12:42 PM

February 11, 2012

Hey guys, I made it to the end of another transfer! I am hoping that the transfer call will come while I`m still at the computer so I can let you all know what`s happening. I`m pretty sure that I`m staying and that Hinode Shimai will be transferred, but I definitely have no idea. I`m a little nervous. But this transfer has gone by so fast! I hesitate to think of what`s ahead of me because it seems that this transfer will be hard to top. I learned SO much and I hope this new knowledge will be able to assist me throughout the rest of my mission in helping people come unto Christ. But now that two transfers are over, I am officially moving up in the Fukuoka-Mission food chain. Everyone pretty well knows that I don`t like being a newbie with anything, ever. Being a ``trainee`` is not easy for me. (Yeah, I know, I`m working on the whole being humble thing). So I`m ready to move on.

There are a lot of things that are unfair for sister missionaries. One of those things is clothes. I could write a LOT about how much I hate dressing every morning. I have never wanted to go shopping so badly in my life - and I pretty well HATED shopping before the mission. However, I will not bore you with my fashion-woes.

What is super unfair between sisters and elders is that elders get to go on splits ALL THE TIME. I got a package from home this week (thanks, Mom!) and she kindly included my good ol` friend Ben`s last few emails home while he was serving in Taiwan. He`s home now. That`s weird. Anyway. In one of those letters, he talked about how he was able to do companion exchanges with nearly 95% of the missionaries. And I`m all, I have done missionary work with the exact same person for almost three months and we`re the only sisters in the zone! There is NOTHING FAIR ABOUT THIS.

I bring this up because last week I was able to go on a split for the first time. Well, technically it was my second time. But the first time was with a mini-missionary who, believe it or not, had even less experience than I. We got to go to Fukuoka last week for a conference, so Hinode Shimai and I went the day before and did an exchange with the Fukuoka Sisters. I went with Takabori Shimai who has been out for 6 transfers. She`s Japanese, but from America. Anyway, besides it just being a fun time getting to know someone new (and by that I mean speaking English all day), I learned so much more in those few hours than I feel like I`ve learned in weeks. When you`re with the same person every day, you tend to fall into a pattern. You say the same things to everyone, you go to the same places, you teach the same way. However, when you work with someone else, you can get lots of ideas. We pretty well just did housing all day - but it was fun and I learned a lot.

All that to say, it`s just not fair for us sisters. But I`m hoping that more sisters will be coming out on missions from here on out so the possibilities will broaden for us.

Also, there should be sister-assistants.

Okay, I`m done feminisming.

So yeah, we had a conference in Fukuoka! I got to leave my little Hiroshima bubble! Elder Michael Ringwood of the 70 came and conference-d with us. It was really amazing. I think it was just the spiritual nourishment I needed to motivate me to work harder. I was really impressed with Elder Ringwood. I`ll try not to bore you all, but here are few things I learned:

- ``Work with your personality.`` Gustafson Shimai has now said this thing twice - once to me personally and then again at the conference. So, I pretty well speak Japanese all the time. My companion doesn`t speak English and no one in the ward really speaks English. I`m grateful for the opportunity that I`ve had to improve my Japanese quickly, but I`d be lying if I said it didn`t get supes lonely sometimes. Like, I don`t know maybe I`m fooling myself, but sometimes I`m kind of a funny person. Right? Kind of? Maybe a little? Well, it`s been hard for me to be funny in Japanese. It`s been hard for me to totally be myself. But, as Gustafson Shimai assured us, the Lord called us individually to come and serve in Japan. Me. Lauren. Not just Sister Smith. He wanted OUR personalities here. So I`ve been trying to let loose and be myself more.

Elder Ringwood talked about a lot of amazing things. Here`s one thing, though. He started off his talk with five key words:


CONSIDER where you`re at right now. SETTLE to change and listen to the spirit if a prompting comes (``If the prompting requires you to go out of your comfort zone, write it down twice.``) Every morning you get ready to go out and CONTEND - the meaning being to ``assert or maintain earnestly.`` Teach to ASTONISH people. And we have one of the few callings in the church that has a GENERATIONAL impact. We`re not just teaching individuals, we`re teaching families and their future families.

That last part also applies to us. This mission isn`t just about becoming good missionaries. It`s about becoming good husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, employees, employers, friends, and neighbors.

Pretty good stuff, right?

Sorry, I`ll get off my missionary sermon. I`m just SUPES PUMPED to be a missionary.

The other great thing about the conference was I got to see friends! I was particularly excited to see Sisters Clingo and Eddy - my MTC companion and other friend from the MTC. We had a really good time and laughed a lot. Laughing is great.

Last P-Day we went to Miyajima (again) as a District. I am a firm believer in the importance of fun P-Days. We had a fun time.

My head aches sadly are pretty well consistent. I got some medicine from Sister Gustafson, and it helped to curb a migraine the other day. I do think it has something to do with the sun coming out - I usually get pretty bad head aches around this time. But it`s no fun.....

Is BYU going to the NCAA tournament?


Oh, we also had a baptism this week. Kuroda-san got baptized on Saturday. Luckily, we weren`t as stressed for this one as we were for the last one. I got to play the piano again. I really love being able to offer that service. Then, on Sunday, he was there at the door with the Stake President and Bishopric shaking hands and greeting all the members. I was really happy. So I ate my weight in Haggen Daaz and baked goods. NBD.

Well, things in Japan are good. This girl`s a pretty happy camper, I guess. Thanks everyone for your support and your love. It means a lot! Keep writing me letters!

I love you all! 愛しています!A faa`ito`ito!

-スミス 姉妹

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