(If you are just starting to read I recommend starting at week 6 because I haven't updated in a while- Claire)
So as you saw from the title, we have three weeks left in the MTC. In one week, we get our flight plans. In two weeks more kohai are coming. In three weeks, I'll be writing you from Japan! I have to bite my tongue for saying in the last letter that I was glad you didn't send food...Because I loved the salsa! It was frozen when I opened the box, so at least you know it was refrigerated. I shared some with the chorotachi and several of them said that it was the best salsa they've ever had. I had some at every meal. It was gone in a day. Thanks for sending it. I did some math the other day. Right now, about 15% of the MTC is sister missionaries. Here in Provo there are a little over 2000 missionaries, so that means there's about 300 sister missionaries. By the end of the summer, the MTC president said, the Provo MTC is going to go up to 8,000 capacity and half of them will be sisters. Wow. As for scripture cases, I'd like one from home. The ones here aren't very attractive in my opinion. I could actually do with two, one for my english set and one for my japanese set. The english ones are the same size as Claire and Erin's, but the Japanese are a little bit bigger. I don't have the dimensions on me though... If you can't get them done, don't worry about it. Just let me know so that I can purchase one here. Also, please remember to remind the bank that I will be leaving the country in a few weeks.
We were doing laundry and decided to fold our laundry and sit in the overflow instead of leave it to be crumpled in order to be in the main building. Of course that night it was Elder Holland. He gave a great devotional despite us being in a different room. He talked about making sure that we convert ourselves by the end of the mission. Dan Jones was one of the first missionaries to England and Wales and one of the greatest missionaries ever. I wonder if he converted the first of the Hodson line, since I know that he came from there. We dubbed the green pajama pants pa-genie pants because they look like genie pants. Sister Watanabe did a dance in them that was quite funny.
The new sisters are louder still. I read that the applications for a mission went from 700 a week to 4000 a week. I don't know if it's still going like that or if it's tapered off a little, but I know that a lot are on their way.
AT 6 AM SOME ONE GOT ON THE PA JUST TO SAY "there will be no workers in your building today." Why was that necessary I ask (with no expectation of receiving an answer)? We did a home-style self exercise program in the hallway led by yours truly. It was a lot of fun. A couple of sisters came up to me the next day and said "I'm so sore, but I'm so excited for next Thursday!" I looked at temples online. The San Diego temple looks like a story book castle! The Cardston Alberta temple looks like a fortress. There are so many beautiful temples. Todd sensei and Taylor sensei (YAY) subbed for our class that afternoon. They had to hide their faces because they are the new districts' investigators and the new districts don't know that they are teachers yet. Todd sensei would hide his face behind the manual every time someone walked past the door. A couple of other people got packages so we were all stuffed on home food (like salsa!). I passed off my memorization of the First Vision in Japanese.
The cafeteria building's fire alarm went off just as we walked in for lunch. We had to wait an hour before we were cleared to go back. Ah well. Se le vie. We had an "English fast" where we didn't say any english all day. It worked kinda well for about half the day and then we broke down and started using english again. It was enlightening to know how little we use Japanese and how much we use English. The kohai found out that their investigators are their teachers. Blew their minds.
Taylor sensei subbed again! It was nice to teach him again. We taught the same person over skype during TRC. He said that Le Mis was an enlightening experience. I can't wait to see it. Nishimura Shimai got "baptized!" Sandberg Shimai popped in and said "I got baptized! Wohoo!" and then popped out again.
Our district shared how/where we were when we opened our calls. It was a good bonding experience. We watched a devotional by Elder Oaks that talked about desires. He said that in order to be a missionary, you have the challenge to change, achieve, and become. So how do you become a missionary? Take a CAB. He said that in order to truly do these things we had to have a true desire. I also learned that Sister Oaks and Sister Nelson both served their missions in Japan! I wonder how many others do...The new mission president's wife said that she believes the true lyrics to "Called to Serve" are "Akward, ever akward" because missionaries can be in some strange situations. We finally watched President Monson's B-day celebration via lds.org. I loved the version of "Bring Him Home" and "76 Trombones." During relief society, Sister Wixom (General Relief Society Pres) shared this story: When her husband was a mission president, she would chat with the companions of the missionaries in interviews with him. One elder said "I have to show you this!" He pulled out a paperback Book of Mormon with large teeth marks in it. He said that a dog was coming at him to bite him and it was either his leg or his BoM. He chose the book. The bite went clear through to 2 Ne 17. Sister Wixom said "Ah. Even the dog stops at Isaiah."
The new Japanese natives came! There are two shimai and 5 choro. We escorted the two shimai around for the rest of the day. They are both very cute and in high spirits. One gave us some dried squid jerky. I liked it, but Abraham Shimai couldn't get over the look of it. Two of the new choro shared their conversion stories. They gave me hope for my work. We ate earlier because the shimai were very hungry from their plane ride. As such, our Russian missionary friends were able to sit next to us, but unfortunately they were doing an "english fast" too. They gave up about halfway through dinner. The first bit was funny, trying to communicate from Japanese to English to Russian. In class, we prepared to teach about faith, but unexpectedly it turned to the Book of Mormon. Amazingly, without any preparation, Abraham Shimai and Miller Shimai bore their testimonies, explained blessings, and over all taught a very powerful lesson on the Book of Mormon. I am so happy for this.
We did inititories again. Temple food still amazing. I will miss it, but definitely not as much as I am excited to eat Japanese food. In the sack lunch line, an elder just keeled over in a faint. I don't know where his companion was, but no one knew him or if he had any medical problems like diabetes. The campus security and EMT's were called. I hope he's ok. It kind of scared Abraham Shimai. Stephanie Richey works at the MTC barbershop. I bumped into her and she recognized me. She had to get back to her next appointment, but I think I will go get my hair cut next week just so that we can visit.
Thinking of you,
P.S. Happy early Birthday, Erin