Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011

So this is last week`s news but I need to write it before I forget. Last Sunday we visited the Nomura family. Both parents are returned missionaries (Tokyo South) and they have three young kids. The mom told me she converted as a high school student in Takamatsu about 30 years ago. When I told her my parents lived in the Sakaide branch about 23 years ago she freaked out. She said she`s probably met you or at least knows people that know you. Her maiden name is Suezama, I think. She said there was a really active sister in that branch named Akiyama Machiko and that the branch president was Izumikawa Kaicho; she knows them both and is still in contact with them. Are those familliar? (Yes, very familiar.)

So there was an 8 year old child`s baptism in Himeji last Monday, we went there after I emailed you. I figured we wouldn`t be going since we didn`t have any investigators lined up to come, but per my companion, we had to be there. Japanese culture is different, in the church at least. The entire ward shows up to baptisms of children. Heck, less-actives that never come to sacrament meeting were there. It`s almost like a wedding...there were gift bags and such. We got there right after the baptism was performed, but it was worth going just to hear the little guy (his name is Shion as in "Zion") say "boku wa Iesu Sama no yoni naritai desu!" ("I want to be like Jesus")

That night we had a member drive us and a new, less-active member to Kobe for a special Family Home Evening activity that they were doing. We got there late, but it was good to see some of the people I knew there again. What was really surprising was how the majority of the people in attendance, I had never seen before. Investigators flow in and out of these areas so fast, it`s astonishing. There was actually only one family from the Kobe ward there that I recognized, the Minayoshi family. They were the first members that I visited on my mission. The mom is quite a fireball and really happy to see me saying that it was a blessing. I was surprised, besides that one visit, we didn`t work with them a whole lot.

There was indeed a typhoon this week, I had no idea that Shingu got flooded. It`s funny, the whole time I was there, I thought there was going to be some kind of disaster of some kind. It`s just one of those places. Every time you see the ocean and how vast it is and how close everything is to it you think "someday there`s going to be a tsunami here and it will destroy everything". I hope they`re alright out there. Elder Schramm is training a new missionary down there which hasn`t happened for over three years.

We spent a lot of time calling people in the rain. That`s something I`m getting used to. Typically the senpai (senior companion) always has the phone. Sometimes there will be a gaijin (non-Japanese) senpai that can`t speak very good Japanese so the young Japanese misisonary ends up with the phone a lot, but my companion wants me to use the phone and handle the conversations.

We had district meeting and I exchanged with the district leader immediately following it. Our district has three Japanese missionaries and three gaijin.

I hit my ten month mark this week too. I can`t believe how quickly the half-way point approaches. I`ve gotten a couple packages and such from you. Thanks. I really appreciated the music. To anyone that might be reading this: just because I`ve nearly reached my year mark, doesn`t mean that I don`t want mail from you. If anything, I want to hear MORE about you! It`s been longer, therefore, I know less about you and want more updates! Keep the letters coming. Gosh, I don`t want to sound like the whiny missionary that is sad because he gets no mail. That`s not the case. I`m not depressed, I just want to know how things are for everyone at home. Keep writing, I will write too!

I`m so glad that Sam wants to stay longer. That`s exactly how I always felt when I went there. I felt like I was jipped. If he has to go to camp on Saturday and gets home on Thursday...he`s going to be completely wasted. Ganbare Sammy-kun!

I`m jealous that you get to attend President McIntyre`s homecoming. It`s hard to imagine him at home being a normal person.

I was really glad to hear you got a letter from Sister Ilch as well. I haven`t seen her for a while. She transfered to Tokushima. I swear you can become a better person just by shaking her hand. She`s one of those people that`s so pure and kind that you can`t deny that the church is true. You can`t deny anything she believes, for that matter. Not only did she not know anything about Japanese less than a year ago, she was taught it in English, which she doesn`t speak either. I don`t know how it`s possible either. Neither do they. Just like I wrote last week, Sister Myagmarjav was saying when I saw her last "how did we do this?"

We finally get to interview with President Zinke this week. I`m excited to finally really MEET him.

I guess that`s all I`ve got for this week. We didn`t go to the castle last week because it was raining. We may or may not have time this week, who knows. I will enter it before I leave here though, no worries. Say hello to everyone for me!

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