Sunday, December 28, 2014

先輩の週 (Senpai Week)

Good morning from a rainy Toyota.  I hope everybody had a fantastic Christmas!

It`s the most trunkiest time of the year and it has also been a week of birthdays here.  This week there were three very important birthdays celebrated in Japan: On the 23rd it was the Emperor`s birthday, then on the 25th we celebrated the birth of Christ with Christmas, and then yesterday it was my birthday.  A lot of birthdays right?  Thank you for all the birthday wishes!  My birthday was nothing special here.  I kind of celebrated it by myself.

Christmas was a great day.  We all got to you use Skype to call home and talk to our families.  It was super good to see everybody for the first time since August.  It was a super good release to talk to the family.  Now I just have to wait until May to talk to them again.  THANK YOU for all of the ornaments that decorated my Christmas tree!  I really appreciate it.  It means so much to have such great support.  

We had a ton of member visits this week and we got fed in the evening four times this week which was super good.  We got fed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Christmas is a good time for a missionary.  Earlier this week we got to watch a member shoot kendo which is traditional Japanese archery.  It`s super cool and super precise.

This week we also met with Morimura-san 3 times and actually taught him every time without meaning to.  He just keeps asking us questions and we teach him as we go.  It was crazy but we took purikuras (see pics) with him and then he bought us dinner and we started talking about the Word of Wisdom (a health code in the Church) and he committed to give up alcohol this week.  Super crazy!

This week is my 11th week of training which is also known as Senpai Week.  It means that I become the senior companion and take the lead on everything and my trainer takes on the language ability of a bean-chan who just came from the MTC.  It`s going to be super tough.  I have know idea how it`s going to go down.  I have a lesson with Morimura this afternoon to kick it off.  

This past week has been an interesting one doing some self evaluation and just looking back on my last 20 years of life.  I came to the conclusion that so far this mission has been the hardest thing I have done in my life so far.  Yes, more difficult than Freshman Year at USAFA.  I like to think I`ve done some hard things in the last 20 years.  I have never once gotten my eyes wet in any of them.  I didn`t cry in the Assault Course, I didn`t weep during Recognition, but in the last 4 months my tear ducts seemed to have grown more active than they have ever been in the last 2 years.  This mission so far has transformed my soul more than any other experience and every tear that may have been shed has been while I was testifying of truth.  I know I am supposed to be here and be tested and tried and to help these people in Japan.  This is difficult because I want to be successful because this mission will bless my life forever.  ``And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.`` (Romans 5:3-5)  

Thank you again for all of the Christmas and Birthday wishes!  I hope you all have a fantastic New Year`s 


Pic 1- Trying out kendo
Pic 2- Christmas Eve at the Miyachi Family


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