9:34 PM

Dear eerbody,

First of all, Happy Happy Birthday to the best brother in the world last Sunday! Adam, you`re the best!

Second of all, Happy Happy Sort of Birthday to the best sister in the world! Brooke, you`re also the best. Even if you didn`t really have a birthday.

Third of all, STACIE CHRISTENSEN IS GOING TO BRAZIL?? I couldn`t be more excited! She`ll be amazing! Please tell her how much I love her!

Also, Mom, I`m glad to hear that you got a letter from the Konishi Family. Brother Konishi asked me for my business card (we`re all official up in Japan and we get business cards. Whutt up) and for your address. The Konishi Family is one of my favorite families. Brother Konishi gives us BLT sandwiches and Potato Salad every single week (LOTS of sandwiches). He also often joins us in lessons (we call it ``joint``) and he is a really strong member. He is one of the few Returned Missionaries in the ward - he served in Sapporo shortly after he was converted. He is a very nice man. I`m grateful to hear that I`m not totally failing up here in Hiroshima.

I hope you get to meet my wonderful companions, too. You should go to Salt Lake and search for Sister Ichimaru at Temple Square in the next few months! I really do get along great with both of them and I`m really grateful for their hard work.

Spring is coming here, too, for which I am very grateful. It`s now at that awkward stage where it`s still too cold without a jacket, but after riding your bike for a while it gets hot. Life`s tough.

This week, I had some interesting out of the ordinary experiences. One was going to Miyajima and running into a French family. I was SO excited to speak French. We got to talking and as the conversation continued, I realized that forming French sentences was a LOT harder than it was 6 months ago (yup, I`ve been a missionary 6 months, now). I kept throwing out Japanese words and Monsieur Oliver kept looking at me like I was smoking something, but he was very patient and seemed happy that someone wanted to speak with him. Luckily, my comprehension is still where it once was. That experience furthered my determination to continue to study French when I get home. It also helped me realize how far I HAVE come in Japanese. That was important, because some days I literally feel like I just landed on Mars everyone`s speaking Alien-language.

Second, I had some chances to speak English. I was in line at the grocery store, when a white man came up behind me and said, ``How`s it going?`` I asked him what brought him to Japan and he said, ``Oh, I`m a Christian Missionary.`` 

... ``Me too?``

I was so surprised I hardly knew what to say. ``No, I`M a Christian missionary!`` Anyway, I`m so used to talking with people who don`t know a single thing about Jesus Christ that I was really taken aback to have a man with much more knowledge of the bible than I speak to me. Though he definitely wanted to tell me off on some doctrine, we ended having a fairly pleasant conversation. But it was really strange.

Third, I was able to help some tourists at the Hiroshima Station find their hotel. They were extremely grateful for my help - having a Japanese/American companionship is definitely the best. I was glad that I was able to provide a service for them and show by example a little bit what our church is all about. It has led me to want to seek out opportunities to help people more. I don`t blame people for not wanting to listen when we say, ``Hey, have you ever thought about God before?`` because that`s just weird and invasive. But when we help people, they`re much more receptive to our message and they always remember ``that one Mormon who helped me find my hotel once.``

I`ve been a little down on my Japanese lately, so I was really grateful to be able to help people in my own language. One particularly I-want-to-die moment came with one of our investigators. She was a former investigator that Hinode Shimai and I had never actually met but had spoken to on the phone a few times. Well, she came to church out of the blue. We had heard that she talks a lot, but nothing could have prepared me for HOW MUCH THIS WOMAN CAN TALK. She was literally like a machine gun. So many ideas and words came flooding out of her mouth at the speed of sound, I could not make heads or tails of anything she was saying nor could you really get a sentence in edgewise. I had no idea what was going on or what she was talking about, but every once in a while I would just throw out a sentence and she took that to mean that I understood everything she was saying.  ``Wow, your Japanese is so good!`` 

...sure it is.

Anyway. The work is good. My companions are great. Japan is great. My head is not great, but that`s okay. I love you all, I wish you well, keep the prayers coming.

A faa`ito`ito! 愛しています!

-スミス 姉妹

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