I don't have much time to email today because we've been out shopping and on the train since 5:30 this morning, when we went to Tokyo to go to the temple!! The ride was about and hour and a half. Almost all of the missionaries were there, and it was great seeing everyone from my old district again. The Tokyo temple doesn't have any grounds - it's literally right in the middle of the city. So cool. Afterwards I went with a bunch of girls to eat sukiyaki at a nice restaurant - yum.
Friday marked the one-month anniversary of my arrival in Japan. Time seems to have flown by! I'm already over 1/6 done, but I feel like I just got here and haven't really done anything yet. We've been super busy lately, spending more time teaching and less time trying to find people, which is awesome. I know the classic image of missionaries is walking down the street knocking on doors, but it's easily the least effective method of finding and teaching people who are interested.
I tried lots of cool new foods this week, including takoyaki (octopus in fried dough). It was pretty good... really you can't go wrong when you wrap something in dough and deep-fry it. I took a picture of Sister Kubota holding some of the octopus. I really ate that! I also ate okonomiyaki, or cabbage pancakes. Easily one of my favorite foods so far. It's just cabbage, plus whatever other vegetables or seafood you want, cooked in pancake-like batter and topped with a special sauce, plus seaweed and fish flakes. Sounds weird, but trust me on this.
We also continued to use all kind of languages. We got to teach a lesson to L, from Peru, and found a video to watch with her in Spanish. She's very sweet and I love teaching her. We also helped the man from Congo translate some immigration documents from French into Japanese, and talked a little about different belief systems. He's Muslim but very open-minded and likes learning about others' faiths. He even shared some French Christian hymns from Congo, and said he wanted to bring three of his friends to Eikaiwa!
Now for the miracle of the week: We got a call on Tuesday saying that there were two women at the church looking for us. Usually nobody's there on Tuesday, but President Budge happened to be in Oyama that day doing interviews for our zone. So we rushed over and met a woman that we'd talked to for literally 45 seconds at the train station. I guess she'd gone home and looked up mormon.org after we gave her a flyer, and loved what she read. SHE came and found US. You have no idea how rare that is. So we taught her and her friend about the restoration of the gospel, and she was so, so excited. When we pulled a copy of the Book of Mormon out of our bag, she stretched her hands forward and said "I want to read it!!"
The next night, the woman (I'll call her Aki) emailed us and asked if she could be baptized. Sister Kubota shrieked with joy when she saw it - this is literally every missionary's fantasy. We met with her again yesterday, and it's going to take a while before she can get baptized. She has to make a lot of big life changes. But she wants to change and is ready to change - she said she'd known for a long time she wasn't living how she was supposed to, and she feels it's destiny that we met. She just needed something to give her a push to start to make changes. I'm so, so happy we were able to find her. I truly feel like we were meant to, and even though it'll be a long road, I can see her in the future, happy and living like she wants to.
I'm loving Japan! Thank you for all your support!
|Octopus to be made into takoyaki|
|Anna and Kubota Shimai in front of Tokyo temple|