Monday, April 28, 2014

No Subject This Week

Hello all! I had a busy week so I guess I'll just give a rundown of it now:

Tuesday - had a zone leadership meeting with the ZLs/DLs that we joined over Skype. It only stalled once! Probably a record for me. Amazing how quickly technology can improve. We also visited a really sweet older lady I'll call Daly who used to take the lessons about six years ago. She invited us in and was really funny and chatty - I think she was really happy to have some company too. She said ever since her husband died a few years ago she's been bored, and she showed us her notebook where she keeps a tally of all the games of Free Cell she plays on the computer. It's a lot.

Wednesday - we met Yas, a local Protestant minister, at a nearby park. The other sisters had met her earlier and referred her to us since she's Japanese. She was really nice and interesting to talk to. In some ways easier to teach, since she already believes in Jesus Christ and knows church vocabulary and all that, but in some ways harder because she asks questions we're not used to and always wants to know what Bible verse backs up what we say. I have to admit it's been a while since I cracked open the Old Testament. I know that's a challenge English-spreading missionaries deal with a lot: not wanting to look ignorant when people grill you on your Bible knowledge. "You don't know that verse? Are you even Christian?"

That afternoon, we had a complete opposite experience when we went to the house of one of our Buddhist investigators, surprised to find a ton of people there, all ready to watch some Soka Gakkai movie with us. Obviously some miss-communication there. We told her multiple times beforehand we can't watch movies, and that we were coming to teach her about our church, but I guess she forgot. Kind of embarrassing because we brought a member with us too. It ended up being okay, and we taught her a lesson, but she still can't believe in God because nothing can possibly be higher than oshakasama (Buddha).

Thursday - We taught one of our less-active members in the morning and she's making great progress! She's come to church twice in a row now - all we had to do was ask. In the evening we went and taught Ru, who had recovered and was back to his funny, mischievous ten-year-old self. I love that kid. We also met his dad for the first time, so progress there. He was very nice.

Friday - started the day with district meeting, where I did a short training and talked about something I learned from one of the Elders in a different zone last month: broccoli dendo. Basically, the idea is that Japanese people are busy all the time, so if someone tells you they don't have much time or it's hard to meet, you tell them, "your life is like broccoli!" Obviously that sparks their interest/makes them think you're even weirder. You then explain: just like the top of broccoli is made up of a million little leaf things, we have lots of things we have to do every day. Eat breakfast, exercise, shower, go to work, wash the car, laundry, etc. But if we focus on those things, and only water the top, the broccoli will die. The most important part of broccoli is the stem - if the stem is healthy, the rest of the broccoli is healthy. If your life is broccoli, what do you think the stem is? And... Yeah that's pretty much it. It's just supposed to help people realize priorities. Most people will answer that the stem is family. We've used this a few times, but it can be kind of confusing so I changed it to a flower and made a visual aid to help explain it.

On Friday we also taught Nak, a cool lady we found in the area book. She also studied nutrition! The member there with us was awesome at fellowshipping and insisted on walking with her to church that Sunday, since they live close. And then she came! One of the reasons why members are so important - people usually don't have a problem blowing us off but they'll keep a commitment if it comes from a "regular" person.

Saturday - we went on splits, and I went to Nakano with Sister Crane, my former roomie in Niigata. So that was fun. We had a lot of interesting activities that day, including a big Eikaiwa get-together in the park (always draws an interesting crowd) and participating in a concert for the Candle Mamas, a group of 8 ladies who are church members in the Tokyo Stake. They sing a variety of types of songs, including opera and Latin and Japanese folk songs, complete with fun little dances and activities. They're actually really good. It was kind of intimidating to follow, when it came time for us to sing a few hymns at the end. I swear once you become a missionary everyone assumes you're musically gifted. Unfortunately not the case. The best part of the split was teaching Mari, a new investigator that Crane Shimai randomly met on the street a week ago. We taught the Plan of Salvation and she was super interested, saying she couldn't believe she hadn't heard it before.

Sunday - good day at church. Spent the afternoon and evening visiting and teaching various people, and it all went well. Daly got really sick so we left some jam with cards by her door, and we also heart attacked Nak's house today for her birthday. Classic sister missionary stuff I guess.

Again, no new pictures. Here's a selfie from a few weeks ago. Also my homemade visual aid.

Love you all!

Anna and Yamauchi Shimai

Visual Aid

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