Kobe, Japan

Saturday, August 10, 2013

First Letter from the MTC

Ohayo Gozaimasu!
It was 5:45 in the AM when i started this email and I just put my laundry in. Everyone was right, you do do so much here! Can you remember the last time I actually did my laundry?? Now it's 9:30 ish and I went back to my Residence and knocked out...that was quite possibly the best nap i've ever had in my entire existence. I'm still adjusting to the way things run here. Our work isn't hard, it's not too time consuming, I feel like I'm just mentally and spiritually drained by the time I get to my room around 9. All the Elders and Sisters here are so kind and so excited to be serving their missions! It's kind of rejuvinating to be around energy like this all day everyday. My companion Black Shimai is absolutely adorable!! I just love her. I'm grateful to have a companion like her because we're enough alike that I can get a long with her but different in ways that pushes me to be better and to try harder. Our Shimaitachi that share the room with us are also amazing! Our whole floor is amazing actually, I've never laughed so hard and talked broken nihongo more than I do in our door way because at night everyone just walks around from room to room with boxes of treats, granola bars, redvines, and whatever they have to share with all the Shimaitachi. I was talking to the 2nd counselor in our branch presidency's wife and told her I am so grateful to be here with all these sisters for the same mokuteki (purpose). You'll never find that anywhere else!
The FOOD. The food here is pretty okay! I thought it'd be like BYUH caf but it's waaaaayyyy better. I can definitely see myself getting sick of it real fast though. We have dinner at 4 every night so you can imagine that by the time 9 o'clock rolls around my doryo and I always detour to the vending machines. Class is really different because there's a lot less instruction than i thought there'd be. We had a 3 hour block yesterday where it was all personal study, and then an hour of personal language study. Please keep me in your prayers with this language, there are so many things I need the Lord to help me with I feel so pathetic!
How are my baby boys doing?? I half expected Harrison to walk into our room my first morning here like he would at home.  Tell Houston I met his friend Elder Hawkes who is so sweet. I was doing laundry and I was kind of in my own world not really awake yet and this young man walks over to me and asks if I'm Houston's sister. It was SO great to hear the name HOUSTON! It woke me right up as I told him he was my little brother and he told me about him. I've met so many wonderful brothers and sisters so far! I also ran into my friend Cory Grohse who is from Samoa but i met her at BYUH. I taught my first investigator in all Japanese yesterday and let's just say I don't want to ever have another first time ever again. I can understand what he was talking about but I can't speak enough for him to understand. So after we taught we were headed back to class kind of disappointed and embarrassed when all of a sudden i heard a loud "HEVYNNNNN!" I looked up the stairwell and she was there!!!! We both freaked out, screaming and hugging and laughing! I definitely needed that uplifting moment for me to get through the rest of the day. She cried, I laughed, we just had a great 10 minutes of catch up. After that I had an amazing rest of my day! We hung out everyday and danced at PCC together and we both decided around the same time that we wanted to serve missions. She's going to the Philipines Sebu...Sabu? mission. I don't know how to spell it. I've met so many missionaries going to the Philipines it's crazy! The elders here are so nice and gentlemanly and the sisters are all outgoing and fun. This is a utopia for young men and young women!
The lowest part of my first 3 days here was definitely the second full day. I have had so many migraines! I don't think it's stress induced or lack of sleep or anything it's just a minor set back. I'm grateful for my doryo though! Black Shimai has been so patient and such a sweet spirit through the last half week. I think we make for an awesome companionship! I really am enjoying my time here taking it one day at a time. Hema was right, the time here at the MTC feels slow but I should take adventage of it now because once I get to Japan I'm going to hit the ground running. My district is awesome! All our elders are hilarious and so smart. Our district leader Gonzalez Choro has been a great leader so far. I got 2 notes that I have packages waiting but I haven't picked them up yet I will after I send this. So thank you in advance for the packages!!!!
The most important thing I've learned so far is a pep talk my sensei gave my companion and I. Watanabe Shimai told us that our purpose is not to learn Japanese. It is to bring others to Christ and japanese is just the tool to get there. She also said that God knows exactly how much Japanese I can speak right now and exactly what I'm capable of and if he needs me to be just a little bit more he'll send me help. I found that extremely comforting as I've been slowly learning to rely on the Lord. I'm not even close to being the perfect missionary yet but if God knows what I'm capable of, and he does, then I'll do all I can to reach that potential.
One more thing! We met our brach presidency Thursday night and my branch President President Johnson....I believe....is in Uncle Hema's ward! I told him to tell Uncle's family I said Hi and I love them. We had interviews with a member of the presidency that night and the counselor that interviewed me was Waites Kyodai or Brother Waites. He's such an lovely man! He told me some stories and we laughed and mingled more than we probably should've but you know me...i can't keep my mouth shut ;) He gave me some advice: Missionaries that keep one foot at home and one foot here don't succeed. We have to dedicated everything we our, our heart, minds, spirits, everything to the Lord while he has us. This is MY mission and no one else can experience it for me so leave your family and your friends at home and be here. I think he was inspired to tell me that because I definitely had my mind at home during those first two days. I'm slowly getting better and wondering less about what the boys are doing, or talking about and thinking more about my investigator and the Lord's work. There's so much I need to work on and so much i need to learn i guess I can't afford to keep half of me at home, I need all of me here! I love you so much mama, thanks for being my mom. I love dad sometimes too... ;) and i love my boys more than everything!!!! Send me lots of pics of their football seasons kudasai, I miss sports a lot. I love Hema and Norma and their willingness to fit me into their busy schedules my last week and a half of being home. I love Heel even though he didn't drop me off at the MTC, haha and I love Housty & Harri more than I think I could love any other boy on this planet!! Be good boys, treat mom right and I'm expecting some exciting letters from you boys!
Love you always,
Heimuli Shimai 

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