January 02, 2012
I love p-day. We did our laundry at Sister Herle’s and she helped me make a cover for my last mission journal. Isn’t she great? It was her idea.
Now we’re at the family history center and everyone is crowding around Sister Stewart so she can write japanese characters in their planners.
She’s the coolest missionary we know.
And Sister Mix and I get to be with her EVERY DAY!
Sister Stewart went to the MTC with a bunch of other missionaries who were also learning English.
They were together for 9 weeks.
Her companion was from Russia! She only spoke Russian. And Sister Stewart only spoke Japanese.
Can you imagine? They couldn’t even talk to each other at first.
The funny thing is that Sister Stewart came out of the MTC knowing several phrases in Russian, Spanish, and Chinese, Tongan, etc…
When she met Elder Arietta, from Mexico, she walked right up and said “Como esta? Dios es nuestro padre celestial!”
(How are you? God is our loving Heavenly Father!)
“My Father is from California,” she says.
“That’s why I have American name and big nose.”
She points to her tag and then her face.
Between the 3 of us, there is a lot of gesturing and explaining and the whole thing is like one big day of charades.
She is so diligent. She keeps a notebook of words she doesn’t understand and throughout the day she’ll ask us about them.
“What is hang-out?”
It means spend time together. Like “Let’s hang out Sister Stewart!”
“What is disembark? And flashmob?”
What?! Where did you hear those? We’ll explain them but don’t memorize those. They are dumb words.
“Oooooh. Dumb words. Is dumb the same as stupido?”
Yes but stupio is spanish. Sister Escobar said that today because she switches between spanish and english.
Sister Stewart says this all day.
And then at lunch she’ll ask questions and practice and take notes.
And then again when we get home at night– until it’s time for bed.
She never gives up.
And she is very brave! She talks to strangers every day.
“Hello, I am Sister Stewart. From Japan.”
Last night we had her make a phone call.
It was just to a member who had a simple question. At the end the member clapped for her.
Good job Sister Stewart! You did so great!
She recognized her voice because at church yesterday the Bishop called Sister Stewart up to bear her testimony.
She had barely been in the field for 4 days.
“When I go back Japan, I think I can do anything,” she says.
“Everything we do here is scary.”
Sister Stewart didn’t learn English from her Father growing up.
“Well… just little,” she says.
She didn’t know about Jesus Christ either, except a little from a history book at school.
When she was 13 her dad passed away.
After that, the missionaries came to her house.
“They taught us about Jesus Christ and the church and that God has a plan for all of us,” she says.
She went to church with her Mom and her two younger brothers until she was about 15.
After that, her family got busy and stopped going to church.
So Sister Stewart would ride her bike and go by herself about once a month.
When she was 18, she met a friend that helped her come every week.
As she grew stronger in the gospel, she wished her family would become active again.
One day, in the temple, she felt the spirit assure her that if she went on a mission, her family would come back to church.
“And now I am here,” she says.
Sister Stewart is 22 and her birthday is in February.
Her brothers are 20 and 17.
She is a champ. Her first night we went to eat with a Latino family.
Super spicy chili rellenos.
She ate it all and drank LOTS of Kool-Aid to help.
“Trying new food is fun,” she says.
Sometimes she looks up at the sky while she tries to find her words.
“I like guessing words in English. It’s fun!”
When she speaks, people listen.
Members, investigators, strangers…. even the little kids quiet down.
I can always feel the spirit so strong in her humble words.
I wish Sister Stewart could teach the whole lesson.
She is inspiring me in every category of my life.
My whole mission is changing.
I love you! Wish I had more time!