I was looking in the mirror one day and thought "I look different. I look really old." I took a picture of myself just to see if my head was messing with me. What do you think? I feel like I just look...really old.
We`ve started to teach one of our very active member's mother again. We tried when I first got here but she wasn`t budging. We had a lesson scheduled with her on Tuesday but weren`t able to teach it because no member showed up. We taught her on Saturday after an activity and it sounds like she`d like to get baptized but due to some family contacts, she can`t do it until April.
Have I mentioned how hot and humid it`s gotten? We`re dying. There`s only an air conditioner in the tatami room which is very isolated from the rest of the apartment. I`m used to being sticky all day now.
The tanbo`s (rice fields) are now planted and flooded and it`s more rainy and humid than you can possibly imagine.
It`s rained so much that some of the moats and rivers are overflowing. This swan house in the castle moat flooded.
This transfer, Himeji, the area I closed nearly a year ago, opened. We had district meeting and it was nice having the Himeji elders there so the district has six members rather than a lonely four. I got to talk to them about their area and give some advice. It`s a transfer 8 missionary and a brand new missionary. The brand new missionary is Elder Torres from Brazil. He lived in Provo for a while and I think his English is better than mine. It`s kind of scary. The district meeting asked him to share his testimony to close the meeting. He stood up, was very timid, and a little bit nervous but gave such a great testimony. I can`t even remember what he said, but I remember what it felt like. We all know what that first week in the field is like. You have all of this fire and desire that you built up in the MTC and then you get here and feel helpless. It was so beautiful to hear his sincere and pure testimony. He got emotional. I don`t think he`ll realize how much I needed to hear his testimony.
The train on the way back from district meeting was delayed over an hour. The screens said it was a "human damage accident." I swear, every time I go to Kakogawa somebody jumps in front of the train and I`m late getting home.
This is what it looks like coming out of the mountain tunnel and into Ako on a train. (Note: Click here to watch the video if you're reading this in email.)
We met at a park with a really nice 16 year old named Hayaka. I love teaching kids. My heart has been broken too many times by high school students and their parents that don`t give them permission. He was very pure, but very reluctant to pray. We`ll see if we can meet with him again.
Plus, this guy met us too. He`s from Nishinomiya and was in town for just a second on work. He ran into us and basically thought we were the coolest thing ever. It was like an 8 year old girl meeting Justin Bieber.
We made an appointment earlier in the week with an older man. We went to his house and he said he only had 10 minutes. We sat down and I asked if he believed that God exists and he said he knows that he doesn`t because he lived through World War II. I felt so sorry for him as he described his reasons in depth. I can`t imagine what it`s like to hold on to that kind of burden and grudge for so long. We testified, but left smiling without stepping on his toes. He was a very nice man. He invited us over because he was so impressed that young people would do what we`re doing. His wife came home right after we got there and she kept saying to him "We don`t believe in God, but these two do; they couldn`t do what they`re doing this job if they didn`t." She was very sweet and gave us some bread on our way out. We`re not necessarily busy, so we`re thinking about maybe going and listening to him talk about his life and see if maybe it will open his heart a bit.
This is the Chikusagawa. Really big river that runs right through the middle of the city.
A guy walked into the church while we were teaching a new convert. Schramm 長老 had called him the night before and he said he could possibly come to church in a couple weeks, but he walked in because he saw our bikes. He investigated the church a few years ago and was recently baptized into the Lutheran church in April. He feels great about his baptism but can`t stand all of the old people at the Lutheran church because they make him feel like he doesn`t know anything. Anyway, he loved the missionaries that originally taught him and seems to like us. He said he wants to hear more from us but when we asked how he was feeling, he felt like he was sinning. He said he had pledged allegiance to the Lutheran church when he was baptized and doesn`t want to break that promise. We told him the only way to get his answer is to pray. He prayed right then and said he would continue to do so. I think we`ll be seeing more of him.
I`m extremely jealous of what you`re doing. Send me pictures and a full report. I can`t believe how many Disneyland reports I`ve gotten on my mission. It`s funny, yesterday in Sacrament meeting, 内海姉妹 was carrying something in a Tokyo DisneySea bag and I asked if she`d been before. She said that someone gave her the bag and that she hadn`t and then asked why I noticed it so fast. I told her about our family and our Disney traditions and she nearly fell out of her chair laughing. I got on to Christmas stockings, artwork, etc. She was telling everyone about me after church. It was funny.
Here's the latest Tokyo Disney Resort ads. They all changed to this. I guess DisneySea is getting Toy Story Mania.
Have fun. I`m excited to hear about it next week!