This is Kobe, Japan.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

MTC Aug 31, 2010

Week 9
Mission Log
Many interesting things occurred during this past week.
Tuesday: When we were coming back from the temple, we saw three elders from our district running by with suitcases in their hands. We were like "What's going on?" When we got back to the room, all of Elder Payne's stuff was gone. He went home. His companion, Elder Larking, is now companions with Elder Horne and myself. We have three in our companionship. It's a little weird, but it's OK. Both of my companions are going to the Nagoya, Japan mission whereas I'm going to Kobe. So, I'll never see either of them in the mission field. Then, we went to the devotional. They finished putting the bleachers in. So, the gym is opened back up. Now, they have enough room for the majority of the missionaries to sit in the gym. We get there really early so that we can get a good seat. There are two different sets of doors to get in. We're first in line at one of the doors. But, they end up not opening those doors. So, we were last in line to get in the other doors. When we finally got in, the place was packed full of missionaries. They were telling people to start going to the overflow rooms. We kept looking for a spot anyway. It's especially hard for us to find a spot because there are three of us now. But, we find one eventually. It turns out, Elder Holland was the speaker at that devotional. He was incredible. He's very passionate about what he has to say. I think my notes from that meeting have more exclamation marks than everything else I've written in my life put together. It was cool. After the devotional, we met with all of the native Japanese missionaries and talked with them. It was also really fun.
Wednesday: We were studying. Then, after something that Elder Larking said, (something really funny) we decided that he should go to the health clinic and see the doctor. We go down there and sit in the waiting room while he sees the doctor. He comes out and tells us the (really funny) diagnoses. They said that the medicine should arrive around 4:45pm. It was already like four. So, we just waited there for it. It didn't come. Then they told us that we can either walk to the BYU health clinic or wait for the medicine to be delivered tomorrow. I jumped at the opportunity to be able to see the outside world. A health clinic worker walked by and they decided he could just give us a ride there. So we got to ride in a car and we got to leave. He got his medicine very uneventfully. Then, the lady there asked if we wanted to walk back to the MTC or if we wanted a shuttle. I got excited to get to walk back. But, Elder Larking said, "We want the shuttle." So, we sit outside for twenty minutes waiting for the shuttle to come (it's only a five minute walk). When it gets here, there are already five other missionaries in it. Instead of going back to the MTC, it is taking the other missionaries all over the place. First it goes south to downtown. Then, it goes way up north to who knows where. We probably rode in that shuttle for an hour. It was really fun to be able to leave the MTC.
Thursday: We had the TRC. For the first part, there were five new Japanese sister missionaries in the room watching us. They were writing notes like crazy. I'm pretty sure that they copied down word for word everything that was said. Then they left. Our "investigator" kept laughing when we'd say stuff. I don't know if that's because our Japanese was funny or if she just liked to laugh. It all turned out OK though.
Friday: Successfully stopped a zombie invasion from occurring. (just kidding)
Saturday: Defeated seventeen armed guards using only my bare hands. Flipped the switch to turn off the countdown for the nuclear bombs. (again with the humor)
Sunday: I was writing my talk in the the morning and I wrote this sentence that had some really great kanji in it and just looked awesome. So I said, "I'm just going to stop here." In church I got called up to give my talk. I just had to make up the ending. Then, the devotional was Director Heaton. He is director of the whole MTC, and his son is our teacher. He had me come up to the front and help with a demonstration during the devotional. I'm pretty much famous now.
Out of time.

Elder Isaac D. Swift

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More from the MTC 24 Aug 2010

Week 8
Mission Log
The native Japanese people that are going to Japan with us got here yesterday. That means it will be hardly any time before we're all leaving to Japan. It's exciting. There will only be two more weekly emails before I leave to Japan.
On Wednesday, some people from Toyota are going to be in Utah to discuss with the church what kind of a deal they can get on all the cars the church buys for missionaries. The Toyota people wanted to check out the MTC though and see what was going on here. My class was recommended as the best one. So, it's the one that they're going to look at. On Wednesday, they'll come in and talk to us. Based on how awesome we are, the church could get a better or worse deal on all the cars that they buy. They really don't want us to mess it up. I'll make sure that Toyota people have a fun time here.
Last week"s TRC went very well. I understood a lot of what they were saying. And, I'm sure that this week's TRC will go even better.
Every week is pretty much the exact same thing. So , I don't have a lot to write this week. Everything is going well. Lots of studying. Always busy. Lots of great people around. I like it here a lot. You can send whatever you want to the newsletter as long as you make me sound really awesome.
I taught the lesson in our weekly district meeting. It was about Humility. Everyone said that I did a really good job. But, that's to be expected. I mean, who could teach humility better than the Great Isaac? There is no one. When it comes to humility (or anything else for that matter) I'm about as good as it gets. They should just have me teach every week. (funny)
Our two normal teachers are back now and they're teaching again. The half hour of emailing time seems really short when I have stuff that I want to say, but it seems really long when I don't really have anything to say. I'm excited for the devotional tonight. We have no idea who is going to speak to us. They never tell us in advance. Most of the staff doesn't even know in advance. It's basically just director Heaton that knows. But, whoever it is, it will be great. It's always very good.
I'm out of time now. So, I have to get going. I will write again next Tuesday. Goodbye.
-Elder Isaac D. Swift

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More From the MTC--- 17 Aug 2010

Week 7
Mission Log
Here is the schedule of a typical day here.
6:30am - Wake up and get ready
7:00am - Study on your own
7:45am - Breakfast
8:25am - Gym
9:15am - Shower and get ready for class
9:45am - Class
12:30pm - Lunch
1:15pm - Class
5:30pm - Dinner
6:15pm - Class
9:00pm - Plan for next day
9:30pm - Go back to dorm room. Write in journal, get ready for bed, and study
10:30pm - Sleep
*Gym moves around to different times depending on what day of the week it is. Also, on Monday, we have a large group meeting just before lunch and on Friday we have service in the morning and gym right before dinner. Sunday and Tuesdays follow completely different schedules. Each day, we have one teacher teach one of our classes, a different teacher teaches another class, and the third class time, we don't have a teacher and we just study by ourselves. Overall, there is a lot of studying every day.
Funny Story:
We were in the TRC where we practice doing things and teaching people in Japanese. We wanted to share this scripture about Jesus Christ with the person. My companion is thinking, "I'll have him read Alma 7:11." He pulls out his scriptures and he accidentally opens it to Mosiah 7:11. Mosiah 7:11 says, "And now, for this cause have I suffered that ye should be preserved, that I might inquire of you, or else I should have caused that my guards should have put you to death. Ye are permitted to speak." We had them read it aloud, but it was in Japanese. So, we didn't understand what he read, and we didn't know that it was the wrong scripture. Then we asked him (in Japanese), "From this scripture, what did Christ do?" Then he said, "I think someone's about to get killed (in Japanese). The whole time my teacher was watching through a camera and laughing hysterically. It was so funny. It was probably the funniest things that's happened since I've been here.
After the first part, we leave for a few minutes, then come back and teach a lesson. When we came back somehow there were three people in our room. I guess word got around that we were funny and other people wanted to come here. The lesson went really well, though. Two of the people we were teaching were returned missionaries, but the other person I don't think was a member of the church. And, he was a native Japanese person. Mostly, in the TRC it's just church members that volunteer to let the missionaries practice on them. I wish we were more fluent in Japanese so that we could have taught him better. I hope he learned a lot and was able to feel the Spirit anyway.
I've grown a lot in many different ways since I've been here. I'm able to work a lot harder, I've grown a lot spiritually, and I now have a pretty good five o'clock shadow. I like it here a lot. It's great being here. Everything about it is good. However, I'm totally ready to go to Japan. I want to leave for Japan already. I'm excited to be walking the streets and teaching people (in Japan). I'm excited to be eat rice and sushi (in Japan). I'm excited to be sleeping on a futon in a little apartment (in Japan). I'm excited to serve the Lord (in Japan). I'm excited for everything. I'll write you again next week. I hope you're having a good time back at home. I miss you all. Bye.
-Elder Isaac Swift

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

News from the MTC 10Aug. 2010

Week 6
Mission Log
To whomever may be able to get a hold of this message. I was able to survive another week. I'm now over half of the way through my mission here in Utah. I'll be able to begin my mission in Japan in approximately five weeks (assuming the let me leave). If they don't, I'll just have to break out of here and commandeer my own plane to Japan. It feels good to be on the second half of my time here now. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's close. Good work to anyone who used the dearelder.com agents to contact me last week. I'm confident that they can be trusted. They sneak in here in the night to secretly deliver messages. I believe they are putting something in my food in an attempt to try to make me like it here. It's working. I'm enjoying it here. I'd avoid the drugs, but I get hungry and the food is all you can eat. I can't help myself. They even order pizza on Fridays and have really good ice cream on Wednesdays and Sundays. I'm going to have to keep eating their food and hope that there aren't any other effects of the drugs.
One of my "teachers" "decided" to go on a "vacation" to "Japan." So, we got a substitute "teacher" for two weeks. He taught us for like two days "then" suddenly just "decided" that he "wanted" to go to "Japan." I find it all to be very suspicious. I heard that one of the "teachers" for the other "class" also went to "Japan" and they aren't even going together or doing things together. What are they really doing in Japan? If that's even where they're really going. I'm OK with it though. I really like learning from all these different teachers. They were all extremely different. What's really weird is that the new teacher is a girl. There are no girls in our district. So, no one in the district has talked to a girl for more than like a couple minutes in the last month and a half. We'd forgotten how different girls are from boys. It's strange.
We have still heard from Emeritus Seventies at every devotional. It's been six weeks now. Their talks have all been really good, but I think it'd be really cool if an apostle came here. People keeps talking about all the apostles that were coming in June. I kind of wish I had been able to come here a few weeks sooner.
Dad should take the job in Belgium! It'd be so cool. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it.
Everything is going very well, and mostly according to the plan. There are ridiculous amounts of things to do every single day. I don't think that a human being is capable of getting it all done. I need to leave now. If I don't get back to room 513 in the next two minutes, they'll start to wonder what I've been up to and they might come searching for me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More from the MTC 3 Aug 2010

Week 5
Mission Log
Thank you for putting your lives on the line by attempting to contact me through these emails. Had I been completely cut off from the outside world, I think they would have been able to crack me by now. However, I haven't given in. I wasn't able to send the pictures home by email for two reasons. The first reason is that I did not have the proper cord. Their security is very tight and I was unable to acquire one. The second reason is that these computers that I was able to gain access to are unable to upload pictures from a camera due to the added security they have. They're running a pretty tight operation here.
Amongst us Japanese Elders they usually have an older group which they call senpai, and a newer group which they call kohai. I have always been operating among the "kohai" up until this point. However, yesterday, in the morning, they snuck all the senpai out of here and shipped them off to a top secret mission in Japan. In eight days a new group of agents will come in. At that point, my "comrades" and I will be promoted to senpai, and the new agents will be known as kohai. It's exciting to no longer be a kohai.
The temple in Provo had been closed, but they opened it up last week. So we are now able to go to it every P-day (Tuesday for Japanese Agents).
Their shouldn't be any problem with me being able to "obtain" a visa. I have quick hands. One person wasn't able to get his on time for his departure date, but he's from Finland. The Agents going to Mexico, however, are all having a hard time getting visas. Some of them have been here for like seventeen weeks. I'm glad that I'm not going to Mexico.
We decided that Japanese is the closest language on this earth to Adamic. It just make so much more sense than English. It's so simple, but so great at the same time. I'm really glad that I'm learning it.
Sometimes my companion and I will study at a table outside and put a sign up that says "Contact Us." Tons of people stop by to practice. It's fun.
This opening in which I'm able to hack into this internet connection is only half an hour long. If I attempt to hold the connection any longer, the computer will self-destruct. Then all the doors will seal shut and alarms will start going off, just in case the blast wasn't enough to get rid of me. The time is running out I need to leave immediately. I'll contact you again soon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pictures from the MTC

This is where I will be going in September to teach the Japanese people the Gospel.

A cool picture of my nametag,

The district

My companion


One of our rooms and us messing around.

Me fighting off two double agents while running on walls and stuff.

This one block is completely hollow. You can tell by knocking on it. It sounds like a hollow piece of plastic.

My classroom and the computer lab where I breach their security in order to contact the outside world.

There is a secret room that is ust full of plants. The only way I've found to get into it is through this office. (They won't let you go through it though) It is in the middle of the main building.

The first page of the Book of Mormon in Japanese.

I wrote this! Jealous much?

And finally a picture of the laundry mat.