It's getting down to the last few weeks here at the MTC. All of the Elders and Sisters in my district are all pretty excited to finally get to Japan. It's also a little sad though because some of us will be going to Sapporo and most of them will be going to Sendai and we know that we won't get to see each other again for 2 years. I'm really going to miss the people in my district. We have become so close these past 6 1/2 weeks. We act like a big family. We literally spend all day with each other. We all eat together, we study together, and all exercise together. We have really gotten to know each other so well. As a district we decided that every night after we finish planning we have this thing called the "hot seat" where we pick one person to sit at the front of the classroom and for 15 minutes we can ask that person any question we want. It's been really fun getting to know everyone's hobbies and unique personalities. We really have become best friends! We're already planning some reunions for when we all get back from our missions. :)
Sundays are still some of my favorite days. I love getting the extra time to study in the morning. Church for us (sacrament meeting) is almost completely in Japanese. Each Sunday all of the missionaries prepare a 3-5 minute talk in Japanese. Each Sunday we have a different topic such as faith, repentance, baptism, the Book of Mormon, etc. And each Sunday one Elder and one Sister are called up randomly to come to the front and give their talk. When I first got here I had no clue what anyone was saying. But now I'm to the point where I can pretty much understand everything. I can sing hymns in Japanese, I can write talks in Japanese and I even understand the sacrament prayers in Japanese. It's pretty cool to see how much I've learned in such a short amount of time. This last week in choir we sang "Nearer my God to Thee", which has always been a song that I liked, but I never realized what it was about until this week. It's about the story of Jacob and his brother Esau. Esau is the oldest brother so traditionally he would get the birthright, but instead Jacob is the one who gets the birthright. Esau quickly finds out what has happened and he threatens to kill Jacob. So Jacob packs up everything and leave his family. The song talks about how Jacob was feeling as he runs away from home and he feels so alone, but he still has a desire to be nearer to God even through his trials. Pretty interesting right?? (Exodus 28:10-22)
My Japanese is coming along slowly, but surely. It's a really hard language. I don't think I realized how hard it would be. I've pretty much mastered the 2 alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana. The Japanese people also use Kanji, which is where they have one character to represent 1 word or part of one word, and I learned a couple of those, I'm not exactly sure how many Kanji there are, but I'm pretty sure there's at least 3000. So I'm really trying to work hard, but it's really discouraging sometimes when I can't say what I want to becuase I still have a very limited vocabulary. But I'm really trying to hold onto faith.
Hope you are all doing well! I love you all! Thanks also for all the letters and emails. I'm sorry if it takes me such a long time to reply but I promise I will!