Thursday, July 31, 2014
Hello sister Malone. Your sweet daughter has arrived in Okinawa and is serving in our area. We are American living on Kadena Air Base. She is doing good! We had her and her companion Sister Pinzon over for an investigator lesson tonight. We hope you and your family are doing well.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
So I made it to Japan. Just wanted to let you know. Our mission president should be sending a picture to you at some point.
Our flight was actually more like you said. The flight to Portland was an hour and twenty minutes and then the flight to Tokyo was like ten hours so it wasn't as long as we were all thinking. Also on the long flight over I talked to the girl sitting next to me about the church and gave her a pass along card. And at the end of the flight I gave her a Book of Mormon. I was really nervous about doing it but it was super cool! Luckily she spoke English so I was able to explain things clearly. But I gave her a Japanese Morumon Sho (actually it's the one you guys bought me, hopefully you're okay with that but I thought it was a special occasion that warranted it). Our whole district was challenged to do it and I totally did it!
Our flight to Fukuoka was when the jet lag hit and I've never been out so fast in my life. That two hours went really fast. I didn't even see the safety video. So you can imagine what we all looked like when our mission president finally picked us up. Ten sisters who have been travelling all day and its like 4:00 in the morning in Utah. I slept beautifully last night.
We're at the mission home and we will find out our areas tonight and then head off tomorrow. It's super hot here. And I've already got a bug bite. But it's all good. My mission president and his wife are great. They are so nice and caring. It's so nice to have real food again.
I'm not going to lie it's crazy to think I'm going to be out doing missionary work all the time and in Japanese. We're having interviews soon and right after this I'm going with a sister missionary in Fukuoka to go do dendo! In other words missionary work. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. But with the Lord's help I can do it!
Love you guys! I hope all is going well. I'm pretty sure my P-days will be on Mondays so you should hear from me then.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Ohayo gozaimasu everyone! The time has finally come! I am going to Japan on Monday!!! It's funny because I wrote last week and said I wouldn't get my travel plans until Friday. And then they actually came Thursday night. So I barely missed telling you about them. So all of the shimai-tachi in our district fly straight from SLC aiport to Tokyo Narita airport. We then take another flight to Fukuoka. Our flight leaves Monday at about 11:30. So we have to be to the travel office at 6:30 am. That's not too bad. Our choro-tachi however have a flight from SLC to Detroit and then on to Japan so they have to leave at 3:30 in the morning. Which means we have to say goodbye to them Sunday night. It's going to be so sad. I was hoping somehow we would all be on the same flight but they're going to Nagoya which is further north so it makes sense they have a different flight. We will be on the flight with 8 other sisters who are going to Fukuoka and about another 15 who are serving in Tokyo or Tokyo south missions. And some who are going to other missions. So all in all I think our flight will have about 45 missionaries on it. Yeah!!! It's going to be so weird to say goodbye to everyone. I'm in denial right now.
Saying goodbye to Wilkes Kyodai
Clements Shimai, Me & Salmon Shimai
Trying to Focus!
Mom I forgot to include this in your email but thanks for the dress and belt! They are so cute! And I already saw 2 other sisters wearing the same dress but it's okay. You can't really wear anything here without seeing another sister who has the same skirt or shirt. Also a big thank you to Andy and Simone! That was the cutest package ever! I was so surprised! I will have to write a thank you note to you.
So I know a lot of things happened this week but I feel like it was the usual so I won't go into too much detail. This last week we're just trying to maintain our focus and work like we always do. If we finish strong in the MTC we can take that same mentality into the field. Tuesday was our last day teaching Taira Shimai unfortunately. We thought we had one more lesson with her on Saturday but Black Shimai won't be here. But it's ok because Saturday is techinically her baptismal date. So we'll just pretend she got baptized! It's been so cool teaching her. I know that every investigator won't be as great as she was but it gave us a good opportunity to teach somebody all the lessons and see how to best teach and answer questions, and help her feel the Spirit. It's crazy because we have to say goodbye to our teachers as well as other missionaries. And we might not ever see our teachers again. But I think they will give us their emails before we leave.
So on Sunday Chun Shimai and I were released as sister training leaders. Actually our whole district was released from their callings. And the kohai took over. So Clements Shimai and Salmon Shimai are the new sister training leaders. Surprise. They're the only sisters left after we leave. Sad day. In sacrament I escaped yet again! Chun Shimai and Hall Choro were called on to speak. Actually I wouldn't have minded speaking because I was better prepared this week. But there's only one chance left now. It's either me or Ketch Shimai. I'll try to remember to let you know next week. Devotional on Sunday was by T.C. Christensen. He's the director of films like 17 Miracles, Ephraim's Rescue, and Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. It was really interesting to hear him speak about his films. He really has a love for the pioneers and the faith they had and all the hardships they went through. Which reminds me, I don't really know much about our pioneer heritage. So mom if you ever feel like sending stories about them or having Grandma write me about them feel free to do so. I guess Dad could tell stories about his side, they just might not be very spiritual;)
Devotional on Tuesday was by Stanley G. Ellis and his family. He has 9 children and he had 8 of them get up and share their testimony (the 9th is on a mission in South Korea). All 9 of his children have served missions. They were all different but each had a very strong testimony of missionary work and what they learned on their mission. I wish I could just post their testimonies on here, they were all so good. They talked about remembering that a mission is the only opportunity we have to wear a badge and represent Jesus Christ full time. We can promise people blessings in the name of Jesus Christ and have the power to do so. They also talked how things may get hard but we need to always keep that hope alive, because we are giving the hope of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet. One of the children served in Paris, France and she said a mission is like a bullet train. We may want to get off sometimes but the train (the work of God) will not stop. It will keep going. And we will miss out on the relationships, the miracles, the transformation of lives we could have seen. The same goes for everyday life. We have to maintain hope and help others have that hope. And when we want to give up we need to remember the things God has prepared for us to accomplish. I would never want to miss out on that. Anyways, it was great. Plus one of the daughters sang O Divine Redeemer which is one of my favorite songs of all time. Go listen to it.
We had a lot of evaluations yesterday. We talked with some program director about our classroom experience. We're kind of a pilot group for this new program they are trying out. So we gave our thoughts about how we liked the way our teachers, our coaches, and our investigators were set up. Overall I liked the experience. I think having a coach really helps. It gives you more personal instruction if the group instruction doesn't help you as much. Plus we had a really great coach. We also had a meeting about what our expectations for Japan are. It was really interesting. Basically I came away learning that I shouldn't have set expectations for what is and isn't possible in Japan. People always tell you things about a country before going there about the language, about baptisms, but the only expectations we should have are God's expectations. We should strive to align our expectations with His because only He knows what we are capable of. And if my expectations don't match when I first get there, I can pray to have my expectations changed. It was a cool meeting. Although we were a little disappointed because we thought we would get to hear some prophecies about Japan (our senpai had said they got to hear some) but the person who led the meeting didn't tell us anything. Needless to say, our expectations were not met. Ironic, really.
Well our p-day has kind of fallen on an unfortunate day. It's Pioneer Day. Don't get me wrong I love Pioneer Day, but that means the temple is closed so we don't get to go and its our last week. Also has anyone seen the new temple video? We saw one last week I had never seen before. It was crazy. I totally wasn't expecting it. But the temple is awesome! Everyone should go! Also since it's a holiday this means nothing is open at the MTC so I can't send the packages I want to send back yet. Sorry mom. It might be several packages too so be prepared.
On Friday we will have in-field orientation almost all day. I don't know what we specifically learn in the meeting but it sounds exciting.
I can't believe that by the next time I write I will be in Japan. It's incomprehensible to me right now. I know I'm going to Japan. I've known it all along. But it's still hard for me to picture it.
Thanks everyone for writing! I love hearing what's going on in your lives so even if I don't get back to you know that I read your emails and letters! Love you!
Our Kohai (The Young Group)
Saying goodbye to Wilkes Kyodai
Clements Shimai, Me & Salmon Shimai
Trying to Focus!
Friday, July 18, 2014
Konnichiwa minisan! I cannot believe that I leave for Japan in less than two weeks! It's crazy. Also, next week in my email I may be freaking out a little bit, so pay no attention to that. We get our travel plans on Friday! Who wants to guess which airport we will fly out of to go to Japan? Usually we never fly straight from SLC airport but you never know, it could happen.So to start off I'll go back to last Thursday. I got my hair cut and my bangs trimmed because my bangs were getting too long and it didn't look very missionary-like to me. So now all my dead ends are gone which means I can't stop playing with my hair. It's such a bad habit. But i swear the water here is not good for my hair so I had more split ends than usual.
We also have coaches that work with each companionship individually. At first I didn't know how I felt about coaching. I didn't really want to work with someone one-on-one or two-on-one because I could never think of things to work on. Our coach is Anderson Kyodai and I've never really talked about him but he's the best. He's really good at teaching Nihongo grammar so that I understand it. And I feel like he always knows how I'm feeling, so much that it's scary sometimes. But he's someone we trust enough to talk about how we're doing and what we need to work on.
So teaching Taira Shimai is going really good. We're still not perfect, but I feel like we finally know what it takes to plan and teach a good lesson. This past week we taught her about temples, eternal marriage and the priesthood. We're in lesson 5 now so the topics aren't really difficult to accept, they're just excited to teach. When I showed her a picture of the Salt Lake temple and said this is where couples can go to be married for eternity she got really excited and pointed and said she wants to be married there. Chun Shimai and I smiled and said "Watashi mo!" (me too!). I've never seen her that excited before. Our lesson on the priesthood also went really well. I was praying to be able to say all that I wanted to about the priesthood. I just wanted to have a good lesson because sometimes I don't feel confident when I teach about the priesthood. But the lesson went really well and I was able to say everything I wanted to and answer her questions. It was a good lesson. We only have 2 more lessons to teach her before we're finished. But her baptismal date is set for next Saturday so we'll see what happens...
Sundays are scary now because we're the oldest group so we can be called on to give talks. Yes they're only 3 minutes talks but it's all in Nihongo so it's scary. This week I totally thought it was going to be me. We're pretty sure they always pick one sister and one elder. That means all of us sisters except one will probably speak. All of us were sure it wouldn't be Peterson Shimai because she was giving the closing prayer, as well as singing in the musical number with Ketch Shimai and me. (We sang "I Heard Him Come" and made Sister Butler, the branch president's wife, cry. So I think it went well). But lo and behold, President Butler gets up and says we will be hearing from Peterson Shimai and Orellano Choro. We were all surprised, but she gave a good talk so it's fine. Now I have two more chances that I can be called on to speak. Yikes!
Konnichiwa minisan!! Okay so a lot of things happened this week so I hope I can remember everything and that I have enough time to write all of them.
So Friday was the 4th of July and it was the most exciting day of my life. Not really. But I was pretty excited for it. It made it hard to concentrate in class. So to celebrate it being the 4th of July, Clark Kyodai taught us Jan Ken Po. Or in other words rock paper scissors. Japanese people love it. Except theirs is way more intense. For example, say I'm playing you. We do Jan Ken Po like normal and then if I win, I point my finger at your face and say Ache mite hoi! and point up down or one of the sides. And if you look the same way as I point, I win. If you look a different direction, you're safe. If we do Jan Ken Po and its a tie you say Aiko desho (which literally means "It's a tie!") you say that until someone wins, and then do the pointing thing again. Anyways, Clark Kyodai is really good at it and it was scary to play against him. He played against all of us and totally won.
Anyways, after class we had a special devotional for the 4th. We got to listen to special musical numbers that weren't hymns. How crazy is that? Then we listened to a speaker talk about freedom and how as disciples of Christ we are spreading a message of freedom. Because the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ truly makes us free. It's such an amazing concept. We are giving freedom to all the world by preaching the gospel. After that we got to watch 17 Miracles and I am happy to say I did not cry, unlike the first time I watched it. Also, it's so fun to watch movies with 1000 other missionaries. We all laugh at the same parts, and if there's a romantic part all of us giggle or groan at it. So funny. Once the movie ended the truly exciting part began. Our MTC president informed us that Sister Carrie Underwood had just finished singing (so that's what the movie was for, so we couldn't hear her) and we could now go out where a ice cream truck was waiting and we could watch the fireworks. So we went outside and happily ate ice cream while watching fireworks. It was the best! We started singing the Star Spangled Banner at one part and it was the worst rendition I've ever heard, but we had perfect timing. Right when we finished the fireworks ended for a little bit. Everyone thought it was over, but I knew they couldn't be yet because that would've been the lamest finale I'd ever seen. So when they started up a few minutes later I felt vindicated. So it was lots of fun and everyone was taking pictures and we got to stay up way past our bedtime (I regretted that in the morning). I hope everyone else had as much fun as I did on the 4th! (I know for a fact that Megan, Jill, and Sarah did:)
Saturday was not my favorite day. Mainly because I was tired from the night before and we had service at 6:15 in the morning. Also because that was the day that Clark Kyodai left us. He's on vacation in Rome right now and he won't be back before we leave. All of us were very sad to see him leave. I think Chun Shimai should've sent a picture that we took with him. I just don't even know how to say how much I love Clark Kyodai (in a totally non weird way). He's the awesomest teacher I've ever had. He knows how to connect with people and make them feel comfortable. He is also great at bringing the Spirit when he teaches. Our whole district loved reading the Book of Mormon with him because the Spirit was always so strong. Anyways, enough about him. I'm fine now. I maybe might have wanted to cry when he left, but I didn't!!! Emotions in the MTC are always so crazy.
Sunday was Fast Sunday so we had mission conference. We learned from President Nally that at the mission presidents seminar it was announced that missionaries will now teach all 5 lessons in Preach My Gospel before and after baptism. They will also work closely with new converts for 3-4 months afterwards, and keep in contact for at least a year afterwards. They are really wanting to work on retaining and activating new converts. I know this will really bless new converts' lives. And I'm excited to get to work with converts for a longer period of time. The Apostles promise that baptisms will not go down because of this. In fact, they will increase. Sunday devotional was by Josh Wright. He's an amazing pianist. He's getting his doctorate right now at the University of Michigan. He played some amazing classical pieces. My favorite though, was an arrangement he wrote of How Great Thou Art and Claire De Lune. It was so beautiful. If I can find that piece when I get back I want to play it or at least listen to it over and over again.
Monday was a little sad because our Senpai left. That means we are the only district left in our zone right now. But have no fear I will talk more about that in a little bit. Now that Clark Kyodai is gone I think my favorite teachers are Olsen Kyodai and Pehrson Kyodai. They teach us in the afternoons and they're just really funny. Olsen Kyodai is loud and always excited. He's always smiling. Pehrson Kyodai is quiet but I can tell the more we get to know him he's going to open up more. Sometimes I forget that the teachers are not that much older than me, or they're actually younger than me. Olsen Kyodai is 21. But most of the time I just see them as my teacher and I don't think about it. Other than that I don't really remember what happened on Monday. This is what happens when I don't write things down in my journal.
As far as teaching Taira Shimai goes, one of our lessons was a little rough. We went in there with what we thought she needed to hear, but she didn't really seem interested. So Chun Shimai started talking about the Law of Chastity. We were planning on teaching that to her at some point but we weren't quite ready for it. Neither of us knew the vocabulary for it. So it didn't go quite as well as we hoped. But we prepared and we taught it to her again and it went better. The only problem was she lives with her boyfriend. But we promised her that if she lived the Law of Chastity her future family would be blessed and she would have peace and trust in her relationships. She said she would pray about it and see. So the next lesson we decided we would talk about it one more time, but when we met with her she said she had talked with her boyfriend and she was going to move out and live with her friend Rei-chan who is a member of the church. We couldn't believe it. We were so happy and so amazed. Taira Shimai is so awesome. Whatever we ask her to do she does it. And lately we've been asking hard things of her. We taught her the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity and Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. For all of those she has had to make major changes, but she's done it. But the most important thing is, WE are not the ones asking her to do this. These are God's commandments he wants us to keep, but he promises so many blessings if we will follow them. As a missionary, you try to find specifically what promises your investigator needs to hear, what will help them the most. It's hard to do but we're learning.
For devotional on Tuesday we heard from Elder Neil L. Anderson. He spoke about unseen things. Mainly, the Holy Ghost. We teach people to believe in the unseen. We teach them to see with their spiritual eyes. But we also have to learn how to listen to the Spirit and to be believing. Believe that you will see miracles. Believe that angels are around you. I can't wait to experience miracles when I get to Japan and to feel the Holy Ghost guiding me. I know it is something I will have to learn, line upon line, but I know I can do it. Also his wife said one thing that really struck me. The gift of the Holy Ghost is so precious. We can have a member of the Godhead with us at all times if we are worthy. A member of the Godhead! I had never thought of it like that before. So cool.
Most importantly this week, we got kohai!!!! And not just one district, but two! So we got 16 elders and....2 sisters. Ha. As sister training leaders we were a little disappointed to not have more sisters to take care of, but we're happy that we at least got 2. We met one of the new districts last night and did orientation with them. They all look so young and innocent (since we're so old you know). I'm just happy we won't be alone anymore. We're going to try and set a good example for them so that they are focused and study hard. Our dai senpai weren't exactly the best at that. But I'm so excited to meet all of them and get to know them better. I feel like I have children. The night before they arrived all of us Shimai tachi decorated the new sisters' door since their room is right next to ours in the residence hall. We covered their door in hearts. Ketch Shimai made paper cranes and we hung them from the ceiling over their door. Their names are Sister Clements and Sister Salmon. Man, the kinds of things we get excited about in the MTC are so funny.
I can't believe I have 2 and a half weeks left! It's going so fast. I feel like I don't have enough time to get ready. And our Senpai just left! We shouldn't be leaving yet! Just kidding. I'm excited to go to Nihon. It will be hard but it will be amazing. So many people are being prepared at this time.
Thanks for the letters and emails! You guys are great!
District Sisters with Clark Kyodai
Friday, July 4, 2014
Konnichiwa minasan! Although technically I shouldn't say Konnichiwa because that's for the afternoon and it's still morning. Oh well.
Elder Korrea, Sister Malone & Sister Chun
Sister Chun & Sister Malone
I can't believe it's been 5 weeks now! Actually more like 5 and a 1/2 now. Can you believe by the end of the month I will be in Japan? It's crazy to think about. Our Senpai are leaving on Monday. So exciting, but also so sad. You just get used to having certain people around. They had to say goodbye to some of their teachers who are leaving for the 4th of July weekend. It's hard. Once they leave we will be the only district left in our zone. There are 2 other Japanese zones, so it's not like we're the only Japanese missionaries left, but basically our branch is really small now. That's why we are all praying that we get kohai this next Wednesday! I think we find out on Sunday whether we will or not. It not we are going to be very lonely next week.
Some news from this week. On Sunday the special choir got to sing one more time. And this time it was for devotional so all the missionaries got to hear "O Sweet the Joy This Sentence Gives" which is our favorite song we sing. It's such a beautiful song. And the lady who wrote the music for it (because the words are I Know that My Redeemer Lives) was actually there and heard us sing it. So cool. This also means I got to see Sister Magologo and Sister Eyring again. We probably shouldn't be around each other. We're all sarcastic and like to tease each other, so it's kind of a bad combination. Other sisters in the choir probably think we're weird or crazy. Or both.
I also sang in sacrament meeting with a few other missionaries. We sang the "As Sister in Zion/ Helaman's Army" medley. Since when did I start singing so much? Also I played prelude music for sacrament meeting and that's when everyone found out that I play the piano because I told everyone before that I don't really play. Which is true. I'm really bad at playing hymns, especially when people are singing. But I'm willing to do prelude music because nobody is singing along. And luckily Chun Shimai and Ketch Shimai play the piano and even a few of the Choro-tachi play too. So we're covered.
Also, Chun Shimai and I were called as the new Sister Training Leaders since our senpai are leaving. Basically everyone in my district got callings because we are the only people left. So as the Sister Training Leaders we mainly focus on the sisters and make sure they are doing okay and report it to the branch presidency. Although we look out for everyone in our branch, sisters and elders. But hopefully we get kohai so we get to talk to new sisters and get to help them!! We did hosting again this week. It's funny how all the hosts get excited. Sometimes we fight (not for reals) over who gets to host a person when the car pulls up. There were about 500 new missionaries this week. But a lot of them were elders. I only hosted one sister and the other two were elders. Since they were going to West Campus I got to host them all the way and put them on their bus to West Campus. If they were staying here I would've had to hand them off to an elder to take them to their residence. It's definitely hot though. I'm always sweating by the end. But I figure it's going to be hot in Japan so I might as well get used to it.
Tuesday devotional was super good! It was Elder Lowell M. Snow, a former member of the Seventy. He spoke about being converted to Christ. He said that this is a one time choice. We only have to make it once, despite what others may say. But everyday we have the chance to act on that choice. The role we should always strive to fill is that of disciple of Jesus Christ. By filling that role, we will be able to fulfill any other roles we may have-husband, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, etc. All that Heavenly Father asks of us is that we love one another and choose Him. You should all read Moses 7 (I think that's it), about Enoch. He is shown a vision of the world and the people in it and the things that will happen. And then he asks God how he can weep. God who is the creator of everything, the most supreme being, how can he weep over wicked people? His answer is awesome. But I won't share it because you all need to go read it. Our life is an opportunity for God to transform us. When we let him he can change us, and give us the power to change other people's lives. A mission is one of the best times for us to be transformed and converted to Christ.
This week we taught our investigator Taira Shimai about The Word of Wisdom and Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. Both of these topics are a little hard for her because she works on Sunday, and she may get fired if she says she can't work on Sundays anymore. She also loves to drink tea everyday so we're trying to help her stop drinking tea. It's interesting to teach these things because sometimes you don't know how to explain WHY we keep these commandments. It makes you ask yourself, "Why do I do this?" It's also harder to explain in Nihongo (Japanese). But she's an awesome investigator because she always tries to do the things we invite her to do. She's still praying about taking work off on Sundays and praying that her boss's heart will be softened. It's always interesting because you're teaching one of your teachers. But the investigator they are playing is a real person. Usually it's someone they taught on their mission. So when you're teaching it feels real. This is a real person who was taught and maybe was baptized and maybe they weren't.
So everyone at the MTC is excited for the 4th (tomorrow!). The MTC puts on a little performance at night where missionaries get to perform musical numbers that AREN"T hymns (Everyone say "How exciting!") And then after the performance we get to go watch fireworks!!!!! At least I am 99% sure we get to. If we don't I may cry. The things that get you excited in the MTC, you wouldn't believe.
Dad's email made me laugh about the chickens. I feel like they're his children. His "other" family. I would love to spray some water at chickens. Also I can't believe you have a sign saying "Malone Chicken Ranch" or whatever it says. Please tell me you can't buy any more chickens.
Thanks for writing me this week! I really appreciate the letters and emails! They make me so happy. I love hearing what's going on in everyone's lives, no matter how simple or trivial it may seem. Just remember every day is a chance to act on the choice you have made to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. (Unless you haven't made that choice, which in that case, choose Him!)
Aishitemasu minasan! Kazoku wa hontoni aishitemasu!
Sister Malone & Sister Peterson
Elder Korrea, Sister Malone & Sister Chun
Sister Chun & Sister Malone
Sister Malone & MTC Friend