Only in Japan can you see an old man riding a bike with his oxygen tank and groceries in the front basket.
Plus, here's one of the most exciting things in Ako: a soba-eating muppet.
(Note, if you're reading this in email, click here to go to the website and watch this movie clip.)
It`s May now. I`ve now gone through two Golden Weeks in Japan. My last one was in Shingu, I think it`s really funny that my second was here in Ako. They were no very busy, small towns, even during Golden Week.
We 具善に (randomly) ran into one of the less-active members in the branch that just so happens to be from Italy. He has been kept busy by work and has spent the last month in Italy on vacation. He served his mission in England and speaks beautiful English with a British accent and also is about to take the infamously difficult Japanese proficiency test. I am just amazed at how many talented and fascinating people I`ve met on my mission. He, of course, talked to me in Japanese for a minute or so before asking where I was from and switching to English. I`m thought to be Japanese on first encounter about 90% of the time now. It`s a good and a bad thing at the same time. Anyway, he was really a great guy, I wish he could come to church. There`s only four priesthood holders attending.
I think I talked last week about how we talked about member-missionary work at church last week. Well, we visited one member who was nodding her head approvingly; U姉妹. Anyway, she herself is going through chemotherapy. We walked into her restaurant and she was laying down in her with no bandana on her bald head. Her husband was laying down watching TV. She woke up and immediately started throwing food on the table. She didn`t realize that we were missionaries at first. It was pretty hilarious. Anyway, she committed to make an appointment for one of her friends with interest to meet with us. She`s awesome.
I had to go to Akashi this week to attend District Leader Council where the Zone Leaders give us the monthly training plan that we have to give to the district the next day. It`s such an elaborate system. Plus, after about my third day being district leader, they changed the nightly follow-up routine. Now one zone leader is responsible for following up on investigators, the other is responsible for the training plan and the missionaries well-being. This makes it so that they can go much more in-depth with both, but now it`s like I`m on the phone right until 10:30. I have to brush my teeth and change while I`m on the phone.
Anyway, the zone leaders after that then came back to Ako with us and 交換`d (exchanged) for the day. I was with Elder Nicholes for the day. He is hilarious. He`s pretty animated, the sisters think he`s a living Mickey Mouse. He`s also the first missionary I`ve met that knows the SNL Surprise Party skit really well, and that is a plus.
The next morning we had district meeting and introduced the training plan. It`s called "One Message" and is about the Restoration, the Atonement, and The Book of Mormon. Anyway, it works, I like it.
I think I wrote that a guy came and wanted to be friends with us when we went to see the Sakura in Misaki a few weeks ago. Well, he invited us to his BBQ and we ended up going. It was a fun experience, but I'm not sure we'll gain any investigators from it. The guy we originally met is named Kazuto and he`s the one towards the middle with a baseball cap on.
I was really not sure whether we should go or not. We hadn`t really been able to talk to him much about the gospel when we first met him. We just told him why we are here and he was in love and wanted to play with us because we`re gaijin. Well, we decided to go since there would be quite a few people there....more than we could find walking around on the streets anyway. They had bought a ton of meat for us since they had already eaten (and we told them over and over again that we had just eaten lunch), and we went up to Misaki, the place where we originally met Kazuto. There was a group of about 12 people. They were all really friendly. Of course, all of the questions just naturally led to gospel discussions. It started with "why are you wearing shirts and ties and nametags?" and moved to "you`re not going to drink?" "you`ve never had alcohol?!" and so forth. They also wanted to know a lot about the places we are from. The questions eventually turned into "you don`t see movies?" "you don`t have a girlfriend?"
Of course, all of this was a good chance to testify and build relationships, but in the end, none of them were really interested at all, mostly just laughed at everything we said and kept feeding us meat. If I weren`t a missionary, I`d be jumping to hang out with them again, it was a blast, but they`re obviously not who we`re searching for. Maybe I`ll skype some of them when I get home...
The recent convert here M姉妹 bore her testimony yesterday and it was beautiful. Nobody prompted her, she just stood up on her own free will and she said that prayer changed her life. She`s able to wake up every day happy to be alive whereas she only thought about death before coming to church. It was very sweet, innocent, simple, and touching.
I figure things like this on the bulletein board might be fascinating. I really liked the picture of the board at our home ward that you sent me. I wish I had pictures like this for all of my areas now.
Well, I`ve written a ton. I don`t know what else to report on. Have a good week. I`ll talk to you on Sunday.