Saturday, May 25, 2013

Oh, Konichiwa!

Oh, Konichiwa!
So here's breaking news- We didn't lose ANYONE from our district this week!!!!! But... in a funny sort of way, we lost everyone! That is to say... my district received our travel plans yesterday!!!
It was so unreal. I just stood there looking at it! We're gong to be flying out next Monday. From Salt Lake to L.A. to Tokyo to Fukuoka!
It's so strange... I am not going to set foot on American soil until October of 2014...
I'm going to eat sushi and pickled urchin and fermented soybeans on ice cream...
I'm going to be speaking Japanese 24/7...
I'm going to be preaching the gospel half way across the world!
It's just a crazy thought... It still isn't real yet. If I think about it too long I start jumping all around and squealing like a crazy woman.
But the best thing is that I will be able to call my mamma =) I wasn't able to call her on Mothers Day from the MTC, but I will be able to call her from the airport! Yaaaaay!
But what else is new? Oh yeah! So, this week was a really hard week. For many many many reasons. But there were so many tender mercies also. The biggest of which happened on Thursday! My companions and I were so disappointed that we weren't going to be able to clean showers... They made us do doorknobs instead. But that was alright! Anyway... as we were walking around, cleaning doorknobs, we came across an unwanted items box... and in the box were 2 French books! I had been so discouraged because I have been forgetting French... like just little things that I really should be remembering! I want to keep my fluency! So, I had been praying about it... and then I find these 2 books! I was so happy I almost cried! Then later, I found a pocket-sized French hymn book! I really felt that God was looking out for me and that he actually cared how I felt at that very moment. I have kind of always thought that God gives us our trials and difficulties for a reason and that I should just deal with it and not expect a whole lot... but at that moment, I really felt that even in my trials, God was checking up on me and he cared about my concerns, even in French isn't my mission language. I was so happy. I sang French songs all day and read my French books =) It's so fun to learn the gospel terms in the little 'French for Missionaries' book! Yeah... it was definitely a reminder that Heavenly Father loves us a whole lot more than even we know.
Let's see... also this week, I got to host the new missionaries again! Except this time, I got to host the internationals! You see... there was this Italian missionary... and she didn't speak much English. So... they asked everyone if there was anyone who spoke Italian... and out of all the hosts (maybe 150 to 200), no one spoke Italian... except me... So I bashfully raised my hand... and they put me with this Italian girl who looked like she could've been my sister! It was so difficult! I haven't spoken any Italian in SO long! But it was definitely a good thing we were together, because she had a lot of concerns and wouldn't have been able to resolve them if she wouldn't have had someone that understood what she was saying! So basically... she would speak Italian to me and I would understand everything... then I would try to respond to her and I would totally slaughter the Italian! A big fruit salad of French/Italian/Japanese would come out! Most of what I said had to be acted out. Everyone probably thought I was soooo weird. Why have I even been worried about French!? I should've been worried about Italian! It's a good thing to know my theater skills are paying off! When I get back I'll have to tell Mr. Legget! Haha... it was a good experience though =) I'm glad I could help, even if my broken Italian made no sense at all!!!
Oh boy... I'm going to Japan... how crazy is that?
Anyway... I've probably talked you all to death and nothing that I've said even has a thing to do my Japanese! Only my French and Italian!... and I obviously haven't forgotten English yet... But really quick- just in case you are wondering, Japanese is going marvelously! Yesterday they made us teach the missionaries who are actually from Japan! It was intimidating! But I understood most of what they were saying to me, so that in itself is a huge feat! Japanese is great =) It really is one of the easiest languages I've studied as far as speaking goes... but the writing can get tricky... trying to draw a tiny little picture for every word isn't easy at all! But that's alright! I'm sure I'll learn!
I hope you all have a lovely week!
Your little missionary thinks of you often!

Johnson Shimai
Burgon Shimai

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hello, Everyone!

Oh, hello!!!!!
So this week has actually been relatively normal!
Not a whole lot new except for the fact that I get my flight itinerary this week!!!!! AHHHHHH! I'm leaving to live in a foreign country in 2 weeks!!!!! Crazy!
But, some SUPER exciting things did happen!!!!!
First of all, this past Sunday, Janice Kapp Perry came and spoke to us at relief society! It was the coolest thing! She has always been one of my heroes. During her talk, she announced that she had written a song for us and we would be the first ones ever to sing it! It was the most amazing thing. She said that she will be releasing a CD specifically for sister missionaries and that that song will be on it! It is called The Sisters of Zion. It was such an amazing thing to see her.
Also, this past Tuesday, Russell M. Nelson came and spoke to us!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH! He is such a darling old man. You know what's funny? The apostles are sooo different in real life! They actually joke around! Richard G. Scott wasn't so much like that, but Elder Nelson definitely was! Sometimes I get to watch previous MTC devotional recordings. It's just hilarious to see the apostles in a more relaxed setting!
Elder Nelson told us some pretty valuable things. He told us to shape up! He also said, "I just pounded the pulpit in front of the entire world and told them that all they need to do is talk to you!!!" It was so funny. Everyone laughed. And he did too! Have you ever heard an apostle laugh? It is so funny! You just don't expect them to do it!
Ironically, the only culture specific thing he mentioned in his talk was about Japan!!! It was something about the ward members there... it kind of made me wonder if he was the one who assigned my call... Interesting thought...
Another thing he told us to do is to study the topical guide- specifically the "Jesus Christ" section. He promised that if we did, we would come to know our Savior better than ever before. So... I have made that my daily scripture study plan! I study the Jesus scriptures from the topical guide! His promise really does prove true. I have come to know Christ better than ever. There are sooooo many pages in the topical guide just about Christ! I hope I get through all of them by the end of my mission =)
Oh yeah! Also, we got new Kohai (missionaries in the Japanese area) this week! We got soooo many! Ten new branches! The work is going to TAKE OVER!!!!! I found out that on the day that I got to the MTC, one tenth of all the new arrivals were going to Japan! Isn't that crazy!? Heber J. Grant prophesied this- "I have an abiding faith that this is to be one of the most successful missions ever established in the church. It is going to be slow work at first, but the harvest is going to be something great and will astonish the world in years to come." He said that when he dedicated Japan for the work. He said that the prayer he said that day was the most powerful prayer he's ever offered in his life. The time has come! The time is now! So many people her ein the MTC have told us that the time for President Grant's prophesy is at hand! I am, so excited! I am going to help bring about the fulfillment of prophesy!
I got to help host some of the new missionaries this week. It was so wonderful. Seeing their bright spirits and how willing they are to serve just made me want to be better and better.
Oh- one more thing! This week I started teaching my lessons with NO NOTES! And... I also started reading Japanese scriptures out loud in my lessons, so that I don't have to ask the investigator to read them all! This in itself is a miracle. Japanese is sooo hard to read! Especially because we have to read it top to bottom, from right to left! Doing lessons this way is scary... All I go in with is my missionary planner and my Japanese scriptures! I can't help but think back to when Elder Richard G. Scott gave us an apostolic blessing that we would be able to MASTER our language. I have had to take a lot of things in faith- that being one of the biggest things I worry about... but it has definitely been a testament to be of the power of God. If God sends one of his 12 best wing men out to the MTC and tells him to bless us that we will be able to learn our language- it will happen! Hello- I'm learning Japanese!!!!!!!!! I still can't believe it sometimes... It keeps getting easier and easier...
I love being a missionary. Every day just gets better and better.
I love you all so much. Thank you for being there and for looking out for me =)
Your little mishie,
Roberts Shimai!

All of us & our badges 

Temple walks at the mtc! 

Some more of the shimaitachi =) 
The native Japanese all came and sang to us =)

 I am posing as Samuel Smith. I practice extending the baptismal invitation to him all the time... haha

Me messing around... like usual! 

Me being Pocahontas

Another ninja nametag switch 

This is seza extremu! 

seza extremu
My CRAAAAAZY schedule!


beautiful MTC flowers 

more beautiful MTC flowers 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Aishitemasu! Love you all!

Hello, everybody!
It seems like my life gets crazier every time I check in!
So... in our district we have this joke about Fridays... Because every other Friday we lose someone in our district! The first time it was Strong-choro, the next week it was Smotherman-shimai! So... this Friday, something crazy happened... I got a companion! We didn't lose someone- we added someone! Her name is Sister Biddle and she's AUSTRALIAN!!!!!!!!!!! The best thing that could have ever happened to me!!!!!!!! I love these Australians... So many of them are going to Japan. But anyway... so we moved a new desk back into our room! Then... we found out... Sister Biddle wasn't actually going to be my companion...She got fast-tracked and got put with Sister Vincent in another district... =( So... We had to move the desk back out. It was really sad... So once again on the 2nd Friday, we lost someone! Our 2nd Fridays are so cursed... But it's ok because I LOVE my tri-pan and now that means we still only have three sisters in our bedroom! Shhhhhhh..... don't tell anyone! All the other rooms have six sisters!
Also, I got a letter from my friend in Japan, who left a few weeks ago! It was lovely. He is serving in Kyoto! He says that so many wonderful things are going on over there and that he already has 3 committed for baptism! I can't wait to get over there =) Only 3 more weeks in the MTC! I hope I am as successful as he is!
Also... a few more exciting things happened this week. Firstly- my teacher bought us all chopsticks!!!!!!!!!!!!! So this week I've been totally committed to not using any silverware at all! Chopsticks are great. Mine are hot pink!!!!!!! It's funny how well our teachers get to know us. How else would she know that hot pink is the only color for me!? Also, our schedule got changed. So now we eat breakfast at 6:45, lunch at 11, and dinner at 4. So... that means that by 8:00 (which is around the time we used to have dinner), we're STARVING!!!!!!! So yesterday... I decided to smuggle some food out of the cafeteria... in my scarf! Scarves are so marvelous. You can hide anything in them and no one will notice! So yesterday, I smuggled a banana and a bag of cheetos! And the funny thing is- no one noticed! I was wearing a huge bright orange scarf... and still... no one noticed! So... around 8:00 I ate the bag or cheetos... but I ended up being too full to eat the banana. So... what did I do? Prepare yourselves........... I wrote "ai shitemasu" (I love you) on the banana and handed it off to one of my Australians. This resulted in a immediate fame of the "Love Banana"... Everyone was trying to figure out where the banana came from! But... I did not say one word! Little did they all know that I had transported the banana out of the cafeteria in my scarf! Hahaha... Oh my goodness. It's so funny how the stupidest things are just so funny in the MTC. We're all going crazy!!!!!!!
I have also discovered that Japanese people can't say "Roberts-shimai..." what they do call me though... is "Robots-shimai!" It's so funny. Everyone in the Japanese hall makes fun of me and walks around like a robot calling me "Robots-shimai!" I have definitely become infamous throughout the building with my robotic last name... It's wonderful though =)
Also this week I wrote a duet and piano accompaniment for the song Take Time to be Holy and me and a couple of my district friends are going to perform it  with me hopefully sometime soon in devotional or something! I will be singing with my friend Downing-choro and one of my companions, Johnson-shimai will be playing for us! We are going to audition on Thursday! It will be lots of fun =)
One last thing! I found a cure for forgetting French and Italian! It can be so hard to keep up on all the languages I speak, especially with trying to learn this new one! So- I found the solution! I can read profiled in French and Italian AND Japanese, and it keeps me up to speed, so I don't forget anything! Man... Sometimes being multilingual is the coolest thing EVER!!!!!!!!! So that made me really happy this week =)
Sorry I don't have anything really profound to say this week... I'll try harder next time!
Aishitemasu! Love you all!

    The district and the shimaitachi
   Smotherman- brown hair, Johnson- glasses, Burgan- super blonde

    Pretty flowers at the MTC!

   Arigatogozaimasu for the Rubiks cube!

    My Room!

    Regular class activity!

    Necktie/scarf switch with Mahler choro!

    This morning posing with a statue!

    Today at the temple!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sooooooo many good things going on in the MTC...

Wow, Konichiwa, everyone!!!!!
It seems like every time I write, my life gets crazier and crazier!
So, I'll start with the craziest item first-
My companion left.... It was on "medical leave" but there was a lot more too it than that... She may be coming back in 6 or so months, but for now it's sayonara...I won't go into depth, but all I will say is that some people just aren't quite ready... I was sad to see her go, but a lot of surprise blessings have come of it! For example, I am now in the most legit tri-panionship of all time with Sister Bugron and Sister Johnson! They are just so wonderful. I haven't been as happy as I am now in a long time =) and It's all because of them and their radiant personalities and glorious spirits. I love them so much. We are like sisters. Oh wait... I guess we are! Well... Sisters in all but blood! They're fabulous!
Ther elders might be getrting a little sick of us, simply because we are so happy to be together! The Australian elders say that we are like "sugar-hyped troll babies"... =) If only they knew! Muahahahaha!!!!!
Now our district is a district of 8... We're so small... And we're dropping like flies! But don't worry =) I'm not leaving! But... a couple more elders might leave too... The MTC isn't for the weak of testimony... but it is sad to see the ones you love leave...
I am still loving being a missionary! It's nothing like I expected! It's so much better =)
Let's see, what else... oh yeah! A couple weeks ago, one of the Australian elders in our district and I started a Sunday tradition! We call it our "Accent Fast!" It is when for an entire day the two of us switch accents! It's great fun =) The only problem is, I'm beginning to forget all the people I've convinced that I'm Australian!... It's even worse when I forget about the Australians I've convinced that I'm Australian! Haha... Oh well! =) So, That will happen again tomorrow, as always =)
Also, yesterday our district did an "English Fast"... In honor of being here for a month! The idea was that because we weren't allowed to speak English, we would speak Japanese all day... But rather than that... I just spoke a little Japanese and a lot of French!... Mostly with the teachers, because the French Elders and Sisters have no idea what they're doing =) Just like me! =) So, I stick to the natives and the teachers. It's lots of fun... So yeah, the Japanese day was kind of a fail, but Japanese is still coming along really well! I'm learning lots about the gospel and not much else! But it's perfect! That's what I'm here for =)
Last week at Relief Society, Sister Oscarson, the new Young Womens general president spoke to us. You can tell she's new because she's so nervous! =) She's so fabulous though! She told us that speaking to us was her very first assignment since being called! We are so priveleged to be able to hear from these wonderful general authorities. Rumor has it that Elder Holland is coming some time soon =)
This week was filled with so many tendrer mercies. So many of my friends have entered the MTC. It's so wonderful to see familiar faces. I have also Learned to do the Rubiks cobe in a little under 3 minutes! Not that impressive... but better than before!
Yesterday my district spent a few minutes throwing a paper airplane around to each other. The airplane said "ai shitemas" on the wing, which means I love you in Japanese. Sometimes the simplest things make us so happy here in the MTC. We just sat in our desks "spreading love!"
Oh man... Being a missionary is just the greatest thing in the whole world... I had no idea that I would love it so much. A couple days ago me and the tri-pan cleaned showers in the residence hall! We got to power spray and clean hairballs out of the drains! It was SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!! Who knew... =) Cleaning showers is now our favorite activity! Wow... That's pretty weird, but honestly! It's so fun! And I can't even explain why! Maybe it's because the spirit is with us!
Sorry for all the scattered thoughts! I love you all so much! That's it for now!
Roberts Shimai
#Sooooooo many good things going on in the MTC...