Saturday, January 4, 2014

Week 3 in the MTC

10 December 2013 MTC, Provo, Utah, USA

For starts I would like to apologize for my Japanese testimony... It was brought to my attention that it did NOT translate correctly. Most translators don't do Romanji too well.. I promise that my Japanese isn't as bad as your on-line translator may have led you to think. 
This week has been lots of fun! Dopp Shemai and I were trying to think of what we were going to write about today and neither of us could think of any good stories. Instead we created a very long list of all the funny things that happened this week and we ended up laughing so hard our stomachs hurt! It is still snowing here! Blahh! The mountains are beautiful covered in snow. Especially when the sun is rising, they take on the colors of the sky! But that doesn't make the cold any less cold or the ice any less slippery. There are casualties every day from the ice! As a general rule, I think it may be the people who have never seen snow before who are falling the most!

Ok, here are the highlights of my week;
My Japanese is getting better! I can string together basic sentences, pray and bear my testimony (and I believe it is being understood). Part of our language learning program is something called SYL. Speak your language. So, as you learn words you replace them in your vocab. The end result is that you use no english words! Well, as my Japanese improves, my English disappears and the result is rather funny. My sentences may or may not include English, French and Japanese all at once! And sometimes Spanish... Yesterday I was speaking to Dopp Shimai in multiple languages at once and she says "You mock my pain! You rub your gift of tongues in my face!" Oh boy, it was sooo funny! Especially since early that week she answered our Japanese investigator in Spanish! I take full responsibility (and credit) for that! We are also both having a problem speaking English. It is ridiculous!  Sometimes I just make noises instead of words and Dopp Shimai just nods and usually understands what I was trying to say. Other times I just don't form sentences right or use the wrong words. Yesterday was probably the worst day. We decided the people of the tower of Babel experienced something a little similar. As we were laughing about this I tried to say we should draw a tower on the chalk board. But..instead of tower I said towel. And then after 5 attempts I was still saying towel. Of course we both found this insanely funny! That night we had to teach a mock lesson to another of the companionships. It was painful. I started out and I could not find the words for very simple truths! Dopp Shimai's favorite part of the lesson was when I stopped talking, opened my PMG (Preach my gospel- which is basically our lesson guide), flipped a few pages, read, and then said "God is our loving Heavenly Father". When she started teaching she would look at me to say something and I just had absolutely no idea what to say, and that was if I knew what she was talking about. My English had left me! At one point she was talking about Joseph Smith (Our first prophet) and says "I know Joseph Smooth was a prophet." I lost it at that point. 
Last Tuesday, we had a really awesome devotional! One of the apostles was suppose to come but, because of the snow, he was unable to make it. So instead we had Bruce C. Hafen speak. His talk was amazing! And it was exactly what I needed to hear. It's hard to pick out my favorite bits..but here are a few. He spoke about his very good friend, Elder Holland. They grew up together! Elder Hafen told us that before both their missions Elder Holland had no desire to go! He had met the girl of his dreams and he wanted to marry her. But, he chose to serve a mission..and maybe a little half heartedly at that. But when he came back he was a completely changed man! I thought that was amazing and sooo inspiring! Our potential to grow and change and learn is limitless! And the happily ever after of that story is that he still ended up with the girl of his dreams. And his mission has blessed both of their lives! Elder Hafen also talked about the temple a lot. He urged us to go as often as we could and to take advantage of our time there.  He ended his talk with what he believes our Heavenly Father has said to each of us "Thou aren't my son (or daughter) and I have a work for you."
I absolutely love the MTC at Holiday season. The day after thanksgiving we started celebrating Christmas! I'm happy. All our talks and devotionals are centered around Christmas and Christ and we sing Christmas songs all the time! On Sunday our speaker, Neil F. Marriot, challenged each of us to find just one person to reach out to between now and Christmas so they can feel the love and light of Christ in their life. I'm going to extend that challenge to all of you! Find one person whose life you can touch between now and Christmas. You don't have to do anything big either; a simple act of Kindness is all it takes.

One of the other highlights of my week was teaching our "investigator" Tominaga San. He is a 50-some year old whose entire family are members of our church. He isn't. So we are meeting with him. Our last lesson we were teaching him about prayer, and that God loves us so he wants to hear from us! The best part of the lesson; he prayed for the first time ever! It was the sweetest prayer too. He started off with "Dear Heavenly father" and then said "Hello, it's me, Tominaga san." It was so touching. I loved it. I love that we can all pray to our Heavenly Father and ask him for things that we need or just say hi! Lessons are becoming more enjoyable for me, I can understand most of what our investigators are saying and I can usually convey what I want to say!
This week we also did this thing called TRC..I don't remember what it stands for. But it is were members of our church who speak different languages come and volunteer. We, as missionaries, just get to practice talking to them! Dopp Shemai and I spoke with a couple first. Turns out they have been in Hill Cumorah Pageant before! So we talked about that for a while. What made the couple even better- their son is in our zone! So we got to take a message from them and deliver it to the Elder. Super sweet. The other person we got to practice with was this kid from BYU. It was awkward. SO AWKWARD. He didn’t really seem like he was enjoying himself and halfway through he gave up speaking in Japanese and just switched to English. Anyways after a few very painful and awkward minutes Dopp Shemai decides to bare her testimony. It was beautiful. was my turn. The only thing I could think about was tests! Who bears their testimony on tests??? Well, I went with it. I told this boy that if he was doing all he could do, Heavenly Father would pick up where he left off and help him make it through finals week and do well too. Turns out, that was just what this boy needed to hear! Imagine that!
Ok, a few more funny stories from this week. I got a piece of gummy bear stuck in my nose! I was chewing a blueberry gummy bear when Dopp Shemai made me laugh. The thing ended up in my nose. And then next ten minutes were very painful, yet blueberry scent filled. I sat in the corner of our classroom trying to blow it out and making all sorts of ridiculous noises, while Dopp Shemai laughed. Some how no one noticed! And the gummy was finally dislodged. Painful. But funny. 
We have an Elder in our district from Finland. He has a hard time expressing himself in English sometimes so he doesn’t speak too much. But when he does he always says something ridiculously funny or insanely spiritual. Here are a few of the funny things he said this week:
-Talking about Santa Clause in Finland "sometimes Santa comes by reindeer, sometimes in Volvo...depends on the weather."
-Talking to our Sensei about marriage "Maybe you should extend a commitment. Like in baptism. If you come to know that you love me then you marry me"
-Dopp Shemai and were talking about snow and he says "speaking of snow-I've been naked in it!"
He is just too funny! We call the things he says "gems". ‘Cus that is what they are.
Last funny story; Dopp Shimai and I were being not so serious about planning our lesson the other day. It was about Joseph Smith and the restoration and she wanted to know how to say a certain word. Instead of me telling her the correct word I was telling her things like lawnmower and leach (in Nihongo). We were laughing and then, all of the sudden, a picture falls of the wall and hits her right on the head! It was a picture of the first vision! WE took it as a sign that we needed to get to work! 
Ok that is all for now. I promise we really are well behaved and don't spend all our time goofing around. The MTC is a great place and we feel the spirit ever day! We love teaching together. We are quite the team. I'm so grateful for all your emails, prayers and support!

I love you all!

Molinari Shimai