I am doing so well here. I love my mission already. I can already see it changing me and it's seriously incredible. When you dedicate all 24 hours of every day to learning more about Heavenly Father and His gospel, you learn and witness amazing things. Miracles happen here every single day. The spirit at the MTC is indescribable. I want everyone to experience what I am lucky enough to be apart of. I feel so blessed and I'm so grateful for my decision to serve.
So, day 1: All I have to say is WOW. I walked into a small classroom with tiny desks that were filled with missionaries from all over the world (New Zealand, Brazil, Germany, it's crazy! my district is so diverse) who looked beyond terrified. Our teacher, Nitta Sensei came in and told us, in japanese, that he was never once going to speak english to us, no matter how much we struggled. SO naturally, we all freaked out. Looking back on this week though, I have learned so much thanks to my sensei and his way of teaching, and I couldn't be luckier to have him as my teacher. My doryo (companion) hadn't arrived yet when I got there. A few hours later, Champan Shimai (Sister Chapman) showed up and I found out that she was from Tahiti and spoke NO english, For those of you who dont know, your mission companion is someone who is with you 24/7. You study together, pray together, teach together, eat together, learn together, EVERYTHING you do, you do with your companion. I was terrified and incredibly confused once I realized that I could not communicate with my companion. I felt extremely alone, and it was hard for me.
The next morning I woke up and decided that I was going to find a way to make our companionship work and that I was never going to think of myself; ONLY OTHERS. This week has been filled with Chapman Shimai and I meeting with our Branch President, the MTC Presidency, and even phone calls to the Mission Office in SLC, trying to come up with a solution to our problem. However, having Chapman Shimai as my doryo has been the greatest blessing- it's the farthest thing from a problem. I love her and she has taught me so much through her actions. The Lord is helping us both immensely. I have no doubt about that.
We taught our first investigator, in japanese, on the second day!!!!! To say it was a struggle would be a huge understatement haha. But it's cool because we could still feel the spirit. Teaching an investigator was a really sweet and tender experience.
On day 3, Nitta Sensei let Chapman Shimai and I use google translate to communicate! We finally spoke to each other! It was so dang exciting haha. We were both smiling the whole rest of the day.
On saturday, we had our first service project- which was making the senior missionaries' beds. I was wearing my seahawks shirt, and an elder came up to me wearing the same shirt! He is from Washington too! He was so nice and it felt good to talk to someone from home and to just be a little bit social again haha. I could never remember his name, so I just called him Elder Pickle (Elder Picard is his real name). The funny thing about this story though, is that when he asked me my name, I accidentally said Elder Kasteler.... and he just looked at me so confused haha it was so awkward and hilarious. Now he calls me Elder haha everytime he sees me, which is ALL THE TIME because we are on the same schedule. He left for Korea this morning, so good luck to him!
The MTC has so much support for us shimaitachi (sister missionaries). Our Senpai (sister training leaders) have helped us so much, along with the Branch President's wife and the counselor's wives. Every night they come around and bring fresh groceries (VEGGIES) to our rooms and let us know how much they love us. It makes me really miss my mom though.
In our district and zone, we constantly are saying "aishiteimasu," or I LOVE YOU to each other. I love it. The constant 'I love you's are so uplifting and brighten everyone's day. We have so much fun together.
Sunday was incredible. I love sundays at the MTC. I joined the choir and loved it- it might be one of my favorite things here. the director is amazing and absolutely hilarious! He should be famous. The devotional was amazing. The spirit is so incredibly strong here. Afterwards, we watched the talk Characteristics of Christ by Elder Bednar. And it changed my life. It is the best talk that I have ever heard and if you have not seen or read it, DO IT as soon as you can! It helped me so much in regards to my relationship with my companion. I need to do what the Lord wants me to; it has absolutely nothing to do with what I want. I need to turn outward towards others like Christ did, instead of turning inward towards myself. I can already feel the mission changing me, and it's amazing. I never get distracted anymore, where as usually I would NOT be able to sit in a classroom all day studying and reading. I have grown to LOVE studying the scriptures. This week, I havent been able to stop reading the Book of Mormon. I have received so much revelation and comfort from the words written in the scriptures.
On monday, we taught our investigator about the restoration, and it went so well! The spirit was so strong and we were so happy afterwards. Even though Chapman Shimai and I cannot talk to one another yet, we can smile and laugh and rejoice in our success, so that's awesome :) Monday was just a happy day. We learned so much japanese (9 hours worth) that our whole district just like hit a wall haha and everything became hilarious. I do not think I have ever laughed that hard in my whole life.
Tuesday night was the devotional, and the choir got to sing during it. We sang Jesus Once of Humble Birth, and it was so good! It made me feel like I was singing in General Conference haha. Apparantly, at one point during the performance, they zoomed in on my face haha so that's embarrassing.The devotional itself was great! A member of the 70 spoke on how to be a good missionary. There were two things that he said that I really liked:
1. if it is to be, it is up to me
2. you must believe in things which are unbelievable
After the devotional, we met as a district for testimony meeting. The spirit in that tiny classroom was the strongest I have every felt it in my whole life. Everyone cried, even the Chorotachi (elders), just because of how much love we all have for this gospel, for missionary work, and for each other. It was powerful.
It is crazy to think how much I love the MTC already. I never want to leave! haha the language is so hard and overwhelming, but I know that I can do this. A few scriptures that really helped me this week are:
Mosiah 2: 12-14
D and C 84:88
D and C 121:7-9
You are all in my prayers and I hope you can feel my love from the Provo MTC! :) I love you all, have a wonderful week :)