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