It's snowing outside!
Elder Soto and I have taught eight lessons so far. The investigators are characters that the teachers roleplay, but we treat them like real investigators. Our first investigator is Oyama-san, who's married with two kids (ages 16 and 11). She moved to Utah from Japan and met the missionaries at their English language class. The teacher who roleplays her started teaching us for half of the time this past week. She's a really fun teacher. Our other investigator, who we started teaching this week, is Iida-san. He's been divorced for six or eight years, and he lives in Tokyo all by himself with no family and no friends. He's sixty years old and in poor health. He had read the Bible a little bit and felt good about it, and he's been to a few different Christian churches. He met the missionaries at the train station and they gave him a Book of Mormon. The teacher who roleplays him is the one who met us in our classroom the first day. The teachers here are BYU students who served missions in Japan.
My Japanese is coming along rather well for only having studied it for three weeks. They told us that if we focus on learning the language, we won't learn much at all, but if we focus on our purpose (helping people come to Christ), everything else will come--the language, the teaching skills, everything. It's true. ^__^
Elder L. Tom Perry came and his wife came and spoke at ournight devotional this week. Elder Perry talked mostly about missionary companionships, but he also mentioned something that I want to talk about. A couple weeks ago I was reading the Book of Mormon with the intent of studying Christ's character, and in in the beginning of 1 Nephi 2 I noticed this: When the Lord comes to Lehi in a dream, the first thing he says is, "Blessed art thou, Lehi." Even though, in this verse, the Lord came to bring what would seem to be bad news (namely, the people of Jerusalem want to kill Lehi and he therefore needs to leave the city), He started his message by talking about Lehi's success and the resulting blessings. Christ is very optimistic. Elder Perry told the story of Alma and Amulek and the city of Ammonihah, and he pointed out that same pattern. After the people of Ammonihah rejected Alma's message and kicked him out of the city, he started on his way to the next town, and he was probably somewhat depressed. An angel came to him and used that same pattern in his message: he started by talking about Alma's success in keeping the commandments and the blessings that came from that. The angel then told Alma to go back to Ammonihah and try again. Both of those messages were uplifting and optimistic--and that's the way Christ is.
So, new missionaries come to the MTC every, but we get new Japanese-speaking missionaries every third . Except, apparently the Church closed down the Tokyo MTC for whatever reason, so they've started flying the native Japanese-speaking missionaries out here to Provo. Those missionaries only stay here for two weeks, just like the stateside missionaries do, and they arrive here earlier in the week.
Love you all!
P.S. There's this website called DearElder.com where (as I understand it) you can type a letter to a missionary and it'll be printed out at the MTC or their mission office for free. It's convenient. ^.^