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!