So I am halfway through my time at the MTC. Can you believe it? On Monday I will have four weeks left since we leave either Monday or Tuesday morning from the MTC. It's so crazy. I feel like I've been here forever and yet I feel like I just barely got here.
We had our first birthday here in the MTC. Orellano Choro turned 19 (ha what a baby) on Sunday so we celebrated with cookies and the Shimai-tachi made him a card. He said he had never received a card like this for his birthday before. It's a simple celebration but in the MTC the simplest of things make you happy or make you laugh. It's great. For example Chun Shimai was sent this counter thing from a friend. It's supposed to be for happy thoughts. So every time you have a happy thought you click it. But we end up doing stupid things like seeing how many clicks you can get in a minute or clicking as high as it will go and seeing how long it takes. Yeah we are very easily entertained here.
We also played some fun verb conjugation games with Clark Kyodai yesterday. So we stand in a line outside and Clark Kyodai stands like 15 feet away. He says a verb and then the base it needs to be conjugated into and whoever answers the fastest gets to take a step forward. The first time Ketch Shimai won and the second time I won. Shimai-tachi for the win. Although technically I only won because other people would answer wrong, and I wouldn't answer unless everyone else got it wrong or Clark Kyodai called on me because he wanted me to answer one. Yeah, I'm not the best at playing games, but it was still kind of fun actually. Then we had a huge discussion about the Plan of Salvation. Mainly it was just Clark Kyodai telling us what's doctrine and what's not. Then we read about it in the Book of Mormon. 2 Nephi 2, Alma 13 (I think) and a little bit in Helaman 14. Then Clark Kyodai went off and gave us the history of the Book of Mormon and the line of prophets in like 3 minutes flat. It was great. Then we started talking about Shiz and Coriantumr and Clark Kyodai demonstrated for us what Shiz probably did when he got his head chopped off. Yeah sometimes we go off on random topics. But it's still gospel related I promise.
So this week was super exciting since I was in the choir for the Mission Presidents Seminar. I have never seen so many apostles in my life. It's weird to just see them sitting there and then they smile at you like it's a normal thing. Which it is, for them. Not that we got to just sit and look at them. They are actually really strict about filing us into the room, we sing, and then we file out. So it's really quick. But from what we heard everyone has loved it. They love seeing sister and elders and the spirit we bring. One of the songs we sang is a version of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" It's so beautiful. At the end almost everyone was crying when we sang that. So we sang Sunday through Wednesday and on our last day Elder Nelson came in told us we had done such a good job. It was pretty cool. I'm so glad I got to be a part of the choir. Although I am a little relieved that my schedule can go back to normal now. It was hard to negotiate leaving my companion with someone and then making sure I was with someone when I went to choir. But I did make a few friends out of it. Two other altos that I sang with were also going to Japan so we would always walk together and stand next to each other in the choir. Their names are Sister Magalogo from New Zealand and Sister Eyring (yes she is related, like directly). It was super fun.
So I haven't had any more embarrassing experiences lately, which is really good since I was in front of so many apostles and mission presidents. Although during one practice in choir, we were not holding out the notes as long as Brother Eggett wanted. In other words, we weren't following him. So all the sudden he calls me up in the middle of the circle. And I was really nervous that he was going to say "Here is example A of how not to do it" and then point to me, or something like it. But no he just had me sing the line with him and then he told me to hold it to count 3 while he cut out early which is what everyone had been doing. So he just demonstrated what everyone was doing wrong and I demonstrated what we were supposed to be doing. It worked really well. Nobody messed up after that. But I was really relieved that he wanted me to help him, and not point me out as what not to do.
So for devotional on Sunday we heard from Janice Kapp Perry and her husband. Can I just say they are the cutest old couple I have ever seen? They spoke about family and they even told us how they met at BYU. So they met in a clarinet class and they were having their final test where they perform. She was about to go in and he nudged her. She was like "What I'm about to go in?" And then he leaned over and said something like "I was just thinking those lips could be used for something more than playing clarinet." Everyone started laughing when she said that, and then her husband stood up and kissed her! Everyone was cheering, we couldn't believe it. They also have their own family song. It's so darling. They also told us some of the things they've been through and you can just tell they love each other so much. So basically I want a husband like Sister Perry has.
For Tuesday devotional we heard from Elder Christofferson. That is one smart man. Everything that comes out of his mouth just sounds smart. Also, everyone tells us that it has never been like this before. The fact that we get to hear from an apostle almost every week has never happened before. Elder Christofferson spoke about the divine worth of souls. And how knowing that should change our perspective about missionary work and how we treat every person we meet. Our work is the same as God's work. We are saving souls. And our faith in Christ can only be out matched by His faith in us. We should honor the faith that He has in us. There was a lot more, but I won't write it all.
Also, yesterday we hosted for the first time. It was so fun! Hosting is where you help all the newly arrived missionaries get settled in. It's so interesting to see all the different looks on their faces when they arrive. It's also sweet to see them say goodbye to their families. Some people cry a lot. Maybe I should have cried more... But we always encourage them and tell them it will be great. Because it will. There really is nothing to worry about at the MTC. The hardest part is just dragging their luggage around. I thought my arms were going to fall off a couple times, but I made it. I also finally got to see 17M which is where most of the sisters at the MTC live, but not us. It's really nice. I may have coveted for a moment, but then I realized it doesn't matter where I live, I just like the people I live with.
So even though I said that there is nothing to worry about at the MTC, that doesn't mean everything is always hunky dory here. I just meant that you are completely taken care of and provided for. But something I have learned this week is that you can still get discouraged or your heart just isn't in it for a couple days. And I think that happens because that's the only way Satan can get at people in here. But luckily the feeling passes, and you keep going, and there are so many people around you who are there to help you. And they want to help you. And of course Heavenly Father is always there to help you. He knows what you are capable of and that's why Satan tries to get you down. Anyways, sorry about the spiel. And don't worry I am still doing good. I just had a few days that were a little off. It happens.
I just want to thank everyone for writing me! Keep doing it. Really. It means a lot to me. Love you guys!!! Ai shitemasu!! Arigato gozaimasu!
P.S. Sorry this is the longest email of my life. A lot happened this week, okay?
Sunday Temple Walk