Sister Jena Anderson

Sister Jena Anderson
Entered the MTC December 28th, 2011 and left for Kobe, Japan March 12th!

Monday, January 30, 2012

MTC Letter #5 Full to the brim!!!

Hello to my SWEET KAZOKU!!!! (yasashii!!)

How much I love all of you! I have been overwhelmed at the love and notes I've received each day here at the MTC. How I love you and your sweet inspiration!!! You truly fill my life with joy. I don't think that there has been a day when I haven't had more than one letter. Thank you to my wonderful friends as well... I love hearing from all of you!
What an amazing family I have. Sometimes I think of you and get OVERWHELMED with my blessings! I love you so much, thank you for your support. I know Heavenly Father loves me for sending me to SUCH a wonderful family! I never tell you thank you enough. Thank you. :)
Time FLIES at the MTC (em-tea-shi... Nihongo pronounciation). My English is getting worse and I hope my Japanese if getting better! I had a few requests to share what our days are like... so I have a few things for you this week!
One of our investigators has been a little tough (our teacher!). We had a lesson that didn't go very well, and we were having a super hard time holding his attention. SO! I testify that prayer works, even more than we think. Heavenly Father is so anxious to bless us! The Bible Dictionary says something to the effect that prayer "is a form of work... to bring the highest of blessings that God is willing to bestow but are made conditional on our asking for them." So! With a lot of prayer, we took a different approach from a few inspirational sources. We made a maze out of paper (maybe I was an Aspen Grove and EFY counselor for too long!) out of lined paper. We made a little "Yoshi San" (our investigator) figurine, with a hole atop. The maze didn't have a straight way through, so we had him try it and he got stuck (he is funny and tried to cheat, but we told him it wasn't allowed). Then, we had string and offered it to him (he is "hypothetically" having a hard time with wanting to pray), and we told him that this was like prayer and reading your scriptures. When we face problems, Heavenly Father gives us those tools we need to get to "eien no inochi" (eternal life.... the end of the maze). The Spirit was so strong! I am so grateful that the Lord teaches us through both hard and very sweet experiences. We are working on strengthening his relationship with Heavenly Father like the Bible Dictionary encourages... our whole class is teaching him at different times, it is so fun to be gaining insight from the scriptures and learning how to teach. I love the Gospel and praying for our investigators (even if many of them are our teachers!) It is amazing that love Heavenly Father gifts us as we earnestly seek.
My comp and I were in our classroom for language study, and everyone else was gone... and we were writing on the board in Hiragana. I thought I wrote: "I speak Japanese. I write Japanese. I AM JAPANESE!" I'd written before on the board, "totemo jodan" for something else.... which is like, really, JOKE... but we realized later it had said, "I speak Japanese. I hear in Japanese. I AM JAPAN! Joke." ha ha. There are so many fun times and moments at the MTC!
Two weeks ago we had senkyoshi (missionaries) from JAPAN arrive for their three weeks at the MTC! We have really bonded with the sisters and it has been SO FUN. The other night they came into our room, these sweet, tiny, so polite sister missionaries, to thank us for our friendship, kindness, and for taking the Gospel to their country. They were crying with gratitude. My eyes tear up just remembering it. They gave us gifts of Japanese candy and origami... and this is when they had only known us for a little bit! We asked them their favorite candy (it is so fun to talk to them, but sometimes both sides have no idea what the other side is thinking)... and we found out that they like chocolate! We doorbell ditched their door with chocolate and a note in Japanese. The other morning we awoke to a "heart attacked" door with a chocolate bar taped on it. They are SO FUN. We have had so many experiences laughing together, crying together, and just sharing that we love each other... even when it is hard to find words to get anything else across! It is amazing how the Spirit speaks so strongly and overpoweringly to the heart that we can be such wonderful friends. We will miss them when they return to Japan!
So... they are leaving next week with the missionaries who are finsihing their 12 weeks, and then it is almost our half-way mark! OUR kohai come so soon, and then we will be the next group to leave with the Japanese missionaries that come!
One of the other districts has not been bonding as well as ours, and to help them the other day we made little sacks of M & M's I'd found in the giveaway bin that day.... an almost full bag of new M&M's, it was like a tender mercy for the purpose of this! We made little bags of M&M's and peppermints (thanks Mom!), tied with dental floss, and left a short loving sentence on the board before they got to class the other day. I love doing secret service, and all kinds of service, and anything that brings us closer to the Lord!  I guess that explains why I have been told several times from Elders in my district that I will make a wonderful grandma. On occasion they call me grandma. Its a compliment to me because I love all my grandmas and want to be like them!!! I was also informed that I would make an excellent pioneer woman (this was in reference to positivity....) from two of our Elders last night. The other night, I tried to dry my roommates socks with my blow dryer and we ended up just laughing for 10 minutes while I was having sock drying races and having far too much fun. This is really entertaining if anyone needs ideas.... you know you are at the MTC when your entertainment for the week is drying socks with a blow dryer and your high social point of the week is hanging out in the laundry room on Pday! ;)  
Time is short, and now I have to just share pieces of my heart! The MTC is amazing. The Lord is SO aware of us and so with us, it fills my eyes with tears.
Our days: we teach 5-7 lessons a week typically (including the TRC, which is really fun... we get to teach them as themselves and seek to help them grow from wherever they are!), we prepare a talk in Japanese each week and two missionaries are called by inspiration to bear their testimonies each week, WE LOVE THE TEMPLE! I went this morning and had such incredible feelings, I truly know that the Temple is a sacred place. What beautiful experiences and love Heavenly Father has to offer all of His children! I love being a missionary and being in this place, preparing to share HIS Gospel and His love (the most important thing to establish!) with His children that He loves so much. It is so exciting! We have a lot of class time, eating time, study time, planning time... we love our Sensei's.... one especially is SO GOOD and is really helping us grow, I think my comprehension is growing!  And truly, our district has been blessed. I love it! They are all great.
My brother would consider me officially a good sister missionay, because... I cut my hair today!!He used to say that good sister missionaries don't spend time on high maintenance hair. :) It just bruches my tag with a few layers, just longer than shoulder length. I've arrived! ;)
TIME IS OUT but oh how I love you. I am truly learning to depend on the Lord and Jesus Christ's atonement. I am filled with wonder when I think of His sweet sacrfice and His love. I feel the enabling power of His grace daily, all day, every moment. I thank my Heavenly Father for each moment of supreme joy. It is a privilege to live and experience such a wonderful thing: THE GOSPEL!
Love you forever! God is watching over you and so aware of you, I promise as you turn to Him He will make more of your life than you could ever dream of. :)

Love you Forever!!!!!!! 

(a full to the brim!) Anderson Shimai  

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Letter #4: Sweet is the work!!!

My Sweet Kazoku!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW what a week! Some weeks I will try to keep a running post it note of everything I want to tell you... I know I'll never have time but I want you to know that the work is WONDERFUL!
Thank you so much for all of your support and letters friends and fam! Wow, I feel so blessed of the Lord to have been given such wonderful friends and family. You are all SO SWEET, thank you for writing! I may not be able to write everyone back individually (as we can only write on Pdays and they are sooooooo busy!)... but KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU and you are so appreciated in my life!
This week was so amazing. I got a little bit down in the middle of the week. I think the Lord gives us hard things and really wonderful things, and I am so very grateful that we have both! The past few days have just been WONDERFUL for me personally--I know why I am on a mission, and who I represent. Things have just changed for me now. The Lord is helping and honing my character flaws. He is shaping me into something miraculous... how grateful I am for His work on me! He truly helped heal my soul this week. I have never known dependence like this. I know through experience that the Lord helps us in EVERY way: physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially--and we are dependent on Him for it all. Heavenly Father truly loves us! I have never felt the depth of emotions I have felt at the MTC. I know with assurity that the Lord is with me and watching over me. I wish I could give you a window into my heart, that I could just show you how much He is there for me. He is there, always. I am amazed at Heavenly Father's love and consistency. I am so very grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. How I love Him! He is the message of our Gospel--that through Him, we can return home to our Father in Heaven. Its GLORIOUS!!!!
Last night we taught a class discussion to one of our teachers (a sub). It was so interesting! The Spirit was definitely there even though it was a little scattered with 6 companionships in our district! We picked up a new investigator to practice with this week (another one of our teachers!), and it is so fun. The language is flowing so much more smoothly. We stopped taking in our books to class this week. Ahhhhhh! Sometimes we bring a few notes and sometimes we don't. The Spirit truly works with us as we pray before each lesson to have charity and to discern the needs of our "investigators." It is so wonderful to feel these feelings for those we teach.  It is different when we walk in and see our teachers there to have us teach them. The Lord loves His children, and He is anxious to edify all of them. This work is inspired! THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!
I love the MTC!!!!! I feel like I used to worry so much about the future, about the present, even the past--and I testify that the Savior's Atonement can help little thing we ever worry about. I loved finding the scripture again this week in 3 Nephi 17:7... Our Savior and Redeemer is so anxious to heal "any manner of afflictions." I feel peace in a way I never have before! I know that the Lord will care for my tomorrows, and I get to rejoice in THIS day. It is such a privilege to be a missionary.
We had Elder Kevin R. Duncan and his wife speak to us this week, it was so humbling and so good for me!! He talked about JOY and the privilege of being a missionary. They talked about how missions change missionaries, and about charity... and trusting in the Lord! I know that we cannot learn this language without Him, and I am continually amazed that if I dedicate my specified Gospel study as suggested, I do not fall behind. The spirit quickens us, and Heavenly Father is so anxious for us to suceed! I think this week may have changed my whole mission, I truly can answer with Nephi of old, "I know in whom I have trusted."
What a joy this work is! What a privilege! There are people, millions, everywhere searching for the word of God. I am so grateful that I get to take His word to His children in Japan. I know that there are people HUNGRY for the Gospel there! I know in whom I have trusted, and I have no doubt that we can do it with Him. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" "They that be with us are more than they that be with them!" Oh how I rejoice in my God and King! I know my life never would have been the same without this mission experience. I know for assurity that this is His church and His work! I love the Plan of Salvation! How amazing is this work? I used to feel like it was true and I was watching it, but know I KNOW it is true--for I feel like I am IN it. I felt that this week, it is so hard to describe. But I can testify with assurity of God's love and His influence in our lives. If you are wondering if He is there, if you wonder why you face something--I testify to you that God loves you. He is watching over you and wants you to succeed. That we get to proclaim His gospel fills the pools of my heart with deep gratitude and joy!!
In other news... I sing in the shower, in the bathroom, sometimes (actually all of the time) I make very happy sounds when I read the scriptures - I CAN'T HELP IT!!! I love my district, we get FED from the Word of God with a devotional every week that is so uplifting... Elder Russell M. Nelson came last week, and it was so incredible when he walked in--we couldn't see him but the power of the priesthood fell over the audience and we all stood in a hush. Even before I saw him, I knew that there was power in that room. I testify he is a man of God! He spoke on the gathering of Israel and the Abrahamic Covenant, it was so wonderful and now I see things everywhere that point to them. Wow!
Mom and Dad, every once in a while I think about you coming to the MTC... the gym is great and they have healthy food options! (in the weight room gym you can even watch conference... Dad will feel right at home!) [we do weights once a week] I think about you frequently being here and getting ready for YOUR mission, I am so excited for you two!! I love telling people that you are getting ready to go. Thank you so much for raising me in the Gospel, I can't wait to see you again but I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I know that God called me to be here, and that He has a plan. Oh, isn't the Gospel wonderful? I think like Alma, it sometimes exceeds my strength or fills me so much with joy that I just scream a little bit. (maybe squeal is a better word. I just am so happy!) Don't worry, my companion and my district can still hear ... 
The Church is true! I love this work! I pray you will be strengthened and that we all can treasure the gift of this work we have been given. Sweet is the work!
With Love,
Anderson Shimai (loving Japanese!)

Elder Kevin R. Duncan was sustained a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 3, 2010, at age 49. At the time of his call, he had been serving as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in the Utah South Area.
Elder Duncan received a bachelor of science degree in accounting, a master's in taxation, and a juris doctorate in law from Brigham Young University in 1991. He began his career as an associate attorney. In 1996 he founded CaseData Corporation, from which he retired in 2005.
Elder Duncan has served in numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in Chile, temple ordinance worker, Church-service missionary as Associate International Legal Counsel in South America, president of the Chile Santiago North Mission, and Area Seventy.
Kevin Read Duncan was born in Ogden, Utah on October 6, 1960. He married Nancy Elizabeth Smart in August, 1986. They are the parents of five children and have one grandchild.

Recent articles, addresses, and speeches

Our Very SurvivalOctober 2010 General Conference

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MTC Letter #3 Miracles and Ministering Blessings... the Work is SO TRUE.

To my Kazoku!!
Wow, it's been crazy... we've been trying to get into our emails for so long that our time is running shorter. Thanks for all the letters that I can read on days other than P-day!
It was an incredible week. On Sunday, I was pretty discouraged. Missionary work is hard, and it takes a lot of effort (but it is totally worth it!). I had a personal miracle. I was sitting in Relief Society and Sister Diane Doxey came to speak to us. Half way through the meeting, she talked about applying scriptures to us, even putting our names in them. She was in Alma 17 and read a sister's name. And then, as she continued to read, she said: "And it came to pass that the Lord did vist Anderson Shimai with His spirit, and said unto her--Be comforted. And she was comforted." I had never met this woman. It caught me so off guard. We were the only two she mentioned. I couldn't figure out--why me? I am the only "Anderson Shimai" at the MTC. (Shimai is sister in Japanese). Why did the Lord love me enough to step in and give me a miracle on Sunday? Why of all the women at the MTC, all of the sisters, did He choose to minister to me that day? I went to talk to her after, and she said she felt prompted to say my name before the meeting. Her husband served in Kobe, Japan. She leaned over to him and he helped her with the Japanese.
Why me? I'm not sure. But I received an overhwelming conviction that the Lord knows and loves me, and I thought that's what I was supposed ot learn from it... but later I got the prompting that this was so I could know that He is always with me. I do not doubt it. The work is hard, but I am not alone. I feel a strength that is not my own lifting me. 
I wish I could tell you more about missionary work, about actually being at the MTC, about everything else. I really just want to tell you all the most important things though, and that is that the Lord is with us.  
There are so many miracles! Did I tell you that the speaker (I think it was last week... the international MTC speaker) went to Japan too? I feel like the Lord is sincerely preparing us. I also felt like my experience Monday was in part because of my family's faith. I really did. Thank you for your faith and prayers, we honestly feel it and I know that prayer works!

On other news, I'm wearing my skirt from my sister with my coat from my brothers, thinking how much I love all of you! Also, they serve sugar cereal here at the MTC on Sundays... My sisters are prepping their kids and they didn't even know it! Yeah! Our teacher last night was speaking Japanese SO FAST on purpose! When we practice as companionships we often are given a description of a person to "be." One of my fake investigator profiles was someone who was running away to Canada to marry her boyfriend.  So, I had to answer questions about that scenario in class... just to clear things up - this was not type cast! But, it was really funny as I tried to get through Japanese no less. :) I'm beginning to understand a little more Japanese...which is so exciting! We are teaching about 3 investigators (our teachers...) and we start the TRC (Teaching Resource Center) tomorrow... and we get to seek guidance to help the TRC volunteers learn from wherever they are in real life. I really felt charity for our investigator Yoshi San in our last lesson. We are working on "How to Begin Teaching" from Preach My Gospel, which is wonderful... and I felt so much love. I felt the gift of discernment a little bit, through calling upon charity and the Holy Ghost, as we tried to find out his needs - in Japanese. Even though it was just our teacher, I felt those real feelings that are prepping us for the mission field and even that one experience has changed forever how I want to teach. I feel that love everyday, and the Lord has been so merciful in helping me learn things anew. He truly is refining me. I love our district. I felt this week that these are more than 19 year old boys, they are missionaries set apart to serve the Lord. There is a POWER at the MTC.

In other news! (again) Thank you SO MUCH for all of your letters! I love faith promoting things. It truly is such a great work, I've had letters from extended family and  friends, and I love getting them! thank you so much for your love and support! I realized this week that 18 months is longer than I thought, and still so short... it is like a time warp, but it is incredible. I know this is where I am supposed to be and I TESTIFY that God is watching over all of us. You have a Heavenly Father who loves you and wants the best for you. I am so proud and happy for all of your righteous choices! What good friends you are to me, my family. I LOVE YOU FOREVER! I know that the Lord has you in His hands. :)
With all the Love I Have,
Anderson Shimai
pictures... can't be loaded at the MTC! I'm sorry, know that I am taking some and I love you!

To learn more about the TRC
Sister Jen volunteered before her mission, so she has worked both sides now!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Loving the MTC!!!

Sister Jena, Sister Mary Jane Stewart (dear friend and former member of our ward who is serving a service mission with her husband at the MTC - and who took this picture) and Jen's companion.
Saw your sweet daughter today and she is sure a happy gal.  Angelle--she reminds me of you all over--you could be twins.  I can't believe she is learning Japanese!  Enjoy the picture of her and her companion.  I think she mentioned she didn't know how to get pictures off her camera?!  I, of course, am no help in that regard!

Friday, January 6, 2012

MTC Letter #2... monastery soup

To My Dear Sweet Family!

Oh how I love you! I have been pondering what to write in this email, time is so short! This is what I came up with: last night I had a dream about monastery soup from that random cookbook we have at home, and I woke up super happy. I also think there were some people asking other people if they understood, in Japanese. ("Wakarimaska?"). Love you guys! :)
;) ha ha. So Annie gets baptized this week!!!!!!!!!! YES! I am so excited for her! (all of the above is actually true though... I think I miss cooking, ha ha!)

This week has been a whirlwind, but so growth promoting. I wrote in my journal that I feel a purifying fire in my heart, just cleansing and even changing my soul. I FEEL the "great Molder of men" molding me, and it is like a consuming fire. I never knew what that felt like in this way. We taught 3 times this week. I've realized that I never could haveexperienced my dependence on Him to this extent in English. I already love teaching and testifying so much in my native tongue. This experience is truly teaching me that the Savior is always with me, and that we truly are dependant on the Lord. I feel so grateful! I never could have had the "time and experience" needed (Joseph Smith) to know the mysteries of Heaven... I was thinking of that quote this week and I am so grateful that I get to have that experience. It truly is so humbling, I've never been in a state where I knew that I needed Him more. But I know He is here. It is so beautiful that I get to have this chance--I feel like I have testified so much of needing my Heavenly Father and my Savior, of knowing our dependance on He on high, but I have never LIVED it like I am living now. Things like this truly are the gateway to purification.

We got a new sensei! We LOVE him. He is Japanese, our other Sensei was just a substitute but we didn't know it... our new teacher is hilarious and SO GOOD. I felt this confirmation our first lesson with him that he was supposed to be our teacher. He writes everything on the board in hiragana, not romanji, and he speaks much more like a native Japanese speaker. He is so good at teaching and he pushes us a lot, our district is amazed at how we are growing. I am so happy to have SUCH an incredible teacher, and it just confirms to me that the Lord is in charge of getting us ready. I just feel so privileged. The MTC does a great job of providing wonderful assets to help us learn. He had mensetsu with everyone (interviews), and really helped me hone in on what I want to be able to do. I feel excited about Japanese, even though it is so hard not to be able to testify fluently of all the things in my heart. I've never had that. I am so grateful that the Lord is humbling me!

We had a devotional this week and it was INCREDIBLE, not to mention our Sunday meeting. Oh, if I could only tell you what we are taught! I wish I had two hours. The director of all of the international MTC's came to speak to us and told us story after story of amazing missionaries, so humble and focused on the work--an elder who was over seven feet tall (7' 8" I think?) who had shoes made from reeds or bamboo his whole life, and slept on the floor in the MTC, saying it was ok... the boy who came with only the shirt on his back because his mother had moved away to work for his mission clothes, sent them to him, but they were stolen... and that same boy who received all of his clothing before the MTC president was even aware of it from all of the other missionaries. There is such a special spirit here.

Elder O. Vincent Haleck came and it was INCREDIBLE. We had a district review after the meeting. This talk, among so many others, has changed (and is changing) my MTC experience. Just when I think I'm figuring things out, the Lord opens heaven and pours out a blessing that helps hone me and change my very innards. It is INCREDIBLE, the work the Lord does. I felt so impressed that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves, that He knows our capacity and is teaching us, HONING us into what He wants us to become. I think sometimes I intimidate my district, I have to apologize very frequently but the Lord is shaping me so much. Sometimes we remember that the boys are just 19, but they are growing so much--all of us are. I know we are going to be such a close district when we leave, and I love it! I just love testifying of the Savior and my positivity sometimes makes me want to shoot down negativity ha ha. Our meeting was SO GREAT though, everyone's testimonies in our district meeting were great! Our meetings on Sunday were incredible too, wow. We had a Fast Sunday MTC meeting and the talks were INCREDIBLE. One of them was about remembering to put our faith in Jesus Christ, and not in ourselves, with symptoms of that. I felt like every talk had something beautiful! You wouldn't believe how many pages I fill up in my scripture journal every day.

I feel like I didn't even know myself before, and I truly feel Him inside of me, working so hard to "build a palace." (C.S. Lewis). I am so humbled and grateful (earnestly) that the Lord takes the time to chastise me and mold me. 

I thank you all for your letters! They are so fun to receive!!!! I think the thing I miss the most is just getting updated! Thanks Mom and Dad for your faith promoting and sweet letters, they are so fun for me and help me feel close. I really love updates just on how people are, we don't have time any other day but P-day (dad my p-day is friday!) to write, but I love hearing things! 

LOVE YOU! The work is true and rolls forward without inhibition. The Lord is sure working on us to purify us to "match the message." (Elder Scott) The work is true and wonderful, know this week that I am praying for you and that I am taken care of... and that God loves you! Thinking of Annie this week of her baptism!

A Blessed Sister Anderson

Elder O. Vincent Haleck was sustained a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 2011, at age 62. At the time of his call, he was serving as president of the Samoa Apia Mission.
Elder Haleck received a bachelor's degree in advertising and marketing from Brigham Young University in 1973. He owns a number of businesses in his native Samoa and served as president of Tuna Ventures, Inc., and Tropical Beverage Distributors, Inc. He has also been involved in philanthropy work for the Haleck Foundation.
Since joining the Church in 1966, Elder Haleck has served in numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Apia Samoa Mission, bishop, stake high councilor, patriarch, stake president, and president of the Samoa Apia Mission.
Otto Vincent Haleck was born in Utulei, American Samoa, in January 1949. He married Peggy Ann Cameron in June 1972. They are the parents of three children and have seven grandchildren. Elder and Sister Haleck recently relocated from Pago Pago, American Samoa, to Salt Lake City, Utah

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Letter #1 from the worth it!!1

Konichiwa my sweet kazoku (family)!
WOW! What a wonderful whirlwind it's been here at the MTC. I don't even know what to start with! My companion is Fasa Shimai (Sister Facer), and she is from Salt Lake. She went to BYU-I and was majoring in Elementary Ed, we get along really well and haven't had any problems. I'm actually adjusting pretty well! It seems like it has been 3 weeks since we came... I can't BELIEVE it was just Wednesday when I got dropped off (4 days??) I know this is going to fly by, we are already learning so much and FEELING so much and having so many experiences... I love it!
Last night we taught our first discussion in Japanese. (ahhhhh!) ha ha. We learned to bear our testimonies yesterday. We received probably 10 books from the MTC for language study the first day! AHHH it is so fun. I've been very open in writing about the MTC experience, and I want to be with my kazoku and friends--it's definitely not easy! We work so hard. The first few days we've been to the gym every day, we get ready so fast, we study language for sometimes like 6 hours... but it is SO AWESOME. The Spirit is wonderful here. I found all of your sweet notes (Mom, Jana, Annie, Mook)!
To my sweet nephews: it is SO WORTH IT. I watch how Elders in our district and some of the older elders learn and change, I see myself changing--and I just love missions! Please put your eye on the goal of going... it is SO WONDERFUL. I can't even explain to you how wonderful a mission is. I truly know that this is what God wants for his sons, and some of His lucky daughters that have the privilege to serve.
We learned to pray in Japanese a few days ago, we can bear our testimonies, today we are learning more about conjugation. We do get some chances to work with language software in a lab about once a week at our own pace, I am really excited. My shimai and I are working to understand each other more, but we truly get along well and we are working hard. It is fun to learn how missions work!
I feel like I have been here 3 weeks (or 2?) and I am growing so much. I plead for my charity to love my district and my companion, and all of those I meet. It truly is so wonderful! Our sensai is awesome and he is really helping us pick up the language. Yesterday, I felt like I was understanding a lot of what he said... and it is our 3rd day! I am so excited. At the same time, I have opportunities like teaching where I KNOW that I cannot do this alone. It is so wonderful!!! I feel so humbled to be on a mission, but a lot less hard on myself than I thought I would feel. Letters and my setting apart blessing have truly helped me realize .... (Thanks for all of your advice Nate! It has helped me so much already and I look up to you so much. Thank you!) I know that I am not alone. Last night, I was reading Matthew 8:24-27 and Matthew 14:29-31. I love these experiences, because the Savior was with both of them the whole time. The boat was in the midst of a sea, "COVERED" with waves. How I want to be covered so I can emerge again better! I know even if we are faced with many trials that we can come out clean, a new person, a stronger tool to work in the service of the Lord. My heart longs to serve Him all of my days. How I love the scriptures! I know that there is so much power in them.
Thursday we had a meeting with our Branch Presidency in which all of the new Shimaitachi and Chorrotachi got to bear their testimonies. It was so neat to see all of these young men stand up and cry over their families, to say how much they wanted to set good examples, to hear how many wanted to serve the Lord, to hear how many sisters and elders knew that this was what the Lord wanted them to do. It made me realize that everyone has things we are going through that we can't see (again I learned this!), and that we should always love everyone as much as we can because we don't know what they are going through.  
I also read last night the story of the five loaves and two fishes (don't worry Mom, I'm reading the Book of Mormon too) :). I shared this with my district, even though maybe I shouldn't have... what can I say, I've been a camp counselor for too long. I know that the Lord is helping me learn and I am earnestly feel that He is shaping me!!
So! We taught our first lesson to Mori Moto San. It definitely was not what I expected and it was ROUGH. I think both of us were kind of shocked, but I recovered pretty fast. We just couldn't understand him! We get to teach him again today--I know our district was a little digruntled. But, truly, I am so grateful that the Lord qualifies us. I know that this is the way it is supposed to be. (Thank you for your sweet letters Mom and Dad!) Near the end, even though I couldn't really communicate, I just kept saying "Kamisama ga MoriMoto San ai shimasu. Kamisama ga MoriMoto San ai suru to shitte imasu. Ieso Kirisuto ga MoriMoto San ai shuimasu..." Even though I couldn't communicate with him really, I truly had this sweet personal experience where I knew that the Spirit transcends all boundaries, even language. As I tried to speak to him of how much God loves him, how much the Savior loves him, my eyes welled up with tears. We fumbled in and fumbled out and fumbled through, and he probably couldn't understand most of what I was saying, but I know even if it was for that moment that the spirit encompassed our room and tried to give all of us a hug. This work is true, and I know this is how this is supposed to be! It is so wonderful that the Lord lets us work and grow and learn. I feel like every time I fall, it is just an opportunity given to me for the Lord to take me higher. We bounce higher with the Lord when we are thrown! How I love Him, I know my complete dependance on Him and I am so grateful that, like the Savior on the boat and Peter on the waves, He is with me. 
I love you sweet fam!! Thanks for your love (Mom, will you send this on to fam, and maybe post to FB or to a blog? Only if you have time.)
LOVE YOU ETERNALLY, thank you for your love and light and examples--this is the Savior's work and He is at the helm. You are in my thoughts and prayers--press on and enjoy this glorious work! How I know that He lives!
Love, Andasan Shimai :) (Sister Anderson)