26 June 2014 / Anna

OMG tomorrow is our halfway point. 31 more days left!! I really hope it flies by…
This week was great! I seriously love the MTC/missionary life. Smith Shimai and I were joking that after our missions we are going to go on tour and convince everybody to go on a mission. It’s the best thing ever.
This week Smith Shimai and I got a new companion!! On Tuesday we went to the main office building with the ZL to pick up our new batch of nihonjin (Japanese)… only 3 this time! 2 elders and a solo sister. In class she’ll be a trio with the elders but outside of that my Branch President asked Smith Shimai and I to her her companion. The awesome thing is that she is SO happy. Seriously the genkiest (most energetic) nihonjin I have ever met. She doesn’t speak any English but we are able to converse and are already really good friends. Kaneko Shimai is from a city in the Fukuoka mission… Kagoshima? She is going to serve in Sapporro and her younger sister is in Tokyo South right now so we are destined to be bff’s.
The kohai (newbies) are doing well! 9 of the elders graduated from high school just 2 weeks ago… the other 2 are 23!!! Definitely an interesting group. Ideally every 3 weeks a new group of Japanese missionaries should enter the MTC. Everyone in my district is going to the 4 southern missions in Japan, and our kohai are all going to the Northern 3 missions in Japan and we should be getting new missionaries in 3 weeks going to the southern missions… see how it works? Except there aren’t that many missionaries coming in usually so sometimes there’s a 6 week gap. The nihonjin are here for just 2 weeks.
The mission president’s seminar this past week was crazy… everything was on lock-down and the missionaries didn’t have access to half of campus. Plus we got all the left-overs… it was rough. However, our building has a prime view of the parking lot where the Quorum of the 12 and the First Presidency exit each day. So each day might district would gather around the window and stare at the 6 or so audi’s parked outside the main building. We got to see some of the 12!!! Erin somehow bypassed security and sat on a bench while Pres. Monson, Eyring and Uchtdorf passed by. Crazy! On Tuesday night I walked into the devotional room and 6 of the 12 apostles were on stage! Elders Christofferson, Andersen, Oaks, Nelson, Bednar and Ballard. Christofferson gave the devotional and it was so crazy to be so close to all of them.

Yesterday a man I have never seen before walked into my classroom and said “Can I please talk with Sister Gazdik?” He looked very official and my first thought was that the MTC had decided to send me straight to Japan the next day or something. No such luck! However, he did say that Elder Wong wanted to meet with Erin and I that night. Elder Wong and his wife came by later and they were so nice! He showed us pictures from his iPad of his Sunday with you. He also said that Julia was a very funny girl.
Some more highlights from this week: Janice Kapp Perry gave devotional on Sunday and it was THE FUNNIEST devotional yet. Let’s just say it included a kiss between her and her husband on stage. On Saturday my district was playing volleyball on one court and Erin’s district was playing on the court right next to us. One of the elders in Erin’s district served and his newly custom-made ring flew off of his hand and somewhere in the sand. All 20 of us missionaries searched the sand for almost 30 min and couldn’t find it. Finally someone thought to say a prayer. I was just standing in the sand running my feet back and forth and something caught on my toe… it was the ring!! Everyone cheered and it was so funny/exciting/amazing. My whole district is becoming really good friends… Okazaki Choro already has a big canoeing trip planned for all us BYU people when we get back.
The Japanese is going so well! Smith Shimai and I have really figured out how to maximize our Daily Planning time and we use those 30 minutes to really pray and talk about our investigators needs. After that we’ll make a “lesson plan” which is now just finalizing the follow-up/commitments we will give. After that we are able to go into a lesson and teach straight in Japanese. No notes needed! I’m really lucky because Smith Shimai is really smart and can pick up the Japanese easily.
I think that is it! Have a great week!

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