Fourth of July Weekend

Aloha wonderful family,

Its kind of funny sometimes I show people on the streets your picture, just so they will stop for a minute.  The people here in Tokyo are VERY BUSY.  But most everyone can relate to families.  They always say "steckie!"
So I experienced my first earthquake this week! We were in the middle of a lesson, with one of my favorite people. Sachison, and all of a sudden, before I could panic it was over.  I immediately in the bat of an eye practically found myself on Sachison's lap.  Sachison is about 60 or so and remained very calm saying it was very normal.   Sachison said if it was a little stronger we should go outside.  I just decided that I'm not going to be afraid of anything.  Fear kills your spirit, and I know Heavenly Father is watching over everything, so really there is never any reason for fear.  We just have to be prepared and trust that God will protect us.
Being the bean-chon is so humbling.  I'm 24 years old.  Suddenly I feel as if I am 5.  I met our new mission president this week, President Budge.  He is awesome.  He's only about 52 and retired.  He told me this about learning Japanese, "children learn the fastest because they are not afraid to make mistakes... Have you ever seen a child learn how to walk? They fall down over and over again and everyone just cheers and they just get back up".
I tried to take this to heart, and then of course the next day, I was asked to give a talk on Sunday.  It was actually a wonderful experience.  I was really nervous, but I wrote out what I wanted to say in English, and then prayed really hard that Heavenly Father would let me be able to communicate what I felt in my heart in Japanese.  I never felt I would be one of those people who say, "I'm going to bear my testimony now through song" but I found myself speaking those very words in Japanese at the end of my talk.  I sang "I know that my Redeemer lives" and I know every word is true.  I didn't even care or feel nervous when I got up there!  I know that Heavenly Father sustains us and lifts us up and has such a bigger picture in mind of who he wants us to be, rather then who we think we ought to be.  Just trust him!
I never thought I would meet any Muslim people here, but as my Australian companion would say, "Ive met heaps!"  Which leads me to think that what you love you attract!  Or that we really do make things happen.  I have made some Japanese Muslim friends and they are so wonderful!  So bold and different! 
For fourth of July this year I have never felt so patriotic.  We had English Class that night and I felt as if I was a spokesperson for the entire nation.  I made a lasagna and some cookies.  And  passed out lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner" and "America America" to my English class!  It was funny.  Everyone was asking me deep questions about the civil war, and it was so funny seeing such patriotic Japanese people all singing about America.  I missed the fireworks over here, but it was still a great day.
Some of my favorite people here are Haradason and her sweet daughterIyanachon.  Haradason is the most outgoing Japanese person I have ever met.  She is constantly laughing and just so happy to be with us.  We went to this beautiful green park with them this week and passed a ball and balloon around till it popped.  It was so simple but the highlight of my week.  I love how simple life can be!   I know that following Jesus Christ's example is the happiest way to live.  And there isn't anything that we can't do with his help!
Yesterday we went to the Tokyo Temple.  It was wonderful.  As soon as I walked in I felt the very familiar special spirit welcome me.  I know Heavenly Father is truly always with us.
My scope of missionary work is widening every day.  You go through a bit of an identity crisis as a missionary, because it's in a way such a different way to live, and I always find a tug between my missionary self and Marni .  But this week I've learned this important principle.  Set your own standard.  It doesn't matter who or what is going on around you, just take courage and be your own best awesome self.  Heavenly Father doesn't want you to be a robot, and he has blessed us all with individual talents and gifts so that we can serve eachother he gave us different ones.  It's so easy to want to gauge "how you are doing" by holding a yard stick next to someone else, but is that fair?  It's not!  So we just have to try our very best, and that way Heavenly Father can help us iron out all our own kinks.  I know this is true. 
I love each of you sooooooooo much!!!!!!
Matta ne!

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