Yes, Matsukura 長老 was at leadership training this week. I spent three days with Hashimoto 長老 who is also from Hokkaido. There's a lot of them in our mission.
On Tuesday we had our first lesson with Ikeda-san, Eriko's mom. I can't remember if I wrote about Eriko or not but anyway, she recently came back from a study abroad in Australia where she got baptized. I can't believe how well it went. She was prepared in every way to hear our message. She is so awesome, she brought inari-zushi for us to eat afterwards.
The next day we went on an adventure to find a referral we got from church. All we had was an address so we looked at the map and headed in the general direction and then asked the people at 7-11 (they always know!) how to get there. It turned into an hour and a half bike ride straight up the mountain. I'll send pictures. I couldn't believe how quickly the atmosphere changed. It turned into 大田舎 (the boondocks).
To give you an idea, this is what it looks like outside of our apartment.
And this is what it looked like when we got there.
The referral was a "secret referral" in that the member wanted us to very naturally proselyte their house because if they found out that we were sent there, it'd be strange. It turned out that they weren't interested. The lady that answered the kekko-box (intercom at the door where the resident usually says "Kekko", which means "No Thank You") (I don't think I'm supposed to call it that but I don't know what it's really called...) giggled when she heard we were missionaries and then hung up. It was kind of sad.
The next day we visited a former investigator from the area book. You know, I used to always think that lots of characters in movies are too crazy. You know, I would think "nobody is really THAT crazy." Well, it turns out that I haven't met enough crazy people to make that kind of judgement. This man was insane. When we knocked on the door, he barely cracked it opened and peered around it so we could only see his eyes. It looked like he had washed his face in the chimney. The little bit I could see of the inside of the apartment was newspapers stacked to the ceiling. He saw that we were missionaries and said that he would come back outside in just a moment and slammed the door super hard. We waited for about 15 minutes before he finally came out. His clothes looked like he'd never changed out of them in 20 years...and he smelled that way too. 一つ歯しかない (Only one tooth)。 He walked us down to the river close by which was beautiful. Sakura (cherry blossoms) are starting to come out and there were little kids playing hide and seek and such. We talked to him for a while and first of all he wanted to know how we got his address. We told him how and he basically just shrugged. He then dove into about a 1 hour conversation. He'd take pauses to whisper secrets to his hands and would burst out into hysterical laughter every 2 minutes or so. At the end, he asked us to destroy his record. It turns out that he hates Americans. I think that was a good experience...I won't ever forget it.
I got the package. Man, that news coverage is just too much. I love how the Nagoya missionary said "I felt dizzy" yeah, that's because the earthquake was so faint that it felt like you were imagining it in your head and it made you dizzy! It was definitely quoted to make it sound dramatic. To anyone that's reading this: WE'RE FINE! Everything is normal down here. Worry about the people that are in trouble up in Miyagi who lost everything. Don't worry about the missionaries that can be pulled out with the snap of a finger. I also laugh when I read that missionaries were pulled out of the "affected" areas. A lot of those Tokyo missionaries were WAY far south, but were only taken out for safety precautions. I don't think parents calling the mission homes everyday helped either. Hopefully the missionaries will be able to go back to the Tokyo mission soon. That's a lot of people that don't have the chance to hear the gospel right now. There are about 50 youth in the gym at this church right now assembling boxes to send up north.
Yesterday at church we had another lesson with Ikeda-san. She's doing great. Yoshino 姉妹 (I guess I should say Hermana Yoshino) sat in on it. She returned from the Salt Lake City South Mission where she spoke Spanish. Yeah, she's trilingual. She said some really great things in the lesson. It was funny though, she had to ask for a lot of words in Japanese. She was at BYU before her mission so it's been a while.
True, we don't have General Conference until this weekend. It should be pretty fun. Apparently it's the most relaxing time as a missionary. I'm excited. I suppose they didn't announce any temples for Japan. I'm sure this happens every year, but all of the members here are anticipating a Kansai (Osaka area) temple to be announced at General Conference.
I guess that's all I have time for this week. We might be headed to Kyoto next week because the Sakura (cherry blossoms) are starting to come out! Watch for pictures!