Saturday, November 30, 2013

Whoa!!! I am half way done!!!

BEFORE THE REAL ENTRY: It has occurred multiple times this week that I have sent a letter to friends and then the very next day, received a letter from them. So, Amelia and Steph, those notes were just hello notes and not responses. Responses are coming!

Okay, back to the entry.

And it came to pass that in  the 28th day if the 11th month of the 5th year of the reign of Obama, there was much rejoicing throughout the land.  (IU wish I came up with that one, but another shimai did)

So, Thanksgiving in the MTC is amazing! Thanksgiving and birthday in the MTC is amazing!

We had Russell M. Nelson and his adorable wife speak to us that morning. It was so awesome! He is a totally normal guy who is going by the Spirit on everything (aren't we all) We keep hearing about being more confident, which is something I need to work on- boldly proclaiming the Gospel and not worrying about my Japanese so much.

Speaking of Japanese, it is going rather well. If you take it one day at a time and trying to learn as much as possible and pray with all you got, then it turns out very very very well. Although, FUN fact, we received emails from the senkyoshi who just left for Nihon and...are you ready?.... one of their gaijin trainers has been out for 5 months and has trained 3 people. That is in the Kobe mission, but we have heard that is quite common in Japan as a whole due to the lack of sister missionaries. I am praying my face off.
So, we had a turkey lunch, then all walked to the Temple as a District. I love my district so MUCH! As long as no one starts quoting "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" we all stay very focused. It was so peaceful to be at the Temple and to feel peace there. Not just "ohmygoodness I am in the outside world" peace, but just... it's indescribable to those who haven't felt it and to those who have felt it cannot express it. And, if I may be so bold, I believe we have all felt God in our lives. So, then we came back and I distributed the old man cakes according to personality. It was very fun. We then had sack dinners (so employees could go have dinner with their families), did a HUGE service project! I bagged lentils. I am very talented at that. Actually, I will add that to my list of talents:

1.Making lists
2. Finding my own talents
3.Bagging lentils

So that was very rewarding. We did it for kids in Utah who don't have food over the weekend. 

Then we watched the film "Ephraim's Rescue"- as if 17 Miracles didn’t make you CRY ENOUGH. Seriously, it was bad. Dansie Shimai had to put up with me complaining about people dying it in the movie for the rest of the night.

But she is so awesome! She asked what our family did for Birthday traditions, and I let the one about the Birthday fairy slips. So, that night, she put a note on the floor and spread packages of candy all over it so when I woke up in the morning, it was there! She is so cool! I would like to be more like her.

That was my birthday/thanksgiving. Everyone was very nice. I hope everyone's thanksgiving was very good. And I am glad so much family was able to come down for thanksgiving weekend.

So, for the rest of the week...OH! Yesterday, to unstress ourselves, we learned how to say this:

"So, doyatte dōbutsu ni taberu koto mitai desu ka?" "chakaii mitte kudasai."
 (Hey, do you want to see how animals eat their food? Watch closely.) Yes, it did make our days. It was wonderful!

The language is an adventure. We had a sensei who is Nihonjin say to use that Japanese is hard. But i think that's apart of the point. We are asked to do very heard things so we can grow. And I want nothing more than to be over there telling people about the Gospel. And how they don't have to be sad.

Well, sorry this entry is a little everywhere. But I am so grateful to be in the MTC and doing this. I know this is what I am supposed to be doing.

Ya'll are awesome! ai shite masu!

Molen Shimai

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Treasured Experiences

I wish I had a little box. One of those old Victorian ones that are really intricate and delicate. One that I could take with me everywhere. And, whenever i had an experience (good or bad) I'd open it and hide it away in there. So that, when I see you, I could open it and have you see all of the great and marvelous things that have happened. Every emotion. Everything. So that you would know exactly what a mission is like. 
But, I trust, that hopefully words will be enough (grrr. I want maho! [magic]) But until unicorns are proven real and experience boxes are found, I will just have to write the best I can.
Which kinda stinks.


Last week, the Nihonjin left the MTC for Japan. They were only here for two weeks, but considering that they know Japanese pretty well, it doesn't surprise me. Last Sunday during study hour we heard them singing. So, Iordacheschu Choro (the Doctor Who lover) got this awesome idea to go over to them and ask how to sing the mystery song in the Nihongo hymn book (I had such a pretty dream, Mama) But when we walked in with with our hymnbooks, they automatically assumed the best and told us the next hymn were were going to sing. So we sang with them in Nohingo for the next hour. It was by far one of the coolest experiences ever! Then one of them said, "We should do the EFY medley!" And I totally understood her! (Just kidding on that one. It took us five minutes of our kindergarten Nihongo and their 3rd grade Eigo to figure out what we would do. Gestures and humming were involved. We should have done interpretive dance!) But when we did it (1/2 in Eigo, 1/2 Nihongo) the Spirit was SO strong. It was like a wave of something came into the room and everyone started to tear up. We couldn't explain it (much less to one another) but we all felt it! It was beautiful!

On Sunday, we had Mary Ellen Edmunds speak. You know, no big deal. I just freaked out. Dansie Shimai was very nice. And then she heard her speak. And now she's in love with her, too. (If you don't know Mary Ellen Edmunds, look her up. She's hilarious)  That we needed to be nice to each other at all times. She also spoke about her mission and how she chose to be happy! It was just- Agh! Phenomenal. It really helped me get through the week.

And we got more teachers! They are all students at BYU.  We got Clark Shimai (Sister Shimai!) Which means,  not ONLY do we have another female in the room (yoshu!)  but we also get hugs from one of our teachers! When you're on a mission (to avoid awkwardness) you only hug those of your same gender. So when our other sensei go around the room they give the chorotachi monster hugs and slap their back and hit their face and weird choro-bonding stuff. And when they got to us- BOOM. Handshake. So now we get hugs in class. It is good. :D

On Wednesday we hosted for the first time. That means we help brand new senkyoshi when they arrive at the MTC. It was really awesome to help out my akachan! (I call them that, because, frankly, they are super cute) So that was awesome. It was also interesting to see how much I have grown since first arriving here. I still know very little Nihongo, but I am understanding it more.  I will host again this week as well!

So, during one of our lessons, we asked our investigator how he liked reading D&C 121. He then paused and asked us "Why Josefu Sumisu was in Liberty Jail?"
Well... I know how to say he's a prophet, that Heavenly Father called him, and how to say dinner, but I literally knew NO TANGO to say, "Well, he was treated unfairly and was persecuted because he was a prophet of God. Even now the government has issued apologies for the way members of our church were treated back in the 1800's." (If you would like more information about this fact. Watch the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie on It may make you cry)

I am trying to read the Morumon Sho in Japanese. I love that book so much. Like, seriously. It answers every question. In the world. I dare you. That;'s right. I dare you to come up with a question and then find the answer in the Book of Mormon. I testify it is there. I know it. It is amazing and heart stopping and peaces confirming. It has helped me with doctrinal questions, with learning Japanese (reading it in English and Nihongo, of course), feeling sad, being frustrated, or even being homesick. It helps with the most poiganant of joys and the most dire of circumstances. Read it when happy, you get happier. Read it when sad, you feel comforted. I purchased a tiny one and take it with me everywhere. It is so cool! Seriously. Morumon Sho. Tell your friends.

Okay, Morumon Sho rant over (Well, not really. That could have been this whole post, but I am out of time)

The Lord loves everyone. Seriously. That means He loves you. So stop beating yourself up and talk to Him! He wants to hear from everyone- even someone as imperfect as me. I can say that this is His church, because it is. It makes sense in my atama and my kokoro. It is real. And it can make anyone happy.

Okay, off I go. Attempting to learn Japanese and praying my face off as I do it. But the Lord will help me. Hopefully, we won't accidentally share the wrong scripture. :D

Ever Onwards,
Molen Shimai

Monday, November 18, 2013

Life is an Adventure

The MTC (like life in general, and probably the rest of my mission) is a roller coaster. Some days I feel like a whole lot and some days I feel like I've learned nothing. Some days I know Nihongo and others I don't. But during my darkest times this past week, the quote by President Hinckley's Father has been bombarding my thoughts: 
Forget yourself and go to work.
That is not a very easy principle. There's a lot of things that can hurt your pride. I know mine was a few times. But now I am better  :) I also think of Majorie Hinckley's quote (I'm on a Hinckley high. It's kinda like drugs, but with the Spirit. And you don't die.) "You can either get through life laughing or crying. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.

So that language is musakashi, but I suppose...that's rather the point. If it was easy, then why would I need the Lord to get through this? I think of Nephi's faith: "If the Lord has done all of this, then why can't He help me to build a ship?" (Something like that. Molen Shimai New Translated version) And a ship is built on piece at a time.
Because the work-others we want to serve- is really all that truly matters, isn't it? That's what the Savior did- not mope about things. He Just Acted.
As a class we were teaching one of our sensei, and he at the front fo the class, doing well acting as one of his kyudosha (investigator). And I thought he was asking about why Christ had to die, so I found 2 Nephi 2:6-7 in the Eigo Morumon Sho, half-way shoved it at Dansie Shimai and said, "Look it up for me." So she did, and I looked at him and asked, "Utamawa, do you wonder why Iesu Kirisuto had to die?" And he paused and said, "Yes. I was wondering." So I gave it to Him. Half way through reading it his ears got really red. Like, it was crazy. I thought he felt like crying. Because I was feeling it, Dansie Shimai was feeling it. The class was feeling it, until he looked up with a red face and started spurting off all of this Nihongo I didn't understand. So I tried, and stared, and tried and stared, and that went on for a while until a choro kicked in. Utamawa also said the word, "sad" and I knew that one! I just learned it! Unfortunately, no one else had learned it, so everyone was flipping through this dictionaries. Moe choro was sharing something very inspiring about Jesus Christ loving us and how we can be happy from it. At that moment, his companion, Iordachescu choro (Your-da-kes-ku), looked up from his dictionary and practically yelled "It's sad!" At that point our teacher absolutely lost it. 
So what REALLY happened was the Kyudosha asked about commandments and if killing was one, and we flipped to 1 Nephi 1:6-7. So that was confusing. And then he said Moe Choro was really helping him until Iorachescu..(honestly, I don't even know how to spell it, but he's cool) yelled in the middle of class. SO that was the adventure lesson of the week. To be frank, it was pretty hilarious. 
Now is the time to make mistakes, take chances, and get messy! And, frankly, most of them are quite fun.
Our district is all a little stressed, so if you help pray for all of us that would be great. We are getting to the point where those who took classes before hand are started to get into new territory and those who had no formally training are entirely lost all together. But the discussion I had with Meyers Shimai about verbs has really helped me. So I will bake her a hypothetical cake as a big thank you.
This is real. Jesus Christ is real and wants to listen. Even, no, especially to people who feel like they have messed up or fallen off the wagon. Because He cares about them and can make them happy. He has made me happy. Watashi was Kono Kyokai ga shinjitsu da to shitte imasu. 

Continuing on this absolutely wonderful adventure,

Molen Shimai

Sunday, November 10, 2013

OH MY GOODNESS IT SNOWED! LIKE LITEREAL SNOW FELL OUT OF THE SKY AND MADE MY BODY COLD! IT WAS BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL! Happened on Saturday.  I was literally frolicking. It was beautiful. I loved it!

Japanese is difficult, but something easy is rarely worth doing.

I have two teachers: Gregory Kyodai and Hatch Kyodai. We should probably get a picture with them. There are a few more that weave in and out. It's so weird because they are all recently returned, but they know the language so well. Like, really well. It hit me in class the other day that when they pause to answer a question, they are not taking time to translate into Nihongo, but are trying to find a way to say ti simpler. Yup. But that gives me hope that one day I will be able to speak with their speed and pronunciation.

Being on a mission is so much different than I thought it would be. Like, imagine being on a treadmill kicked up really high... and then being asked to hold a baby. An Asian baby. It is complicated, but it is really cool when you think about it.

Let me know if there is anything I can pray for! Prayer is amazing. Like really amazing. Like really super amazing.

And if you would like to pray for me, that would be cool. I am having difficulty pronouncing the words correctly (all the letters sound the same!) so if you wanted to do that, that would be awesome.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Companion! Sister Dansie

Good Thing Mari loves books!

MTC District
Sister Molen has Arrived!!!

KONNICHIWA!!!! The MTC is absolutely amazing and wonderful!
I have very little time todfay (Myldsmail was down this morning. My doryo and I threw a hissy fit of massive proportions)
DASNIE SHIMAI WA DORYO DESU! (Dansie Shimai is my doryo!) IT IS TOTALLY AMAZING! We are a lot alike. I mean, scary alike. I will have to put down a list of everything later. But needless to say, she is awesome! She is a far better companion than me, so I am trying to be better at listening. 

My district is ABSOLUTLEY PHENOMENAL. Dansie Shimai and I are the only shimaitachi in our district, but that's okay. The chorotachi are so much fun and very focused! Someone did make a Studio C reference, so we got a little distracted on that end. About 1/2 of our district took professional Japanese courses before coming, so I am a little behind. Yet, my meetings with Meyers Shimai REALLY helped!! I would be so behind if I didn't look at those.
The first day when I stepped into my classroom it was just me and a choro with the teacher,. While waiting for everyone, our sensei spoke to all. All Nihongo. All the time. It was very overhwhelming, but he gestures a lot, so that helps. I was really freaking out about the language until on the second day when our guest teacher and sensei were doing a practice discussion and we were all basically close to tears, the guest sensei stopped and looked at all of us. He then said the first full English phrase. "Japanese does not convert. You don't even convert. The Spirit converts. So Japanese does not matter as much as the Spirit. Japanese is just a tool." That really hit me. I remember saying many times before I left, "How can I teach the people if I don't know the language?"

Dansie Shimai and I had our first meeting with an investigator yesterday. His name is "Mansan" and he is really a returned missionary portraying someone he taught on his mission. I was so nervous that I would mess it up. We prayed A LOT before hand! Dansie Shimai was very understanding when I was freaking out. During the lesson, I...okay, I really had no idea what he said,. but the meaning came through so clear. I tried to see Mansan as the Savior would. We wrote up a whole lesson plan and basically threw everything away half way through when he started asking questions. Mansan didn't like himself, felt guilty about a lot (which I think derives from his parents fighting), was "Chinese" and knew nothing about Christ. I looked at him near n the end and I realized that there are millions about people out there that don't know God loves them and that they can feel peace. Not self-reassurance, but an actual peace from an outside being who cares. After he said the most beautiful prayer (by then  I was a mess) I told him God loved him. I don't know if it meant a lot to anyone else, but it meant a whole lot to me. I gave him my Morumonsho in Nihongo and left (which is a problem because NOW I don't have one to study off of) I've been thinking about that; I knew I was giving him something I needed badly, but I had absolutely no problem with doing it. I think I felt the love of Christ for him. We are meeting with him again tonight (ahhh) and I am quite nervous. BUT you can bring your notes in, which is good.

I remember once hearing that Rosetta Stone wanted to buy the MTC's way of teaching. Well, I will tell it to you. And you can share it. It was not what I expected at all. It is something modern psychology cannot exalpin and cynics cannot question: unrefined people come in here, got to classes by themselevs, do things, on their own, and then become master teachers.
And classes?
You walk in. And they tell you to pray. They tell you to pray until you have nothing left. They stick you in a room for six hours a day with a teacher speaking nothing but your language and then, at the end, you kneel on the floor and beg for the gift of tongues. Ans then you go around and try to speak it. That's it. No smoke and mirrors. Just priesthood power and shinko (faith). A lot of shinko.
 I am surprised at how much I have retained. Of course it's not as much as I would like, and I am trying not to compare yself, but I do feel blessed. I am learning the Japanese IA need, but not the one I want. (It complicated, but it's really cool when you think about it) Shinko, people. Shinko.