Monday, January 27, 2014

week 8 in Niigata

Greetings mina san...

This week, like all transfer weeks, was super hectic. Packing is seriously the WORST and I was glad I didn't have to do it this time! Poor Sister Orton had to pack up all of the stuff she'd accumulated after working for five months in the world's most generous branch, and ended up leaving a lot of it here (always happens). I miss her but the pain is softened a little when I eat the Goldfish and gummies she couldn't fit in her suitcase.

My new roommate, Sister Crane's companion, is Sister Amituanai. She's from Australia and is way outgoing - they're already meeting lots of new people and I know that miracles are on their way to Niigata!

For some reason all of our investigators got together and decided to ignore our calls as a group effort, so we didn't do much teaching this week. More time to go talk to strangers on the street! On Tuesday we bundled up and biked out to an area we hadn't been before, hoping to meet a lot of university students by campus. But the thing about Japan is that they build up instead of out, so college campuses aren't really a thing. It'll just be one 15-story building with no hang out areas. So that didn't work according to plan, but we still met a lot of nice people.

Wednesday morning we went to an old folk's home with some Relief Society sisters to visit with the people there... kind of. Most of them don't really communicate very well, but they like looking at our family pictures and occasionally mumbling something to which we smile and nod. The only one who really talked was this one old man who's infamous for flirting with all the sister missionaries - I was actually pretty grateful he was there or else it would have been kind of awkward with no one else saying anything.

Wednesday evening was Eikaiwa, which has a different topic every week. This week was time. We usually play a game at the end, so I thought it would be fun to play What Time is it Mr. Fox? Preschool memories! It was fun, and people got progressively more and more into it - that was when things got a little out of control. Near the end two of the Elders accidentally ended up body-slamming one of the students into a wall. And it was his first day at Eikaiwa! Hopefully he comes back next week...

Since missionaries can never be by themselves, we had a lot to figure out with temporary companions and meeting in the middle as everyone went off to their new areas. Thursday was full of picking up and dropping off missionaries at the bus stop, and then we hosted other sisters in our zone for a big sleepover before everyone went back to their areas. This transfer they're opening a Sisters' apartment on Sado island! You can look at it on a map if you want. It's the only island in our mission (besides like, all of Japan I mean) and I'm way excited to go there on companion exchanges. Sister Willden from my MTC district is going there with Sister Mondano. They're both awesome!

Oh yeah, and apparently I'm a sister training leader now? The reason I didn't say that in my last email was because I didn't know. The assistants forgot to tell me when they did transfer calls. Anyway, all of the zones got split, so now our zone is only Niigata and Sado. So I'll watch over (that sounds so dumb... it's hard to think of myself as the experienced one) five other sisters, my roommates and the ones on Sado. I'm not on the email list yet for STLs, and it's been kind of hectic being out of the loop and not really knowing what's going on, so I'll tell you more about my new responsibilities when I know. I still kind of feel like I just got here and it's scary how fast time is going by.

On Friday we did some more streeting and then went home to call people from our area book. We didn't do a whole lot of area book finding last transfer, maybe partly because of my insecurities about talking on the phone, but it's been pretty good. Basically we just call up people who met with the missionaries like ten years ago and ask if they would be interested in meeting us and talking about the church again. The records are so old that many phone numbers are no longer in use, but we've had some success and are meeting with a former investigator this Wednesday for lunch. I'm a pro at the phone now!

Saturday was also a big biking day, going out to visit less-active members who mostly weren't home. But we got to talk to a few! My bike and boots are now filthy. The Black Cat is now sort of a brownish gray in some parts. On Sunday we went to church, and visited people, and called people - the usual. The branch had a big potluck lunch after church so that was fun. One of Oseki Shimai's English class students came and we helped her practice for an English speech contest she's competing in. Those seem to be pretty common here!

Well, can't think of much else to say. Hopefully I'll have more exciting news next week!

Love you!!

Niigata Sisters (Crane, Anna, Wigginton, and Amituanai)

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