Thursday, February 19, 2015

Week Two at the Missionary Training Center!

O Hayo Gozeimas! (Good morning!) (I'm not sure If I spelled that right...)

This has been a great week at the MTC. So I told you all about teaching our first investigator in Nihongo (Japanese) during the last three hours of "classroom instruction time" in our schedule. Well last Friday we came into class for that three hour block and the person we had been teaching turned out to be our second Sensei (teacher)!! It was a fun surprise! And also a relief to hear her speak and actually understand what she is saying because she spoke Ego (English) to us in class!! Then she showed us a video introduction of the next person we will be teaching; it is Fitz Kyodai (Brother Fitz) who is the person who has been teaching us this whole time!! It was pretty a pretty fun surprise to find out that we will be teaching our teachers. This is to help us practice planning lessons and then teach the lessons in Nihongo. So now our schedule is that we teach a 20 minute lesson every day. And it alternates between our two teachers Fitz Kyodai and Smith Shimai. 

It's still pretty overwhelming here. But the first week was especially, and apparently they make it that way on purpose! To help teach us to rely on the Lord for our help and guidance. Raines Shimai and I handled it very well I think. The first week we just focused on learning Japanese in class and then teaching the investigator in the evening. Now we learn Nihongo in our afternoon class and then in the evening we learn Nihongo but also we learn about how to be good missionaries, what our purpose is, how we can strengthen the faith of others and help them strengthen their relationship with Iesu Kirisuto (Jesus Christ). So now the MTC is a lot more like I thought it would be, we are recieving a lot more guidance and direction from watashitachi no serei tachi (our teachers), which is really nice. 

Raines Shimai and I are doing so well together. We have really learned how to incorporate prayer into what we are doing. When we are planning for a lesson, or feeling discouraged, or incompetent in our Nihongo, we pray for help and guidance. It has been a truly amazing experience of relying on the Lord, not necessarily to solve our problems, but we pray for peace and guidance and strength. And I know that He has been answering our prayers. I have never felt the Spirit so consistently as I have while I've been here at the MTC. I am so grateful for that. 

Raines Shimai and I are teaching this Sunday's lesson about how to recognize the Holy Ghost. Elder David A. Bednar talks about three different aspects of it that are simple and profound. If you are able, watch them on I'm pretty sure they are entitled "Patterns of Light".
It's been a really interesting experience being at the MTC. We have a service project once a week, which is just cleaning residence buildings for an hour and 15 minutes. It's really nice though because it gives me time to just relax and not stress about making lesson plans or trying to understand Nihongo. It's a welcomed break to say the least. The windows in the residence buildings look out over my dorm buildings that I lived in on BYU campus. And I just had the thought that being at the MTC, or even when I am out in Japan, this experience is the epitome of being "IN the world and not OF the world" We are right next door to a campus full of College kids doing their thing, while we are studying essentially all day about how to invite and help people come closer to Christ. And though it was kind of a funny thought at first, I am realizing how true it really is. Although it is difficult sometimes, this is such an amazing opportunity for me to be able to put aside the things of the world and really focus on serving the Lord without any distractions. And I LOVE it! It's especially nice to be able to talk to someone and not be distracted by a ringing phone or urgent text. It's so great here. The Shimai Tachi are really great too, we help each other stay positive and lift each other when we struggle. 

As far as Nihongo goes, I have a lot to learn! BUT! It has only been two weeks and I think I am doing pretty well considering I only knew how to say Good afternoon and thank you in Japanese just three weeks ago. I have the Hiragana alphabet down pretty well which enables me to be able to sing Hymns in Nihongo as well as Read most of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is difficult though because all of the characters are right after each other, so it's really difficult to distinguish words; you pretty much just have to know where one word starts and another ends. Next I need to learn Katakana. I'll keep you all updated :)

Anyways, I hope everyone is well, I absolutely love receiving the Dear Elder letters, and I will try to write back to those today. I am so grateful to all of you.

Ai shitte imasu (I love you - that's how you really spell it ;) )
Lowe Shimai (That's how you really spell sister too, I'm still learning :) )

-- Here is the link to the videos that Sarah recommended watching --

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Week 1 Down at the MTC!!

February 12th 2015
Oh my word. Its crazy that it's only been one week (and a day) here. The days have been so jam packed that it feels like its already been a month! After the first few days we've kind of settled into our set schedules for the next eight weeks. We get up at 6:30 am, our gym time is usually 6:40-7:30am. Then we have breakfast at 8, and at 9 we go to our classroom and have a 30 minute planning session with my doryo (companion) then there is an hour each of personal study, companionship study, and language study. Then lunch. Then classroom time with Teacher instruction. Our Teacher served his mission in Japan and got back about a year ago. The first two days he ONLY spoke Japanese!! He wrote words on the board with Ego (english) translations but I still could barely follow along. Since then he will sometimes speak ego to clarify what he's teaching but he still mostly teaches in Japanese. Lets just say I have learned to read hand gestures VERY well (; 
But anyways, after a 3 hour class with our sensei (teacher) we have dinner, then we have another 3 hour block where each of the 6 companionships in my district teach a person who plays the role as someone interested in learning more about the church. Our first time teaching her was on Friday after we had been here 2 days!! And we teach her in Nihongo (Japanese)!!! It was pretty nervewracking and probably incoherent the first time. We teach her pretty much every day which has been challenging because we have only been studying Nihongo for 8 days now! But we are able to use our language materials to teach her. Without them, I would definitely not be able to communicate with her very well. We return to our residence at 9:30, we Have Quiet time from 10:15-10:30, Lights out at 10:30. So yeah, the normal days are FULL. 

Overall the MTC is very different from what I expected it to be. I figured that we would have an instructor most of the day who would guide us through the learning process. Instead, it is very much self-directed learning. The first day, they handed us about 15 pounds of different language materials, Japanese Dictionaries, Grammar Books, How to read the Book of Mormon in Japanese, etc. Then the second day, pretty much the entire day was labeled "Additional Study Time" on our Schedules. No description about what we should study or anything. Just Study Time. And we haven't really been given much further direction. Soooo, we just study. Preach My Gospel has a lot of tips on how to study language and organize time wisely, so Ive been trying to utilize that as much as possible. It's pretty challenging though. But I'm doing the best I can!! It's funny because when I'm trying to speak Japanese, the words I don't know in Japanese come to my mind in Spanish! So the first day, my Sensei asked me a yes or no question, and I said Si! Instead of Hai! for yes in Japanese. So that's pretty fun. I've been studying the first alphabet in Japanese called Hiragana. I've got most of the characters memorized but it's difficult to recognize them when they are written by a person and not printed from a computer. Sensei expects us to know them right now, so he writes that on the board now instead of Romaji which is the english alphabet phonetic spelling of Japanese words. 

My district is made up of 6 companionships so we have 12 people. 3 sets of Shimei-tachi (Sisters) and 3 sets of Choro-Tachi (Elders). I really love the Shimei-tachi I'm with. My doryo (companion) is Raines-Shimei from Lehi, UT. She and I get along really well so thats been really good. We share rooms with another companionship, Fullmer Shimei and Healey Shimei. They are great as well. The four of us do most everything together. 

We get to walk to the Temple on Sundays which is really nice. The MTC campus is nice and all, but we are surrounded by buildings and always walking under overhangs, so even though we walk outside between our activities, it doesn't feel like we are OUTSIDE. So when we walk to the Temple, it's really nice to see the "outside world" haha. And we have like two hours that we can just sit there by the Temple. Sundays are nice because we have some time to reflect, we also have a devotional on Sunday evenings and Tuesday Evenings.

Well we only have an hour to email so I have to be going, but I love you all! and Please don't hesitate to write me a letter! (:
Aishitemasu (I love You)
Lowe Shimei (Sister Lowe)

My Mailing address in the MTC is:
Sister Sarah Anne Lowe
2007 N 900 E Unit  29
Provo UT 84602

Remember you can write me for free through!