Wednesday, January 13, 2016

First Pday Truly Felt Like Christmas

Well it has finally been a week and seeing an email from my daughter was even better than Christmas.  I knew that she would be doing well but it was just nice to have it reconfirmed in her own words.
I gave Alyssa a substantial amount of advice before she left but the one thing that I reiterated over and over was to write specifics and take a lot of pictures.  So far so good.  I love it!
Konnichiwa Everybody!
I am so happy to say that I successfully survived my first week of the MTC!  It has been a complete rollercoaster of emotions with laughter and tears and the spirit and frustration but I have overall come to the conclusion that I LOVE being a missionary!
My companion is named Tupuola Shimai and she is from Hawaii, but is Samoan and speaks Samoan which is super awesome. I absolutely adore her.  She is the perfect example of quiet dignity and has this amazing ability to love everybody that she comes into contact with. She has been such a tender mercy because I have learned so much from her, and our companionship is super strong. I love her to pieces and we get along great. 
My district is also fantastic. We have six choros with us named Trinca,Korth, Bodily, Philburn, Perez, and Johnson. They are all great guys and wonderful missionaries. We work really hard when the time calls for it, but we also know how to goof off and have a blast. It is crazy how something like the MTC can really bond people together, because we are all as close as Kazoku already.  Since Tupuola Shimai and I are the only sisters in the district, they really watch out for us also. The other day we were playing volleyball and I almost got spiked in the face by this crazy intense guy from the Marshall Islands, and Perez Choro (our district leader) went over there and was like "Hey! Don't you mess with my sister!" Needless to say I am being loved and watched out for.
 Somebody wise once told me that the Japanese missionaries are the best guessers, and how true that is.  I feel like sometimes I spend half of the day trying to guess what is being said in class while our Sensei gestures wildly.Oh the joys of learning is tough you guys.  Holy cow. So the MTC has implemented this program called SYL which means Speak Your Language, and so essentially our senseis NEVER speak to us in English.  The first day I sort of wanted to cry because I had NO clue what was being said, but it is catching on. The thing that kills me is that Japanese makes NO sense if you have grown up speaking English, because the sentence structure is super wacked out and backwards.  It is kind of crazy to learn, but sooo gratifying when something finally clicks.  I am actually amazed at how fast I am learning, and it has seriously strengthened my testimony of Igen no Tamamono.  We have tons of funny experiences with it though. We made our district motto "Kamisama ni tayoru tokini hitoride wa arimasen", which basically means "When you rely on the Lord, you are never alone", but originally we messed up and wrote it so that it said "When you rely on the Lord, you are always alone" and we were so proud of ourselves and we kept telling everybody that...thank heavens for a Sensei who eventually corrected us! The choros also have fun teaching.  One companionship in particular, Philburn and Bodily always have issues explaining things so they usually end up pantomiming ridiculous things and we get a good kick out of it. 
The spirit here is so neat. It is awesome being in a place where everyone has made the same covenants that you have, and wants to love the Lord and work hard. I have had so many great experiences already, and it has changed me so much in only the one week I have been here. 
My schedule changes from day to day but it essentially includes A TON of class (like 6 or 7 hours), PE, study time, meals, and teaching. We already have an investigator named Takahashi Shimai, and she is so sweet.  We started teaching her on our 2nd day here which was crazy, because she doesn't know any English and so it was totally in Nihongo. It was super hard at first but it is getting better, and the Lord helps us out sooooooooo much. I can actually understand what she is saying probably 98% of the time, just responding is the issue. But it is coming along and has been such a wonderful experience. 
The worst part of my week was finding out that Alabama won the National Championship game (Sorry not sorry Spence, love you anyways), but the highlight was definitely in my 4th lesson when I offered my first prayer entirely in Japanese without help or cheating.  It was INCREDIBLE and I felt the spirit so strongly. I am truly beginning to love this language. 
This week has been kind of exciting at the MTC because 6 of the 12 apostles are here training the new international MTC directors, so last night we had the wonderful opportunity to hear from Elder Neil L. Andersen. His talk really changed my whole outlook on missionary work and myself in general. He very simply told us that our primary calling is to preach of Christ. Not to teach, not to speak Japanese, but to talk of Christ ALL THE TIME. That was a wonderful reminder for me because I have had a bad habit of getting caught up in the Japanese that sometimes I can forget why I am here: To invite and to help others come unto Christ.  And what a blessing that is! I love waking up everyday and getting to put the Savior's name on my chest.  It is truly such a privilege, and I love being a missionary more than anything.
Well, that about sums my week up! Thank you for all the support and the love and the prayers, because it truly means the world to me. I am so grateful for all of you and all you do. 
Iesu Kirisuto wa watashitachi no Againuishi desu to shitte imasu.  Seirei ni yotte kore ga shinjitsu de aru koto o shitte imasu.  Iesu Kirisuto o aishiteimasu.  Fukuin o kansha shitte imasue.  Iesu Kirisuto no mina ni yotte o-akashi shimasu, amen.
Sister Pickering.

It's official.  Look at that tag.

The ever famous pictures in front of the World Map.  It is tradition in the MTC.



This is her zone on a Sunday visit to the temple.

I received a follow up email with this important piece of information:

Oh one more thing I forgot that is kinda cool!  My branch presidency is awesome, and in my branch presidency are Collinsworth Kyodai and Collinsworth Shimai.  They are the parents of the BYU Kyle Collinsworth (I know, I got so freaking excited) and they adopted me as their daughter here.  They give me all the sports updates I need, and take good care of me.  They are my MTC parents and I love them.  They even told me they are going to bring Kyle to meet my district because I am such a big BYU sports fan haha.  Such a good time!

So one of Alyssa's favorite movies is Napoleon Dynamite.  I sent her this Meme for kicks and giggles.  And she sent this picture of some Elders reenacting the scene.

No comments:

Post a Comment