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, July 30, 2015

Week 7...Want to Leave, Don't Want to Leave

Feel like I've been here forever and getting really sick of looking at the same walls all the time, BUT at the same time it hasn't been enough time and I love it here! What a dilemma.

Anyways, so last Friday, Happy Pioneer Day! We thought they'd do something here at the MTC...nothing. Except for our learning assessments (every week on the computer) we watched a cheesy video about Family History and it's role in missionary work. Lovely topic, boring video, but guess what? Little piece of home - Bob and Corene were in it! There was a picture of them smiling and helping someone with family history. Also have you guys seen RelativeFinder.org ?? My district has had fun with that this week, so it hooks up with FamilySearch and tells you what famous people you're related to...we're related to mostly famous Mormons, shocker there. But also a ton of other people! COUSINS WITH WALT DISNEY AND ELVIS PRESLEY. Okay so like all of us were, but still, it's the little things here! It also shows you how you're related to people you know, so we all found out how we're related within our district- lots of cousins! That was our fun for this week!

Also Sis Debi Hall sent cookies and a talk by Sherie Dew "Sweet Above All That is Sweet" - really good! (The cookies and the talk) 

I'd had a minor sore throat for a couple days, big surprise, woke up sick. Thankfully we have service and gym that morning, so I slept in a little and didn't have to miss any class. Also grateful for modern medicine (YAY Dayquil and Nyquil!). 

Fonua Shimai and I taught RS (we seem to teach Sundays more than anyone here! Maybe we shouldn't make our lessons so good...! Jk, teaching is nice, would love for it to be more distributed). Lesson was Repentance and we wanted to mix it up a little, so we focused just on Alma the Younger and what we could learn from him about repentance. There were 4 new sisters in the room that day (we have 2-3 different RS going on in our zone), pretty quiet, but thankfully everyone else from our district were good with commenting. 

Favorite part of the week (minus P-Day!), but close 2nd is Movie Night! We watched a new one- woohoo, variety! We went to an Elder Holland's talk, "Missions are Forever"- that room was packed! You'd think they'd recognize that Elder Holland's talks are popular and anything new will be busy. Anyways, we were lucky to get seats and it was a really powerful talk that really didn't have much to go with it's title, at least in my humble opinion! I really liked how he said obedience is stressed so much because this is the Lord's work and if we want to be successful, we need to do it HIS way. Also that if we were 100% obedient, they wouldn't have to talk about it so often...all of this in his very powerful, sort of yelling at you way, y'know what I mean? Really good and motivating. 

We've had fun with Nihongo this week - talked about passive form with one of our teachers and said everything in rap. It's a lot easier to remember the sentences when there's a beat! Also as part of our language study, we made Katakana BINGO for the district to play! That was pretty fun and helpful! I really love my district, we get along really well now, so we usually have to be away from each other if we're going to really focus and study. 

Had to learn a lesson the harder way as we had some not so great lessons this week- can't teach without the Spirit. Can't rely on ourselves. We got stuck on their questions and answering it ourselves. It gets a little frustrating sometimes that I feel a little alone in answering questions because my companion has a hard time understanding and speaking without her notes. But she's really good at preparing a lesson completely, where I don't like to have it written out, so we do compliment each other and are learning. 

Went to the temple early this morning and we like to get breakfast after at the temple cafeteria, not that MTC cafeteria is bad, the temple just happens to be a LOT better. Really loving the chance to go to the temple once a week here, since I probably will go maybe once in Japan.

Love you all so very very much! Love all the news and letters - loved Cassie's letter- especially the points about teaching simply! This hastening of the work is so exciting! Though I wish the food lines moved as fast as work :)

Love, Wagstaff Shimai

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Week 6 MTC


Nichiyobi (Sunday) was a little busy since Fonua Shimai and I taught District Meeting (Aganai - soo good!), then I got called on to speak in Sacrament, plus our district sang in Sacrament. So that was fun!

District Meeting - everyone watched "Testimony of Gordon B Hinckley" - short video put together that's so good! We've been hearing a lot of Pres Hinckley quotes lately! Also "Lifting Burdens" - the Mormon Message with the testimonies of the 12 + 1st Pres. Our district leader, Miles Choro made a really great comment/analogy that stuck with me: sometimes when you're in the car with siblings they want to sleep on your shoulder, but you think it's annoying and push them off (guilty sometimes!), but Christ not only will let us lean on him, he'll also carry our burdens. THAT's how powerful the Aganai is. It doesn't sound as good when I write as when he said it, but point is, it's powerful!

Thankfully this Sunday was my best prepared talk (we prep one every week in case we get called on), though seriously I couldn't remember what half of what I wrote down meant...need to work on that! My district sang "Nearer My God to Thee" and I soloed the first verse. Putting the number together was a bit dramatic...there are some very strong opinions in this district, but honestly it was fine because we all understand that it's not actually that big of a deal, as long as it's good and brings the Spirit!

I think I've said this before but honestly one of my favorite times of the week is movie night on Sunday after the devo, which is also good! This week we watched The Testaments in Nihongo! Thank goodness it had English subtitles - plus I was able to pick out a few words, woohoo! There was a RS devo in the morning with Sis Edmunds - RS board, or former board member...don't remember. Anyways, she's crazy!! Older single who served a couple missions - all Asia/ Pacific areas and she was so funny! Just a really wacky sense of humor, reminded me of Sarah - British acting professor 1st semester! She was also very spiritually powerful. I really liked how she said, "You are accountable for your influence on others" point being do good things, careful how you act, etc. She also talked about finding comfort in the hymnbook. 

Tuesday devo the choir sang Praise to the Man - Mack Wilburg's arrangement that MoTab always sings. I was 1st Sop and that's a high arrangement. It was nice to sing G and A5...aka high notes.

Wednesday - my district finally got to HOST!! We've wanted to for soo long and finally we got to! Minus that standing at the curb was actually a little sad to watch lots of familes saying goodbye. There were so many elders. Seriously stood there for an hour waiting for a sister at the beginning. 744 New Missionaries! There's a big spike in elders since high school's out.  After that 1st hour I was pretty busy helping, which was a lot of fun! There are 70 new Japanese missionaries! Now our building is really packed, no more empty classrooms. 

Also on a sidenote totally unrelated: LAURA OSNES CONCERT WITH MOTAB IS ON THEIR WEBSITE AND I'M LISTENING TO IT RIGHT NOW AND FREAKING OUT. I love it so much! Dad you were right: Come Come Ye Saints was a good version. Mom: her 2nd song is really good! That's what I'm listening to right now.

K, back to my week! Lots of new missionaries, spent my afternoon sweating and moving suitcases and I loved it! Practice for Japan, though seriously 3 suitcases are hard to move...oh boy.

Wednesday night we had TRC - we Skyped members in Japan! We were pretty scared before but turned out really well- Fonua Shimai was soooooo happy that we talked to a Tongan girl and apparently they have mutual cousins! Kind of crazy and definitely a tender mercy for her.

Everything else is same old here - lots of class, more Nihongo. It's nice that I actually feel like I can make sentences and start saying what I want to (relatively) in lessons. We learned some new grammer thing: Plain Form Noun that was supposed to blow our minds and make everything easier. Sad to say it didn't shatter my world. Just that verbs describe nouns - really weird but helpful. 

Also apparently I snore/breathe weird at night and have the routine when I'm unconscious that involves a lot of getting adjusted and sighing...Rees Shimai and Carr Shimai both said they can't go to sleep until I do now. Oops? They both laughed it off and said it's not a huge deal, just that it's the same every night... at least I'm not talking, right?

Also I'm so embarassed to admit this, but there's a scale at the gym and I checked it...I've gained about 5 lbs here. AND I TRY SO HARD TO WORK OUT! I even get up at 6 some days...life's not fair. We just all say it'll be fine once we get to Nihon and have to bike everywhere and eat healthier. NOT that I"m not eating healthy! Promise I'm not a pig, mom. :)

Love you all, especially all the news I hear, prayers, Dear Elders, cards, emails, updates, etc. I love it all!

Love, Wagstaff Shimai

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Week 5--Keep Moving Forward

P-days here seem to never be normal- last week the companionship having issues was splitting up (funny that they suddenly realized they liked being together...?) So we kept Sis Makin, and now have Sis Carey - we love her!! Really positive and crazy, but knows more Japanese than us, and was a theatre major (stage management), but there's someone I get to talk to about theatre - yay!

Smith Shimai - the one that left :( had us all whiten our teeth with her. Apparently brushing your teeth with charcoal makes them whiter? Sounded like a Pinterest thing. But it was fun and we looked crazy!

Friday we had our 1 month party - we're halfway through the MTC! Also we got to watch Pres Packer's funeral. So uplifting! What an example of service, dedication to the Lord, church and family. (Saw the Packers in Ukraine walk in, that's nice that they were able to come back for this). I loved that they said he was always in the service of the Savior. Also yay Brigham City! Grandma told me he's buried next to Lorenzo Snow (which p.s. I do remember where that is!) One of my thoughts was, there's no way there's room for his entire family at the BC cemetary! :) 

Sundays here are always good - this was a really good one. Our topic of the day was faith in Jesus Christ. Everything was good. I didn't fall asleep during Sacrament or devo, didn't even start to doze off!! (My district thinks its funny when I can't keep my head up...so that was a goal and prayer this week!) Ended with the Joseph Smith movie. Oh that movie is my favorite. The sacrifices made and dedication to the Savior - just like Pres Packer. Striving to be more like them. 

Tues Devo was Elder Banks (emeritus 70) who was pretty old, but talked really fast and had some pretty funny stories! He talked about PMG, and about Pres Hinckley a lot - who was over PMG and was good friends with Elder Banks. They are both just happy, funny people! It's nice to remember that those are good qualities to have. 

Carey Shimai gets up and goes to early morning Sister Workout Class, so a few of us went with her this week. They have different classes everyday - zumba, pilates, yoga, cardio, etc. I like the options! So Tuesday was supposed to be abs but ended up being more legs and glutes. OW. I haven't worked that hard in a loooooong time. Tons of squats and lunges and wall sits for eternity, then all over again. So. So. So. Sore. Like I kept waking up in the middle of the night when I'd move because I'd discover I was sore there too. Guess that's a warning to me to not get lazy here! So on Wednesday stairs hurt, walking hurt, sitting hurt. I know, I'm a whiner - tried to hold it in! Don't worry! It's really not that bad, but it was. Like ballet! Other shimaitachi just found it funny that I would grab onto everything to get up or go up/down stairs - am I 90? No. 19... today I feel a lot better.

Also stupid me...so our bedroom has been pretty cold the last few nights, and then we just discovered we have a thermostat! But we were skeptical, because the one in the classroom doesn't work. So just to see if it would work I moved it from 65 to 85. And forgot about it. Guess what? The thermostat works!! Soo hot. Rees Shimai told me she woke up and thought she had a fever. Oops. I'm now banned from using the thermostat :)

Nihongo has been much better this week! As a district we've all been working harder and more focused than ever before. I think it's cool to see that we thought we were working our hardest before, but now we have an even greater capacity - Igen no Tamamono here we come! We all do tango (vocab) together all the time - flashcards almost 24/7.
Here's some fun new stuff: 
shinpai shinai de kudasai - don't worry
kimazui - awkward
un no kano - duck of luck, or lucky duck!

It's amazing how much we can learn and retain here so quickly! Love you all, love hearing from everyone!

Love, Wagstaff Shimai

T's wisdom teeth sound miserable, but at least it's over!  Zannen = unfortunate. Said as an exclamation

Also! Great new word this week: oonchi = poop.

So we don't have our official travel plans, but we do leave on the 11th. It says 11 and 12 in places depending on how you think about it, because we're leaving here the 11th, getting there the 12th. Figuring out the calling situation. You either buy a calling card here (cheap at the MTC!) or get a go-phone? Not sure, figuring it out. But will be calling on the 11th! 

I really feel like I finally have been pushing myself to the max with langauge this week. Before it was still very stressful, so we liked to take breaks, but now we're learning to have fun with the language. It was my "MTC Birthday" yesterday, so my district complimented me yesterday. I really don't care about music/talent compliments, that's nice but not to be prideful, I know. I really appreciated the thoughtful comments about my testimony and a lot of people talked about me being positive, focused and happy to be here. THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN WORKING ON! It's just nice to hear that my efforts are noticed, working out. As a district we're all just learning to make Nihongo fun - flashcards have been good, we like to learn weird words. 

Another phrase: Shikkari shite kure! (Equivelent to: Get yo life! But turns out it's rude in Japan, so we only say it lovingly here. Promise!)
I make plenty of mistakes: turns out I have thus far taught/ or agreed to the fact that 1) Prophets are God's grandpas...that was a confusing lesson. We cleared up prophets though, no worries! 
2) I tried to pray for the Lord to help the investigator, ended up praying for the Lord to help himself. Sentence structure matters. And the Lord has to have a sense of humor! We're trying and these are innocent mistakes, which we fix as soon as we know about them! I'm having a good time, love you all!

Hope Drew has a great time at Disneyland, you know I'm jealous! I know he's good at making friends and being nice to people, so it'll turn out well!! 
And to Dad's remark, we don't just go to Disney for extra trips, I went to NYC too...:)

I love letters and packages! Amish stuff was pretty good! District AND Sensei loved the cookies! Sharing with the teachers! 

Couldn't think of things I needed this week...I'll let you know next week if I think of anything! Really I just love Dear Elders/ letters - feel the love and don't get fat :) 

Aishiteimasu! Katya

My district with new Carey Shimai (short one on the left above me!)

Also me and the doryo at Provo Temple... they read us the First Pres letter concerning Same-Sex Marriage ruling at the temple. So nice to have that perspective!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Week 4--MTC Konnichiwa!

This week Fonua Shimai and i changed the way we plan lessons and it's been MUCH better - sensei even commented that it worked really well! Yay for praise! Sheehan Kyodai asked us to demonstrate our understanding/listening for another district because he thought we did so well in the last lesson - that was a little scary/ great compliment! What he meant wasn't that our Nihongo was amazing, because it's not, but that we took the time to listen and understand, which involved a lot of repeating and charades. I play a lot of charades. 

4th of July was so much fun! First I got to finally wear the outfit I'd been planning for forever and everyone else had fun dressing up too!! I won for our district b/c I looked like a flag- woohoo! It's the little things here :) We had a special devo that night on religious freedom, the restoration and sharing the gospel with the whole world (since they didn't want to leave out the missionaries that weren't American). Started with a parade of flags and that was really special- carried by natives (if there was one here) and accompanied by a missionary going to that country. It's still crazy to think that we leave from here to literally all over the world! Talked about the history of freedom and religious freedom (So basically things like Magna Carta, Protestant Reformation, Dec of Independence, Restoration of gospel, etc) I think it's really interesting. ONly downside was that they speaker (who I can't remember) talked forever- like we were there ab 2 hours and I slept through half of it. But the beginning that I heard was really good!! New goal has been to not fall asleep through meetings...
After the devo we got to go out to the parking lot and watch the fireworks! We got to stay up last for SoF- woohoo!! So fun! 

Sunday - practically felt like I've never really fasted before coming here because seriously it's exactl 24 hours from dinner to dinner. We had Mission Conf in the morning (whole MTC) and members of MTC Pres plus wives spoke. Everything was really good- a lot of emphasis on the Savior and Atonement. What stuck out the most to me was Pres Burgess talking about the Savior and Peter walking on water- we are Peter and in order to keep walking on the water we need to stay focused on the Savior- I like that image of being Peter and seeing the Savior standing there, arm stretched out to help!
So lots of devos lately! The Sunday evening one was Jenny Oaks Baker! I was so excited and it was soo good! Seriously she's good. I knew she went to Julliard, didn't know she went to Curtis for undergrad (which from what I've heard from Catherine and Kylie Lincoln - is a big deal!). She performed with her kids, who just happen to all play instruments. Really good! Sidenote: Mom, she really likes Kurt Bestor stuff. Meh. They played "Song of the Children" - kids were cute, but WHY does everyone do the same awful scoops?! Rant over. It really was good overall. 

This week one companionship in my district has been having major issues getting along, which has kind of pulled the whole district down. But Wednesday afternoon they seemed to be doing better - yay! Now we have a good environment and normal classes again, woohoo! Lesson for everyone: don't make assumptions, just talk to the person and figure it out! Also chill out. It's not a big deal, world's not ending. :) 
One afternoon while sensei were trying to help resolve their problem we all read and discussed Alma 34 together. EVERYONE should do this - there's so much in there! Always something to improve. We also talked about gratitude, sensei turned to Numbers when the Israelites complain about manna and so the Lord gives them quails and there's something about quail coming out of your nostrils? We laughed about that - our new phrase is be grateful or else quail meat will come out of your nostrils!! Sorry it's gross, but funny! After we went off with our comps and make lists and talked about what we were grateful for- loved it!

Yesterday I got the package from D T and Dad, Thank you! LOVED it! Also Catherine...Sister Miller (U roommate) and I performed Savior Redeemer of My Soul for the new missionaries meeting. I sang, she played - went really well! Thank goodness because with our schedules there really isn't time to practice. Over 500 new missionaries - this place just gets busier and more crowed. Not a big deal, just means longer lines for food and you have to get to devos pretty early for a good seat/ seat at all now because they opened up an overflow room. 

I know I don't mention a lot about Nihongo - it's coming, slowly. Some of my favorite new words/ phrases:

ii funiki (guessing on the English spelling- basically everything's in Hiragana characters now): it mens "good vibes" and "vibes sounds" like Twinkie with an F - really fun to say!!
Also "wamp" is slang for troublemaker. We learned the real word too, just can't remember! 
My district has a LOT of fun together: we like to celebrate, so everyone was given an MTC birthday, and we're celebrating our half-way mark tomorrow (WOOHOO 1 month down!), plus MTC Christmas is on July 23rd (We know, it should be the 25, but the 23 is P-Day). It's the little things, guys. We also call our district the Island of Misfit Toys, well District of Misfit Toys! Sheehan Kyodai told us: I don't think you're misfits! I think you're psycho desu! (SYL!) However he didn't tell us which langauge he meant - psycho in Nihongo is essentially "the best". Both definitions work :) We also have a quote wall of funny things people have said. Other people probs don't think it's funny, but we think we're funny and that's all that matters, right?

Basically I'm just really happy here! Really REALLY happy! Yeah, Nihongo's hard and focusing is hard sometimes too, but it's so great! The gospel is good, we have fun, make lots of mistakes! We sang Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes the other day and Norawong Kyodai started laughing really hard because apparently I called my knees pizza. Oops. Ah well! Everyone says Nihonjin are really nice, so I'll just let it slide and hope I don't say anything offensive accidentally!

Love you all!! Aishiteimasu mina san (I love you everyone)
Dekimasu (you can do it!)

- Wagstaff Shimai

Unrelated, they have some unique hymns we don't have! Everyone loves "Sowing the Reapers" or something like that, look it up! Also "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" is in their hymnbook!

Katya with Jesperson Shimai.  She will be serving in Fukuoka.

Katya with some sisters in her district on the 4th of July.

Katya with her full district.  They were excited that they got to see the fireworks from Stadium of Fire.

Katya and Catherine, her roommate from the U.  They did a musical number for the new missionaries. Catherine is a music major and plays the piano.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Spiritual Extravaganza!--Week 3 MTC

[I'm late posting this because we were on vacation without my computer.  Luckily we were able to find internet access to read her letters on Thursday.]

So last week after I emailed, it was the mission president seminar, and they called this sudden meeting for all the sisters at the MTC- rumor going around was that one of the general authorities was going to come talk to us! We weren't sure whether to be excited or scared, or I don't know. Actually the meeting was letting us know we had to MOVE OUT OF 17M. WE LOVE 17M - it's nice and the rooms are big enough and you don't bump into each other every 10 seconds. 

Now the big question, "WHY?" No joke. I did not make this up. Nightmares coming true: BATS. THERE ARE BATS LIVING IN 17M. No one was happy about this move, we just barely moved in last week. They answered questions and it was kind of funny. My favorite was "What are you going to do with the bats?" Like for reals this girl sounded like she was from PETA- (who cares about the bats! What about us??) Anyways, so we ALL had to move back (PS that was almost all the sisters at the MTC- 17 M is huge.) and it was a little chaotic and we said that we felt like the early saints- run! I will have you know I packed in less than 10 minutes. I know, you're so proud- thanks, feeling the love, pat me on the back, etc.!
It was a good service project- everyone helped us move! They had the elders line up and there was staff there directing traffic :) So actually it wasn't too bad, but it's been 3 weeks and I've lived in 3 different rooms. Not sure if we'll move back- apparently getting the bats out will be a little hard because there are more than they thought and they're an endangered species, so they can't kill them. Boo. 

K on to the super cool part- singing at the Mission President Seminar! Amazing. No words for it. Funny/crazy part: I think it was Friday? We went to our sound check, then walked out from the backstage, and in the lounge for the 12, there was Elder Bednar getting makeup touches for the lighting! We were all kind of shocked- you don't expect to walk back and see apostles sitting there! He was really funny and relaxed- told us not to tell...oops! But it was in a joking manner, so it's all good! His wife was with him and she's SO NICE! She said how much she loved the singing, felt like a mom sitting there and wishing our moms could be there. (A few tears shed! We all wished the same thing). They said there's a possibility that they can send us an mp3 recording...not sure yet, haven't heard. Also waiting on the pictures they took and said they'd email, since we couldn't bring any cameras.

They have random mission pres+wife come and teach districts for practice, so the new pres for Trinidad came to my district! He's a fast talker- hard to catch up with him! It was also kind of funny that he and his wife would just interrupt each other sometimes. Anyways they talked about Book of Mormon the 2nd day and it was powerful! The Book of Mormon is full of miracles and I had that "burning feeling", just that it's so true! 

On Saturday, Fonua Shimai was feeling pretty homesick and so we went to the main building so she could talk to a counselor. While she was talking, I waited at the front desk (Sis Hall was there, that was fun!) and they told us that some pretty special people would be walking by soon- sure enough, here comes Elder Holland, Christofferson, and Ballard. They were just walking out from their meeting. They also had all of the women auxiliary leaders that day- forgot to mention I saw them in the morning! But I met Sis Wixom!(Primary Pres) She's the nicest, happiest person I think I've ever met. She personally talked to the handful of sisters/elders there waiting for a companion. Turns out her twin sister used to live in Springville, in our stake according to Sis Hall. 
At lunch, they had Costa Vida- didn't have enough and it took FOREVER. Seriously like I was in line for at least 30 minutes, so they handed out Snickers first (You're not you when you're hungry!), then sandwiches. Then finally we got a little Costa Vida. Anyways, I met the food manager, who recognized me from the choir, and had a picture - he was the one that sent the picture Mom! So nice- then at dinner he found me and showed your response - yay! I love the people here, everyone's so nice and caring!

Sunday: Greatest day. Ever. (Spiritually). We sang this new arrangement of "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" and I love it so much better than the normal one! It was really special and to prep, the choir had a mini testimony meeting before going in to sing. We went in right after they had the sacrament. That room was like nothing I've felt before. All of the apostles that could be there were (I think it was just Pres Packer and Elder Hales not there...but not totally sure), and the whole 1st Presidency. I wish I could adequately explain how special it was to be in and SING in that room. Bro Eggett (choir director) said before we went in, how cool is it that you get to bear you testimony to the prophet in song? Really cool. Really, really, really cool. After we finished and left, the girls in my zone in the choir and I just didn't want to go back yet, we didn't want to lose what we just felt! So we sat and reflected for a while, then went back to RS and didn't lose that Spirit! They were talking about the BOM, but when we came in, they let us share out experience and sharing it just magnified what we felt! The girl teaching shared Mosiah 18:30 and it was PERFECT. That's the closest description of that day. 

So cool. Our choir also got to sing all of the songs again at the devo that night! Can't remember who spoke, but he loves music and used our songs in his talk- he was very interactive and fun! he had everyone sing our Primary Missionary Medley with us- awesome! You guys were sooo right when you said "Called to Serve" is special here, but honestly those primary songs are even more special because someday became now!
 We ended our day with watching "The Testaments". I've never actually seen that movie all the way through, but it was really good! It's the best entertainment we've had in a long time :) There's a little romance in it and the couple kisses- everyone freaked out, oh what a weird place this is! Carr Shimai in my district commented that this would be a great place to conduct a social experiment. No kidding!

So basically nothing else has been as cool as Sunday was, just same old. We got our cafeteria back! Yay for good food and choices! More Japanese - we have lots of songs to remember things, those help! 

I loved the DearElders this week! Thank you! Those are fun! Trying to not get fat here, choir took all my gym time last week, so I guess I just have to make up for it this week- there's just a lot of food! We LOOOOVED the cupcakes! We cut them all up and sampled- once again my district's converted to the food :)

Sweet Tooth Fairy sends to the MTC for free if you purchase a certain amount--very nice. Of course we knew Katya's departure date, which is part of her address, but October was written instead of August. She thought staying in the MTC that long would be a little much.

Have fun in Yosemite! We're having fun here, even if it may just be that we're going crazy...entirely possible :)

Love, Wagstaff Shimai

Can't remember if I already replied, but Nielson Shimai is the one from Springville! Yeah, we figured out the connection, forgot to tell you! Love her! She was one of the Sister Training Leaders and was sooo nice. They left on Monday- she mentioned the Dunns! 

All of the sisters in Katya's zone including Nielson Shimai, also from Springville. 

Started reading BOM again, working on a Nephi attitude+ faith, not doing too bad! Though it's a roller coaster- great, then awful, then really great again! Retention has been the hardest for language- I understand everything, it's just remembering it because they give us so much at once! Though we have the purpose memorized, so that feels good to have that accomplished!

Love you so much!