Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011

First of all, thanks for all of the emails and pictures. I enjoyed reading them. I feel like the Uncle Mike from my child-hood would never be caught at a GEEX expo for some reason. I`m glad Sam and Clint liked it and really glad that his company is having success. I remember hearing about Gears of War. Has he been working for that company for a long time? That sounds like a pretty big deal.

These weeks are all bluring together. We were pretty busy and feel like we sat in meetings all week.

The mission`s training plan now wants us to have three lessons planned every week. It`s different. We end up teaching lots of members and less-active members. The expectations I have now when I walk out the door are so different from the way I was when I would walk out the door with my trainer. I was always anticipating talking to at the very least 100 people wandering around Sannomiya. That kind of dendo is basically gone now. President Zinke wants us in lessons teaching as much as we can so we can develop the skills to become good teachers that the Lord can trust with his elect. The idea is that once we are skilled enough, we won`t have to spend all day looking for them, he`ll just trust us and lead us to them or lead them to us. It certainly makes sense but takes a lot of adjustment.

So on Wednesday we had a 交換 (exchange) with the zone leaders and I was once more with Lystrup 長老. I think I`ve gushed enough about how good of a missionary he is, but really, he`s incredible. I`m thankful for every opportunity I have to work with him. He teaches through example and beyond that, he`s just fun.
Me with Lystrup 長老.  This time I brought him to Nara. That teeter-totter is right outside of our apartment and he couldn`t leave without taking a picture on it.

The next morning was interviews in Sekime which was a long train ride away and when we weren`t being interviewed we were either talking with Sister Zinke or being trained by the Assistants. They way interviews and zone conferences are run has completely changed since the mission president changed.

Through all of this member work, we`ve really developed great relationships with the members. I`ve realized that those relationships are "treasures in heaven" that we can take with us after die. President McIntyre strongly encouraged us to find those treasures as his "dying words" to us in a sense. Fujita 兄弟 our dendo shunin (mission leader) drove us around like crazy and we`ve worked on some re-activation. I`ve heard that one way to measure your success as a missionary is to constantly count sacrament meeting attendance, members and investigators included. Well, it is going up here. We aren`t bursting at the seams with investigators like we did at church in the Kobe ward, but people that haven`t been to church in years are popping their heads in.

Nagura 兄弟, the branch clerk took us out for ice cream on Saturday. He`s hilarious, and really contributes so much to the branch. He says he reads my blog so, hi Nagura 兄弟.

Sunday was great as well. We met with the branch president and he expressed concern for our investigators and gave us serious, very specific instruction and assignments regarding less-active members. He really cares for his branch and I`m so happy that he trusts us enough to put us to work.
This is the inside of of the Izumikawa`s Bakery, taken from the loft above. Yes, there`s a train inside of it and they`re really famous for it.

It sounds like things are kind of how you could expect them as far as home is concerned. I hope everyone is staying busy and happy. As long as you have both it`s a good thing.

I got a reply from Grandma to my letter. I`ve tried emailing them but they never answer. Did their address change again? This is the first letter she`s sent me with no English part. It`s still bizarre to me. She`s still Grandma but....not Grandma. She can express so much more in her native language. It makes me sad thinking about all the time I spent not knowing my Grandma and Grandpa`s real personalities. Heck, I could even say that for my own mother. I can`t stress it enough to each of you LEARN JAPANESE, NOW!!! I don`t know what it will take for you to take me seriously but maybe you`ll start when I stop speaking English in the home. Not because I don`t want to communicate with you, but because you (brothers) need to find out who you really are.

I`m short on words this week. All is well. We have Elder Ringwood, the first counselor in the Asia North Presidency, coming to speak to us this Thursday. That should be fun. Talk to you next week!

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