The first week at the MTC has been a blast and so intensive! I'm so exhausted every day from the busy schedule, classes and teaching - I have to constantly listen to understand Japanese and the spirit every moment!
I love my companion, Sister Barton, and my district so much! Elder Nathan is in my district too and he was in Zion's Choir with me before! We are all really close even though it's only a week today! We laugh all the time and make bad jokes (like the Elders this week kept trying to translate American slang into Japanese and made our teachers groan). Our senpai (mentors/older missionaries in our zone) are really great and they help us all the time with our lessons and just general advice.
We love our branch presidency too! The branch president is a little intense but you can really feel the spirit when he speaks to you. He reminds us often: YOU ARE LEARNING TWO LANGUAGES! The language of Japanese and the language of the spirit (nihongo to seirei-go). And focus on the Spirit because the Spirit speaks Japanese and can touch all hearts.
The first week we taught our investigator, Kuwahara-shimai. (not really, just a member role-playing but we teach her the same) It was definitely not as bad as I thought - although when we taught her how to pray it was a little difficult to explain that she shouldn't repeat everything we said :) One lesson we had spent all day working on and then that night, I really felt inspired that we should change to "families can be together forever". i kinda didn't want to say anything because we had worked so hard, but I did and we changed it. The lesson went a lot better and I knew that we needed to focus on our investigator more. Our best lesson was on Monday because we really listened to the spirit and were focused on Kuwahara-san the WHOLE time we were planning. It's definitely a learning process!!!
We spend most of our language study time translating our sentences for our next lesson, which takes a long time but it's getting better. I can now say a prayer in Japanese and make up some sentences just speaking, so the language is coming!I also love reading the scriptures! There is so much that I'm learning (and maybe it's because I can't watch TV or read anything else) but the stories are SO COOL!
We also had an AMAZING devotional by Elder Bednar last night called "One by One" - if you can find it, I would listen to it! He told us to listen with our hearts not our ears to understand that God loves YOU. The character of Christ is one by one and He knows us one by one. There was a time in Gethsemane that He suffered for just me and just you. That's something that I really need to build my testimony of but the spirit testified to me that it was true.
Thank you for all your emails and prayers! LOVE YOU ALL!!!