I'm off to serve an LDS mission in Kobe, Japan from June 2015 to December 2016. My mom will be keeping this blog updated with my latest letters, photos, adventures, etc.! Also I would LOVE to hear from everyone - katya.wagstaff@myldsmail.net

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thursday June 18, 2015

MTC week 1
So much to tell! COOLEST NEWS:

I made it into a special MTC choir (40 of us) that are singing for the General Authorities a couple times during the Mission President Seminar. There's beautiful music! The performance I'm most excited for is a special sacrament meeting with the entire 12 and 1st Presidency. Wow. ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPP!!

1st day- Quick goodbye was hard, but I think the easiest/best way! Like mom said, having Catherine there was a HUUUUGE blessing! I see her all over the place- also, Sis Hall is here!! She works at the front desk, and took me to the music library and now Catherine is playing "Savior Redeemer of my Soul" with me and we'll perform that in a couple weeks! They process us through super fast, there was no time to sit down! Pick up stuff, drop off stuff, go to classroom and BAM! Japanese- actually Nihongo.

I LOVE the branch presidency! They are just like the one at my student ward, all older and so nice- Pres Stevenson, Adamson and Liddiards (cool thing is Bro Liddiard is a retired Hollywood makeup artist, good friends with Robert Redford and lives above Sundance. Like what???) The wives come to our rooms a couple times a week and check on us and give everyone a goodnight hug- it's really sweet. You can tell they're all worried.

The teachers speak Japanese (duh) and there's a lot of charades going on currently or "English"o ! Branch president called this a stress environment- amp the stress in order to grow. Growth zone isn't comfortable as he puts it.

Day 3- taught for the first time in Nihongo. Lesson was only 5 minutes...we were given 30, but I doubt we know 30 minutes worth! Teaching is fine, I'm not a fan of prepping lessons so much- definitely learning to rely more on the Spirit. But still no career in education for me!

Day 4- THANK YOU FOR THE NOTE MOM! So grateful to receive mail. P.S. Check out dearelder.com they send mail for free! Also tonight we watched "Will of God" (currant bush) and that was sooo what I needed! Japanese was getting frustrating but that reminded me WHY I'm doing this- I'm learning in order to teach the Japanese people! They deserve to hear the gospel in their own tongue- about a million scriptures quoted here that go with that!

Day 5- I made it to Sunday!!!! Can you look up new sister missionary lyrics for "Sisters in Zion" by Janice Kapp Perry- BEAUTIFUL. Again love the branch presidency- so caring and trustworthy! We went on a Sunday walk to the temple- FREEDOM! Really it's just a bunch of missionaries taking pictures in front of the temple, but fun! I've seen quite a few kids from Springville and the U- it's always nice to see a familiar face! The big choir is also really fun! It sounds good, but their focus is really to relax us- they tell the background stories of every song, writers, etc. This week was Jesus Once of Humble Birth, so they talked about Parley P Pratt.

LOOK UP "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar given at the MTC on Christmas years ago- that talk Changed my life- WOW! It was a lot about being selfless, using the Atonement. He calls the natural man "Cookie Monster" - me want cookie now! Me want baptism now!

Tuesday Devo- Elder Evans served in JAPAN!!! He spoke about work and obedience (shocker :) ) His wife spoke about being an ASTONISHING missionary! (Cue Sutton Foster) Sis Evans brought grandsons (10 and 11 yrs old) to see all the missionaries- so cute! I saw little Drew-boo up there (to Drew: sorry, you're not that little, but I'll always think you are, love you!) Grow up to be like Hill Choro (Elder), my district leader. Only 18 but the most wise and mature 18 yr old I've ever met! 

Day 8- Choir met this morning- it'll be so good!! My fav so far is a primary missionary medley- tears when the MTC changes the words to Armies of Helaman: We are NOW the Lord's missionaries! Also reading 2 Ne 31 - there's so much in there! Love it! The rest of the day was really frustrating. Fonua Shimai, my companion (who is so nice and we get along really well!) is sick and so I had to stay in the room with her all day while she slept. The good thing was I had a great, quiet scripture study in the morning. We got to go and eat lunch, but then she threw up (PRAY I DON"T GET SICK) so for the rest of the night we couldn't leave the room, she slept and I tried to study and they brought me dinner - a vegetarian wrap. that was pretty disappointing. Plus I had to miss class, that was really hard. But I have the nicest district ever! They took my camera and just took silly photos of everyone to cheer us up- it was really sweet!


Aishiteimasu!! (I love you!)
Love, Wagstaff Shimai

2nd email
Hopefully this system works! 

They let us print all of your emails, and read them and it doesn't count as our 1 hr! So I did that this morning and read during laundry and now I'll try and reply as much as possible! 

Nihongo does a lot of inferring, so once you say the subject, you never have to use it again. Therefore aishieimasu works for I love you, we love you, etc. Love. The simplicity makes at least that part easier! Pronunciation is easy- each vowel only 1 possible sound.

Random info: TONS of Japanese missionaries! Obviously not as much as English/ Spanish, but still a lot! Still don't know a specific reason why, just that the work's moving forward! My district is 10 people and only 1 set of elders! Catherine told me she heard (and I totally believe it!) that as of last week, there are twice as many sisters and elders at the MTC. It'll even out a little more as the summer goes on, but still! My zone is approx 36 people. There are 6 zones/branches (same thing) going to Japan! We're a little mixed up as far as what missions we're going to- mine is mostly Kobe, one companionship - doryos, going to Fukuoka. 

Lots of love! Feeling really rushed- hopefully I"ll figure out this email thing a little better soon

3rd email
Wasn't sure how much time I'd have, but I think I'm doing pretty good!

Homesickness really isn't too bad- they're constantly checking on us. You can tell they're amped up checking in and letting us know it's normal since more missionaries have been going home. No offense, I just didn't think I'd have homesickness at all since I've never really had it. First day was completely fine- it was so rushed, there was no time! Cried the next 2 nights, but tomorrow's always better! It mostly hits when Japanese seems impossible and lessons aren't coming together, but I'm learning to get over that. 

The day that I had to just sit in the room really sucked. Really bad. IT was really frustrating to miss class and feel like I wasn't doing much. But again, tomorrow's always better! I printed all my emails to read- haven't finished them yet, but love them! The updates and advice especially!

In some ways it kind of feels like college here- dorms (which PS they moved us to a new one today! Didn't like moving but it's a renovated one that's built for 6 sisters not 4- yay!! and new bathrooms YAYYYY!!! More showers!) Cleaning the bathrooms is gross- I don't think I'll ever leave hair in the sink again.

I love all of the study time we have- I'm almost finished with the Mormonsho again (SYL dad, they still love it). We teach almost every day, which really makes studying and understanding different. The Igen no tamamono (gift of tongues) shows itself in many different ways. Not always super miraculous events, but just the fact that Nihongo makes sense and that even though we play charades and give basic words, our "investigator" Koki San understands us! We ask "Wakarimaska" a lot- Do you understand? and Say Wakarimasen- I don't understand, a lot! 

I actually like gym time! There's a couple sisters I work out with from my district who run for a little bit, and do circuit training- arms, core, legs- I've thrown in some ballet! Though one of the gym rules is no dancing. I get it, but also it's a little discriminatory- I mean people who love sports get to play sports! Okay, complaints over. Quickly learning that positive attitude really does make all the difference!

I'm grateful that you prepared me so well to be here- you have to know things before you get here! I think the MTC is more about fine-tuning skills/knowledge/etc than creating them. Like Sam told me, this place is a firehose! And 9 weeks seems like eternity, and sometimes it still doesn't feel real- like when I'm done here I'll go home, but then I remember I'll be going to Japan. Weird. 

Also sadly- I don't think they do culture classes anymore! Not sure though, only week 1, but we need all the language we can get! So many books, so much to learn! Though we learned to pray on our 2nd day! That's really special- I'm trying to say all of my prayers in Nihongo and it's not as scary (the language) as I thought it might be. One day at a time!

Love, Katya

Katya with her district.  I wonder how the Elders feel about being with 8 sisters.

Katya with her companion Fonua Shimei

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