Sunday, January 5, 2014

E-mail 12/30/2013

My wonderful family

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! I'm so glad we got to Skype! I loved seeing all your lovely happy faces. It was so fun!!!!!! You all seemed so happy and to be having a proper Bellows party. :) LOVED IT! It was so fun. :) This week has been CRAZY! And AWESOME!

Christmas Eve we had lunch with Tota shimai [Sister Tota], the one I sent pictures of. She's this adorable 84 year old, 4 foot tall, hilarious grandma who is just so sweet. While we were eating she said to me something really complicated and then "Sometimes you have no idea what I'm saying don't you." Me: Ah, so desu ne! [Oh, it’s so!] (All the shimai [sisters] knew I had no idea what she was saying to me so they all died trying not to laugh and give me away. But Tota's pretty smart so she'd already figured it out, haha.) From that we went to District Meeting--which was a real spiritual uplift. Favorite thougths: Is dendo [proselyting] fun? You must ask and do all you can and ask. You cannot move mountains by yourself. So when the mountains do move, you KNOW it is the Lord. It was really good. From District Meeting we went caroling with a couple members and the choro tripanionship [companionship with three elders] to some of their LA [less-actives]/investigators. After that we came back to the church for a Christmas Eve dinner with Date shimai [Sister Date] and a bunch of people. It was SO nice. I finally met the Canadian, Nicolas (from Montr[e]al) who does programming in Kamisugi for a Japanese companion [I think she meant “company”]. He's fluent in English, French, and Japanese. Pretty amazing. Date shimai shared the lyrics to a Christmas song as a part of her Christmas thought. I think it's called "Do You Have Room for the Savior."

They journeyed far, a weary pair,
They sought for shelter from the cold night air.
Some place where she could lay her head,
Where she could give her Babe a quiet bed.
Was there no room? No corner there?
In all the town a spot someone could spare?
Was there no soul to come to their aid?
A stable bare was where the family stayed.
Do you have have room for the Savior,
And do you seek Him anew?
Have you place for the one who lived and died for you?
Are you as humble as a shepherd boy,
Or as wise as men of old?
Would you have come that night?
Would you have sought the light?
Do you have room?
A star arose, a wonderous light;
A sign from God this was the Holy NIght.
And yet so few would go to see the Babe
Who came to rescue you and me.
This Child Divine is now a King.
The gift of life to all the world He brings.
And all mankind He saves from doom.
But on that night for Him there was no room.

Wednesday was Christmas!!!!!!! We all woke up and opened our presents, like a good old American Christmas! (Minus the waking up at6:30am. That's not very American.) You might've seen my epic photo of me opening my presents in coat, scarf, and gloves. It was a cold morning. :D It was so fun!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE the presents you sent me--it was a very happy Christmas. :) And I got the cutest package from Jessa! It was stuffed to the brim with all my favorite things--she kind of knows me crazy well ;)--and had adorable labels on all the wrapped presents. So cute! Incredibly thoughtful. Loved it! I'm way excited about my pens, pencils, notebooks, food, and bathrobe. Woohoo! I love office supplies!!!

After opening presents we had time for a little study and then we left for the Charity Concert for the 2011 Tsunami Victims. (We were volunteer ushers.) It was so funny! We were the youngest people there by about 30 years so the entertainment was geared toward that generation--Kabuki and all that. We had fun. And we went and caroled with Date shimai afterward and then had Eikaiwa [English class]. It was a merry and busy Christmas!

After skype Thursday, we went to the Monma house for a delicious curry udon noodle soup. Delicious! Hilarious moment of that day: Orgill shimai [Sister Orgill] and I were street contacting at this stoplight and this young guy asks us who we work for. But Orgill shimai hears "Do you have husbands?" and starts telling him about how we're single. DIED. SO FUNNY! The guy about fell off his bike he was so shocked and he started going the opposite direction than us. Hehehehehe. I also got the cutest Christmas card from the Freemans that day. Loved it!

I think I mentioned that I put Moses 7:18 and My Purpose in the Nihongo [Japanese] order in English to help me remember it better. It's pretty funny. Take a look:

My purpose--My purpose, people to Christ's presence to come (!) invite thing is. This sake to me, Jesus Christ and Christ's Atonement believe faith, repentence, baptism, Holy Ghost's gift recieve thing, end until endure thing, through, they restored was gospel can recieve (!) help's is.

Moses 7:18--Lord that people Zion called. They heart one, thought one, righteous in live from is.

Pretty cool right? :)

Friday, we had lu[n]ch at Muto shimai's [Sister Muto’s] house. It was yummy. The desert was some sort of bean thing with chewy white sweet stuff. Dai ski [I like it]. From there we biked up a mountain to one of our investigator's house (she's been ignoring us). We talked to her but she doesn't really want to meet with us anymore. 

That day I read in Enos 1:27 and loved that example of someone who had such a real relationship with Christ that he looked forward to the day that he would see the Savior and be judged of Him with happiness and longing. I loved that.

Advice for Future Missionaries:
·  DO NOT put things off until your mission (memorizing scriptures, the language, etc.); you will not have time.
·  You are in the MTC to learn how to study - not learn a langauge.
·  Be worthy. If you are the MTC will nourish you. If you're not the MTC will be very uncomfortable because we talk about worthiness everyday there. Unsure? Write down every little thing you think you might still need to repent of--make a list, make 2 copies, get an interview and go over it with your Bishop. One of my friends did this and said it was an incredible experience.
·  Any time between your call and your report date is PRECIOUS. There's a lot of focus on the stuff you have to get--don't fall into that. Study like crazy. It will help you so much in the MTC.
If you're learning a language, ask your MTC teachers to teach you to say in your new language:
·  How to pray like a native (people tell me I sound "cute")
·  Testify
·  LDS terms
·  Missionary terms
·  How to street contact
·  How to door approach
·  How to introduce yourself
·  Feelings (so you can tell if people are feeling the Spirit)
·  Name (how to spell it, explain where it comes from)
·  Family (size, brothers/sisters, missions)
·  Why you came on a mission
Maybe that'll help Riley a little bit. :)

There's this little bakery here called Ishiiya that we just love. We go there about every other week. It's so nice to eat bread! Bread is really good--and cheap!--here. Bread and eggs. (I eat those a lot...) It's so fresh and yummy. They even have a glass etching of a famous picture of Christ upstairs. My favorite roll from there has cheese, ham, and a while [white?] potato inside. Yummy!

Saturday was INCREDIBLE. That morning we got up and looked out the window and it was MAJORLY snowing. (I promptly put on tights, leggings, and 3 pairs of socks. Miraculously I still fit into my boots.) We'd planned the night before to go to Miagi-dai (about an hour north of Kamisugi by bus) for the day. The copious snow worried us a little (would we be able to get there? Would we be able to get back?) but we acted in faith and boarded the bus to Miagi-dai. Miracles happened! We found a strong PI [potential investigator] while looking for a bathroom and offering to shovel. We visited 5 members and every single one of them was home and let us talk to them. And when we knocked on our last member's door we hear (in Japanese) "Come in!" So we open the door and the Hiyasakas say "Oh, there you are. Come in! We're having dinner. President Rasmussen is here." So we end up at dinner with them, sitting down next to President and Sister Rasmussen. Their whole extended family is there--all of them having served missions. It was the yummiest dinner and they were all crazy good at Engish and Sister Rasmussen offers a ride home and Rasmussen Kaicho [President Rasmussen] sends us back out (we sang "Silent Night" for the family to say thank you first) and while we're knocking doors before riding home with the Rasmussens, we find a super strong PI family who want to joint with their LDS neighbors. AMAZING DAY.

While biking to church Sunday morning, Orgill shimai [Sister Orgill] biffed it; turned, hit ice, went flying, and landed with the bike on top of her. Ouch! She's okay, just bruised. Her biking confidence is still intact so no worries there. :) The Rasmussens were in our ward and Rasmussen kaicho talked in church. It was really cool to see/hear him speak Japanese--gives me hope that after I learn some I'll still have it in 30-40 years. :) It was way cool. And the entire 3rd hour was focused around the book "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" which one of the Hiyasaka relations translated into Japanese with his students. Amazing!

Today we had lunch with the Sato family--so fun! I give the spiritual message and Orgill shimai was kind enough to translate my story for me and then I bore my testimony in Japanese. I really felt the Spirit. And the food was way yummy. :)

Our ward has 80-90 active members with a big range of ages, but not a whole lot of active YSAs [young single adults]. Most people know a scattering of English words, and a few served missions in the United States and speak really good English. Our apartment is pretty normal. I drew a floor map and took a picture for you. :) It's starting to get snowy here. Biking in the rain and snow is very slick and scary! We slow down a lot. There's a couple of mountains in our area where members live so there's a few hills for us to bike. ;) I'm starting to understand more of what people are saying, but sometimes there's 5 minutes or more where I understand absolutely nothing. Our ward mission leader is amazing! The District all hopes he'll be a mission president someday. I don't think we have any ward missionaries. Sister Orgill is very funny, and very obedient and has a great voice. She's got a way intense personality, but is very loving to the members. They like her a lot. They think she's hilarious. She plays violin and picked up the ukelele [ukulele] a couple transfers ago.

I'm so grateful for all the letters and emails and the Skype we got to do this week!

So excited to play those board games when I get back! What kind of puzzles did you get for Christmas? I love your gigantic puppy Lauren! Is he an airbender like Appa or a waterbender? Dad, I'm so excited to read Grandma and Grandpa's history! I want to read the Sandberg interview too! I think the Japanese love to sing but a lot of them also really love American songs. Candice, who did each of the gospels write to? I loved the pictures of Grandma and Grandpa Bellows. :) It was so fun to each about your Christmas! Was Kelsea there during Skype? When did she fly in? Did I miss her?

I love you all SOOOOOOOOO much!!!!!!!! You are amazing!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. My goals: Write in my journal everyday, Learn 5 vocab every day, finish the Book of Mormon by Mother's day... any other ideas? I want to hear your goals too!

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