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