Thursday, January 22, 2015

Konnichiwa!! Week One!

Konnichiwa Kazoku! 

Where do I begin?? This week has felt like eternity. It's really hard to explain but the hours go by super fast but if feels like there are 100 hours in a day. I absolutely LOVE the MTC. It already feels like I never had a life before it. I feel like I haven't seen you guys in forever but it's only been one week! I'm sorry you didn't get my letter until Tuesday, I'm glad you finally got it though! The first couple of days were really rough. I didn't realize how difficult the language would be but I just have to keep reminding myself that I have only been here a week. I honestly think I have learned more Japanese in a week than I learned Spanish in two years! As of now I speak Japanglish. Yes, that's Japanese and English mixed up. We try to speak as much Nihongo as we can to get used to it. I'm sorry if my emails don't make sense. I have formed the habit of filling in a lot of Nihongo words whenever I write. Whenever people ask me a question I say "Hai" because that's "yes" in Japanese and they just look at me funny because they just think I said Hi to them and then I have to correct myself. 

So, my doryo (companion) is Coughanour Shimai (sister). She is from Portland, Oregon and I love her to death! I honestly know there is inspiration behind choosing companions because everyone in my district is perfect for each other! A lot of people think we look like sisters. We have really similar personalities and we work well together. I love my district! There are 8 Shimaitachi (sisters) and only 2 choros (elders). We are like a little family and we feel like we've all known each other our whole lives. Every single companionship is perfect for each other. Caton Choro is very good at Nihongo and is our tutor when our Sensei isn't there. Newey Choro is a goofball and super funny. He reminds me exactly of Saka from Avatar the Last Airbender. I love all the sisters. In my dorm room there are my companion and me, Hubbard Shimai and Chapman Shimai and two sisters from Australia. I can't remember how to write their names. They have actually known each other their whole lives and are companions both going to Nihon!

Something really sad happened Monday night. Well, last week one of the Australian sisters was sick and we thought she had the flu and she said Tuesday she was going to a specialist. Well, Monday night she was crying so we all went to her bed and it turns out before her mission the doctors said she couldn't go on her mission because she might have a disease that could lead to Leukemia. Somehow she went anyways because she has such a strong desire to serve the Lord. Today she is getting tested so we hope all goes well. I feel so bad for her and I hope she will be healthy enough to serve. She has such a sweet testimony and I love her so much. 

I absolutely love my zone! They are so helpful and awesome. The sister training leaders are a sister from Hawaii and one from England. The one from England (Martin Shimai) is originally from Portugal and will be speaking Portuguese in Japan, but is still learning Japanese here. They are so awesome and supportive. Every night we go in one room and say a prayer together. We spin a bottle and whoever it points to says the prayer. I've said it twice already. Its really fun. My branch presidency is awesome! They are all so spiritual and one couple is actually the Schulthess' cousins! Small world! Sacrament meeting is so fun. Most of it is in Japanese and the President actually served his mission in Japan. They tell us to prepare a talk every week because they might ask you to speak in sacrament meeting.  Well, on Sunday, they said Brooks Choro and I thought he was about to call my name! I got so scared. I did prepare a talk, but I was too nervous so I'm glad it wasn't me! 

The language is so hard! I was struggling a lot the first couple of days. I found a couple scriptures and they are 2 Nephi 32:2-3 and D&C 11: 21. They talk about how we must first obtain the words of Christ and then we will have the gift of tongues through the Spirit. I realized that I would spend every moment I could trying to learn the language and hardly anytime doing personal scripture study. So I set goals to only focus on language study during set times. I love my teachers, but sometimes they move on too fast and things just go over my head, but I just need to learn to have patience in myself. I've already taught 4 lessons and we have another one tonight. I can hardly understand a thing Aoyagi San says, but I can understand more and more each time. Its just really hard because he asks us a question and we have no idea how to respond. Its so hard because when I know what he wants to know, I don't know how to answer him. I just need to keep relying on the Lord. Sunday Coughanour Shimai and I were asked to say the prayer for the New Sisters meeting, but I wish it was for the devotional Tuesday where Elder BALLARD spoke! He gave an awesome lesson on how we need to learn how to be bold and share our testimonies. One thing that really hit me was when he said "You are now full time servants of the Lord." That really spoke to me because I am here for the Lord and not for myself and I need to always remember that. 

Sunday night we listened to a recording of Elder Bednar speaking on the Character of Christ and it was AMAZING. He gave the suggestion that we should buy a cheap Book of Mormon and have one question in mind and read it so we can find our answer. I'm going to start that today. 

Funny story real quick! Yesterday me and my companion went in a different room to focus on our lesson and we skipped lunch! When we realized what time it was we ran to the cafeteria and grabbed a bowl of ice cream and crackers. We were so hungry the rest of the day!

I love and miss you all so much! Thank you for everything. I love my mission and I am so honored to be serving the Lord. There is no other place I'd rather be. I am learning so much right now and I can't wait to continue to learn and grow my testimony! Matta ne! Aishitemasu!

Lacey Shimai

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