Sunday, November 29, 2015

Six Full Weeks/Thanksgiving Week in MTC


I'm emailing today because of the different 'Thanksgiving week schedule' we're having. I can't believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I remember exactly one year ago from yesterday we arrived at the cabin up by Mt. Rainer. They was one of my favorite Thanksgivings for many reasons. We had so many people there. We played Betrayal at House on the Hill among other games. Ate awesome food. It snowed. And my favorite part was video-taping my interviews with Bubba and Gammies. By the way, those interviews should be on my external hard drive if you want to try and find them.  I'm super excited. We will be involved in a service project with one of the Twelve Apostles!!! They haven't told us which one it is but I'm betting it's Elder Bednar or Elder Holland. I won't have P-Day this week so we are emailing today, doing laundry tomorrow morning, and going to the temple Friday morning.

I need to know what gender Makena and Bryant's baby is!!! I got Brooklynn and Jonsie's email, totally called it by the way XD If Makena's baby is a boy I will be so happy! Remember, I called it months ago!

The MTC life is good. My understanding of the language, speaking it, and teaching lessons are all improving at an accelerated rate. Welch Chōrō and I are teaching more to the needs of our kyudosha (investigators) so we don't follow our lesson plans as strictly anymore. I see this as a good thing. It's not easy to teach in the mission language, but it is getting much, much better. I'm working on memorizing the First Vision and Moroni 10:4-5 Nihongo de. Our district goal is to SYL (speak your language) itsumo (always). That is probably the most difficult part of Nihongo for me right now because I am very bad at recall. Memorizing is one thing, recalling that knowledge is something else. But I am steadily improving :) One of my chōrōs got a love interest from Dowell Shimai. It started out as talking about what we like in the opposite gender. Then Dowell Shimai told Voorhees Chōrō that one of her friends fit his checklist exactly. Now they are emailing. What a story this will make if the very unlikely happens XD.

I greatly appreciate the package you sent me! The stuffing, banana bread, and rolls are awesome! I demolished the stuffing and banana bread in two days, with a little help from my chōrōtachi (elders, multiple). But I still ate like 96% of it all XD the leaves are great, thank you. I totally forgot about the Girl Scout stuff I ordered. The notes and pictures were amazing! Thank you so much. My district now knows what watashi no subarashi kazoku (my wonderful family) looks like :) You guys still need to give me your shirt sizes as soon as you can.

Make sure you guys have a good Thanksgiving for me at home. Remember me because I know I'm going to be thinking of you. Also, small side note, Frozen came out exactly two up years ago from tomorrow XD There won't be a big dinner for us but I will be filled in more ways than one.

For DEVO we sang "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer". Very good arrangement! I've been doing more celestial service each week. Make sure you tell Dad that XD

I haven't felt any sting impressions this week. Nothing new that is. However, I have been told my many people that I have a different spirit about me. That I look better, different. I do not feel anything new, but they seem to. Even if you don't feel like you are improving don't stop. Others are paying attention and can be inspired by you.  Even if all your doing is something simple. Keep going and do not stop. I do not intend to stop or give up. Ai shite imasu!

Pikoku Chōrō
Devotional in MTC

Room with a view

Sunset at MTC


Elder Peacock with companion head mix-up (2 Davids??)

Elder Welch with companion head mix-up (2 Elder Welches??)

Companions at Provo Temple (Elder Peacock, Elder Welch)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 6 in MTC Watashi no Subarashi Kazoku!

Watashi no Subarashi Kazoku!

This week has been the most challenging week so far at the MTC. I was able to talk to a couple of my teachers and they assured me I am doing just fine. Addressing the issue that I felt like I was falling behind, they said I really have been doing well and that they were addressing more of the reclassify in general than me or any one person.   Welch Chōrō and I were in the middle of planning a lesson when this started and my focus just got worse and worse and worse. I believe I was experiencing a stupor of thought. I tried to wish alive what to say and tried formulating sentences and I literally saw a blank page when I tried to.  

Other than that I'm doing well. I've grown closer to Welch Chōrō and my district this past week. It's a district goal to become like a family and I believe we are on the right path. We had a lesson yesterday where we had a plan, didn't follow it at all because we were following the Holy Ghost, and have lots of questions to answer XD Welch Chōrō and I both had times where we were able to understand and respond quickly and correctly. So  cool!!! We also got new Kohai (new missionaries) yesterday and our entire zone is so excitedly! A few of us had a sleepover last night in my residence room so that was great. We have a sleepover every Wednesday night.

I like the haircut I got. Literally 5 min haircut. So fast! At the end they used a VACUUM to get the hair clippings off me. I liked that XD I love the cookies Jake, and all of the pictures and letters/notes you sent me. Every time I eat a cookie I get a shot of homesickness. I'm glad you sent me that package. The food is fine. I've been eating pretty healthy with salads, wraps, cottage cheese with veggies, and hot cereal in the morning. I swear, NO ONE appreciates cracked wheat for the amazing thing it is. Really though.

I know that it's hard here. It's part of the refiners fire. I know God has forgiven me and that he loves me. I'm going to move forward with faith is the Lord Jesus Christ. They are my heavenly family. I am so glad you guys are my earthly family. Please never, ever, ever, ever, ever lose faith in Jesus Christ. Taksan ai shite imasu!

Pikoku Chōrō (Elder Peacock)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nov. 12, 2015 Wk 5 of MTC

Konichiwa Kazoku!

This week has been flying! I've been here for four whole weeks, I can't believe it. The days are going by a little faster as well. It helps that it's been a fun week. We had some Nihongin (native Japanese speakers) come this week. In total we have eight new elders in our zone. Most of them can speak English very well which helps so I don't have to (try to) translate. They are a good group of elders and I'm glad they are here. They will be here for two weeks at which point they will fly out to their respective missions in Japan.

Kali Gillespie flew out yesterday to Texas so she should be having her first full day there today. It was great to see here while she was here. Also, the elders going to Salem, Oregon flew out yesterday as well so they should be there as we speak. Elder Ashby is the one I know by name. But there should be a handful of elders total that arrived yesterday. I really hope you can meet them.

A few other fun things that happened this week is that we got a new classroom! When the sempai left there were five classrooms that became available so we asked to switch. We got one with much better ventilation, a lot more space, a taller ceiling, AND A WINDOW!!! We can see outside DURING CLASS! It's kind of a big deal for us XD That same day we ended up not teaching any lessons because Welch Chōrō and I kept getting called in to the front desk to pick up Nihongin. So we had two lessons that we were able to have ready for the next day. That was pretty nice. Lets see, what else...oh, we totally got Chik-fil-a for dinner the other night. It was my splurge XD Loved it. It also snowed a few days ago. Nothing stuck but it was nice. We woke up yesterday to the mountains looking like a winter dream!! So gorgeous!!!! I didn't think to take a picture though.

For Tuesday DEVO we sang Nearer My God to Thee for the choir. Loved it so much! Elder Hugo Montoya was the speaker and he talked about being genuine among other good stuff. But being genuine is what I came away with. An interesting thing happened while Elder Montoya spoke. My back, specifically my left side mid back area, began to have pain. The pain increased all the way through our district meeting after DEVO until I got back to residence. At which point is ceased completely 30 minutes before lights out. I asked my elders if there was anything visibly wrong with my back and they said there wasn't. The pain hasn't persisted so that's good.

My times almost up so I'll just say that I really love you guys. Your support and love is totomo  taisetsu. I miss you guys but I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I testify that the redeeming and enabling power of Christ's atonement is real. Ai shite imasu kazoku!

Pikoku Chōrō

Amazing sunburst in blue sky near MTC

Bright smiles with Elder Peacock & companion at Provo Temple

Care Package stash in closet at MTC

Elder Peacock with mystery cute! :)

MTC in Fall

Fellow Japanese Missionaries in MTC

P-day with 'off-duty' elders

Hallween in MTC classroom

Japanese lesson on chalkboard

Japanese language class

Leafless trees at MTC

Masses, crowds, and multitudes...Oh My!

Large group photo with Japanese Missionaries in MTC

New haircut at MTC

Red Japanese Maple Leaf

Red Japanese Maple tree at Provo Temple

Shining shoes at MTC

Sunburst at MTC

Sunburst reflected off MTC

Waking up on the bottom bunk at the MTC

Saturday, November 7, 2015

2015.11.5 Happy November Week 4 in the MTC

Ohayō Gozaimas Kazoku! [Good Morning!]

Halloween at the MTC was pretty good. Unfortunately there wasn't a meal change, but we had candy so that was good. I let myself have chocolate milk for two meals, that was my real treat because I didn't have very much candy :D To be honest this is the healthiest I have ever eaten in my life. For breakfast I have hot cereal with cinnamon, nuts, and some fruit chunks. No sugar at all. Then for the other two meals I always have a bowl full of carrots and celery with cottage cheese to dip into. I'm only drinking skim milk for one meal and water for the other two. Thus far I have lost five pounds since being in the MTC! I have also been exercising twice a day. During my main gym time and also a mini workout before bed.

Which reminds me. I meant to tell you last week, but I had to go see the doctor. Here's why. After a week since I started running here my knee started acting up. It got worse and worse to the point that when I went to the temple on P-Day I was going up the stairs and walking like I was 90. I made an appointment the next day. The doctor talked with me, then sent me to the BYU student health clinic to get x-rays. Went back to the doctors that same hour and looked at the x-rays with Dr. Nelson. They revealed that there were no torn ligaments and there was no cancer or anything serious at all. So the doctor suspects it's inflammation. Told me to stop running and doing squats and to start taking ibuprofen every day. I did as the doctor ordered and the pain stopped. I met with him this past Friday and he told me I could start running again but to bring up the activity very slowly. He said if it flares back up he will arrange to have me meet with a Sport Med Doc from BYU. So as of right now I have just been working out with Stolworthy Chōrō [Elder] (the Justin Bieber look-alike) in the weight room. He's kind of been my personal trainer and he helped me set a weight goal to be 200 or 195 by the time we fly out to Japan. I'll start running again this week though.

I'm getting my hair cut today with my doryo Welch Chōrō [Elder] at 10:30. I'm excited to get my neck and sides trimmed :-) Today I am going to the temple so I'm pretty excited for that! I've gotten some dry cleaning done this week which has been nice. Honestly, the meals are fine for me. But again, I'm being pretty healthy compared to 85% of the missionaries here. Our district determined that Jeremiah 4:19 and a few of the following verses should be the official MTC scripture. I was able to see Kali [a friend from BYU-Idaho] the day after she came in. I've been able to see her at dinner because our mealtime overlaps a little. I've also sat with her at DEVOs. She flys out next Tuesday I think. It's been nice to see her. I was actually able to Host again this Wednesday! It was super awesome, I love seeing the new missionaries. But my zone isn't getting new missionaries until I think either next week or the week after. So we went from 8 districts to the 2 we have now. What a difference sacrament meeting will be this Sunday :D

Also, just a side note, but I became zone leader this past Sunday! So that night I had to help get all of the sempai [senior missionaries] checked out of their rooms. That was fun ;) As they cleaned and organized they bestowed on us their massive treasure troves of snacks, candy, hygiene items, and other assorted stuff! I won't have to buy shampoo or soap while I'm here at the MTC. :D

As I've strived to enlist the powers of heaven I have experienced a lot of frustration with the language, especially lately. Some days I'm fine, but others I just don't get a lot of the stuff. Yesterday was the worst. When the teacher would talk to explain something, there was a period of about 30 min that this happened. I literally couldn't understand a word he said. It was as if my brain was shut off. I asked him again and again to repeat. I talked to him about what I was experiencing and he assured me that he wasn't upset. I felt pretty useless in our lesson later that night. I could say anything I wanted to. I feel that the Lord is testing my faith. I understand and was quick to remember this last night before our lesson. Even though I still couldn't say much. I know the Lord loves me and that he is testing me because he wants me to be purified and to rely on him more. Especially since I've been bad at relying on him for a while. And yes, I am taking my anti-depressant :-) I don't mean to worry you guys. I just want you to know that I am beginning to experience the trial of my faith which means I am doing the right stuff to rely on God for his help. Please pray for me, specifically that I will receive more faith beyond my own that I will endure these trials. Because even though I have faith, I need more. Thank you for all of your love Kazoku!

Ai (love),
Pikoku (David) Chōrō

I'm going to send home a notebook that I have used up. I am also sending home a letter. It will say a lot of the same stuff as this email, but I needed to write a physical letter. Also, I was finally able to do some "celestial service" yesterday. Please tell Dad. :D I'm going to send some pictures your way and I'll try to include captions. Ai shite imasu

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, November 1, 2015

P-Day #2 in MTC

Ohayō Gozaimas!!! (means 'Good Morning')

I can't believe I've been here a two full week! It's crazy! :D

Right now I'm doing laundry. Later on I'm planning on dropping off dry
Cleaning, getting my hair cut, going to the temple, and playing Zone
Volleyball. I really like P-Days.

This past week has been an exciting one! Tuesday night DEVO was Neil
A. Anderson. He talked about Sacrifice, opposition, adversary, and
deliverance. What I took away was that "we all gave something up to be
here". Whatever it might have been. I definitely have so it hit me
with force. Also, I sang in the MTC choir that night, More Holiness
Give Me, great hymn by Phillip Bliss. There was also a moment this
week where the Holy Ghost testified to me that my sins had been
forgiven and that Christ is right beside me. I was able to share these
feelings with my district and I know they felt it. I was very happy in
that moment.

Yesterday I was able to 'Host' the new arriving missionaries. And Kali
Gillespie came in yesterday so I was hoping to see her. But I never
did. I found out that we can host missionaries of the opposite gender
up until where they need to go to their dorms. At which point we
switch hosts to suit the missionary. But the very first missionary I
hosted is an elder coming to Salem, Oregon! I told him about you guys
and we both started freaking out! It was awesome :D

Also, I got an iPad so I don't need to buy a new camera. This means I
can start sending you pictures and also receive your reply to emails much
more quickly today and the rest of forever. Also, that Google sign in
was me on my iPad. I can read emails all week, so {if you want} you can send them
throughout. But I can't reply. There is a monitoring service active on
my iPad that sends ALL info to my branch president. I've already
downloaded a few apps that I was told to take off. :D Nothing bad,
don't worry. It was a dictionary, a tie app, a flash card app, and an
LDS art app (go figure on that last one).

I'm going to send a few emails of just pictures so you'll get quite a
few today :D

Ai shite imasu!
Pikoku (David) Chōrō

Sent from my iPad

Poem David wrote in MTC: The Prison Room :)

This one and the one before it contain my first talk written in
Romanji Japanese (Japanese words spelled out with English characters)

This one and the one before it contain my first talk written in
Romanji Japanese (Japanese words spelled out with English characters)

This photo was taken at the Provo Temple by Eric Koford, originally from Salem, Oregon, who ran into David and his companion, who is one of Eric's former lacrosse players.