This was a really good week.
Last p-day we played Risk with the AP's for three hours and holy cow it was fun. I haven't been that relaxed since before I went to the MTC. It felt good.
On Tuesday I went on an exchange with Elder Imai, one of my zone leaders. This time, Bowman Choro went to Amagasaki and Imai Choro and I stayed in Kobe. Imai Choro is legendary in the mission. It seems like Japanese missionaries can often fall on either end of the spectrum. They can be shy, reserved, and terrified to open their mouths, or they can be the boldest, loudest, strongest, and most effective missionaries in the mission. Imai Choro is the latter. Dendo-ing (proslyting) with him was kind of like walking next to the Terminator I thought. He can get ANYONE to stop and talk to him for as long as he wants and he almost always issues a baptismal commitment to everyone he meets. He's definitely one of the most successful missionaries in the mission, if not the most successful. I'm really lucky that I got to work with him. He's also from Hakodate. Definitely born after you were there, but do you know an Imai family? On that subject, do you know a Murayama family? Or a Sagawara family? They're all from Hakodate. Murayama Kyodai (served as an AP in the Kobe mission) and Sagawara Shimai are ward members in Kobe and they're engaged.
On Wednesday I had an "Idaho Burger" at McDonalds. It's a special limited time offer. It had hashbrowns inside of it.
This week is Chinese New Year so Motomachi Chinatown or Nankinmachi was nuts. There was a stage set up with regular performances and the place was packed to the point that we couldn't move. I got some video of it.
The Stake President gave us a gigantic responsibility of planning Outreach on Thursday. He wanted us to do "English Games" and he emailed every bishop in the stake and told them to really push their YSA's to get there. All of the missionaries in the zone were there too. Yeah....two people came.
That next day we laid the law down. We called everyone we possibly could in the ward and told them to come to Outreach. And it turns out it worked. We had a good turnout on Friday (Thursday is games or something fun, Friday is cooking). The stake president told us that Outreach is still focused on YSA's but now, anyone can come just for the sake of having bodies in the room. Matsuoka Kyodai, Shota-kun (he used to be at every activity but has gotten busy lately), and Hamaji Shimai showed up in addition to Hide-san who is a regular Eikaiwa student and has been to church before. Another former investigator walked in half-way through as well. I showed Hide-san my blog. Are you reading this?
It turns out Hamaji Shimai and Matsuoka Kyodai are fellowship all-stars. They were fantastic at being warm and friendly and I think the visitors felt completely comfortable. It's amazing when you can feel that everyone is being taken care of as a missionary and you don't have to constantly be talking to the investigators.
Hamaji Shimai told me that there is still a Wendy's in Sannomiya. I had heard that Wendy's pulled out of Japan but maybe I'll go check that out. I talked to her for a while and I remember having a feeling that perhaps I'm still in Kobe because I need to strengthen her and her less-active son she had told us about at Eikaiwa.
Church was awesome. I found an English speaking investigator during the week so I invited him to the Kansai Branch (English speaking). The AP's serve in that branch. He didn't show up but I attended the branch anyway with Elder Nielsen. President and Sister McIntyre, Elder Nielsen, myself, and one other member bore their testimonies. They cut the meeting ten minutes short because it was so unbearably awkward. Sad, huh? After the Kobe Ward sacrament meeting, Elder Bowman and I went on a split with the office elders.Elder Johnson and I taught Kaji-san who was found at the Burger Pit who also became a yakusokusha. He's 19 and studying music. It was absolutely incredible how well he could understand the Book of Mormon. I almost felt like he was teaching us.
That night, Bowman Choro and I visited Hamaji Shimai and her son. I felt SO good about that visit. When we got to her apartment complex, she came downstairs to walk us up to her apartment. She very politely asked us to start by just having a natural normal converstaion with her 15 year old son because he's very "yada" about church right now. That was exactly what we were planning to do, so that made me a little nervous that perhaps he wouldn't like us. It turns out, he's awesome. He's a really nice kid and we were able to make a great relationship with him. We plan on taking him out to eat sometime next week. I just feel like I so desperately need to help Hamaji Shimai whenever I think of her. She's one of the most noble members I think I've ever met.
Oh, and guess which area had another baptism this week? Yep, Kurayoshi. Sato Shimai and Ilch Shimai are machines. Apparently, this investigator is 17, but just couldn't get permission from her parents and was planning on waiting until she was 20. She's been attending church for a year now. All it took was for Sato Shimai and Ilch Shimai to go over there and talk to her dad. They came out with a baptismal date.
Speaking of Sato Shimai, we shared ldschurch.jp and mormon.jp at Outreach on Thursday. While we were looking for a video to show, we found Sato Shimai's testimony. Maybe this will give you an idea of how powerful of a missionary she is: