Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

Well, this week`s email is coming to you from Nara!
This is a fantastic place. I love it here. I feel totally なれた (at home) to this area already.
 I`m going to go see Todaaji today. I feel tortured not being able to just go exploring here.

So basically, we were in the honbu  (mission home) from Tuesday until the transfer day, which was Thursday.  I had to stay behind at the honbu for a few hours, just in time for all of the returning missionaries to show up. I got to see Shields 姉妹 who I served with in Kobe at the beginning of my mission. She`s awesome. She served an awesome mission. It`s really weird thinking that I am now older than she was when I first got to the mission.

On Friday, we had two baptismal candidates pass their interviews. One, Brother Imanishi, is 20, and the other is 18. Both were to be baptized yesterday, but due to some complications with parents, the 18 year old has been delayed until the 4th. Next week is stake conference, so we`ll wait until the next week. We had an appointment to meet with his mom on Saturday, but she wasn`t able to come. No matter what happens, I`m positive that he`ll be baptized. He is already attending seminary every morning and carries around a super marked-up triple combination. His testimony is stronger than any of the other youth in the branch.
Elder Anderton, Brother Imanishi, Elder Low. Imanishi Kyodai was baptized yesterday. That`s the best way to transfer in to an area. I had nothing to do with it, but the branch sure is excited to see you when you first meet them at a baptismal service.

The 伝道主任 (Ward Mission Leader) here is totally awesome. His name is Fujita 兄弟 and he lived in the US for 20 years so his English is like a native. Beyond that, he just has TONS of interest in the work. It`s incredible how much of a difference it makes when members not only fulfill their calling, but are enthusiastic about it. He is on top of everything and makes sure everything gets done and he`s doing everything he can to help us. The branch president is the same and invited us to branch council and will meet with us during the week. I love willing, hard-working members. There`s nothing that helps missionaries more. On top of all of that, a couple from the Ibaraki ward that I served in earlier this year, moved to Nara yesterday. What are the chances?! The wife said she was shocked by how much my Japanese improved and that I 宣教師らしくなりました (really act like a missionary). I guess that`s half a compliment, huh? I`ll take it.

My companion is Elder Anderton from San Antonio, Texas. He`s on his third transfer and he`s great. Last transfer, I got the hang of being senpai (senior), and honestly, I was in the mindset of "this isn`t so bad, just a little extra weight is all" but that was with a Japanese companion. For some reason, I never took into account that I now have to REALLY pull some weight, not only that, but help my companion learn the language. For whatever reason, I never imagined myself doing this. It`s an adjustment, but we`re off to a fantastic start.

Thanks for including the little bit about mom`s talk. I remember those sacrament meetings, I always wondered if I would ever be talked about in one of those. It always seemed like a distant fantasy. It was never really going to happen. It sounds like you said nice things. It`s weird to hear that the bishop worried that much about getting me to Japan. My whole goal during that process was to get in the mind set that I WASN`T going to Japan so as not to be disappointed when I got called to Texas. It was crazy how I simply couldn`t stop thinking about it. A week before I got my call, I was talking with one of my friends, Joni Stubbs, and she said she had a friend who had just been called to Japan. She texted him to ask which mission it was and when he replied "Kobe" I not only felt like I was going to Japan, I knew I was going to Kobe. Well, I didn`t KNOW, but I think you can understand the feeling. It was deja vu when I opened my mission call. Weird, thinking that that was over a year ago. And you`re right, I do come home in about a year.

I saw Elder Bunderson just before he left. I bet mom came home from that event saying "he`s huge!" All of mom`s friends` sons are all home from their missions now. The halves are dwindling in number. Elder Johnson, who was a really good friend of mine when I lived in Kobe, goes home this coming transfer as well. It`s so strange.

Well, I`m out of time. Good luck with everything!

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