Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I love the MTC!

Dear Family and Friends,

I love the MTC!! It took the first few days to get used to things/adjust to the schedule here, but I'm starting to get the hang of it and I love it! I found out when I got here that I am the only sister that came in with all the new missionaries (every 6 weeks a new set of missionaries come in. We call them kohai--"jrs"). That means that I am a solo missionary. I still have a companion, Nielson Shimai (Sister Nielson) but she's already been here for 6 weeks and is in a different district/class. We spend our p-days (preparation day--Tuesdays) together, gym and service time together, and walk to our building together. Then, I just stay with my district for the rest of the day. There are 8 of us total in my district, with 2 two-people companionships and one 3-some companionship. When we teach, I team up with another companionship of elders.

Nielson Shimai is amazing--kind, and she knows a lot about the MTC and the Japanese language. I feel lucky to learn from her! She and I are the only 2 sisters in the MTC right now studying Japanese--she is also a "solo missionary." The Elders (Chorotachi) in my district are great. It took a little getting used to at first--being around only elders when I thought I'd always have a sister companion--but now it's great and we all learn from eachother. My Japanese teachers (Sensei) are AMAZING--not only do they know how to teach the language well, but they know how to teach us to teach others and do it with so much power!

I've loved the firesides and large group meetings we have--they are all so inspiring, and I feel the Spirit so strongly during them! We've learned and felt the importance of so many things--obedience--when we're obedient we are blessed! I know this is true and I'm doing my best to be obedient--even down to the rules like being in bed, eyes closed at 10:30 PM. The blessing that comes with this is strength to get through the next day--this is just one example of the great blessings of obedience! I've learned that without obedience to the mission rules, I will not have power to teach and do the Lord's work!

So many of the firesides have taught about the importance of missionary work--I feel so strongly here the need for missionary work! I am doing all I can to prepare to do this most important work, saving the souls of the children of men. I encourage all of you to do so too--both their happiness and ours depends on it.

We have 2 blocks of classes per day, about three hours each, and one "MDT" time, where we have personal study/companionship study/language study. The first day of class, when we started introductions I was so overwhelmed because all of the Elders in my district, except for two, had had previous experience in Japanese--they had either lived there or taken it in high school! I felt behind--but later that night I talked to my old roomate, Sister Stevens (who lives on my floor!!!) and she told me that a similar thing had happened to her when she first got here. She said that you can ONLY compare yourself to YOURSELF and not to others--that as long as you are doing your best and are learning and growing, the Lord will bless you! I know this to be true, and each day I've tried my best to learn what I am capable of--and many times I've found the Lord has blessed me to learn even more than I normally could.

The cafeteria food is not too bad, but nothing beats my mom's cooking:). I understand how some elders gain weight here--with all the food they pile on their trays! We'll see whether or not I do:). I got the 'Dear Elder letter' mom, dad, Becca, and Michael--it was so great and made my day!! I love all of you so much, and I know God will bless you while I am away.

The church is true!! I knew that before, but now I see it even more clearly and feel it every day. That is why I am here, giving a year and a half of my life to serve the Lord! Pray to know that God is there, read the scriptures--they are so amazing and can answer every question in life!! I know Jesus Christ is our Savior, that he died and atoned for our sins. I know Heavenly Father (God) loves us SO much! He wants the best for each of us! His gospel is what brings us the greatest happiness in life!

Swain Shimai (Sister Swain)

P.S. Dad--I've already memorized all the Hiragana:).

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