I`ve always gotten a kick out of this picture when I see it in the elevator. I finally got around to taking a picture of it. Is that bad?
On Tuesday of this week I went on a 交換 (exchange) with Soares 長老 from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He`s been the district leader here ever since I got to Nara. He`s going home this transfer. He`s one of the most naturally happy and friendly people I`ve ever met. It`s impossible not to like him. We went to Nabari, his area which is the only area in the mission in Mie-ken. Maybe you`ll remember that I went to Mie-ken several times when I was in Shingu. Anyway, it is really 田舎 (rural) out there. There is a member there named S兄弟 who lives in a home for mentally disabled people. There are surprisingly quite a few people like him in the church in Japan and to be honest, they`ve tried my patience the most on my mission and I`ve had to pray for charity and patience for them. This S兄弟 however required no patience. He was so naturally lovable. For the most part, he was a pretty normal guy, just a little bit slow. He was very shy and soft-spoken, but had a lot to say, especially about the gospel. I loved meeting him. I wanted to take him home with me, actually.
A lady called me Thursday night saying she was planning on driving an hour from Kashihara city to attend our Eikaiwa (English Class) on Friday. I spoke to her on the phone in Japanese. She called Friday night because she was lost and I gave her directions to the church, again in Japanese. She got out of the car with a 10 year old daughter and 8 year old son. I thought "great, we`re going to have to teach a kids class tonight." I small talked with the mom in Japanese as we walked up to the church, but as we were talking, she leaned to her kids and said in English: "Ok, be on your best behavior." It was pretty shocking. What was even more shocking was hearing them reply in absolutely PERFECT English: "Yes, mother." Both children were completely fluent in English. In fact, they prefer English to Japanese. Their mother only speaks English to them and they talk to foreigners on Skype all day. Their mother is pure Japanese, and NEVER studied abroad. She just loves English and only uses it with her children. They actually speak better than her. Plus, they go to a Japanese public school and their father only speaks Japanese so they have no problem with either language. I was probably flaming green with envy the whole night. We should be seeing them again at the Christmas party.
Fujita 兄弟 the 伝道主任 (ward mission leader) invited us over to his house on Christmas day. He said he was praying that I don`t transfer since transfer is on the 23. We`ll see.
We went to visit N姉妹, a less-active member who lives really far away. I felt like we needed to go by bus. We can go in a relatively fair amount of time by bike but I felt like we needed to take the bus. We visited another former-investigator close-by and then walked over to her house. She answered and said she was busy and basically sent us away. That was pretty disappointing. We went to wait at the bus-stop and after about five minutes, she showed up. She was planning on riding the bus as well. We were able to talk for about 20 minutes on the bus about her situation and it was a really spiritual experience. She wants to go to church, but can`t due to complications with her family. She still keeps all of the commandments and is praying for some solution. She seemed really thankful an waved to us after she got off the bus. I suppose that was a prompting.
We visited the Takakura couple on Saturday for lunch. I first met them at the Ibaraki ward and they moved to Nara the same week I did. They`re both returned missionaries and have been helping us a TON. They live practically next door to us, and the church. They`re great people.
Church started an hour late yesterday due to the Nara Marathon. We didn`t see any of it, but apparently it`s a big deal. I gave a talk and I felt like it went pretty well. I talked about Brother West, my 9th grade seminary teacher and the very, very important role he played in my conversion.
I haven`t gotten an email yet, and this computer`s keyboard is really messed up, so I`ve spent a ton of time correcting and backspacing. Man, internet is frustrating. Anyway, I might get to check to see if you have sent anything after my companion finishes up his email, but just in case you`re writing anything, please do send it quickly! I hope everything is well at home. Have a good week!