It's becoming difficult to keep track of what happens in a week. I've said it in probably every email, but they are indeed all bluring together.
We're no longer Kohai (Juniors). The Senpai (Senior) and Nihonjin (Native Japanese) left yesterday at 5:00 AM. We'll have new missionaries a week from tomorrow. That's a weird thought. Not sure that we're ready to be Senpai. I've been here for more than a month. Almost to the halfway point.
Elder Nelson came on last Tuesday for devotional. He was fantastic. Very simple principles, almost all of which we had heard before, but it's always profound hearing it from the mouth of an apostle. We always have district meeting after devotional and we discuss what we learned and bear our testimonies. This week, Tamir Shimai told us that when Elder Nelson came to Mongolia, he stayed at her house and gave her entire family blessings. These girls are pioneers. Anyway, during her testimony, she started to cry and said "I want to express so many things, but I don't know how, it's hard. It's very hard." She said it just like that in perfect English. The thing is, she and her companion bear stronger testimony than any of us. Their lack of words helps them. As we closed the meeting, Elder Clements, also tearfully said, "please stop worrying, you don't need words. We know exactly what you're saying." Language is critical, but not the most important thing here.
Speaking of the language, we taught our last lesson in the TRC on Thursday. We teach in Japanese this coming Thursday. I'm pretty nervous, but these are volunteers, they know what they're signing up for. I can ask questions and respond to many things, explaining doctrine is coming along, but not yet where I want it to be.
One of the Senpai stayed behind and was put in our district. He recently had to have knee surgery and wasn't able to leave on time. He's Elder Cannon from Boise, Idaho. He's very...Idaho-an. And that's not a bad thing. He's definitely ready to get out of here and not happy about staying, but he's being a good sport so far. He's trying to schedule teaching evaluations during class so that he doesn't rip his hair out learning the same thing over and over again.
This week, Davis Shimai had us each give something up for a week in order to get a small taste of what it's like for an investigator to give up an addiction. None of us could do it. I gave up dessert and soda (I never drink soda here anyway), yet I still had a Coke in the dorm that my roommates brought back from the hospital. My companion tried to give up cracking his knuckles and failed miserably. Andrus Sensei, our other teacher, has hinted that he is dating a girl named Jessica (from Elder Cannon's homeward incidentally) and told us that they went "scootering" on a date. Elder Peterson jokingly wrote "Jessica and Scootering" on the board as Andrus Sensei's addiction. Funny enough, yesterday in class he told us they had "ended it." That was hilarious.
I have a favor to ask. Our district leader hands out mail in class twice a day. Of course, it's just like elementary school and everyone is on the edge of their seat crossing their fingers for mail. The Mongolian sisters have never gotten mail. They always jokingly say "Watashi? Watashi?" ("What about me?") and our district leader will thumb through them and pretend to find one for them. They giggle about it because they know they won't be getting any mail. Still, I know there's part of them that is slightly dissappointed. A couple of the Senpai asked for their mailing addresses and Tamir Shimai made them promise to write. Could you possibly send them a small note? It would need to be very short and simple. I think it would probably be best if it was in simple English and translated to Japanese line by line. I think they read Hiragana better than Romaji. Just say something about how you've heard about them, wish them luck (Tamir Shimai is still struggling with migraines), whatever you want. Just keep it short and simple. I know it will make their day, their week, possibly their time at the MTC. Their mailing addresses should be exactly the same as mine, just address them to "Sister Tamir" and "Sister Aruinzaya." Address:
Box 161, JPN-KOB, 12-06
Missionary Training Center
2005 North 900 East
Provo, UT 84604-1793
There was also another Elder here with ties to Machida that left yesterday. Elder Ikeda had a younger brother (I think his name was Kei) who is deaf and in the Machida first ward. He looked so familiar to me and he said the same for me. He typically would visit his brother during the summer and we concluded that we probably met at church five years ago. How weird is that? Five years ago, I attended church with two of the Elders from Japan that passed through here. Crazy.
I'm sorry if there isn't enough info in here. I'm not sure what else to write. I'm almost out of time. I should start keeping more detailed journal entries in order to send better weekly emails.
That should be all for now. Thanks for writing, the packages, and all the support. It's greatly appreciated. Until next week...