This week was tough. Go figure! I came to the MTC expecting to be humbled and expecting to be overwhelmed with Japanese, but for some reason my heart still feels like it's going to pound right out of my chest sometimes. Yesterday Black Sensei had Baldwin Sensei come in and demonstrate a lesson, Baldwin Sensei being the investigator. After a few minutes he paused and asked what our thoughts were and what we would do next. Fitzpatrick Choro told him what he thought would be good, and Black Sensei hopped out of the chair and said, "Okay, you're up." Fitzpatrick Choro turned white as a sheet but somehow managed to get himself to the front, where he proceeded to take over teaching. This happened a few times with different people, after each one Black Sensei would say something like, "You better be listening because you're probably next!" Oh I almost forgot to mention...Baldwin Sensei is half Japanese. At the end of this experience, Black Sensei said we all looked like we were about to pass out. Haha I think he was right. It was definitely good for us, but incredibly difficult. This week they've really shot the expectations for us through the roof. During teaching this week I started to feel like I was falling behind. Long Shimai (being an English major) has really taken off with the Japanese grammar and I found myself teaching with her and listening to her go off about something and totally losing what she was even talking about. This really made my heart drop a few times this week, but I am working hard. I keep saying to myself 'after the trial of your faith...after the trial of your faith....' I know the Lord is with me through this. Baldwin also worked with us on some grammar yesterday and he talks faster then a bird can fly. He said that compared to the people in Japan he is a 'slow-poke'. Yosh!
As always, there were a lot of blessings this week. Elder and Sister Oaks came to speak to us on Tuesday. Sister Oaks served a mission in Sendai, Japan. :) About half of my district is going to Sendai so that was pretty exciting to hear. We also listened to a re-run of a talk by Elder Bednar that he gave to the missionaries on Christmas Day at the MTC last year. They show the reruns because this talk is one of those that changes your life. He teaches that the key to becoming like Christ is turning OUTWARD when the natural man turns INWARD. He shared numerous examples of the Savior, even in the most difficult moments of his life, always turning outward. We have to tear out the natural man and become as Christ. Oh and I have to say, there is nothing more entertaining then watching an apostle imitate the cookie monster from Seseme Street. "I want cookie now!!" (while pounding the pulpit, an example of the attitude of the natural man). Priceless.
Have I mentioned that I have the best companion? Like, seriously. She is an artist and she writes her journal in comics. Epic. I'll send you a copy of some of the pages sometime. She captures the MTC quite fantastically. We have been becoming better friends every week. I'm really grateful that we work together so well as we teach. We don't even have to split up the lesson before teaching our investigators, we just naturally pass the ball back and forth. I really do love teaching. It is the hardest thing we do and stretches me every single day, but when it boils down to it, it is my favorite thing. Our teachers are actually the ones who are the progressing investigators that we teach. TRC is something different that we do on Saturday mornings where volunteers from the community come in and help us practice the language. We teach them as 'them' though, and there is no 'roleplay' involved. I'm sure the missionaries would just ADORE Bree, btw. :) Speaking of Bree...one of the Branch leader's wives comes to visit us a lot in our residence and I just found out that she has two little autistic grandchildren who live with her. We had a long conversation. :) One of them sounds just like Bree.
Give Mac a kiss for me! I love you all so so much!
Your one and only, Wylie Shimai