Sunday, February 16, 2014

Another Update

Dear family,

Hello! It was good to hear from you this week. I'm glad to know that Dad's surgery went okay, and that he's being taken care of. And thank you so much for the valentines package! It was unexpected and made me really excited to see all the cards and chocolate, as you can see in the picture. Not super helpful for my diet but eh, I wasn't too committed to that anyway.

This week went by so, so fast. Probably due to the fact that Tuesday and Wednesday were the only two full proselyting days we had, but more on that later. We had district meeting, then met one of the members at the church to drive over to Yoshi's house (the lady we met on the train) to teach her more about the Book of Mormon. She committed to read it on her own, to really see if it were true, and we felt like she truly meant it. Unfortunately when we called later that week to see how her reading was going, she told us (very nicely) that she wanted to stop meeting. So, we got dumped over the phone. Happy Valentine's day!

It's funny how much missionary work is like dating sometimes. Only in a very unhealthy, one-sided relationship. You meet people and instantly get so excited. You start imagining your future with them: great lessons, them feeling happier and changing their lives, getting baptized, etc. Then, you worry about when to call, and how often to call. Will she get annoyed if I send too many texts? How soon is too soon to ask if we can meet again? There is a constant need to DTR [define the relationship?] and make sure both parties are on the same page so that miss-communication doesn't lead to a break-up. Every time our phone gets a text, we excitedly run to see if it's an investigator saying they'll meet with us, then discover to our dismay it's only an update from tech staff. I guess we never can fully escape that middle school girl drama.

Okay, enough of that tangent. Tuesday night while at the train station we met a lady who seemed super interested and was actually willing to talk to us. And right then! So we went to a nearby restaurant and talked to her all about God, and prayer, and how to be happier, and it was going lovely until we asked when we could meet again. She surprised us by saying she didn't really have interest in any religious stuff - then why were you talking to us all this time?? Apparently she likes learning about American lifestyle. I think it's funny when people try to talk to us about that - clearly we are not good examples of normal American lifestyle.

Wednesday morning we went to give service at the old folks' home again - the people there are so funny. I don't think there's a single person under the age of 90. Japanese people live sooo long - that's why there are so many care centers like this one. After that we went out to lunch, all 8 of us missionaries (!!) and one of the ladies in our ward, plus another man (so that the Elders could be there). It was wayyy good, and we had to hustle afterwards to our next appointment. We finally, finally, finally got the chance to meet with Matsu, who we met over a month ago while knocking on doors. She had taken the missionary lessons over 30 years ago and still remembered them! She is the world's busiest woman, so we've only just been able to get an appointment, but it was awesome. The member we had with us and Matsu had met before, a long time ago, so they became instant besties while catching up about acquaintances they had in common. I'm a little worried it might be hard to get regular appointments with her, but Matsu is awesome and so sweet and really gets it. A lot of the people we teach have good intentions but don't really understand "the point of it all," but the Lord has been preparing Matsu for over 30 years to hear this and she's ready.

Thursday was my first Mission Leadership Council! They have them once a month, where all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders come to Tokyo to get training from President Budge... all except the Niigata missionaries, that is. We watched through Skype and emailed questions/comments to the Assistants if we had any. Sound quality was pretty good though, and I still sort of felt like I was there. Sister Wigginton and Sister Smith, the other STL's companion, went on a split while we were on Skype, and they got to teach Ku! We're meeting her again today to follow-up and see how reading the Book of Mormon went.

On Friday we went to the Niigata port in the morning to take the ferry to Sado Island! I was so excited to go there to go on splits with the Sisters there. The ferry was kind of weird - it's basically just big sections of carpet where everyone sits without shoes on and falls asleep. You can even rent blankets for a dollar! It took about three hours, and I thought I'd be studying the whole time. Usually I have a stomach of steel. But fighting the rocking of the boat to read one chapter, I quickly realized that unless I wanted to vomit I'd have to surrender and just go to sleep like everyone else. Also, all the toilets on the ferry were the classic Japanese porcelain hole-in-the-ground ones except for ONE (luckily for us). I think regular American-style toilets are considered the "handicapped" ones here.

We met the Sado sisters at the bus stop near their apartment, then I got to go out and dendo with Sister Willden, from my MTC district! We had fun knocking on doors, chasing people down the street (not a lot of people in Sado, so you can't let a single one pass you by!) and visiting some referrals they'd gotten. We woke up the next morning to study together, then I went out with Sister Mondano for a while. It was windy and hailing, but we biked through it and had fun. Sister Wigginton and I thought we'd be catching the 4:15 ferry back to Niigata, but upon arriving at the port found out that because of the storm all the boats had been cancelled. So we got on the next bus straight back to their apartment!

We ended up staying for church at the Sado branch. There were 9 members there, plus the six missionaries (8 with us). The branch members were so sweet, and they're all like a big family. I guess you get to know everyone really well when there are so few people. The funny thing is, while I was happy to be in Sado, I kind of missed my Niigata branch! It's funny how it's become "home" already. Luckily the weather cleared up, actually it was gorgeous out, and we got to take the ferry back to Niigata and get there in time for dinner. The ride back was suuuper rocky though. I must have been looking rough, because a man came over to give us barf bags, even demonstrating how to use it just in case we didn't understand. I tried not to laugh as I thanked him.

Love love love,

Anna opening up her Valentine's package

Anna & Niigata Sisters have lunch with a woman they met at the train station - very friendly but not interested in religious things

A classic Japanese toilet

Anna & Sister Wigginton and the Sado Sisters (Willden and Mondano) "on the floor like the true Nihonjin we are" eating a curry dinner

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