Time is flying by waaayyy too quickly! This past Saturday we hit our 1-month mark, I hadn’t even realized until Gazdik shimai informed me and then you said so in your letter, mom! After we realized this, we all felt so weird and a bit sad, but as we talked we committed to have a solid 17! (months of service to the Lord). I am loving the MTC, Gazdik shimai and I always talk about how we love it here, everyone thinks it is a hardship to spend 9 weeks here, but we love it, nothing can compare to the mtc, it is an opportunity that you can only have once in a lifetime, to be in this setting surrounded by so much culture and the spirit that is felt here is undeniable! Well this week nothing too crazy went down, just been working hard and studying. On Sunday, it was pretty sweet, we had a beautiful Relief Society meeting with Sister Marriott who is 2nd counselor in the YW general presidency. She spoke on really working through the spirit. This Sunday’s meetings really helped answer questions Gazdik shimai and I had for our lessons. We also watched a video on the Gift of Teaching by Elder Holland and between these two talks, we felt so enlightened and gained new insight on how to improve our lessons. I have been struggling with working on how to convey what I want to say and conveying it in Nihongo. Sometimes I feel like my feelings and what I want to say is lost in translation. So in preparing lessons, I try and translate my message exactly to how I want to say it, but throughout our lessons, Gazdik shimai and I felt as though we were missing something. After the wonderful talks given on Sunday we realized that we were more focused on conveying our message in Nihongo rather than conveying our message by the spirit. The Spirit always needs to be the third companion in our lessons, so as we had planned out our lessons, we were so exact and almost scripted in our lessons, that we weren’t allowing the spirit to have a say in our lessons. We were bound too tightly by our lesson plan, we realized we were feeding our investigators, but not nourishing them through the spirit. In Elder Holland’s talk, he told a story about deer found dead in a forest, their stomachs were full of food, but because they were not nourished they died, he likened this to teaching by and with the spirit. We can provide investigators with knowledge all we want, but unless they are being nourished by the spirit, they will not become fully converted. After learning this, Gazdik shimai and I have really tried to implement this more in our lessons, and slowly we are noticing the difference and we are learning more about the needs of our investigator. (p.s. our investigators are not real, they are our teachers who portray real investigators, that they had encountered on their own mission. Just in case anyone got confused). If I can offer a friendly suggestion to any of you, it is to ‘check yourself before you wreck yourself’! Take a step back and look at your life and see if you are allowing the spirit to work in you, on a daily basis, you don’t have to be at church or on a mission. We are entitled to feel him everyday, but if we are too tightly bound by the mundane things and schedules of life, we will breeze past the spirit, so try to always seek ways to invite his presence more fully into your life and I promise it will make all the difference and bless you!
Ok 2 things about why Sunday was pretty great, so our branch has 2 districts of 18 people. We are limited on numbers and talent, specifically musical talent! So on Sunday, we have to have a musical number every sacrament meeting and Magalogo and Hood shimai asked me to sing with them. I immediately said no because I strongly dislike singing in public. But then they told me the song they were singing, “If the Way be Full of Trial, Weary Not”. The plan was to sing one verse in Samoan. Well then I had to say, “YES”. Not only did it remind me of my sweet grandparents, but also of when I sang it with my tour guide Ohana at Jimmy and the Mapu’s home to honor Daniel at their home. Memories of the Spirit and comfort I felt for the Mapu family rushed back to me as I sang this song with my shimaitachi on Sunday. It was a great experience and I learned that on missions, you do things you wouldn’t normally do. But all is well because the Lord helps people feel the spirit even if you are completely out of tune and tone deaf like me! 🙂 And for devotional, Bro Allen, who is the missionary managing department, he helps with Missionary programs, temple visitor centers and what not. Well he gave a talk and basically played the old school homefront commercials (if you dont know what this is, they’re the original mormon messages/church commercials) and it was awesome, after each, he would draw the quote given and how it applied to us as missionaries today. While watching these, I thought of when our family was at the LA temple and we watched a bunch of old homefront commercials with Daddy, and how fun it was, I am so grateful for you and Daddy, establishing family time for us and how great of a difference it has made in my life. I really appreciate the sacrifice and time you and Daddy spent with us, thank you……”Family….isn’t it about time? (said in cheesy mormon announcer voice).
So we have 3 Nihonjin here, kaneko shimai, otahara choro and suguwara choro, Gazdik shimai and I have made goals to try and improve our Nihongo by talking with them while they are here for 2 weeks, I have been so scared to talk to them because I am subconscious of my Nihongo, but talking with them has helped so much. I am so excited to be able to serve the Nihonjin! They are so sweet and fun, and learning from these 3 has been a highlight of my week! They really help brighten up my day and improve in my Nihongo! I am so very grateful for my doryo who helps push me and holds me at a high expectation and believes in me and helps instill confidence in me when I feel like I am not getting anywhere, she has been a real blessing to me, we are dreading when we get separated, but hope that it is in the Lord’s will to reunite in the mission field. I have been learning so much about myself this week and at times feel as though I am not improving and that I am not doing or being enough, but I have been so grateful for your daily letters mom, they really help uplift me, my doryo helps pull me through it and I remember the words of the song we sang, if the way be full of trial weary not. I know that through trusting in the Lord I cannot fail, he did not send me on this mission to fail, I have been so blessed to be here! Well, I love you all!
P.S. I GOT TO SEE TASHA WHEN I HOSTED YESTERDAY!!!!! ok it was so perf, I was waiting/looking for her/ avoiding other jobs to see if i could see her, I was about to host an elder cause they didnt have anyone, but luckily an elder came up behind me and took him, just as I turned around I ran int ochauni saying natalie?…it took me a second and I screamed and jumped up to grab her and tasha, I took them from her host and had to give all of my fave keil cousins a huge hug, they of course rushed us off but I was so grateful the Lord blessed me with a tender mercy 1 nephi 1:20 i think….We talked for a lil while and then I had to put her on her bus to west campus with the other spanish speaking missionaries, but was so, so, so, so grateful the Lord allowed me to see her, even if I was being bad avoiding assignments to try to steal time with her. Kuiaratame is real people!
p.s.s. please send aunty sally pics of tash and I and tell her I promise I will take care of her and look after her, dont worry about a thing! I love them all and am so sorry I didnt get a chance to talk to them but I love em!