Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14, 2011

Hello again. This week was another great week.

Last p-day we played Risk again with the AP's, this time on the mission map. How did that come about? On Sunday, Nielson Choro suggested to me that we play "Mission Risk" (just a shorter version with different rules) and I, not knowing what that meant, asked "does that mean you play it on the mission map?" He said "no, but you're a genius!" So that morning he made the game. It was pretty fun.

On Tuesday we had more Eikaiwa (English Class) miracles. One investigator we hadn't had contact with in about a month showed up and another random guy showed up out of the blue. This transfer is really starting to pick up steam.

On Wednesday I had probably the coolest street contact I've ever had. We talked to a Chinese guy named Lee Feng. Yes, he's Chinese, but it took forever to find out. Typically, if we can't tell by their looks, we can immediately tell when people are Chinese because of their accent. This guy was like a native speaker, even though he's only been in Japan for three years. I know Chinese people that have been here for five or six years and their Japanese is still impossible to understand. By the end of the contact, we found out that he also spoke perfect English. Anyway, he basically just had this gigantic smile on his face the entire time we talked to him. He said "I really need to enter a church because I wasn't allowed to in China and I think God is mad at me for that." How crazy is that? We had a Chinese Book of Mormon on us and he walked away frantically reading it. I think it's amazing how some of these Chinese people really are like unspoiled children in terms of religion. Most of them we've taught believe in a God, they just don't know about him, whereas most Japanese people we teach believe in themselves and their jobs. Very interesting.

On Friday, we spent a lot of time frantically cleaning the apartment in the event that Elder Cook would visit it. That afternoon we had a zone activity where we switched companions every hour for about five hours. That was a lot of fun and went by really fast. That night, the stake president took the entire zone out for yakiniku (Korean Barbecue) and paid for it. He REALLY wants us to work on the YSA's. I think the yakiniku was a bribe. I definitely see where his inspiration is coming from. There's about ten YSA's here in Kobe, lots of them are recent converts that aren't sure what to think, almost all of them are 25 or older, and none of them are dating anyone at all.

Saturday was our all mission conference with Elder Cook, Elder Aoyagi, and Elder Nakatsuka (apostle, seventy and area seventy). Definitely one of the highlights, if not the best moment of my mission thus far. He was just full of love. He immediately wanted to shake everyone's hands. It was really fascinating seeing how he'd react to certain missionaries. All we had to time to say was our name and where we were from. He and his wife's jaws dropped when the Mongolian sisters were up there. He also starting crying when the Priddis's (the office couple) greeted him and said over and over "we are so proud of you." He said some pretty interesting things. He said you need to do four things to be a successful missionary: Love the people, love your companion, love the mission president, and love the Lord. It's funny, Julie B. Beck said the exact same four things to us in the MTC. He said one thing that comes into play when missionaries get their calls is mission presidents and how well the missionary could potentially work with them. He also kind of hesitated in the middle of his talk, going off subject and said "the most important thing I'm going to tell you today is that this is the place where the Lord needs you. You might think you are more needed at home because your family is having a hard time or something, but your service here will bless those you know more than being with them." You could tell it was very inspired and I suppose a lot of missionaries really needed to hear it. He acknowledged that we face more rejection here than almost anywhere else. He told us to always be focusing on establishing the church. Baptism is obviously the biggest element to establishing the church, but being an example at church and strengthening the members is as well. His wife was funny too. She just made us sing three or four hymns because she loved hearing us sing so much. Elder Nakatsuka and Elder Aoyagi were awesome as well. Both very good speakers.

It was fun seeing all of the other missionaries as well. Everyone from my doki (MTC Group) seems happy and well. Seeing that Kobe chapel packed full of missionaries is really a sight. After our meeting, Elder Cook had a conference with all of the stake presidents and a few of the bishops in the area. Elder Bowman went to talk to the Okayama stake president because he was his last stake president. This stake president (I forgotten his name) was American and he really wanted to tell us about what happened in Kurayoshi a couple weeks ago. I told you Sato Shimai and Ilch Shimai baptized Saki Imai who was 17 years old and needed permission. Well, apparently this girl had been waiting for almost a year and it just wasn't going to happen. The dad was solid and about five pairs of sister missionaries have tried to get permission from him and all of them have basically run away crying. When Sato Shimai arrived this transfer, the branch was doing a 20 day fast. She basically thought that wasn't good enough. She went to their door, Saki answered and she said "let me talk to your dad." Saki begged her not to, but Sato Shimai insisted. He yelled at them told them to leave and apparently said some really vile things. Basically any other missionary would have run. Apparently, Sato Shimai got him to be quiet when she said "explain the taste of salt to me as if I've never tasted it." He was pretty confused. She then said "your daughter has tasted something that you know NOTHING about because you haven't experienced it and you can't understand and you have no right to keep her from it and I'm not leaving until you give her permission." The girl was baptized that Saturday. I think people need to hear that story. All it took was someone to stand their ground. When I talked to Ilch Shimai about it at the conference she said "Kamisama no te o mita." ("I saw the hand of God.")

Saturday night was also Osaka Choro's birthday so you guessed it, we had a party in the office that night. Sister McIntyre wanted it to be a real surprise so we turned off the lights. As always, it was fun as always to spend time with President and Sister McIntyre. They talked to us about the time they spent with Elder Cook and Elder Holland (they flew in together, Elder Holland went to the Nagoya mission I believe).

Church yesterday was awesome as well. We had four investigators there: Inaba, O, Hiroki and Ryokoto (Chinese). Hiroki and Ryokoto came out of the blue. We hadn't contacted them in weeks since their initial contact, but they randomly showed up. Hiroki had no interest, but Ryokoto became a yakusokusha. Apparently he has a member friend in Australia. I taught Inaba-san. Yes, we split and I took charge of the lesson with just me and a member. It was a little scary, but went just fine. He rambles a lot and Sakano Kyodai (the member) said he doesn't make sense to him either. Inaba has been coming to church for four weeks in a row now but is really yada ("no thanks") about baptism and learning about lessons. He's got some serious depression and is taking lots of medication. His excuse is that he's just too dumb to understand any of this stuff. We just read the Book of Mormon together and I committed him to certain passages and told him I would follow-up throughout the week.

I think that's all!

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