Monday, November 11, 2013

hello again

Can't believe it's Monday again! This week was probably one of the most fun on my mission. We taught about the same amount of lessons as usual, and did the same kinds of things, but for some reason I've just been really happy lately. My companions and I get along great, and we're always laughing. Everyone has also been really excited lately about "White Christmas" - our goal for every ward in the Tokyo mission to see a baptism before Christmas. There's been lots of talk about miracles, and I know we'll get to see some of our own.

I guess I'll give a report of the week. On Monday night we visited one of our neighbors who we met a while ago. Earlier, she'd said we could come back and talk to the family about the Book of Mormon, but every time we came by they didn't answer the door. This time she did, and apologized and said she felt sorry for us always making the effort to come over. She accepted a Book of Mormon and promised to read it! The funny thing is, that's how most of the ward members' conversion stories start - they felt bad for the missionaries. Hey, whatever works! My pride's long gone.

Tuesday we got to teach a lot, and had a fun fondue party at the church after our last lesson in the evening. The ward members here are so kind!

Wednesday was Sister Cortes' birthday! I made cupcakes from a Japanese mix, and they turned out okay but sort of a weird consistency. I'm still getting used to Japanese baking. We had dinner at a sushi restaurant to celebrate, then went and taught Eikaiwa, which is always awesome. We had a lot of new students this week, and they were all so kind! It was also Sister Kubota's birthday so we called her in Shibuya. Same day!

Thursday was good because we had two lessons with two of our most progressing investigators - Aki, and Hoso. They are polar opposites. Aki loves to talk and tells us everything - she really, really, wants to be baptized, but still has to work out a few things first. Hoso is very mysterious and doesn't offer up much information about himself. He's interested in learning about the church, maybe from an intellectual perspective. I don't think joining the church would mean any major life changes for him, but he still wants to take things slow and mull over his decision.

Friday was also a good day. We had the first district meeting of the transfer, and got to meet all the new missionaries. Our district is HUGE now - I wonder if they'll eventually split us into two! More and more missionaries keep coming, and space is getting tight.

On Saturday we spent the morning at the Oyama Ward 40th anniversary party. It was fun to see all the old pictures (like the tiiiiiiny loft they used to meet in before getting their own building) and meet members who hadn't been to church in a long time. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun reconnecting. We also played funny games - Japanese people seem to get a lot more into games than Americans. At least for adults. We did all these silly activities that usually little kids might do at a birthday party, but everyone was totally up for it. It was awesome. We also came home from the party with an unprecedented amount of food - we even took a picture of all of it. And that was BEFORE the bishop and his wife stopped by our apartment with even more.

On Sunday we had appointments with two of our Peruvian investigators, and one of them remembered. 50-50 is actually better than usual! The lesson went really well, and she said that she felt like she has all the same questions as Joseph Smith had, so she was happy to finally be able to learn the answers. It's moments like these, when I hear that, (at least when I hear Sister Cortes' translation a few minutes later) that make this all worth it. Sometimes I feel like nobody wants to listen to us and we're not accomplishing anything, but small miracles happen all the time that make each day worth it. Aki sometimes texts us to say she felt God's love when she prayed, or that she was able to accomplish one of her goals, and it's so incredible to witness her life changing. We're here for a reason.

I'm also growing to love the Japanese people more and more, with all of their quirks. Everyone here seems to be able to catch flies with one hand, which I thought was cool. They also LOVE giving little gifts. Even people we don't know give us things - I said konnichiwa to a lady at the train station last week and she responded by giving me a bag of squid jerky (pretty good, actually. Or maybe I was just hungry). They also love kleenex - everywhere you go, people are handing out free packs of kleenex with advertisements inside. Meme would love it.

While looking back at the pictures I chose to send, I realized they all have to do with food. Well, I guess that's accurate - we eat a lot here. Good times and bad times, whether we're hungry or not. It's terrible. I used to roll my eyes when people talked about "stress eating" but it's REAL. The fish-shaped cake things are called taiyaki and are filled with pudding/anko/cheese and are sooo good. Discovery of the week.

Love you all! Take care!

Happy Birthday to Cortes Shimai

Anna and Taneda Shimai celebrate the Ward's kindness


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