My Dearest Family,
I hope your Christmas was amazing! From the pictures it looks like you all had a wonderful time and that food sounds like it was wonderful. I just keep holding on the the fact that in 2 days I get to eat real food and then the day after that I get to eat REAL JAPANESE FOOD!! I am so excited. :) The food here at the MTC isn't too nice to your stomach some days.......haha :) Anyway. I had THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!! :) It was a lot of fun and so wonderful. I am so Happy for all of the fun things that you guys are doing!!!
Monday: So usually I can't really remember anything about Mon. cause they are so far away from Sat. but this week I was determined to remember something good about mon. So guess what? On Mon. I finally got the 1st Vision completely memorized in Nihongo. It is super slow but I can say it :) and now I am getting a lot better at it! So that was quite an accomplishment cause that was one of my goals for the MTC.
Tuesday: Christmas Eve!!!! :) Oh this was a wonderful day! Because it was practically like Christmas. We Sang a ton of Christmas songs in the morning and had a lot of study time which is always nice. Then that night for Devotional Elder Evans from the 70ty came. He went on his mission to Japan :) And he told us a ton of really cool stories about Japan and it was such a tender mercy because it just made me that much more excited to go. He spoke about the power of communication and how important it is that we edify others through how we communicate. :) He said, "The strongest evidence of the gospel is the influence of the spirit on you." I really liked that. As we really come to an understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and begin to live be what it teaches we allow the spirit to fill us and then we begin to act on those promptings the spirit gives us which is evidence that the gospel is influencing our lives. I hope you followed my train of thought on that..... haha :) It made sense in my mind as I was typing it... I just don't have time to go back a read it...hah :)
After Devotional we watched Mr Cruggars Christmas which was fun :) That night we set up the Christmas lights in our room and some and put a little Christmas tree in the Middle and made it look like a cute Christmas scene, then some of the Sisters from our branch came in and we Sang Christmas songs until bed. It was so fun! And the spirit there was so cool. It really made Christmas that much better :)
Wednesday: I literally woke up and said in my head.... "It's Christmas! It's Christmas! It's Christmas!" hahahha :) So Christmas was one I will never Forget!!! We got to email our families for 20 min. Then we had a talent show which was a lot of fun to watch. One elder from somewhere in Asia did a magic show which was super cool! I thought of you Dad. :) Then we had a turkey lunch and some free-ish time. After we had the BEST devotional ever! Elder David A. Bednar came! :) He passed out 200 cell phones to the Crowd and then gave us a number to text questions too. The questions would then pop-up on his i-pad and he would choose some to answer so everyone could have the chance to ask any question they wanted to one of the 12. It was such an amazing meeting. Some of the questions he would answer and sometimes he would have his wife answer. The Questions just flowed from one to the next so amazingly. :) and so many questions that I didn't know I had were answered. He is such an inspired man. I have so much I want to tell you about it!!!! But I don't type that fast.....haha:) One of the things I loved though was he talked about his favorite theme in the scriptures. It is the phrase "one by one". It is said 6 different times in the Book of Mormon and he challenged us to go read the BOM again and find all 6 times. He told us NOT to just go look them up but find them through studying the Book of Mormon so we understand the meaning behind the Phrase. He shared one of them in 3 Nephi 11:15 where the people come touch Christ's hands and feet "One by one". It is so beautiful. He said that the phrase "one by one" is the Hallmark Characteristic of Christ's earthy Ministry. He taught, blessed, and suffered for our sins "one by one". That is one thing that I love about the Gospel it is for EVERYONE, yet it is so personal. :) This Church is so wonderful! He also left us with his apostolic blessing that if we will come to understand the atonement of Jesus Christ "you can do what you are called to do in the Land where you care assigned to Labor." I loved that. :) We are called to be missionaries and assigned to Labor in our respective fields. :)
Anyway....haha After devotional we had district time and then had a musical devotional thing by a Jazz band which was fun! Then Sack dinner. During Sack dinner I ate an Orange supposedly the way people in New Zealand eat them. That is what Sister Brown (my good GOOD friend from New Zealand said..... ) and I tried Veggie-mite from my Australian Friend Elder Barr :) It was fun! After we got to watch the 2012 Mormon Tab Choir Christmas Concert. It was so magical. :) It made me so happy cause the Tab Christmas Concert is one of my favorite things about Christmas time. But it made me miss all of you so much. :) Oh well. :) life goes on I guess.
It was a wonderful Christmas day! Filled with Spiritual and fun moments. Just the perfect mix.
Thursday: It was are last day teaching our progressing investigators and our last time Skyping with people in Japan. Next time I talk to a Nihongene or Teach a lesson I will be in JAPAN!!!! :) I am so sad to leave our teachers though.... They have really Changed my life in so many ways and really helped me to learn not only nihongo, but how to be a good missionary, companion, representative of Christ, and Friend. I will forever be grateful for them.
Friday: In-field orientation! So crazy.... :) haha We did a lot of cool things. We learned how to better contact people and plan and practically it was a review of everything we had learned in the past 8-9 weeks. :) But I guess it is really good for the English speakers because they are only her for like 2-3 weeks. :) I learned a lot though and it made me really excited to get out in the field. I am really nervous, but it will all be good. I know that they Lord is sending me to Japan, because It is one of the places that he could send me that I would be forced to rely on him, especially because of the Language. But "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Saturday: Today I have been packing like crazy :) Yesterday I sent a box of stuff home with Brother Mayne. It has a skirt, tree, sweaters, some Japanese books, and some random stuff in it. I want to keep all of it but weight wise I couldn't bring it to Japan.I might send a small box home if I need to too. I will just have a sister sent it one mon after I leave but I might not it is still up in the Air. :) It is so weird that I leave in 2 days but I am so happy. And so nervous. Pray for me k? haha
I know that this Church is True. Without a doubt in my heart! I love it so much :) It is amazing. God loves his Children and will bless us as we are obedient and worthy. :)
Ai shite imasu! :) Next time from Nihon! :)
All my love and then some,
Ashby Shimai :)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! :) 2014!!!!!!! yeah!!