Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Week 10- Provo, MTC

Ah! so I am getting so excited to leave for Japan!!! We received our flight plans last Wednesday and every day since the idea of leaving seems more and more real as we have departure meetings! So here's the schedule:

I leave the Provo MTC at 5am Monday December 6. From Salt Lake I head to Seattle for a layover, that flight is from 8:30-9:30am. We have a 3 hour layover in Seattle at 12:30 we then take a nice 16 hour flight to Tokyo JAPAN!!!!!!! and will arrive there on December 7, 4:35pm their time (yes I will be time traveling, missing a whole day!). What we've been told is that we will be allowed to somehow make contact with you in Tokyo to let you know that we've arrived safely (whether this is by email or phone, I don't know, it depends on the Mission President). So that's my schedule!

This last week is a little different too, we pack all week during the little free time we have (so mostly today) and then we go to different meetings. Last night we had a health and safety meeting, which applied to mostly S. American missionaries, but I still found really interesting. The church takes a lot of precautions and works so hard to keep us as healthy and safe as possible. Do you know they've invented a water bottle specifically for us that can purify ANY kind of water you put in it? not just filter it put purify it!!! and they've made hand sanitizer that lasts 60 hours (that's insane! but so cool!)

THANK YOU SO MUCH for the packages and letters I received. It was funny, I hadn't gotten any mail this past week and then yesterday I not only received quite a few letters but 2, TWO, packages from you all! Thank you so much! You don't realize how much it means to get letters from you!

Thanksgiving here was fantastic!!!!! Elder Holland came in the morning with his whole family and spoke to us. He bore such a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for us. One thing that really stuck out to me was that Christ went through everything for us and through it all everyone of his friends left him. It was Him alone who bore the pain, Him alone who suffered on the cross, and Him alone who took upon the sins of the world. Even Heavenly Father left Him for a time, when he called out "Abba, Abba, why hast thou forsaken me?" So great was His agony, so great was His loneliness. Me I'm not alone, me, I have friends and you who support me so well. I'm not alone, so who am I to complain, who am I to ever feel alone, because nothing, NOTHING, we do in this life can ever compare to what our Savior had to go through. NOTHING we do will ever make up for what He went through for us. However, we can strive to lighten His burden by working to be like Him. One less sin of mine He has to carry, can help lighten His load, albeit slightly, but it will be a little bit less.

I love you all so very much!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Provo, MTC- Week 9

Ohaio Gozaimasu Kazoku!!

So this week has been interesting. The Nihonjin are here!!!!! They are so sweet and so patient and loving. I love them!!! It's been fun, since I'm the coordinating sister, I've gotten to give interviews and do orientation and attempt to speak about things that i don't usually speak on a day to day basis at the MTC. It's been a definite challenge, but it's been really good. I definitely know very little japanese, but I can make my way around things. Yesterday hit our two week left mark, so we should be getting our travel plans this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With Thanksgiving this week though, I don't know when we'll receive them or if we'll receive them later than normal.

Thanksgiving here is going to be good, we don't have classes, but instead the day will be filled with firesides/ devotionals (one by a generall authority, we don't know who), a service project (where we'll be assembling 30,000 backpacks!), and a myriad of other things. However most likely there will be no home made pies, eat some for me! I can't wait to eat non-MTC food...even if it's fish...I can't believe I'm saying that. I'm sure I'll be retracting that very quickly, when I actually have to eat fish, and then I'll be missing the MTC food.

While my Japanese language skills are far from great, Iam so ready to go out to teach the people of Japan. I want to share with them the love I feel from my Heavenly Father and let them know that they can feel it too.

I love you all so much! i know the Lord is watching over you!

Sister Erin Benne

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 9- Provo MTC

Well Hello!!!

How's it going??? This week's been good! Yesterday we got a new set of Nihonjin!!!! These are my Nihonjin...so guess what that means? I'm leaving in 3 weeks!!!! It's so exciting and this time, different from last time I feel like I can actually talk and understand them in Japanese, definitely a good thing! A total of 11 came in from Japan and the crazy thing is that 8 of them are Sisters! Yes 8 and only 3 elders!!!! How crazy cool is that! It doubles our numbers as sisters in our zone! Alll of us sisters are just bouncing off the wall because of it! I get to go through the whole orientation thing again this week with them too! It should be fun testing my Japanese (of course we will have a translator there for use if needed too!)

Speaking of time coming close to leaving... YES!!!!! I do get to call home when I'm in the airport! I don't really know the logistics of it yet and won't until I recieve my flight plans, but yes I do know I'm able to call while in the airport and also when I arrive in Japan! My guess is that at least the one in Japan won't be more than 5 minutes and the one in the airport probably not much longer than that, but I really don't know. Oh and the date for my leaving, currently is December 6! So exciting!

So this past week Elder Bednar came and spoke to us!!! Can you imagine our luck?? 4 Apostles in a row??? They say it's apostle season here at the MTC, because it's getting close to the holidays, so they're all coming home! I do know for sure that there is not going to be one tonight though. Elder Bednar talked about really focusing on the doctrine, not the application of the doctrine. Because when we are teaching doctrine, it teaches the members/ investigators to search/ learn/ and find things out for themselves. It's also the fundamentals of our religion, so if we're working to follow the teachings of Christ, the applications of loving, home teaching. etc, should all just fall into place.

This Sunday I gave my first talk in Japanese! It was on prophets! How they do talks here, is everyone is supposed to write a talk on a topic in Japanese throughout the week and then on Sunday they choose who will be giving it. So you don't know if you're talking until they announce it in Sacrament Meeting. The idea is that by the time everyone leaves the MTC, they'll have 10 talks prepared that they can use in the field. Kind of a good idea I think. Anyway it went pretty well! Luckily I was prepared so it wasn't too bad at all!

My classroom is on the 5th floor so we have a nice view of everything, and it faces BYU/ your airport. So every now and then I catch a plane flying into/out of the provo airport and I'm always like, I wonder if that one was just Jon! So maybe, just maybe I've seen you flying over these past weeks!

Also I finally met 2 missionaries going to STL!!!! Spanish speaking, but I was still excited!

Sister Erin Benne

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Week 8- Provo MTC

We're emailing a little earlier today, changing up the good old P-day schedule for a change. Actually it's mainly because Sister Adams and I have a hair cutting apt. when we normally email! YAY for a haircut!

Okay wow let me tell you about this week!
We got our new kohai on Tuesday/ Wednesday (Tuesday for the new international missionaries). These included one solo sister! She's from New Zealand, has a sweet accent and is super nice. Since she's the solo sister and we were a trio...our trio is no more :( . Sister Lynch was assigned to be Sister Tehei's new companion. It's interesting, definitely different only being in a twosome. Thankfully because I absolutely love Sister Lynch, and she has had 6 more weeks of Japanese study than sister Tahei, she's still with us for class and MDT (missionary directed time), so things haven't changed too much...we've just added another sister to our companionship!

With the new kohai coming in, it meant I was doing a lot of new things as the coordinating sister. I, along with the zone leaders and the music coordinator, gave orientation, tour of the campus and a myriad of other things. I had to miss class for it (which even since I was young I've hated missing class...remember the time I gave up going to the McDonald's river boat and Arch with Grandma, just so I could go to school...? yeah I was a weird kid!) so it kind of threw me off, but it was fun and definitely worth it!

Also, guess what I got to do!!!!! Yes I went off campus! Sister Lynch had to go to the doctor (don't worry she's totally fine) and we didn't just go to the BYU health center, we went to an actual doctor's office in Provo, so we got to take a shuttle! I know it's pathetic but when you've been in the same exact places for 7 weeks straight the smallest things are exciting...for example riding in an elevator, dialing a phone, riding in a car, and of course driving right through my beloved old home of the BYU campus. Best thing ever!

Last Tuesday night we also had another apostle come to speak to us...3 apostles right in a row...how lucky! This time is was M. Russell Ballard! I love hearing the apostles speak! There is nothing like hearing the actual voice, being in the same room as an apostle of God!

Interesting experience: The other day I was talking and then all of a sudden I realized, I just carried on a whole conversation in Japanese without really having to think too hard about it. and it hit me...that crazy language with all the unintelligible characters... I can read them. I can actually speak Japanese! Am I fluent? Not even close. Will I be completely lost when I get to Japan? Definitely. But will I be able to speak what I need to to be able to fulfill my purpose as a missionary? For sure!!!

Sorry I'm not always clear when I use Japanese words so if ever I don't define anything let me know. Nihongin is the word for the Japanese people. and Kanji is one of the character sets they have. Kanji is the most complicating about 86,00 characters over time. 1000 of which are in the Book of Mormon. They have it set up so we should learn one a day, but really don't stress it too much because there is hiragana (the main character set which includes only 46 characters and some variations of those 46) next to every kanji character in the Book of Mormon. Kanji was adopted from the chinese years and years ago.

I love you all!!!!
Sister Erin Benne

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Week 6- Provo MTC

I LOVE P-DAY when I get to email to you all!!!
Exciting letter I recieved today, was from my mission president in Tokyo!!!! I'm not sure exactly what it said, because it's easier to just print things off and read them later, but glancing over it I know it talks about some of my first few days and how they'll be in Tokyo!!! AHHH i'm so excited to be going!!! Still a month though so I'm trying not to get to excited!

This week has been really good! It started off amazingly with Elder Scott coming to Devotional last Tuesday! I've never thought of Elder Scott being a powerful speaker, but he was last week! He talked about the Spirit and gave us a whole list of things that he's learned about the Spirit throughout his life. Imagine gaining insight on what an apostle has learned about the Spirit throughout his whole life!!!!! He even printed off the list and made copies for each missionary. Oh how I wish I could send you each one, but they won't let us make copies of it here. I've heard the reason is because he told them that it was something ment specifically for missionaries and we should keep it special! During his talk he also spoke specifaically to the sisters and gave us a couple aposilistic blessings. One of safety, another of learning the language, another of remembering what we've learned as a missionary throughout our lives. He told us that we have to watch our health, made us promise in fact, that we would not look at the elders and try to push ourselves to the extent of doing all that they do, because our bodies take a mission in a completely different way. It was just so amazing and powerful!!! I know that we have apostles on Earth today and only a man filled with so much of the Spirit and ordained of God, can talk in the way Richard G. Scott did that night.

So I taught my first lesson in Japanese last Thursday!!! It went really well! I can't believe I actually know as much Japanese as I do. I still have so much more to learn, but I know the Lord is with me, and the blessing Elder Scott gave us is working inside of me. Somehow I remember things that I don't even really remember learning. We're working so hard as a companionship to keep continuing on in the language and to strive to be the best that we can as missionaries. Giving all we can to the Lord, because now we're on His time, not ours.

Oh so we get new kohai this week!!! YAY! There's only 7 in the incoming group, which is VERY small but I'm excited nonetheless. There will be one sister coming in who's from New Zealand. She'll be a solo sister (not have a companion in her district) so I'll just have to keep a watch on her to make sure she's doing okay. AHHH it will be so much fun to have a new group! And I'll be a senpai...so weird (just means I'm in the older group).

It was so weird being here on Halloween, knowing everyone else was out, and knowing if I wasn't here I would be going to Halloween parties, but I'm sure I have the better end of the deal right now! As a companionship we did have our own little celebration. For MDT (missionary directed time) We each wore Halloween socks and brought candy for our district to share, it was fun and we were still able to be really productive that night, so it didnt' take away from what we were supposed to be doing!

I love you all so much and am constantly praying for you!!!!
Sister Erin Benne