This week has gone by pretty fast.
So Monday night, I went with Kuroda Choro to Kita Rokko for an exchange during leadership training. It was very interesting being out of my area. Kita Rokko is the area just over the mountains from Kobe (we actually live at Rokko Eki), it takes about an hour and a half to get there. It is much more of a small town. I've actually sort of had this fantasy image of Inaka (country) areas. I've always pictured them as these quiet towns with rice fields, fish markets, traditional houses, and onsens only. It wasn't like that. There were busy roads wherever you went, so it was always noisy; kind of like being next to the freeway all day. There neighborhoods were more spread out, so yes there were quite a bit of big properties with rice fields, but the roads and warehouses kind of canceled out there charm. Plus, all of the houses were enormous. We're talking Farmington, Utah size houses. I was shocked. To be honest, it's a pretty unattractive area. I felt like I was back in the U.S. in some factory town. Hopefully if I do get transferred to an Inaka area, it will be quieter and prettier than Kita Rokko. That's selfish but....I'd love to experience it. I've heard Iwade looks just like Tottoro. And I'm sure Shikoku is like that as well.
Anyway, I had a great time in Kita Rokko with Kuroda Choro. It was good to experience being completely away from the Honbu away from other missionaries and alone in a freezing cold apartment with a Japanese companion. I think that was my first experience of what being on a mission is really like for most missionaries. I have a really unusual experience here in Kobe. Kuroda Choro is one of the nicest people I've ever met.
When I came back to Kobe, we started seeing all kinds of success. Well...numbers wise. We had 10 people commit to come to church yesterday. Only two showed up, but five of them called before hand to cancel. I know, that probably sounds pathetic, but it's actually a miracle. It is VERY rare that people actually call us. They usually give us a fake phone number or block us after we exchange numbers. It's good that we're still in contact. Also, one of the two people at church became a yakusokusha (committed to baptism). His name is Te. Yes, he's Chinese. He's 30 years old and has been in Japan for 8 years so his Japanese is completely fluent, unlike O-san's. He is very smart and had all kinds of difficult questions like "what was before zense (premortal life)?" He expressed how good he felt at church and especially when he prayed. Like many Chinese investigators, he definitely wants to seriously investigate but he was still ok with setting a baptismal date. We'll see how it goes. He seems pretty solid.
Oh, and as far as my Japanese, that was something I noticed quite a while ago. We're not allowed to contact women, but when we occasionally do talk to them (couples, etc.) I noticed that I understand them twice as well as men. It's like a night and day difference. I've never understood why, but my companion actually suggested that it's because I've heard mom's Japanese my whole life and it's ingrained in my mind. From then on, I started noticing that I speak with female intonation as well. Don't worry, I know better than to end a sentence with wa.
On Thursday morning, a member dropped into the apartment and needed a "segatakai" (tall) missionary to change a lightbulb in the church. That was terrifying. I had to stand on top of a shaking ladder and hold a gigantic bulb, bigger than my head. I don't know why I shared that...
We also had outreach on Thursday. Only one guy showed up, Takayama Kyodai, our Dendo Shunin (mission leader) who shows up to everything. He's 24, a returned missionary and a furita (lives with parents). He only has an arabaito (part time job) and says he's saving up to go to BYU Hawaii next year so he has all kinds of time. We nearly canceled until this guy we didn't know at all walked in. He said he is a member and came all the way from Miki. When we talked with him after the activity, he was baptized 8 years ago, but hasn't really been to church since then because of his job. That was a miracle I think. Outreach is there to strengthen those members. We watched part of the DVD Another Testament of Christ. Have you seen that? It's a DVD of those photographs of people acting out Christ's life. It is incredibly powerful. You should check it out. It's the same guy that did the book Reflections of Christ.
Hamid, our Iranian friend made Persian food for Outreach on Friday. He's still the happiest man on earth, and also the most devout Muslim you'll ever meet. We're just going to keep being his friend.
There was a 3.6 earthquake on Friday night. It came while we were laying in bed. It freaked everyone in the apartment out. Apparently, they haven't really felt one on their missions. I was fine, I remember the 6.0 I was in in Tokyo. Osaka Choro from Kanagawa was really confused as to why they made such a big deal about it.
So last night, I was up in the office. My companion was getting yakusokusha information and numbers from the office elders and AP's. I overheard the AP''s recording and talking about all of the numbers throughout the mission (I typically hear them every week. I know, VERY unusual experience). I heard them say, "wow, now here's the best area in the mission: Kurayoshi." Ilch (Tamir) Shimai and Sato Shimai. I knew those two would be dynamite together. They had no zeros at all, which means there was a baptism this week. Very rare figures. They're kicking trash. When I talked with Ilch Shimai, she said they had an investigator ready to be baptized so I suppose that's who it was. Apparently, this investigator was yada about baptism because her boyfriend was threatening her if she kept meeting with the missionaries. Of course, Ilch Shimai told her "bring him to the next lesson and let me talk to him." She said that he needs to leave his girlfriend alone and that he also needs to read the Book of Mormon. He called her that night crying saying that the Book of Mormon was true and his baptism should be soon to follow. Don't mess with the Mongolians.
I suppose that's all. I heard we're going out for burgers with President McIntyre as a district today. It should be fun. I'm doing pretty well. Hope all is well at home!