Monday, October 28, 2013

Hello from... still Oyama!

Konnichiwa mina san. This week was way fun and way busy, starting with temple day and a special Sister Missionary training on Tuesday. We woke up at four to catch the train to Tokyo but it was worth it! All of the Sister Missionaries in our whole mission were together, and we got to listen to speakers, music, do some group activities, and of course eat. It was really fun to see everyone again, and the speakers were really good. One woman gave a talk about modesty and the need to respect our bodies that I actually enjoyed - that in itself was a miracle!

Wednesday was a day of miracles. The lessons we taught went really well, we got good news from our investigators, and we found a really nice family while housing. Tsu san. When we showed her the Book of Mormon, she looked at it and said, "oh, does it say nice things like the Bible? I like the Bible. I'm really interested." Sometimes when people actually want to talk to us it's hard not to let the shock show on our faces. Just keep smiling, like "of course you do! Who wouldn't?"

We continue to teach in every language possible. We did another lesson in French on Monday, and on Wednesday we visited one of our ward members from Peru and her father. He'd speak to Sister Cortes in Spanish, who translated in English for Sister Kubota, who then relayed the same message in Japanese to the ward member who was there with us. I sat and smiled and nodded when I understood.

On Thursday we had our last district meeting of the transfer - it was kind of sad to think of all the people who will be going home soon, like my Sister Training leader and one of the Zone leaders. We had a little testimony meeting together which was really sweet, then ate lunch at a ramen shop. After that we went on splits, so one of the Utsunomiya sisters came to Oyama with us while Sister Kubota left. We had fun talking to lots of different people, and made a few new friends at the train station.

Friday it rained and rained and rained - it was the first time since coming here that I've felt unsafe on a bike. My bike light is pretty weak, so nighttime is a little risky sometimes. But don't worry! I'm a defensive biker. The one upside to rain is that no one wants to leave their house, so all the people we visited that day were actually home (it's really hard to make appointments sometimes, so we do a lot of "surprise visits" to our investigators' houses). One of our investigators gave us all big bags of clothes to take home - she says she's "too fat" for them now, but probably weighs half what I do. Everyone here is so tiny.

Saturday we went to our ward Halloween party. It was really fun and well-planned, with lots of games and activities. It was fun seeing the different types of costumes - AnPanMan, a really famous Japanese cartoon character, was a popular one. I worked really hard on my costume, as you can tell from the picture below - dollar store headband! There were lots of cats that night.

Sunday was good, as always. I like going to church and seeing everybody, even though it's a little hard to stay awake sometimes. Very mentally exhausting. I'm slowly starting to understand more and more, but it's still hard. It also doesn't help that I have to wear nylons, which I'm pretty sure are torture devices. All blood circulation is cut off from my brain.

Today we had zone P-day in Oizumi, which is like mini Brazil town in the middle of Japan. We all met at a park and played soccer and other games, plus ran into a huge group of preschool kids who were all so cute. They loved playing with us and took a million pictures. Afterwards their teachers had them perform a cartwheel/frog jump/bridge routine for us. I'll probably see some of them again, doing gymnastics for Team Japan when I come back to watch the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!

The other big news from today was... transfer calls! Oh man I was so nervous. I'm staying in Oyama, and so is Sister Cortes, but Sister Kubota is leaving and another Japanese missionary, Sister Taneda, is coming to replace her. I've heard that Sister Taneda is really nice, but I'm a little nervous about not having Sister Kubota here! Everyone really loves and trusts her so much, and also now I'm in charge of directions. My ability to navigate is still horrible - whenever you pray for me, please don't worry about my safety/happiness/health/whatever, all that is fine. But please ask God to help me not get lost.

Our mission is growing so fast that we barely have space for all the new missionaries! Almost all the companionships in my district are trios now, and we're getting over 60 new missionaries before Christmas. Crazy. I'm excited for this next transfer and hope I see lots of miracles to write home about!

Love you all, take care!
- Anna

Anna at Oyama Ward Halloween Party

Anna and Shimai Kubota and Shimai Cortes at the Tokyo Temple

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