9:42 PM

Guys, time is passing way too fast. It's, like, not even funny.

Oh, awkward, is that how I started my letter last time? Well it's true. Time is passing way too quickly.

We had a baptism! It was awesome! Everything went great. Yamamoto san was so prepared. Seriously, it was the greatest miracle. She was baptized and confirmed just fine and now Shimizu ward has itself a great new member. The ward is really helping to get her integrated and included. I am not worried.

We also have one other great investigator named Misato-chan. She is 19 and she is golden. She was one of the investigators that the Elders had previously but then passed along to us when we got here. She came prepared to our last lesson with a page full of questions to ask about the chapters (several chapters) that she had read from the Book of Mormon. Because you are not an adult until you are 20 in Japan, she needs parental consent before she can get baptized and, well, that part's tough. But she's still awesome.

Last week I got to go to Kagoshima and Miyazaki. It was a really good time. It's such a pleasure to work with lots of different sisters and see different areas. In Kagoshima, there's a giant volcano that erupts ash all over the place. Seriously, ash falls like snow. Ergo I was covered in speckles after just a few hours. It was a fun time. 

In answer to your question, Mom, let me just talk about what an interesting time it is to be serving a mission. It's literally like a big baby boom in the mission field. So many new missionaries... who are all 18 and 19. There are a lot of young, young sisters who didn't quite realize what missionary life was going to be like, didn't quite realize how hard Japanese was going to be and didn't quite realize how hard it might be to get along with a Japanese companion who's 6 years older. Throughout the mission there are struggling young missionaries. Over half of the mission is 4th transfer and younger. (Which is why I have trained four times in a row). It's strange because I still feel like a new missionary myself, but these girls look to me like a leader. It's just a big jumble of stress, naivete, and inexperience. But these youngin's are so willing and their desires are so pure. It's a pleasure to give them an uplift. 

I've come to be known as the ''genki'' sister. I'm really positive and upbeat and it translates to my missionary work. I'm not the best at finding, nor at teaching, nor the most obedient, nor the best at planning, nor the wisest sister out there - but what I do have going for me is a smile, a good attitude, decent Japanese, earnest desires, patience, and hard work. I feel like as I've traveled and worked with sisters who are a little down, they come out of the exchange wanting to work harder if only because I made it fun and laughed a lot. 

So, it's all been a good experience. Or whatever. I have been able to give a lot of advice on how to use Language Study wisely or how to contact more smoothly on the street and stuff like that. Everyone's eager to learn and seems to think I know what I'm saying. Which I don't, but it's cool.

The worst part of this Sister Training Leader stuff is leaving my companions and Shimizu. I feel like I miss out on a lot. Also, the travel is tiring. It was a 3 hour bus ride to Taniyama, a 2 hour train to Miyazaki and a 3 and a half bus ride back to Kumamoto. But it's worth it. It always feels good to come home to my companions again, though. They work really hard in my absence. 

My companions are so great. We're planning on helping each other fulfill our dreams when we get home. Maynes Shimai is going to teach me the cello, I'm going to teach them both karate, and Johnson Shimai is going to help us all become life guards. It's going to be great. I hope that we all get to stay together another transfer, I'm sick of getting a new companion every time.

President Gustafson came to Kumamoto and gave a great fireside - it was a ''Why I Believe'' fireside. We went with Misato-chan and she seemed to really like it.

When I asked my companions what else I should say in this letter, Sister Maynes said, ''Well, we're going to try and find new people to teach this week. So tell them to pray for that.'' I hope you all enjoyed that. See how dedicated my bean is?

Anyway, it's been real! I love all of you people!


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