- Thursday, October 16, 2014

First full week at MTC

October 9th - Pday

First week gone, 8 or so to go!

Hopefully I can attach a picture or two - their computers are super locked up and I don't have a USB to camera cord, so I have to figure out where the SD card is located on the network when I plug it in, or maybe someone in my district has a cord I can borrow. If there's no picture by 6 then you're not getting one this week, sorry. (Though I have a great one of my district I'd love to share.)

Thanks for the Dear Elder letters. I've been getting them and it's super nice to have mail on days other than P-day. Tell Henry thanks for praying for me!

The MTC is CRAZY. When I walked in, I was ushered from room to room to room so fast I couldn't really even figure out what was going on. Everyone else said they had to wait in a long line, but there were no missionaries when I was there. Eventually, I got handed this giant bag FILLED with Japanese books! I actually use almost all of them at this moment. There are dictionaries, grammar books, phrase books, work-books, kanji books, scriptures and PMG in Japanese, ect. There's so many that we all just keep them in the classroom and then select one or two to bring back with us every night.

Oh man, I have so much to share! I hope I can get through it all.

It is super weird to have a companion. I got paired with a Sister Sands. We're super different, and it was a bit of a difficult week, but we're working through our differences and both trying hard to be considerate and loving to the other, and I think we hit a breakpoint yesterday. It probably won't completely be smooth sailing, but definitely better than it was. And I do think she's a wonderful, smart, considerate, determined missionary, and that is way more important than any personality incompatibilities we have.

So, in the MTC, you get put in a district, which usually consists of about 10 people. These people are now your life. I learn with them, eat with them, go to gym with them, and room with the sisters. My district has 4 Sisters and 6 Elders - It must be hard for the Elders all being stuck in one room! I feel crowded with 4 in my room! Luckily, my district must have been divinely inspired, because I think they we have the absolute best district in the world. There's me and Sister Sands, and then Sister Yeakey and Sister Stewart. Me and Yeakey are kindred spirits, and we laugh so much (maybe more than appropriate for Sister missionaries sometimes) We really do think alike though, and she gives the best hugs. Sister Stewart is way cute, and super crafty. Something happened this week, and my knit skirt ripped a bit, but she looked at in and stitched it right up! Super amazing! She loves to do hair and stuff too, and she can be pretty quiet, but you can tell by looking at her if something funny just happened or not. There's Elder Reber and Elder Cannon. Elder Cannon is from one of the smaller towns and Idaho, and his grandma is Japanese, so he is SO GOOD at hearing Japanese, and a little better than the rest of us than speaking it. He's got the most infectious smile to, it just spreads across his whole face and entirely lights it up. Elder Reber is like one of my best friends now - he's so funny (and he seems to think I am too).  Me and him are really distractable during study and class though - we get off topic chatting really easily and it's kind of bad. We're both (Well, I am at least) working on "elevating" our humor, because we can both be kind of rude. Quote from him after he was teasing an Elder "Ok, I'll try to stop being rude. To just you." It's cool though, because it's not in the least bit mean spirited. Next there's Elder Kiki and Elder Anderson. Elder Kiki has the best name - I love to say it! In Japanese, it's Kiki Churo (Kind of like Churro, but with more of an oo sound). He's the sweetest Elder in our district. Super considerate.  Elder Anderson is super nice and really analytical. He's from Tacoma Washington though, so he was NOT SCARED of going on a mission to somewhere shady. He says he's been mugged several times (in his front yard even), had his house robbed, and has been bitten by dogs. He doesn't look it or act like it though. He actually looks and acts like a pretty stereotypical nerd, minus TV and game obsessions. :) He's also super open-minded, and loves hearing ideas that differ from his own. He gets into some pretty deep conversations with us. Last but certainly not least, there is Elder Fletcher and Elder Weakly. I don't know much about Elder Weakly, because he sits across the room from me and is really quiet, but he has some really great spiritual thoughts in class and is also super sweet. Elder Fletcher is our district leader, and is way good at directing us. He's super in-shape, and he's going to show me a few weight lifts I can do once or twice a week. He can be either really directed, or really snarky. :)

Our teacher is the absolute coolest teacher in the world. I thought he was Japanese forever, but it turns out he's actually half Filipino and it blew me and Elder Reber's minds. We got so lucky though. Brother Panganiban is the Japanese Teacher's teacher, basically the boss of all the other teachers, and he's only like 24! We were super shocked the first time he appeared on one of our MTC orientation training videos (mainly because we had never heard him speak English before, but also because that's super cool) He normally doesn't teach missionaries, but he felt like he wanted to this time, and so we got him! He's way patient with us, sometimes it feels like it takes a year for us to understand his Japanese as we go through word by word, sentence by sentence, even on pretty important spiritual topics he wants us to understand. He's really good at motivating us with scripture though, and encouraging us when we feel discouraged. I'm still on a spiritual high from the way important thought we shared with him last night. 

I've also seen quite a few people from home and USU. There's Sister Burnett, Mills, and Kastelliar (I think) from research fellows and the dorm last year. I can't wait for Greta and David to join me next week. I hope I'm able to run into Greta more than once or twice, but I'll see David a lot. All Japanese missionaries pretty much live in our classroom all day, and all the Japanese missionaries also have class on the same floor, so I'll be bumping into him a lot.

General Conference was amazing - I especially loved Uchdorf's, Holland's, and Christofferson's, and Bednard's messages. The Saturday evening session was just super extra powerful, in my opinion.

The longer I am in the MTC, the more I figure out my purpose as a missionary. We are here to invite people to come unto Christ and be perfected though his atonement. I shouldn't ever be scared to share my message of joy, or feel like the task is too large, because "If God be with us, then who can be against us."

Well, my time is almost up. I'm not sure any of my friends are getting letters this week - too much new stuff to write home! Tell everyone I love them!

Williamson Shimai

Kylie's District

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