Hello dear family!!!
How are you all? I knew I loved you all before I left on my mission, but now I REALLY KNOW IT. Oh I just love you all and pray for you! This week has been so so eye opening. Wow. Talk about an interesting, difficult, beautiful week. Moments after saying goodbye I had a name tag on, I was shown my room, received about 50 pounds of books, and was seated with my district in a cozy little classroom with my Nihonjin (Japanese) instructor! It didn't seem real. Within my first hour of being at the MTC I saw Uncle Levi which was so great!
I sent you a letter on my first day about my companion, but I will tell you again...She is from Tahiti!! I will just say that the first few days of life here at the MTC were pretty rough. I didn't really love it. But I told myself that I didn't have to love it, because I remember Micail saying that she didn't like the first few days here at the MTC either. It was hard because my companion speaks French. I speak English. We are trying to learn Japanese together and plan lessons to teach our "investigator." The language barrier, the cultural difference, the personality difference was very hard.
But then I learned something...
Sunday came. During Relief Society we listened to Music and the Spoken word. The choir sang "Come, come ye saints, no toil nor labor fear. But with joy, wend your way. Though hard to you, this journey may appear, grace shall be as your day. Tis better far for us to strive our useless cares from us to drive. Do this and joy, your hearts will swell. All is well, all is well."
Later during the Sunday Night devotional, the speaker was talking about perseverance. And I remembered about the Moab trip when we were almost done, but there was one more huge hill to get up. It wasn't too steep, but it was long, and it was up. I didn't know if I would be able to ride my bike up all the switchbacks, but I decided to just start and see how far I could go. I kept picking one small rock a little ways in front of me and I would tell myself "I can at least go to that little rock." And when I reached it, I would pick another rock a little ways ahead of where I was then and say "I can at least go to that next little rock." And you know what? I rode my bike all the way up the hill. Christ helped me keep going. Christ helped me to persevere.
After Sunday Night devotional we listened to a talk by Elder Bednar called "The Character of Christ." I think I remember Tel writing home about this talk and now I know why. It was the most beautiful, profound truth. He taught about how without Christ's character there would have been no Atonement. And then he taught us about what character is: moral qualities strongly developed, strikingly displayed, and consistently lived. He taught about how the natural man is like the cookie monster "I want cookie now!" He taught about our Savior, and how whenever He was tempted or tried or betrayed and even in the midst of performing the Atonement, He ALWAYS turns out in love and compassion to others. In the midst of bearing the weight of our sins, He cared enough to heal the ear of the man who was there with Judas Iscariot.
He taught us that this mission is NOT about me. It not about what I want. Its about turning out in compassion and love to others when the natural man would want to turn in. Only through the Atonement can we do that. Its about faith.
It may not sound too profound how I put it. But I am so thankful for what I learned Sunday night.
Monday was a miracle. Heavenly Father helped my companion and I to communicate better. We were able to plan a better lesson for our investigator. We've been laughing more as we are trying to talk to each other and its just not quite working out. We just keep pluggin' along and I'm learning that Heavenly Father didn't send me here to the MTC to learn Nihongo (Japanese). I think He sent me here, with one of my Tahitian sisters to learn about love and to learn about faith and trust and the enabling power of the Atonement.
Hopefully you can understand what I am trying to say. I have already learned so much. I am happier now and learning to love this change!
The MTC is great because I can have root beer and coke mixed together at any meal I want! I love it! My companion LOVES to eat ice, just like me :)
I played 4-square at gym with bunch of elders and a few sisters! It was fun, but I'm no good at it :) Maybe after 8 weeks though...
Sorry no pictures this time. I tried, but the bookstore was out of the thing I needed.
I love you so much
love King Shimai