I did my first companion split on Tuesday with Sister Vail, the Sister Training Leader. She's awesome and we had a really good time teaching people and getting lost (since with Sister Kubota gone, I was in charge of directions). But Sister Vail loves taking opportunities to talk to everybody, so every time we stopped to ask for directions (a lot) we'd talk about the church too. I guess there's a silver lining to everything, including my severe handicap when it comes to using maps.
We used lots of different languages this week. We gave a Thai Book of Mormon to S. for her to read before she goes to Thailand for a month, plus met a lot more people from either Peru or Brazil. I also finally got to use my French when I met a man from Congo at the train station! My French is awful now, by the way. It make out half-Japanese and made no sense, plus I kept forgetting really easy words like "Wednesday."
This week was super hot. Even being on the bike for ten minutes makes me feel like I'm dying. We visited a lady on Friday who's been a sort-of investigator for around ten years. She reads the Book of Mormon at home, and says she loves and prays for missionaries, but has never wanted to join the church. Funny. And she really does love missionaries - she let us in her house and gave us tea before even asking our names. Just seeing the name tags was enough. And she was listening to Adele when we came in! It's crazy how much joy I get from hearing 20 seconds of an American song playing somewhere.
Speaking of America, I saw a newspaper today with a picture of Obama on it. We're not really supposed to read newspapers, but Sister Kubota said the headline said something about attacking Syria. Please, someone let me know if we go to war! I have absolutely no idea what's going on at home.
On Saturday, after dendo-ing in the afternoon we went over to a member's house for dinner and met the cutest 4-year-old Japanese boy ever. He kept running back to his room and returning with more toys to show us - a Spongebob game, Transformers figurine, Thomas the Tank Engine -there was even a Buzz Lightyear steering wheel that spoke in Japanese. It seems like kids here like a lot of American cartoons, but they also have their own. The most famous one is AnPan Man, who's head is made of anpan, a bun filled with sweet bean paste. It's way good. Anyways, Sister Kubota was telling me about Anpan Man - I guess his big thing is that he tears off a piece of his face to give to people when they're hungry. I thought it was super weird, but then I remembered that our most popular cartoon character is a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. I guess cartoons are weird everywhere.
Another interesting thing about Japan is that all of the students wear uniforms - there's a few different kinds, depending on the school. Some high school girls wear plaid skirts and white collared shirts, and there's also a few sailor-like outfits. All of them seem very Western to me.
Yesterday was kind of an adventure. We went over to teach one of the new people we met from Peru, but of course she forgot our appointment. But then just as we were about to leave, it starting POURING. Thunder, lightning, everything. And obviously we didn't have coats with us. We tried to knock on a few doors and make calls under the shelter of the apartment complex, but eventually it became clear that the rain wasn't about to stop anytime soon, and we had places to be. So Sister Kubota knocked on a random door and said something like, "Hello! We're missionaries, and it's raining, so um... can we borrow an umbrella?" The lady seemed kind of surprised, but then she came out and gave us each umbrellas! We asked if we could come back the next day to return them and teach her about our church, and she said yes! Miracles every day.
So after that, we ditched our bikes at the apartment and waded through the street-turned-river (this place doesn't have the best water drainage system), trying to protect ourselves as best we could with the small umbrellas. The water was past my ankles - not exactly how I pictured myself working in the most modern city in the world. But it was kind of funny. We baked some cake that night to bring as a thank-you. And to think we never would have met without the storm... God has a sense of humor sometimes.
Hope everyone's doing well!
|MacArthur Shimai in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan|
Anna's response in a separate email to Kathy's question "How are you feeling about being there in Japan? on a mission?": I'm thrilled to be on a mission. It's a little hard sometimes when my expectations aren't the same as reality, but if I take the time I can see miracles happening every day. I knew beforehand that this wouldn't be a mission with sky-high numbers, but I still try to believe it CAN be.