Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nihongo Tobehodai

That means "sup." It's not very missionary-like so I try not to use it usually, but I thought it would be ok for an email home. Ok, today is the first day in 3 days I have been able to speak English. For the past three days we have been doing a "consecration" where we give up English completely as well as something else of our choosing. We call it a Nihongo Tabehodai, which means "Japanese feast". Sometimes it's also called an Eigo danjiki or "English Fast" but I like the first one better. I chose to also give up cafeteria entrees as my other fast haha! They aren't even that delicious but being here in my 10th week I'm a little sick of salads and wraps, so I have been eating a little too many entrees I think. I feel a lot better not having eaten them for a couple of days haha. It was really fun not speaking any English, and I was so dedicated to my danjiki that I didn't even speak English when President Brown (the president of the MTC) started talking to me in the cafeteria. I had one of the other Japanese missionaries translate for me that i was very sorry but I couldn't speak any English, and he just looked bewildered and started asking me if I was related to Buzz Tingey. Does anyone know the answer to that? I don't think we are.... but anyway it was funny. Most of my district thought it was weird that I didn't just talk to him but I hadn't spoken English for 2 1/2 days and I wasn't going to break it!! Oh also on Sunday during the Fireside my district sat in the foreign section and used the Japanese translator headsets. I actually understood a lot!
Ok, in other exciting news I discovered a new talent I have. I can write with both hands at once in opposite directions. My left hand writes exactly what my right one does but completely backward going the opposite way. My teacher Neilson Sensei told us he could do it and was writing in Japanese and all sorts of stuff, so I went up there to try it and low and behold I am also ambidextrous (spell check)!
We're leaving in 2 weeks!!! Yipeeee. I'm so excited to get into the mission field, wherever that may be. Just pray that they don't keep us in the MTC longer because as much as I love it here I don't think I could handle more than 12 weeks not being able to teach and contact! I'm itching to get out there and try out my new skillz. We had our departure meeting on Monday. We're getting our flight info this week probably on Friday!
Oh, they also told us that when we get to the airport we'll be able to make phone calls home to family before our plane takes off. I don't have any phone numbers for anyone, so it would probably be good for someone to send me phone numbers for mom, dad, Annie, and maybe Sarah. I'll have about 20 min to talk. I don't know who I'll call or even if I'll have time, but if I do I'll call someone for sure!
Conference is this weekend! I am sooo excited. Everyone please watch Conference. There is nothing more special that the Lord has given us than the opportunity to twice yearly hear from his Prophet and mouthpiece on the earth! What a blessing. I know I'm all gushy and mushy about the gospel because I'm a missionary but seriously, I feel like Christmas morning is coming up! Paha. During our Fireside this week the speaker took the whole hour to summarize and talk about the last days of Christs life. That message really hit home with me as well as a lot of people in my district, and I now have a new resolve to study Christ's life by reading Jesus the Christ again and learning all I can about him so I can testify about him with power to my investigators. It was a really beautuful and powerful message.
Alrighty everyone. Once again my time here is up. I love you all and I'm praying for you daily. Please prepare yourself spiritually and mentally to listen to the prophet and apostles this weekend. If you prayerfully prepare you will be able to receieve personal insights and revelation from the Lord through their words!
Love you!
Love, Tingey shimai

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Wow, this week has been absolutely insanely crazy. To put it in a nutshell, after the earthquake and everything last week we thought everything was settling down a bit but we were definitely wrong. There are countless rumors flying around within our branch about what is happening in Japan and what will happen to us as a result. From what we know, they have evacuated Tokyo and Sendai, so all of those missionaries are now spread out within the other missions. As a result, they sent about 45 missionaries home early who were supposed to be returning home in April and May. So with that, a lot of us are wondering if we'll be able to leave for Japan in three weeks like we're supposed to. I've been told by a missionary currently serving in Japan that we won't be going until after May. If that's true, we will either be kept in the MTC longer, or we might be temporarily reassigned state-side or something. Like I said, this week has been crazy. There's a lot of uncertainty, but we're still learning, still studying the language and hoping for the best. Personally, I love Japan and can't wait to go, but I'm not too upset at the prospect of being reassigned state-side for a little while. A mission is a mission, and I'll serve wherever the Lord needs me. Maybe there is a Japanese person waiting for me somewhere else who needs to hear the gospel! Please continue to pray for the people in Japan, and also for the missionaries that we can continue to be focused on our purpose and not let all of this craziness distract us from learning how to teach the gospel.
Another taihen(unfortunate) event this week is that one of the Elders in my district, Ray choro(he's the one from Canada and probably the most awesome Elder ever) found out that he won't be going to Japan at all due to medical problems. The doctor said he has some form of collitis(??) and will need to be treated for 2 years or something. He has a really great attitude about it, though, so he's helping us all stay positive. Another one of our Elders this week came down with the flu and had to be put into "quarantine," which basically means you're banished to live in the senior missionaries dorm for a few days. We all thought it was pretty funny, until they told us all of us had to start taking pills in case we caught the flu as well. So now my whole district everyday takes our pills (rumor has it that each set of 10 pills costs the church $200!). So that was also exciting this week.
I performed for the senior missionaries orentation yesterday, "Abide with me tis Eventide" !!!!! It was so much fun. I'm so glad I got the chance to perform at the MTC. We also got all of our new Japanese missionaries in last night. Two of the sisters are going to Fukuoka with me!!!!! I gave Tsutamori shimai her tour yesterday and she doesn't speak one word of English so i was really excited to practice speaking Japanese. She's from Hokkaido and her last name means "ivy grove," which I thought was pretty cool. She's adorable and I hope someday we're companions in Fukuoka!
This week my favorite scripture has been D&C 121. I love verses 7 and 8, but later in the chapter it talks a lot about being a leader and how to discipline, which I think is super interesting. We have been talking a lot about humility this week, which is pretty fitting considering our circumstances. The missionaries in my branch right now need to be really humble and just accept whatever happens concerning going to Japan. We need to remember that we're on a mission for the Lord, and wherever he calls us is where we need to go. Being humble is truly submitting to the Lord and accepting that he knows what is better for us than we do. As long as we're being obedient, we don't need to worry about anything. The lord will lead us on the right path.
I love you all!! Send me dearelders!!
tingey shimai!

Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm a Senpai!

Kazoku to tomodachi,
Thank you thank you thank you for all of your wonderful DearElders and letters. They really mean so much to me. It is extremely hard to write letters back because my time is so limited, so please know I am grateful for all of your letters and packages even if i don't write back right away. Today is Pday, obviously, so hopefully i will have time during laundry to write some people back.
I'm especially grateful for letters about spiritual growth and lessons learned at church and elsewhere. It really fills my heart with joy when I read them and know that my family and friends are learning more about this amazing gospel and strengthening their testimonies. I have received a few letters that contained short lessons on hope, charity, etc., that I ended up using during some of my personal study, so thank you! I am truly grateful!
So, yesterday morning the senpai (our senior/older/more experienced/much loved) missionaries left for the field. I'll be quite honest; I am super excited to be a senpai now, as we are having a giant wave of new missionaries come in next week. When I first got here I had so many questions about the language and the gospel for my senpai, and I just admired them so much, (which is funny because they were all 19 year olds that had only been out six weeks longer than me! haha). I hope that I can play that same role for the new cohai coming in next week. I spend a lot of my time here answering questions from my elders and companion in my own district (in japanese, that is), and I have really learned to love teaching and trying to understand what the missionary isn't getting so I can help them. I am so so so in love with the Japanese language, it's ridiculous! But even more than that, I am learning so much about the gospel and how to be an effective missionary. That aspect of the MTC, in a way, is the most challenging for me.
I have begun reading the BOM in Japanese and I am loving it. Who knew that all of those semesters at BYU endlessly translating Japanese newspaper stories and silly stories in books would actually pay off. I noticed that I now have a great patience for looking up dozens of words for each sentence and writing them in, and then figuring out what the sentence means. I never thought i would enjoy doing that, but now I see how the Lord has really prepared me for the work. At BYU I never really knew why i kept taking Japanese every semester. I didn't really enjoy it that much, and didn't really know what was going on half of the time, but now that I am here I can really focus on learning the gospel and teaching with the spirit instead of being super stressed out about the language like a lot of the senkyoushi here. It has really been a blessing in my life here and I thank Heavenly Father everyday for preparing me in that way!
Every week we have a devotional and a fireside where a member of the 70 usualy comes to speak to us. Sundays and Tuesdays are my favorite days of the week! The speakers are amazing and really have a way of either motivating us and making us feel awesome, or telling us we're retarded and to work harder. Somehow, the speaker always knows what we really need because we always come away humble and ready to change.
I finished memorizing the first vision in Japanese yesterday! I spent my whole gym period staring at it running around the track and i finally got it. I'm so excited because this week we are teaching a 35 minute first lesson in Japanese in the TRC and I'm hoping I'lll get to recite it, unless my companion wants to.
One kind of funny story this week....last Pday in the laundry room this Korean elder came up to me and asked me if I would take a picture with him and another missionary. i thought it was really weird but I agreed thinking maybe he liked my blonde hair or something (it has happened before!), but then when i got over there i asked him why and he said it was because I looked EXACTLY like Angela from the Office and this other missionary looked a lot like Dwight so he wanted a picture with us. Haha! I was super offended because I hate Angela hahaha. But i took the picture with them anyway, and that same elder who asked me to be in it PUT HIS ARM AROUND ME! I was like...whoah buddy!!! But the worst part about this story is that now everytime i see any of the elders going to korea they all call me Angela. It wouldn't bother me that much except that i have gym time witht them. Yesterday I was playing volleyball and this one elder i had never met said, "hey, you must be that Angela girl!" and i looked right at him and said, actually I am a daughter of God and a missionary, my name is sister Tingey and i would appreciate it if i you and your friends didn't call me that anymore. hahaha. He was so mortified! i actually did it more to mortify him than because i was actually mad. I got a real kick out of that.
I love you allll!!!!!! Be good and keep readign your scriptures and praying everyday. the lord cannot bless you and take care of you unless you do the things he has asked you to do through his prophet.
Love, Tingey shimai