First of all, the change in bishopric. Otsukaresamadeshita! (Well done/You must be tired!) That was a bit of a surprise for me. I just got a letter from Bishop Freeman yesterday. Five years is a normal span I assume. I remember thinking Brother Gemperline would make a good bishop when I attended elder's quorum in the 8th ward a couple months before my mission. He's really great. It will definitely be strange coming back to a different bishop though.
Thanks for calling the Tanimotos. Apparently Sister Tanimoto finished chemotherapy just before the Jackson's got here five years ago and she came to church with a hat on. She survived breast cancer.
I would write Randy an email but I've written him several times and he never replies so I assume he just doesn't check it. Anyway. I am so sorry. Hearing all of what he had to deal with at school wasn't really much of a surprise. You're in Kaysville, Utah. I know what it feels like. I went to that school too. I know what it's like to be known only by your ethnicity. You're just 'the asian one.' It's true. I'll say it again, just brush it off your shoulder. The comment about the book you chose for you paper also made me really mad. If I remember right, that book talks a lot about a "feeling" and how it led him to opportunity after opportunity. Jacob sent me the video of him announcing his decision to serve a mission and he said it so perfectly I nearly cried. "It's not because anybody told me I was supposed to, it's just what the feeling inside is telling I need to do. The same feeling that told me I needed to do music. I've learned to trust that feeling." So long as you are worthy, those little ideas that pop into your head are the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Just do what you want and forget what anybody has to say. God knows who you are and just puts you through it to make you stronger. Read 1 Nephi 20:10. One of my favorites.
We had interviews with the mission president in Tokushima on Tuesday. Tokushima is such a long trip and we do it every week for district meeting. We have to rent bikes from the station and ride to the church. Huge pain. Anyway, I had a good interview. I discussed the end of my mission. I really didn't want to. It's still a ways away and I didn't want to look trunky. He basically said what you'd expect. I can do it so long as I have a companion. That means one of you ( a member) has to pick me up or I drag another missionary there for a day or two. That or they meet me at the airport or train station. I'd rather not do it at all if it's just a couple hours or a couple days. That would be too devastating. I want to meet my cousins too. Remember, I haven't been able to have a conversation with either of them for my whole life. It's like they're being born to me. He said he'll think about it. He even said he doesn't make the final decision.
As always, we had "special training" from the Assistants after interviews that went until the evening. That's a new thing. President Zinke takes the Assistants everywhere with him.
We taught our golden couple again and they're so golden. He's ready to be baptized. It's on the fifth and completely solidified. We're scheduling the interview and pulling out the white clothes. It's exciting. It's been a while for me. He is absolutely incredible. He already has a desire to SHARE the gospel with his family. He feels like it answers every question he's ever had about God, growing up Catholic.
I did an exchange in Takamatsu this week with Elder Smith from South Carolina. Apparently he used to live in Alpine Village, not at the same time as me, but probably when Jacob first moved in. He said he knew Jon Low from Cardston, Canada.
We began teaching N from Brazil. She was found about 6 months ago by a Brazillian missionary and quit because she got busy trying to get a driver's license. She's a really nice person, and speaks good enough Japanese to teach. Her son is 17 and has a bit of a shogai and LOVES us. It's really cute.
We also started teaching S-san, another former investigator who was baptized Protestant. He became a non-denominational Christian, even considered becoming a 'mu-shuha senkyoushi" (non denominational preacher) and teaching people about what he thinks about Christianity from his own home. He had just broken up with his girlfriend when we knocked on his door and seemed pretty humble. He ruled out our church a year ago due to the Word of Wisdom and stuff he read on the internet, but mid conversation, he saw a Word of Wisdom pamphlet in my bag, asked to read it and looked it over, and then promised to follow it. He said he would start coming to church as soon as he can stop smoking. I think we caught him at the right time.
Y-san continues to be really nice to us. She told me this week that she wants to be baptized in August, on her birthday. She's obviously not quite getting it so we're going to start over and find out where her testimony still needs to develop. It'll take a lot of patience. She's so yuppy, and talkative that I almost feel like I should hide from paparazzi when we walk out of the church from a lesson. Turns out, she is about as close to a celebrity as it gets in Marugame. She tells everyone she knows about us and some people see us on our bikes and we're "the Christians that Y-san knows."
If you send me one more tube of tooth-paste, I should be good for the rest of my mission. I need some more stick deodorant though.
Here are some more pictures from our project last week. These are from Elder Maris' camera:
And here's the sequel:
I feel like there was a lot more I wanted to say, but I've forgotten it all. Hope you have a good week!