Friday, February 23, 2018

Week #1 in Japan

こんにちは!! I love it here! 

I am serving in the Tagajo area in the Tagajo Ward. It's real cold and we are riding our bikes in skirts. It is a whole situation, but it's fun. My trainer's name is Sister P. It's really easy to teach right now because this whole season is about Jesus. It's also really easy to love the people and the other missionaries. There are 6 of us. Two sisters and four elders they are all real fun.  You were right, mom. The crows sound funny here and it is so clean!!!


What happened on the following days?:
Monday-
It's all really a blur right now. We were got to Seattle and there was frost on the runway so it took us two hours to find an open gate. We got off and 32 missionaries went sprinting through the Seattle airport hoping to get from gate 1 to gate 14 in 5 minutes. Yeah... The plane left... So we got a hotel and had one last hoorah in Denny's before we left. It was real fun, but I sliced my finger up and a dog peed on me. Haha it was a good moment for me. 

Tuesday/Wednesday-
We finally left for Tokyo. I basically slept the whole trip but I am still so jet lagged. We got to our mission president's house. I love him and his wife. They are so amazing!! The nicest people ever!

Thursday - 
I met my trainer. Her name is Sister P from Southern California. I am only her second American companion. She is 23, 5'3" and has been out for 10 ish months. The first thing she said to me, before we were assigned to each other was "wow you're so tall! I forgot there were people like you in the world!" My immediate thought was 'there is my trainer.' Yep. I was right. She's super fun though. 

On our way home, I placed my first Book of Mormon on my first try and then we placed a second one!!\
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Friday - 
We taught two lessons. One to a less active, A Shimai, who told us all about World War Two and how the skirts were so big and how the children were starving. But yay! In came the Americans to save the day! She was cute and she gave us presents. They are these bog boxes of delicious Russian Cakes.

See them?


We also taught Y Shimai. She is an investigator. She is the sweetest lady. We taught about the restoration. I helped teach and understood a little of what she said to us. I gave the First Vision. After she said "sugoi!" Which is like "amazing!" It was super cool. We invited her to be baptized, and she said she would think about it. Her husband doesn't know that she is taking the lessons, so that is an issue. But there was a part in the lesson when she asked how old Jesus would be if he were still alive today. When P Shimai translated that for me, I said "totemo  toshiototeimasu." Which means "very old." And she laughed. I like her.

Saturday -
Two more lessons and Eikaiwa (English class). The lessons, I basically sit there and wait to be prompted by P Shimai what to testify about because I don't know what is going on. She is awesome! I love my companion. 
On Saturdays, we teach kids Eikaiwa. N chan is our only student. There are no children here!!! But she is adorable and I love hearing her speak English. She calls me Hess Sensei which I love too.

image6.JPGSunday -
Ooooh it was good. I got up and was introduced myself, but I didn't have to speak. In Sunday School, I did speak. B Chōrō translated their Japanese into English for me (he is the District Leader), but when I spoke, it was simple but Japanese and I noticed that they paid a lot of attention to what I was saying.

We left Relief Society thirty minutes early to go posting. We went to houses and put flyers in their mailboxes about the Christmas party!


Then we had a rice party. It was delicious and so fun!!! I met so many people and made new friends!


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This is N Shimai. She is about five feet tall and 23. In this she is wearing boots with a heel. I get the weirdest looks here, I love it!! That pin I am wearing under my tag was made by a member who just creates these corsages and gives them away at church. And I got one!!!

We also taught three lessons, two investigators and one less active.


What has been your biggest challenge this week?
Understanding the people; although, I find that I get the idea of what they are saying. Plus I have P Shimai, so it's all good! Also, I am crazy jet lagged, so it hits about 8:00 and I am a dead Shimai walking. But Heavenly Father keeps me up and genki to do the work during the day!!

What has been your biggest concern?
I am concerned about the investigators. I want them to know how good what we are teaching them is, but I don't know how to say that. However, the Lord is blessing me to be able to use what I do know to speak which is awesome! 

What has been your biggest success? 
I have been able to give the First Vision twice in Japanese. I also gave away that Book of Mormon on my first try and I made our investigator laugh. 

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why? 
P Shimai. She is so patient and kind and really good at Japanese. I can be myself around her which I love :)

What are you looking forward to this coming week? 
Finding new people, getting better at Japanese, and seeing more miracles. Like, I understood some verses of scripture in the Japanese Book of Mormon!!! Yayayayay!!!

How has your testimony grown this week?

Oh my goodness. The Lord qualifies His servants. Our Assistant to the President told us that when we teach, have the Book of Mormon. He said something to the effect of "when you are holding the word of God in your hand, it will be easier to say the words of God." Oh boy does that work! I have been clutching those books and I have been saying so many prayers. It's been crazy awesome. Heavenly Father is aware of us. 


Thank you all for your prayers and support. I love what I do! :) This is the Lord's church and His work. If you want to find out for yourself, read Acts 5 and pray about it. 

愛しています!!
ヘス・姉妹💛🇯🇵

Sunday, February 19, 2017

MTC - Week #8: I'M STOOOOOOOOKED!!!!!

Dear people of the world,

What happened on the following days?:
Wednesday -

Here is the zone shimaitachi. We did skype TRC  and it went really well. It got to a point where Seeman Shimai was looking for a scripture, so I had to keep the conversation going. That was rough, but we did it. That night, all the Shimai came into our room and we went into theirs and we borrowed clothes! It was so fun!

Thursday -

Happy Thanksgiving!! I borrowed Zundell Shimai's dress. We sang Come Thou Fount. We sang the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version that led me to want to conduct them. It was super awesome. Elder Andersen came and spoke to us. It was super awesome because we got to the part of Thankgiving traditions and he talked about the football game. He said "well you guys have to work, but I served my mission, so I am going to be watching some football this afternoon!" It was so funny. I love when the General Authorities come and speak to us. It is so different because they are way more chill. We ate turkey and we got to make bag meals for families without food. Collectively the MTC made over 350000 meals! WOOH! Go team!


This is how we study. No shoes, a crap ton of books and candy, all curled up in these big chairs. It's pretty nice. We studied a lot on Friday!

Saturday -

We did Secret Santa as a district because we don't get to celebrate Christmas together. I get an elder from Hawaii so I made him a card and I got him a temple recommend cover with the Hawaii temple on it :) He had me too! He got me a picture of the Portland Temple and wrote me a really sweet card too. it was an awesome night full of laughter and love. I love these missionaries.




Sunday -
It snowed!!!!


And it was beautiful! I didn't have to speak #しゅくふく (#blessing)

Monday -

It snowed all day! Shout out to my mama for buying my an awesome coat, sweater, and boots to keep me warm! It was so beautiful!!!
I wore my boots and Elder Bennion, going to Sapporo wore his too! So we took some pics. He is hilarious!!


Tuesday -


Took some pictures in the snow with my comp. it was beautiful. This might have been on Tuesday, but it was snowy and pretty both days! So there!
We taught Fuchino san and challenged him to be baptized, and though we butchered the invitation, he said he would think about it :)


What has been your biggest challenge this week?
The reality that I am leaving this place. The fear is real, but I have decided that I am more excited than scared!

What has been your biggest concern?
Packing. I just got to make sure it doesn't weigh too much but I am doing good thus far!

What has been your biggest success?
I finished the Book of Mormon and I found out for myself. It's true.

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?
My mama. The warm clothes are straight the most helpful thing ever.

What are you looking forward to this coming week?
Eh not much. It's going to be a pretty dull week. I mean, I guess leaving for Japan on Monday is pretty exciting. I guess. I'M STOOOOOOOOKED!!!!!

How has your testimony grown this week?
The Book of Mormon is true. The Holy Ghost is real.

I love you all!!!!!

ヘス・姉妹 🇯🇵💛

MTC - Week #7: I'm Super Happy and Ready to Serve!

What happened on the following days?:
Wednesday - 
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P-day happened! It was real fun. We got new kohai. They are all really cute little missionaries and they make me feel real old. 
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We got our legit tags!! :) it is pronounced Hesu Shimai. 

Thursday -
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We had snoooow! We just kind of ran out the door and took selfies. 
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These two elders caught us and we asked them to jump in. They are both serving Salem. 

Friday -
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We did an English fast. We spent the whole day speaking only in Japanese. There were times when it was super frustrating, but we did pretty good. I only lasted from about 6:30 to after lunch. But! I spoke in Japanese. It made the reality of Japan seem much more doable. 

Saturday -
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I have the first vision, the purpose, and half of the baptismal invitation memorized! It's safe to say I feel pretty awesome. I am constantly making new friends here and I love it. It helps me get used to talking to random people, which is good practice as a missionary. 

Sunday -
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I spoke in Sacrament meeting about Enduring to the End. They said I spoke so fast in Japanese that my once 3 minutes talk was a little over a minute. Yeah! Sister Seeman and I taught Relief Society. At the end of the lesson, I was struck with a phrase. Enduring sounds so difficult, a lot of pain and discomfort. And, somewhere in the scriptures, it tells us that enduring actually means remaining steadfast. The phrase is "Steadfast to Salvation." Catchy, no?

Monday -
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We have two Nihonjin Shimaitachi that came in with our kohai. I ran with sister Zundell (the blonde sister below... love her) and when we walked our cool down, I started to talk with one, Ezaki Shimai, all about our families and missions. It made me way more confident in my Japanese even though I was super  NOT perfect. 

Tuesday -
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Sister Zundell. She is from California. 
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Sister Dionisio. She is from Portugal. :)
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We sang in the devotional. It was an awesome devo about how lucky we are to be born now. We saw a video that is only shown in the Palmyra visitors center. Then we practiced for the Thanksgiving devo. We are singing Come Thou Fount and I had a C in my chest voice! WOOH!

What has been your biggest challenge this week?Having charity. A number of weeks ago, we were challenged to pick a Christlike attribute and I chose charity. It seems like when I told Heavenly Father that I was trying to be more charitable that suddenly He is giving me all the opportunities! 

What has been your biggest concern?
I think I have a small amount of anxiety about leaving in 11 days, but I am doing good!!! I'm super happy and ready to serve!

What has been your biggest success?
Today, we went to the temple, and the two Japanese sisters were there, their first time. The temple worker was trying to communicate, but sister Utsuyama looked at me and told me "wakaranai" which means I don't understand. So I asked if them if they wanted me to come too. So I got to be a kind of translator for them. I love them so much! If I can love people this much after a few hours just helping them with a couple sentences, I can hardly imagine the love I will have for the ones I teach about the gospel. I'M STOOOOOKED!

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?
Sister Ezaki. She is just so sweet and so understanding. If all the Nihonjin are like her, I have nothing to worry about :)

What are you looking forward to this coming week?
Thanksgiving. We have a service project, a musical devo and a special devo and lots of food. Mostly, I'm excited to get one week closer to JAPAN!!!! Yayayayayayay!!!!

How has your testimony grown this week?
I know that God takes care of His servants and that being grateful brings blessings. I have tried to be more grateful as well as charitable, and it seemed everyday I got a letter or a package! Shout out to Mom and Brooke Wilde!! It was amazing. 
I was running out of the no show socks. They just kept disappearing and one of the two pairs I had left got huge holes in them. I had no more to wear. I decide to just push through it. I come back from lunch and see two packages waiting for me. In one was some of the no show socks!!! #shukufukushimashita (blessed)

I love you all. Thank you for the letters and packages! The church is true. I know it! 
Happy Thanksgiving!

ヘス・姉妹 🇯🇵💛

MTC - Week #6: A Selfie a Day Helps People Remember What You Look Like

What happened on the following days?:
Wednesday - 
We went to the temple. We did laundry. We just got stuff done! Yay! And we taught our last TRC (Teaching Resource Center). We teach in Japanese to members. We talked about the miracles that come though prayer in the Book of Mormon. Tonight, we do it over skype. Eek!

Thursday -
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A selfie a day helps people remember what you look like! I'm attempting to do that!! I don't really remember what we did. The time here is seriously so weird.  It I know it was awesome! 

Friday -
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We hung out. No lessons. No nothing. We just sat and read our scriptures and enjoyed each other's company. And studied Japanese!!

Saturday -
We taught Suzuki san. We taught him about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We compared it to a chalkboard. We wrote down mistakes and bad choices on the board in our sketchy hiragana. Then we told him that the eraser was the Atonement and that HE needed to use it to wipe away his sins. He got us and one by one, erased the mistakes. It was awesome and the Spirit was so strong. 

Sunday -
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Sunday, as always, was awesome!! The devotional was all about working with the Spirit. I loved it!!

Monday -
We taught Fuchino san. We felt that we should introduce the Atonement to him because that was next in the plan of salvation lesson and he had asked about baptism. So we used the same analogy and I think Sanderson Kyōdai (our teacher who acts like our investigator) came out a little bit. He kind of laughed. But we have been working on helping him feel the Spirit. He said that he felt it!! He is interested in being baptized and he is going to come to all of church! Jeez I love this work!!!

Tuesday -
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We planned out TRC lesson for tonight. 
OH! So quick story. I was feeling like I hadn't gotten a letter in forever, again, times moves weird, it was probably only two days.  My companion was getting lots of packages and the other sisters in my district were getting letters and packages. I was just feeling sorry for myself. But Monday night, I said a prayer and asked for just one letter. Just a simple "hi we love you!" I walk to lunch the next day, and our DL, Elder Yagi, hands me ELEVEN pages of one dearelders letter from my mom. And the first line, from my amazing mama, was "I was going to put this in your package, but I felt I should send it now..." GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS! Of that I have no doubt!

What has been your biggest challenge this week?
Be patient. I am working on it though. 

What has been your biggest concern?
I don't have many concerns. This is he Lord's work. My life is in His hands.

What has been your biggest success?
Teaching by the Spirit. He is the true teacher, we are just the ones who relay the message. 

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?
Seeman Shimai. She is so strong and good. We are in no way a perfect companionship, but we work well together. 

What are you looking forward to this coming week?
We have kohai (younger missionaries) coming in!!! We are going to be DAISENPAI!!!

How has your testimony grown this week?
Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I have studied and prayed and asked for myself. I have received a witness of the truth. "Jospeh Smith has done more for the world, save Jesus alone, than any other man in history." Don't know who said it but I know it is true. 

I love you all!! 
ヘス・姉妹 🇯🇵💛

MTC - Week #5: He Will Make It Enough

What happened on the following days?:
Wednesday - We went to the temple that morning. Did laundry. You know. Missionary things. 

Thursday - We taught about faith and Jesus Christ. We showed him pictures of Christ. He noticed in the pictures I had that Jesus is always with little kids. I asked him why he thought that was. Super don't remember what he said. But it was a cool experience because I didn't plan that question. 

Friday - We taught Suzuki san. We taught him about Joseph Smith. We had taught him all these things before, but since we were so new and knew so little, we went super fast and not very deep. So we're going back. It's going well. We aren't using scripts which is nice. 

Saturday - we taught Fuchino san. 

Sunday - Elder Oaks daughter came and spoke to us at the devotional. It was awesome because she is this amazing violinist and so bore her testimony and then, with her children, who ALL play some instrument, they played a hymn. It was amazing. And her husband served a mission in Japan. So, when he spoke to us, he spoke first in Japanese and I super understood him! Well... mostly. Sister Seeman and I were released as STLS. 

Monday - it was just a normal day. We taught Fuchino san. We are attempting to teach about the Plan of Salvation. It was rough and jumbled, and we didn't explain satan very well, but we still have four weeks

Tuesday - Sister Joy Jones came and spoke to us. She and her husband are amazing. They had some amazing quotes. 
He told us that we are "responsible for our own happiness. If you are feeling gloomy it is because you have not accepted Christ's Atonement."
She said to us "we decide our own level of obedience." And "you cannot know who you are until you know who's you are." It was really excellent. 

What has been your biggest challenge this week?
Patience. We were challenged to pick a Christlike attribute and work to make it second nature. That was the one I chose. There were so many chances to be patient this week. Yaaaaay... 😶

What has been your biggest concern?
I'm not concerned about much. I know that this is the Lord's work and that it will happen as He needs it to. 

What has been your biggest success?
Teaching lessons with no notes. 

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?
Probably the choir director. He is just so good! Choir rehearsal is like a mini devotional! It's awesome. 

What are you looking forward to this coming week?
Choir. We are going to be singing some awesome music. I'm stoked!! Also the devotionals. They are always so good.

How has your testimony grown this week?
I know that this is God's work. I may have been called, but not because I am anyone special. He will make me who they need. No matter how good I am in the language or how well I know doctrine, He will make it enough. Nothing will stop His work from progressing. Even an awkward, English speaking gaijin. It will come because it needs to. 

Study Acts 5 ❤

愛していますみなさん!

ヘス・姉妹 🇯🇵💛

MTC - Week #4: Whom the Lord Calls, the Lord Qualifies

What happened on the following days?:
Wednesday - 
P-Day. Did laundry. Went to the temple. 

Thursday -
It was a long day. I'm going off of my journal. All it says is we taught. 

Friday -
We taught Fuchino san again. I went in with no notes. He asked questions and I was able to answer! It was awesome.

Saturday -
We did our second interview. I was supposed to interview McDorman Shimai. I felt with her I should get to know her first. I asked about her family and her goals and aspirations. You know? The basics. And we got to a lull after I had asked and the Spirit told me that she had something more to say. So I did. I told her that. She started to cry and told me how scared she was. She is super quiet and didn't know if she could go up to people on the street. So I got to be to her what Brother McCune was for me! I felt awesome. 

Sunday -
Sister Seeman and I taught RS. The topic was Repentance. We prayed beforehand and I felt that we should focus on music as she was praying. But I figured it was better to let her get to that conclusion. She looks at me and says "we should look up hymns!" So we did. It was an awesome lesson. Study the song "Where Can I Turn For Peace." It is excellent!!

Monday -
Awhile ago I was reading in the モルモン書 (Book of Mormon) and I read about how the people fasted in gratitude. And considering it was Halloween and sacrifice brings blessings, I decided I would fast in gratitude. It was so hard. But my day was great!! :)

Tuesday -
Yesterday we sang at the Devotional when President Nelson spoke. We sang Praise to the Man. 


What has been your biggest concern?
I have been working on being patient. It's hard. But I feel like through Christ and prayer I have been getting better. 

What has been your biggest success?
I still sang, as I was trained, in choir.

Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?
Jesus. I have been reading Jesus the Christ. It is excellent!!! It makes me so grateful for Him ❤️ and I know when I am frustrated and can't go to you, I can go to Him. :)

What are you looking forward to this coming week?
One week closer to Japan. Yay!

How has your testimony grown this week?
I know that the Spirit prompts us for us. I know that blessings when given by proper priesthood are from God. Age doesn't matter! Experience doesn't matter! Whom the Lord calls the Lord qualifies! 

ヘス・姉妹 🇯🇵💛

MTC - Week #3: I Know this for a Fact

Being an STL is super fun. We do interviews with the senior companion every Saturday night and, according to the handbook thing, we are "the missionaries for the missionaries." It's a cool calling! I like doing it even though our Sundays are kind of sucked away due to meetings.




What has been your biggest challenge this week?
    taking things so personally. I just internalize so much and I am working harder on laughing at myself. 


What has been your biggest concern?

   Sister Ohki. She has been going through some hard things. This whole week both Seeman Shimai and I have noticed that when she was with others she was very happy, but when she was alone, she would be very quiet and looking a little sad. I remember being alone with her in our residence before bed and I just felt the need to ask her how she was doing. When I did she answered, "I'm fine. How are you?" I felt kind of dumb asking after because it wasn't like it had any huge impact. A couple of days later, she opened up to me and Quispe Shimai about the things she has been struggling with. She had received a blessing for it, but it didn't make her decision any easier. She just sat and cried and told us. I gave her a quote that Quinlan gave me that said "it is okay to cry because you are human. Just remember to pick yourself up and move on." or something to that effect. It brought us much closer. :)


What has been your biggest success?

   OOOH! THIS IS A GOOD STORY! 
    I woke up Thursday morning, I think (all the days are blurred together). But we were supposed to be teaching Fuchino San. Our plan was to teach him about the Restoration, dispensations, prophets, and the Priesthood. I was in charge of the dispensation and prophets aspect. 
   We had that morning to prepare for our English lesson. I had been praying really hard to feel the Spirit through our broken Japanese. I got the impression, to base the lesson more on him. So as I studied, I used the pamphlet a lot. I used the scriptures, but I felt that I needed to explain prophets better. I was hit with an analogy. Fuchino San likes soccer. The coach is like God. The team captain is like the Prophet. The coach and the captain talk and then the captain tells the rest of the team! GRATEFUL FOR SOCCER! It seemed to make a lot of sense to him. and right before I used that analogy, we read Amos 3:7. He wanted to know what that meant, and Heavenly Father had provided me with the perfect answer! REVELATION IS REAL!!!!!


Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?

   There have been so many. Brother Aggett, the choir director, his daughter just came home from the Texas McAllen Mission. I super asked if he would find out if she and Gannon know each other. That was a huge blessing. And every rehearsal is like a mini devotional.
   The other one that stands out in particular, is Jesus. Yesterday, I decided because we had no lessons to prepare for, that I would focus my day on Christ. I was reading Jesus The Christ. I love that book. Then, an hour into that, Ohki Shimai sent the district a link to this article called "the Perfect Lie." If you have the means, I highly recommend looking it up. It is SO choice! It was more about the Atonement. Then we had class and then food and then choir. In choir, we sang Jesus Once of Humble Birth and we learned more about Christ's Atonement. I learned that even if you only learn a little bit a day, you will be closer to Christ. The thing that brought me closer, was hearing that the Holy Ghost could have just told Christ how to succor people in certain instances, but that Christ chose to feel everything so that He would know personally and perfectly how to help us. ALSO! Look up the story entitled "The Room." IT IS SO GOOD!!!!


What are you looking forward to this coming week?

   Choir. Learning more about Christ. You know. Same ole, same ole.


How has your testimony grown this week?
   Iesu Kirisuto wa watshitachi no sukuinushi da to shitte imasu. Iesu Kirusto wa watashitacho o aishiteimasu. Soshite, Iesus Kirisuto no Aganai wa Iesu Kirisuto no erabumashita. Iesu Kirisuto o sumu da toshite imasu. Watashi wa fukuin o aishiteimasu. Iesu Kirisuto no mina ni yotte, o akashi shimasu, amen. 
   Also, another quick story in English. We were teaching Takase Kyodai (aka Suzuki San) and it was just a spur of the moment lesson, where he was teaching us how to encourage people to pray because in Japan, that is weird, I guess... And so Seeman Shimai and I did it. I went with no notes. There was no time. It was literally right after he announced what we would be doing. I talked the most. I don't remember a lot of what I said, but in the end, he told us that he felt pushed, but not pressured, which made me feel really good!
I know that Heavenly Father will bless us with the gift of tongues when we have prepared and are worthy. I know that what I told Takase Kyodai wasn't my words, but God's. THIS CHURCH IS TRUE! THOMAS S. MONSON IS A PROPHET! God listens when we pray! I know this for a fact.

-Hess Shimai :)