Saturday, June 29, 2013

Week Four

Kirk is on his fourth week in the Provo MTC, and was able to send these letters to us.

Good morning, family. This week has been pretty good, especially since the new Japanese kohai came this week. They're really increasing the number of Japanese missionaries, with 28 new ones in our branch alone. I also got to host this week, which Andrew was pretty jealous about. The ones I hosted for were going to Chicago, Tacoma, Sao Paulo, Tucson, and Tampa. A lot of them were recent high school graduates, which was pretty interesting. Other than that, this has been a fairly normal week here. It was fun seeing you all at the missionary thing at the Marriott Center. I'm glad I'll get to use the Internet and Facebook still! It's been really [hot] here and we don't have any access to weather reports, but my teacher's phone said it got to 100 yesterday. I'm kind of excited to go to Sendai, where I can see that it hasn't gone above 80 yet. By the way, you may not have heard this, but missionary clothing has been updated, so we're allowed to wear khakis but not allowed to wear backpacks anymore. On another topic, I learned from the LDS's statement on their website that the Supreme Court ruled on Prop. 8, but the way it was worded doesn't tell me much about what actually happened, like how the votes were split and what the reasoning was. [See here for the statement] I'm kind of disappointed you didn't send me anything about it, but I'll forgive you somehow. By the way, I've realized that some of the people in our district are like people in our family; Greenburg Choro is like Zachary, Cottle Choro is like Seth, and Jaycox Choro is like dad (except dad usually doesn't say that he hates people in public). Cottle Choro's blog post has also been really popular among the missionary moms apparently, because a few of us have heard about it, so if you can send it, I'd like to know what all the fuss is about. [The post he's talking about is here:] I'll be online for about fifteen more minutes and after our last temple trip, so feel free to respond. Bye!

In reply to news that Lindon's water is contaminated with E. coli: Delicious [For story see here:]

I told Kirk that he needed to send some funny stories, and here they are:

Well, a few weeks ago, one of the shimaitachi in our district got a watermelon shipped in from her parents. We managed to get the cafeteria staff to slice it up for us, so we got an entire tray of watermelon sitting on our table. We had eaten all we could and still had a lot left, so Snow Shimai told us to try to get other people to eat our watermelon. Greenburg Choro finally asked just one person if he wanted watermelon: the one black elder in the MTC. You should have seen Greenburg Choro's face after that.

Also, Greenburg Choro was trying to see if he could fit a cup in his mouth, which he easily did. I tried to do the same afterwards, but right at that moment, all the shimaitachi looked at me, and didn't see anything of what Greenburg Choro had done. So basically, they thought I had just stuck a cup into my mouth for no reason. It was totemo kimazui.
 I really miss swimming. It feels really hot here, but we don't have access to how hot it really is.

There's a lot of Chinese speaking missionaries around here, but not as many as the Japanese!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Elder Logan Cottle's Letter

Elder Logan Cottle, a choro (elder) in Kirk's district sent this letter to his mother. With permission, here is an excerpt about Kirk:

"...i was frusturated and felt that we had taken a step back and hadn't gone anywhere with the lesson and that we were just at the same spot as we were and i was just kind of bummed out. so we came back to class and the next thing we had planned for the night was to go and meet with a guy who is like the boss of the entire korean and japanese language districts.  he was a younger guy..not married but really cool.  we sat down and of course, all japanese, he began to ask us why the plan of salvation was so important and we began having a really good discussion about the plan of salvation.  he had us practice teaching it to each other as companions a couple of times, and had us really focus on the spirit, annndd only explain it using 6 sentences! it was hard..but the spirit built so strong! he then had earl choro (the one mom knows) come up to the front and it was all quiet and the teacher said "earl choro, i don't know why i had you come up here, but the spirit testified to me that i need to learn from you today. i dont know why, but there is something that i need to learn from you today that spirit is telling me so strongly. sit and think, let the spirit tell you what to say and help me today." there was a long pause, and just so you know earl choro is the kindest sweetest guy here, wouldn't hurt a fly, but he isnt the most social and doesn't talk alot. he then started to explain the plan of happiness and about the atonement and about how incredible it is that through that, we can return to live with our heavenly father. he then talked about how nobody is perfect and we have all made mistakes but no matter how big the mistake, we can always find christ, and he testified of that.  the spirit was so strong as the was just a long quiet pause, the teacher started tearing up and he just said arigato(thank you) earl choro. arigato.  i didn't even realize that at this same time im all teared up and i could not help but feel that the heavenly father had brought this strong spirit to this meeting to strengthen me, since i had had a hard day, and possibly other missionaries in our district who i wasn't aware were struggling too.  there have not been many times in my life that i have felt the spirit so strongly...."

-Elder Logan Cottle
Tokyo, Japan Mission

Week Three

日本語を作るよにいいですか?I finally found out how to type in Japanese on these computers, so that's been interesting. This week has been pretty good, but things aren't changing as much anymore, so I'm not really sure what to say. Instead of teaching just one investigator, we're teaching both of our teachers, Gregory 先生 and Tingey 先生. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures with them, but I'll be sure to get some soon. 
We might be starting to go to the TRC today, but our 先生 are being ずるい so we don't know for sure. The 大先輩 leave on Monday, so soon we'll be upgraded to 先輩!(Basically, the oldest generation of Japanese missionaries is leaving, so we'll become seniors!) The next group of Japanese missionaries is also rumored to be entering this Wednesday. I don't know if you've heard, but the country with the most missionaries preparing to enter it here in the MTC right now is 日本!We have three branches of five districts each while the Chinese only have two branches of four districts each. The hymnbooks also finally arrived at our bookstore, so people in our district have been buying them. Thank goodness I had mine before I got here! There's quite a few songs that they don't have in English, such as the popular "Waiting for the Reapers". You'll have to find a Japanese hymnbook and learn it, all the Japanese missionaries love it here. 
Oh yeah, there's some norovirus or something spreading around the MTC, so we're kind of on health alert, with handshakes and hugs now forbidden. I'll possibly see you from across the Mariott Center tomorrow. 愛しています!

こんにちわ!お元気ですか?私はすばらしいです!Andrew didn't want his birthday cake, but I still gave left it in his classroom. My district ate a little bit of it, but the cake was huge enough that there was still plenty  for his district and the Tongans as well.

He just didn't want his district to know it was his birthday. And I'm pretty sure he was happy about it, he just didn't want to admit it.

With some help from Google Translate:
日本語を作るよにいいですか? = Nihongo o tsukuru yo ni īdesu ka = Is it good to make a yo Japanese?
先生 = Teacher = sensei
大先輩 = Dai senpai = big senior (student)
先輩 = senpai = senior
日本 = Nihon = Japan
愛しています = Aishiteimasu = I love you
こんにちわ!お元気ですか?私はすばらしいです = Kon'nichiwa! Ogenkidesuka? Watashi wa subarashīdesu = Hello! How are you? I'm wonderful

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Week Two

Ohayo family, this week has been pretty good. I finally got my camera to get pictures onto these computers, so that's been a good thing. My Japanese has improved quite a bit, which I am very happy about. By the way, at the MTC, our main focus of every day is the lessons we have to teach to our investigators. We'd been teaching Tominaga-san for about a week, but now he's going to be replaced by our teacher, Gregory-sensei. We were really happy about convincing Tominaga-san to give up drinking and getting him ready for baptism, but now we'll have to start from scratch again. 

Thanks for the cheezits, the other chorotachi have almost eaten all of them. By the way, just a few hours after sending the emails last week, I saw Carlin walking down the stairs in my building. It turns out he'd been in the same building the whole time. He also told me that he and Andrew's classrooms were on the floor below mine, so I went and saw Andrew! You might have already heard all of this, but I was pretty happy about it, and he seemed pretty happy. We've seen each-other almost every day since then, like both times at choir practice, which I have been going to! 

I saw Clement Shimai come into the MTC, and she seems to be doing pretty well. We've also had a group of real Japanese missionaries come in, though they'll only be here for a few weeks. They seem to understand our Japanese pretty easily, though I think they laugh at our accent. Some of them from Nara, and one of them even recognized Nishiyamato Gakuen. They think my name is pretty difficult to say, so it's a good thing I'll get a katakana name once I have my fully Japanese name-tag. Our district seems to have unusually good Japanese, even though we're kohai. Some of the daisenpai seem to have much worse Japanese than us (the three "generations" of Japanese missionaries at the MTC are called kohai, senpai, and daisenpai). 

Also, everyone thinks Eliza's letters are adorable. Don't tell her that other people see them, though, or she'll probably be pretty mad! I don't think I need anything else right now, and I think things are going about perfectly here. Mata ne!

My District:
From left to right, Jaycox, Von Niederhauzern, Cottle, Greenburg, me, and Olsen Chorotachi (Elders), and Ivory, Haderlie, Snow, Christensen, Moss, and Day Shimaitachi (Sisters).

Me and my friend/former roommate Elder Humphries:

Last Saturday, I found Carlin while walking down the stairs in my classroom building. It turns out that he'd been in the same building the whole time!

My cousin Andrew and I:

Carlin told me where Andrew's classroom is, and it turns out that he's been in the floor below me too. I've seen him almost every day since then.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Week One

Kirk with Sister Merrill, an MTC worker in our ward.

Konnichiwa! It turns out that today is my P-day, you probably weren't expecting me to write so soon. The MTC has been pretty good so far. My companion is Elder Greenburg, who I knew from Startalk. I think we've gotten along pretty well so far. Our district has 12 people in it, six chorotatchi (elders) and six shimaitatchi (sisters). All the sisters and three of the elders in our district are going to Tokyo. Class has been pretty intensive; our teacher only speaks Japanese and we're supposed to use as much Japanese as we can possibly use, meaning if we know a Japanese word, we're supposed to use it. I really like our teacher, Gregory-sensei, he's always cheerful and has so far kept from using English.
I still haven't seen Andrew or Carlin yet, even though I've seen people from their districts for sure. I've seen nearly everyone else I expected to see here, though, and I'm hoping I'll see them pretty soon. Our living space isn't nearly as crowded as I was afraid it was going to be. Only the six chorotatchi from my district are in our room. Everyone keeps saying that today is supposed to be the worst day of our lives so far, but it really hasn't been bad at all so far, so I'm pretty happy. Our district gets along really well, which is always a good thing when you're stuck with them for the entire day. When you get to the MTC, you start teaching an investigator on your second day, and our district is currently teaching Tominaga-san. Our appointment with him went pretty well, except for how we kind of walked into his "house" without knocking first and left our scriptures in our classroom. He acted like he understood most of our Japanese and we managed to teach him how to pray, somehow. Tonight, we're going to teach him about the holy ghost. Hopefully it goes better!
By the way, we eat meals really early, in fact dinner is at 4:10, so I'm usually pretty hungry at night time, so unlike Andrew, I'll be very happy to accept food! Also, thanks for the new towel, the one you sent me felt like a shower curtain. My departure date has turned out to be August 5, so you might want to use that if you want to send stuff in the future, though I've gotten everything you've sent so far, I'm pretty sure. I've taken quite a few pictures too, but I'm not sure how to attach them. Hopefully, you'll be getting another email with pictures in a few minutes. I love you all, and tell Eliza thanks for the daily messages.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Last movie before being set apart! 

 Going to the Timp temple the day before.


Right after getting set apart 

No hugs allowed. :( 
 Last time with Copper for two years.

Last hugs! 

Driving into the MTC.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kirk's Farewell

(By Zach) Last week, we had a farewell for Kirk. It was beautiful. We had lots of yummy food, and great friends and family! Kirk is going to do great!
 Some delicious sushi Jesse, Hannah, and I made!
 Kirk and Lily talking about going to Sendai. (They're both going, how crazy is that!?)
 More delicious sushi.
 Nigiri sushi, one of my favourites.
Partying it up!
 We all played Smurf in the piano room.
As you may now know, I, Zach (Kirk's awesome little brother) will be updating the blog while Kirk is in Japan and the MTC.