Monday, May 6, 2013
May 4, 2013
On Saturday, May 4 Sister Johnson wrote:
Good morning from Utah!
Well, today is Preparation Day! The sun is shining, I have freshly-done laundry, and I get to sit here and tell you all about the life of Shakira as Johnson Shimai!
This week has been so eventful and has FLOWN by! I can't believe how fast it went! I am starting to get into a groove finally, and am feeling less out of my element, so that is making life better. My first few days in the MTC were really rough, not going to lie. I felt like I was suffocating and that I could not be myself AT ALL! It got to the point where on Sunday night, I lost it. I cried for hours and hours until I was all dried out. The stress was so much that it even made me physically sick! And now I have laryngitis and no voice! :( Sunday night was hard, and I spent about an hour on my knees (in the bathroom... gross) begging Heavenly Father to give me some comfort and some confirmation that I was doing the right thing and that's it's okay to be who I am. I went to bed, and even though I was really sick the next day, I decided that I'm going to laugh and have humor and have fun in my life, and that has made ALL the difference! I have had a smile on my face all week and I can see the influence that sunshine has on those around me. What a great thing to know that Heavenly Father loves me for me!
We finished teaching Kato-San this week! We invited him to be baptised, but he said no. Well, actually he said something along the lines of "baptism is a very big step, and I need to make a few smaller steps before I can make a covenant with God." Granted, he was speaking perfect Japanese, so I could be totally wrong about that... Haha, but it was a great experience. I really was able to feel the love that Heavenly Father has for Kato-San and I think that Tui Shimai and I were able to communicate that effectively. The day after we finished teaching, our teacher announced that we would be having a new teacher, and guess who it was! Kato-San! Well, his real name is Kosaka Sensei, but it was really cool to see him speak English when he came to teach us. It's great having a native speaker as a teacher, as well as an English speaker.
The language is coming along! I really need to learn better study habits, but I can now read one of the two (that are actually used) Japanese alaphabets! I don't really know what it says, but at least I can read the characters! One of my goals for this week is to learn how to read and speak with more understanding and fluidity. We'll see how it goes! We finally starting learning about how the Japanese language actually works! The other day we talked about conjugations and some basic sentence structures. I have learned that the first few days in the MTC are meant to stress you out and try and test your resolve to be here. I really don't like that. It took a toll on my body. But! Now I am actually learning and it's going better.
My very favorite part of class is when we talk about the fundamentals of teaching as a missionary. That means for about two hours or more a day, we talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I absolutely love that! It's my favorite part about being here. I love talking about and testifying of Jesus Christ. That's why I'm here. That is my purpose as a missionary. It is Johnson Shimai's special assignment from Heavenly Father! It's really simple and I think that it's one of my missions to be here and help people understand that Jesus Christ is what it's really all about. He's it. Everything else is secondary.
I forgot to mention this last week, but I have been assigned as a senior companion! What that means is that it is my responsibility to watch out for the well-being and progress of Tui Shimai, and that I am to hold companionship inventories and make sure we are doing everything to the best of our ability. It's a good thing, and I really appreciate the opportunity I have to love unconditionally! Hopefully it will help me focus more in the coming weeks.
I wanted to write about my district because they are seriously the best. You already know about Tui Shimai and how awesome she is! There are four other sisters: Luk Shimai, George Shimai, Thomas Shimai, and Miskin Shimai. Sister Luk is from Hong Kong! Japanese is her fourth language and she is probably the cutest person ever. I adore her. George Shimai is from Rexburg, Idaho, and so so small and quiet. She finally started opening up to us, and I love the things that she has to say. She's a modern dancer and is so cute. Thomas Shimai is from right here in Spanish Fork, Utah! She's a chemistry major at U of Utah, and is wonderful. She is so diligent and I really admire that about her. Miskin Shimai is from Hollister, California and is a RUGBY PLAYER! How cool is that?! We love talking about rugby and about all sorts of other things. She is so kind, and she's half Japanese so she helps us all out so much with the language. I really appreciate her. There are four elders in our district: Elders Sellers, Bradley, Sharman, and Connell. Elder Sellers is from Gilbert, Arizona and is one of the funniest people here! He is a musician and loves puns. He is a great missionary too. Elder Bradley is from Canada and is so awesome! At first, he was really quiet, but him and Elder Sellers are our class clowns. They are so hilarious together, and they eat about 12 donuts between the two of them each day. Elder Sharman is also from Gilbert, Arizona. He is a creative writer and is so witty. He is our district leader and always helps me study. I appreciate him. Elder Connell is from Seattle, and is so much fun! Him and I have a trade-off that he will help me learn vocab and hirigana and I will help him learn to read and understand music! The other day we spent about an hour quizzing each other and I got to teach him theory! That was one of the greatest days this week. He is awesome. On Tuesday night, we gathered together as a district to discuss the devotional (President Packer's son spoke about family), and we ended up having a wonderful testimony meeting about the truth of eternal families. I learned a lot about the other senkyoshi and we really bonded as a district. The Spirit confirmed to me that this is where I'm supposed to be.
My second favorite thing about the empty sea (MTC...haha) is gym time! All we do here is sit, sit, SIT! So it is beyond nice to go out and be crazy and play and run and cycle. I love getting all my energy out.
I want to thank all of those who have been writing me letters and sending me dearelder mail. They seriously are my lifeline, and I really appreciate and feel your love. Please keep sending them! I miss you all so much. I hope that you take some time to find joy in your own life and that you think about the little things that really matter most. Love those around you and always uplift and give encouragement. Keep on the sunny side and always serve others with a loving optimism! I know that as you do this, you will find greater happiness and joy in the world around you. :)
Ai shite imasu!