My dear family! Oh I love you.
I'm never ever going to stop telling you. I love you so so much. I want you to
know that forever.
Mom, I got your letter that you
wrote to me even before I left to come to Japan last Wednesday! It was my one
week mark in Japan and to get a letter from my Mom was just absolutely
wonderful! It was like my reward for making it through my first week.
Mama, how are you? How is your back and how is your shoulder? Chels says your
surgery went well. That was a little bit of shocker when I read in your letter
that you were having surgery! What did they do? Do you have a brace or cast or
something? Are you back at work yet? I'm praying for you a lot!
This week we had a big ward FHE
on Saturday evening. We played games and had ice cream parfaits at the end. I
was super happy about the ice cream!
Last night the 2 other sisters that we live with came back
home from a dinner appointment with the Browne family, who is from America. (I
think the Skablunds maybe know them), with a big bag of food from the Brownes!
It was full of boxes of mac and cheese and instant
mashed potatoes and tortillas
and salsa and muffin mix! I was SOO excited and cheered "Its American
Food!!!" We actually eat pretty normal stuff, like pasta and toast and
curry, but to have everything in English and look so familiar was so nice.
This week me and Kubota Shimai
went and learned how to do calligraphy! A lady in our English class (who isn't a
member or an investigator) invited us to her friends house (who also isn't a
member or an investigator) for him to teach us calligraphy! We went to his house
and he was so kind and eager to teach me. He taught me how to hold the brush
just right and then he would paint an example and then I would follow. We
painted the words for "spring" "summer" "fall"
and "winter". It was so fun!
The mission is a lot different
than how I pictured it. I guess that's the beauty of life is taking what
Heavenly Father gives us. Sometimes being a missionary means learning about calligraphy because its important to someone else.
I love going to Sacrament
meeting here. I led the music in church yesterday, so I got to sit up on the
stand. I love just looking out at everyone during the Sacrament and thinking
how Christ loves all of them.
I have a couple copies of the
Liahona, and in one of them is the most beautiful picture of Christ raising a
girl from the dead. (maybe it is also in the Ensign?) I've never really had a
favorite picture of Christ, but I think this one is it. I love how weak the
girl is portrayed as Christ is raising her up from the dead. Christ's
exactly how I hope Christ looks. He looks so loving and so full of emotion as
He is experiencing this moment. I love the symbolism too. We are all like this
girl. Without Christ, we have no hope of life. But He reaches out and raises us
one by one from being dead. If we will hold onto His hand, He will give us
The other night I was writing
in my journal and the thought came to me that this whole Earth thing is just
one huge tender mercy. The whole plan of salvation is a tender mercy. The
creation, the fall, the Atonement all exist because Heavenly Father wants us to
be happy forever, and be with our families forever. That means so much more to
me now than ever before. This week I was praying in our little bathroom,
kneeling next to the toilet, so that I could pour my heart out and talk to
Heavenly Father. When I was praying, I told Him "Hallelujah" because
I am so SO thankful for our beautiful, eternal family!
This has been the strangest thing I think has ever happened
in my life :)
Remember the night I got my
mission call and Chelsea texted me and said...you are going to eat with
chopsticks!...and i turned to mom and said...is that a real thing? or is that
like the olden days in japan?....and mom said...court.you are going to a foreign
Well folks. I am in a foreign
Japan is exactly how Japan should be! And it is wonderful!
Its crazy! I am in the Izumi area near Sendai. I have an absolutely wonderful
companion...Kubota Shimai! She is so kind and such a good trainer!
Here are my first thoughts of Japan that i wrote in my
journal: as I was walking off the plane after our 13 1/2 hour flight (it all
kinda blurred together)...the first things were that the vehicles in the
airport look just like the japanese cars in the movie Cars! Then i looked at
the sky and saw the pink clouds in the sunset and it looked just like at home.
The Japanese culture is so interesting. Its going to take
some getting used to. They are so kind and respectful...almost too much. I:m
just a small town girl from Utah and i feel a little awkward! oh well, awkward
So...when you go to a different country...everything
is...different. The people are different, the language is different, the smells
are different, the food is different. Surprise! The food is acutally a lot
harder than I was thinking it would be. We eat rice at almost every meal. and
yes we eat with chopsticks. Chopsticks and tofu are a difficult matter. I sleep
on a futon! I love it!
The second night I was here at 2:30 in the morning this
loud alarm and light started going off from my companions phone. There had been
an earthquake in another city and it was an after shock warning. My companion
pulled the chairs out from our table...but everything was okay and no
aftershocks so we went back to sleep!
The weather is great! It actually hasnt
rained yet. A little humid, but it feels good. We have a nice apartment with a
running hot water and everything we need. Our toilet is just normal, but when
we were in one of the japanese airports, me and Orr shimai went to the bathroom
and there were lots of normal toilets and one squat toilet...i took the squat
toilet! :) Things worked out okay.
We are in a really big ward (for Japan) and the members are
so sweet! Yesterday, the new missionaries shared our testimonies in church and
then me and my companion also taught sunday school about prayer.
My first evening with my companion...I found myself teaching
English class in our church to a little group of Nihonjin! They just throw you
right into the work!
Yesterday, Kubota shimai and I were headed home from church
and we started talking to a man. We ended up going to a park and teaching him a
little lesson and introduced him to the book of mormon. he was very grateful
for it and we have a lesson with him on wednesday! it was an amazing experience
and we are so excited! we have a total of 3 investigators right now!
I love you all so much! These first few days have been
really overwhelming and sometimes i feel normal but sometimes its kind of like
an out of body experience. Today i was practicing teaching about missionary
work to my companion (just in english) and I was sharing my testimony and then
started to tell her why missionary work is important...and i just started
crying. This whole mission has been a hard experience, a lot weirder and harder
than I thought. I:ve been wondering if I really know if this is all true. But I
said to my companion....this is important, because this message is so
important. (it doesn:t really sound profound) but I really felt the spirit in
my heart...like...yes this message is SO important to me, and court your okay,
you love this gospel and this message.
I learned one day in the scriptures that
it is okay to believe in what you were taught to believe, just like the 2000
stripling warriors. it not like you have to start from square one and have a
doubtful heart in order to become converted and know this is true. I have the
gift to believe and our family grew up with the gospel and ive just always
believed it! I want to KNOW know. But it takes time. And for now I know I
believe. And there are some things I do know. I KNOW God is real. I know He is
my Heavenly Father and I know He answers my prayers. I will never ever deny