Friday, July 18, 2014

It's Getting So Close! / Week #7

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.
Also last p-day Ketch Shimai taught us Shimai-tachi how to make paper cranes. Asian points for that! So now we can all fold paper cranes and we put them around the MTC. Hopefully the custodial staff don't mind. We've seen some missionaries who have found them and they wonder where they came from. Well, now you guys know.
Friday everything was really crowded. I think we had a really big group of missionaries come in this past week so line are longer in the cafeteria and the gym was really crowded (too many sweating bodies!) But luckily among that group is our kohai and they are awesome! Really the new elders are so much fun to be around, and our two sisters are stellar. It's a good reminder of how I was when I first came into the MTC. You don't really know what you're doing yet and you can't speak any Nihongo, but it's still fun and you're just trying to learn as much as you can. The kohai come to us if they have any questions and they really look to us on how they should behave. It's weird to have people look up to you like that. The elders are so much fun! All of them have such unique personalities.
So basically we live off of stories. Chun Shimai always asks people "Omo shiroi hanashii ga arimaska?" Which means do you have a fun/interesting story? She even asks our teachers and they have some pretty great stories. Since Clark Kyodai has been gone I think my favorite teachers are Olson Kyodai and Pehrson Kyodai. So lately we've had Pehrson Kyodai tell us a story every night before we go back to our residences. So he told us one time when he mixed up the words reiteki and seiteki. Reiteki means spiritual and seiteki means sexual. He was talking in the English class they teach close to Christmas time and he was talking about how we can give spiritual gifts but he didn't say spiritual...basically it's the funniest story ever and we couldn't stop laughing. Hopefully he doesn't mind that I just shared that story...
Our teacher situation right now is kind of crazy. We have like six different teachers each day. And since the kohai have come in some of our teachers have taught them instead so one time in the afternoon we were supposed to have a teacher but no one ever came. So we just read the Book of Mormon in Nihongo together (very slowly) and then went and did TALL (language program). Basically, we can take care of ourselves now.
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!

So this past week we've had our devotionals at the Marriott Center, since 19M is getting their floors cleaned. So it means a nice walk for us outside the MTC on Sundays and Tuesdays. It's so funny how excited I get to leave the MTC. It's hard being confined to one area for 9 weeks straight. But the devotionals this week were really good. I always feel like the devotionals are specifically for me. So the one on Sunday was by Brother Heaton, director of the MTC. He taught about charity and how it's a gift that we need to ask for from Heavenly Father. Only he can give us that pure love for others. And that's something I definitely need and want when I get to Japan. And even here right now. Sometimes I get frustrated with other people or myself, but I need to see them as Heavenly Father sees them, and I need to see myself as Heavenly Father sees me.
The devotional on Tuesday was by Elder Brown, a former seventy. He taught about the name of Jesus Christ and how we take his name upon us. But do we actually know what that means? He told a story when he was going to bless his friend who had cancer and he was really nervous about giving the blessing. He didn't feel worthy. Then in his mind the words came "Are you blessing him in your name or in my name?" So powerful. We can have confidence because we are representing Jesus Christ, not ourselves. We also need to remember how we use his name. In our prayers and in our testimonies do we just rush through the ending because it's not important or do we realize in whose name we do all these things? Anyways, sorry to go on and on. It was just a big eye opener for me.
Last night we had skype TRC for the first time. Well it was the first time for Chun Shimai and I. Last week we had new missionary orientation so we didn't get to do it. We were really nervous at first. Skype TRC is with actual Nihonjin (Japanese) in Japan. But we ended up skyping with this college age girl and it turns out she's in Provo right now attending UVU. So it was comfortable to talk with her and then share a little message. I fumbled a bit sometimes when I tried to say things but I felt like I could understand most of the things she said and it wasn't scary at all. Awkward silences somtimes, but not scary. They skype with missionaries all the time and they know that we're still learning.
I feel like I've had more and more things to do and less and less time to do it as the weeks have gone by. But I'm just trying to use all the time that I have effectively and make the most of my time here. Do you realize I will only write one more time from the MTC?! Then I will be in Japan! It's crazy and totally exciting! I love you all and I'm so grateful for the emails and letters. They really help!
Love you all!
Malone Shimai

                                                 Me & Chun Shimai
My District        
                                                                MTC Friends
                                                       The Kohai
                                                    Me & Peterson Shimai
                                                      Me & Peterson Shimai
                                                      Me & Ketch Shimai

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