I have a little bit more time left on my P-day, so I thought I would write you a handwritten note and let you get a letter in the mail because real letters are the BEST!
Want to see my Japanese? 今日は寒さではありません- That says “isn’t today cold!?
Here is: 私はアイスクリームが大好き！- which says, “I love ice cream!”
Here is: コートニー·エリーゼ·キング- which is Courtney Elise King…but in Japanese you say it “Co-toe-knee E-ree-sue Key-n-goo”
I think it’s really interesting because Japanese people think my name “Courtney” is so hard to say how we say it. The “r” sound is really hard for them. But especially when I first came to Japan I thought their names were so hard! Now my brain is more used to all these new names and I am able to remember names a little bit better now.
Here is something from my scripture study a little while ago. I was reading Matthew 14:28-32:
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
I love this story. I love Christ’s immediate goodness and help. I also wish I knew the rest of this experience…what was said and done after Christ caught Peter’s hand and saved him from the waves, to when “they were come into the ship.”
Have you ever thought about that? I’m guessing that Peter and Christ walked together back to the ship on the water. I picture Peter and Christ holding onto each other. Maybe Christ spoke quietly and calmly to Peter teaching him or reassuring him or testifying to him about faith. Or maybe they walked quietly with no more words needed. I’m sure that was a very moving and powerful moment for Peter…walking back to the boat with the Savior, walking on the water, together.
Something I’m learning and thinking about on my mission is growth and change. Everything in this world plants, animals, humans, buildings, knowledge, everything takes time to grow and become. I think Heavenly Father made it that way on purpose. It really is by small, simple, almost imperceptible changes that make differences.
I remember Katie giving me an analogy once about watching a little sprout grow. Just standing there watching it, it seems like nothing is happening; nothings is changing. But really, inside that little sprout at a microscopic level are little chemical reactions and photosynthesis and molecules forming and growing and changing. That’s how it is with us as humans and with this life. It’s the little molecules that matter. And it simply takes time to learn and grow, change and become.
I’m thinking back when I first sat on my bicycle in Izumi nearly 5 months ago when I first came to Japan. I remember those first few times riding behind my companion like a deer in the headlights! I remember one night in particular: the darkness, the hills, the city and car lights zooming all around, the new roads and bicycle paths, just trying to keep up with my companion and having no idea where I was.
I remember praying and telling Heavenly Father, “This is crazy!” And now 5 months later, even though I’m in a different area, I can lead on the bicycle and get us to where we need to be (well, most of the time!) We use maps and write down directions like “after 13 stoplights turn left.” George Shimai thinks it’s crazy that I try and count stoplights, but oh well.
This week I have been sick with a cough. I’m pretty much better now. I’m all out of cough syrup (finished that in the MTC! Yikes!) I don’t know if you should send more or if the cough medicine here is okay. I’ll keep you posted.
You probably never thought I’d say this, but if you want, next time you send a package, my body would love some Wasa crackers. Yep. Wasa crackers or some Grape Nuts. Something with whole wheat! I need whole wheat! I thought it was funny when you said in your letter that Dave had never heard of whole wheat for breakfast…oh boy! Does he know he is marrying Miss Whole Wheat?! Whole wheat brownies…I still remember.
I also thought it was funny in your email to me today when you said that the new snow there is “the perfect kind for building snow forts and for pelting someone with snowballs (wish you were here!)” I thought that was so funny! Haha! My Mamanoff is funny!! Wishing I was there so you can pelt me with snowballs, eh?
Here is entry from my “spiritual/thoughts notebook on January 20, 2014- to give you my thoughts recently about you and Dad and Dave:
Some thoughts I’ve been thinking about lately:
- · Mama talking to me a while ago before my mission about doctors who were helping to take care of Grandpa Kerr and how much they cared about his life, even though he is older now. He is still the same soul, the same precious life that came to Earth when he was born, and doctors who helped to take care of him then and how much they cared about his life as a baby. Life isn’t less precious or meaningful and shouldn’t be taken care of any less with the passing of time on Earth. We are eternal beings, and every day is a part of our Earth thing, and so it matters. And people matter. And the way they feel each day matters.
- · Today. Today is one of the days the I fought to live for. So live it well, and love it true. Be here now. Today is a part of my eternal existence. Take it in and make it a part of me.
- · I’ve also been thinking about Mama and Dave and why they would get remarried and build a love and a relationship that isn’t going to last forever. Mama is sealed to Dad. Everything is connected though…Mama’s life is precious and meaningful and we didn’t come to Earth to just wait out our time and our trials here to make it to eternity.
- · We are here now. Today matters. Mama deserves to be happy and not lonely and not have to wait out this Earth life alone. She will be with Dad again…for forever. But part of that forever, part of who she is forever includes Dave. It’s not like their marriage and experiences never happened. Because this is the Earth thing, and everything does matter.
- · I trust and believe that one day Mama and Dad will look back together on this Earth life and cry together and be so grateful together for this beautiful life and for this tender mercy from Heavenly Father…to help Mama and Dad while they’re apart, for a little while more.”
…So those were my thoughts. Hopefully they make sense. And I hope they don’t make you sad or anything. I hope they bring you peace and make you happy.
Heart to heart, mama. That’s how we’re doing life from now on. When I was little, I was a mama’s girl but in high school and college I know our relationship wasn’t always very good. I’m sorry Mom. If only I knew then and felt what I know and feel now. I’ve grown so much love and appreciation for my mama from this experience. I love you Mom!
It’s time for me to go to bed now so I’ll hug this letter and send it off to you tomorrow.
I love you
Courtney Elise コートニー·エリーゼ