Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Five Loaves of Bread and Two Fishes

This week has been...a week of challenges, improvement and blessing. We now have two progressing investigators. Both of our Sensei (Teachers) have become investigators for us and Violette Shimai, Daniels Shimai and I taught three lessons this week. Takenaka Kyodai (or Brother Wilkes..our teacher) is definitely the harder of the two investigators. He is fresh off of his mission, and super passionate about the work, which is awesome...but sometimes I am just terrified going into our lessons! Ok...maybe not terrified...but, he can be intimidating. He works us hard, which is good, because I know that I am improving and being put in a real life situation...but sometimes I feel incredibly frustrated because I can't say what I want to in Japanese. 

On Tuesday we taught Takenaka Kyodai. We had planned to teach him the first vision. This did not happen. We walked into our lesson - asked if he had any questions for us, and followed up with him on our commitment. He hadn't kept the commitment (to read Mosiah 14) and he had a million questions which we couldn't even understand...and I couldn't remember how to speak any Japanese. It was SO frustrating. I wanted to tell him why we were teaching him, that we cared about him and why our message was important but the words just wouldn't come! (For the record...I actually do know how to say these things, so it was entirely my brain struggling and not a fault in how I am being taught, if that makes sense). He asked us question after question for about 45 minutes...we hadn't even had the chance to say an opening prayer, and we struggled to answer his questions. Finally...after we weren't understanding he stood up and started drawing stuff on the board. First he drew a calendar day. Then a week. And then a month. He was trying to ask how long we would teach him. He then said - in English "What is the POINT?" We were frustrated. He was frustrated. At this point I had decided that if I said anything it would most definitely not be with the spirit - plus, I couldn't remember how to speak Japanese - so I just didn't say anything. Daniels Shimai tried to answer him. And then Violette Shimai interrupted (in very perfect and wonderful English) to say "I don't know how to say this in Japanese, but I just feel that I need to say it. We are here because we are representatives of Jesus Christ. We are here because we love you and because this message is true. It will bless your life. We are here to help you have Salvation. We are here because God loves you and is the Father of your spirit. You are a father, you can understand that love. We are here for as long as you want us here and for as long as you will be taught because we love you." (It was something along those lines). By this point I had started crying and Violette Shimai had started crying...partially because the spirit had distilled upon all of us, and partially because the lesson was going into the ground and I just didn't even know what was happening. We sat there quietly for a moment and then Takenaka Kyodai mumbled something "...eigo..." (that he wished he could speak English - which we know he does because he is our teacher), and then Daniels Shimai said: "...inori?" which means prayer. We prayed and got up and left. I was still crying. Violette Shimai was still crying...and Daniels Shimai thought that the lesson wasn't too bad.

We got back to our chorotachi (missionaries in district) after a ridiculously long lesson, still in tears, and they all talked to us for a while and told us that they wished they could give us hugs! And that they were sure it wasn't too bad. That night was incredible. We had an amazing devotional. We had an amazing testimony meeting. My companions and I started a fast (because we had to teach Takenaka Kyodai AGAIN on Wednesday). Our Branch President came and spoke to us, and talked a lot about learning the language. He assured us that if we brought our five loaves of bread and two fishes -- or even our loaf of bread and half a fish -- to the lord, and offered what we had, he would magnify us. It was so wonderful. Then he turned to us, and out of the class he looked right at me and said "Grundvig Shimai, in nine weeks you will be sitting on an investigators couch and they will speak to you...and you won't understand what they are saying. But you will pick out a word here or there. And then the Lord will magnify you so that you can speak Nihongo enough to help the Spirit touch their hearts." I don't know why he chose to say that to me, but it was wonderful. And I started crying again (apparently the MTC makes me cry a lot or something...). 

On Wednesday we had to teach Takenaka Kyodai again. We had been going into our lesson with either just a few or no notes at all, so that we could rely on the spirit more. We had all felt impressed that we should teach him "the point" because that is what he had asked about, so we decided to teach the plan of salvation (see http://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2011-06-03-we-lived-with-god?category=topics/plan-of-salvation and http://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2011-06-04-we-can-live-with-god-again?category=topics/plan-of-salvation ). And we didn't know how to do that in Japanese, so we had to bring in a few notes. We wrote our investigator long letters (in Hirigana - which took FOREVER) bearing our testimonies and testifying of our message, of God and of His love for Takenaka and his family. They were wonderful, and although we couldn't quite say it, we could write to our investigator how much he meant to us. The lesson went really well! Partially, I think because we had fasted and prayed A LOT about how to help him. We even invited him to be baptized! Although, we didn't have time to explain what baptism is...so we just told him we would teach him more about it next week. But now there is a point. And we are working really hard! And after all, that is all we can do -- or in other words, that is my crumb of bread and tiny piece of fish. 

In other news, we have been called as Sister Training Leaders. The Sister Training Leaders were released on Sunday, and they are heading to Japan on Monday! I am going to miss them so much because I just love all of the sisters in our branch, but they are so ready to be missionaries! Being a Sister Training Leader is just a few more responsibilities, and we help train the new people when they come in. I don't know how in the world I am supposed to do that because I don't really know anything.  Also, the three of us are the first "Kohai" *(Kohai means that we are the new and inexperienced MTC Missionaries) to be called as Sister Training Leaders that our Branch Presidency knows of. They said that there is a reason we were brought into the MTC, and this is part of it. The group before us didn't have any Sisters in it, so they didn't really have any option but to call us because all of the other sisters are leaving for Japan! So we are trainers over the girls that came in with us...which is strange. This calling has helped me to get to know all of the sisters in our branch more! And I love it! I have also become increasingly more grateful for all of the Elders in my district because they are all so wonderful...and now I know a lot more about the other Sister's districts. I have been so blessed to be a part of my district! Our Elders are examples to me every single day. I don't even know why I love them so much...but I do.

Black Choro and Grundvig Shimai
Last night we had an incredible bonding experience with all of our Chorotachi (Elders, or male missionaries). Eversole Choro plays the piano BEAUTIFULLY! So well! I don't think I have ever met someone with the talent he has. He can hear a song, and then make up his own version of it in an instant. He played a ton of songs for us last night and our district sang with him. The spirit as he played was incredible. He truly puts his emotion and heart into everything he plays. His companion, Black Choro, is an incredible singer and we are trying to get them to try out for special musical numbers during devotionals. They said they might if we sing with them. So we will see how that all turns out.

I love the MTC! And I love you all! Thank you for your love and support! 

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