Konichiwa minusan! Hello everyone!
This week was amazing! I loved spending time in class, loved walking around in the evening with my dorio one day, and once, by some sort of miracle, the cafeteria served amazing food again. Beef enchiladas that were incredible and stuffed with iron! The next night, by some other miracle, they served meatballs.
Lessons with our "investigators" have been going well. With Mai, we have been blessed to have one amazing lesson. We taught her about faith and she said she had some, we told her that the Spirit comes in all sorts of feelings. Mai works/interns at a Speech Therapy clinic and helps children learn Japanese pronunciation (Mai, not Tsukamoto Shimai our teacher. Confusing, I know). We told her that the good feeling she gets after helping someone is the Spirit. Her eyes lit up, and it was wonderful to see. However, the day after, she flat out declined going to church! She goes shopping with friends on Sunday, you see. It was a bit of a shock, but that's how it will likely be in Japan. [It is all a bit confusing, I imagine. Our "investigators" in the MTC are pretend investigators to help us practice our Japanese.]
Takeuchi's lessons are sort of going all over the place, however, tomorrow we start teaching him about the Restoration and Joseph Smith's first vision.
Sunday's devotional and Tuesday's devotionals were amazing. The speakers talked about 100% obedience and our Branch President Johnson has challenged us to be 100% obedient. It's been hard, but I've seen a few blessings come from it. Study time, reading the scriptures, and edible food, have (perhaps) all been blessings coming from our commitment. Oh, every Saturday, we have "Closeout" in which each district gets together, watches a heart-warming Mormon Message, and then everyone either bears their testimony, or says what they liked about the message. This week's message was about learning how trials and challenges strengthen us and can make us better people. "Bearing our Burdens With Hope" it was called, and it is worth seeing, at least once.
This week has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Tsukamoto Shimai did personal coaching with companion sets and when it was Wallace Shimai's and my turn to be coached about daily/weekly planning, she gave us several huge goals to do each week. We are already scrambling to complete the goals we have already set! It was hard to hear because it made me feel like I wasn't doing enough, wasn't working hard enough, wasn't learning fast enough.
However, seconds after the meeting, seconds after listening to my companion fume about how unfair Tsukamoto Shimai had been, Heavenly Father sent us a MTC worker to talk to us. He was Japanese, and told us ways to talk to people in Japan (for example, on a train, read the Book of Mormon, point to a difficult character, ask someone to explain what it means, and let the conversation go from there). He told us he wasn't a member, but he totally was and it was really funny to pretend he wasn't. However, he was so sweet, so kind, and we learned about Japanese culture (first born sons are duty bound to take up the religion of his parents, for example). For both Wallace Shimai and me, the Japanese MTC worker was a god send.
Oh! Funny awesome thing going on this week. During a scripture study, I cross-referenced something from 3 Nephi 12 (Beatitudes) to Alma 26:6. The verse in Nephi 12 was about inheriting the world and the cross reference was something DIFFERENT than Alma 26:6! However, verse six was amazing. It explained that having the ability to weather the worst of Earth's tempests was what inheriting the earth was. Not being a master of everything on it, but being able to be on Earth without being torn down and succumb to the hardships we face here. I liked that.
At the MTC, I pray for and look for service moments and it is amazing to see what little things I find I can do for people. When I give others sincere & simple compliments, their faces light up, they smile, and even if it's for a few seconds, their attitudes brighten. So, I have seen that simple service works and is not that hard to do.
I think of you very often and love you all!