This is Kobe, Japan.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More From the MTC : .......... 27 July 2010

Week 4
Mission Log
Not much has changed since the last time that I contacted you. They've been monitoring me closely and attempting to keep me to the same tight schedule every week. They monitor when I go to class, when I go to the gym, and even when/what I eat. I was lucky to be able to get a away for a moment just now. I check each meal for poison, but I still haven't detected any. If they've discovered my identity, they are choosing not to eliminate me. I wonder what exactly it is they have planned for me. I was able to smuggle in a camera and take some pictures that could show everyone what this place is really like and what's going on here, but I don't have the proper cord to attach my camera to their computer system, and I haven't been able to obtain one.
Each week, on Thursday, we go to a special training session. They refer to it as the TRC. There are two parts to this training session. First, we practice doing various tasks or missions in the Japanese language. This last week, we had to pick up one of the "investigators" at their "house" then get that "investigator" onto the "bus" and take them to the secret meeting house referred to as a "church." It's pretty difficult to understand what the "investigators" are trying to say to me in Japanese, but we prepare for the task and have a relatively easy time saying what we want to say. The second portion of this mission is to teach someone a lesson. We have been doing them all in English so far, but a week from Thursday we will begin doing that in Japanese as well.
I've picked up on their code language that I've been referring to as Japanese quite well. I'm at the point where I don't make any more mistakes, and I sound as if I'm a native Japanese speaker when I talk. I often correct all of Japanese people's grammar. I'm actually better at Japanese now than I am at English. I had to write this very mission log in Japanese and have someone else translate it to English so that you would all be able to read it. (I think he is joking-Mom )
I have yet to meet any of their leaders that they call "Apostles," but I'm planning on being on this mission for quite a while. So, I'm sure I'll have that opportunity. Apparently, the Sunday right before I got here was a mission president training session and they had the whole First Presidency and ten out of the twelve Apostles here. I wish that I could have been here.
I've seen a few of the other under-cover agents here that I knew from BYU.
I have to go now. Some of their guards have just breached the perimeter that I've set up. I'll attempt to contact you again next week.
-Elder Isaac Swift

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

20 July 2010

Week 3
Mission Log
Hello. Things are going pretty well here. My companion is from Utah. He's totally a Utah type of person. I don't think he's ever left Utah for more than like two days. He basically has to live in Utah for his whole life, because I don't think he could handle it anywhere else. He's OK though. There are no other Elders from Washington in my district, but in the other district; going to Japan at the same time, there is one Sister from Washington. Also, one of my teachers was from Spokane.
It's just the same thing here every day. I do the exact same things. I go to the exact same buildings on the small campus that I can't leave. And, I see the exact same people. I literally might go insane from this. There is a very high possibility. I like it here a lot, but doing the exact same thing every day is making me crazy.

We just had a shoe shining party. It was pretty sweet. We actually shine shoes for fun here. My shoes have never been this shiny before. I didn't know it was possible for shoes to be this shiny. It's just bizarre.
It's pretty great here. Everyone around is really nice and awesome and most of them are somewhat fun. We're always doing Japanese stuff or gospel stuff. That's pretty fun. It's nice to not have to worry about school or work or anything like that. You can just focus on being a missionary. Also, we have a devotional every Tuesday and a fireside every Sunday. It's really sweet. The devotional is always a general authority and the fireside is always somebody who's super awesome, but not a general authority. Last Sunday the director of the MTC spoke at the fireside. He's also my teacher's father. He was so good. At today's devotional we think that there's going to be an apostle. They don't tell us who is speaking ahead of time. The last two devotionals were both by Emeritus Seventies, and we hear that they like to have an apostle speak about every three weeks so that even the English speaking missionaries who are only here for three weeks will get to hear from an apostle at least once. I'm pretty excited for it.
If it weren't for pizza day and ice cream day, I would seriously go insane and start breaking stuff. I even wear the same thing every day. Everyone does.

The language is still coming along pretty well. I think I'm about fluent now. I'm ready to get out of here and go to Japan. It's a good thing that I only have nine more weeks here. I don't know if I'm going to survive this. I'm kidding. I'll be fine. It's great here, even though it's driving me insane. If that doesn't make any sense, it means that I've already lost it.
All the days are kind of blurred together now. Every day seems to take a week to get through, but every week feels like it was just a day. It's strange, but it a perfect description of what life is like here. It's also very busy here all the time. Well, if you're doing what you're supposed to be doing it is.
I'm going to go do more language study and gospel study now, just like I do all day every day.
Talk to you next week,
-Elder Swift

13 July 2010

Week 2
Mission Log
I was able to breach their security and tap into the system for a brief time. I've recruited some of their men to my side and we've formed an alliance. I've allied myself with nine other Elders that are going to be traveling to Japan. We call ourselves District 27. Four of them are from Los Vegas, one from New Mexico, one from Arizona, two from Utah, and one from Brazil. I don't suspect that any of them have been compromised. However, the Korean Elders all seem fishy. We keep a close watch on them, and make sure to do everything at least a little bit better than they do. I've located secret compartments in Building 18M (the building with my classroom). As I knocked on all of the stone blocks that make up the walls I discovered that some of them are hollow. I have not yet discovered what is hidden inside of them, but I'll look into it.
The language is coming along really well. Everyone in the district comes to me when they have questions or anything. Today one of the Elders wanted to prove that he could fit a quarter in his nose. He got it. But, he wasn't able to get it back out after he got it in. It was the funniest thing in the world. We were all laughing our heads off. Luckily, he got it out before the Korean Elders found out about it. The other day one of the Korean Elders was trying to drink red juice by using chopsticks instead of picking up the glass with his hand. What a stupid idea. He dropped it and some of the red juice got on the white shirt of one of my district member. He turned around and said, "Wow. Thanks. How about you use Sprite next time." Why would anyone use red juice to do that when everybody is wearing white shirts. Only a Korean Elder would do that. We have a big rivalry with them. Also, we call the Spanish speakers Slytherin. Everything is going great here. My district is really nice and friendly. We're taking some pretty awesome matrix pictures. Hopefully they will be posted on this blog later.

On Independence Day, we got special permission from President Smith (the MTC Mission President) to stay up late, because you can see the Stadium of Fire from the MTC. If you don't know what that is, you'll have to look it up. It was pretty cool. We had a really awesome devotional on Sunday. It was by Jenny Oaks Baker. She is Elder Oaks' daughter. Elder Oaks was there too. Anyway, she is like the greatest violinist in the world. She's played with basically every symphony group thing and played in basically every major place. She played like eight songs for us and talked about how the gospel has helped her in her life and how it's helped because a great violinist. She played at Stadium of fire with Carrie Underwood, and her gown caught on fire from a firework that went array. It's really warm here. But, there were lightning storms a couple days ago. It was pretty cool. Getting up at 6:30am really hasn't been that hard for me. I can tell that some people struggle with it, but it's not that bad. I hope you are all having a good time back at home. I like to get letters from people.
I must return to hiding now before they discover my location. I hear them coming for me. Don't tell anyone my real identity, or else the whole mission could be compromised. Don't trust anyone.
-Elder Isaac D. Swift

Missionary Training Center (MTC) 7 July 2010

Mission Log
Week 1
I have successfully infiltrated what we call the MTC. I've acquired a few of their suits and name badges so that I'll blend in. I've been going by the code name Swift Choro (Elder Swift in Japanese). I'm picking up the secret code language referred to as Nihongo or Japanese surprisingly well. They've assigned someone to follow me around all the time and keep and eye on me. They say that he'll be my "companion" for the whole time I'm here in the MTC. Perhaps they're suspicious of me. He goes by Elder Horne and he's from Utah. Along with my district I've been assigned two teachers: Heaton Sensei and Andrus Sensei. They spend half of the time teaching us the secret code language and half the time teaching about the gospel. They feed us very well. Every meal is all you can eat, and I've yet to detect any poison. They require us to wake up at 6:30am every morning and naps are forbidden. I don't understand how a human being can function like that. I'll investigate further.

It's very busy here. We don't really have any free time. It's great though. They give us Papa John's pizza every Friday. We can make sundaes on Wednesdays and Sundays. We get all the root beer we want. The people here are great. I really like my teachers. I kind of want to come back and teach here after my mission gets done. Church is a lot different. We have a Priesthood meeting in the morning. Then in the afternoon we have sacrament meeting. It's all in Japanese. Also, they just call up from the pulpit whoever they want to give a talk that week. Everyone is supposed to have a talk prepared on the assigned topic each week in Japanese. Luckily, last Sunday was fast Sunday. I'm nervous about next week though. I hope I don't get called up. When I go to gym everyone playing the sports (basketball and volleyball) is really good. It's like everyone who isn't an awesome athlete runs or works out the whole time. Only the best play sports. I played a couple games of basketball and it was really hard for me. However, I'm still able to destroy some people at volleyball. We're supposed to speak in our mission language as much as we can. It helps us learn it really quickly. Missionaries from Japan do come here. Next week the missionaries from Japan that are going to Japan should be arriving. We're in class basically all day. We just learn all day. It's sounds pretty lame, but it's actually not bad. It's pretty fun here. The people make it fun.

I'm running out of time. I was only able to acquire this link to the outside world for a brief period. I need to go now before they detect me and intercept this message.
-Elder Swift

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Elder Isaac Swift Arriving at the MTC

Wednesday 30 June 2010

What a nice looking missionary. I'm sure his mom is pleased with how he has turned out so far!

Elder Swift with Nathanael and Mary-Anne Swift