Saturday, June 29, 2013

I'm Going to Lose My Foot

Oi minha familia!!!

First of all, ... Yes, I received the cookies!!! mmmm!!! There were sooo many ! haha.  So i shared with my district.  Maryann's cookies were only shared with my room of sisters.   Much too good for elders!!! hahaha ...   Just kidding.   It was one of the elders' birthdays so I brought the cookies and we sang happy birthday to Elder Wright! (yeap, we have an Elder Wright, here! haha) and he was so happy and opened it and it had my name on it with the note "WE love you Sister Yoshimoto!"  LOL.  It was funny. and everyone got a cookie or two ... even our awesome teacher! yay!

I received your letters!!  I looove getting letters!!! because I can read them and not have to wait for Pday!! haha. yay!   I got Uncle Chucky's letter and I really appreciated him writing!!!  Thank you so much!  I love your advice and will definitely enjoy my time whereever I am sent!  I don't know if I'll need a phone card... no one has mentioned anything yet.

I'm happy to hear about mom's plants!! yay! Maybe you should get one of those mesh cover things for the burning plants so that only some sun gets through, but not enought ot kill it! D:  Send me pics please!! :D  I love pics! of the house and your plants and you guys and Rusty!! I miss him! Tell him I didnt abandon him okay!!! :(

Happy belated birthday to Uncle Chucky and Travis and Happy Fathers Day to Dad!  I don't know if I got to write this all or not last week--it was so crazy! haha. I hope you got my card I had Emily give you! :D haha.

Oh and Mom!  That Chinese story--you can insert it here--so cute! I really like that, because that is basically what God does for us. We dont have to be perfect. We just have to do the best we can, and He will make our flaws and weaknesses into strengths if we rely on Him.  I love that. And I'm definitely depending on that because I have a lot of flaws and weaknesses--more than I thought I had before!

Weird story -- So I've never worn shoes for more than like 6 hrs at a time (during school) and I really am not fond of shoes..... but flip flops aren't allowed here ...  So my toes have been numb since the first Saturday here.... like not completely numb. theyre still alive. but I think cause I wear shoes almost constatnly, that like the top layer of foot is just dead.. hahaha not. They"re just sleeping. but I was super scared at first cause I thought I got bit by something and was like "I'M GONNA LOSE MY FOOT! AND I'M NOT EVEN IN BRAZIL YET! THIS IS NOT FAIR! but yeah.... I hate shoes.....

OH YEAH, Dad! What you were saying about the work for the dead and the ancestors guiding us and helping us.  You were spot on!!  Well, I mean, it was just realy cool what you said cause literally 2 days before, our branch president or 2nd counselor or someone was talking to us about how he believes that since we know we are guided/helped by angels as we do God's work, he believes that they are not just our ancestors, but the ancestors of those we will be teaching. They are helping us, and working on their descendants so that they can be brought to the gospel and have their work done for them. This is such an important work--so important that it isn't just about us, but those who have already passed away without the opportunity to accept it.   I thought that was such a reassuring and amazing thought ... and it was even cooler that you said the same thing.   Amazing :)

My comp and I occasionally go through rough patches here and there, but we are starting to work well together. She stil struggles with the language and has a hard time accepting help, but she is improving and I let her know.   I don't remember who told me this, I think Travis, but yeah, when I ask my comp for her help, it helps her a lot cause then she doesn't feel like its just one sided and its easier for her to ask for my help.  So yeah, thanks guys.  I'm  learning so much already about myself and how to deal with other people.  I really needed to learn this.  I never realized how prideful I really am.  I never gave it much thought even when you all said you had to learn this when you were missionaries.  It doesn't really matter who is right or wrong, but we just have to give up our pride for the sake of the Lord's work.

Anyway. I am working on that. trabalho em progredir--as we say in Portuguese haha. I really do love Portuguese!   It was harder when I was doing the Pimsleur, because I was like ugh! WHY IS PORTUGUESE SO UNNECCESARILY COMPLICATED?!?   But I've come to learn to love it--it's such a cool language. I've kinda plateaued but I'm still hoping to get better. I wanna go out and just teach already!   I know I'm far from ready for that but I am tired of being in a classroom!!!   haha.
I'm really excied to get reassigned. I don't know.  I just really realy really would love to experience the English speaking stateside work.  I really can't wait!!!   I definitiely want to go to Brazil too, but I really wouldn't mind going to stateside mission for a bit.

The Sunday Worldwide training thing was awesome!!  I really liked it alot!   At first I was thinking,  "Wait, where's the big announcement!?   Where's the "China is opening" or "translating sealed part of the scriptures" hahaha.  Just kidding.  but I was wondering.  I'm actually really excited about this because it means we're working to finish all we've been given first, before we are given more to work with. I'm excited for the church building tours! So cool! and the Facebook??  We were joking around: "Dear Sister Yoshimoto, You have been called to serve in the MTC Facebook Mission."  hahaha. It's pretty exciting!!!   I wasn't on the camera ):  Sorry guys haha. but just seeing that all the prophets were there in the same room as me!! INSANE!   I love this place.

ahhh!! Running out of time!  This is crazy. but yeah I'm doing well!  Really loving it here!  A little claustrophobic in the classroom sometimes but I'm learning lots.  Teaching is a little frusttrating, because I can't understand a lot still but I guess that's why we're here.

Thank you guys for writing to my comp !!  Maybe just 2 or 3 times  a week though.  hahaha. She says "I'm getting more letters from your family than from mine. ): hahahaha   She's joking but yeah. Thanks guys!  That's really nice! :)   I think it definitely made her day when she got them.  I was like awwwww my family's so cool. :)))) haha. Not out loud though .lol.

I LOVE getting letters and quotes from you all!! and I'm trying to reply to people!  Sorry if I dont get around to it, but I do get the emails and letters and I love them!! Miss and love you all!!!!!
-Sister yoshimoto

-I see sister Cutia a lot here! She came up to me and said "Do you remember me!?  I said  yeahh!! Sister Cutia!! Thanks for giving me her first name.  I felt really bad but I'm glad we're all just "sister" here sometimes haha.  That is cool, Dad, that you were the Cutia's home teacher.

-Elder Tolman, an elder in my district---has a twin brother also in our zone, one classroom down, going to Brazil in another area. Theyre really cool and his older brother is currently serving in--COLUMBUS OHIO! haha. soo coool!!  I really like the Elders Tolman, as we call them haha. Ask Elder Merkley if he knows Elder Tolman!  Small world.   haha.

-OK COOL STORY!!  My companion, ...  Her mom served in Sevilla Spain!!  She's from England so she would have had an accent ... and her name was Sister Pietroforte. Served in the early 80's. Mom, I don't know when you served, but I think it was around the same time?!?  haha.  Sooo cool! I just thought that was pretty random!  I don't know if you knew her but what a coinkydoink!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lauren's First Preparation Day!

Oi minha familia!!!

I'm so happy I can finally email!!!  It's been the LONGEST stretch of my life waiting for Pday!!  But it's finally here and I'm doing laundry! Yay! haha. but ... Yeah it's been pretty crazy here!  I don't know how much time I have left on the computer cause this one doesn't have a timer ... weird ... anyway I'm typing fast so i might mess up a lot.

I saw Sister Garrett here!  It was so cool!  And I saw Sister Cutia!  You remember her?  From  the other ward?  They're all so cute! haha.  We're all sisters!  So weird!   I love it! I wish I had more time to type everything ah!!

I don't really have time to look for people  ): but I'm keeping my eye out for them! Tell the sisters in the ward I'm sorry I haven't had time to send them the info but Iwill ASAP!!  And I'm looking for Sister Tietjen's friend. and stuff. I see Bro. Magre here almost every day.   He comes to bug my class. tsk tsk. jk hahaha its soo nice to see familiar faces! 

My companion is very cool!  She's from Oregon, homeschooled. and very, very, smart.  She uses her knowledge to overcompensate sometimes. so I'm working on patience. haha. I like her. There's definitely a lot I can learn from her. Plus the language is coming very easily to me--still verry hard but I'm catching on fast because of my understanding of French.

The shuttle ride over was so great.  I met a bunch of other missionaries and it was so fun because we were all so excited to go!  haha.  I almost cried for joy when they put the name tag on me.  I'm OFFICALLY A MISSIONARY  but yeah it was awesome.   My district is the best!! They're all so cool and like crazy and funny.  It's funny cause they really are so young but when we have devotional discussions they are so mature and its amazing the spirit we have. 

I'M DYING TO KNOW WHATS GONNA HAPPEN SUNDAY!!!  I really really can't wait. I'll be in the audience so you might seeee me!!  Just look for the black haired Asian among the white folks.    heheh jk. but yeah forreals though. I can't wait!!!

I'm so excited to be here.  It's amazing.  I haven't felt the spirit so strongly and consistently ever before.  This is a crazy cool place and I honestly can't WAIT to get out in the field, whether it be in the US,  reassigned, or in Brazil.  I can't wait!!!  I am learning SOOO much and I can't believe it's only been a week and a half! It's soooo stressful and crazy sometimes, but then we have a devotional or spiritual thought and its all worth it.  I can't wait to see how much more i can learn in the 4.5 weeks I have left here in the MTC. Then all I'll learn in the field.  This truly is the Lord's work, or none of this would be possible.  I can't believe some of these elders are 18.  It just doesnt make sense.  They are so mature spiritually.  I know for sure I wouldn't have been this ready when I was 18.  They are so impressive.  I cannot wait for Sunday to see what the Lord has in store for his missionaries. I CAN' BELIEVE IM ONE OF THEM!! It's so exciting!! and I can't wait!!!  I love this gospel and all it has to offer everyone.

Favorite thought so far -- We are inviting others to come unto Christ -- our purpose. We are sharing the gospel so that we can enable others with the power to overcome their trials and hardships, through this gospel.  I don't remember exactly what I wrote down but something like that.   It just hit me. We are literally giving people the power (the secret) to be happy (now and eternally).  It's amazing ... and I cant wait.

Today was my first Pday and I was very bad at managing my time with it! ahhhh!! I will get better and hopefully write more next week!    ... and to Travis! Sorry!!  I will try to write you next week!!

Love you allll sooo much!! and looove the letters!! miss you all!

Ate Logo!!


Also!!! Hi everyone!!  So I have a little more time!
Let everyone know I will email them back next week!   Sorry I couldn't get around to it today!
I wanted to thank Uncle Chucky for his letter and the kala and wish him a happy late bday and Travis as well!!  I hope it was all funnnn!!! :)) AND THE MOVIE! haha.

I  loooooove the letters. Tell travis I will write back asap! His letters are really great for me right now. THANK YOU

Emily!!!!! You should email me or dear elder me!! :) miss you!

I read all your notes and letters and I got the card with the kala and the old creepy sister on it.... hmmm... trying to say something?? lol. it was cute. THANK YOU ALL for that and your messages.  It means a lot to me.

Can other people besides family use dear elder?? At least while I'm here at the mtc?? Just wondering.

SOOOO EXCITED FOR Keely and Rebekah!! That's so cool!   I can't believe how many missionaries we could be having!!  I'm so excited for them!!  Please keep me updated on that!!! ... and Rebekah! How exciting!!  So cool!  I honestly can't wait to be reassigned somewhere in US.  I don't know why but I feel like I would looooove having another little mini mission here :)

[Lauren's cousin Michael tore an achilles tendon the day before he was supposed to travel to the Guatemala Missionary Training Center.]

MICHAEL!!  I'M SO SORRY!!!  That's really bumming. but I really believe God will make it work and will help you grow from this.  We can't frustrate the Lord.  There's an elder here who had his visa and was at Atlanta GA waiting for his flight to Brazil MTC -- from Utah, so this was his layover flight--and his visa got stolen -- FROM HIS BAG.  Just like that. so he was stuck in Atlanta and just went there with the Atlanta Mission proselyting for 2 weeks and is now in the Provo MTC with us in our district.  It turns out he needs to be reassigned cause they can't go through the whole process again. 

Then there was a devotional given about how there are no accidents. For us, being here is not an accident.  For us, being in this district with these people, with these companions is not random chance.  God needed this missionary somewhere else besides Brazil and while its  big bummer, there are no accidents and we just need to trust that He knows more than us and knows whats best for us. Bummer, but its His time we're on, and as Travis said, this is His mission, not ours. so WHEREever He calls us, WHENever He calls us, Michael.  ITs not for OUR preference.  So GOOD LUCK MICHAEL!!!  You'll LOVE IT!!  Don't worry.   It'll be crazy hard at first but its soooo worth it.   I haven't even been here that long but I can see how worth it, it is.

It's crazy seeing how little we know. haha. Also,  just how lucky we are to be going on a mission at all!! There are several missionaries here in wheelchairs or crutches or with very severe disabilities and it's AMAZING to think they are dedicated enough to do this. it must be SO much harder for them, yet they are here all because of the same reason I am ! They are so amazing.  So inspiring!

I love it.  I just prayed one night thanking my Heavenly Father that I am physically and mentally elligible to be here at all!  Yes, it's a huge blessing to have the opportunity to come be a sister missionary because of the age change--but even more so, just the fact that I have been blessed with the physical and mental ability to do this at all.   I don't know how to explain it.   My English is leaving me, already, haha.   Too much Portuguese!!!

ON THAT NOTE GUESS WHAT!?!?   Soo cool. Okay its Amazin!!!  I can teach whole lessons in Portuguese.   It's been like 1.5 weeks!  Whaaaaat??   It's insane.  Like its definitely some pretty poor Portuguese still, but I can do it and it's INSANE how much we can learn with the spirit here.  Amazing to witness.   The branch president challenged us to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover before we leave the MTC and he promised us that if we did this--in our native language--and concentrated on learning the language of the spirit, the language of Portuguese would come to us, too.  Seems unrelated, yet I believe it! or at least I want to.  So I've been reading at least 20 or so pages a day so that I can learn the language.  I love it here, everyday is a new experience where we learn sooo much from everything.  I keep seeing the people who are leaving the MTC to go out in the field and I think "Wow, they are so experienced!!"   Then I realize they are the greenies.... THERES STILLL SO MUCH TO LEARN!!!

Okay well my times up ...  haha. LOVE YOU ALL AND hope Mom's plants keep growing!! send me pics or something!! I miss you all!!!!!

p.s.  Brazilians like pics of my house and family and stuff ... So if there are any of those!! pls send! :)   I'll talk next week of things i might need ): haha thanks!!

pps Dad, looove the spiritual thoughts you send me. It really helps me out sometimes :)

Sister Yoshimoto

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

First Letter from the Missionary Training Center

June 12 and 13

Oi, minha familia!

Wow!  The gospel is amazing!  The MTC is so cool!  I was worried until I met the other missionaries at the Salt Lake City Airport waiting for the same shuttle.  They're all so friendly and excited.  I felt so much better already, just knowing this was different from college and it's not just a place where we go to make friends or learn, like EFY (especially for youth) or something.  The MTC is where you can actually feel the difference.  We want to be here.  And we'rre all here for our own reasons, but also because -- and most importantly -- we are serving the Lord and His people by bringing them closer to Christ.  It was the craziest experience just singing w/the other new missionaries and reading the lyrics of the songs "Called to Serve," "To Bring the World His Truth," and "As Zion's Youth of Latter Days."  The words of all the verses just mean so much more as a new missionary in the MTC.  I encourage you all to read the words and think about the work that is coming to pass so quickly right now!  It's amazing!  It's only been one day (or half a day) since I got here and I've learned so much already.  I can honestly say I can feel the spirit so much, constantly, and it's truly a wonderful feeling know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing at this time in my life.

The Portuguese is coming along.  haha.  It's tough, but I'm learning a TON!!  I definitely can feel the gift of tongues I've been blessed with, but my interpretation of tongues will take some real faith. 

I can describe my experiences here so far in 3 words: BUSY, BUSY, and BUSY!!!  ...and the worst (best) part is it's not just busywork.  It's all important.  What an overload!  But I've been promised that it will all get better soon (by Sunday) and it will all definitely be worth it.  I believe this and I know that as I continue to learn so much everyday, if I try my best, regardless of how worn out and tired and overwhelmed I am, I'll be blessed with the power of recall and God will make up for the rest.  This is what I've signed up for and I know it's what's right!  So I will take it in faith and in stride.  I know it will work out for the best.

I am continuing this letter (it's now been 1.5 days since I got here).  I feel like I have been her for WEEKS already (I mean this in a good way -- I've learned so much).  I can't wait to get out there to REALLY teach.

Tomorrow, we teach an "investigator" in Portuguese and I'm freakin out!  Wooh!  Thank the sister missionaries back home for me!  What good practice I had teaching with them!  Tell them I'm sorry I didn't get to see them before I left.

My companion is great.  I can already feel the pure love of Christ working in me!  I'll tell you more on P-day (Fridays, but not this one ... the 21st).

Anyway, Happy Belated Birthday to Travis and to Uncle Chucky!!!  I miss you all.  Thank you, Travis for your stories and experiences you shared with me.  The advice will really get me through a lot on my mission.  I can already tell.  I love and miss you all  already and can't wait to really begin my work out in the field, whether it be stateside, reassigned, or in Brazil!!  I CAN'T WAIT to do some good out there and really learn to rely on the spirit in becoming an instrument in God's hands.

Much love!!  Gotta go!!  No time at all here!!  Ahhhh!!


Ate' Logo!

Sister Yoshimoto

p.s.  Tell Josh there is an Elder Tolman in the Ohio Columbus Mission.  I am in the same district/zone with both of his twin brothers!!  AMAZING!  LOL!


p.p.s.  This letter is to show I'm alive and surviving ... so far!   haha!  But no Preparation Day until next Friday!  Love you!


1. Called to serve Him, heav'nly King of glory,
    Chosen e'er to witness for his name.
    Far and wide we tell the Father's story,
    Far and wide his love proclaim.

Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing.
God our strength will be; press forward ever,
Called to serve our King.

2.  Called to know the richness of his blessing-
     Sons and daughters, children of a King--
     Glad of heart, his holy name confessing,
      Praises unto him we bring.
  1.  We have been born, as Nephi of old,
    To goodly parents who love the Lord.
    We have been taught, and we understand,
    That we must do as the Lord commands.
  2. We have been saved for these latter days
    To build the kingdom in righteous ways.
    We hear the words our prophet declares:
    "Let each who's worthy go forth and share."
  3. We know his plan, and we will prepare,
    Increase our knowledge through study and prayer.
    Daily we'll learn until we are called
    To take the gospel to all the world.
    We are as the army of Helaman.
    We have been taught in our youth.
    And we will be the Lord's missionaries
    To bring the world his truth.
  1. As Zion's youth in latter days,
    We stand with valiant heart,
    With promise shining in our eyes,
    Resolved to do our part.
    Upon a noble past we build;
    The future fills our view.
    We face the challenge of our day
    And pledge we will be true.
  2. The truths and values we embrace
    Are mocked on ev'ry hand.
    Yet as we listen and obey
    We know we can withstand
    The evils that would weaken us,
    The sin that would destroy.
    With faith, we hold the iron rod
    And find in this our joy.
  3. Thru test and trial we'll have our fears,
    But we will not despair.
    We're here to serve a righteous cause;
    Truth gives us strength to dare.
    We'll love, and learn, and overcome;
    We'll sing a joyful song,
    As Zion's youth in latter days,
    Triumphant, pure, and strong.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Reflecting Upon the Start of Lauren's Mission by Ken Yoshimoto

We are all awaiting Lauren's first letter/email.  So while we wait I will write about the first few days in the MTC.  While the MTC is different now than when I was a missionary in 1979 and when I was a MTC teacher upon my return from missionary service in Japan, I know it is a special place.

Here is the missionary schedule as written in the Missionary Handbook followed by every missionary:
6:30 am     Arise, pray, exercise (30 minutes), and prepare for the day.
7:30 am     Breakfast
8:00 am     Personal study
9:00 am     Companion study
10:00 am   Begin proselyting (or language study for 30 to 60 minutes)
                 ... You may take an hour for lunch and additional language study and an hour for dinner              .                during the day.  Normally, dinner should be finished no later than 6:00 pm.
9:00 pm    Return to living quarters (unless teaching a lesson; then return by 9:30 pm), and plan for the next .                day's activities (30 minutes).  Write in your journal, prepare for bed, pray.
10:30 pm   Retire to bed.

In the MTC, the daily schedule is different, but the rising time and bed time is the same.  I just recall being pretty exhausted for the first month.

As a language teacher in the MTC, the first day was my favorite, but it was pretty high energy.  I worked four hours each morning and on the first day I didn't speak any English.  It was a wild game of body language and foreign language communication.  I looked forward to the first day, but it took a lot of energy.  It was a lot of fun for me as a teacher and a lot of fun for the missionaries if they had the right attitude.  it is so intense that if they were not spiritually and emotionally ready, they would have difficulty.  As a teacher, I had to be prepared spiritually and emotionally, too.

When we receive Lauren's first letter, we will know her preparation day.  Each week, the missionaries have part of one day to write letters, do laundry, do shopping, get haircuts, etc.  In the MTC, they don't go shopping unless absolutely necessary.  Laundry facilities and barbershops are there, too.

Sunday schedules are also different in the MTC with worship and evening cultural classes or guest speakers.  Each day is pretty full.


Here is a recollection from Lauren's departure at the airport:  As Lauren made her way through the unusually long security line, we all waited for any opportunity to see Lauren.  As she approached the security check point, it became increasingly difficult to see Lauren.  I decided to walk to the far side of the room to see if I could get a better view.  As Lauren passed through the check point she turned to wave to the family.  Lynette and the other children waved excitedly.  Then Lauren signed "father" in ASL, asking "where is Dad?"  Lynette pointed in my direction and Lauren turned and saw me and waved goodbye.  It was a poignant moment for me.  Saying goodbye to a child for 18 months can be an emotional time.

With no cellphone I couldn't even check to ascertain she made it to the gate or arrived safely in Utah.  After arriving home I looked skyward and saw an airplane.  It might have been hers.  The timing and direction of flight was about right.  Emily and I watched until we could no longer see the plane.  For the next two hours I checked the flight status and saw that her flight arrived 9 minutes early at 8:55 am Mountain time.  After about 35 minutes I called the shuttle company to see if they could tell me if Lauren checked in on the 10 am shuttle.  I breathed a sigh of relief when the receptionist said she was all checked in.  This was probably more difficult for me than for Lauren.  I later learned she arrived at the MTC on the shuttle with four other missionaries.   LOL. I checked.  She made it!


Some have asked about the musical presentation preceding Lauren's talk in church on Sunday.  This arrangement of O Lord My Redeemer was done by Lauren's brother, Travis.  Travis wrote the harmony parts and adjusted the dynamics for our voices and for the emotions and messages he wanted us to convey.  For Travis, it was more than just getting up and singing.   He and Lauren discussed and tinkered with the arrangement until Saturday night.  I am so impressed with Travis.  He patiently worked with me and I just tried to do whatever he asked.  Deborah Hale, who accompanied on the piano, is really amazing, too.  It was fun to sing with my talented children.


The Brazilian Visa website is still showing no progress on Lauren's visa. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Big Day by Ken Yoshimoto

Our day started out at about 3:30 am.  I am sure Lauren is pretty tired now,  but she is on her way to Utah.  The security checkin line was sooooooooooo long.  We were wondering if she would make it in time, but we saw her make it through security.  Normally, we could just call her on her cellphone, but she can't take her cellphone with her so we just trust she made it onto the flight.   On a weekly basis, or as her email messages arrive, we will be posting her letters here. 

So what happens today?  She should arrive in Salt Lake City at about 9 am.  She'll collect her bags to make a 10 am shuttle from Salt Lake International Airport to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.  She will be dropped off at about 11 am.  She is scheduled to enter at noon, but I am sure they will take care of her.  She will go through an orientation today and where she will be assigned an MTC companion.  Then the work begins. 

You will hear or read the term "companion" a lot.  I will try to help with translating the missionary terminology as it appears, but feel free to ask if you don't understand something.  Latter-day Saint missionaries are always with a companion, except on transfers.  A "transfer" is a move to a new location.  Transfers typically occur every six weeks.  Sometimes Lauren will be transfered to a new location.  Sometimes she will receive a new companion who will transfer in while her old companion transfers to a new location.  Lauren will likely have between 8 and 12 companions during her 18 month mission.  Lauren now holds the title of "Sister Missionary" and will be known as Sister Yoshimoto.  Male missionaries hold the title "Elder" so when you hear the term "elders" it refers to the male full-time missionaries and the term "sisters" typically refers to the sister missionaries.  I write "typically," because "sister" also is the title held by female members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Male members are called "brother," because we are all brothers and sisters as children of God. 

Serving a mission is a personal decision.  It has to be.  It is by no stretch of the imagination a vacation.  A mission is hard work.  I suspect this will be as difficult a time as Lauren will have ever experienced.  Sister Yoshimoto has already learned that she can do hard things and be happy.  This time as a missionary will also bring Lauren some her best and happiest experiences in life.  As she dedicates her life to God, she will grow as a person.  She will still be Lauren, but she will grow spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and be a much more rounded, mature individual when she returns.  You will see that growth as you read her letters.  We invite you to check back often.

While she is in the Provo Missionary Training Center (six weeks or until her visa arrives, whichever comes first), you may write to Sister Yoshimoto very easily.  She will only read email once a week and will probably not be able to respond at length.  Sister Yoshimoto can, however, read short letters every day.  Let me tell you how to write to her.  (1) On your web browser, go to  This is a private service for family and friends of missionaries.  (2) At the dropdown box, select "Provo MTC -- FREE."  (3) Click on the "Write a letter" button.  (4)  Fill out all the fields for your information.  (5)  Provide the following information for Lauren:  Title=Sister, First name=Lauren, Last name=Yoshimoto, Unit#=240, Mission code = BRA-TER, Estimated MTC Departure Date = JUL23. (5) Enter you email address for a confirmation of your letter.  (6) Type your letter.  There is a 7000 character limit.  (7) Press send.   Letters that are sent by 12:00 noon are printed and delivered to the MTC the same day. 

Missionaries love to receive letters.  We encourage make your letters supportive and uplifting.  Avoid the drama to help Lauren maintain her focus.  I am certain Lauren would love to hear how you are doing and what is happening in your life.  You are special to her and a big part of who she is.  Your positive letters will definitely help her through this transition and will also help you to understand what she is doing.  We can vicariously experience this adventure through her letters!

More later!  The adventure begins! 
8:20 am:  She should have already arrived in Salt Lake City and I suspect she is collecting her bags and hunting down her shuttle.  Her flight arrived safely at 8:59 am Mountain time. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Last/First Entry

Ola A Todos!!!!

So this is my last personal message to all, and my first entry as an official full-time missionary!!! How exciting!!!! I know a lot of you aren't really sure what all this means. If you have any questions at all about anything i might say in the future, feel free to ask my family or message me on Facebook as my parents will be manning it until I return in December of 2014.  

I just want everyone to know that I am going on this mission to Brazil because I want to.  Not because it is expected of me, or because my parents want me to go, but because I personally have come to the decision to go and dedicate the entirety of the next 18 months to the Lord.  I know it will be the hardest 18 months of my life, yet it will definitely be the most fulfilling and life-changing and BEST 18 months i will ever have in this life as I will learn ultimate humility, love, and compassion through trials and experiences I can't yet imagine.  Soon, I will be teaching the amazing joys and blessings of this gospel as a representative of Jesus Christ, and I CANT WAIT!!!!

I will definitely miss EVERY one of you and want to truly thank each of you for your friendship and example in my life as every bit has gotten me to where i am today.  And I can finally, honestly say that I am happy with where I am, and who I am, and who I know i will soon become in life at this moment.  You have all had your personal influence in my life, no matter how big or small, and I truly appreciate all your continuing love and support!.  

I can also honestly say that I would LOOOVE it if any and all of you would email me while i am away. Just update me on how life is treatin' ya and what amazing things are going on back home!!!  I would love to keep up with your lives as well.  I might not be able to reply as quickly as I would like to, but I WILL respond somehow--so keep up with this blog and maybe i snuck in a few lines for you!! otherwise i will definitely try to email back personally (I will only have about 30-60 minutes a week to read and send emails and letters).

I hope that as you all read my weekly letters home, and my updates throughout my mission, that you will all be able to learn and grow even a little bit a long with me.  I know i will definitely be growing and learning constantly throughout these next 18 months, and I can only hope that as you follow me through my many ups and downs, that I can maybe do a little good for someone else, as well.  

I am really so grateful for this opportunity I have to embark on this incredible adventure for the Lord.  As I enter this exciting new chapter in my life, I look forward to it with anticipation and excitement, and I can't wait for you all to join me.

Much Love, <3
Sister Lauren Yoshimoto