"Nailed it!" ^^;; that actually doesn't work in Japan, but we enjoy saying it here. Kugi is a nail. and shimashita is "did".. Hard to explain really, but it translates to "Nailed it"
Well, I'm quite often reminded that God loves me. Here's a story from yesterday, as written in my journal. (I didn't avctually finish the journal entry, but I'll finish it in the email.
"Ok, during hosting today, I hosted thje Nihonjin, and then, when I went back to the curb, and saw a big white van with a large family there. As I surveyed the scene, I noticed that they were all pretty dressed up. I was trying to figure out who the missionary was: Elder or Sister? Because the host there was an Elder. If [the new missionary] was a sister, I claimed her. Then, I figured it was, so I approached. "Tiffany?" I heard my name from behind me, quickly turned around to see faces I knew: THE ENTIRE PACE FAMILY! Right there! I hugged Sister Pace! ^.^ She's the one who said my name. Then I jump-hugged (attacked, really) Sarah Pace! I screamed (literally)."
So it turns out that Sarah entered the MTC yesterday! And I got to host her! She lives one floor below mine in the residence, and I briefly visited her last night. ^^ Best thing ever. (I really should've recognized the van.... )
Well, I cannot fully describe in detail the entire week, because of the amazing things that have happened therein. Easter was amazing. We had a giant, entire MTC together, sacrament meeting. President Uchtdorf presided at the meeting. It was realy amazing to be partaking of the sacrament: First, with over a thousand other people; Second, With one of the Frist Presidency. He spoke to us about being fearless. He alked about a missionary whose parents had begged him no to serve a mission, but he chose to, because he loved God. In every situation, he was a fearless, bold missionary, talking to every single person he could. With his companions, he was patient. He never served in a leadership position on his mission. But he did serve as senior companion for several new missionaries. Every morning, he would look in the mirror, and say, "I fear no man."
The definition of overbearance is boldness without love. If you truly love, there is no such thing as too bold.
Then, on Tuesday, Elder Dallin H Oaks was here, and spoke at the Devotional. He and his sweet wife. He spokeabout missionary work as missionaries. We have these three main challenges:-To change. We need to break free of prior patterns. -To achieve. To achieve some specific skills or to qualify for particular responsibilities. -Last of all, and perhaps the most important: To become. In order to become, we must have something happen within us. We must become converted. To Jesus Christ. We must have a change of heart.
He gave these points of advice:1. Physical Health. We are precious possessions of the Lord. Get good nutrition and exercise. Take the medicines prescribed to you: The Lord helps those who help themselves. 2. Instruments in His Hands. Alma 17.3. Prepare yourselves to act in His service.4. Remember who you are5. Work to establish the church-finding, teaching, retaining, and reactivating 6. Teach and Testify.7. Get commitments. This mission isn't about your teaching. It is about the investigators' learning.8. Nurture. They need continuing help.
Lastly, conversion is no and event that precedes baptism, but that follow baptism, and continues until the end.
Well, I should be sending out more emails wih pictures atached, hopefully. We'll see.
It was something we learned on one of our first days here, that our purpose is to invite others to Christ, and that the "others" meant everyone. Every single person with which we come into contact. Which means, not just people who are investigators, not just people who haven't heard about Christ before, but everyone, which includes myself, my companion, other missionaries, our teachers, and even other church members. Which is such a great responsibility.
We had to say goodbye to the Nihonjin this week. On Sunday, we held a Sacrament Meeting, as usual, and they all sang for us. As soon as the piano began playing, I was in tears. I knew what song it was, and it's one I've wanted to hear since coming here. It was the EFY Medley, "As Sisters in Zion/We'll Bring the World His Truth" in Japanese. By the end of the song, everyone else was also crying, especially the ones singing the song. It is now a powerful memory to have, especially because I could see the conviction in their eyes. They knew that the words they were singing were true, and they knew what they are here to do.
I may never see those Nihonjin again, because none of them are in my mission. But, I know that they are already amazing missionaries.
It's also interesting, we have new missionaries in our zone now, from America and New Zealand and Australia. They are a bright-looking bunch. It has occurred to me that our district is now where our senpai were when we arrived here at the MTC. We will receive another group of Nihonjin next week, and then twelve days after that, will be leaving with them to make the journey to Japan.
Yesterday, we spoke to a Nihonjin over skype! It was the best TRC ever. Her camera wasn't working, but we were still able to teach a lesson. She's a member, and has been for over 30 years! She was so nice, and she said we were so cute. ^^ I love it when Nihonjin call me cute. The Nihonjin shimai (sisters) would always do that.
Funny story! I keep meeting these teachers who know my cousin who's in Japan right now. We have the same last name, so it's great. I'm so excited.
Another funny thing happened today. Our district went to the temple together this morning, and when we came out, and were about to head back to the MTC together, we heard someone call, "Viana Choro!" We all looked. It was Cook-Kyodai! Our teacher! Today is P-day, so we hadn't expected to see him today, but there he was at the temple. He was going with other members in his ward. We took a picture together in front of the temple. :) Really great!
Oh, we hosted again yesterday, helping those missionaries who are new to the MTC. That was such fun. I hosted someone going to MISSOURI KANSAS CITY MISSION! :D Hooray! I popped into her class as I dropped her off and announced that that's where I'm from. The teacher in the class asked where I was headed, and I told him the I was going to Japan. "Oh. How long've you been here?" he asked. "Six weeks," I replied. He then asked me, "Would you please explain to these missionaries that they have no right to complain about being here for just a week and a half?" Haha, I thought that was fun. I made an angry face, and stared them down as I walked to the front of the room. I can't remember what I said with the angry face. Probably to the effect of, "don't you dare." And then I added, with a smile on my face, "I love the MTC so much! It's such a wonderful place."
I hope they liked that. A bit of humor on their first day. ^^ At least they won't get flustered with learning a new language. ^^
We made a realization yesterday, because one of our investigators is really progressing, but the other one is not yet. Our teacher discussed that with us yesterday. I learned a lot. Why doctrine is important. Why we teach doctrine. There are of course a few reasons. One of them being "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior."-President Boyd K. Packer Also, "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children) then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part." --Bible Dictionary "Prayer"
Well, I love you all. Thanks again!
Love, Blake 姉妹
愛していますよ！I love you!
I can't even begin to describe everything this week! Fwoooooooo! How do you describe everything that's happened? The Nihonjin are so amazing! So nice, and such gentlemen! They took my tray for me at lunch. just all around--so kind. At volleyball, they really go all out, and just have so much fun. SO AWESOME! I really love the people, even if I can't fully understand them.
We've had a few birthdays this last week. 2 Nihonjin shimai, and Holh choro. His birthday's today, so yesterday, by the end of the day he had 4 packages! Crazy! ^^
Soutaikai (general Conference) was the best, as ever. 5 hours a day in the big gym/auditorium. But on Sunday, for Sunday devotional, guess who was here this week? Vocal point! Their first song--Nearer My God to Thee--the best arrangement of that song. ^^ If you don't know it, look it up on youtube. It's pretty amazing. They bore their testimonies, and all of them are returned missionaries, which I thought was pretty cool. It was interesting, because before he devotional started, they were playing some of vocal point's music, and they played a song that I knew I loved, but where was it from? Then I realized--it was the a capella song on The First Christmas (Liken the Scriptures) that the Shepherds sing after they see the angels. ^^ Vocal point has an arrangement of that song!
Some other really great stuff this week--Vasuko-san. We took him on a walk to the Provo Temple for our lesson. Wow. What a powerful lesson. As we walked, we asked him if he believed in the Atonement of Christ, and he told us he wasn't sure. But after we finished the lesson, we asked him how he was feeling, and he said (In Japanese of course--our invesigators only speak Japanese), "With the temple.. and with the sunrise, I feel.. hope." What an awesome moment in time. I would relive it again if I could. (We went really early in the morning. Like 7:45. It was cold.. ^^)
Our other investigator, Hasegawa-Kyodai is also going through some interesting times, too. But that's for another time!
Anyhow, yesterday was one of the best things ever. Cook-kyodai, during class, looked out the window, to see how the weather was, and then he had us all follow him. Where were we going? We had no idea. Neither did the other teachers, Stratford Kyodai and Schade Kyodai. We were just going. Yesterday's weather was perfect, by the way. (we hosted the new missionaries again^^) We went to 18M, one of the biggest buiding on the MTC campus. And then we climbed. stairs. and climbed and climbed. (I never realized how many floors that building had until we climbed every flight.. man! :D)
When we got to the top, all huffing and puffing, he ook us around, and showed us classrooms. "This was Stratford-Kyodai's home (we call our classrooms home, because were in our classroom longer than we're in our dorms. ^^) when he came to the MTC as a missionary. And Schade kyodai, and eventually, Cook-kyodai. That was awesome. And then he led us to a window. It was a big window overlooking the prettiest amount of scenery that I've seen since coming here. I seriously cried, it was so beautiful Not only the scenery, but what the scenery taught us yesterday. We looked at the big mountains, and saw how iny everyhing was in comparison to them. Then we thought of our problems and how small they are in size compared to the power of God. God made the giant mountain. God has power to help us through our trials. He gave us these things, knowing we woul be capable of overcoming them, with His help.
Love you all. Hope you have a bright week!
I enjoyed the talk outline, and it really is everything I've learned these first few weeks. This week's been interesting, Dad. I've thought about a lot. Can't tell you how much I appreciate being raised in the Gospel. It's everything to me. Everything. Thanks for being the first of our family (of 8) to serve a mission. It's because you went on a mission that Jeremy and Michael and Jeff and I have gone on missions.
Love you,Sister Blake
What do you get when you throw Nihonjin,Personal study, The organist for The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and David Archuleta into one whole week? Well, you get my week.
Well, I suppose for your benefit, I'll explain the David Archuleta experience first. Well, here we are sitting down for devotional, and suddenly, I hear Sister Christensen say, "Gasp! That's David Archuleta!"... I looked at the people on the stand, thinking, "Now which person is he?" I figured he must have been the younger looking one, for sure, but he didn't look a thing like what I remembered him. It was really neat though. Well, the main speaker that night was Richard Elliot, who plays the organ for the Mormon Tabernacle choir. What a person! Instead of speaking the whole time, what he did was he'd share his testimony, and then share a piece that was special to him. Then he'd share a bit more of his testimony, and then play another amazing song on the organ, and it went on for quite a bit. I wrote down a lot from the devotional in my notebook, so I have notes on it. Then, when he finished, David Archuleta got up to speak. Man! If I didn't respect him before, I have got to admit, I have a 1000% respect for him now. I love him, because he came and shared his experiences as a missionary. He just got home last week, and he was invited to be here at the MTC on his first Sunday night home. Some really great things he shared were about an experience he had on his mission about following the Spirit, and the effect it had on this one young adult, who he invited to the singles' branch activity, and he described seeing her change from where she was, to what she became, all because of that one instance on a bus, when he invited her to an activity. His testimony of the work of God was solid and strong.
Not much time to write this email.
Ah! 22 Nihonjin (japanese)! They are such a blast! They are so nice, and so kind. Such a respectful people. And they are sometimes really hard to understand, because they speak so fast, and so quietly, but it's a wonderful thing.
So, I'm pretty sure my companion thinks I'm strange, but anything to get her laughing, right? Yesterday, she was standing in the doorway of our classroom, talking to some people in the class, and I went running and jumping behind her, making funny faces as I jumped passed the classroom. The people inside the classroom busted out laughing, but my companion turned around to see why, and saw me, standing there perfectly normal, as if nothing had happened. :D It was fun.
One more thing! I saw Stephanie Cox! Well, it's interesting, because I was hosting yesterday, helping the new missionaries around to get their books, keys, and whatever, and then dropping them off at the classroom. I escorted her companion! and then I found out that MY companion had escorted her!! Haha! One companionship to another. it was great!
Well, lots of love, and not too much Nihongo (japanese) in this letter, but not enough time.
Love you, Ai shite imasu!
"You are hereby called to serve in the Japan Tokyo South Mission."