Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 28, 2013- Second Letter

Hey my family!!!!!!!!!
So tomorrow makes two weeks in the MTC. I cannot believe it! They really mean it when 1. they say the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days & 2. They say the MTC is like drinking from a fire hose. I have honestly felt like that since the moment I got here. Thank you SO SO SO SO much for the package, it honestly made my day so awesome. I was feeling so much love. It was an awesome day. Each of my roomies gave me sweet cards, they decorated our class chalkboard AND our room/door, I got an awesome package from Sean, an awesome package from you, a card from Grandma, was sung a million happy birthdays, a birthday gift from my japanese sensei and then the Eichers were SO SWEET and sent me a cake. That night we came home after a long day of working hard and they sung happy birthday and we "blew out teh candles." The Eichers sent me candles, but due to our limited resources we had no matches. So Sister Micky (I call her that because her name is so long) had these fake candles that you turn the switch off/on and we put those on the cake too. It was absolutely hilarious. We were singing happy birthday and then two of the girls flipped teh switches off as I "blew out the candles." We were laughing so hard. We then continued to eat the cake with the candles because we didn't have forks. So basically.... We are slobs. But it was SO FUN!!! I felt so much love! So thanks for everything! I am so happy that I have more pictures of our family to put up on my wall. It totally keeps me motivated. My roomies were like- "seriously Amy? Your family is perfect. Your parents look like they would be mission presidents or something." Hahahahaha basically, I love the pics and my district did too! They were all so jealous of my incoming letters/packages throughout the day. Everyone loved the "hi chews you sent me" Basically the ENTIRE branch of Japanese people ate them. Hahaha.

HAHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I was crying from laughter imagining Kristy with her wisdom teeth. Thank you for that glorious image. It is so weird that she is graduated.

It is honestly UNREAL how much the Lord has blessed me since I've been down here. I have been praying nonstop for patience and the gift of tongues. We all kind of expect to just immediately receive it, which is totally not the case. I am working so hard to be the best missionary I can. Yesterday, all of the sisters (in our district) were fasting. We have all been super discouraged by the language and we felt like we needed all the help we can get. So Sunday night some guy who is in the quorum of the 70 ... forgot his name... came and spoke for devotional! He started off by saying how he felt inspired to change his lesson earlier that morning. He said so many things that we needed to hear. He said "simply finish the race" "don't compare, don't run away from the challenge. Stand up to it." & then he said "I know, it's not easy to learn JAPANESE." We all just looked at each other and were like... SERIOUSLY? What are the ODDS that he decided to say Japanese? I was just speechless. We NEEDED to hear that. This language is so hard and we are all beating ourselves up for not picking it up more quickly. God answers prayers. Holy cow he does. I swear that entire talk was directed to us. All I can do is try my hardest and rely on the Lord for strength. As far as patience goes.. As I mentioned it was really hard to deal with 2 companions. They switch off every 3 weeks for us for who is senior comp, so I was just assigned to be it first.

We have Japanese natives here!!!!!!!!!! It is only making me realize even further how little Japanese I know. I honestly only know how to say "how are you?" and where are you from? I need to brush up on my conversational terms. I only know the gospel. THere are two of tehse sisters going to Nagoya and they are so cute. We had a testimony meeting and one of them was so afraid to bear hers... I guess it is part of their culture? When they were all here the Aussie in my district was like "it only just clicked to me how tall you are." So it's like the joke of our district. I am Willy Wonka and all the sisters are my oompa loompas? Hahaha. I DID NOT THINK I WAS THAAAAAAAT TALL. Sis Grant is from price and Sis Cox is from hurricane. THe other girls are from Riverside California area.

Our "investigators" are our senseis, so to say that freaks us out is an understatement. Our japanese sensei wants us to not use our books at all, so we are like SERIOUSLY WE DON"T KNOW JAPANESE?!?!!? hahahahaha. We are so stressed about it. One of the elders from our district went home, so that definitely bummed us all out because he was one of our favs. So we now only ahve 10 in our district, but it is crazy how many people are going to Japan. There were only 4 sisters going to Japan in the mtc before the mtc and now there are over 50. It's so cool to be apart of a revolution in missionary work. I am so stressed out and I wish I could be to the point where I already know Japanese. I came across this quote that is so true in my life right now. "God never bestows upon his people, or upon an individual, superior blessings without a severe trial to prove them." Learning this language has been so hard and I can't emphasize that enough. I keep reminding myself: Trent totally warned me. I love the spirit of missionary work and I am so blessed! It's hard, but it has definitely been a test to find out what I am really made of. I love the girls I am with and I totally need to get a better system for sending e-mails so i can get everything I want to say before time is up. I LOVE YOU FAM!!! THe gospel is true:)

Crofts Shimai
                                                 Celebrating Sister Crofts 20th Birthday

Birthday cake with candles from Brenda. 
Eating with the candles:) 
Cute birthday present from Tsukamoto Sensei. 
Our funny zone leaders. 
So tired that I went all day with my shirt inside out and didn't even realize. 
That flooded shower. 
Exercise time. Using our resources. 
Sunday temple trip. 

Our Japanese sisters! The two on the right go to Nagoya. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sister Crofts first letter from MTC-
KONNICHIWA KOZOKU!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Hello Family)
I MISS YOU ALL SO MUCH IT IS UNREAL!!!!! When you dropped me off it honestly took everything in me not to turn around because I would have cried my eyes out like a baby. Thank you so much for the e-mails/letters- they honestly are like magic rays of sunshine when I'm feeling blue. My first few days have been absolutely overwhelming! As expected, when I showed up my sensei only spoke Japanese.. And this has continued... I won't lie, it took a lot to submerge the murderous feelings I had to him. Hahahaha I would ask him a question and he would answer in Nihongo (japanese), I was like SERIOUSLY BRO I DO NOT SPEAK THIS LANGUAGE!!!!! Not to worry! I now love him and am so grateful for hwo guided by the Spirit he is.
So my companion never showed up. So there are 3 of us and it is so hard to be on the same page all of the time. I am not even to Japan yet and I am a GIANT!!! All 5 of my roommates are so short. They come to my shoulder and I tower over them. I guess it is a little prequel to my sequel.
The first night we went to some mock missionary thing. So I don't know if they were real investigators... Anyway, there was one I talked to in a big group and I was bearing my testimony and he said "Seriously? You are like a commercial. You've just had a perfectly life and you wouldn't know anything." Everyone laughed and it kinda made me sad... But I was like whatevs, this fool has nothing on my testimony. So I went up after everything was over and I told him that he was wrong. That my life hasn't been perfect and that I have had my fair share of trials like anyone else, but I am happy because of how I delt with the trials. I had the strength/peace of the Lord. So then I shared 2 Nephi 32:3 with him and told him how I feasted upon the words of Christ during my trials and they brought peace to my soul and joy to my heart. I bore witness of it. He said there was no way I had read the BOM, and I told him i have multiple times and I wouldn't tell him about it if I wasn't convinced it was essential to his salvation. He seemed to be kind of impressed. Ultimately, he was kind of silenced (I guess is the word) by my testimony and then said.. "You know, I shouldn't have said you were like a commercial. It's just.. You know when you are in a dark room and somebody turns on the flashlight and everyone squirms away from the ligth? well, yeah.. that's you. Your light/brightness is almost overwhelming. And all I'm saying is it might rub some people in the wrong places." I still don't know what that means or how to take that. I'm too happy for the world I guess? Hahahaha people never cease to be ridiculous. I felt like I at least made him leave thinking, even though he was kind of rude to me. Whatevs, the joy of missionary work. Prepare AS MUCH AS YOU CAN NOW!!! You never know what you will need to know while on your mission. :)
Nihongo (Japanese). Holy. Sweet. Mercy. This. Language. Is. SO. HARD.
Let me give you an example...
watashi wa     Josefu Sumisu       ga          Kamisama        no            yogensha              de aru koto o         shitteimasu.
I                       Joseph Smith                         God                of             prophet                     is                        know.
That means I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. CAN YOU SAY WHAT?!?!?!? Hahahahaha Can I just tell you how frequently I have to laugh because of how absurd the grammar is to learn? Don't worry, I am working my butt off, but that doesn't change how hard it is. Let's also throw in the whole 3 alphabet factor, not my cup of tea. I am trying so hard to be patient and trust in the gift of tongues. It is hard and I am relying so much on God to give me the strength to learn this language. So many people in my district speak FLUENT Japanese and I just think to myself... You have got to be kidding me. I am kind of holding myself to the same standard of them and so it is hard to not be discouraged. I need to just look at my personal progression and work hard and do my best and I know the Lord will bless me. That doesn't change how hard it is though. Hahahahaha Japanese.
Friday we taught our first investigator. Let me remind you that I knew like 12 words in Nihongo and I was somehow required to teach a FULL DISCUSSION and understand her questions. she would ask something and we would just sit there and say "uh....." hahahaha so funny. It was terrible. absolutely terrible. I had so many things I wanted to share/bare witness of, but the whole "I DO NOT SPEAK JAPANESE" thing was a huge issue in the language barrier. We left and all just bust up laughing because of how pathetic it was. The next day we arranged the discussion so that there was the minimal asking of questions on her side. I mean yes, it is important to know the investigator's needs, but if I don't know what the heck she is saying? THERE IS NO WAY I CAN HELP HER!!! It was tons better though and the spirit was so strong. Like Trent said, we have to have her read the scriptures because it is so hard to read them on our part. I can read it, but it takes 5 minutes to get through one verse. We taught another lesson to her yesterday and we were SO PROUD OF OURSELVES because we were able to answer some of her questions. We would listen for one word she said and go off of that. I felt like it was really driven by the spirit and we were able to help her. I was so grateful that the Lord blessed me with understanding. We are clinging to Preach my gospel and the Ninja (book of phrases) because we don't know how to say anything else, but I am so excited fo rthe day when I can actually tell the investigator of my personal conversion and how strong my testimony is.
I can now pray in Nihongo and bare testimony in Nihongo and give an overview of the lesson in Nihongo. So I guess that is a start.... I am kind of restricted to the format of the book, but it is some form of foundation I guess? This language is really testing my strength.. I won't lie, I so wish that I could go out now and just share my tesitmony with people and bring them to Christ, but obviously God wants me to suffer a little bit before that is possible. ;) Oh! We have this guy from Australia in our district and he is hilarious. Anyway, we have a list going of things Aussies say and things Americans say. For example: he says "fairy floss" we say "cotton candy" ahhaha. so funny. (of course this happens during lunch time) So in australia their swearwords are different then ours. So basically he kept swearing and I was like ... wa??? There was one point where he said "D*** D*** D***" & everyone just stopped in their tracks and was like whaaaaaa??? Then his comp was like ELDER YOU CAN'T SWEAR!!! Hahahaha it was so funny. So we are slowly educating him. I love my district so much! We have lots of fun together, but we also motivate each other and inspire each other.
The spirit at the MTC is so strong and I love being united in cause with all of these wonderful elders/sisters. It is such a blessing to be here! There are Japanese natives that just got here today that will be here for 2 weeks so we are all pumped to test out our Japanese on them!!! (Which is not much) I am so lucky to have this opportunity to grow closer to my Savior. I rely on His strength to get me through the hard times and I honestly don't know what I would do without Him. I love our Kozoku so much! I miss you all!!!
Sister Crofts
The best district:) 
Preparing for our first lesson. 

The post-first-lesson break down. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sister Crofts arrived safely at the MTC May 15, 2013. She would love to hear from family and friends. Her MTC address is

Sister Amy Crofts
MTC Mailbox #31
JPN-NAG 0716
2005 N. 900 E.
 Provo, UT 84604-1793