Charlie’s MTC experience is nearly over–just two more weeks until he departs for Japan–and his adventures (or that is, misadventures) continue to inspire and amuse us. While he is thoroughly enjoying his time in training, he is eager to go to Japan and begin “real” missionary life. He is teaching actor investigators in Japanese on a regular basis, and that can make for some funny mishaps when you’re not yet fluent in the language. Ahh, the joy of mastering the gift of tongues! Sometimes it’s nicer when you can’t understand people! This week we meet Takayuki-san, a young man Charlie and his companions have been teaching, and find out the difference between the Book of Mormon in English and that in Japanese (apart from the language, that is. Wait, what?!)
So this week has been packed full of stuff to write about. Where should I start? Maybe I shouldn’t even start at all. That would be easier. But by now you’re curious and I don’t want to leave you hanging. On Friday we had a lesson with Clark Kyodai’s [Brother Clark’s] actor investigator, whose name is Takayuki-san. He’s a firefighter and his whole family is dead. (By the way he is role-playing as one of his investigators from his mission.) He loves TV and baseball. We’ve been really focusing lately on making sure he understands that his family is waiting for him on the other side. Also, we’ve been focusing on the importance of faith in the Savior. In our lesson on Friday we were going to teach about going to church, but we felt he wasn’t really understanding the Atonement. So we decided to teach about the Atonement because that was what we felt like the investigator needed. There was no planning for that one involved, and the lesson went very, very well. I shared with Takayuki-san (whose family is actually dead in real life) Mosiah 14:3-5, which is the same as Isaiah 53:3-5. An excellent scripture about the Atonement, and I told him it was my favorite scripture. So we finished the lesson and went back to the classroom, feeling really good about how the lesson went.
Then Clark Kyodai came back into the room and wrote a scripture on the board: Jacob 6:3-5. We opened to it and it was about the prophet Jacob proclaiming repentance, telling everyone that they were a wicked and gainsaying people. A little confused, we asked him, “Why did you have us read this?” He started laughing and said, “This is the scripture you shared during Takayuki’s lesson.” We busted out laughing and immediately knew what happened. I had looked up the scripture from Mosiah in the English scriptures, and then told him to go to the same page number in the Book of Mormon in Japanese, which happens to be in Jacob 6, not Mosiah 14! Thankfully Clark Kyodai guessed which scripture we were trying to share, and just went along with it. Because we had him read it in Japanese, we had no idea what Takayuki-san was saying, so we had no idea after he read it that it was the wrong scripture. I think it was at this point that I told him this was my favorite scripture! Never making that mistake again!
Want to hear another funny story? One day after lunch, I went to go grab my scripture bag from the shelves in the cafeteria only to find it was gone. My first thought was, “What the heck? Who would steal scriptures in the MTC? That’s just wrong. CHIGAU*.” But after looking around for a bit, I found an identical scripture bag on a different shelf. I knew it wasn’t mine, because it was kind of dirty and old, but I opened it to see whose it was, assuming that they had mistaken my scriptures for theirs. Inside I found a quad with the name Elder Gooch engraved on it. I laughed so hard! Poor Elder Gooch. Later at the MTC front office I found my scriptures, so it all worked out. But ever since then, whenever my companions or I can’t find something, we say “It got gooched!” I have since tried to locate the mysterious Elder Gooch. Elder Goldhamer has spotted him once, and only a few days ago did I spot someone wearing his name tag – and I didn’t catch his face. He’s kind of like the Loch Ness Monster. Or Bigfoot. The MTC Gooch.
*chigau–to differ; to be wrong or mistaken; in this context, he is simply repeating “That’s just wrong” in Japanese.
Did I mention last week that Elder Bednar came and gave us another devotional last Tuesday? What he says is always very powerful. As usual with that guy, it was SUBARASHII [wonderful]. Those apostles know how to lay it down. I wonder if… it’s because they’re apostles? I don’t know. Just a thought.
How’s my favorite little sister?! Thank you so much for all the wonderful letters you’ve been diligently sending me. I love getting them from you, and they always brighten my day! I especially loved your Mulan reference. Has the MTC made me a man? Wakarimasen. [I don’t know.] Most missionaries definitely aren’t men until after their missions. And then some haven’t even manned up after that. But we’ll see about me. I’ve been told that the only way to become a true man on the mission is to focus on other people first. When you’re thinking about other people, you change for the better.