A couple walked into the church an hour early. They said they 'have been meaning to do this for a long time." More about them to come.
I was sitting in the foyer filling out a little profile to hang on the bulletin board when a member came and started reading over my shoulder. She asked "Akio to iu no?" ("You're Akio?" - Elder Low's middle name.) I said yes. She muttered "ahhh, Yuichi jya nai ka."(Oh, you're not Yuichi." - Elder Low's older brother's middle name) under her breath. That was crazy. It was Maruyama Shimai and when I told her my parents were Chris and Saori she started screaming. She was definitely the most excited to meet me thus far. Like, literally. She was screaming. She said she helped pick out the name Yuichi. She remembers Grandma Peggy and Wendy coming to Sakaide. She remembers meeting Mom at BYU. She said "toshi kanjiru."("I feel old.") They put my name on the sacrament program that week and she said all during sacrament meeting, she was trying to calculate how old Jacob is and see if I was him. She was really pleased and says "yoroshiku." ("hello")
We also committed I-san to live the Word of Wisdom as well and he was surprisingly willing to do it. He has always felt like he needs to stop smoking and wants so badly to be clean. He's still really scared of offending his buddhist parents. That will be the biggest obstacle for him, I believe.
This is from Elder Maris' camera. He likes taking pictures of me and I've decided to have fun with this and try to look like the world's worst companion in all of them. I think it will be quite a good finished project. In reality, we get along really well.
Y is still a character. I think she still has some conversion left to do. She'll get there eventually. We just have to be patient. I'm still not good at that.
I spoke yesterday in church, finally. Everything is back to normal now after the holidays. President Jackson back and he has the most darling family ever. His two young boys are obviously English speakers in that their parents are both American but they are both FLUENT in Japanese because they go to public school. How cool is that? The gaijin (foreigners) really pump energy into the branch. They keep everyone on their toes. I really like the diversity. I have always loved that the gospel is universal.
President Jackson gave a beautiful talk about learning from a child's example, being thankful for the most simple of things, finding joy in them, which in turn gives us faith, hope, and a positive outlook on life. That's such a wordy concept that is so mental. It's something we really have to do, but it is the key to happiness. Gratitude. Everything we ever have or experience: good or bad, is an opportunity given to us by God in order to prepare us for the eternities.
Confession: the last picture of Udon I sent you was at Hanmaru Udon, a chain restaurant that I've seen in Nara and Osaka before. It was the only place open because of Shogatsu (New Year). We did go to a real place right by the church this week though. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's the one that the assistants went to when the Hiroshima mission was merged. The owner said she remembers a ton of gaijin coming in with a father-like man (President McIntyre), plus I felt like I'd seen the interior in pictures.
This is what our apartment looks like from the outside. Yes, that is Santa Claus delivering groceries on Christmas Eve. I took that a while ago and forgot to send it. I suppose it would've been a fun picture for the blog back during Christmas. Oh well.
You may or may not be able to tell, but there is snow falling outside, very rare for Shikoku. It was only for about five minutes and of course none of it stuck. This is right outside of our apartment.
I don't know what else to write about. Is everyone ok? I feel bad not inserting enough interest in what you're doing. I really, really do want to know. Write as much as you want every week.
Some more pictures of your old apartment and neighboring grocery store from last week:
Well, I can't think of anything else. Always feel free to ask questions too. Have a good week!