Well, week 9 is coming to a close... 17 days and I'll be on a plane to Tokyo! How has everything been? It's already December!
There's a definite sense of urgency within my group of sempai. I'm excited to be off to Japan, but a little nervous and apprehensive at the same time. There, I'll be learning Japanese by necessity, to just communicate with people every day. The language is coming along well. I began to study kanji this past week. It's interesting and helping to keep my language study a little more rejuvenated. It's a challenge that provides me with more motivation. I'm excited for the day when I can hear a word that I've never learned and know it's meaning because I know the kanji.
Anyway, this week’s happenings:
This past Saturday was normal. We retook the written portion of the test that we took the previous Saturday and everyone was able to improve their score. I got a 90, which I'm pretty satisfied with. We're doing well.
This past Sunday, my district and I sang in sacrament... Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy, acapella. We sang the first verse in English then that same verse in Japanese. We had three parts organized: There was six of us so we had one singing high tenor, two singing tenor (melody), and two bass. We did well and were proud of ourselves. I'm glad we were given that opportunity. Sunday night after our fireside we watched The Testaments. They have a few church films playing each week. The last scene of The Testaments is always heart-wrenching.
Monday was a pretty normal day. My companion and I and Elder Coakley and Elder Ige had a training meeting because we were selected to demonstrate how to begin teaching for the new missionaries to come in on Wednesday. There were about 16 missionaries selected.
On Tuesday we had the privilege of meeting Elder Yamashita, of the Seventy. He's the one that spoke at the last session of this past October conference. He was to be our Tuesday Devotional speaker so he met with all of the Japan-bound missionaries before. He's a very respectful, loving, and grateful man. I admired how much he thanked everybody around him. They've been living in Utah for four months now, so his wife's English is very broken. But at the devotional she spoke for about 10 minutes. She was really nervous, but did great. Tuesday we also had a yakyu (softball) rematch with our kohai. They had no chance. We're grateful we haven't had snow yet, even though it's December. Hopefully we have nice weather this next Tuesday so we can play again! Our Nihon-jin (Japanese people) came in on Monday but we weren't able to meet them until Tuesday. Like with our sempai, they're missionaries from Japan that will be serving in Japan. So they come here to the MTC and will be leaving with us back to Japan. They help us a lot with our language, and we're grateful they know a little English to help us understand them better. Oh, I got my hair cut on Tuesday too. So my hair's shorter than yours, Keanu!
On Wednesday we demonstrated how to begin teaching. There were a bunch of rooms set up with a couch and two chairs... about 40 missionaries sat in each room and observed us as we knocked on the door and conversed with a referral. We basically greeted them, sat down, and demonstrated a good first visit. The investigators were all really good actors who really didn't go easy on us very much at all. There was a moderator who stopped us when he felt like we had something good going, and the new missionaries took the lesson from there. The point of the first night here is to be sure that the new missionaries know that we teach people and not lessons. We taught an Italian guy named Carlo (nicknamed Chicho) and another guy originally from Guatemala named Jose. It was a great experience that really helped Elder Barlocker and I develop our teaching skills more. We don't teach in English very often so it was fun.
Yesterday (Thursday) was pretty typical. We had class and study... breakfast, lunch, and dinner too. On Thursdays we have 'service,' so we're assigned a building that we clean. My district is assigned to a residence building. I still need to get a copy of my schedule out to you if you'd still be interested in seeing that.
And here we are today! We have our laundry going now and we'll go to the temple soon. Grandma sent 12 more names that need endowments, so I'll get a bunch of people to help me out with those.
If there's a plaque that will be made for me, I really like Doctrine and Covenants 6:33-37:
" Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.
Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen."
It's my favorite scripture at the moment. Let me know what you think.
Anyway, I love and miss all of you! I hope you're all doing great. I'm grateful for all of your love and support. I'll leave with something that Elder Yamashita shared with us on Tuesday before our devotional: "Enjoy everything. And just trust your God." Keep on working hard and the Lord will make up the rest. Trust him... and show your faith in your actions. God bless you!
We're back from the temple now! Again, we were in the 7:40am endowment session. I was able to get a missionary for each of the names grandma sent and I'm grateful for their help! It's been interesting how many people ask me if I have relatives in various places. People see my nametag (or name records at the temple) and tell me they know some Rindlisbachers.
The temple was really good as always. Walking up there this morning it was the coldest it's been so far. But we're still hoping for at least a little more warm weather!!
President Hinckley has a quote... I don't know the entire thing, just that it starts with, "Yesterday was a great day in my life. Every day is a great day in my life..." I like it because that's the attitude that we need! Enjoy everything! Love your God and trust your God! I will be striving to keep that more in mind throughout this week. I love you all of you! Until next week, take care. :)