Monday, September 30, 2013

Oyama update

Hello! I can't believe another p-day is almost over... time goes by so fast here it's scary. I'll have wrinkles by the time I come home.

News! Our third companion is finally coming, so we'll take the train to Tokyo on Wednesday to pick her up. Yay! Now we have to rearrange our beds and figure out how to best share two desks.

Today Sister Kubota and I went to the community center Japanese class again, which was fun - we've developed a fun group of friends there, and we all went out to lunch afterwards. Our friend from Thailand is back, so we got to talk to her again and eat some treats she brought back with her! I also finally got a haircut to fix the hack job I got in the MTC. Warning to all future missionaries: it's tempting to take advantage of the free MTC barber shop, but know that they value quantity over quality. Ten minutes is not enough for a decent women's haircut.

Last week was busy - on Wednesday we had our first district meeting of the transfer, so I got to meet the four new missionaries in our district! Thirteen new missionary apartments opened this transfer, and more and more new missionaries keep coming. It's awesome. But it also means experienced missionaries are becoming scarce - it's not uncommon for people to start training after only being here 3 months (less time if you're native Japanese). Scary.

On Thursday we had a really, really good lesson with K. She had a previous baptismal date but cancelled it just before I got to Oyama, so we've been very careful about not putting too much pressure on her. Still, we wanted to help her progress, so we'd been praying all week to know what to do. Then, after our lesson, she finally opened up to us about all of her concerns and why she'd cancelled before. It was a miracle for us because now we finally know exactly what she needs and wants to learn.

Everyone is different, which is why it's so important for us to really get to know the people we teach and love them and gain their trust. Teaching is a two-way thing - we can't drag anyone towards understanding. They have to work with us and be willing to meet halfway. We like to refer to ourselves as "guides" - our job is to teach people what we know, and help them know how to find out for themselves if our message is true - not to debate and "convince" people to be baptized. It is ultimately up to them what they decide to do.

Friday was a little rough. We biked for an hour and ten minutes to get to someone's house - we'd never met her before, but I guess she joined the church as a teenager and hasn't come in years. Anyway, after the long ride and asking a few neighbors we finally found the house - and she stared at us for about five seconds before shutting the door again as Sister Kubota was mid-sentence. I have to admit I didn't have a very Christlike attitude and sort of grumbled under my breath when Sister Kubota suggested we say a prayer for the door shutter, bless her heart. But on our way back home we met a young mother of two who accepted a Book of Mormon from us and said we could come back and teach her family! So the day ended up being a success.

Friday morning we also visited a very sweet obaachan [grandma?] who loves nature and music, so we sang "For the Beauty of the Earth" as she showed us her garden and gave us a bouquet to take home. We took some glamour shots with it, which I'll attach.

Saturday we taught some good lessons and had lunch at a lady in our ward's house, which was really fun. She's very funny and talkative and told us her conversion story - I guess her dad felt bad for the missionaries for some reason, so he told her to go and take lessons from them, even though they were devout members of another church. So she started meeting with the missionaries out of pity, but eventually realized what they were teaching was true! Ha ha I guess it doesn't matter how you get there.

I had a really embarrassing moment after lunch though - since we were sitting on the floor, one of my legs fell completely asleep. I underestimated just how numb it was though, and put all my weight on it as I stood up, which made me completely fall over, arms pinwheeling and everything. It was a miracle nothing broke. Easily the least graceful thing I've ever done, and coming from me, that means a lot! Yikes.

Church yesterday was awesome - so many people came that there wasn't enough room in the chapel! That's the kind of "problem" we love to have.

Now that the horribly humid summer is ending, I get to enjoy Fall. Biking is more enjoyable, and we often pull over to take pictures of the landscape or sunsets. I'll attach one from a few days ago.

Hope everyone is well!

Love, Anna

Bouquet from obaachan's garden

Oyama landscape

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