Wednesday, October 26, 2016

MTC - Week #1: Nothing will stop the work from progressing, even a language barrier

Wednesdays are my our p-days!

Things are going so well! Seeman Shimai is GREAT! I love her :) 

My district is made up of four Shimai and six chōrō. The four Shimai are Quispe Shimai from Georgia, Ohki Shimai from Hawaii, and Seeman Shimai from California. They are all really nice, but they all went through a year of college first so I kind of feel like a fish out of water. The six chōrō are Haskins Chōrō from Fort Worth, Texas (he low key reminds me of Gannon), Terry Chōrō from Las Vegas, Yagi Chōrō is from Utah, Marshall Chōrō is from Idaho, Bourgeois Chōrō is from Hawaii and his companion, Pozernick Chōrō is from Hurricane and played
football with Jeff! They are all really nice. Marshall Chōrō was originally called to Russia, but was reassigned to Sendai. He has had some trouble adjusting but he is a great guy with an awesome testimony. His companion Yagi Chōrō is going to Sapporo. The only one in our batch. Pozernick, Bourgeois, and Ohki are all going to Tokyo, but all the rest of us are Sendai. Quispe Shimai and I are known as the prodigies of the group. We speak fairly well, but we still have a LOT to learn.

I have two Sensei. Sanderson kyōdai who arrived in Nagoya and came back two years ago, and Driscoll kyōdai who served in Tokyo South and came home three months ago.

I got both of your dearelders and loved them! Thank you!! This week has been the most challenging of my life. Adjusting to the new language and the new rules and the new LIFE was so hard.

On Thursday night, we met our branch presidency. They interviewed everyone but they didn't have time to get to me and two elders. Then they came Sunday morning and I was in a separate room with Seeman Shimai studying PMG and the scriptures quietly, so Brother McCune, the branch second counselor, interviewed the two elders but not me. When we were all together in the classroom, Brother and Sister McCune then spoke to us about Enos and his prayer. It was such a good lesson, and before Sacrament, I got my interview.

I went into a separate room with Brother McCune and the first thing he said to me was "How are you doing Sister Hess? You looked a little overwhelmed in there." I sat there for a second and really took inventory of myself. I immediately felt the relief of his words. He knew what I was going through and that relief released tears.

Before continuing, he said a prayer. In the prayer he asked Father in Heaven to bless me with the remembrance of the plan that He had set before my mission. That I would know that my family was safe and that I would be blessed to know how loved I am. That prayer just made me cry more. This man knew nothing about my life or what had occurred before my mission me yet he prayed with the knowledge of a man who had lived my life with me. Prayer is real. Heavenly Father listened and revelation happens!

At the end of the prayer, I told him a short history of my pre mission journey. I relayed to him that I seemed to know before I got my call that I would go to Sendai. I told him about the answers  that I had received.

He says to me "Now my prayer makes more sense. Sister Hess, I am going to tell you something that you are NEVER to forget. You have been called of God to serve the people of Japan. It is very rare for a missionary to know where they are going before they get their call, but Heavenly Father gave you that insight so that you might have an unwavering testimony of the divinity of your call. The adversary is working you hard. You are a good person. You are going to do amazing things, and the adversary knows it. He is doing everything in his power to keep you from realizing your potential. I have been in the selection process. I have seen how it works. You were on the mind of a prophet   He saw your picture, read your background and then assigned you to the Japan Sendai Mission. Never question it again. You have been called of God!"

As he spoke, I cried harder, though it seemed impossible to do so. How did this man know exactly what I was feeling?

"You have received confirmation, haven't you? You know it's true."


"Your family will be blessed because of your service."

The words from his lesson came back and I realized my error. I was feeling so vulnerable because I have not been praying as I was used to. Being with a companion made it hard to pray so personally and aloud. I told him.

"Mouth the words or whisper them. Pray in your native language. Take a moment and let you be yourself. Before you pray, prepare yourself by ignoring everything around you and just be by yourself. Then pray." That was his counsel and I have listened to it and I have been so happy ever since. Making it until the first Sunday is a real thing to do! It was like a literal mountain and now It isn't as steep of an incline.

I got to pray after and it felt so good to just let it all out! I love praying!!!!

This week: Just assume that every day I have spent studying. Mostly Japanese. And mostly in preparation for our "lessons." We have an "investigator" named Suzuki San. He is so awesome! I love him. It's really hard to teach in a new language, but there have been times when sentences and phrases have come to mind as I teach that are not on our script and yet I say it. It's a really cool thing that happens and the Gift of Tongues is real! That's what we do. We wake up, we get ready, we got to class, we study and some days teach, then we eat, then we study as our Sensei teaches, then we eat, then we study, then we get ready for bed, some last minute studying and then sleep. Exciting, no?

I already told you my challenge! Wooh!

My biggest concern has been you guys and the language. But, now I know that nothing will stop the work from progressing, even a language barrier. I will keep studying and working and I was blessed with the gift of Tongues. I choose to believe that blessing. It will come when it comes :)

Favorite person: Brother McCune. He was unafraid to tell me straight up what's up.

Significant tender mercy: the letters, the package from the Dowds (shoutout!) and prayer.

This coming week: getting better at Japanese. I can bear my testimony and pray. But I can't wait to learn more!

Scripture: 2 Kings 5 and the story of Naaman. I have never had so much revelation due to one chapter of scripture it was amazing. Study it and we will compare notes next week :) #mychallegetoyou

My testimony has grown! Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. We, Seeman Shimai and I, got to sing in the MTC choir during the Tuesday devotional. Elder Bednar came and it was broadcasted to all the worlds MTCs. It was such a cool experience!

Watashi no Akashi wa Thomas S. Monson wa Kamaisama no yogensha da toshite imasu. Iesu Kirisuto wa watashitachi no sukuinishi desu. Watashi wa Kamaisama no Senkyōshi desu. Kore wa fukuin wa shinjitsu desu. Kamaisama wa watashitachi no Tem no Otōsama desu. Soshite, watashitachi o aishitemasu! Josefu Simisu wa yogensha deshita. Soshite, Kare wa Kamisama to Iesu Kirisuto o mitemashita.

Watashi wa kazoku o aishitemasu. Okasan o totemo aishitemasu! DOMO ARIGATOUGOZAIMASU!
- Sister Hess (ヘス・姉妹) 🇯🇵💛

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Before Departure

Q sent me this just before Dierden reported to the MTC. I don't know why Facetime wasn't working on my phone, but I did get to talk to her via phone. She was SO EXCITED!....and scared. ;)

MTC - First Day

I've never heard of a missionary contacting his/her family on the very first day in the MTC, but sure 10:15pm on October 5th, I was checking my email, and there it was:

I have survived my first day! I am so tired, but the Gift of Tongues is real. My companion's name is Seeman Shimai. She is from San Diego and she is super cool. I brought too much haha whoops! I love you lots! I already love the work! The Church is true!
-Hess Shimai :)

It was SO GREAT to hear from her!

I was super surprised to hear that she'd taken too much. ;) Her bags were surprisingly both underweight when she flew out of Portland. As one who served in the same mission she's heading to, I know you can't get away with taking one season's worth of clothing--like her older sister did as she headed to the Philippines. She had to take things for the coldest winter as well as the hottest summer....She's good and set. 

After this email, I learned that this seems to be a new norm for the MTC. I had learned from a number of parents that they'd received an email from their kids. The only thing I wished she'd included was a clue as to when her P-day would be and when we should be receiving our first official email. :)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Little Bit of Background - The Call

As we are already a number of months into this journey, I thought it might be good to start with a bit of background...a brief timeline....

Let's start at the beginning. Dierden submitted her papers in mid-May. The call came within a couple weeks--VERY FAST when compared to a typical mission call.

She had placed her date of availability as September 4th, her birthday...

The Opening
Posted by Julie Hess on Saturday, May 28, 2016