I forgot my journal again so I might forget some things. Anyway, here it goes.
So the last email you got from me was from Wakayama. The next morning we took the train to Mikunigaoka for zone conference. That was my second zone conference and my last with President and Sister McIntyre. That is so strange. I can`t believe how fast that went. We`ll miss them a lot. They`ve done incredible work here. President McIntyre talked a lot about Japan in general and what has happened here recently. He said that when they met with President Eyring before they were set apart, President Eyring said that Japan will see a huge surge in membership growth and again and the church will become more well-known and well-respected. Well, during President McIntyre`s stay here, the number of convert baptisms has nearly tripled. President McIntyre had a goal to see 100 baptisms in 2011 before he leaves and as of Sunday, that number is 101. Miracles are taking place in Japan and prophecies are being fulfilled. He told us that we wants us to double the figures with the next mission president.
Group Picture at Zone Conference
I`ll really miss their personality too. Sister McIntyre was talking about having a positive attitude; she said she saw a documentary on TV about how the brain works. She was explaining how nerves carry information and that when we think positively, the nerves carry the information faster. To demonstrate this, she spread her hands out and made zapping sound effects. The look on President McIntyre`s face was absolutely priceless. Everyone laughed. President McIntyre heckled her a little bit when he spoke and she said "don`t make fun of me, I`ve told you that before!" from the back of the room. They`re great.
We went to Kushimoto on our way back. Kushimoto is in our area but impossibly far to get to by bike and the trains are so few that it isn`t ever worth making a trip out there. It`s the most southern tip of honshu. It`s a pretty place. We were able to visit a less-active.
Some really famous rock formations in Kushimoto.
That is me in Shionminosaki. Just so everyone isn`t confused, I`m not where my finger is. I`m at that brown dot near the bottom of the sign.
The next picture is a famous light house. It is the most southern tip of Honshu and apparently is famous in post cards in such. We paid to walk into the light house. There were only two other people there.
Shirahama beach were we stopped on our way back to Shingu.
Only two days after we left Wakayma, the Wakayama zone leaders came to Shingu for an exchange. They really helped us a lot, I think. We needed a boost. We found two investigators, one of which came to church. He was a very interesting fellow who lives in Taiji and gave us a good talk on Greenpeace when we met him. He seemed to like us just fine though, I was with Elder Lystrup from Las Vegas who has bright red hair.
Elder Lystrup and I on our exchange.
Other than that, it`s been pretty normal business around here. Ah, I feel really bad that I didn`t bring my journal because I feel like I have more that I could potentially write about, I just can`t remember it all.
The branch continues to chug along. The branch president hasn`t been able to come for the past two weeks because of the commute and some health problems for his wife. It`s been a little bit difficult to keep everyone coming.
Mom, I did get the money you sent from Machida. Thank you! I loved the bracelet too.
I`ve come to realize that Japan is simply a part of who we are and to be perfectly honest, it is neglected FAR too much in our house. It is an honor and priviledge to have heritage in two very different countries, but if you don`t treasure it, it dies. Sam really needs to go to Japan and really, all of us should learn Japanese. It`s sad, really. I`ve met lots of people from similar families with different degrees of Japanese culture infused in them. Trust me, if you live in the U.S., the more the better. Eat the food, speak the language, and know the culture. You will be happy you did.
I hope Farmington will be ok with that flood scare. Heck, you`re far more 困っている (in trouble) than I was during the earthquake. I can`t believe that new things are being built out by that station now. I suppose it will look pretty different when I get back. I just realized that as of yesterday, I`ve been gone for 8 months. That`s pretty fast I suppose. I probably wrote it in every email from the MTC, but it really is true that the days feel like months and the months feel like days.
So the home teachers came? Does Brother Bell have a companion now? Hmm, maybe that changed while I was at college and I just never noticed. It`s amazing how long he`s been our home teacher. I still remember meeting him for the first time.
Transfer calls are tomorrow. I have absolutely no idea what will happen. I guess you will next Monday. I suppose that should be all, I`ll send some pictures too. Talk to you next week!
Some pictures from the AWESOME Kamikura Shrine in the mountains. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I tried to emphasize with pictures just how steep the hike is. The pictures don`t do it justice but just know: it`s really, really steep.
There is a box of walking sticks there to use as you can see.
Spring water feeds the purification trough
So there was a dead squid in front of the church one day...no idea how it got there.
Uma (horse meat) sushi at a place right next to our apartment. It was interesting.