Friday, December 20, 2013

E-mail 11/26/2013

Hello my amazing family!

Only 2 weeks till Japan! I can't wait! Thank you for all the wonderful uplifting letters this week! Aunt Rebecca sent me supes cutie [super cute] package! Loved it! Made my day! And I got a letter from Jessa! So fun! Thanks for the cookies Mom! Our district--and our teachers!--loved them!

So, Tuesday we went to our last session at the Provo Temple. So sad! Devotional was really neat. It was all about the Celestial Kingdom and life after death. The speaker said that once you decide our final destination every other decision is easy and that we can't just DO right things we have to internalize them.

Wednesday, I hosted a missionary from South Korea! Her English was amazing. She's going to Seattle. So, the day before, Ellis shimai [Sister Ellis] and I got the assignment to be the missionaries teaching as a part of the new missionary teaching orientation experience. Basically we were recommended by one of our teachers (Horne sensai [Teacher Horne]) and were in charge of demonstrating How to Begin Teaching in front of groups of about 45 missionaries with investigators we literally would meet and teach without any background knowledge right in front of our audience. It was way cool! Demo [But], a little strange to teach in front of a group. The other funny thing was that later in the week we started talking to a random group of Elders and they said to us "You look really familiar... Oh yeah! You were our missionaries in orientation!" Haha, funny.

Thursday we got our Nihongo [Japanese] name tags! So exciting! We're actually going to Japan!

Friday we had Elder Holbrook as a sub for Tsukumoto sensai [Teacher Tsukumoto]--and apparently he served with Tyler! He was SUCH a good teacher. We all did a door approach with him, and then he taught/reviewed bunpo with us, gave us some benkyo [study] coaching and then demonstrated teaching. I learned so much from him. He was very high energy. 

So that night when Ellis shimai [Sister Ellis] and I were teaching Hiyashi-san (Horne-sensai) [Teacher Horne pretending to be Hiyashi] we did a no-notes lesson. It made some of my sentences very interesting. Like: Kamisama no imashime genki--God's commandments well. (I was trying to say God's law of health). And another one: Watashi wa Nihongo mushikashi--I am difficult Japanese. (I was trying to say Japanese is difficult for me). Oops...

Saturday we talked in Horne-sensai's [Teacher Horne’s] class about how we want to be more than just hirelings, we want to be carers of the sheep; to be involved in their lives. It made me think of you[r] talk Dad--it sounded so good!

I was reading that day in Alma 22:15-18 (one of my favorite scriptures). I love the King's real intent; in the previous chapter he was only willing to give up 1/2 his kingdom. This chapter: everything. The next chapter: he actually does when they move to Zerahemla [Zarahemla]. From reading that scripture I wanted to be 1) better at knowing the scriptures like Aaron (verse 12)--to be able to answer any question from them, and 2) To be able to pray like the king (verse 18)--with true desire and real intent; to have meaningful and powerful prayers.

Relief Society was so good on Sunday. We had 3 speakers who had all been mission president's wives and they all told mission stories. Sister Yost talked about a mission miracle they had in Slovakia; for our church to be legally recognized they had to gather 20,000 signatures with slovakian social security numbers--something people never freely give out. They'd tried and failed so many times, gathering barely 100 names before by people who spoken fluent Slovak. But then the church decided to have all the Slovak and Cheque [Czech] Republic called missionaries have a week of only gathering names and they prayed and fasted and because of the power their missionaries had from obedience, in 4 days they gathered 26,000 names. It was a miracle. She said "They knew their exact obedience and they knew they could call down the powers of heaven to help and they did not doubt." She said "Have you come to the edge where miracles occur? This is His work and He will stay with you to the end. Can you expect miracles on your mission? YES." It gave me chills. 

The other talk I loved was by Sister Mortensen. She talked about the Atonement and the symbolism of hands in the scriptures. She said "The Atonement's crowning purpose is to endow us with power to become like Christ." She also said that the root Hebrew word for hand is power or strength. And that touching hands symbolizes the transfer of power or strength.  [His hands?] are infused with his virtues, patience, and charity." I loved it. Made me think of the song with the line "[the Temple] is the place I reach for Heaven and it reaches in return."

Favorite quotes from the other Sunday Meetings: (theme: Faith in Jesus Christ) "I know with certainty her faith overcame her fear and her hope overcame her despair."--Pres. Utchdorf [Uchtdorf], "As we come to know Him better our faith in Him will increase and we will become more like Him."--Brother Robinson, "Strong faith is developed by obedience. It is faith that is the converted and teacher. Learning this language is a miracle of faith. So is a mission."--Sister Robinson.

Devotional was so good. It was by the MTC [Missionary Training Center] director(?) Stephen B. Allen again. He talked about being good companions by 1) Avoiding anger, 2) Watching out for murmuring, 3) Stopping rebellion and disobedience, 4) Watching out for complaining, 5) Love and comfort your companion when they struggle. It was really good. He said "The Adversary will do all he can to find the chinks in your armor to cause you to not be successful." He also said "This mission experience will make you more choosy about your eternal companion [i.e., spouse]--and that's a good thing!"

Ellis shimai [Sister Smith] and I wrote a story together about Brandon-hood, Green-tights, and deaf-Taylor (friends from the last dai senpai [seniors; what they call the oldest district of Japan-bound missionaries]). It was of epic proportions. :D

So Thanksgiving sounds like it's going to be way fun! We'll have a general authority in the morning (we'll sing in the choir), Thanksgiving lunch with leftovers for dinner, a service project, and then we'll watch Ephrims [Ephraim’s] Rescue--I'm excited! We also won't have class--that'll be weird. 

Lauren I loved the pictures of your glasses! You look sooo cute. :) Thanksgiving sounds like it's going to be a blast at the Bellows house! Can you send me Maria's address and email? The rugby sounds so fun! Hope you all are enjoying the crisp weather. The ivory sweater sounds great. The button for my coat is brass and I might need some thread... For boots, I mailed you a package with tracings of my feet but I don't know when it will arrive... Does Lauren wear a 9 1/2 or 10? That's what I usually wear. Maybe she can try stuff on for me. Smith shimai [Sister Smith] has pretty heavy duty snow boots but they still look nice. Maybe Rassmussun shimai [Sister Rassmussun] can give you tips. Basic black is probably a good idea. I trust your access to inspiration! Wintry but not too obnoxious is an excellent idea. My shoes are doing well! I probably need to polish the toes of my gortex ones. In other news, Wigginton shimai [Sister Wigginton] said there's a website where you can turn your blog into a book. Is that for real? It sounds so cool!
Sorry to be so scattered today. I have a cold again. Apparently the MTC is 39% sisters now. A kangaroo saw the ninjas hiding many yaks round the wall n--is the way I remember the hiragana chart order. 

I love you all so much!!! Thank you for all the letters and packages! I can't wait to call you at Christmas--and possibly the airport (we get our travel plans on Friday and we'll know more then!)!! Have a wonderful thanksgiving!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

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