I hope you all had a fantastic week and a great Valentine's Day! We had a pretty good week here at the MTC. We're officially halfway! Only about 4 and a half weeks until we go to Japan. It's crazy because it feels like it's flown by but also it feels like we've been here sooo long. It's been good though and I already have learned sooo much. I love being on a mission and I love all of the amazing experiences that I've already had just from the first month.
Valentine's Day was super fun here at the MTC. Everyone was passing around Valentines and we all just had a good time. Me and my district had this joke going on where we pretended it was Halloween and we would say to the other missionaries "Happy Halloween!" and they would look so confused and go "Isn't it Valentines Day?" and we would say something like "what? Valentine's Day? That's not till February" and they would look soooo confused it was hilarious. We also went around all the classrooms and "trick or treated" and confused everyone. It was super funny.
Our lessons have been going really well. Me and Sister Foote have been really getting good at Japanese. We're able to teach whole lessons now without a script or Japanese notes. I can just speak without looking at google translate or dictionaries or notes/books. I mean, it's probably terrible grammar, but still, I'm really proud of myself and my companion. Japanese is a hard language but we are conquering it.
Yesterday we had a devotional. Once a month an apostle comes to the MTC to speak and an apostle hasn't come yet for the month of February so I was telling everyone that last night we were gonna have an apostle. I could just feel that it was going to be a special night and someone really important was coming. I kept telling everyone around me that an apostle was going to come and they were like "No, you say that every week, don't get your hopes up" but I just knew!! And then after choir practice and before the devotional was starting, they announced that "When the apostle walks in, we need to all stand." Everyone in my zone turned and looked at me and was like "ATWOOD-SHIMAI CALLED IT!" and I was like "WHAT DID I TELL YOU" and so yeah we were all waiting for the devotional to start and in walked M. Russell Ballard. The devotional was actually broadcast live to all of the MTC's around the world. As a choir, we all sang "Lead Kindly Light" and it was such a beautiful arrangement and it really brought the spirit. Elder Ballard gave such an amazing talk about being a successful missionary and setting goals. It was so cool to be in the same room as an apostle and hear his advice for all of us. He also talked about how important it is to have a positive attitude no matter how life treats you and to always work hard. It was just a really great talk for all of us to hear.
Ever since we got here at the MTC, our branch presidency gave us a Book of Mormon reading challenge where we have to start and finish the Book of Mormon before leaving the MTC. It has been such an amazing experience so far and I absolutely love reading it and I have already learned so much from it. It's awesome to get to take what I study and then share it in our lessons. It just shows how important and insightful the Book of Mormon is.
Every week me and my district get together and have a jam session where I play the piano and we all sing songs. My ward organist skills come in handy because they can ask for any hymn they want and I can play it and we all sing together. It's always super fun. Speaking of piano, I have been accompanying many musical numbers for my zone. Me and Purcell-choro (Elder Purcell) are doing a musical number where he is singing and I'm playing the piano and we're actually going to perform it for one of our big devotionals which will be super exciting. Although, it's a little nerve-wracking because it will be in front of hundreds of missionaries, but, it'll still be great. I'm so happy to use my musical skills as a missionary still.
This past week, Foote-shimai and I had a fantastic lesson with Hirose-san. The lesson was really simple: just a message about God's love for her. However, it was such a powerful lesson. We talked about how God gives us trials and hard times in our lives so that we can grow and learn from them. Foote-shimai told a story about how she had a trial in her life but through Heavenly Father's help and the Atonement, she was able to get through it. I felt the spirit so strong in that lesson and me and Foote-shimai spoke some of the best Japanese we ever had. Prior to that lesson, we had been having a hard time with our lessons, but that lesson that day was just such a strong answer to my prayers. I'm so grateful for the chance to teach these investigators about the gospel and I can't wait to teach the same messages to those in Japan.
Anyways I hope you all have a great week!