Here is Elder Houseknecht’s first email from the mission field! (Well, technically, from the MTC.)
“Well, I’m in the MTC now!
Today (Thursday) is my first preparation day, so I’ve been running around doing laundry and such.
“I got to the MTC last Wednesday and got checked in. I was given a name tag (with a red sticker on it to show that I’m new), a room key, and a bunch of study materials. There were a few orientation meetings–a welcome from the MTC presidency and a zone welcome–so I got to introduce myself multiple times. The first training activity we did was probably the most difficult: all the new missionaries got together in a room and taught an investigator*. Teaching by committee is probably the hardest way to teach. It’s really hard to stay focused on a topic, because everyone wants to focus on something different. It was still really good practice though.
*investigator: a person who is interested in learning the gospel and is having lessons or discussions with the missionaries (“investigating”)
“…The food here isn’t as bad as some people have said it is, but of course nothing beats home cooked meals. They usually serve a salad, and there are some salad wraps that are really good.
“Thursday was my first regular class. I’m in a class with four other elders, including my two companions. Yes, I’m in a three-man companionship. My companions are Elder Nishizawa (in the middle of the photo) from Osaka and Elder Hirose (on the right) from Tokyo. Neither of them speak that much English, so I’ve been totally immersed in Japanese all the time. It’s been a little stressful, since it’s been almost a year since I’ve used had to use Japanese, but I’m getting used to it. 🙂
“Most days there are three class periods–before breakfast, after lunch, and after dinner. Learning how to teach is very different from just learning. We’ve been studying every aspect of the gospel at its most basic level, so that we can teach it simply. Especially because we’ll be teaching people without a Christian background, we have to be careful not to assume they know about things like the bible or prophets.
“The organization of the MTC is a little different from what I expected: there’s my branch (basically all the missionaries going to Japan), my zone (around ten or so companionships), my district (five missionaries total), and then there’re my companions and me.
“There are a lot of half-Japanese missionaries here.
“We’ve been doing a lot of practice lessons–the teachers pretend to be non-members, using their own experiences or their friends’ experiences as background, and we have to teach them. It’s pretty hard, mostly because we’re teaching the teachers, so it feels like we’re being judged!
“Anyway, I’m out of email time, so I’ll have to end here 😦
I’ll send more pictures next time (when I’ll finally be in Japan).
“Thank you so much for your support and love!”
To read more about LDS “Mormon” Missionary work, click [ HERE ]. If you have any other questions, leave a comment below, and we will do our best to answer in the next post! 🙂