We are officially Diasenpai (the oldest japanese speaking missionaries in the MTC). We can finally get excited for our departure date. We will probably get our flight plan a week from Friday.
We had Fastyesterday. Like BYU, it is nigh on impossible to bear your testimony for all of the people who want to go up. The best is to hear the Nihonjin (native japanese speakers). It is great to listen to a native speaker; super helpful.
SYL (Speak Your Language) is very hard, but it can be super helpful. Essentially we try to speak as much Japanese as we can and as little English as possible. Hearing others speak and practising making sentences myself has made my comprehension and speaking quicker and more accurate (I am still terrible at Nihongo though).
We started teaching other companionships this week, which has been much less stressful than teaching our sensei's. The companionship we are teaching knows about the same amount of Japanese as we do, so we don't have to worry nearly as much about saying things correctly. It has been very nice.
While most of my district (at least the elders) are still playing four square, I got bored of it like a week ago. I decided I need to actually burn calories, especially because I have been eating so unhealthy. My companion receives approx. two packages a week (at least!) and all of them have tons of cookies and lemon bars and other sugar snacks. If there is one thing I don't need right now, it's sugar.
One of the things I really want to do when I get back is teach here at the MTC. It would be sooo cool. Not only would I get to speak japanese, but I would also be able to prepare new missionaries for the field. I don't know if I would be able to do that, just because it is a very rigorous process getting a job here; but if I could, that would be awesome.
My companion and I had the opportunity to befriend and help out a Nihonjin this week. His name is Sizilio Choro and he is from Brazil. I am not sure what his whole story is, but he moved to Japan about five years ago and had to learn Japanese from his native Portegeus (yes I am terrible at spelling). He then learned Spanish and eight months ago learned English from watching the TV show, House. He is pretty much fluent in english now. He also knows some Chinese and can read French. Needless to say, he has the gift of tongues. But he had something wrong with his knee, I can't exactly remember what though, and he had to go to physical therapy this week. But Sizilio Choro's companion had to go to in field training because he was preparing to leave the MTC, so my companion went with him to therapy. It turned out something was wrong with his cartilage, so he had to have surgery. Because his companion had to prepare to leave for the field, my companion went with him again. He now has to stay for another few weeks. It was a great opportunity to make a new friend and serve another missionary, for both Elder Budge and myself. Budge Choro was also able to receive help with his Japanese from being around Sizilio Choro. Because Sizilio Choro has to stay for a few weeks he is now in our district which means we are able to hear a fluent Japanese speaker constantly. Although I feel bad that he can't leave right away, it is a great blessing for our district. This is a shorter version just because I don't have a ton of time, but I think you can understand the jist of what happened.
So I will describe Durin and Malaska Choro now. There is tall elder who has multiple pairs of glasses he rotates through and they are all pretty cool; his name is Elder Malaska (from Toquerville [probably not right spelling, but pronounced like toker ville]). The Shimaitachi (sisters) call him the hipster. He's kind of the class clown and is great at lightening the mood with jokes and stuff. I was worried he would detract from the Spirit at first, but so far it has not been the case at all. He has been a great asset to the district.
His companion, Durin choro is a smart elder, but he is also one of the most interesting people here. He loves to make weird noises and is never predictable. He is very good at making comments that come out of nowhere. He, along with Elder Malaska, are the funniest people I have met in the MTC. It is great to have them both in our district.
Thanks for the letters and packages I have received. I really appreciate the thought.
I am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity I have and I have learned so much and been able to feel the Spirit so strong.
Powell Sensei (MTC instructor)
Black Sensei (MTC instructor)
Iain's MTC District
All Japanese learners going to different missions in Japan.