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, September 17, 2015

Sept. 14, 2015

Sorry this took forever to post--busy week! Stephanie

Lots of traveling to Niihama and Matsuyama this week- we had a koukon with the STLs, District Meeting, Interviews with Pres Welch and District Conference.

The schedule is becoming pretty normal, though one new thing on Tuesday afternoon was kodomo Eikaiwa! We assist and the Scott's teach (he's American, she's Japanese). It's for really little kids (6 and under). There were 50 people-so crowded and crazy! Free kodomo Eikaiwa is a big deal here because you can pay a lot and everyone wants their kids to learn English. So that was a lot of fun- we did introductions ("How are you?" "IM FINE!"- they get really excited) and animals. When they were guessing animals (we played some charades), one little girl always yelled out DINOSAUR!

On Thursday we had a koukon (exchange) with the STLs in Niihama. We switched at the Eki (train station) and Kagawa Shimai came back with me to Imabari. (Since transfers are coming up and Sands Shimai has been in Imabari for a while so people think she might transfer out, and in case she does, they want to make sure I know my way around.) We had such a fun day! Sadly none of the planned investigators were home/answered. But we met some great people, like this Obaachan who we sang a hymn for and talked about family, though she was very
uninterested in hearing about Christianity. In the evening, we made notes, had messages for a couple members. We started with the branch president, and had a screenshot of the map, then ended up getting a little lost and it ended up taking 1 hr 15 min to get there and it was so fun! We just laughed about it when it took us half the time to get back. Kondo Kaicho and his son who is a recent RM from Tokyo were home and Kagawa Shimai just had me take the lead in sharing the message, which scared me a little but I really appreciated that she did that. I
learned a lot about better working with members from her.

We switched back at District Meeting on Friday.

(I will need to update this later.  For some reason the rest of the email is cut off when we look on our computer, but it's all there on the iPad.  They had a district meeting (like stake conference), interview with Pres. Welch, and a P-day excursion to a shrine )

This is my district plus the Alba's (the couple in the middle next to me)- he's an area authority here that was teaching institute downstairs. Watabe Shimai brought crepes for our dessert after DM!! 

We spent Saturday in Matsuyama. We ate lunch as a zone at this chain called Osaka Osho's that has really good gyoza. Plus I had fried rice and it was THE BEST FRIED RICE EVER. I love the food here. I love love love the food! Anyways after lunch we had interviews with Pres Welch and talked to Sis Welch while waiting. They are so wonderful! They really care and its nice that they know all of our names even though I'm new and they've got 175ish missionaries. 
Also random, they knew I was from Springville and when I first got there, Pres Welch said, oh so you're a Red Devil. Realized that might sound strange to people who don't know! (I do have some school pride Tash!)
We had to stay for District/Stake Conference in the evening. Didn't understand too much, but I knew the general ideas- family, gospel teaching in the home and how church supports our families. Got home right at nine and had to get up and drive back to Matsuyama in the morning (oh can't remember if mentioned- if we're driving anywhere, it's with the Watabes). So the general session was held at a hotel. Imabari Branch sang the song we've been practicing "I Know that My Savior Loves Me"...don't remember Japanese translation.
Usually song translations are very different, though apparently this one is pretty close.
Pres Welch and Sis Welch both spoke- Sis Welch in English! Also Pres Welch's Japanese is MUCH easier to understand (very grateful to have an American mission president). One thing I realized in this meeting is that because I don't understand most of the words, I think I have to listen to the Spirit more and when I take notes, it's about what I'm thinking and feeling more than what they're saying, which I think is better (Elder Bednar talks about that sometimes). 
Also Sunday was Sands Shimai's birthday! Not very much that I can do here, but I was planning on birthday breakfast and a sign and card- I was really excited for birthday breakfast, and then she announced that she was going to be fasting...no more birthday breakfast. Ah well, she still got the sign and cute stuff from some members and other missionaries who remembered! Then in evening we were going to have cake (we have a bunch of mixes in our apartment), but she requested blueberry muffins- good choice! So we don't have a real oven, but the microwave is also an oven so we used that and the poor muffin cake thing took FOREVER to bake...but we had it for breakfast this morning!

Today was sooo fun! We had a District P-day and went to this mountain to this national park area to take the gondola up and go hiking. Well timing didn't work out perfectly with the bus for Niihama so we didn't go up as far as we wanted, we just stayed at the base and had a picnic- that's what the pictures are from. And then because the next bus down wouldn't be until 4, Watabe Choro drove them down to a train station then came back for us. In the meantime we had about an hour- hour and a half, so we took the gondola up and did a short hike to a shrine. I finally got to see Japanese touristy stuff!!! I was so excited and it was worth it, really interesting! So that took most of the day but I was so happy to see our district and have fun with them, then we spent a lot of time with Watabe Shimai. 

I'm so blessed here! Plenty of challenges, but I was reminded this week that I should be having fun! Pres Welch really likes to focus on the Doctrine of Christ and how it honestly can be applied to any challenge any of us face. So in my interview I mentioned that it's hard to adjust to being with someone else 24/7 and we talked about how repentance and forgiveness apply and with those 2 principles there's not a single person we can't get along with. 
I love you all so much!
Love, Wagstaff Shimai

Sounds like a pretty good week! I love you so much! This week I felt like I'm really getting adjusted and feeling good about this place. I think other people will be my biggest challenge here- I'm pretty independent, don't really like being told what to do, and can have strong opinions sometimes. But it's working out. Talking with Kagawa
Shimai on koukon was nice- my impression was that we aren't allowed to say anything negative about people and places, and I understand that's good, but at the same time I think we should be allowed some honesty and Kagawa Shimai as STL was nice to talk to about that, there is a balance and yeah we weren't gossiping and being too negative is bad, but getting to talk about struggles and have someone understand and help was really wonderful! As long as I'm obedient and trying by best and following the Spirit I'm okay.

Love you so much! I heard the BYU game was a good one! Yay that Springville also had a good game. Also nice to get to the temple, I'd love to go! Ah well, something to look forward to.

Love, Katya

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