Monday, November 17, 2014

I'm back


Another crazy week. We had highs, and lows, but overall a week full of love and goodness. On Friday, we were in the middle of a lesson when we got the very sad news that our bishop had passed away from a heart attack. It was very sudden and unexpected, and hard for the family he left behind. But friends and church members, both active and inactive, came from all over to support the family and pay their respects at the funeral service we had today. It was a very good atmosphere... As most funerals are, actually. I've been to quite a few in the last few years, in churches of different faiths, but they are all similar in that they focus on the positive and the hopeful. I know Bishop's wife misses him terribly, but she has found so much comfort in the fact that their marriage is forever, and she will see him again.

As a strange coincidence/not coincidence, when we got the news we were in the middle of teaching Su san about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. How it can heal us, and make right everything that isn't fair in this life. She's still pretty stubborn and I don't know how much of it she believed, but I was overcome with gratitude for my Savior as I promised her that because Christ suffered for her sins, and gave His life, she could one day be resurrected and perfected so that she could live with her Heavenly Father. Some people say that religion was created by man in order to comfort us in times of sorrow, but I say that no human who ever lived could ever be capable of inventing something so perfect and beautiful as the Atonement.

On a less serious note, we did some pretty cool things this week. An Eikaiwa student invited us to the "Mobara International Friends" party, which was really fun and a great opportunity to meet people. There weren't that many foreigners there except for a ton of filipinas, but there were tons of Japanese moms who like gaijin and want their kids to learn English. We barely had to approach anyone, because they all approached us! "Where are you from? What are you doing in Japan? Do you teach English? Will you take a picture with my children?" It was awesome. I guess not everybody was charmed by us though - one lady from Jamaica took one look at our badges, rolled her eyes and said "ohhh, you're Mormons!" So sassy. It was funny. She actually apologized later, and was really nice.

One small, random blessing this week: it has been getting harder and harder to ride my bike this last month, and rides that used to be easy left me out of breath. I was way worried that I wasn't getting enough protein, or was sick somehow, or just getting weaker - but then I had the bright idea to check my back tire, which was super flat. Sometimes the answer is so simple. So biking isn't quite as excruciating anymore!

We also had the really great opportunity to go out to lunch today with the Isas, some family friends of Sister Reeder's. Her family used to live in Japan when her dad was in the Air Force, and they've kept in touch with the Isas, who have been waiting to see her ever since they heard she got called to the Tokyo mission. They used to be mission presidents of the Hiroshima mission a few years ago, and had really good advice and stories for us. I never fail to be impressed with the members here in Japan - their courage, and faith, and examples.

Love you all! Here's a picture of a folk dance from the Philippines. Until next week!

Fillpinas folk dancing at the Mobara International Friends party

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