#31

9:44 PM

Dear eerbody,


I haven`t watched Conference yet - they push it back a week in Japan (I almost said Tahiti. Two totally different places, yet i mix them up all the time). I think they should have done that in Tahiti, too. 6:00 am Conference was kind of the worst. Instead we get to watch it this Saturday and Sunday at the nice 10:00 am (in English). Though I will probably be craving some Buttermilk syrup and pancakes... It`s crazy to believe that after this Conference i will only have one more left. Time goes so fastttttt.

That being said, I did hear about the new temple in Cedar City. So, Mom and Brooke, that means we get to go to the Shakespeare Festival, eat shakes at that one drug store, and then go to the temple. Let`s do it!

Also, no. I don`t get the Liahona/Ensign. Other missionaries get it sometimes, but I have yet to read it. I would love it if you would send me the Conference Issue when it comes out. And I did get your package this week - thank you so much! It had all of my favorite things, though I will not partake of the deliciousness that is Cadbury until April 28th, after Yamamoto-san is baptized. 

Her baptism is after transfer calls. I am starting to get really nervous for the end of the transfer. Since I`ve been with Sister Hinode for my entire time in Japan, I really, REALLY don`t want to say goodbye. She is my family, now. Also, I really don`t want to leave Hatsukaichi. I know that I can`t stay here forever, but I love this area so much. The ward members are my friends. I want to be there for Yamamoto-san`s baptism. But, you know, it`s whatever the Man Upstairs decides. 

On Sunday, we had a Missionary Fireside that was led by us missionaries and my favorite returned missionary-friend, Kaho. I was really dreading this Fireside because we were only told of it a week in advance. I am a firm believer in planning when it comes to missionary work. My life depends on the effectiveness of our weekly and daily planning sessions and also lesson preparation. I`m an organized person, so I like to know what`s going on. With only a week to plan, us and the Ward Mission Leader, Bishop, and Ward Missionaries were ALL on different pages. It seemed like nothing could be decided and I was extremely frustrated many times this week. The night before we stayed up past 10:30 agonizing over this fireside and how it was going to go. Even the day of we didn`t really have a plan and I was super on edge. 

However, it was amazing. I am so inspired by Kaho who recently returned from a mission in Brazil. She shared a bunch of pictures and emotionally talked about her experience among the Brazilians. I too shed some tears over how much her experience reminded me of Tahiti. I learned more than I can express from the people of Tahiti. I have come to realize how instrumental that experience was in my life over the last few months. Daily I remember their example of extreme generosity, love, passion for the gospel, and their sincerity. Their influence has also blessed the lives of those in Japan, even a little bit.

If anyone from Tahiti ever reads this - which the chances are probably slim - just know that my heart will ALWAYS be with you in that beautiful little island. You changed my life.

Anyway, after that we stood up to talk. Hinode Shimai was crying (she`s always crying), and she talked about how we can`t do missionary work by ourselves. We need the members. For a ward that is rarely quiet, the room was completely silent. I then spoke and I started crying too (guys, seriously, I never used to cry. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?) I realized, in that moment, just how much I loved these people. That love that I found for the Tahitians was growing in me for the people of Japan. I looked out at that ward of about 60-70 people and saw my family. Every single adult member in the congregation (disregarding the adult children of families in the ward) are converts. Many left family traditions and completely changed their lifestyle because they love the gospel. These people are incredibly strong - stronger than any people I have ever met. And I realized how limited my time is among them. 

We had them all think about how they can better spread the gospel this year and what goals they could set to be more unified with us. Overall, it ended spectacular. (A miracle, seriously).

So, yeah, that was good or whatever.

This week, Ichimaru Shimai left to go to Amurrica. It`s pretty strange going back to just the two of us. She`s going to rock it in Temple Square, though.

I am literally about to collapse I`m so exhausted. Last weekend was crazy busy, and this week is even busier. Sunday I stayed up late helping Ichimaru Shimai pack. Yesterday she left at about 5:30 am. Then, we sort of didn`t take a P-Day and we had a lesson in the afternoon with Yamamoto-san. Then we rushed to Takasu area and went shopping for about four hours to buy furnishings for a new apartment for a new missionary couple. Then we got back late from Takasu. Thursday and Friday we have a Sisters Conference in Fukuoka. Saturday/Sunday is General Conference. SO TIRED.

But it`s great being busy. I enjoy it.

Saturday was also really busy. There was an all-day long ``Prep-Mission`` (mission prep? Japanese is silly) where all of the youth in the stake who are preparing to go on missions come and get training from us full-timers and then we go out and dendo (er, do missionary work). I was paired with a cute 16-year-old named Yuuka-chan. It was POURING rain and we were sopping wet, but we had a good time. She had only gone out with missionaries once before, so she wanted to try housing. We knocked on a whole lot of doors, but people were especially rude that day. Sad days. But we had a good time. And it also helped me realize that maybe I CAN do missionary work without Sister Hinode. Maybe.

Anyway. Good times being a missionary! 

Also, I`m reading Exodus right now (in the Bible). I`ve been humming ``Prince of Egypt`` all week. I`m trying to organize a District or Zone P-Day where we watch it because I really want to.

Lastly, Yamamoto-san has now gone three days without smoking! She`s amazing! Pray for her! Pray for us!

I`m grateful to you all for your love and support. Keep being great! A faa`ito`ito! 愛しています!

-スミス 姉妹

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