Monday, April 29, 2013
These images are of our farewell at the Mission Training Center on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.
On Saturday, April 27, 2013 Sister Johnson wrote:
Konnichiwa, Mina san!
What a wild ride this has been so far! I am now in my fourth day at the MTC, and I can't even begin to describe everything that I have been feeling. My first day here was crazy; I have never been so overwhelmed in my entire life. Japanese is crazy-hard, but I am amazed at the amount I have learned in just four days. I have the BEST doryo (companion) ever! Her name is Tuikolovatu Shimai (Sister Tui), and she is from San Diego! She is part Tongan, and part Japanese, but mostly American. ;) I love her to death already; she is quickly becoming one of my most treasured friends. Tui Shimai is 19 years old and has such a fire about her. She knows her Savior and loves Him, just as I do. The rest of my district is really great, too! We consist of six Shimaitachi (sisters) and four chorotachi (elders). Six of us are going to Sendai and the rest are going to Tokyo. Surprisingly, I am not the oldest Shimai here! There are three in my district who are already 21, and they ALL have experience speaking Japanese already. Tui Shimai and I feel very left-behind in class, but we are learning at our own pace, so it's going mostly well!
Class is hectic. Our teacher is Todd Kyodai (Brother Todd). He will not speak to us in English, like, at all. And it's frustrating. But, immersion is the best way to learn a language, so... Yeah. He's really nice though, and encourages me to try harder and be the best Shimai I can be. We spend at least three hours a day in class, and the rest of the time, I am trying to learn how to study a language. I have never been good at studying, and so these last four days have been incredibly difficult for me. Yesterday, we were instructed to teach our first investigator, Kato-San, IN JAPANESE! It was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. Tui Shimai and I could not remember anything we had learned, and when Kato-San responded to our questions, we could not understand a THING he was saying to us. I managed to get out a very, VERY simple testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and then we left, and I cried. A lot. It was a hard night. Today, we had the opportunity to teach Kato-San again, and we had time to plan and prepare more. I have learned that it doesn't matter if I say correct sentences, just that Kato-San can feel the Spirit and know that his Heavenly Father loves him. All that matters is Kato-San, not me. I am slowly learning how to lose myself in the work and trust in and follow the Spirit, and I know that as I try even harder, the Spirit will take over completely.
I am so grateful for the experience I've had here in the MTC so far. It definitely hasn't been easy, and it's the first time in my life that I've been homesick, but I know that if I keep working diligently, and that if I learn to forget about myself and go to work that the Lord will bless me and my efforts. I know that my Savior is real, and I love Him with all my heart. :)
Iesu Kirisuto ga Sukuinushi da to akashi shimasu! (I testify that Jesus Christ is the Savior!) Ganbatte kudasai! (Work hard, good luck, fight on!)
Sayanora! Watashi wa ai shite imasu! (I love you!)
-Johnson Shimai :)