Thursday, July 30, 2015

We Love to Laugh, Long and Loud and Clear

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hello everyone!

So many things have happened this week. Ready for a roller coaster? Buckle up and enjoy the read. 

From the first week here, the other six shimaitachi (sisters in our district) excluded my companion and me a bit; they have similar personalities that perhaps don't really match ours. Wallace shimai and I often did our own thing during study time and she was sad about how they were acting. It's been like this until recently. Sister Wallace realized that she liked and even loved the others in our district. We talked to them, and she realized that she was excluding herself. She thought they didn't like her and didn't bother to fix her perspective until she realized that she did like and love them, that she had to change her own attitude and perception and forgive, more than the others (though they ARE cliquey).

Saturday was Pratt Chourou's (chourou = elder) birthday! Very fun & very happy. Mom sent him a lemon bundt cake and all of our district w/our Japanese teacher celebrated in the sun. Sisters James, Brady, Wallace and I made him an Oreo cookie lay and I lent him a stuffed animal for the day. The party was spontaneous, happy, and Elder Pratt was grinning for 90% of the time. Everyone now thinks that you, mom, are a super hero and Elder Pratt wants to personally thank you :)

Two Sundays ago, the sisters attended a special RS meeting where Sister Edmunds spoke to us. The most comforting thing she said was, "the Lord takes your noises and turns them into words," this was reassuring in light of Japanese. She also said "don't touch the Elders--but keep an eye on the ones you want to." We thought that was funny. She was pretty funny overall. And she lifted my spirits.

The MTC has not only bats in the belfry but also mice and rats in the gardens. When cheese is dropped outside, the friendly mice pick it up, eat it, or gather it. They are so cute. Meanwhile, when we study and feel the fall-approaching breeze, we watch Remy the rat gather nuts, acorns, and berries, scamper across the sidewalk, and dive into his burrow. Once, he jumped a foot-high little fence! Carrying things! 

We got our new name tags this week. They are in Japanese (no English) and the whole district loves them. Everyone was shouting, laughing, and not studying when the teacher brought them. We cannot yet wear them, however, because the new "baby missionaries" can't read Japanese yet. So we have to wait till Japan. Which is in 11 days. Oh gosh. Wow.

Like Sister Wallace, I needed an attitude check, only an even bigger one. A few days ago, I was not a happy camper and in my thoughts, I told everyone I met, that if they kept talking to me, I would chop off their heads. Keyword here, "in my thoughts." I was rather grumpy, to say the least. Everything struck me as stupid. The sky was stupid, the class was stupid, my companion was stupid, the flowers were stupid -- most likely everything was stupid because you amazing people were not with me! Predictably, the day was awful and I was miserable when I *could* have been happy (it really was a *good* day with lots of happy things in it). Granted, it's not like that for everyone and many do not have the luxury of choosing their emotional states. From now on, I have decided to smile as much as I can and not allow things to annoy me or make me glare at people for no real reason. 

Yesterday was a 39 minute language exam! Ugh. We were given hypothetical situations and had to talk about how we'd fix problems, explain a scripture, tell a personal experience, and all of it in Japanese. During our first week here, we took a short test (in Japanese) and for one of the answers, I resorted to German. Better than answering in English, I thought. Perhaps no one noticed. This week's exam was much better, and all in Japanese. 

On Monday, we had another miracle. Monday was long, and from the second I woke up after a nightmare, I felt exhausted. However, I was happy and didn't sleep in class or during study time though it was very tempting. So, come evening study, my brain was dead, and I told Heavenly Father, "I'm going to sleep now. Good night." Wallace Shimai and I were studying on the grass near two benches. Just as I lay down on the grass, Wallace said "Let's read the Book of Mormon in Japanese." (We received Japanese Books of Mormon the first day we got here. So fun & amazing.) And inwardly, I go "Oh boy." However, I sit up and just as we begin, a "golden tag investigator" comes up to us and asks what we are reading.

We talk to him, tell him we're reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese, and tell him about Joseph Smith, about how the Bible and Book of Mormon go hand in hand and are two testimonies of Christ, why we are sacrificing our time and time with our families to serve a mission/learn Japanese, and about the Church in general. He also told us that he suffered from Depression since his son died 12 years ago, and very often feels lonely. So, me being me (and learning that if I tell Heavenly Father I'm tired, He will make me not tired and give me something to do), I tell our Jorje (our GTI) that I understand how he feels. At the MTC, I have felt lonely and have had painful times, and it has been the hardest thing I have ever gone through, especially with having light anxiety issues. I tell Jorje that he is not alone. I am not alone, have never been alone. Christ has always been beside me, has loved me, has borne me up and has given me comfort when I was down and that he, Jorje, could feel that also. I told him that Christ is always with *him* also. Jorje then said I would touch lives, that he liked my stories, and that I was very empathetic. He left soon after that. Wallace Shimai and I are talking to him tonight (Thursday) and we are super thrilled to talk with him. 

I realized that loving people is what matters. I realized that honestly showing people you care about them is what counts, it is what people feel. So, all of you, know that I love you. More importantly, Christ and Heavenly Father love you. Jesus is with you when you feel down, when you feel abandoned or lonely for whatever reason; he helps you get back up and will never leave you. He loves you, knows you, listens to you, and is there to help you.