Saturday, June 28, 2014

Long time no see

Hello again everyone! This week brought a range of emotions, which I will explain through stories. I'm trying to find ways to make my letters more creative.

When I was impressed:
We had stake conference this week, which included a broadcast from Salt Lake that everyone watched on the big screen. Some of it was translated, of course, but two of the speakers - William R. Walker and Gary E. Stevenson - spoke in Japanese! I didn't even know they were fluent. I heard somewhere once that it's a sin to forget your mission language because God will have further uses of you down the road. Maybe "sin" is a strong word, but still. Not sure how I'll incorporate Japanese into every day life in order not to forget, but there may be Jpop and a lot of weird TV game shows in my future.

When I was scared:
Yamauchi Shimai and I got something this week I've never gotten before as a missionary - an online self-referral. This lady gave us her address and asked us to visit, saying she wanted to know how to join the church. Pretty cool, right? So we skip on over there only to meet a very suspicious man who demands to know which of his friends played a prank on him by sending missionaries over, and he asks us to follow him to the police. I actually said a silent prayer in the middle of all this and got a feeling that everything would be fine, so it wasn't that scary. We didn't end up going to the police, and no hard feelings. Plus he barely stood over five feet so Yamauchi Shimai and I easily could have taken him.

When I went "awwww":
Ru is doing awesome. He's getting baptized next Sunday before church, and has been coming every week and enjoying it. He's a bit of a rascal sometimes, but then has these really sweet moments like when he prays or sings primary songs. He really loves singing, and I love hearing the songs in Japanese because they'd so cute.

When I remembered home:
I've now seen three people wearing UO stuff, but all of them were men close to my age so I'm not really supposed to talk to them. Frustrating. We also had to take a while to explain the missionary opposite-sex rules to all the people at Japanese class this week, and they all think we're pretty weird and funny. Whatever. I already stick out so obviously here just by what I look like that I gave up caring about being normal a long time ago. It makes it easier to talk to people sometimes, knowing that no matter what I say, I'm sort of weird, and it's okay.

When I was enlightened:
We had zone conference this week, which is always awesome. Every time president Budge gives a training I just watch in awe and want to try so many new things. Did you know he's written books? On the top of my after-mission reading list. Anyway, all of the ZLs and STLs gave short trainings on teaching to non-Christians, and my topic was on reincarnation vs. resurrection. I kick myself sometimes for not doing any research about Japanese religion before coming here, thinking that my 10th grade IHS knowledge would suffice.

When I saw my reflection and cringed:
The summertime sister missionary tan lines have begun. I have some pretty defined t-shirt stripes, and the ballet flat lines are working their way up there as well. The rainy season is weird because it seems to switch on and off - last week we never saw the sun, and this week there's way too much of it.

When I was exhausted:
There seems to be an unwritten rule that every Japanese lady over the age of 40 is required to take at least 20 minutes to prepare treats for missionaries no matter how much they insist that it's okay and that we have no time. We visited Mits san last night, who is way sweet, but thought that making sure we had even numbers of cookies to take home was more pressing than our insisting that we had to go in order to make curfew. This kind of thing happens all the time with long dinner appointments, lessons, etc. Way too many times we have to choose between being polite and being obedient. Obviously obedience wins, and people can't believe we're leaving "so soon." Anyway, we literally ran home and arrived dripping with sweat but just on time.

And a miracle:
The Izu family continue to blow my mind. They want to know EVERYTHING - the mom has already skimmed through the whole Book of Mormon and is now reading again, and also wants a copy of the D&C. The daughter also wants to know what all the commandments are so that she can know what she'll have to do before getting baptized. We set a date for next month! Way excited for them. Honestly one of the most prepared families I've ever met - they do everything for us. All we have to do is show up at appointments (half of which they make themselves) and answer their questions.

Love you all and hope you have a good week! Here's a group shot from the Eikaiwa party we had last week. Note the missionaries are the only ones doing peace signs, in our attempts to fit in. Maybe our Eikaiwa group is too scholarly for such things.


Eikaiwa Party

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