Thursday, July 2, 2015

Email Number Three: Friends & Family

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Madeleine Cottle 
Date: 2015-07-02 16:50 GMT-06:00
Subject: Email Number Three: Friends & Family

Hello everyone!
How are you? What are you doing with your summers? It's so hot here now. Though in our classroom, it is so cold I always bring a blanket. 

This week was rather thrilling on various levels. The Mission President Seminar is over now. During the seminar, on Saturday, my companion and I were invited for a little visit with the MTC president. I think the clinic mentioned something about my fatigue so he wanted to make sure I was alright. While I waited to speak with the president, I was sitting in the hall, and there was Elder Bednar. I shook his hand. And Mom, he remembers Ursula! (Ursula is probably about Elder Bednar's age?) I told him about you, and when I told him your last name, Wöss, he said, "Ursula?" And I said, "no, Michaela, but Ursula is my aunt." And he smiled. 

The branch here is very sweet. All of the shimaitachi (sisters) say that my dorio (companion) and I are the sweetest & cutest ever. Haha. I'm still tired most of the time, but I manage to push through it and continue through personal study, lessons, Japanese. It's hard but doable and I Mom, you'll be happy to hear, I do it with minimal complaining :)

On Sunday, I got to watch President Monson get out of his car, into a wheelchair, and be helped into the MTC. It. Was. Awesome. I feel so honored. It was funny because one of the security women let slip to someone in our class building that President Monson was coming that morning. So ... all of the missionaries crowded in stairwells, crouched on stairs to wait. When our whispers got loud, a husky security guard warned us that if we were too loud, he'd have to shoo us away. We become silent and wait. Until the noise builds up again. However, we finally got the quiet thing down and waited, all on pins and needles until the security guard told us, "regretfully," that he had to shoo us away. Broken-hearted, all of us, about 150 of us, went away. However, I didn't want to give up so easily, so I went to an upper window and waited. And then I saw President Monson arrive! It was fun & awesome. 

The lessons with Takeuchi-san (who is also Brother Wilcox) are going better. The last lesson with him really flowed and I was amazed at everything my dorio and I were able to say & understand, and also that we were understood. It was a miracle. 

I love Japanese & love how the language sounds. It's really amazing and I cannot believe I have been here for three weeks! I was happy that I was able to put together a note to Tsukamoto Shimai (Sister Tsukamoto, my other Japanese teacher) in Japanese. It was two paragraphs long :) 

One of the Shimaitachi (sisters) here was very sick & for an activity on Monday, Wallace Shimai and I did splits with them. I stayed with the sick sister and the other two were able to go to the activity. The Sister I stayed with was very happy, we got along well (both of us being a bit nerdy). 

At Tuesday's devotional, Elder Sitati and his wife spoke to us and it was excellent. They are from Nigeria and helped to build up the Church there. Members first met in one family's home, the classes were in rooms, and Sacrament in the main living room. I loved listening to their stories. They talked about choosing to be happy and to follow Heavenly Father and the promptings He sends. 

And by the way, in the wake of the mission presidents' week, the usual cafeteria cardboard food has temporarily turned into 3 star restaurant food as we are now eating the leftovers from the mission president seminar :) Baked potatoes with cheese, boeuf bourguignon, asparagus, zucchini, shrimp, and best of all, smoked salmon with lemon. We think we should always eat like this :) But perhaps it would not prepare us as well to living out field?  

Random note, every night at 10:15, a kind of "Big Brother" voice comes over the intercom to tell us to have "quiet time." The voice comes back on at 10:30 pm to tell us it is bedtime. It's slightly odd and slightly creepy but also funny. I think it sparked a dream where I lived in 1984 a few nights ago! 

I love you all! I pray you are doing well & are happy.
Sister Cottle