On Monday night, the AP's just walked into our bedroom to do our transfer calls. They told me that I was going to Fukuchiyama.
Elder Bowman was sick all day on Tuesday so I stayed in and packed. I said goodbyes to a few Kobe people that night at Eikaiwa (English Class). A lot of them said that they were sure I would return. A lot of missionaries tell me that they think I will be an office elder later in my mission. I typically just brush that off because I don't think my Japanese will ever be that good, but as last transfer came to an end, I definitely felt that perhaps I would return to Kobe someday. I felt that maybe these two transfers were just a foundation for me to come back as a more skilled missionary and help the people that I met.
The new missionaries also came on Tuesday night. Four elders from America and two Japanese sisters, PLUS Elder Mitsukawa who is from Hashimoto (in the Kobe mission) and has been called to the San Francisco mission but is having visa problems and will serve here for the time being.
Friday night, President McIntyre sent me off to Ibaraki/Takatsuki instead of Fukuchiyama. At that time, they were a san-nin (threesome) so it made sense to send me there. Fukuchiyama is unfortunately closed. Mituskawa Choro is being "trained" here by Elder McConnell from Holladay, Utah and Elder Matsukura from Sapporo. He could leave at any time and so could I, I suppose.
This area is indeed Osaka. You must have emailed me pretty recently. I haven't been here long. It actually feels pretty "inaka" (country) to me. Granted, I've only been to Tokyo and Kobe. In terms of the mission as a whole though, this is one of the more tokai (rural) areas. I'm surprised. There are a lot less people here than I would've assumed. It's definitely the outskirts of Osaka.
I arrived here late Friday night so Saturday was my first real day and it was nuts. We went to visit a member. She had a dog that bit off the last Ibaraki Elder's nose. She was an extremely nice lady. I noticed she had a Weber State University diploma on her wall and asked about it. Her son went there. She then gave me about a 20 minute history of his life (all of this in the genkan (entry hall) with the door open because she was home alone) which eventually turned into her singing Alma 32:32-34 to some Lamanite-sounding music CD. Her house was a really pretty traditional Japanese house. There was a gigantic poster with the scripture written on it next to a wooden staircase. I didn't even realize she was singing until she was about a minute into it, I thought the voice was coming out of the stereo. It was like she turned into a Disneyland animatronic. She was standing back by the stares, swaying back and forth, singing perfectly note for note. Yeah, it's as funny as it sounds, but her testimony was SO strong. She had a beautiful voice too. We left having hardly said a word, but she said we had answered her prayers.
Later that night, we visited a man who's been seeing missionaries for years. He's American and has lived in Japan for a long time doing lots of various entertainment work. Matsukura Choro speaks zero english so it was very interesting. We showed up and he wasn't wearing any pants. Outside of his house is a giant jaguar stuffed animal with fake bones in it's paws. He talked for a long time about everything. He's an actor himself, but he's the kind of character that any actor would kill to play. The way he talked, what he talked about, and his conditions were so fascinating. I almost wanted to take notes on him. He smoked four cigarettes while we were there, talked about being in the military, his past marriage, and why he loves christianity. When I invited him to church, I asked him to bring his children (living with his ex-wife but apparently have come before) and he asked if he could bring his girlfriend.
Sunday was good. We attend both the Ibaraki and Takatsuki wards. Lately, it's been two missionaries for the two wards. It's been two for each ward before (and will become that next transfer because a ton of missionaries are coming in) but for now it's four for both wards because two of us could leave at any time. They want all four of us to make relationships with both wards.
As far as Matsukura Choro, he looks like the Panda in Kung Fu Panda I think. He eats like crazy. Before fast Sunday he said he was going to "mecha, mecha taberu" ("eat like crazy") so he wouldn't die. He's always talking about food and always eating it. He's a really nice person though. He compliments my Japanese a lot.
Elder McConnell is an old, experienced missionary and he's awesome. We attacked the apartment today and cleaned it. It was disgusting. It's still not the best but it looks a lot better. I didn't even want to touch anything before.
I'm excited to be here. I'm now realizing how easy I had it in Kobe. I just stepped outside and let my companion talk to people and we found investigators. I suddnely feel like a lot more weight is on more shoulders even though Matsukura Choro is the senpai (senior), he doesn't know much of the area. I'm going to have to grow a lot.
Randy, Sam, and Clint, LEARN JAPANESE!!! I'm not kidding. Your chance of being called to Japan is mecha-takai (extremely high) now that I've been called here and you will like life a lot better if you can speak Japanese. You become the missions biggest weapon when you're billingual. Besides that, it's part of your heritage. I'm still ashamed that I didn't know it before. You'll be a better person and have a more open mind. DO IT!
I suppose that'll be all. Take care!
We had a lesson with Ryu Koto on Tuesday, with Lee helping as the Member. I can definitely see him getting baptized soon. He wanted to take a picture when I told him I was transferring.
A picture of Harborland, we went there last p-day.
That's what the mission home apartment looks like.