Sunday, September 27, 2015

Week #3: It's Been a Whirlwind of a Week

Last Friday (9/18): After e-mails I went to the Provo temple with a thankful heart for my friends and family and their e-mails. I also got to be there at a session with a lot of people from my zone. I thanked God for all the amazing people in my life.

Saturday (9/19): I woke up with a sore throat and then got a fever. I don't really remember much from that day.

Sunday (9/20): Sister Nunez and I taught a RS lesson on repentance. I thought it was going to be a drag since it's not really a topic I resonate a lot with, but I really learned a lot while we were giving the lesson. I wrote in my journal about that lesson: "Repentance draws us closer to God, and as it does so, it helps us love the people around us more fully." Interpret that however you will. I think I realized that repentance isn't really about feeling bad about the things you did in your life. It's really about your relationship with other people. Thank you, whoever said that during the class that day. 
We also had to say goodbye to some of the people in our zone. The non-visitors center missionaries left this week to be in their assigned field. I had so many great laughs and heartfelt moments with them in two weeks; it was a rough day. I really really hope I see them again someday.

Monday (9/21): We got a third companion!!!! Sister Sapera from the Philippines came to the MTC Monday night after serving in-field in the Philippines for 2 transfers. She's quiet, hilarious, and powerful when she teaches. 

Tuesday (9/22): Our last day of regular MTC classes before Visitors Center training. Said goodbye to our teachers and zone mates. And Sis Rauta from my district got surgery for her kidney stones. 

Wednesday (9/23): Sister Rauta was pretty beat from getting lasers in her kidney, so we took turns staying with her. It seemed really awful and painful until the drugs finally started working and knocked her out. We also started our first day of visitor's center training. I missed most of it, but what I gathered is that our purpose as missionaries is the same in visitors' centers (VC), we just have to get to know and empathize with people a lot quicker. It's basically sped-up multimedia proselyting, which is cool, because I think using paintings and videos and statues to help people feel God in their lives is a lot more effective than using my own stupid monotonous voice. 

Thursday (9/24): Sister Kogure, from Chiba, is in my VC class! We were companions for online chat, in which we basically are the people on the other side of chat function. CHAT IS THE COOLEST THING EVER BECAUSE PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE GENUINELY WANT TO KNOW WHAT MORMONISM IS. WE DON'T HAVE TO TRY TO GAGE INTEREST. They literally just come online with questions, and we help them come closer to Christ the best way we can. Every investigator on there is the dream investigator. Sister Kogure and I didn't get to chat with any Japanese people, but we basically had our first real lesson with our first real investigator, since all the lessons we've been giving so far were role-plays with teachers. REAL PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR THIS GLORIOUS MESSAGE ABOUT CHRIST AND I'M SO EXCITED.

Friday (9/25): We went to Temple Square to get the "VC EXPERIENCE" since not all the people in the VC class are going to serve at Temple Square. While we were waiting for the train to take us to Salt Lake, we saw a gang of three guys in face paint and devil horns, and I thought, "weirdo Provo youths. Bunches of hooligans." But then we started seeing more of them. We saw a batman, a baby pikachu, a marceline... Turns out it's Comic-con this weekend, so I got to see some cool costumes and old BYU friends. As for Temple Square itself, I was with Sister Li from China, and we ended up giving a tour to a group of Chinese folk. I didn't know anything about the stuff we were taking them to see, so I just smiled and made conversation. They were in a hurry, so we only got to show them the tabernacle, and they ran off... They missed all the good stuff! There were ten billion other things that happened, but all I can say in this e-mail is that Temple Square is beautiful beyond words, and I can't wait to talk to people about God there for the next 18 months. 

Saturday (Today): Since we went to Temple Square yesterday, today is our P-day. Thus the late replies. Apologies to all. 

Thought of the week: I've been thinking a lot about the gift of knowledge God has given to us. Whenever I hear about someone's conversion story, I just think about how cool it is that God gave that person the ability to think for themselves. We have scriptures. We have missionaries. We have friends that give beautiful testimonies about whatever they believe in. But God gave us the freedom to accept or reject him, and the ability of a human being to come to accept Jesus Christ as Savior after all the knowledge that they gain in life is pretty amazing. In 3 Nephi 17:3, Christ tells the people, "go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare in your minds". Christ trusts us as thinking, intellectual individuals. He knows that we can come unto him eventually, by our own knowledge and choice. That's pretty cool. 

I love you all. 

Sister Takeshige. 

Spanish sentence of the day: Soy una misionera de la Inglesia de Jesus Cristo de los Santos de los ultimos dias. 
(fun fact: I accidentally said "ultimos dios" (last gods) instead of "ultimos dias" (Latter-days))

Saturday, September 19, 2015


I feel like I've been here an eternity. I already don't remember what I was even doing two weeks ago. We have something scheduled to do every hour of the day, from 6am to 8 am. I'm really grateful for everything in the MTC and how it's set up. Some missionaries are feeling tired and restless and want to get out there as soon as they can. I still feel pretty incompetent as a missionary and want to stay here a little longer so I can absorb EVERYTHING that they're teaching me. We get to practice teaching to our teachers, and I'm so grateful that I can get my failures and embarrassing moments out of the way in this enclosed space, not out there in the real world. 

Now that I've been assigned my companion for 10 days, I can tell you a little bit more about how cool she is: 1. She's hilarious. We can never stop laughing. 2. She already loves the gospel of Jesus Christ with all her heart. Despite everything that could have stopped her from coming on a mission, she's here. 3. She's smart. Every time we have discussions in class about what we read, her interpretation and insights are inspired. Also, she went to National Autonomous University of Mexico before she came here. Das pretty cool. 4. She has two younger sisters, just like I do. 5. She has rosy rosy cheeks and green green eyes. 5. She talks super fast. 6. She talks even faster in English after she speaks Spanish with someone. 6. She makes everyone around her laugh. Our class is a riot. 7. Whenever we get frustrated with ourselves or with teaching, we get through it and move on. She always asks God for help whenever she beats herself up, and God helps her regain confidence. 7. She puts up with my disorganization. 8. We danced for 3 minutes on September 16th for Mexican Independence day. 9. She wakes me up in the morning because I stupidly forgot to bring an alarm clock. 10. She really is smart. That's my favourite thing about her. 

We were stressed for a while because we weren't the best at teaching. At the MTC they really pounded into our heads the importance of relying on God during lessons. God is the only one who knows the needs of the people we're teaching. As missionaries, we are only God's instruments. Our own needs and wants have no place anywhere. Missionary work is about being a catalyst for the relationship between God and his other children. Sister Nunez and I were stressed because we weren't relying on the Spirit. We were relying on our own knowledge and our own job. And our own failures. But once we began to pray for humility, and for understanding, it started getting better. I'm so glad that God doesn't penalize us for our mistakes, and that we're able to keep moving forward and keep trying harder. I love being a missionary, especially, so that I can take the time to see everything that's wrong with me and do everything to change. I feel loved. 

I hope all is well in the real world. Love you all.

Sister Takeshige 

Spanish sentence of the day: Esta comida sabe muy bien! 


#1: All the sisters from my zone:
#2: Sister Nunez and I matching one day:
#3: Most of the zone unprepared for a picture at the temple:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Week 1 : I Love It

This is where I need to be. 

I didn't think that I would love the MTC (missionary training center) as much as I do. I'm on a campus with 2000+ people, who are all my age, and are really only focusing on learning and teaching about God. They are all like me! At BYU, I'm on a campus full of people not my age, and anywhere else, I'm around people that don't believe the same things I do. Both of these things have merit to them, but I really feel like I've finally found MY group of peers. I'll be here for the next three weeks, learning how the mission all works, and how to be better at teaching the missionary lessons. 

We've been asked "Who are you?" "Where are you from?" "Where are you serving?" ten billion times already. When I'm asked, "Why did you decide to serve a mission?" My answer changes almost every time. 

"I decided to serve because I've always wanted to be like the women I admire in life; my mother, my seminary teachers, my young women counselors all love God with their whole heart and most of them served missions." 

This was what I said the first couple of times I answered the question. But truthfully, there are SO MANY things that happened in my life that helped me make this decision. There was the fact that I was in such turmoil over the fact that I would have had to serve my mission after I graduated college, but then God not only answered my prayers, but paved the way for me when the mission age change happened in 2012; there is the fact that I felt like I needed to offer God all that could after all that he did for me in life; there is the fact that I quite honestly felt like I needed that extra push to help me be more comfortable sharing the gospel... There really isn't enough to list them all down. But I think if someone were to ask me right at this very moment, "Why are you serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?" I think my answer would be that, this is the gift that God's been waiting to give me. I could never have known, nor do I yet know all the blessings that I have/will receive. I was only fortunate enough to listen to His promptings.

I ended up in the ADL zone, which is the zone of International missionaries who speak sufficient English + some miscellaneous missionaries. Which means: My zone ended up being mostly from the group of International people I spent time with on the first day! YEEEE

For those who are unfamiliar: a zone is the highest group in the hierarchy of missionary organization (I think. I'm still new), and there's a group of around 10-30 ish missionaries. Then, you get a district, which is smaller, and that's the people you're in classes with at the MTC. And at the bottom of the chain, you have a companionship, which is just two missionaries who basically eat, live, study, travel together. 

My companion is Sister Nunez (with the squiggly second N, pronounced like nu-niez), also serving at Temple Square, from Mexico City. She was one of the first sisters I met at the MTC, and am beyond glad that I ended up with her! My district is made up of two other sisters, Sister Rauta (pronounced: hau-ta) from Baie Brazil, and Sister Deschene (De-shen) from France (both who are also going to Temple Square); and two elders, Elder Sandum (San-doom) from Norway (going to Canada Calgary), and Elder Blosil from Orem, Utah (going to Paris, France, already fluent in French). I wish I could talk about how great all these people are, and how COOL AND INTERNATIONAL MY ENTIRE ZONE IS, but I'm really running out of time. 

Sister Nunez and I have been really busy running around for doctor's appointments and dentist appointments and the bank since we're both foreign, but I think we manage it really well. She's adorable and we get along really well. Although we're in the advanced English track, we both decided to squeeze in a little bit of language study each day. She needs help studying church words in English, and I'm frantically trying to learn all the Japanese and Chinese church words I can. Also, I help her with her English and she teaches me a sentence in Spanish everyday. They gave us Temple Square missionaries a set of materials for English, and our respective native languages, because I guess they're expecting us to know it all for Temple Square... Class is pretty funny because we have Portuguese, French, Spanish, and Japanese all happening at once. 

Someone forward this to Derek since I forgot what his e-mail is: Sister Deschene served in Paris for two transfers, waiting for her visa before the MTC. I asked her if she knew who Elder Lattin was, and her face lit up. "ELDER LATTIN? HE WAS MY ZONE LEADER FOR MY FIRST TRANSFER, AND NOW HE IS THE AP. HE IS GREAT AND WE TALKED ABOUT K-POP." Yeh boo Elder Lattin is out there being a star. I was very proud and touched on your behalf.

How is everyone else out there? I hope school isn't killing you, and that everything is peachy. 

Much love, 
Sister Takeshige

Spanish sentence of the day: Yo creo en Cristo!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015



This is a long overdue e-mail letting you guys know that I made it to the MTC safely! Mama, I didn't have your phone number, so I couldn't make that two minute phone call that international kids are supposed to make the minute they enter the MTC... whoops. 

Yesterday was when all the international missionaries came in, and we had classes together all day. I already feel fond of our small international group, and I almost wish that the normal missionaries weren't coming in today so we don't have to split. COOL FACTS: I was translating (albeit, very slowly) for three Japanese sisters in the morning. My first go at teaching the Restoration lesson was in Japanese! When they left, I was put into a companionship/group with Sister Lyu and Elder Li, both from Taiwan, and I got to practice some Chinese. 

So many things happened on the first day, it'd be impossible to write it all down. But I will tell you guys that I LOVE IT ALL. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures to show you, but I promise I will write a better briefing of all that's been going on later. 

Apparently My p-days are on Friday, so I'll get back to you all in two days !

Sister Kaede Takeshige 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Two Days Left

In two days I'll be a missionary. In two days I'm dedicating 24/7 to God. In two days I'll be Sister Takeshige.

I was always bashful about my religion. In 2nd grade, I pretended to not hear when my friend asked why I refused a free can of coke. In 3rd grade, the only person I told about my religious dietary restrictions was my Muslim friend who abstained from pork. In 6th grade, I cringed from embarrassment at my birthday party when my mom insisted on praying before eating. Even until my senior year of high school, I couldn't speak up when my English teacher told our class that Mormon theology taught that god would beam up the righteous into a spaceship during the apocalypse (??????).

Never ever ever ever ever (ever (ever ever)) ever would I have thought that I would voluntarily become a full-time missionary. Talking to strangers? On the street? About religion? In sunday clothes? Facing rejection and ridicule? EVERYDAY? None of those things were things I wanted. I wasn't even sure if the church was really for me anyways.

But somewhere along the way, I finally started being proactive about what I was being taught. I learned the reasons behind our practices. I learned that we don't drink certain caffeinated and alcoholic things because of the way it affects our consciousness, which we value above anything else we have been given by God. I learned that we pray because as we offer that questions and honest thanks, God communicates back. I learned, most importantly, that Jesus Christ is patient, empathetic, loving, intelligent, and my friend. It was beautiful.

And what I learned about Jesus Christ's love is the most useful truth I've learned in my lifetime.

There are many truths (/Truths) out there in the world. Some truths are useful, and some truths are fun (e.g.: knowing that gravity exists means planes; knowing that baby sharks are called pups is fun) Some truths are popular, and some truths are small. There are many of these truths that I've been taught, and many philosophies that make complete logical sense to me. But this Truth, the Truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, inspires me to love the people around me. It inspires me to be proactive. It makes me happy, and I've decided to use this Truth as the centerpiece of everything I learn, do, and think.

Knowing Christ made all of the reasons to not be a full-time missionary not matter. I'll still be nervous talking to strangers about religion. I'll still feel heartbreak. Sometimes I'll still be uncomfortable. But does any of that matter when I know that with God on my side, I can do anything?