got to say goodbye to them before they left. I'm gonna miss them a lot as they were wonderful examples to us kouhai. I know they will do great in Japan as well as after their mission. The senpai have now stepped up to dai senpai and us kouhai are now senpai. The love in branch 5 is just amazing! It was a rough day though because I kinda caught the cold that's been going around the MTC.

We taught Aoi-san today and it went great! At some point, Aoi-san asked us why it is important to pray and what is the Book of Mormon. Then Cuff Choro and I just started making up our own sentences in Japanese instead of reading off of our script we had made. It was so cool! The gift of tongues and the spirit was definitely there during that lesson. A new teacher came into class today, Tsukamoto Kyodai. He helped coach us. For devotional, the Relief Society General President and her husband spoke to us. They spoke about the "Mantle of the Lord" and how we should be diligent missionaries. One of the Nihonjins came in today. I don't remember her name yet but she's awesome! She joined us for our district's devotional review. We are getting 2 more Nihonjins tomorrow!

As a sister from my district, Lockett Shimai, always says, "It was a week of miracles". So many things happened this week that couldn't have been accomplished without the Lord. I can't believe it's been 3 weeks since I arrived at the MTC. It's weird because the days go by slow but the week goes by faster. Even though its tough here, I will not give up. We are giving it our all to become the best missionaries we can be. I hope everyone is doing great! See ya next week! あいしてます!

District 5B with Kamae Choro (On bottom left)

District 5B with Short Shimai(Left) and Conejo Shimai(next to Short Shimai)

One of the best meals here: Enchiladas!

Playing a game with the dai senpai and Nihonjin!

Some of the snacks we got from the dai senpai that left to Japan featuring Cuff Choro's arm!
We later got two more boxes of food!