Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!
Ok, so Christmas actually counted as our p-day last week. I'm back to Mondays, but just a warning, we might be having p-day this coming Saturday in order to go to Kyoto (AP's have power like that) as a district. I'm not certain yet, but you may want to get an email to me early.
This week is kind of a blur. Apparently these end and beginning of year weeks are the hardest in Japan because of Shogatsu. There aren't a lot of people out and the people that are out are from out of town, or they're busy and don't want to be bothered during the holidays.
We had yet another birthday party this week. Pictures will probably show up on the blog. It was Shields Shimai's (Kobe sister, training Wajima Shimai from my group) birthday. She's probably the most musically talented person in the mission. She likes to take her ukelele with her wherever she goes, so Sister McIntyre made her a ukelele cookie in addition to her face cookie.
That afternoon, we went back to the Ramen place with the all you can eat kimchee by Hankyu Rokko (the station we go to everyday) to have lunch as a district with one of the sister's investigators. They had free gyoza that day too. Really, really good.
We finally have been able to start visiting ward members. It feels really great to get off of the streets. It's much easier to practice and improve your Japanese when someone is asking you the questions and wants to listen to you. Apparently, the faith of members is one of the hardest things in the mission. A lot of them tell each other that sharing the gospel with your friends will only make you miserable, so they don't do it and they tell others not to do it. It's very difficult to soften their hearts. We met with the Minayoshi family who lives out by Kobe Home Stadium, about an hour comute. Apparently they are less active, they only come to sacrament meeting. When we met the mother, she was full of energy and really wanted us to come over. When we visited, she kept saying how happy the gospel has made her and how it is what her family needs. As soon as we introduced "the rescue plan" (I think that's a worldwide thing) she got antsy. She and her family converted about 7 years ago and she said she shared the gospel with everyone when she was a new convert, but that it ruined her relationships with some people and the members told her it was a bad idea. When we talked about "we invite, they commit, we follow-up" and the idea that we can't force anyone to do anything seemed to change her attitude a little bit.
On Friday, there was a YSA dance party for every YSA across the whole Kansai branch. I didn't know that there were that many Mormon's in Japan. There were tons of them and watching them dance was hilarious. Doing the YMCA dance is apparently still cool here. During the dance party, our zone met with the stake president to discuss stake activities. He fed us sukiyaki, it was great. Apparently we our responsible to be at Outreach (weekly YSA activities) every week, even if we don't have investigators. It was the zone leader's responsibility before, now it is ours.
Saturday, New Years day, was Sports Taikai. That was a blast. Look on President McIntyre's blog for pictures of that. There might even be video of the dodgeball game. That was madness. We basically just went to the church in Ibaraki which has a giant gym where we played volleyball, basketball, badminton, ping-pong, and dodgeball from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. We had a gigantic dodgeball game for the last hour, Kohai vs. Senpai (those who have been in the mission for a year or more, or a year or less). Sister McIntyre was on our side and was hilarious. She stayed in the corner saying "abunai! abunai!" Her and Murdock Shimai were the last two remaining and got five elders out to win the game for us. It was so loud in that gym, and I think the McIntyre's daughter got video of the whole thing. They also played the mission DVD and Kung-Fu Panda in the chapel. The Hiroshima side of the mission couldn't attend due to costs, but I got to see Elder Shumway and Sister Myagmarjav (Aruinzaya) again. That was great. Sister Myagmarjav (all the missionaries, including the President, call her "Meg Shimai") had never ridden a bike before her mission. She said that was really difficult for a while, but she's really jozu now. She said she got hit by a car and scraped up her leg pretty bad, but she's doing great. She actually had a baptism the day after Christmas. The investigator was found, taught, and baptized all within two weeks. Your prophecy is coming true.
O-san was back at church yesterday. Between our whole district, there were seven investigators at church yesterday and all of them were Chinese. How nuts is that? It was great letting them mingle for a while. O-san has been really busy so yesterday was our first time seeing him for a while. He has Oyasumi from school now and says he can meet anytime. We have a lesson with him tonight before FHE. We really are going to give him a solid baptismal commitment that he will hopefully understand. I honestly think that if it weren't for the language barrier, he'd be baptized by now.
Talk to you next week!