This time next week I will be in Japan!!! I am so excited. There are so many things I yet to learn though. Last week I finally started feeling like I was understanding this crazy language. I am just so frustrated that it took me until I only had two weeks left to finally understand how to do this thing. Right as I started understanding what was going on, I'm sent packing. (sigh) Oh well. I guess better late than never, right? I know that once I get there it will be much easier to learn tongo (vocabulary). Here it can be so hard sometimes to remember and learn new words. Although I have been doing it, it is just more difficult. Once I get to Japan I will have to learn and remember them because I will just be hearing them constantly.
The ironic thing about this language, that has taken me these eight weeks to learn, is that the order makes so much sense. For the longest time I couldn't understand sentence structure (the hardest thing about Japanese), but I am finally starting to get it. In English we have the verb in the middle (unless you're Yoda), but in Japanese the verb is always at the end. So you have to state who is verbing and what they're verbing before you state the verb. For instance:
I read the Book of Mormon
I the Book of Mormon read.
watashi wa Morumon-sho o yomimashita
It didn't make sense for the longest time, but now that I am in the thick of it, it makes so much more sense than English. I find it hilarious that I learned so much about English by studying Japanese (for instance, so many exceptions in English).
Unfortunately the district I have become so close to in the past 2 months are not all going to Fukuoka. All of the Shimai (Sisters) are going to Kobe and three of the elders are going to Kobe as well. So I will not be seeing any of them, but I the other four elders are going with me, so we will be on the same flight together.
Something that I don't think I have mentioned before. Everyone is broken into zones/branches and then are broken into districts here at the MTC. So my district is split almost half and half going to Kobe and Fukuoka, but most of the rest of the zone are going to many various places. The other Daisenpai (which are the oldest Japanese going missionaries here, all of which came in with me and leave with me) are all going to Kobe. The new people in our Zone are going to Nagoya, Sendai and I think Tokyo. So it would seem as if I am one of the only five going to Fukuoka, but no. There is another zone of Japanese missionaries and most of them are going to Fukuoka. So the people I am leaving with and heading over to Fukuoka with, most of them I have never even met before. So we call ourselves the lost sheep, because we're like the only Fukuoka missionaries not in that other zone.
I have such a great time here. It feels like I have been in the MTC for like forever. I have gotten slightly sick twice and have had tons of other experiences that have prepared me to go out into the field. Going for two years without any breaks or doing things that I used to do at home (watch TV, hang out with friends, etc.) used to seem so hard. But now I can finally see myself doing it and I am fine with it now. As hard as it will be (and believe me, I understand now how hard missions are; the language gave me that perspective) I know that it will be so worth it.
Last week we commited one of our investigators, Suzuki-san,(apparently a very popular name) to baptism. My companion and I were so excited. After working so hard to prepare and teach lessons (especially because we had to plan what we say almost word for word beforehand) it was great to see our efforts finally pay off. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had here and would not give them up for anything. If I ever thought about quiting and going home, those thoughts have been crushed by the Spirit and the great experiences I have had.
Thanks to everyone who has written me and sent me letters/emails. Although I usually do not have enough time to write back, I am very grateful to hear from you. I hope you are all doing well. Take care,