I`m in Wakayama right now. We have zone conference on Tuesday and since Shingu is so far we had to leave yesterday right after church. We got on the train in Shingu at 3, got to Tanabe at about 6, and then got on a limousine bus and arrived in Wakayama-shi at 8:30. It`s absolutely ridiculous how far out there Shingu is.
So on the Monday you called, we attended the church of one of our investigators. We had to get permission, but we were encouraged to go, especially in that it would be a good opportunity to meet people. It`s called "イエスキリスト御霊教会”(Church of Jesus Christ Holy Spirit). The real church is in Tanabe, but the preacher comes to Shingu every Monday for all of his followers in Shingu. It was really hard to find. It happened to be in a tiny little run-down house. There was only our investigator (a woman in her sixties named 益子 (Mashiko) ) and two other really old ladies. When we walked in, the preacher basically started interrogating us. He said we were more than welcome to watch, but as he asked about all of our beliefs, he didn`t attack them, but the look on his face told the story. He basically told us how wrong we were and then continued with his speech. I actually felt really good about it. He asked us questions, and we answered respectfully. To start the sermon, they prayed, which was probably the most bizarre thing I`ve ever seen. First of all, everyone in the church was kneeling through the whole thing. To pray, they rocked back and forth and said "hallelujah" as fast and as many times as they possibly could. We were a little scared. About five minutes into his sermon, the crowd had grown to 16. That was the real stunner. How is this guy beating us?! We obviously have work to do.
We`re emailing in a public place so I can`t send pictures but I went to Kamikura jinja up on the mountain this week. It`s the one under the boulder. It was awesome and I got lots of great pictures that I`ll be sure to send next week. That hike is so ridiculously steep. I don`t know how the wrinkly old people that go up there to worship don`t die.
It got unbelievably hot and humid for two days this week. Even in the pouring rain, it felt like an oven. I HATE that feeling. Hot, humid, AND, raining. It has cooled down quite a bit since then and is actually quite nice now though. I guess that was just a preview of this summer.
The biggest miracle of the transfer happened on Saturday. We saw a Brazillian man eating at the food court in Jusco with his Japanese wife and two incredibly cute kids. We knew he was Brazillian because he was wearing a Brazillian soccer jersey. We saw him again, walking the kids on our way out to a less-actives`s apartment (it`s the one by that amazingly pretty river I sent a picture of), we both felt a very strong prompting to talked to him but decided we were busy and just said hello as we rode past him on our bikes. As we were leaving the less-active`s apartment, Nishio 長老 said "if we see him again, we are going to talk to him" sure enough, he was there on the same street. We talked to him and it turns out he was baptized several years ago in Mikunigaoka and quit going to church after six months because he got busy. He is married now (as we were talking, his wife was being driven to work. She waved out of the back seat of a car being driven by two REALLY shady looking men and she was plastered in makeup...) and has been living in Shingu for three years. He wants to come back to church and make sure that his children are raised with a belief in God since Japanese people typically don`t believe in God. That was awesome. It took three run-ins for us to finally have the courage to talk to him, but I`m so glad we did. I`m excited to see what happens to him.
Sorry, I wrote this about two hours ago, but the computer froze and we had an appointment to go to yoga. Luckily it saved as a draft. I`ll talk to you next Monday. Have a great week!