11:00 PM

January 5, 2014

Dear all the people,

Sorry for the little break! Christmas... New Years... It was just party time up hurr in the mission field. Here are a few highlights:

Emergency Transfer - Two weeks before the end of transfer, we got a new companion! Luckily Buhler Shimai and I got to stay together to the end (of her life), but some things went down in other areas and we ended up with a new companion for the last two weeks. Her name is Sister Andaca and I knew her in the MTC. We both started our missions at the same time. She is from the Philippines and speaks really good Japanese. Anyway, it was kind of hard to bring another companion into an already stellar companionship, but we ended up all having a lot of fun together. It was my first time being involved in such a transfer, so that was kind of exciting. Or something.

Christmas - First of all, we went caroling to an old folks home. They served us some NASTY food and I thought I was going to throw up all day. But I guess that's what you get at hospitals... Anyway, we did a little musical program for all the old people. It was us 3 sisters and the 4 elders. They all thought it would be a good idea for me to play something on the piano, but I didn't know what to play. So Buhler Shimai told me just to play Teenage Dream (a Katy Perry song that I can play on the piano) and so I did! The old people loved it and they all thought it was a great Christmas song. It was super funny. #winning

Alsoooo, we had a party! We invited three of the sisters in the neighboring area to come down to our area and go eat Indo Curry, carol, and sleep over. One of them was my former companion, Sister Maynes. It was supes fun to hang out with her because she is one of my favorite people. We did a White Elephant Gift exchange, listened to Michael Buble Christmas music, and ate French Toast for breakfast. It felt super Christmasey. Last year, Buhler, Andaca AND I were all with Japanese companions. And they weren't super into Christmas. So this year was a lot better.

Alsooooo, I got to skype with my family! And that was a party! Although my sister's kids are looking way too old. It was way fun to talk to all you fam-y fam fam.

The rest Christmas day we just spend bumming around at the church with all the missionaries, playing games, showing family pictures, going shopping at thrift stores, and just chilling. It was a nice break from the usual stream of things. That night we had a Christmas dinner cooked by my favorite member Sister Matsumoto. She lived in America for a few years and speaks fluent English. So she fixed us some homey-America-food. It was delicious.

Buhler's Birthday - More partyyyy!!! Guys, I promise, I'm still a missionary. It's just been a crazy couple of weeks with more party than usual. Plus with Buhler going home we spent a lot more time not doing work because she was packing and preparing and stuff. Anyway, for her birthday we went to Round 1 - a sports/games place where you can basically do anything (It was P-Day guys - so it's totally okay! Don't worry!) We raced little motorbikes, played pool and basketball, all sorts of good active stuff. It was way fun. We also did a picture scavenger hunt with a bunch of other missionaries (go find a man wearing a girly jacket or a grandma with purple hair (yes, those are actually common here) and take a picture). Lastly, I did a fun present for her where I wrote out a little history of her whole mission. She's seriously the most amazing missionary I have ever known and so I wanted her to know how much she was loved and respected and how much of an impact she's been able to make in these 18 months. I wrote it out in 23 parts (she was turning 23) and then hid it out in a scavenger hunt type of things (or a chaser - for those members of my family who know what that is). So fun!

Buhler go home - :( This was just plain sad. It was so weird to have a companion go home - especially one that I have known since the MTC. It suddenly became so real for me that I will go home soon. Not gonna lie, it was actually pretty hard to kill off a companion when I'm so close to going home myself. I wished I was going home with her. But, well, it's fine. And these last six weeks are still going to be amazing. However, it was hard to say goodbye to my favorite companion. 

Transfers - Don don don, guess who my new companion is! It's........ CLINGO SHIMAI! Sister Clingo was my MTC companion! She's coming up here to Shimizu to finish off the mish with me. I LOVE Sister Clingo, we had a great time together in the MTC and we've exchanged letters throughout the mission. It is so fun to be back with someone I know well. She's been on Okinawa for six transfers, so we've been separated for about 8 months never seeing each other. It's pretty fun to catch up. I was released as Sister Training Leader so now I just get to die out nice and quiet. Anyway, Clingo is a boss and I couldn't be more excited to end my mission this way. Start together and end together, right?

Also, sisters came to Tsuboi - the ward next door - so now there are 4 people living in our house! More party!

Evangeline and Ai - See, guys, now I'm talking about missionary work. Evangeline and Ai chan will be baptized this week assuming all goes well. I could not be more thrilled for them. We finished the lessons with them last week. On Sunday, when they were talking about new goals for the year in Relief Society, Evangeline said her goal was to be baptized. She is so amazing and I am so grateful to have been able to teach such an incredible investigator. 

Well, I think that's a pretty good update for the Smith Shimai. I hope you all had great holidays and that you're adjusting back to normal life. I'll try to do so as well. :)



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