Monday, January 5, 2015

More Missionaries God Has Chosen for Japan

Hey! I'm alive! I'm sorry this took Longer than usual. We have to
travel to get wifi and that's a huge setback.
Finally FINALLY enough has not happened this week that I can write to
you about the sister missionaries I'm living with!
(Side note: On New Year's Eve, we had an all day cleaning party and on
New Year's Day we had an all day Book of Mormon Reading party. It was
awesome, but I don't have much to say about it)
So first there's Sister H. She's 5'10" tan, and has this thick wavy
brown hair. The tips of her hair that stick out of her helmet have
been bleached a slightly lighter shade in the sun. She's been here for
about six months. She was born in New Zealand but raised in Austrailia
with her twelve cousins. So not only she has a cool accent, but she
made me a tim tam slam. My universe shattered. Anyways, because she
looks the way she does, she gets a lot of questions about where she
came from. For example, when I came to this ward, word spread quickly
that one of the sister missionaries could speak Spanish. The
Bishoppric's first counselor is from Peru, and when he heard this, he
was so excited. But who did he approach at the Ward Christmas party
and start speaking Spanish to? Sister H. This would have been a
funny mistake, except Sister H. has been in this ward for more than
a month. She says people approach her speaking all kinds of languages.
This has yet to happen to me. Except one lady thought I was
Indonesian. She was just guessing.
Sister H's companion is Sister M.. This is Sister M's
final transfer (a transfer is a six week period.) When I arrived at
the apartment, Sister M. only spoke Japanese to me. If you
couldn't tell by her last name, Sister M. is Japanese. But she's
originally from Hawaii so her native language is English. She was
trying to trick me into thinking she was a "real" Japanese native. So
yes, we talked for a little bit in Japanese but once I asked her where
she was from she was done for. Sister M. is very particular. A
perfectionist I guess. I've been lucky to be graced with a compliment
from her. Most of the time, she just suggests ways I could improve
rather than thanking me or congratulating me. It's way frustrating,
but it encourages me to improve. And I've always got my mom and
President Budge and my companion to shower me with compliments every
other day of the week so I'll be alright. The other day, I guess she'd
had enough of correcting me and having to repeat herself in Japanese,
because she stopped talking, got really serious and asked me: "Do you
have a learning disability?" I should have just said yes so she could
have pity on my poor stupid soul but missionaries don't lie! I don't
want you guys to have the wrong impression about Sister M; she's
real nice! Just today she offered me some of her button up shirts that
she'll leave behind. Too bad she's like 5'1" and ninety pounds. It's
the thought that counts.
The third and final sister I live with is my very own companion Sister
O. She's twenty five and from Arizona. She attended BYU before she
came out here. She tells me she used to be shy but because of the way
she talks to people in a completely foreign language, I don't believe
her. Her dad served his mission in Japan too, but the Kobe mission.
When they skyped on Christmas, they spoke Japanese to each other. One
of the first things I noticed about Sister O. was her hair. It's
gorgeous. She's not a natural blonde and her highlights have grown
out, but to me she's blonde. It's thick and wavy in every direction.
It reaches to about her shoulders, but it lays beautifully that way.
When we had our mission conference, all the other sisters that knew
her before, told her her hair looked so short and she looked so thin.
I've seen pictures of her before now and I honestly like this look the
best. She just looks so down to earth.
The second thing I noticed about Sister O. were her eyes. They're
blue, but there's a rim of yellow-I kid you not yellow!-around her
pupils. It's super cool.
She's the greatest! She's also nearing the end of her mission, she has
one final transfer after this one, but I'm the first missionary she
has trained! We were meant to be. And not just because we both like
The Lower Lights and the Come Thou Fount cd from the Mo Tab. We just
mesh. I love her a lot. It's during the most random parts of the day
that I fell these swells of love for my companion but I love it. She's
the greatest.
So something funny about this week: Just last night a member family
had us over for dinner. I've only been here for something like three
weeks and I've already been fed twice! That's not even counting the
heaps of food the ward members give us in a box outside of the chapel
at church. That box has fed me like eight meals. I will never have to
buy hot chocolate or peanut butter. ANYWAYS: so we're at this family's
house. And there's this little boy, about three-years-old who just
absolutely loves to sing. He knows songs in Japanese and English! But
in Japanese, there is no such thing as a "v" sound. So everyone
replaces it with "b." (I learned this the hard way when talking to the
bishop about a "Barurera" family from Peru. Their actual name is
Valera.) The whole night, he sang is favorite song for us in English.
See if you can catch the meaning. "NEBA NEBA NEBA GIB UP!" Guess what
my new favorite song to sing is while we're riding our bikes.
Some days I can't believe I'm in Japan. I thought it would be so
foreign and scary. My teacher told me that when he stepped off that
plane, he was completely overwhelmed by all the Japanese faces he saw,
because EVERYONE had a Japanese face. I was prepared for that feeling.
But it never came. I mean maybe if everyone looked exactly the same I
would be freaked out but that's not how it is. Everyone has their own
look and personality traits and walk and talk and everything. To be
completely honest, I thought it was going to be tough to kept everyone
straight, to remember names and faces but it's come really natural to
me. I'm glad I've had my experience as a Student Body Officer. In high
school I learned A TON of names. But anyways I love the Japanese
people not because they're Japanese but they already feel like family.
Sometimes I'll see a kid running and I'll want to call out to him
because he reminds me of my brother Nic. Oh! and get this! In Japanese
is sorta rude to just say the word "you." So instead you just use
everyone's name every time. BUT on the occasions where you don't know
somebody's name, say an older lady on the bus with you, you can call
them "mom." If it's someone your age, you can call them "brother" or
I find that it's better to focus just a little into the future. Not
all the way to the end of my mission, that's no good but just a
little. I can compare it to riding a bike. In Japan, there's a ton of
signs and poles and cones and fences one could run into when riding a
bike. If I look right at my obstacle, I'll run into it every time. But
if I look just beyond it, just between two possible obstacles, I'll
never hit them. It's been suggested that this is how one should drive
too! Looking ahead. It's so easy to be in the moment and think: This
sucks. Like when someone's talking to me in Japanese. In that moment,
it's easy to pity myself and feel sorry and think I'm never gonna
learn Japanese. But if I'm thinking about the bike ride ahead of me or
the next lesson I can make it just fine. Don't get caught up in the
tough things of now but look ahead with hope! That's what God taught
me this week.
Love all you guys! I'm sorry I won't get to respond to everyone! Next
week I'll plan way better! Thanks Cottam family for your Christmas

Sent from my iPad

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