It`s been a pretty good week. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Sennan while Schramm 長老 attended leadership training in Kobe. I was with a second transfer missionary named Cardoso 長老 who is from Brazil and it was absolutely fantastic. He had more faith than any second transfer missionary I`ve ever seen, by far. He was absolutely fearless in talking to everyone. He stopped every single person he saw and then did his best in Japanese before turning it over to me. I learned a lot. I learned a lot from his example and I finally was able to feel a little bit more independent and capable. We didn`t really run into language problems. We were able to say everything we needed to say to people on the street and they understood us fine. I was able to give five baptismal commitments on the street during those two days which is pretty normal in the mission, but for me, was a huge step of improvement. Sennan is a fun area too. The apartment is on the tenth floor and you can see Kansai airport and Akashi bridge and Awaji island in the distance.
We got back to Shingu on Thursday and had another lesson with Bisunu, our yakusokusha from Nepal. We taught him the restoration and I can`t believe how well it went. He told us he believes in Krishna, the one singular Hindi god, but that really, God is all the same person, we just see him differently because we`re from different cultures. It was almost like he read the answer right out of Preach My Gospel. He believed that God created him, knows him, and loves him. I really learned to appreciate how the scriptures tell us to "become like a little child" because teaching Bisunu really was like teaching a child because of the language barrier. We used a mixture of English and Japanese in that he speaks a little bit of both and we were very lucky that Schramm 長老 was able to get a Hindi (he speaks fluent Hindi, but his native language is Nepali and there is no Book of Mormon in Nepali) Book of Mormon at leadership training. Who knows how long that would`ve taken to get had he not gone to Kobe directly. We taught in the most simple sentences we possibly could, used lots of pictures, and even drew diagrams. He understood just fine. When we taught the Restoration and the First Vision, we asked how he was feeling. His face was read and he said "I feel...suddenly...very comfortable" the Spirit was undeniable. Unfortuantely, it is looking nearly impossible for him to get to church on Sunday. He works at the food court in the Aeon mall 6 days a week for 12 hours everyday. Slave labor basically. There is a possibility for him to take a break at 3 if they`re not busy. Our sacrament meeting is at noon but we hold a special sacrament meeting at 3 every week for one of the members that can`t come at noon due to work. He wasn`t able to make it this week. We`ll see what happens.
Apparently, this work on Sunday problem has been a problem in this area ever since missionaries first came here. It might be the biggest reason that active members are so few. You see, Shingu is an extremely blue collar town. There are no business men out here. Everybody works either driving taxis, buses, at restaurants, or stores. Those kinds of jobs simply aren`t flexible. Another problem is that the population of Shingu is rapidly decreasing and the average age is increasing. Shingu was an important city about 40 years ago because they used to send lots of goods up the river that divides Mie-ken and Wakayama-ken, but now that everything is delivered by car, people are just here because it`s where there ancestors live. Nearly every high school student that graduates here runs off to a bigger city to get a better job....they don`t want to work behind a cash register or at a nursing home for the rest of their lives. We had a discussion about it on Sunday and it`s been a problem for a long time and is causing problems still. The first counselor in the branch presidency has a new job and it`s absolutely impossible for him to get to church now. While we were housing this week, a really nice old lady came out to talk to us. She had no interest but was really polite. She told us not to keep going down the street because nobody lives in the houses. She said they were all なくなった人. (dead people). It totally made sense. We went anyway and of course, nobody was there. This is going to be a ghost town eventually.
So yeah, like you asked mom, I`m sure Nakamura san (that`s the Brazillian, his dad is Japanese) doesn`t have that great of a job. He moved out here because his wife wanted to move into her mom`s. And yes, they have an infant and a three year old son. They need the gospel.
Do I usually write about how we have Family Home Evening with Tsuboi 兄弟 every Friday? Well we do, and it`s the best thing about this area. It was great as always. He is the strongest member I have met thus far on my mission, no question. His wall is plastered with pictures of missionaries, mission presidents, and even temple presidents that have come to visit him in his home. You really get the bigger picture looking at it. You see all of the people that have passed through this tiny town, trying to get something done to establish the church here.
I am going to join with Grandpa and say that Sam needs to study lots of Japanese before going. You HAVE to! 勉強しなさい！(Study!) Anway, it will be lots of fun, I`m sure. Grandma and Grandpa are so much fun when you go by yourself. They`ll treat you really well. Be very polite and say thank you a lot. Take tons of pictures. I wish I had more pictures of my trip. Disposable cameras just don`t get the job done. Learn enough to express some basic ideas.
You`re right, I am extremely jealous that you are on your way to Disneyland. Please tell me all about the two new rides. Man, I can`t wait until I get to go again. Have lots of fun and send some pictures.
Sorry that last week`s email was so ばらばら. That computer was really slow, the text would show up ten seconds after you typed it.
I haven`t really taken a lot of pictures lately but I know you want to see them. I didn`t bring the USB, so I will hopefully send some next week.
I think that`s all the time I have for now. Have fun and Disneyland. I`m excited to read next week!