10 July 2014 / Erin

Hey everyone!

This past week was super busy but really fun! Okay 4th of July at the MTC is actually really cool. Everyone wore red, white, and blue and I’m sure all of the internationals thought that we were crazy. At night, all of the missionaries gathered together and there were musical numbers, a talk about freedom, and then we watched 17 Miracles. The talk was really cool because the speaker talked about how no matter where we go and what condition the people are living in, we are bringing them true freedom by teaching the gospel. Then we got to go outside and watch the fireworks and hang out until and it was so fun because I love everyone here! Wilson shimai’s mom sent a bunch of 4th of July party stuff (shout out to Mama Wilson) so we had glow sticks and everything. I’m pretty sure all of the missionaries felt a little rebellious because we got to stay outside until 11, instead of the usual 9:30.

It’s been soooo hot here. Last week on pday our district had a picnic outside and then we all played volleyball… but we almost died because it was 98 degrees. Our teachers keep reminding us that it’s going to be worse in Japan when we have to bike around all day. So I should probably be grateful I’m in an air conditioned building all day!

On Monday the group of missionaries ahead of us going to Japan left! So now we’re the next ones to go! I was actually really jealous of them because I feel like I’m ready to go and I can’t wait to get there. So I’m just going to try to focus the next 2 1/2 weeks and learn as much as I can.

On Tuesday, Wilson shimai and I taught our investigator (teacher) like we usually do everyday. Except this lesson was sooooooo funny. In the beginning, Wilson asked him what date he wants to set to be baptized which is”nan nichi”, ‘what date’, but instead she said “nani jin” which is what race. So she asked him what race he wants to be baptized. Our investigators are usually really good when we make mistakes but this time he burst out laughing, and so did I. And for some reason we couldn’t stop laughing at all. I had tears streaming down my face because I was laughing so hard, and every time he would stop laughing he would look at me again and then die laughing again because I was crying. This seriously went on for a few minutes and then finally he broke character and had to leave the room. It was probably the best lesson we’ve had here.

Our other investigator is having Word of Wisdom issues… he owns a bar and coffee shop. He’s committed to keeping the word of wisdom for himself but he said he can’t stop his work. That’s so hard!!!! Our teacher who is our investigator is playing the character of someone he actually taught on his mission. I always wonder how it went in real life.

Our devotional speaker on Tuesday was Neil L. Andersen!! I can’t get over how lucky we are to have such amazing people speak to us all the time. His talk was AMAZING and it was seriously just what I needed. He talked about the Spirit and how it is the guide of the unseen things… and how we are the emissaries of the unseen things (like charity, love, faith, hope, etc.) After devotionals on Tuesdays we have a review with our district and talk about what we learned. One Elder said that from the talk, he kept thinking about the question, “what can I become?” I really loved that and I think it’s something we all need to be constantly thinking.

So the dietary needs room is a hidden gem here. You’re only supposed to use it if you are dairy free or gluten free or have food allergies or whatever, but I sneak in there because they have all of these natural foods that are saving my life. Yesterday I was in there and I started talking with a girl who’s going to Taiwan. She sneaks in there too because she said she usually eats all vegan and so she’s dying here. And then she said that she can’t bring herself to eat the meat here and i was like, NEW BEST FRIEND.

Yesterday all of the new missionaries came in! On the first night, they go to an orientation/workshop where they are in a huge group of 50 people have to teach an “investigator” (a new convert who plays their own self when they were investigating.) They have 2 missionaries who have been at the MTC for a while come in and start the lesson, and demonstrate how to begin teaching. Wilson and I got to do it yesterday! We got hooked up with microphones and everything and I was actually really nervous because I was like, there is nooooooo way I am good enough to be setting an example for these missionaries! But it was really fun. It’s crazy because I remember my first night here and doing the exact same thing. And I remember the two missionaries who started the lesson for us and I was amazed by them and wondered how I could ever get to that stage. And here I am!!! Crazy.

Okay so I am loving it here! This mission, even though it’s only been 6 weeks in the MTC, has been the best experience ever. It’s been hard but it’s so worth it. Before I came I kind of viewed a mission as a sacrifice. But it’s seriously the opposite. It’s honestly the greatest gift and privilege I could ever receive and I feel so blessed to be here! The things I have learned in just 6 weeks have already changed me and the way I will live my life so much. A few days ago our branch president’s wife was talking with us. She said, “right now you’re training to be a missionary, but you’re really training to be an exceptional wife and mother.” It’s so true… I’m already so grateful for how this mission will help my future family! And I’m so excited to help the families and people in Japan!

-Erin shimai

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