Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Week 5 Pictures

E-mail, 11/12/13

Hello my wonderful family!

It's been another week of benkyo benkyo benkyo [study study study]! My head hurts! I don't know how I'm going to remember it all.

It was super cool when we went to the Temple last Tuesday; I had brought the family names for us again and as I was handing them to the recorder for the 6 of us I said "These are the names my sisters and I are going to do today" and then in my head I was like *gasp* my sisters! But that's really how I feel about the shimaitachi [sister missionaries] in our district--they are wonderful and they are definitely my sisters. :) Also while we were in the temple that day I realized that I received my endowments when I was only 18. That's so young! That's going to be strange to tell my kids someday. But maybe that'll be normal by then. 

Devotional that night was so wonderful. It was all about being safe on our missions. I learned so much and felt the spirit so strong. The speaker was Elder Zwick of the 70. He is a very powerful speaker. He said he brought personal greetings from President Monson and that President Monson had told him "I love our missionaries. We must keep them safe, both physically and spiritually." Elder Zwick said that our safety lies in the Lord and that we should know that the choice is always ours, but we can trust our leaders and we can trust the Lord. He gave us three ways to be safe; 1) Follow inspired priesthood counsel, 2) Listen to the voice of the Spirit, 3) Obey the commandments. He said obedience brings us peace today and eternal life in the world to come. He also said hat is [that it?] may require a change of heart to steadily follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and to be always obediently, but God wants us safe. That's why He sent His Only Begotten Son. 

After Devotional, Ellis Shimai [Sister Ellis] and I were watching Mormon Messages and I watched this one ( about a horse riding world champion and how when she's looking for horses for her competitions she looks for ones that are easily guided--quick to respond to the directions she gives them. And she related that to what our Heavenly Father wants from us--that we are willing to be quick to do His will. I really liked that!

Wednesday was hard. If I had to rate it, it probably would've been my worst day in the MTC so far. Basically I just felt like everything I tried to do with Nihongo [Japanese] I failed at and being at week 5 and having only 4 weeks left before we go to Nihon [Japan] .... didn't feel so great. I was hosting a Nihongin [Japanese] who couldn't speak English and I didn't know the vocabulary to help her, we (Ellis shimai and I) taught our sensai [teacher] and I was the weak link and fell apart, I got a bloody nose right at the end of a lesson, and we had a sub-sensai [sub-teacher] come in and reprehend us for not speaking 50% Nihongo [Japanese]. So yeah, that day... didn't go so well. I felt pretty down. But the bright side of that day was that I saw Elder Kakishata's younger brother--the one who served with Tyler! We snapped a picture but only on his camera because mine was in our classroom--you'll have to see if he'll email it to you. 

And I found Rosa--I mean Sister Garcia! She's the only Sister in her District, lol. She said it's teaching her lots of patience with the elders. :D We see each other at lunch all the time--it's so fun!

And guess who else I found! Tsukumoto sensai's [Teacher Tsukumoto's] husband! She told us one day in class that he works the tech for devotionals and that we should look for him. She described him and said he looks like a 14-year-old Japanese kid and he's constantly asked where his companion is--and he always points to his white nametag and says "I work here!" Haha. So since she told us we've been stalking the sound booth to try and find him and during service on Sunday I saw him! It's totally true, at first I thought he was one of the Nihongin chorotachi [Japanese elders] but then I saw his white nametag and I went "Tsukumoto kyodai!" ["Brother Tsukumoto!"] Thankfully he spoke Eigo [English] to me. (When I told Tsukumoto sensai that she said we all need to speak Nihongo [Japanese] to him because he needs to practice, haha. He was born in Japan but his family moved to America right after. But he served in Japan so he speaks Japanese. He and Tsukumoto both served in Fukuoka.)

Big news of the week: Sister Ellis and I switched desks with some chorrotachi [elders] in our district. *gasp* Lol. You know you've been at the MTC for over a month when the biggest news you have to share is that you and your doryo [companion?] switched seats with another doryo-gumi [companionship?] in the classroom... The elders wanted to be closer to the AC and we were cold so it was a good switch. But it's really funny because now we have a segregated classroom!

We've decided as a district that footnotes [in the scriptures] are hastags [hashtags]: "...and endure to the end, behold they shall have eternal life." #eternal life, #blessings, #righteousness. Haha, when we decided that one of our shimaitachi [sisters] said "I finally understand hastags now!"

In other news, the senior companion switched to Ellis Shimai on Sunday--woot woot! I was teasing her all about how I'm going to run all over the place now and she's going to have to chase me. :) Well, actually I told her I was going to Code 30 all over the place but that means the same thing! (We have codes for everything, it's kind of hilarious. Code Rose is if you smell bad. Code 33 is if you're talking to a chorro [an elder] or a chorro is talking to a Sister. All the numbered codes correspond to the page they're addressed on in the White Handbook [the rulebook for missionaries]; page 30 talks about staying with your companion, page 33 talks about chorro/shimai [elder/sister] interactions. We might read that book a lot or something...)

Smith shimai [Sister Smith] and I go running together. It's way fun! We've decided that if she goes to UVU after our missions and lives in BYU housing then we're going to be workout buddies!

Clark Sensai [Teacher Clark] (one of the other Branch's teachers, she's wonderful! She did our Nihongo [Japanese] orientation the first day--she's so nice and always give Ellis shimai and I hugs since most of all our other leaders are boys and therefore can't hug us. She's so sweet! She always comes and talks to us whenever we run into her. Unfortunately most of the time it's in Japanese so I don't understand everything she says.... but eventually I'll fix that problem!) came over to me yesterday and said she's in the same ward as Zina [one of Katie's freshman roommates]! Apparently they were at a ward activity and got to talking and Clark shimai [Sister Clark] mentioned that she teaches Japanese at the MTC and Zina went--My roommate's learning Japanese there! So Clark shimai brought Zina's personal greetings to me--it was so fun! And I also got a Dear Elder from Zina that afternoon! She's the second of my roommates to write me (but the first was Paige and we'd already had a letter chain going before then, so Zina probably gets the first place prize).

Something our sensai's [teachers] have us do a lot is try to explain complicated subjects in 6 sentences (simple enough to translate ourselves into Nihongo [Japanese]) or less. It's a great exercise! Challenging, but so helpful, because sometimes we tend to over complicate things and it forces us to simplify. It's such a good/needed exercise for me.

Well I love you all! I love getting your emails and hearing about all your adventures! Letters uplift so much! The Christmas blub [blurb] sounds great Dad! I hope your talk goes well! Wish I could be there to hear it! Y'all will have to take pictures of Zach doing rugby and send them to me! I love rugby! Do they broadcast the BYU rugby games? I'm so happy Maria and Tyler are going to Grandmother's for thanksgiving! Candice, I am glad you are not dead yet. And I think you would be a great French teacher! Go for it! I know how much you love French. :) You'd be a fun French teacher. I love hearing about all your YW lessons/activities! I'm glad you're such a good missionary with the sisters. Good for Sister Wood! The weather has been beautiful here this week. Hence the sweet pictures! We love the kohai [?]--they are so fun! I hope basketball season goes well! Have fun in Dubuque Dad! Don't die Tyler! Have you been to any Ruby [rugby] games yet?



Your Missionary,

Sister Bellows :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Week 4 Pictures

E-mail, 11/5/2013

Hello my dear family!

It's been another incredible week here at the MTC! I can't believe it's November! Only a month and a handful of days and I'll be in Japan! Can you believe I've been here at the MTC for a month already?

So, super cool story from last P-day; Mom, did you realize the family names you sent me for the temple were the ones Paige and I did the baptisms and confirmations for while we were at BYU on January 29th? And that last Tuesday, the day Sister Ellis, Sister Smith, Sister Stice and I did the initiatories for them was October 29th? That was so cool to link my family together with all my wonderful friends! 

The devotional that evening was also really cool. The speaker was Carlos Goday of the Quorum of the Seventy from Brazil so he had a really fun accent and was so excited about this gospel. He shared his experience with his conversion and his advice to us to help those we teach become life-long faithful members of the church through a focus on conversion and fellow-shipping. He said the first time he was in a Mormon church was for a youth activity and the game they were playing was "poor poor little kitty cat" (I hope you've heard of this game, it is hilarious) and he said he thought "oh, it's a little weird what they do here in this church" but as he was leaving the Sister Missionaries asked him if he wanted to know more and he said yes because he wanted to know why these people were so happy with nothing. Well, he was baptized and was on fire, but because he didn't have a support group for going to church he stopped coming. But when he finally found a friend when he stopped by the church again a year later, it was then that he was fully converted, and there were amazing blessings because of his conversion. He said he keeps track of his sister missionaries because to them he may be just one of many, but to him they are the only ones, and they are angels to him. Eventually he was able to seal one of his missionaries' son and daughter-in-law together in the temple. He said "It's never one, it's always generations." It was so wonderful. I loved the principles he taught and his enthusiasm for this gospel. It was a wonderful Tuesday.

Guess what cool awesome thing we got to do on Wednesday! We got to host new missionaries for the first time!!!! It was so fun! I loved it! It was so fun to get to do something new and help someone else. All the new sisters I hosted were all so nervous and quiet and scared. Daw. Reminds me of someone else I knew four weeks ago... :) It was so fun to welcome them and try and help their first day start off with enthusiasm and happiness! One was going to Oklahoma, one to Mexico City, one to South Dakota, and another one to Chicago. We got to take them around to get their name-tags, their books, drop off their luggage at their residence halls, and then drop them off at class. It sure was interesting trying to lug all their suitcases around. Since hosting is the only time at the MTC that you're authorized to be away from your companion and we would drop them off at certain entrances of buildings to pick up things and them meet them on the other side, it got pretty interesting when I had 3 huge suitcases and had to try and manhandle them around to the other side of the buildings! I'm sure you can picture how gracefully I managed that. :)

My roommates and I like to use gym time to just run around and play and get out all our pent up energy from sitting around in class all day so actually [we do] workouts when we get back to our residence halls at night (when we have about 45 minutes to get ready for bed). We got this one lunges-happy workout from a Chorro [elder] in our zone that we call the Peta-G (his name). My thighs have never been so sore in my entire life. Haha.

The most amazing thing happened on Friday; we were back at our residence hall getting ready for class after gym when one of the MTC employees came around to do our room inspection. And so as she was checking things off we got talking and she mentioned she served a mission in Iowa. Turns out she just got back 2-ish months ago, met Tyler and my cousins, and loved Grandma and Grandpa! When I said I was a Bellows she said "You look like a Bellows!". It was so neat. She told me a story about how one time on her mission she and her companion were having a difficult time--her companion had just thrown out her back, she was frustrated--and they decided to just stop by Grandma and Grandpa's house because they loved visiting them. She said Grandma was taking a nap and her companion went to lie down, so she was sitting on the couch with her scriptures and Grandpa rolled in, gave her a smile, pulled out his scriptures, and asked, "Where are we reading?" She told him and he opened up to the chapter, shared a few insights, and then just sat quietly next to her, reading. She said it was one of them most spiritual and uplifting moments of her mission. She said his funeral was one of the saddest parts of her mission for her. She had so many good things to say about him and Grandma and it just made me feel: Wherever I go I am constantly blessed because of the goodness and wonderful lives and examples of my grandparents and my family. It was such a special, tender blessing from Heavenly father to be able to meet this sister and hear more about Grandma and Grandpa from her. It made me feel like they really aren't that far away. Her name is Jeanette Tompson. Family, do you have any questions for her or want more info? I possibly might see her again. Or maybe someone could email her and get more stories about Grandma and Grandpa!

So, Saturday I feel asleep for the first time during class, haha. Well, not actually class, just study time. Ellis Shimai and I went into a teeny-tiny study room to read the Book of Mormon in Japanese for Nihongo [Japanese] practice and 30 minutes later we both woke up. We were so tired, haha. I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner. Another cool thing that happened that day: We got to do TRC for the first time and guess who we were teaching: Yuu T. Bate's father, Brother Taguchi! It was so crazy! Small world des ne [isn’t it]? He had lots of tips for us on our Japanese. Whoops. Oh well... :)

Sunday was Fast Sunday! It meant we had a little bit of a different schedule. No breakfast or lunch, obviously, and instead of Relief Society/Elder's Quorum we had a super awesome, 2 hour long mission conference with the MTC Presidency! I especially loved Sister Nally's talk (Mom, is that the one who Brother Kirkman is related to?). She told lots of awesome conversion stories and related how all of us are in the MTC because of our footsteps on the path of discipleship. It was really wonderful. Everything else was normal schedule for the most part; District Sunday School, Temple Walk, Devotional (I loved Brother Kohlert's talk about the 5 questions he wants to ask his recently RM grandson; Did you learn that all the Lord expects of you is that you do the best you can? Will you keep reading the BOM and renew your testimony of it regularly? Have you learned how to make relationships work? Have you learned how to work through your trials? Do you have a deep love for the Savior?), but no choir. Dinner was delicious, as per the usual result of Fast Sunday. We also had a really cool Zone Sister's meeting with President Mack about how we've changed since coming to the MTC. I fasted for the Spirit and help with Nihongo [Japanese]. We actually had a Nihongo day only yesterday... yup it kind of flopped around lunch time. But I had a 10-serve streak in volleyball and a supes awesome spike! And I ran the last 5 minutes of gym on the track and it felt sooooo goood! And we had TRC againon Monday and it went much better even though my language skills are so limited. It was such an uplifting experience. Oh, and I got a letter from Kelsea English this week! So fun! It made my day!

The other day in personal study I had a flash of inspiration that helped me understand the word "glory[”] as it's used in the scriptures: Glory is power that is recieved by righteousness (like purity and virtue). So when we are righteous we recieve power--which is the glory of God.

Can you really believe it's been 4 weeks? I've grown so much since being here--I thought before that I had a desire for missionary work, but since being here that desire's grown a hundred-fold. I am coming so much to love my Savior and to feel of his love and to realize how little I understand how incomprehensible and complete that love is for us. 

Lauren, send me a picture of your wolf flag! Horne sensai [Teacher Horne] served in Nagoya, Tsukumoto served in Fukuoka--and she's having a baby girl in March! No Earthquake training as of yet, Pops. :) We have a particle song to the tune of "[My] Favorite Things" [from The Sound of Music] which goes: [“]Wa is the subject and ni shows direction, no says "it's mine" and it shows some possession, for 2nd subjects we always use ga, these are the particles we hold in awe! O is the object and gets all the action, mada up until, he general direction, de place of action or by the means of, these are the particles we've come to love! To's a full list, ya's not finished, ka is either/or. Kara is from and to is quotation, and for "also" we use mo![”] I met President Hiatt's cousins(?) at Devotional Tuesday! They're a couple going to Louisville Kentucky. Sister Ellis is one of the 4 missionaries in my district not going to Sendai. :( I will miss her when she's in Tokyo! We've had 2 snows so far! Can you send me my pink peacoat? I met someone going to Anaheim California Vietnamese speaking the other day. Hee--something. I told him to say hi to Elder Lindsay for me. For the Christmas letter... I have no idea. If you send me a preview I'll give you some input! We've taught all the discussions in Nihongo [Japanese]. I'm glad Rebecca's kids got my letter! The Provo MTC is great so tell Riley not to worry. So excited for Ashley! Sore throat is better. Glad the campout went well Dad! Good luck with choir Lauren! I wish I could be there to hear you sing! It would be so funny if we were on the same plane Dad! The shimaitachi [sisters] would love to meet you. :) I hope the Hardy's add a lama to their chicken/cow/goat/giraffe menagerie. Don't give up on anyone! Ellis shimai [Sister Ellis] has 4 siblings who aren't members and we talk all the time about having a perfect brightness of hope for all to come unto Christ and partake of his love--2 Nephi 21:20. Don't give up! I hope you survive your papers Candice!

I love you all sooooooooooooo much! Thank you so much for all the dear elders and emails!!!!!! They truly uplift me and make my days so wonderful! :) I know God is watching for my family. :)

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Sister Bellows :)

P.S. Watch this Mormon Message! I loved it so much. Reminded me of Grandma and Grandpa: Enduring Love,