Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sorry it's late it's temple week

Hello again,

Today we went to the temple, then various other fun activities in Shibuya, so I'm pretty exhausted and am having trouble remembering what all I did last week. Currently we are sitting in a cafe, using their free wi-fi to finish up email while occasionally talking to Taz the barista. He read the plan of salvation pamphlet we gave him and said he'd pray but hasn't yet, so we are lovingly reprimanding him for that.

Lately everyone's been leaving us - Yu went to Kisarazu for the month with her kids, Iza is in Niigata for two weeks, and Shi left today for America. Thank goodness for Facebook and Skype - how on earth did missionaries do it back then? It was way sad to say goodbye to Shi - she's been one of our best friends here in Chosei. We got to go out for sushi with her and another very Americanized Japanese guy we met when we accidentally mistook his house for one of our investigator's. It was fun and we're hoping they fall in love.

We need some new friends. Fortunately we got to meet Ami Shimai this week, a less-active member who got baptized about six years ago I think. Both of the Elders felt like she should be visited while they were weekly planning, so they asked us to and we went over twice. The second time she was home, we were able to become friends, and she came to a barbecue at a members house with us that week! We were so happy. Another investigator came too, and we had fun watching the fireworks with them.

Speaking of fireworks, apparently it's party season in Japan right now. Every weekend there's a different summer festival going on with plenty of decorations, food, and girls walking around in yukatas (which are way cute but make you sweat to death). We were biking past a huge festival on Sunday and a man came out to tell us, in English, that everyone was welcome and it was all free. He explained a little bit about what was going on, asked if we had questions, and invited us to participate and told us what time it would be going until. Super nice! Afterwards we realized that he sounded kind of like us when we invite people to church.

We've been teaching Su san a lot recently, and she's causing us a bit of a headache with all the hard questions she asks. I'm glad she's a deep thinker, but find it difficult to stick to the basics during lessons like we want to when she always asks random questions (why is God a man, why there are so few women in the Book of Mormon, isn't it disrespectful to pray if she doesn't believe in God, etc.) Maybe the first feminist I've ever met in Japan (however, still says she can't come to church because her husband doesn't want her to). I've become very mistrustful of husbands.

One huge miracle this week was that I got to meet Kasu! She is the most angelic person I've ever met, and one of the main investigators in Chosei, but has been so sick this month that I hadn't gotten to see her yet. But she texted us Saturday night saying she could come to church the next day, and I finally got to talk to her. She is so sweet and lovely. The members all adore her, and were coming up to her all day. I love her so much already.

Funny thing spotted this week: a snack thief at the train station who snuck up behind these two guys and grabbed at the cookies they were holding, asking if he could have some while just going ahead and doing it at the same time. He then chewed for a while and talked about how delicious they were. The guys were struggling to keep straight faces and were basically waiting for him to leave so they could laugh.

Which happens to us a lot, by the way. Being a missionary just tends to lead to weird experiences. We were trying to find the house of a girl we met last week, biking out around the area, and sort of came across an old dairy farm. First time I'd ever seen cows in Japan. The few people out there seemed pretty suspicious of us and didn't really want to talk so then we left and started knocking on doors in a nearby neighborhood. Met a really funny old lady who, after we introduced ourselves, yelled for her husband to come and also called her sister-in-law next door to tell them that two foreigners had come all the way from America to give them a message and would they please listen. Not much interest and mostly talked to us about her ancestors but a very nice grandma.

This week has lots of train rides in store so we're buckling up for that. Trying to talk to people while battling motion sickness is a little tough but eh, whachagonnado.

Pictures: sushi, and the best purchase of the week. We got these neck towel things with ice packs inside that we wear on long bike rides, and they're awesome. Really go well with our helmets and crocs and other fashionable accessories.

Love you all!

Sushi goodbye meal for Shi

Anna and Sticht shimai with ultra-cool neckwear

Tokyo Zone Conference from June 2014 just published on mission blog.  Anna (front row third from left) is sitting next to her companion Yamauchi shimai (fourth from left)

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