June 25, 2013
It's finally P-day! I love P-day! Everybody loves P-day. Monday evenings have become the new Friday nights even though we still have to get up at 6:30 in the morning. Last night I slept in a different room with Sister Vielstich, my friend from BYU -we got up at 5:30 am to take her (Sis V) to the bus. I was a bit jealous that she was leaving to go to Japan. But I'm next up, so I can look forward to leaving in a few weeks!
So it's official that everybody who reported to the MTC the same day as me who is not speaking Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Thai or any other Asian language has left!! I feel like I am on Survivor. It's been so long . . . so tiring . . . when will I ever get to leave??? I am ready to be voted off the Island! But at the same time there is this little voice in my head saying "You don't know any Japanese. You are not ready to go to Japan, what do you think you are going to do when you get there???" So I think I will hang out here in my safe haven a little longer.
I can't believe in 3 weeks I am getting on a plane and flying to Japan, I am actually really excited. The Kohi (newbies) are coming in this week and we will probably be neighbors to these new sisters, I hope to become good friends with them. Who knows if we will run into each other as companions in the future??
Thank you for the pictures from the leadership conference. I forwarded them to Douglas Shimai and Mason Shimai who were sitting on either side of me. Damron and Mason shimai both were able to see their families Sunday as their families live close by in the Provo area and their families came to the Marriott Center that evening. Douglas Shimai's parents were supposed to come, but we didn't see them that evening. We kept taking laps around the Marriott Center trying to find her parents. She was so upset and heartbroken. I felt so bad for her. It turns out that her parents had to watch some of their grandchildren that evening and weren't able to make it to the conference :((.
Disappointments are hard. It's probably always better to expect the worst and then be pleasantly surprised when things work out. This last week one of the churotachi (elders) was "Dear John'd" or "Friendzoned" - lol. Poor Elder Lewis. He had all these hopes that he was going to marry this girl after his mission. She didn't write him for a month and then she sent him a very thin letter this week letting him know that she is reporting to the MTC in August and that she wanted to break things off.
Tonight, however, was the Best Devotional Ever!! Sister Janice Kapp Perry spoke and sang and conducted. It was an amazing experience. I sang in the choir and we sang "Like 10,000 Legions". I had never heard this hymn before, nor anybody else! But we sang it and it sounded beautiful considering that we had very little rehearsal.
Her husband stood and introduced himself as "Hi, I am Brother Janice Kapp Perry!" He was so awesome. One of the highlights was singing a medley of all of JKPs primary music. "A Child's Prayer, I Love to See the Temple, I'm trying to be Like Jesus, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, We'll bring the world His Truth, and Love is Spoken Here". She spoke to all the missionaries about how songs and music bring families together. She played a recorded song her family sang that she composed. She sang along with it, it was so cute. Her sons complained about it, but it turned out to be the cutest song ever!! She sang to us another song "Like Jesus" which was so beautiful as it bore her testimony.
During her talk she brings up how she met her husband for the first time when she was preparing her reed for a clarinet performance. He leans over and smiles and says, "Those lips look like they could do a lot more than just play clarinet!" And all of a sudden all of the elders in the audience broke out in applause! I, of course, joined in (I'm not going to miss out on an opportunity to clap- lol)
And soon everyone is standing and clapping. I am just laughing so hard. Brother Perry walks across the stage to his wife and plants a big kiss on her lips in front of all of us - as we continue to cheer he does it again!! It was the best thing ever! Sister Perry just stood there and smiled and told us that this was something we could all look forward to when we returned home from our missions :)
The crowning event was at the end of the devotional. Sister Perry has written new words to the tune of "As Sisters in Zion". The new song is called "The Sisters (as in missionaries) in Zion". The new lyrics focus on missionary work and serving the Lord and serving others. I loved it! So we sang the new song as well as performed the EFY version that had the Elders singing a counterpart of "We'll bring the World His Truth".
Here is the best part - I am sitting in the very back row of the soprano section when another sister leans over to me and says that we should stand when we sing. I silently nodded and agreed that would be great, but some of the sisters around us said, "That's not allowed". Oh well, we did it anyway! The sister who suggested it stood first, then her companion, then me and then 5 other sisters stood. The first verse finished and we are still standing despite fervent whispers of "That's not allowed -sit down!" But I didn't care :) I wanted to stand!
We stand in RS when we sing that hymn every Sunday. Then when the elders joined in with their melody the tenors stood up together, and then bit by bit the basses stood. Then with the next verse when the sisters sing again - all the remaining women stood up together. Then the leaders on the stand stood and the entire room was standing and singing together the final verses . I felt the Spirit so strongly, it was so beautiful. I felt so much joy! As the elders and sisters sang their duet together I was so overcome, I am so happy to be a missionary! I love the gospel so much. I also enjoy a little bit of rebellion once in a while - especially for a good cause!
After the devotional we headed back to our classroom and I am just overflowing with joy! My smile is going from ear to ear :) I was just in the clouds. Some of our branch presidency dropped by that evening to say hello and Sister Stevenson told me that I looked so beautiful that joy was just shining in my eyes!
It felt so good tonight to laugh and clap and sing and cry. It was the best evening ever.
All my love,
PS - I saw Jenny O'Neil twice in the MTC - on her first and last day before she headed to Chicago :)