Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 9, 2011

Hello again.

Yes, p-day is today. I think we can assume it will be Monday next week as well.

Monday afternoon we had lunch with the Taneda family. They're awesome. They're in their thirties, but look no older than 21. They loved the rescue plan and brought us a giant completed list on Sunday.

So Monday night we went to the Mizuno's house as a district for dinner. They have the entire Kobe district for dinner once a month. They are like the cookie-cutter perfect Japanese LDS family. They're older and have one single daughter living with them and four others that are married, 14 grandchildren total. Apparently there is a picture of their family in the church history center in Salt Lake City somewhere. They fed us Shogatsu leftovers and holy crap it was good.

On Wednesday we went as a district to yet another member family, the Toda's. I will probably send a picture in the mail. Toda Kyodai really reminds me of Grandpa Shigeo. The way he speaks, the way he acts, and the way he looks. He knows a lot about everything and loves talking about everything, especially correcting my companion's Japanese. He's perfectly fluent in English too and loves singing. They fed us Shabu-Shabu (all kinds of vegetables, scallops, fish, and pork) with a Sumo soup base (chanko?) and that was without question the best meal I've had here. Everyone was stumbling out because we were so full.

We've taught O-san four times this week. Good grief he is difficult. He has perfect faith. He'll follow any commandment we teach. He comes to church, wants to pay tithing, lives the Word of Wisdom, prays, and reads the Book of Mormon but he refuses to be baptized. First of all, he says he has to finish the Book of Mormon. He's only on page 40 and won't commit to a date to finish it by and says he won't be able to read it too much because he's going to get really busy this month. He LOVED learning about the Plan of Salvation and immediately pointed to the Celestial Kingdom and said "ikitai" and when we asked if he knew how he said: "baputesuma." Yet, he refuses to decide on a date. He also told us that he's terrified of water. He asked if there was any other way. We said no and he said he'll do it if there's a way to do it without water. It's a difficult situation. He obviously has righteous desires, baptism is his only concern. The language barrier is only hurting as well. We fasted for him yesterday. It is no fun to ride your bike all day on an empty stomach.

On Thursday at Outreach (YSA activity) we were playing circle games that the sisters organized. One person stands in the middle with a tube and tries to hit people with it. The person in the middle can only hit someone if their name is said. If someone says your name, you want to say someone else's before they hit you. We were starting another round and it was Sister Priddis's (office couple) turn and when she realized she was supposed to say a name to start the round she said "oh" in realization, but O-san immediately stood up and said another name. This is probably a crappy description, but it was honestly one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Sister Shields and I fell out of our chairs laughing.

We had interviews this week too. The whole zone came to the office and we were last since we live here. It took four and a half hours. I was really baffled because my interview with the President was all of five minutes. We were also supposed to interview with Sister McIntyre as a companionship, but she ran out of time and had to take her son to the airport. She called us on Saturday morning and told us to come upstairs since she didn't interview us earlier. That's why it took four hours when the zone was here, she had us up there for almost an hour. And we talked about great stuff. She had a us practice a lesson on her and then ripped us to pieces on what we did wrong. And she was exactly right on all of it.

O-san's friend Oki-san (he's been coming to Outreach activities on Thursdays and Fridays, no interest in the gospel) called our cell-phone on Friday night and invited Elder Bowman to dinner. He originally wanted just him to come. He was a little reluctant on other people coming, but eventually he agreed to have me and the two office elders come. He took the four of us to a completely authentic Chinese restaurant in Sannomiya. You walk down an alley, take an elevator that is big enough for two people up three floors and open this door that looks like a closet to get to it. The inside was filled with smoke and everyone spoke only Chinese. The food was pretty good. Incredibly spicy and definitely nothing like what an American imagines when they think of Chinese food. It turns out, he invited us there on business. He wanted us to buy rubber in America for his dad's company. I think he might've been a little upset when he found out that we can't go back too soon and that we don't do business right now. Hopefully he'll still come to activities. I think he likes us. When Osaka Choro tried to talk about baptism, he started talking about aliens and outer-space. These Chogoku-jin's are such interesting people.

We visited the Tanakura family last night. That was yet another humbling circumstance. They are an older looking couple but have five young children. Their apartment is decently sized, but not for five children. They're very shy, but seem to be strongly rooted in the gospel. Both my companion and I immediately commented on their ten year old Miki as we left. She just had so much light about her. She's always smiling and the look in her eyes just immediately radiates the spirit. She said some really profound things as we were teaching.

It's pretty cold. I'm keeping warm with my coat and such lately.
I'm going to go get a jisho today. Talk to you next week!

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