Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy December!

Mina san! Can you believe it's already December? Time flies. In four days I will officially be 1/3 done with my mission. 33% finished! I feel like I just got here! I can barely speak Japanese, but I only have a year left. Scary, scary, scary.

We started the week with an awesome lesson. We got to meet with Aki, and her friend Kei that comes to all the lessons/church with her. Aki told us that the president of the company where she works apparently knows President Monson, and wants to incorporate some of the church's organization into the structure of his company. Awesome! But the best part was when she told us that when she heard that announcement, she felt very proud and wanted so badly to raise her hand and say, "I'M a Mormon!" Hearing that made me so happy - my smile wouldn't go away for the rest of the day. Aki wants to be baptized in the beginning of January, and Kei said that she would too! We were never really sure how much interest Kei had, and never even counted her as an investigator, but now she's getting baptized. Amazing.

Wednesday we had district meeting, where everyone was asked to give a short presentation on different assigned topics. I spoke about hope, which was a little ironic because I had been starting to wonder how in the world we were ever going to reach our goal of seeing a baptism before Christmas. But then, that evening, a miracle happened. While I stayed at the church to teach Eikaiwa in the evening with Sister Taneda, Sister Cortes went on splits with a member in our ward to teach Miro, the investigator who's been studying every night out of a Gospel Principles textbook. When Sister Cortes came back after the lesson, she was excited to tell us how well it went. When he was young, Miro studied to be a Catholic priest, but eventually stopped because of all the corruption he saw in the church. He didn't think it went in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Now, he's so excited to be learning again, and is happy that he's finally found the truth he's started looking for so long ago. He wants to get baptized on December 22nd, two days after his wife gets out of the hospital, so that she can be there with him. And when she's well enough, she wants to get baptized too!

And so my hope was restored. Isn't it funny how little things like that work out? I've noticed that we're often asked to teach others about things we need to learn for ourselves. At the last Sister Missionary training, Sister Dunn and her companion gave a presentation on exercise. She told me that they'd been getting pretty lazy before getting that assignment and joked, "we've been called to repentance!" No more being a "futon missionary" - what we call the missionaries whose exercise in the morning consists of lying on their futon and maybe stretching or doing a couple sit-ups. So far all of my companions have fallen into this category. Sister Cortes actually bought a jump-rope, with good intentions of using it, but then realized that we live on the 3rd floor and our downstairs neighbors might not like waking up to thumping at 6:30 in the morning. And during this time of year, going outside in the morning is not an option. Too cold.

Thursday was... Thanksgiving! That was one holiday I thought I'd have to kiss goodbye for two years, but one of the couples in our ward invited our whole district over for an American Thanksgiving lunch - turkey, stuffing, everything. I forgot how much I love stuffing. I even ate a little turkey, just because. My first time eating Thanksgiving turkey since 2007, and I did it in Japan! Crazy. It was a little hard to stay awake that afternoon during planning time because of the food coma, but we made it through. That evening, we went to the church for "music night" with the Elders and some investigators. We all took turns singing hymns, and I played the piano and Elder Justesen played guitar. It was fun and relaxing.

Friday we thought it would be a good idea to try to get in touch with Oshi san, who we'd taught a little bit a few weeks ago, by visiting her at the restaurant where she works. Turns out it wasn't the best talking opportunity, since she was busy and didn't really want to have a long conversation. Good ice cream though. After that we went and visited my favorite old obaasan, the one who always gives us flowers, and sang to her and gave her a Book of Mormon to read. She said she'll try to read it but probably won't be able to see. No matter where you are in the world, old people love to say the same things: "You're so young!" "Aren't you cold?" "Wait, let me get my reading glasses."

Friday evening we did ping-pong night again, where we got to spend a lot of time with Jas, the girlfriend of one of the Elders' investigators. She's really nice, and wants to know more about missionaries and church! I've really enjoyed getting to spend time with people my own age this week. It's easier to understand them and communicate, and I feel like I can really be myself.

Church on Sunday was awesome. We had four investigators there, and they all really enjoyed it! It was also testimony meeting, which is easier for me to understand since the talks are shorter and not as formal. Very good day.

No time for pictures, gomenasai! Hope everyone is well.

Love, Anna

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