Hey all - Sorry for the delay with Nathan's letter this week. The internet wasn't working too well at the MTC so Nate had to write a handwritten letter which took a little while to get to us. Anyways, enjoy!
Dear Mom and everyone!
Sorry it took so long to get a letter to you. The email thing didn't like me this week. So things are good here, still learning a ton. It's crazy how much we learned in a month and a half. I never thought I could speak to someone for 30 minutes in Japanese and have them understand all of the sentences that I said. I can't understand other people outside of our district very well because they know different vocabulary and grammatical patterns though.
I hope you and Rick try learning a little Japanese so I can practice writing it more and then maybe you could talk to Jon's mom for practice too! :)
We are supposed to get 28 Nihonjin on Wednesday, May 4th, which means we only have 3 weeks left till we go to Japan!! :-D
We got some pretty cool "greenies" in our room, they like sports and work really hard. It is like a boost of motivation to get better and practice more and look good for them. Their names are Elder Davis and Elder Maughn. I asked him if he is related to Bryan Maughn, but I don't think they are closely related at all.
That's crazy to hear that Zac and Mirian are getting married, it seems like he just got back from his mission. And, I'm bummed to hear that boys Volleyball isn't doing too well :( I hope it gets better for them. I try to play some here but it just isn't the same level of play or have the same spirit about it. Sort of just jungle ball all the time and gets a little boring but it's still good to get some touches on the ball.
How are Jon, Adam and Spencer? Did Jon ever get the letter I sent him? I hope I didn't send it to the wrong address.
We didn't do anything too special for Easter here. But the last two devotionals the last two Tuesdays we have had an apostle speak. The first time we had Richard G. Scott who talked about how to use the spirit effectively and not to hesitate to do what it says. That is something they always try to emphasis here so that we can teach to the investigators needs and have the spirit to touch their hearts. He also used his apostle powers to give us the Gift of Tongues which really gave me a lot of relief to not be as stressed about it but I still have to work hard. The other apostle we heard from was Dallin H. Oaks who I really could feel the spirit right when he walked in the room. It was awesome, I really feel the spirit so much here. Anyways, he spoke about 7 ways missionaries can be better. They are really effective. 1. Physical Health 2. Be an Insurgent in the Lords hands 3. Prepare yourself to act in his service 4. Remember who you are and the work you are involved in 5. Work to establish the Church 6. Teach and testify 7. Nurture - truly care for the investigators. Those seven things can really be applied to missionaries like me now and for the rest of my mission. Those two talks were just plain awesome!!
It's crazy how time flies in here but can also go by so slow at times. We just all want to leave so bad and to do some real work. Our teachers tell us all these cool stories to motivate all of us but we sort of feel useless just sitting in here learning. We all want to share this message but we have to just be patient until it is time for the Lord to use us. Just hoping we don't get delayed like the people before us.
Here are a couple pictures for you so you can see what I've been up to and who i've been around. Hope you enjoy them. :) Love you all. Keep the letters coming!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Genki desu ka? Watashi wa subarashi desu. How is everyone? I'm doing wonderful. This week was a very weird one. A lot of different things happened. To start, thanks for the packages and letters. Next, we had our first lesson in Japanese, teaching about lesson 1 in PMG(preach my gospel). It's crazy to think how much we have learned to talk with someone about themselves and give a 35 minute lesson in only 6 weeks. It's unbelivable how fast time flies here. I feel like I have been here for a whole year but it's only been a month and a half or so. We have like 35 days left here in the MTC, that's super weird to think about. Can't wait to go in about a month but so not ready to speak Japanese full-time though. I just know that I won't be able to understand a lot of things for quite a while when I get there. But, still super excited to go!! :D
We met President Albrecht this week and found out that Tokyo should be open by the time we get there but nothing is official. He also told us that Tokyo might be the pilot program for having missionaries use laptop, which would be super helpful in many ways. We could send emails easier plus have lessons or slides on it to help people understand different points of the gospel. Or, we could even talk to the business men that get up and come home later than we do. That way we could be like the referral center but more effective. So we will have to wait and see if that really does happen or not.
Last Saturday, one of our teachers is gradutating from BYU, so he had to quit. We found out that they are only allowed to work 3 years teaching here at the MTC. He served his mission in Tokyo so we had a lot of story-times about what it was like there. It was fun and got all of us super excited to go serve in our areas. It was just super weird to have to say goodbye to him before we even left the MTC. But we did get a new teacher, and he is super cool too!! He was the tutor for Japanese so he is really good at teaching new grammar and such. Plus, he is super energetic, it's awesome!!
Also we found out that our schedules here are completely changing. My next personal day won't be until next Friday. All of our P-days will now be on Friday's which kinda sucks and we now have gym times at 8pm at night. It's gonna be a little weird but it might make time fly by fast since we will have to re-adjust to a new schedule.
We also get our Kohai (young ones) tomorrow. It will be weird to not be the young ones anymore and have them ask us all the questions about how to say things for their talks and things like that. Plus, we might get a whole room to ourselves, just me and my companion, because we had two older guys above us and they left. There will be 28 new people and only one Sister. So she will be a solo and then one of the guys will have a triple and then hopefully we won't get a new one in our room. Maybe it would be a good thing to have them though, so we can show them the ropes and such.
Well I think my laundry is almost done so I need to go, but keep the letters coming!! I hope all is well there wherever you are reading this. I love you all (watashi wa minnasen ai shitte imasu).
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Konnichiwa Minnasen, (Hello everyone)
This past week has been pretty good. My Japanese is coming along better. I can't fluently speak it but I am understanding the grammar stuff more fully. I hope I have the gift of tongues for this week's lesson practice. We have to teach the Whole First Lesson in Japanese, 35mins long!! It will be scary and hard, we just need to find enough scriptures to take up some times :D Oh, things I forgot to put in my letter from last week, because I ran out of time, was that I met two professional super-stars last Sunday, conference Sunday, I met Vai Sikahema and Chad Lewis, two former Philidephia Eagles players that are members of the church. They came and talked about how their missions were very inspirational. It made all of us want to go out and search for people now!! HAHA
This last Sunday we had the enjoyment of listening to the BYU Mens Choir. They were super good!! They sang so many songs from different languages like Latin, Chinese, Samoan, Hungarian, and English of course. It was so awesome to feel the spirit so strong through singing. They have about 200 people in their choir, most in the world for an all mens choir. Oh also before I forget, I met Jamie Hughes sister-in-law here. She is going to Kobe, Japan. It was kinda weird how small this world is. She said Jaime is doing great with their new baby. Also one of the branch presidents in my branch knows John and April McKinney. It was super crazy!! SMALL WORLD!!
Anyways, to answer some of your questions, we have pizza for dinner on Friday's. It's from Papa John's but it always seems to be cold when it gets here so it's not the best thing ever. The Missionaries leaving this up coming Monday got re-assigned to other places and were told that it is permanent. :( Most Tokyo people got moved to Nikyoga (thats not how you spell it, i forgot how its spelled) and all of the Sendai people got moved to Sapporo. They haven't really said anything about us yet though. The Nihonjin also leave with them on the 18th of April and they also got moved to other places.
Thanks again for the addresses and the package! :) Sounds like the house is slowly getting done, maybe its going to take these two years just for you guys to complete it! HAHA JK :P
Well my time is almost up here, I love you all and grateful for the prayers you all have. I pray every night for you too.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Konnichiwa Watashi no kazoku!! :) 49 days left in MTC!!
I am doing well here. Its getting a little easier here but I just want to go to Japan. The older group is leaving in a week, they're so lucky. We all want to go with them because we know we could pick up the language much quicker that way.
The food here is pretty bad, not the most gourmet. Sometimes I dont want to eat it because it doesn't look very good at all. The other day they had chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole. It was yellow and didn't look good but I tried it anyway and it was pretty good. It's similar to broccoli jack casserole but they added curry powder to it or something. I really do miss home cooked food. I want some of the Scott cinniamon rolls :D
Conference was awesome!! I actually stayed awake though all of it. Our teacher told us to have three questions in mind before the conference and pray to God for the answer. So much is going on everyday, it seems like all of the days are just blending together.
We get to go to the temple every Sunday and have a temple walk. We made a box for putting in compliments to everyone in our district. We read them as we walk around. On Tuesdays we actually go into the Provo temple. We also try to make it to the Endownment Sessions unless we need to do other stuff, like get our lessons ready. Every Thursday we have a task like contacting people and talking about family or other things like that. Then, we have to give a lesson from preach my gospel. Next Thursday we have to give the restoration of the church in ALLL JAPANESE!!! I am so not ready for it, it will be really hard.
Keep telling people to write me or maybe get their addresses and I can write them first or something. :)
I hope to hear from everyone soon, keep the packages coming :D its nice to get food from you all because I know I can count on it to be good!! I keep you all in my prayers!! Hope everyone is doing well and in good health.
PS. to say mom in Japanese 母 (haha) , and dad is 父 (chichi) thats how you pronounce them. Anything else you want to say??
Love you all,
Elder Nathan McKinney