Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Week 14 - Kichijoji, Japan

Hello!!! We've had a good past few days as far as talking to people has gone. Sunday evening right before a baptism, we found a high school girl who is interested, we set up an appointment and are hoping that all will go well with that! Pray for her and us, that'll we'll be able to teach her what she needs to hear, she has such a light in her eye!

I figured I would take this time to send pictures and explain them....there are a lot, it's hard to pick and choose, so hopefully they all send. Oh and some spawn back to the MTC.

So this is me at the MTC with the gorgeous fall leaves. I love fall, it's my favorite season, and thankfully we got our temple walks back on one of the perfect days!

This was our last (i think) temple walk...I got to see snow before I left!!!!! Notice how I went through 3 different seasons while in the MTC...haha 3 months there will do that to you! The sisters are my roommates and I, Tehei shimai, Tanaka shimai, Maki shimai, Adams shimai and Lynch shimai

At the MTC they had a christmas tree with different countries nametags and flags, I found Japans!

This is Sister Utsumi and I at the Amemiya family's house. Amemiya shimai is an excellent cook and painter, she studied in France and Germany. I couldn't speak much Japanese to her, but I do know the language of cooking, so it was a lot of fun.

Utsumi Shimai and I! yes I am bending my knees quite a bit...

The Kichijoji and Suginami Missionaries along with an investigator, Joji, who will be baptized on the 15! our areas are so small and we meet in the same building we see each other basically everyday, either on the street or at the church. This was during the Suginami ward christmas party. As sisters we all wore red skirts, black tops, and a red flower in our hair. Gantomur shimai and I both got the same red skirt at the MTC and then I needed a long sleeve black shirt, so I borrowed one of hers, so we were wearing the exact same outfit...haha.

Someone left Christmas decorations outside our door one day, so this is Gantomur shimai and our decorated apartment!

Volunteering at a nursing home! We were making takoyaki, but instead of putting octopus inside we put caramel and chocolate...much better!

Me in front of the church with my bike on Christmas day! Thank you for the scarf, it's nice and warm!!!

You asked about the futons, so I thought I would add a picture :) they're actually quite comfortable! oh mine is the one with the red snowman pillow

Anyway I love you all and hope you have a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Love you always and forever!
Sister Erin Benne

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Week 13 - Kichijoji, Japan

Good Morning!

Or I believe some of you might actually get this on yesterday's evening, so in the that case Good Evening! Another week down here in Kichijoji! It's been a really good, but really difficult one as well. I realized, yeah I really don't know this language...I think my first week people were using very easy words around me, haha, well not anymore! When we go tracting it's very difficult to catch what people are saying as they talk so fast! I pick up the words, but before I can figure out how those words fit together in the sentence two more sentences fly by! It's difficult, but I know each day I'm improving ever so slightly, so that's good! Oh and guess what, because I'm new, I do practice lessons with the members all by myself, quite difficult, but I've done a few, and while my japanese might not be perfect, they can understand me, so that's good. Also, through a series of circumstances Gantomur shimai and I had to give a lesson to an investigator on our own (Gantomur shimai has only been out a transfer more than I have). The investigators name is Miyuki san. She has a slight mental disability, which means we have to use very simple words with her, not a problem for Sister Gantomur and I! The lesson ended up going really well! I know that we have God's help on our side, and it's when we get into situations like this that He really backs us up. So while the language may be difficult and at times I get discouraged with it, I do have many circumstances that I can see where I am getting better....eventually we'll get there.

I thought you might want to know what bike I have...I'm not really sure...the name is in Japanese, so to translate over, I have no idea, but it's made by Giant, and is a cross road bike, white, and no it's not a girls bike so the bar is high, with a skirt, at first that was quite interesting, but now, well I'm a pro at dismounting and getting on. We bike almost everywhere, either that or take the train if we're going to the mission home (honbu) or a members house that is farther away. Most of the trains in Kichijoji are just as you see them in books, tv, etc...TONS of people, literally you are on top of each other and when the doors shut, if you're by them, the door is less than an inch from your face! However I will say even with all the people the trains are so clean! They have cushy seats (if you can get one) and they ask you to not use your cell phone while on them, and people actually don't! can you see that happening in America? I can't! The whole city is very clean, they really take pride in it i believe, I haven't seen a single dirty car or trash on the ground anywhere, it's cool!

Also, recycling is huge...not all cities are like this, but Kichijoji, comes everyday for trash (everyday they pick up a different thing)...burnables, unburnables, plastics, cardboard...they have specific green bags that you put them in and if you put something wrong in the bag, they won't take it. Makes for people having to recycle, i suppose! In restaurants too, you have to sort your trash that you throw away, they have different bins. It's just interesting and different.

Today, we have a mission christmas party! I'm so excited!!! However, since it's on our p-day, we still have to do all our p-day things, along with 2 lessons that we have scheduled today, so it makes for a busy day. it should be fun though!

I can't wait to talk to you all on Christmas! If you can call the number I sent last week at 2:30pm on Christmas day (MO time). I'll be awake, That way we can talk at 5:30am the 26th for me, before I get ready for that day! I can talk for an hour! YAY!!!

I love you all so very much!
Love Sister Erin Benne
Oh also guess what! I don't have to eat eel on Christmas after all! Gantomur shimai didn't want to either, so we worked it out that, the two of us would go tracting instead while Utsumi shimai and Togami shimai would go...because they love eel! Thank you!!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Week 12- Kichijoj, Japan

What a relief to finally be able to sit down a read emails from you! I have so much to tell and so little time to say it!

So first off I'm in JAPAN...surprise... Haha! (okay bear with me the keyboard is different and so typing is a little on the difficult side! As you may have heard, I got to call home from the airport so that is where I will begin. We landed in Tokyo at 4pm and after being on the tarmac, going through customs, and getting our luggage finally met the President and AP's at 5:30! Then it was a 2 hour drive to Narita where the mission home is! It was good though since all of the sisters were in that van with the mission President we just got to talk to him the whole time and found out a lot of information about the mission. There are currently 160 missionaries in the Tokyo mission + 20 senior couples, making about 200 missionaries in total. Of the 160, there are 32 sisters, and of those 32 sisters 10 of us are foreign (there were only 6 foreign before we came, Sister lynch, adams, and I, along with a sister from NY who\s parents are Japanese so she already knew Japanese so she came in with the Nihonjin in the MTC). That first day I was up for over 24 hours straight traveling (we know this because peoples alarm clocks started going off in their luggage as we were unloading the car :) ) and then were up later eating dinner, having interviews ect. We spent that night at the mission home and the next morning were up and ready for training. Around noon I met my new trainer Sister Utsumi, she's from Kobe Japan! and then a little while later headed to my first area! i'm in Kichijoji!!!

Kichijoji is right on the outskirts of Tokyo, so still crazy busy, but not as much. Utsumi Shimai says it's the place where everyone wants to live in Tokyo and I can see why. It's really nice and most people in the area are pretty well off. I love the members they are crazy nice and try to give us tons of stuff, we have a whole cupboard full of food from them! A lot of them even know English so sometimes it's difficult to force myself to talk Japanese to them. Crazy thing...I can actually understand a lot more than I ever thought I would my first week. I know it's because of all the blessings we've received from apostles and others who are praying for us missionaries. I was at church and people were extremely surprised when they found out i was a "greenbean". On the downside speaking is still a bit difficult, I'm not fast, as a missionary you have to be fast if you don't want people walking away. I know it will come with time though as I'm here longer and continue to work on my japanese.

Also something that's difficult is that Utsumi Shimai and I whitewashed (when two new people both are transferred in and there aren't any of the previous missionaries from before there anymore) the area, and not only whitewashed it but sort of opened it for sisters. It's really confusing and I'm still not sure of how it's all been working out, but basically there were 2 sisters Gantomur and Togami shimai (i'll talkmore about them in a second) who were covering 2 wards/areas and we're taking over one, but because of this we're starting off with no investigators or anything at all. so right now we're just trying to find people. We've already got a few potentials so we'll see where that goes. Utsumi Shimai says President Albrecht must really trust me to be whitewashing as a trainee, I think it just means she's a really good trainer. Utsumi Shimai is fluent in English (she went to the ELC at BYU) so that's been nice and definitely helpful.

So my apt. I live with 2 other sisters (where the only 4-some apt in the mission)! Gantomur shimai and Togami shimai. If the name Gantomur shimai sounds familiar that's because it is! She was one of my senpai/roommates in the MTC!!!!! From Mongolia! What a happy treat it was when I saw her smiling face at the train station to pick Utsumi shimai and I up!!! It's been so good having her, since her Japanese is really good but still slower than the Nihonjin's it's much easier to talk and practice Japanese with her!!! Then there is Togami shimai! She's on her last transfer and is still a ball of fire. She's tiny, doesn't even come up to my shoulder, but has so much energy and spunk that you barely even notice. It's amusing in our apt. I'm about 2 inches from the ceiling of the doorframes and other parts of our apt, and constantly run into the hanging light switches but it's home and I love it! I sleep on a futon on the floor and with four of us we are literally on top of each other. It's like a slumber party every night, well the sleeping bag part of it...

Oh guess what I ate octopus and a lot of other gross things already..... Pray for me it's so difficult to keep it down and keep a YUM i like this food face, but it has to be done. On Christmas a lady is taking us to a $50 a plate famous eel restaurant, I know it's only through Gods help that I'll be able to do it. On the bright side I've found tons of delicious food that I do like, so that is great!!!
Another fun thing, my friend Yuji, from Glenwood, he's from Tokyo and turns out his family is in my ward, his dad is the Bishop so that's fun. He's actually here now for Christmas so I saw him on Sunday. He took a picture and said he was going to put it on Facebook, so possibly look for it.
Anyway this is a way long letter, and I still have tons to say, but I know I should go! I love you all so very much and can't wait to talk to you on Christmas!!!!!!

Love you
Sister Erin Benne

Also I got a bike! It's so much fun!!!! I love it! It's almost like a challenge weaving in and out of people and cars! but don't worry I'm being safe!!! And dad your teaching me how to change a flat tire has already come in handy, Gantomur shimai popped hers the 2nd day I was there!