Monday, November 4, 2013

can't believe it's november!

Mina sann! Hello!

This week was transfer week, so it was crazy busy even though I stayed in the same place. Missionaries who transfer have to pack everything up and ship it to the next location, including bikes. Who knew that taking the wheel and handlebars off a bike would be so hard? No matter how hard we tried, Sister Kubota's handlebars wouldn't budge. Literally used ALL of our strength. So we eventually caved and called the Elders for help, and of course when they came over it took them five seconds to do it, seemingly effortlessly. Embarrassing. Then we gave them treats as a thank-you... I've officially become a sister missionary stereotype.

My new companion, Sister Taneda, is one of the kindest, friendliest people I've ever met in my life. Whenever she talks to others I just watch in awe. She's 24 and from Kobe. She's been on her mission for a year, and has all kinds of cool ideas, so I can definitely learn a lot from her! She also doesn't really speak English, which I was a little worried about at first, but it's worked out fine so far. We pretty much only speak Japanese in the apartment, except I use English with Sister Cortes when it's just us.

I don't have much time so I'll keep my weekly report short. Basically the first half of the week was full of goodbyes - to members, friends, investigators, Eikaiwa students, etc. Sister Kubota and Elder Howard, my district leader, both left, and they will both be missed. Hopefully with six missionaries in Oyama now, we'll be able to fill their shoes and more!

On Thursday we traveled to Omiya to meet a bunch of other missionaries and exchange companions. Before heading back we all ate lunch together... at McDonalds. Not my choice, but I was sort of curious about what a Japanese McDonalds would be like. Just as gross as America! The apple pies are still yummy though.

Sister Taneda came just in time for weekly planning, and as a companionship we all made goals for what we want to do this transfer. We all have high hopes, and having a new teacher has its advantages - there were a few investigators we were sort of "stuck" with, unable to help them progress because they just saw us as friends and didn't really care much about church things, and we managed to give both of them Books of Mormon this week and they promised to read! Miracles every day.

On Saturday a couple of policemen stopped us and asked me and Sister Cortes for our gaijin cards (visas), so that was kind of exciting. They were super nice about it, even though I don't approve of their racial profiling. We also met a bunch of exchange students from Vietnam who were really excited to talk to us, and it was so fun trying to communicate through both of our broken Japanese efforts! I think it was the first time I've heard Vietnamese (is that what their language is called?) being spoken - really interesting.

Since I'm now area Senpai (most experience) we've gotten lost a fair bit, but not as badly as I'd feared. So it's okay. My inability to navigate even helped us one time - I was trying to think of the fastest way home, but could only remember one way, which was super long and round-about. I knew there was a shortcut, but for some reason as I tried to imagine the road the image was being blocked from my mind. Frustrated, I gave up and led us to the long way home that I knew, and on the way saw a woman at a stoplight who I felt I should say hi to. She said hello back, then asked where I was from. The light turned green, interrupting our conversation, and she walked on - but for some reason I chased after her, awkwardly trying to ride my bike and fish a flyer out of my bag at the same time. I told her we were church volunteers who taught free English class, and she got really excited and said she wanted to come! I'll never know if my inability to remember the way home came from on high or from my own stupidity, but I guess it doesn't matter. I constantly have to remind myself that I'm not here to do things my way, but His.

All for now! I'm attaching a picture of Elder Justeson playing the guitar at Music Corner, and me and Sister Taneda eating ramen (sorry my tag is covered... bad missionary).

Ai shite iru yo,

Music Corner at Eikaiwa (English class).  

Anna and new companion Taneda shimai.  Note the petite bowls.

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