Sunday, June 8, 2014

"I Love Japan"

Hello again.

Well, it finally came - the rainy season. We return home every night completely soaked through, even with rain pants on over skirts. It's not too bad but having wet shoes kinda stinks (literally). Sort of regretting not buying the ballet flat-style Crocs at home (stupid pride!) since all my shoes are leather and take a few days to dry out.

People are always so shocked when we visit them and it's raining, which is funny to me because what else could we be doing? Sitting in our apartment? The work does not take breaks for bad weather. If it did, Japanese missionaries would only be out three months out of the year.

The Izu family came to church again this week, and they are awesome. Usually when investigators come to church you have to take care of them the whole time - help them make friends, explain everything, make sure they have someone to sit with - but they do it all for themselves. They even exchanged emails with one of the members last week and set up am appointment for yesterday to meet with her and us to answer some of their questions! They are really considering joining the church and are willing to put forth the effort to learn. So great.

Our lesson with them was good, but one of the men there helping us sort of talked a LOT about random church organization trivia and history and unrelated, complicated things. A note to anyone who gets asked by the missionaries to help them teach: keep it simple. As members sometimes we think that explaining deep doctrine in detail will help someone understand better, but most likely the investigator will just be confused.

Ru is doing great as well. Lately we've been working on being kind, specifically not fighting at school or hitting his little cousin. Of course I take it seriously, but part of me kind of smiles and remembers when Ben and Luke would get in these huge wrestling matches in order to show off whenever company came over. Ben and I used to punch and kick and scratch each other every day, but we turned out fine, right? Although I understand Ru's grandma's concerns, and we're working on it. She says there's been good progress.

I love Japan and the people and would never want to change anything about the culture, but I will admit it makes me sad when women are so, so dependent on their husbands sometimes. About 80% of the women I've met who stopped going to church did it not because they had a crisis of faith or anything like that but because their husbands didn't want to come.

We met a member this week, Tera, who hasn't been to church in 30 years. Tera still has lots of friends in the ward and wants to come back, but says she's waiting until her husband will come back with her. "It would be weird to go without him, right?" was what she told us, to which we replied no it's fine, but she's still not sure. For a lot of women the idea of doing something without their husbands there is hard to imagine. We've also met a lot of older widows, and when we ask them "don't you want to see your husband again after you die?" they usually say "ehh maybe not. I'll look for someone better." Yikes!

Transfers went smoothly, and it's nice to have those behind us. Only 3 sisters left our zone, so it's mostly the same people. I'll miss Sister Gates, but am happy to welcome Sister Ipson (from my MTC district) into the apartment. Yamauchi Shimai and I also had a meeting with the Zone Leaders this week, who are Elders Keith and Shumway, also from our MTC district. Actually they were companions in the MTC (starting June 5th, 2013) and were made comps again exactly one year later, June 5th 2014! Pretty crazy. I've gotten lots of chances to do doki dendo (working with people who I was with in the MTC) and it's fun to see how everyone has changed/stayed the same.

Last miracle: we pulled our bikes over to check a map while looking for a member's house yesterday, and a man walked up to us and said "are you Christians? I want to learn. I have interest." He then suggested we exchange numbers and set up a time to meet at the church, saying he'd read some of the Book of Mormon we gave him before then. Literally zero effort required on our parts. You always hear those stories of prepared people just being led right into your path, and I'm here to tell you it does happen.

Hope everyone is doing well! Love you and talk to you again next week.

Picture: me with Sisters Hall, Gates and Yamauchi before transfers.
Not the best angle but 4-person selfies are sort of limited.

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