Today is my first p-day from the field. Any guesses as to where I am? Here's some space to think about it:
I'm still here at the honbu, no I'm not an AP or an office elder. We're actually technically opening a new area. Before, the office elders and AP's and one pair of sisters were responsible for proselyting in the Kobe area but they were lucky if they had one hour a week to proselyte so they added to two elders to this area. Wajima Shimai also stayed here with Shields Shimai so there are two new missionaries currently being trained at the mission headquarters. Apparently we are the first new missionaries to be trained in Kobe since 1996. It's very rare that I get to see all that happens in the mission headquarters and be close to the office couple and the mission president. It's a great opportunity. I get to see all that happens in the mission from a distance and I get to look at the area board and baptismal record everyday. I know what everyone in the mission is up to. Plus, it's a great area! When you get your mission call, you wonder what Kobe is like, but in reality the chances of actually serving here are slim. It's very strange that I'm in the Kobe mission and Kobe is my first area.
My companion is Elder Bowman from Twin Falls, Idaho. He is a very hard worker. He has six months left in his mission. I live in the apartment (right under the church, which is right next to the mission home, which in Japan-terms...it's all the same building) with the AP's and the office elders. We don't buy groceries, we give money to the office elder and they go to Costco to take care of it.
It's a huge city! I went to Iluminariae last night and it was a madhouse. You have to wait about two hours to walk through it. It makes for pretty good dendo. I had a great conversation in English with a couple who are Japanese but do business in Taiwan and speak Mandarin and English fluently.
We've met a ton of foreigners. We plan on teaching Musa from Africa this week and came in contact with people from Haiti, China, Malaysia, and Europe.
Another great thing about Kobe is the church is big here too. There's an English speaking branch that covers the entire Kansai branch. About 50% of them are black and dressed in their Sunday best (very different from Utah Sunday best) to church. Sometimes I forget that I'm in Japan. I see Americans all the time and our apartment is very western style.
So what have I been up to? Well, this is a new area so naturally we've spent most of our time finding. Finding is necessary, but I've quickly realized that finding is the not glamourous part of missionary work that you never hear about. It's tough. It's basically impossible for me to make a natural conversation. Whenever I stop people, all I know how to say is that I'm a misisonary and they immediately run away. I'm doing my best to remain positive and have confidence that I will get better.
Who have we found? We spend most of our time in Sanomiya (I sent you a picture from there last time) the really tokai part of Kobe. OUr first investigator we found who is coming to FHE tonight is Naoki. At first glance I thought he was a woman. When my companion stopped him, I wondered why he was talking to him (we have sisters in Kobe so we're not allowed to stop women). He had shoulder length purple hair, a knee length furry coat, black painted fingernails, and a shiny silver, black, and purple purse. He said he was an "artist" so how knows what he does. He seemed very open though and definitely needs the gospel.
The next day, I went on an exchange with Elder Hinton who's family showed up today to take him home. We went to a restaurant called Braziliano's in Harborland with a group and it was amazing food. We then made our way to Harbor Island and met lots of people on the bridge. The most outstanding being O-san from China. He's here studying to eventually enter Kobe Daigakuin. When we told him we represented a Christian church, he immediately wanted to come. He showed up yesterday and had cut his finger on the bike ride over. THe ward members and Sister McIntyre helped him out. He also got to see a baptism. There was a baptism in the Gaijin branch, he saw that and then came to the second half of sacrament meeting. He said he wants to come every week. I was astonished. He obviously had been prepared for this because honestly, we did hardly anything with him up to that point. We sat down with him for a lesosn after sacrament. His Japanese is good, better than mine, but was stilll a barrier in the lesson. We showed him the restoration video in Chinese and he said he would study the pamphlets we gave him and come to Eikaiwa on Tuesday where we will teach him again. We commited him to baptism on the 26th and he said he wanted to and wanted to bring his friends. I'm blown away. Hopefully this works out and I'll see a baptism within two weeks in the field!
I also had to conduct the ward mission meeting on Sunday. My companion had to do a baptismal interview for the gaijin branch so I was left alone. That was interesting, but they eventually found out what I was trying to say.
Well I suppose I'm out of time. I know this is sparse. I forgot my journal so I might've left some stuff out. Just know that I'm fine. I'm still getting used to being a missionary, but I'm having fun and I'm plenty healthy.