Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011

I realize now that I`ve been really blessed with my areas up until now as far as email goes. At all three of them, I could email for free and there was no time limit. Here I`m on a short schedule and it`s pretty expensive. Anyway, here goes.

So last Monday evening, we had a zone meeting in Akashi. Sister Myagmarjav is serving in Akashi right now so I got to see her. It is so awesome being reunited with people you were in the MTC with. She is doing so awesome....and her Japanese is crazy good. She trained a gaijin (non-Japanese) missionary two transfers ago. She asked, "How did we make it this far?" She said that she and her companion were ridiculously stressed out in the MTC everyday because of their double language barrier, but now when she looks back, all she has is fond memories. Miracles definitely occured in that place, as tedious as it felt to stay there for three months.

The next day I had perhaps the most miraculous day of my mission. A man from Tsuyama (Okayama-ken) wanted to meet with us briefly because he was in town. He`s been talking to missionaries for years because he feels bad for how much persecution our church receives from his own Christian church. Anyway, we could only talk to him for a few minutes before he had to go home.

We streeted for a little bit from there. I asked one guy what the most important thing in his life was and he replied: "smiling." I was pretty happy about that. The guy had no interest, but my companion and I certainly needed to hear it.

We had lunch and I called a bunch of members, trying to figure out how they wanted to help and give a 9 year old convert her After-Baptism lessons. She hasn`t been back to church since her baptism.

We found two other investigators that committed to come to church (they both canceled afterwards, but it felt good then, anyway). I just felt really good about what I was doing.

We then went towards a less-active`s house that (Elder) Shimizu Choro looked up and wanted to go visit. We didn`t know anything about her, but he wanted to go. We had a little bit of difficulty finding it. We were standing in front of a bridge, with Shimizu Choro trying to figure out a map when a lady walked up to us and asked us where we were going. She gave us a little direction when I realized, just listening to her, that she totally wasn`t Japanese. I asked if she could speak English and she said "yeah, no problem." She was from Thailand but has lived in Japan for 18 years. She then asked if we were "one of those religious people that does this for a period of two years" to which I replied, yes. She said she met two of them when she was in college in Thailand and that`s why she walked up to us because it brought back memories.

I thought for sure that we were led near this less-active`s house in order to meet this woman. She ran her dog home and then came back on a bike to show us the way. She got us to the less-active`s house and was about to take off when I tried to talk to her a little bit. She was nice enough to give us her phone number, but was pretty clear on not being interested. I was pretty dissappointed. I felt such a strong impression about her.

We then knocked on the less-active`s door. The address was the same as the one in our records and the name written on the mailbox was correct as well. However, the person that answered said they had never heard of our church and basically told us to go away. We housed a couple houses next door when I felt like we needed to go find the Thai woman`s home. We walked back to where she found us and started knocking on doors there.

The first door we knocked on was one of those houses that has so much garbage and clutter in front of it that you can hardly get to the door. Anyway, the door was propped open. When we rang the doorbell, an old woman came to the door looking rather worried. She told us that she was waiting on news as to whether her brother was dead or not. Either someone was going to call or come to the door so that`s why it was open. She said she wouldn`t have come to the door otherwise. She told us that her sister died very young several years ago and that her husband committed suicide recently and started to cry.

I thought things like this only happened in missionary`s homecoming talks. It was crazy. Of course, I told her about the Plan of Salvation and how she can see all of these deceased people that she loves again. She said she had a long history with religion and wasn`t interested in joining a religion, but that meeting with us seemed like it wasn`t a coincidence. I told her that it certainly wasn`t and that I had come to Japan to find someone like her. She agreed to meet again and we`ll see her this week. I can`t believe how that one happened. We were definitely guided to her, in a very unconventional way, but we were guided, nevertheless.

I will be teaching Eikaiwa (English class) in Ako every week as well since there are two Japanese missionaries out there. We did Eikaiwa twice a week in Shingu. I thought I was done with Eikaiwa twice a week... Anyway, it was fun this week, I like traveling to other areas.

We have visited a lot of less-actives this week. This area has tons of them. Lots of them still have really strong faith and know that the church is true but just can`t quite bring themselves back to church. The problem is the same as my last area....people. Christ really did set the example. Love and patience can seem like such a simple commandment, but there`s a reason that it is also "the greatest." It can be really hard. I think we can certainly see at least one of them come back this transfer.

Sounds like all is well at home. Tell Sam to have fun. He`ll miss it when he leaves.

Congrats to Sisters Schofield and Wirthlin too. They`ll be good missionaries. I can`t believe how many missionaries our ward has out right now. Having a missionary out really blesses a ward. A recently returned missionary from another ward in the Kobe stake came and spoke at church yesterday and he was awesome.

I guess that`s all the time I have for this week. See you next Monday!
Here`s just a couple pictures that I was able to snap this week. We should be going inside the castle today so I should have some great ones next week. I heard you can go inside the main keep (looks like a box right now) you can see the castle pretty well.

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