Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 56 - Senzokuike, Japan

So the Cards are in the World Series!?! Wahoo! I'm cheering for them all the way out here in Japan! The other day one of my English Class students found out that I was from St. Louis and a Cardinals fan, and he got so excited and started asking me all these questions on whether or not I ever got to see Sol Taguchi play, he being from Japan and all. He was even more excited when I said that I remember well cheering him on. I'm slowly realizing all the little influences that I've had in my life that had something to do with Japan, but yet I had no idea!
So President Albrecht wrote an article (Epicenter Japan: Leadership in a Natural Disaster) about the earthquake and the after effects. I don't know which two sisters he was talking about in the article. But, I do know who was with me in the Honbu at the time (so it wasn't them) and then just knowing the sisters well, I bet I know who they were. Ah that was a crazy time. I feel like things are just now sort of settling down from all of us leaving and coming back. It's taken a while, but we're getting back into the swing of things here. For the most part all of the areas are back open now. I think the last two will be closed, well, for much longer than I will be around.
Brother Togo
Things here are going really well. I think I mentioned last week that we would be having a baptism on Sunday, and we did! It was so fun! Brother Togo's two sister-in-laws (who really helped teach him the gospel) flew in from the Philippines and Illinois for it. You could just see the happiness and gratitude that he had for them in his face. He was so grateful to them for being the ones to introduce him to the gospel. Honestly, the whole day was just pure happiness. That's what I love about being a missionary. No matter how rough your day was, no matter how many times people slam doors in your face, or how tired you are, by the end of every single day, for some reason you're still happy. There is a joy that comes from talking to people about the gospel that just cannot be explained. And to see someone else embrace that same joy that you feel and realize the happiness that they can have, there is nothing that can replace that. Ah, I love it!!
Chou Shimai
Japanese is okay. I can get along, and feel relatively comfortable with the language. However, I know that my Japanese is nowhere near perfect, and there are many things that I still do not understand when people speak to me. Usually if I just have them say it again to me a second time, I can get it out. I feel I've become an expert at guessing. There is a saying that goes along the lines that people serving in South/ Central Americans come back linguistics. Missionaries serving in Europe become scriptorians. And Missionaries serving in Asia come back humble, because after a year and a half/ 2 years you still don't get the language and you teach only very basic principles. Haha, yeah, I think that sums it up right there!
I love Japan, the culture, and everything except for the fish. Nope still not a fan...
I love you all! And hope you have a good week!
Sister Erin Benne

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Week 55 - Senzokuike, Japan

We had Chou san's baptism on Saturday! YAY! I'm so happy for her! We did have one problem come up, she's so tiny and the dress was a bit big on her that it kept bubbling up out of the water when she would get baptized (clothes have to be completely immersed under the water too). Anyway we finally found some white string stuff and tied her dress to her and after her going under about 10 times (yeah...) we finally got it to work, she was finally able to be baptized. Bless her though, her faith is so strong, she just kept saying in her english, I've been waiting for this so long, so long, just waiting. She's so cute!
Another amazing thing is though that we have another baptism coming up this Sunday. His name is Togo san. His wife is a member and so we've been teaching him with her. He's so funny and loves this gospel. Before a convert can get baptized they have to have an interview with the district leader. Anyway, he had his interview on Sunday and it took a little longer than usual, so we were a little worried, but it turns out apparently Togo san just spent the first 20/30 minutes bearing his testimony! Awesome! So we're excited for that as well!
So things here are going pretty smooth. Having fun and trying to carry forth God's work! 
I love you all so much! and love hearing from each of you!
Sister Erin Benne

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 54 - Senzokuike, Japan

Well wasn't General Conference great?! So good, I'm so sad that it is over.... Now I just have to wait for the Liahona to come out with all the talks, so that I can read them all over again!
Crazy though, all the new temples being built, Elder Kikuchi (he's a member in my previous area Nakano) and President Samuelson being realeased from the 70! Who's going to be the next BYU President?
One more difficult thing about conference though is that you see a little bit of Salt Lake City and then a bit of American culture, and well, it makes me miss home a bit more. Quickly remedied though as we jump fully into the work this week. Sister Mano and I have decided to put in a power week, this week. Which means waking up early, taking only a half hour for lunch and dinner, and cutting P-day down to a shorter time, among other things. I'm positive we'll be exhausted come next P-day, but I know there will be a lot of miracles that follow it.
We have a baptism coming up this Saturday! I'm excited! Her name is Chou san, she's Chinese, so teaching her hasn't been the easiest thing, as we teach with Chinese pamphlets and from a Chinese Book of Mormon, and then communicate with all of our broken Japanese! But she's amazing and her faith is strong and she is so excited to be getting baptized. She is a huge blessing to me.
Other than that not too much exciting news...
Oh, I got a Halloween package from the Young Women in the O'Fallon Ward! That was so exciting! Will you thank them for me?! It was so thoughtful and I loved it!
Anyway, I hope you all have a good week! Love you all so much!
Sister Erin Benne

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week 53 - Senzokuike, Japan

WAH! I loved reading all of your emails of this past week! Everybody had so many cool and interesting things to say! Because it's just easier to write this all in one, I'll reply here!

Before: my doki - the people I was in the MTC with and came to Japan with
My doki now - one year later! My doki is the best!
Thanks for sending clips from the RS Broadcast. Sadly I didn't get to go to that, but I look forward to getting to read those talks when the Conference Liahona comes out here! What President Uchtdorf talked about reminded me about a talk that we heard in the MTC by President Bednar. He said that "a doctrine is simple and fundamental. It is a truth. A doctrine always answers the question of a "why". A principle is a guideline that comes from the doctrine, and it answers the question of "what". Applications answer the question of "how", which is our behavior and actions." He then went on to talk about how often as members we focus too much on the "what" and the "how" when really we should focus on the "why". When we focus on the "why" the "what" and the "how" automatically follow. The answer to all of our questions is ALWAYS in the doctrine. Anyway I thought it was cool that although it was two different apostles, almost a year apart, they both were united in what they were saying.

Anyway so this past week has been good, I got my new companion. Her name is Sister Mano and she is from Draper Utah! haha yeah, somehow I got the one American sister! But it's good, she's an amazing missionary and is working so hard to do everything that I ask her to do. And her japanese is 10 million times better than mine was when I left the MTC! So we're doing okay.
Sister Mano and I and the elders in our area!
And boy, am I learning a lot from her! The training they do in the MTC now seems to be completely different from when I was there, so I'm trying to soak up as much of this new training as I possibly can so that life here in the field and what was learned in the MTC is not too different for her.
We had an all mission conference yesterday, where they so lovingly gave us flu-shots, without even giving us a cool band-aid, but at least now hopefully we are all protected from the flu this winter!

Anyway love you all lots!!!!
SIster Erin Benne