Monday, November 4, 2013

The MTC Halloween Experience

Princess Leah, Quigan Jin, and Anakin
Halloween at the MTC was a completely regular day. And most people forgot that it was Halloween. Which was really sad to me. My companions and I did NOT forget that it was Halloween. And we did our very best to dress up like star-wars characters. I was Anakin, Daniels Shimai was Quigan Jin, and Violette Shimai was Princess Leah. Honestly, she is the only one that really pulled off the costume well...but, because she looked good...and we are required to be with her all the time...people generally understood what we were. Also, one of the Elders in our district has some chopsticks that look like light sabers - which is the coolest thing on the planet - so he let us borrow them for our costumes. One of our teachers told us that she found some Harry Potter wand chopsticks in Japan on her mission...and I WILL find those chopsticks while I am there. I don't think I can come home without those fantastic chopsticks now, actually. 
In other news, we now have more progressing investigators. I think that there is a shortage of 
teachers, so, we are each others progressing investigators. We no longer teach Iida San (Hansen Kyodai) because he teaches another district. But, he committed to baptism on November 19th. Takenaka Kyodai has also committed to baptism and we are working on teaching him the commandments right now. It is interesting to teach each other...sometimes it is really hard to stay in the roll, especially because our Japanese is not as good as our teachers. It has been an eye opening experience though, to be an investigator in a full length lesson, and see what would be confusing, what is effective and what is not. It is also nice because we give each other more feedback than our teachers are allowed to. We had a really neat experience last night while preparing our lesson for one of our investigators, Kazume Shimai (or Sister Clark - our teacher). In one of our lessons a week or two ago, at the very end, I had felt prompted to share a scripture with her from Doctrine & Covenants 76 In the English version of the scripture there is absolutely nothing about the Lamb of God. Apparently, in the Japanese version, instead of using a pronoun, "Lamb of God" is used. So when Kazume Shimai asked us if Christ was a lamb (and none of us knew the word for lamb) we were incredibly confused. And so she acted out being a sheep...and our lesson went ten minutes long as we struggled to explain that this was figurative and that Christ was a person, not a sheep. I was really confused about WHY I had felt so strongly that we should share this scripture with her! In preparation for the lesson that we are teaching her tonight, we went over the reading we gave her from the Book of Mormon at the last lesson. In 2 Nephi 31, it talks about the Lamb of God. I remembered the experience that we had had a few lessons ago. Although the scripture we shared with her then may not have been incredibly pertinent to her testimony, 2 Nephi 31 was. These scriptures will help her strengthen her faith in Christ, and her desire to follow Him. If we had not had that confusing lesson with her, and struggled to explain the Lamb of God, a lot of the meaning in 2 Nephi 31 would have been lost. "Through small and simple things shall great things be brought to pass." And the Lord works in mysterious ways.

This week I also had the opportunity to host new missionaries! It was so fun to see the new sisters go to their dorms for the first time and to their classrooms...and watch them have their first impressions of the campus and of their districts. Even the most confident ones seem a little confused, and I loved being able to show them around and bear testimony that the MTC is a magnificent place unlike any other on earth. It was also really strange to see families with cell phones...and playing in their cars. It is interesting to see outside of the MTC is like...I forgot that the rest of the world was there or something. Sometimes it feels like I have been at the MTC for my whole life. And other days it feels like I have only been here for three seconds. Time at the MTC is a very interesting concept and I am convinced that it defies at least sixty laws of science and physics and all of that good stuff. Anyway, with all of the new missionaries this week we also had six new Shimaitachi join our branch! They are all super awesome, completely level headed, and they settled in very quickly. I was so impressed. Their districts are incredible. And one of the girls is way good at Japanese. Sometimes she says things to me in Japanese and I just pretend that I know what is going on. This is a skill I have developed here. 

Grundvig Shimai in front of "The Map"
The Tuesday devotional this week was incredible. The speaker was Elder Carlos A. Godoy from the 70. He is a convert from Brazil and he spoke to us in English. And the spirit was so strong! At one point he couldn't remember a few English words and so he said: "So for all of you missionaries learning another language...don't worry about it, you will be better than my English!" Or something along those lines. It was adorable. He just had the best little accent ever! He showed us pictures of himself when he converted at 17. He had long hair. Honestly, probably longer than mine right now. He spoke powerfully about how important it is to talk to EVERYONE. Not just the people that already look like they would be interested, because sometimes the people that we judge and think 'they would never accept this glad message' would be interested! We are doing the work of Salvation! And there is no one that should be denied this message! Everyone in our district absolutely loved that, and it was the highlight of our testimony meeting afterwards. He also talked about how the Sister Missionaries that taught him are "his angels." He talked about how we may have many contacts, but how the people that we teach will only have one set of missionaries. Those sisters are HIS missionaries, and he loves them so much. It was humbling...I can be that for the people of Japan! I GET to be that for the people of Japan. His message helped me to refocus and to remember my purpose - to bring others to Christ. It helped me to remember WHY I need to be 100% focused all of the time...because I never want to miss that person that the Lord placed in my path for me to find. I don't want to make them wait another 20 years to receive this glad message. 

It has been a powerful week...full of a refurbished vigor and vim towards being exactly obedient and following promptings as they come to me. And I leave for Japan in TWO WEEKS. That is unreal. Sometimes I am not sure if Japan is actually a real country, or if I will just be at the MTC for the rest of my life!

Aishite Imasu

Grundvig Shimai

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