Watashi no kazoku desu!
It's my first P-day in the MTC and so I'm able to email you today! I'm so excited to hear from you guys. So much has happened in the last week as I'm sure you probably guessed. I'm rooming with two Senpai (senior companions) and my companion and they are all awesome. My companion is Elder Montes de Oca and he's a funny elder (i would say guy or dude but we aren't allowed to say that in the mtc or in the mission field!). I've made a lot of friends here and my teachers are awesome. Well, most of the teachers are awesome. Anyways, I want to let you guys know some of the things I've been up to. I've been studying Nihongo everyday for 5 hours a day, going over my PMG (Preach my Gospel for future reference) for about the same amount of time. My Japanese is pretty good but I know I'm going to need the full 12 weeks here...it's been humbling. I had to give a prayer in the branch Priesthood meeting (in Japanese!!) and it went really well. I impressed my Zone Leaders (they stood up after my prayer and told me it was the best prayer from a Kouhai -Jr. Companion - they've heard). I had to give another prayer later and I struggled through it for some reason. It was good to be humbled!!
I want to talk a little about some of the spiritual experiences I've had here. Some famous Japanese singer came and spoke to our Branch (he's LDS) and told us this amazing conversion story for himself and then his brother who was asked to be baptized by Elders practicing their japanese in the mtc. I have to admit, the whole story brought me to tears. I'd be slightly embarrassed anywhere else, but in the mtc I know I'm not being judged for feeling and being affected by the Spirit (Seirei if you remember that dad).
My district has 7 people in it, two aussies (Australians), a Brazilian, and my companion is from Japan (though he's actually spanish and doesn't speak very much Japanese. The internationals outweigh us Americans. It's crazy. My district leader is this 20 year old Australian guy and he is awesome. He suggested we all bear our testimonies to each other one of the days and so we did, and the spirit was so strong. If I could offer any advice to future missionaries (Miles) and the rest of my family it would be to search the scriptures and bear your testimony everyday. I know that sounds like a lot but it will bring such great happiness to you.
Mom, I hope you know I miss you very much and think about you often. You are very wonderful and I promise I'll write you every week.
Dad, the advice you gave in your letter meant so much to me. I'll treasure it and follow the counsel you gave me.
Brittany, you are an oshiri kao. That means butt face in bad japanese. But I love you and miss you.
Miles, keep reading your scriptures! Pray to know if it's true. I promise the Lord will bless you. Do well in school and try hard in everything you do. Work hard in swim team too. And do football if you can! I love you bro.
Matthew, I hope you know that I am listening to my Heavenly Father. I love you very much.
I just want to reiterate that I'm doing great here, I'm having a lot of fun, making a lot of memories, and I'm being strengthened through hard work, a tough schedule, and a loving Heavenly Father.
PS Send me a camera kudasai!! There are things I want to show you guys!