Thanks for sending the letters and the box of goodies! These last few days have been quite rough. the first two days was ok until at the end of the second day they told us we already had a japanese investigator we had to teach:/ i felt so under prepared and lost. The MTC is a lot different then what i had imagined it to be. It is overwhelming and frustrating. They expect you to do so much in so little time. My companion's name is Elder Velasquez. He is Italian and part gypsy. Single kid. Many previous religions and likes to do things differently. Although I am Senior companion I havent been able to put my foot down too many times on things that I do not agree with. My District is pretty awesome. We do not have any shimai= sisters in the district but we have 9 elders. I like them all but I have to admit I do not always like my comp. Its rough cause he views things differently and hasnt had any brothers or sisters. Being a single kid isnt always the best. Then to make things worst I had the worst homesick, anxiety, stress, panic attack. I was a mess. I couldnt focus, i couldnt feel the spirit, i got myself sick, and everything was collapsing on top of me. So I Elder Velasquez the next morning suggested that I should have a blessing to help me overcome my hardships and my chest cold. I agreed and the experience turned out to be really spiritual and uplifting. But the next nights i broke down again and I had to talk to some of the Senseiis we have teaching us. Hitten senseii helped me out a lot. He told me some very comforting words which helped me to have the courage to tell someone in my branch presidency tuesday night. Brother Stevenson interviewed me gave me some tips on how to handle the stress and suggested I see a counselor. I feel like a wimp. I didn't think I would even feel homesick till like 2 weeks had passed by. Fortunately the next day we had a great lesson with chirstina san due to the fact of us working together and having the spirit with us. We taught her that God loves her and that he wants her to be happy. And although our Nihongo was bad we wanted her help her. That really changed a lot of the lesson compared to the other two earlier failures we had. The rest of the day went much better without homesickness or anxiety. Then this morning we went to the temple which was awesome! The provo temple is very beautiful on the inside. I would have replied sooner but due to the new year the prep day changed to Thursday instead of Tuesday. And hey don't worry if you write me too much! Its ok to write me. Oh yes send the garments and my scarf. And any food cause the food here is terrible. Plus tell Emily not to see me. if i see her it wont be good for me at all. The homesickness sucks a lot. Good news though, my Japanese is getting a lot better then I thought it would. The Lord has blessed me in so many ways since I have been here at the MTC. With all that has happened I have still been able to feel the spirit and that has been the biggest blessing. You guys might be getting notified of my "health conditions" after I see a counselor. Bishop too. They wont send me home but I am gonna be missing class time to see the counselor. Im slowly getting used to the schedule and im doing laundry right now. Oh if you send me any packages send them in twice the size of the camera box you sent me. Then that way I can use the same box to send back some stuff I dont need. Yes I do have to get rid of the back pack and get a side bag. If you could find a waterproof one and send it to me that would be great! I love you guys and the bags in my room are toss away clothes and give away clothes. You will be able to tell the difference. Everything else in baskets or on the bed clean and mine. Cancel my debit card and send me the new one as well and if you could call the bank and tell them ill be in japan for two years. And after I walked off the curbside they gave me books and i dropped off my suitcases on the top floor of the residence hall and went straight to class to learn Nihongo. First day was so busy. Had meetings, talked to real, (not for sure if they are actors or not yet), and learned a few of the rules. To be honest though after I left the curbside I wish I would have hugged all of you one more time. I truly miss you all and wish I could have spent more time with you. But the field is ripe and ready to harvest and the Lord has called me to the work. Oh yeah and my missionary plaque scripture is Mosiah 5:2. And if you guys can possibly find the talk by Pres Bednar Character of Christ it is the best talk ever. He only gave it at the MTC so idk if you will be able to find it. Changed the way I act around others and think of things. I wish I could write you more but until next thursday!
Love your Missionary,
Elder Ethan SwensonEthan Swenson Choro