Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 27, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I got to skype with the fam!!! It was awesome! I showed them my apartment and they met my cute little Japanese companion! My companion kept telling me that everyone at home is so beautiful! She is right! Anyway, for Christmas we had a BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!! It was the elder's baptism and it was so awesome. We had one hour of church and the baptism was right after. After the baptism we went to a member's home for Christmas dinner and they were so awesome! They took in all of the people who didn't really have anywhere to go and we celebrated together! There were tons of non members there that we got to talk to about the gospel too so it was really great.
So as you know my companion is Japanese and doesn't know much English AT ALL. But a cool thing happened the other night. We were at a members home with one of our investigators and the member was telling our investigator the story of Christmas. This was all in English so my companion was just sitting there and sometimes I would translate a little bit for her. I felt so bad for her because I definitely know how that feels and it is not fun. But when we got done with the lesson and were walking to the train she told me that she understood everything that the member was saying! She said it would come into her ears as English but then once it was in her head it was Japanese. Seriously awesome huh?! And I am not kidding when I say she really doesn't know English but this was definitely a blessing from God because the next day she couldn't understand a word of English, same as before.
So I told some of this to my family already but oh well, One of my favorite parts about the mission is teaching our English class called Eikaiwa on Wednesdays. We do an hour long class and then 30 minutes of some sort of game that helps them learn or practice English. So past week I taught all of the students the song "head, shoulders, knees, and toes" I thought I was hilarious. We had like full grown, dignified, business men singing that song and do the actions to it getting faster and faster with each time. I loved it so much I was laughing so hard!
Funny thing about our apartment: So we have a lot of cockaroaches that come into our apartment. We renamed them George so it doesn't sound as scary. My companion says Georgie cuz I guess that is how it would be said in Japanese but anyway.. So every night when we come in we turn on the lights and then grab our bug spray stuff and generally have to kill 3 or 4 Georges in our kitchen. I have gotten so used to them that sometimes I go into the kitchen to get a drink of water or something and George will be crawling on the wall but I just leave it..... Gotta love being a missionary!!  
Anyway, I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas time!!!!! People in Japan don't really celebrate Christmas that much. New Years is their big thing. We went around asking people what their favorite thing about Christmas is and they all say cakie (cake) because all Japanese people eat KFC and cake on Christmas. They think Americans eat chicken on Christmas so they go to KFC... I don't know where they got that but they are always so surprised when I tell them that is not really an American thing..
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love you!!
Swainston 姉妹

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011

Hello world and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

SOOOO in your first two transfers you are supposed to have the same companion and they are supposed to train you for those two transfers. Well, transfers were yesterday and yep don't doubt it my trainer got transfered. So now I am the one with the knowledge of this area and I definitely got a Japanese companion. YEP!!! You better believe it! It is hilarious!! I don't know Japanese and she sure doesn't know English!! Her name is Mizoguchi Shimai and she is from Fukuoka. We already decided that after our missions she is going to come to Las Vegas. She is so excited and by then I will be able to understand slash translate for everyone. HAHAHAHA It is quite the adventure. Nonetheless, the Lord knows what we need! And I know that this is a blessing because she will actually be able to understand our investigators! BTW Christmas is on a Sunday so we only have an hour of church and we have a baptism after! Well it is the elder's baptism but we are really hoping a bunch of our investigators will come to church and then see the baptism and then maybe hop in too! haha jk but we are praying they will come! Anyways, as usual I have no time. But, I love Japan!

OH! and i got my Christmas package, SO EXCITED!!! I will have something to open on Christmas!! We no longer have a paper Christmas tree because my former companion took it with her when she transfered but that's ok!! We still have Christmas spirit! OH and in my package was a jumprope... im not sure what my family is trying to tell me but yes, I do already have rice cheeks. When a Japanese person tells you to keep eating, you do not decline. Oh well!! hahaha



Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5, 2011

This week... hmmmmmm
Today I went to the imperial palace. it was huge and really cool. Sometimes I seriously still can't believe that I am a missionary and then I get on a bike, in a skirt, and then it starts raining as I am biking up the hilly streets of Tokyo, and THEN I find myself singing I Know That My Redeemer Lives in the midst of all of that (don't doubt people I ride by have told me to shhhh a few times). It is then that I think to myself, yep, im definitely a missionary. AND PROUD OF IT!! hahaha
A funny thing about Japan is the trains slash subways. In the morning they have rush hour but it is with people. One morning we got on the train during rush hour and it was literally so jam packed that I could have picked up my feet and have still stayed up. You get REAL close to everyone around you. And another thing, NO ONE speaks on trains! It is insane!! there are sooo many people on the train and it is silent... Probably wouldn't happen in America. I am always the loud American on trains I think.
Our apartment is all decorated for Christmas and I love it!! (I hope you aren't imagining any good decorations because if you are, you are wrong). It is kinda pathetic but it is Christmas nonetheless!!!
A member gave us REAL CEREAL!!!!!! from the military compound. MADE. MY. DAY.
What else.... I had so much to say but I left my planner at a member's home!! (yes, I do feel EXTREMELY naked without it) but that is where I write things down that I want to remember to email about.. Anyway....
Sorry this week was so short.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Sister Swainston is now able to receive emails from people other than immediate family. Here is her email address:

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!! I love saying that! You say it to Japanese people and they have no idea what you are talking about. Soooo I don't know if I have ever mentioned this, but the Tokyo Temple is in my area!! Isn't that awesome!!! So since now it is officially Christmas season, my companion and I and the elders in our district do what we like to call caroling christmas dendo. Which means we stand outside of the temple and try to get people to listen to us sing Christmas hymns and then tell them what the true meaning of Christmas is. We did this last night and it was hilarious. One man said that he would listen but wouldn't cross the street to come hear us so we sang from across the street. It was so funny. People in Japan are always BUSY so they sometimes don't stop but it sure is fun to do! My companion and I pretend like we are Temple Square sister missionaries. It's fun.
So for my Thanksgiving, we woke up, did our normal study, did weekly planning which takes 10 years, and then went to a member's home with one of our investigators and had Thanksgiving dinner and a lesson with our investigator. So, Thanksgiving ROCKED. Also don't worry that was certainly NOT the only Thanksgiving dinner we had. I think we had about 4 others this weekend. On Saturday we went to and investigators house to eat lunch at 11am and then went to a member's home for Thanksgiving dinner at 3pm and then went to another member's home to eat Thanksgiving at 7pm. It was hilarious. We were so full we thought we were going to die. I kept leaning over to my companion and saying, "on a scale of 1-10 how are you doing right now?" and she would say, "I dont know if i can answer that.." hahaha it was fun. Needless to say, the bikeride home was a little harder that night.
Ok so I am obsessed with Japanese children. I think I have already said that but I'll probably say it 100 more times. They are so cute!!! You get these like 5 year olds who are fluent in Japanese AND English and it blows my mind. So when we were at a member's house for actual Thanksgiving this little boy named Noah was saying the prayer and he would say, "please bless the food, please bless my sister, please bless the missionawies, please bless mommy..." and so on and so on and then in between each thing that he would bless his sister would say "nameajesuschristamen" because she wanted him to end. it was hilarious. And he is like 2 and speaks english and japanese. #coola2yearoldisbetterthanme
One quick thing I have learned on my mission ( I think I have already said this before but I will say it again) is how important members are to a missionary's success. THEY MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. I can't wait to get off of my mission and be the rockstar member that helps the missionaries out always and goes to teach with them and is always thinking of different friends who need to hear the gospel.. That's all! haha
I think that is all I have for this week! I love all of you so much! I pray for you!
sassyshibuya gossip girl,
Sister Swainston

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011

Week two!!!!
Ok so... Tokyo happenings... I got my bike this week, the first few days I legit could not sit down I was bruised. No major accidents yet just kind of had a situation with a pole the other day. All in a days work!! We had a big Thanksgiving activity this week for our Eikaiwa (that is the english class we teach) students. It was fun. Don't doubt I had them all make hand turkeys and write on the fingers things they are thankful for. Didn't think I would ever use my stu-co craft making ablilities again did you? Fun fact, JAPANESE IS SO HARD. Sometimes it gets the best of me but mostly it is okay. Sometimes in lessons I legit have no idea what is going on but I can always feel the spirit. Honestly so many times I find myself crying because I feel the spirit and I don't even know why. (besides the whole ihavenoideawhatanyoneissaying thing.) I ate McDonalds this week. (had to). It tasted the same and the portion sizes were the same. Don't doubt I got a full on BIG MAC. haha Sadly to report, they don't serve McDonald's cookies. I WAS SO SAD. I'll live. One fun fun fun thing we did this week was go to an elementary school and make mochi (rice cakes) with them! It was for a cultural exchange event for the embassy. It was so fun to play with the Japanese kids. I asked them if they liked American music and one of the girls told me she loved Hannah Montana so I of course sang it for her. We had quite the downpour of rain and I definitely felt like a missionary walking everywhere in the rain getting SOAKED. It is times like that that make a mission so FUN!!! It was windy and rainy and I believe we broke 3 umbrellas throughout the day. We were laughing so hard. Today I went to Forever 21 AND H&M with a potential investigator. It rocked I was in heaven. I believe forever had like 7 floors what. a. dream. So last night we were streeting (which is when you just go talk to random people on the street about the gospel) and we were talking to this one lady about mountains and snow (at the time I had no idea this is what we were talking about) and then my companion was like yeah Sister Swainston, Las Vegas doesn't really have snow right? and I was like no we have snow! The whole time I thought the word for snow was actually the word for mountains so obviously I looked really dumb. Again, times like that make the mission all the better. One day I will be able to look back at that and laugh. ANYWAYS!!!!! I gotta go PREACH and I love it!! I love all of you and I love these Japanese people so hard!!!! OHHHHH almost forgot, today we went over to this lady's house who is 82 years old and has green hair. She is so fun and so nice. A lot of older women here have full on neon hair it is so funny.. anyways.. that made me laugh so I thought I would share...
gossip girl
ps the picture is of us missionaries and our Eikaiwa class! FUN!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ariel's First Letter from Japan

I have finally made it to Japan!!! It is everything and anything I could ever imagine and much MUCH more! I am obviously obsessed with it. I just walk around in awe. 
 Ok so let's start with my companion slash trainer. SHE ROCKS. Somehow the stars aligned and I got a companion that is a perfect match for me. We are besties already. She is hilarious and perfect. Her name is Sister Derricott and she is from Bountiful, UT. She has been out for 7 months and her Japanese is bomb so it gives me hope. She is a great missionary but still normal and totes understands my humor. We have tons of fun together 
Ok so my area... It is called Shibuya!!! Google it! be jealous!! It has the busiest intersection in the world and is INSANE. It is literally a sea of people always. When you see Tokyo on movies and stuff, it is my area. I am in the heart of Tokyo. Seriously wouldn't have it any other way! This area is perfect for me! And I will for sure be here for at least 2 transfers and most likely more than that. I love love love it! The people here are SO awesome. I seriously walk down the streets and just stare at people's outfits. I feel like I am in a magazine 24-7. Japanese people are so much more fashionable than Americans. Also there are huge semi trucks that drive by blasting j-pop music which are their Japanese boy bands. It is hilarious. If you can imagine, most things here are so funny to me. I cover 1 Japanese ward and 2 English branches here so wooo I get to speak English too! Also we teach English classes on Wednesday nights and it is so FUN! Japanes people love to learn English it is funny. 
Today we bought my bike and put it in a bag to carry it from the bike shop, on the train, and back to our apartment (which by the way is the most expensive apartment in the missionary world). I am sure next week I will have plenty of stories of the dumb things I do slash things I crash into on that bike. Get ready. The trains here are so cool I feel so cool taking them. It is like waiting for a Disneyland ride waiting for the train amongst all the Asians I love it. Yesterday on the train there was this little Japanese girl counting on her fingers (better than me might I add) and I wanted to steal her she was so cute. The children here are SO CUTE I love hearing little babies speak Japanese it's hilarious. 
On Sunday we had a BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My first Sunday in Japan, my first baptism!!!! It was so awesome. I didn't know the man very well obviously but I was overcome with emotion when I saw him come out of that water GLOWING!!! It rocked. 
Unfortunately Japanese people LEGIT CANNOT say my name for the life of them so I got permission from my President to change it to something they can say. I am either going to do Ariel Shimai or Swain Shimai. We'll see. haha it is so funny everytime they look at my tag and then take 10 minutes to sound it out. 
The other day we were at a member's house making lunch with a less active and it was so fun. The member's name is Busso kyodai (kyodai means brother) and he is from Italy and speaks Japanese, English, and Italian. So the whole time he is cooking us this Italian meal singing Italian at the top of his lungs. It was so funny. We were speaking English, Italian, and Japanese with him. As he was cooking he turns to us and goes, "My mama always say, The food is like the woman, very delicate." HAHAHa he is hilarious. 
Ok so the food here is very interesting. Hahhaha I want you to google nato right now. It is fermented beans and unique to say the least. My companion loves it and of course my first day fed it to me. It's not my favorite not going to lie.. Hahaa but last night was my first time eating at a member's house and it was really good food. We sat on the floor on little pillows and everything! (I couldn't feel my legs when I stood up).
Anyways... I know I am forgetting SO MANY things but most importantly, I LOVE JAPAN!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nihonjin gossip girl
oh yeah and the garbage trucks talk. Mostly everything talks here. AND they don't have dryers. just washers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Safely Arrived!

Families of Japan Tokyo Missionaries,

We are happy to inform you that we have met and talked to your/our missionaries. They arrived safely last evening in Tokyo and were brought to the mission home where they were fed and had a good night sleep. We are so excited to have them here. They are amazing missionaries.

Today they have written letters home and are being trained. This afternoon they will receive their trainer and go to their new area of serving.

We hope within the next month that we will send you a picture of your missionary with President and Sister Albrecht and a picture of them and their trainer. Please look forward to that as well as a map of the mission that you can track their service.

We are excited to have them here at this time in the mission. We know that your lives have been and will continue to be blessed by their service.

Any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us.

Japan Tokyo Mission Staff
Sister Hobbs

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ariel Heads to Japan!

Ariel leaves for Japan tomorrow morning! Here is her new address:

Sister Ariel Swainston
4-25-12 Nishi-ochiai, Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo 161-0031

Send her a letter!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Some Pictures from the MTC

Last Letter from the MTC

Can you believe it?!?!?!?! I go to Japan in like 10 seconds!!
Ok so when I get to Japan I will be with my trainer for three months (same amount of time as the MTC) because they have a new program for the first 12 weeks of your mission where you get an extra hour of companion study and an extra hour of language study in the morning with your trainer. Cool huh?! I am really grateful for that I know it will help a lot. Anyways, I hope I get another BOMB companion because I will be with them for three months and then I will only have a YEAR left on my mission!! Isn't that insane?! Time flies here it really does.
This week has been filled with the usual and then all the lasts. Last gym, (don't doubt I sat there and did about one crunch every 3 minutes for good measure) anyways we had our last Relief Society (this week is Mission Conference) and Elaine S. Dalton came!!! It was so awesome!! So that makes 4 apostles, Relief Society AND Young Womens general president, and many members of the 70 for my mtc stay. Seriously I am so blessed.
OH for Halloween my companion and I dressed like eachother. She wore all of my clothes and I wore all of her clothes. It was kind of funny because we both have such distinct style and we were SO eachother. If that makes sense... Then we decided to try and eat so much candy that we would throw up. Much to my dismay, we did not throw up. Instead we just gained 3 pounds each. Yep. In one day.
On Wednesday, SHANNON CAME IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (that's actually Skalla shimai now...) but seriously I DIED upon seeing her. I got to be her host which is the missionary that takes the new missionary around right when they arrive and shows them around and takes them to their residence and classroom and stuff. COOL HUH?!?!?! It was seriously a gift from above I KNOW that. At first I wasn't going to be able to host because we had a departing meeting scheduled at that time but it got CHANGED!! Also, sisters have to wait by the residence for the elders to bring the new sisters to them to take them where they are supposed to go but I just so happened to be in the right place at the right time when Shan and Linny pulled up so of course I ran over!! (with quiet dignity of course) I just ran to Shannon and gave her a BIG hug and said, "You made it! You're here, you did it! Everything will be okay." as we are both crying... It was really cool and I know that the Lord was micromanaging the details of both of our lives at that moment. It seriously ROCKED to see Lindsey too! We said our goodbyes and I took Shannon into the MTC to get her settled in. It was a DREAM. Now we get to see eachother at every meal and at night we of course spend every second until quiet time together. It is so fun to have Shannon here. And don't worry every elder at the MTC is in love with her and she gets told she looks like Carrie Underwood at least 20 times a day.
On to other business... We had a little meeting with the Brother in charge of the International MTC's because he went to Japan and likes to give the Japan bound missionaries a little pep talk. He talked to us about how Japan is prophecied to be one of the most baptizing missions in the world someday and we have to believe that there are people there prepared by the Lord, waiting for their friends. We have to expect more our of ourselves so we can be as successful as the Lord wants us to be. It was a very sacred meeting and got me SO EXCITED to get to Japan.
Yesterday we had something called in field orientation all. day. long. It was really cool though and got me really excited to go on a mission too. It was all about knowing our purpose and how to use it in every little thing we do in the field and then about finding and using members in our work too.. (by the way if you didn't already know this, members are the MOST IMPORTANT SLASH EFFECTIVE TOOL IN MISSIONARY WORK) so I challenge all of you members to get to work and help out the missionaries in your ward. Also I decided yesterday that I think every member should go through the MTC. If every member understood the importance of missionary work a little better and had the desire and knowledge that full time missionaries do, the WORLD would explode with the joy of the gospel!! How much happier would we be?!?! Can you imagine? Anyways I'm done preaching I don't want to be annoying.
So something funny that happened... My companion and I were walking along, minding our own business when along comes this elder, by himself, (ummm.. excusemewhereisyourcomp) and he starts like jumping off of ten benches and then 20 walls just like parkour-ing all over the place.. we looked at each other and thought umm.. that was strange. and then all the sudden another elder (a little shorter and chubbier) comes running as fast as he can and is like, "Dang it!" because it was his comp that was running away... anyways i was like crying laughing
ALSO it is currently snowing outside and so cold I want to die.
This time next week I will finally be and Asian Harajuku LOVER!!!!! CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That is all I have, think of me on Monday I will be all the way in NIHON!!!!
I love you all so much!!
Family, TALK TO YOU MONDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I am seriously PEEING about that one)
Love love love,
harajuku gossip girl

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October 28, 2011

Attention EVERYONE!
ニホン 似 息ます!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I am going to Japan!!! I got my travel plans and my flight leaves from SLC on November 7th at 8:31am. I fly to LAX and have a layover from 9:30 to 11:30 and at that time I get to call my family!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot wait to hear all of your voices!! so be ready to be on the phone at that time family!! After LAX we leave at 11:25am on november 7th and get to Japan at 4:40pm on November 8th. Crazy huh!? (feel free to send me coloring books or a nice sedative...) haha jkjk but real about the coloring books.
okay so this week was great!! I taught one of the Japanese sisters to say "ballin" as she shoots the ball in basketball. That was hilarious to me. I love teaching them english slang it's hilarious. and you should see the reaction they give when i show them pictures of me working at Disneyland. they literally die. I feel like I was always meant to be amongst Japanese people. they accept me. hahaha
Nothing else to new going on.. same ol same ol... yesterday in a lesson we were asking our investigator if he has ever committed a serious crime (baptismal interview questions) and he said "nai to omoimasu" which means "no, i think" but we thought he said "hai, to omoimasu" which means YES. ahahaha so we were like ohhhhhh ummmmmmm what did you do? (this is all in japanese btw) and he was like, ummm what was your question again? hahhahaha it was so funny. In the same lesson my companion also asked him if he thought the word of wisdom was delicious on accident. hahaha needless to say my Japanese obvi is not perfect yet...
Well, I love you all! I know the church is true and it brings me such JOY!!!!!!!!!!!
I sent home my address for Japan so you can start sending letters there. CRAZYYYY!!!
soon to be in Japan gossip girl,
Sister Swainston

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 22, 2011

Yep. I'm still at the MTC but next week we get travel plans which means there is a light at the end of the tunnel. not that i dont love the mtc because i seriously do. i am going to cry like a baby when i have to leave. but i have been here for 9 weeks!!!! I am SO ready to get out there and teach! (even though i dont know japanese at all)
Anyway, this week we got the missionaries from japan going to japan and i was able to take them around and show them what to do and stuff IN JAPANESE. i felt soo cool. but dont worry two seconds after i had a failure of a lesson in japanese where i felt like i knew nothing and couldnt understand anything my investigator was saying. needless to say i am humbled every single day, multiple times a day by this language.
On Tuesday, Richard G. Scott came and spoke to us!! what is that apostle #4? Anyway it was incredible as always. I sang in the choir for it and we sang this is the christ. It was incredible i could barely sing. It IS SO COOL when apostles come and speak. The power in the room is like nothing I can even begin to describe. Elder Scott is an ANGEL.
Funny Kim choro (elder Kim) story: so he is the Korean going to Japan and this week we learned how to say black person in Japanese so now he always calls me mama kokujin which means a little black. He is seriously hilarious. We love when he substitutes the j sound for the z sound so he says things like, "You are not JeJus!!! and I love Jone Readahs!!" he is so funny.
ALSO, a few days ago, president brown, the president of the MTC came and sat with our district at lunch time and talked to us for like 30 minutes. It was so cool. We talked about the scriptures and the purpose of the MTC and our families and a bunch of other stuff..
As always, my time has expired, but the good news is, this time next week I will be sending an email with my detailed flight plans and a little over a week from that point, I will be FLYING TO TOKYO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
love you all
minasan, ai shite imasu!!!!
Swainston Shimai

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 14, 2011

MTC happenings......
Currently there are a few elders behind me trying to figure out the last 3 of the 151 first edition pokemon. if you dont even know what that means, its cool. neither did I. Thus, I am in the MTC and its a huge nerd party constantly.
This week nbd I gave a talk in sacrament meeting.. IN JAPANESE nonetheless. It was so scary. Every week we have to prepare a talk and then at the beginning of sacrament meeting they announce who will be giving the talk. You should have seen my face when they said my name. Plus everyone turned around to look at me and my look of terror. one of the members of my branch presidency came up to me after and told me my Japanese was really good! It made me feel great about myself not gonna lie.
Julie B. Beck gave the devotional on Tuesday. I entered the devotional and was like, "JULIE BECK OH MY GOSH!!!!!! YESSSS!!" and all the elders around me proceeded to make fun of me slash mock me. happens a lot here don't worry. Also one elder asked me today, "did you do drama?" and I was like yes! how did you know?! and he was like, "you're very dramatic" im like, I know. (not the first time I have heard that one)
Last night we got an extra hour of sleep!!! It was amazing. Literally the highlight of my week. Just goes to show the little things that can make me happy up in hurrr... It was because they had a scheduled power outage so we got to return to our residence early and go to sleep early. I AM ALWAYS TIRED HERE. its ok though, comes with the territory.
Things I hear in the halls of the MTC,
Some elder talking about p-day, "dude, p-day is awesome, we get to chill, write letters, read letters, giggle....... alot...." You kind of had to hear his tone of voice but it was really funny I promise.
This week we get new Nihongin which means the missionaries from Japan going to Japan come in. That's my FAVORITE. They are all so cute and hilarious.
This week I gave Kim choro a manicure. It was hilarious because he is this cute little Korean kid in our district. He is going to Japan and only knows a little bit of English so he his hilarious. We always make him say english words with L's in them. Its a you-tube dream i swear.  and he LOVES American movies so he is always quoting Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter or the Office. SO FUNNY. such as, "Regoras, not no en nas" (from lord of the rings.) and he straight up looks like the little asian boy who meows on the Grudge. I told him that. I dont think he really understood because after i told him he just went on about how the Japanese bersion of the Grudge is scarier. (yes, bersion) anyways he is just a bundle of joy and constant entertainment.
Things are always the same here at the MTC.. not much new info... In a couple weeks we get travel plans which means we find out how much time we have to call our families at the airport. SO EXCITED! also did I tell you that Tokyo is the first mission that they are allowing the missionaries to have lap tops? Which means we get to SKYPE at Christmas!! Cool huh!? Everyone come over to the Swainstons to skype with me!!
anyways... I love you all! I love my Savior!
gossip gurl

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 7, 2011

IT SNOWED HERE YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! death. literally freezing i want to die. you can imagine how dramatic i was upon walking to the temple this morning.
So this week we had conference and it was amazing!!!! Seriously for two days all we did was watch conference, chill, eat then repeat. IT ROCKED. All of the talks were amazing and Elder Yamashita the one who came and visited our district spoke too! I felt like he was talking to me. Everytime anyone spoke about missions or missionaries, the spirit was soooo strong. Imagine like 2000 missionaries all assembled together watching conference at the same time. It was like a burst of quiet energy shot through the room every time they spoke about missionaries. Every day I understand more and more how lucky I am to be on a mission.
A couple funny stories, so the other sisters were at the temple the other day and they told this older gentleman that they were going to Japan and he was like, "Oh that's nice, the last time I was there I was dropping a bomb!" hahahahahaha so funny. He was like, "good thing you are going there for a much better reason."
Another, Yesterday we had service and we had the daunting task of cleaning the showers. Literally the most disgusting experience I have had to date. Picture 100000000000 girls all showering in the same showers and then having to clean it out. Needless to say my companion and I were heaving and screaming and yelling things like, IM GONNA DIE and NOOO NOOOO NOOOO!!!!!! THIS IS A JOKE I'M GONNA DIE! We were laughing so hard and literally crying. our glasses were fogging up and our gloves were HEINOUS. a few girls who just got to the MTC were in the hall getting oriented and they were probably terrified, (they could hear us). Then a couple of them came in and were like, are you ok?! I thought we heard someone throwing up! haha I was like oh no sorry I just have a bad gag reflex... best. service. ever.
so anywayzzzzzzzz...
Harvey choro says konnichiwa.
ok well I love you all! I will be in Japan in one month from today!!! CRAZYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MTC gossip girl 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September 30, 2011

Ariel Hendrix tells me I have a whole 5 followers on my blog. #imsopopularithurts. Thank you fans.
sooooo this week.....
We had fast sunday this last sunday because tomorrow starts the Super Bowl for missionaries, yep. thats right, GENCONF. love it!! So excited it's not ok!!
So when we have fast sunday we have whats called mission conference and it is 2 hours of a million people giving talks. I love it though there was some great stuff!! This week I have really been trying to internalize slash understand how great of an opportunity I have by serving a mission. So many people in this world would give anything for the opportunity to leave everything behind and serve the Lord and I am one of the lucky ones who gets to. I am so grateful to be here I love the MTC. I can't wait to get to Japan!!!!!!
This week officially marks the halfway point for me at the MTC. I feel proud. Only 6 more weeks and I will finally be on a plane to meet all the crazy Azns I will adore. I already do adore them and I don't know them. haha Something Elder Clarke of the 70 told us this week at a Devotional: "Eternity will be changed by you". That hit me pretty hard. I have so many people's salvation on my hands. Every single day I have the chance to change eternity. That is not just because I am a missionary. Everyone has several chances to change eternity each day. We just have to take them and let the Lord help us and guide us.
Things I hear in the halls of the MTC:
ok so there is almost always a few elders outside of every bathroom waiting 20 years for their companion to come out.. so i was walking by one of the bathrooms and there is an elder just barely opening the bathroom door so he can talk to his companion that is in there and he says,
"Elder... Are you ok in there?!?! What's going on it's been like 10 minutes! Gimme some feedback!"  which just proves my last point, the MTC stinks.
In other news, this week Melissa sent my companion a wand. Luckily now we both don't have to make our beds anymore.
Also just a random story that popped into my mind... sometimes after gym when we go outside and play four square by the temple we like to parkour our way back to the MTC. So I was doing some siiiiiiiick parkour and i used one of the elders to push off of. I kind of just pushed him and then jumped (obvi im a beginner at parkour) (**** side note, who am i? what has this place done to me?! I DONT PARKOUR) anywayzzzzz..... so i jumped and the elder goes, "You can't treat me like an object. I am not some pole you can use to jump off of." he was dead serious. needless to say I was just like oops! then I ran away... ahhhh the things that entertain me at the MTC....
Anywayzzz sorry my email was lame this week.
I LOVE YOU ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
gossip girl

Friday, September 23, 2011

September 23, 2011

Hai everyone!!! (isn't it funny that i always say haiiiiiii and in Japanese hai means yes?) i found that amusing... anyway..
This week was seriously the
Ok so at the beginning of the week all the Elders and Sisters at the MTC were given the OCTOBER ensign. Yep. thats right. a month early. it is a special edition ensign all about the Book of Mormon. So that was really cool! then we were told to read it and become familiar with it for the devotional on Tuesday. Of course everyone was whispering about the possibility of the prophet coming. (those are the kind of rumors that happen at the MTC.. haha so we get to the devotional after being reminded a hundred times to bring our ensign and scriptures and something to write with slash on and in walks ELDER RUSSEL M. NELSON! so that makes apostle number three. you could say i'm SO LUCKY! right?! Elder Nelson is sooooo cool! First his wife talked and i am obsessed with her. i want to be her. she was hilarious. she talked about obedience which is definitely and overlying theme here but i know that it is really important. then her husband got up and talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon and all about what was in the ensign and stuff. The spirit was so strong and even though I already have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, I felt the spirit testify to me multiple times in just that meeting that the Book of Mormon is true. I seriously love that book so much!!! We are so lucky to have this book with us and should treasure it above all of our posessions. So when the Ensign comes out for October, read it! You will love it!!!!
Ok so a few days ago our sensai told us to meet in our class room in our best missionary attire right after we went to the temple on pday. He wouldn't tell us why but we met there this morning and he just started teaching a normal class. a little bit into it we hear a knock on the door and in walks President Brown (president of the MTC), Brother Yamashita newly called member of the quorum of the 70 from japan and his wife, and President Mills (president of the international MTC program). Needless to say it was AMAZING. They all sat down and observed a little bit of our lesson (man was i trying soooo hard to be good at Japanese) and then they interrupted and introduced themselves and the 70 and his wife testified to us. Brother Yamashita told us how he was converted by the love that the missionaries felt and showed, not by their poor language skills. He said, " Don't worry because you have already accepted this sacred calling a long time ago." he kept saying dont worry dont worry in his cute japanese accent. then he said, "please love us Japanes people, please love us." I CAN'T wait to go there and love them SO SO SO MUCH! i already do! When they were all leaving President Brown came up to my comp and i and said, "you're gonna be a wonderful missionary. both of you. I am happy for you. Keep it up." It was so nice and such an amazing experience! the MTC is such a great place. No where else in the world would I be able to experience something like this.
now for: Things I hear in the halls of the MTC:
some weird elder trying to sound ghetto (key word trying): "Oh, you be duck-tailin elder! You be duck-tailin hard core!" apparently there is some dumb term for just about every missionary cliche here in the mtc...
fun fact about the MTC:
the MTC stinks. no like it legitimately smells bad. It may be the fact that over 2,000 boyzzzz are roaming the halls and as my mother would say, "making smells". Nevertheless, I am constantly trying to refrain from gagging.
Sister Edstrom quote: after dinner one day, "We are just full with the spirit, there's no room for food." --- she's a character. LOVE HER.
anywayzzz thats all i have! If I have written you a letter, WRITE ME BACK DANG IT!!! (via dearelder). If i haven't, it is because i dont have your address. so write me anyway! :)
mina san, ai shite masu!!!!!
xoxo, gossip girl
swainston shimai

Friday, September 16, 2011

September 16, 2011

okay so japanese is so freaking hard i cant even know what to do with myself. the lord humbles me every single day with this language and the second i think i might be getting it he reminds me that i CANNOT do it without him. I love him! haha we got to do TRC this week which is when people who speak japanese come to the MTC and you teach them a lesson in Japanese and try to meet their needs as themself. It was really hard to get my point accross as it always is but i love how no matter how much of a train wreck a lesson ends up being, i can count on the fact that when i testify (even in horrible japanese), the spirit is always there and it doesnt matter what i am saying, the message gets accross. and that, my friends, is the secret to the gift of tongues. believe it.
sooo this week was really great! ELDER M. RUSSEL BALLARD CAME! seriously i have had two apostles of the Lord come and speak here at the MTC already. i am so so blessed. Elder Ballard is adorable i wanted to just run up and give him a hug. I wish all of you could experience when an apostle comes to the MTC. It is one very sacred experience. The spirit is so so strong testifying to meet every single one of the elders and sisters needs in the MTC. I marvel at how no matter what i am going through or struggling with every day, my prayers are answered through a talk or a lesson or even my companion or elders in my district.
anyway, this week one of the sisters was like, has anyone ever told you you remind them of Rachel Berry from Glee? I was like ummm noooo I never get that! (#yeahrightigetthateveryday)
I only have one quote from Edstrom Shimai this week.
Okay she loves loves loves Harry Potter. So this week when we were changing our sheets out slash making our beds she goes,
"uhhhh I dont wanna do this! I wish I brought my wand!" dead serious. hahah i love her.
Also, (this is for Adrianna) a few weeks ago in class my sensei used the word "tokidoki" for the first time. Remember that?
Also, for those of you who know me well this will be funny. So sometimes it is REALLY hard to stay awake at the MTC. Its a fact of life. So I was sitting in class and trying not to fall asleep and all the sudden I made that one noise that I sometimes make when I am falling asleep. Yep. true. totes embar. luckily it wasn't that loud. still totes embar.
What else.... ooh yeah on sunday we got to watch the special music and the spoken word about 9/11. If you didn't get to see it, go watch it right now please. They were showing videos of the heroes of 9/11 rushing to put others' lives before theirs. All i could think about is running to the people of Japan and putting my life and my cares behind me to rescue them from the sorrows and the pains of life. It is just as important as the firefighers running to pull people from the rubble. I NEED to get to them. I HAVE to save them. It is all I want to do right now and I am so so excited to get there and get to work.
Something funny about the MTC: on sunday nights, we get to watch movies. it is usually something like the testaments or the Joseph Smith movie. Last week we watched the testaments. as we are watching, the elders find any excuse to be immature. there is a part where Jacob is talking to the King's daughter and says something like "i know your name" (go watch it) and all the elders start cheering and whistling. i think they need a weekly hug allowance. its kinda sad. but funny.
anywayzzzz as always my time is running out. I love you all! please send me a DearElder shout out! I love those!
gossip girl
ai shite masu!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 9, 2011

I want chipotle so hard right now... anyway.. THEY HAVE CHIPOTLE IN TOKYO. also, THEY HAVE CHOCOLATE COVERED CINNAMON BEARS HERE IN THE BOOKSTORE. needless to say i may spend considerable amounts of money on them... jkjkjkjkjknotreally
but really...
Ok so this week really flew by! i had some serious run ins with horrible japanese teaching experiences where i got into a lesson and forgot every bit of japanese i knew. that was coool.... NOT. but its ok everyone says it will come, until then i just study by bum (you like that i said bum?) off every single day. it is like 100 times more studying then i have ever done in my life. LOVE IT.
companion quotes:
"when you taste the pie flavored older men, you just can't go back."
also when she heard my cackle laugh for the first time (for you aleah) she goes, "swainston shimai, OH my gosh youre so funny!!!!!! then she proceeded to turn red and laugh for like 10 minutes. then for the rest of the class she would stop what she was doing periodically and laugh more. haha
thats all for companion quotes...
the other day my district was taking bets on how much mail i would get. that just goes to show how much mail means to us missionaries. dont let me down people.. haha
Also i am almost positive that the organist at the devotional the other night was my bus driver on my church history trip... ask katie about this one. and tell her to WRITE ME.
also i was talking to an elder the other day and he said
"are you the girl with the zebra luggage? i said yeah thats me did you write home about that one? and he said uhh im pretty sure that made it in the journal im not sure.. hahaha
anyway for some reason my time is up. I HATE THAT..
pray always and dont forget to FEAST upon the words of Christ. I love you all.
gossip girl
Swainston Shimai.

Friday, September 2, 2011

September 2, 2011

Warning: I have no time for punctuation or grammar. I apologize.
If I had a facebook my status would be: TRUE LIFE: I'm wearing 10 shirts.
Moving on... I want everyone to know how grateful I am for all the letters and support!! I love you all!! Ok so this week was like a real MTC week! We literally spend 10 hours a day on language alone. Then at least 2 hours studying the gospel on our own and other stuff mixed in. I am praying for all of you at home every single day and night. Today I got to do a session in the Provo temple it was awesome but made me miss the Las Vegas temple. I love it there. Sometimes when i walk accross the street to the field for exercise or to the temple i think of how cool it would be if one of my provo friends happened to drive or run by. then i snap back to reality. I got to go to the MTC choir on Sunday and it was seriously amazing. we can't listen to music here so it helps me get my music fix. I'm literally dying. the MTC choir is unfortunately not singing in conference this fall so that is a bummer. ok so on to fun facts slash quotes slash experiences from this week:
Things i hear in the hallways of the MTC: (these are direct quotes mind you)
"I think im gonna ask my parents to send me my Zac Efron shirt. Then I can wear it every night" ----- bless him
Elder 1: so excited, "dude! where'd you get that pocket protector?!"
Elder 2: soooo coooooool, "ohh... just in the bookstore for a solid 70 cents"
if you dont think these are funny its fine i do. i have to do something to keep myself entertained.
Oh yes, as for the elder who told me we are related. this week he informed me we are not. so dont worry. apparently grandma bergquist and his grandma have been besties for a million years... oh well.
Quotes from my companion:
"I wanna like, half swear right now!"
that's all i have for this week in companion quotes but dont worry they get better every day.
fun fact: i gave 2 elder's in my district Aleah's address. #yourewelcome #imsofunny
i peed everywhere. It was honestly one of the coolest experiences i have ever had. he talked to us about a lot of things but honestly i only have 4 more minutes so i have to cut this email short! im so saddddd!!! there is so so so much to tell you ! oh well.
Japanese is getting better. still so hard though. and our sensei still only speaks in Japanese. Also, our sacrament meeting is in Japanese. coolineverknowwhatsgoingon but dont doubt when other people laugh about something said in japanese and i have no idea qwhat they are saying i totes do my debra laugh.
okay i love you all. please respond via dear elder so i can have your address slash actually have time to read the letters and to respond in email. LOVE LOVE LOVE
gossip girl
i mean... miss tokyo 2012

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ariel's First Letter from the MTC

 August 27, 2011
Mom and all my kazoku (family),  & friends!
It is my fourth day in the MTC and I feel like I have been here for 4 weeks. The food is bomb, the people are so nice, the language is impossible, and the Elders are unique. My companion's name is Sister Edstrom from Salem, UT. She is a very sweet girl and we get along very well. She is patient with me and my humor that she hasn't fully grasped which is good. My district has 9 Elders and my companion and I. It is a lot of fun getting to know them. We spend A LOT of time with our districts. It was wonderful getting all the mail from DearElder so thank everyone for that! Tell anyone who wants a letter from me to send me a DearElder and then I can write them back because I will have their address. My first Japanese class was a bit of a wake up call. Our teacher or sensai comes into class speaking only Japanese. None of us understand a word he is saying so sometimes it ends up our teacher literally acting things out and us trying to guess what he is saying. It is interesting to say the least. Even though I have only been here four days, we have learned how to greet, pray, and testify in Japanese. Yesterday my companion and I taught our first "investigator" in full on Japanese. It was hilarious we had no idea what we were doing or saying. The days are so long and exhausting here. We are working our hardest from the moment we wake up to the second our eyes close. I know I would not be awake most days if it weren't for the strength of the Lord and all of your prayers so thank you! Today is not our normal preparation day but since it is our first week we don't really get one. We get a few hours today to do laundry and write letters then it is back to work. Starting next week our preparation day will be on Fridays and we will get to go to the temple and then do whatever we need to do. So expect e-mails on Fridays! The spirit is so strong here at the MTC. It is filled with people with righteous desires to serve the Lord. Of course there is comedy everywhere I look which has kept me entertained. Elders are straight nerds. There is an Elder in my zone named Elder St Clair.. He is from St. George I believe and he told me that we are related. I have never seen him in my life. But he says his grandma told his mom and his mom told him to watch for me in the MTC. (maybe you can investigate this mom?) Anyway, I saw Elder Dillon Freeze here (a boy in my single's ward) it was good to see him. I think that is all I got for today. The computer is about to kick me off, we only get 30 minutes and there is a timer. Mom, please tell the rest of the fam to feel free to write me on DearElder or shoot me an e-mail! I want to hear about the first day of school and all the babies and everything. I love all of you so so so much!!!!
XOXO, gossip girl.
.............I mean Sister Swainston...
........I mean Swainston Shimai...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ariel enters MTC!

This afternoon Ariel will enter the MTC (Missionary Training Center). Here is her current address:

Sister Ariel Swainston
MTC Mailbox #270
JPN-TOK 1108
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

You can also write her through Letters sent through DearElder while missionaries are in the Provo MTC are free and delivered the same day. Letters must be submitted by noon MST for same-day delivery.

An Evening in Salt Lake City

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ariel's Mission Blog

Sister Ariel Swainston has been called to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She will labor in the Tokyo Japan Mission, Japanese speaking.

Through this blog, Ariel's close friends and family members will share Ariel's weekly emails and experiences while serving a mission in Tokyo, Japan.

Ariel will enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on Wednesday, August 24th. She'll be spending a couple months there learning the Japanese language and learning how to be an effective teacher to the people of Japan.

Click here to learn more about missionary work.