I'm sure the kids all had a great time on trek. :) I know I did, with Jake though anything we do is flippin' fun. ;) He comes home in just about as much time as it'll take me to get out to Japan, isn't that nuts!! You'll have to tell me all about your glorious reunion, and how I wasn't there! ;) I'm not jealous or anything either of your Los Betos... I'm SO TIRED of the food here. Especially without the temple now... It sucks. But!! The food in Sapporo and Hakkaido is the best food in Japan EVERYONE tells me, especially those who served in Japan, and so I'm super stoked for that. I'm SO down for some real food. Even if it is seafood. ;) Haha! Good thing I'm going to Japan, right!
The MTC is still going great, and I'm really enjoying myself. But I'm SO READY to go to Japan. Nine weeks is such a long time it feels like. Time here is very weird. We feel sometimes like the days just drag on and on, but then you wake up one morning and it's p-day. The days feel long but the weeks fly by, its really a strange phenomenon. This last week has been crazy for Elder Brandolino and I though. We got a bunch of new Japanese missionaries and 14 of them are in our branch. So we accompanied them around for awhile on Wednesday night, teaching them some things, making sure they knew the rules, getting to know them, making them feel loved, that whole shebang. And Thursday night we accompanied them to the meeting our Branch Presidency meeting, and taught them more about companionships, how to have a successful one, and things along that train of thought. The knew Kohai as we call them, are fantastic. They are so excited to be here and seem super ready to start learning and teaching. :) It's hard to believe that just 7 weeks ago I was where they were, it's crazy. And it's even more crazy to think that in two weeks we'll be in Japan. We have a countdown on our chalkboard and the day is getting closer and closer!! I should be getting my travel plans next week sometime, which will be super exciting. :) That's always a big deal on campus. :P For obvious reasons. ;) We've really decided as a district to make these last two weeks our BEST two weeks in the MTC. We are working hard, staying focused, and doing what we need to be doing. We really want to go to Japan as prepared as we possibly can be. One of our new Elder's name is Elder Lutz. Immediately I think of the Uruk-Hai off of Lord of the Rings whose name is Lurtz. He's the one that kills Boromir with three arrows, and then Aragorn kills Lurtz, yeah, him. :P I'm sure Mom knows! ANYWAYS! I asked him if he would let me call him Elder Lurtz. :P Naturally he said yes and so that's what I call him now! :) It's great. He also is a huge motorsports guy much like myself! He has been riding dirt bikes for a long time just like I have, and we have so much to talk about! He's a pretty sweet guy, I wish I could be with him for more than two weeks! But, oh well, what do ya do? :) Just about all our knew Kohai are FRESH out of high school which is super cool. They're some of the first fresh eighteen year olds to be out here and it's really cool to see them here at such a young age. I'm young too, but I have a whole year of real world life experience that they don't! But they have powerful spirits and I know that they're going to do some great things. :) It'll be an especially different change from what they're used to, but it'll be great. :) Elder Brandolino and I have to be especially good examples of what good missionaries are since we're in the Zone Leader position. I've been enjoying that so much. And I know Elder Brandolino has been too. We go and make visits to all our districts and check up on them a couple times a week. Make sure they're doing good and what not, which is great. We also have to interview the District Leaders in every district under us and report on concerns or whatever else to Johnson Kaicho. We're the Branch Presidency's eyes and ears on the ground as Johnson Kaicho says. All the missionaries look up to us and come to us with questions and concerns all the time. I'm glad they feel comfortable enough with us to come to us with those things. And I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be in this position to serve. :) I am Zone Leader over five districts, for a total of about 60-70 missionaries. There are three Japanese branches, so I'm not over every Japanese missionary. And Whitney is not under my jurisdiction, but that's ok. I see her ALL the time. It's crazy! She is in the classroom right next to one of our Senpai districts, so whenever I go visit them I usually see Whitney. She seems to be really enjoying the MTC and I'm sure the language is coming very easily to her, we all know how much of a genius she is. I took a couple pictures with her and I'll send them your way with my card next week. I also have bumped into Curtis a few times, and he rooms in the building right across from mine! So I'm going to go make sure I get some pictures with him before he leaves!! And some with Xavier as well, that's ICHIBAN TAISETSU! Number one important / most important, getting pictures with those two guys before they leave....before me...after they got here after me... ;) Haha! We all get a good laugh about that. I also took pictures with my two Senseitachi, so you can see who my two newest heroes are. They are the sweetest guys, and both have changed me forever for the better. Cook Sensei had a birthday this week which we celebrated last week since he went out of town this week. And Gregory Sensei has a birthday next week which we celebrated last night because he will be leaving town. We got them cards, and some MoTab CD's, and lots of food, and other sweet stuff like that. We waited till they left and set up real fast and had a surprise party for them. :) We sang Happy Birthday, Nihongo obviously, ;) And opened presents which was fun. We love them so much. :) And I'm really wanting to stay in touch with them, and they want to do the same.
Thanks for the Trek pictures and what not, I'm sure everyone had a great time, and I bet everyone was glad for the shade!! :) I wish I could've gone again with them, I LOVED trek, and I bet they loved it again this time too. :) Glad to hear that Mom was fine with the food situation! Everyone loves the food you prepare, doesn't matter how you do it, it's just always magical. ;) I talk about your food all the time with the guys here and how much better it is than the cafeteria food. Forrester even backed me up on that. ;) So they all want your food now. :) Guess we'll have to have a big party at our place in a few years. ;) Haha!!
Have I told you guys about TRC? I think I have. On p-day we go to the biggest building on campus, 18M, and we teach people that volunteer to come in, entirely in Japanese. So it's like first contacting people, and then sharing a message with them. It's a TON of fun. Anyways, this week we had a special TRC planned, via Skype. :D We were able to Skype to members in Japan and talk with them and teach them instead of American volunteers!!! :D :D That was incredible. Brandolino and I talked to an elderly woman named Ikeda San, and she lives in Tokyo. We had a great time talking to her and we left her with a message about prayer. It was really just the sweetest experience. I felt so good about it too! Even through Skype I could feel the Spirit and I was able to understand basically everything she said to me, and I could find things to say back. It was really SUPER COOL! Makes me all the more excited to get to Japan and teach my Nihonjin! Japanese people, ;) We get Japanese missionaries that come here for a week and a half every 3 weeks to get some training before they go back to teach in Japan. Talking with them is ALWAYS fun. Plus every time we see them we're like, "Those are ours!!!" It's great. :) So getting to Skype with Ikeda San was super special. :) I feel so much love for the people of Japan already, and I pray for them every night.
About winter gear, I would LOVE to get whatever I could before I left for Japan... I can't get anything there that will really fit, and it'd just be easier to have now. I need some thermal stuff, underarmor or whatever you can find. I don't really know what else I need, but if you can find anything send it to me in the next week or so. Japan is much better about mail than Chile, that's the advantage of first world countries, but it'll still take some time, and I'm going to be getting there right when it starts getting cold. Plus if I'm not in the city, but I go somewhere else on the island, it'll be even more important to have that stuff so I don't die when I get there. Be sure to let me know what kind of winter gear things you might be planning on getting. :) And I'm not sure when I'll be leaving and when I'll arrive in Japan. I don't get my travel plans until later this week sometime, so I can't give you a definite answer as of right now. My address says the 6th of August, but that's SO subject to change. It likely will be 5th I think. But, who knows. I don't know if I'd suggest you change your plans to accommodate the 5th if it really is the 6th, so just stay with what you have until I can tell you for certain, and hopefully that'll be enough time to change if you really want to or need to. I'll let you all know as soon as possible! Thanks so much for everything you guys do for me. :) It means the world to me. Thanks so much for the blanket by the way, that's very nice to have at night. ;) You sent me Josh's though, not mine. ;) DEMO! Daishobu desu. :) But, it's fine. I won't be able to check my email once I send this email till next Saturday, so have Megan send me a detailed email all about whatever it is she has to say, and have her write a letter maybe just kind of briefly describing it. I can't wait till next Saturday! Love you Megan. ;)
That's all I have! Thanks again, I love you all so so very much. :) I can't wait to tell you all about my adventures!
Kokoro kara, aibukai, aishiteimasu! From the Heart, Full of Love, I Love you!