I got this new tie in the mail. Thank you.
I can tell you right now that my email is going to be much less exciting than your`s was. I really really really loved the pictures from your vacation. It all looks really fun. I didn`t recognize a single picture of California Adventure. It looks like a completely different place. It looks like everybody enjoyed themselves and had a really good time. I`m jealous.
The weather has dried out now and isn`t too bad. It`s sunny and hot outside, but not too humid. Earlier in the week it was unbearable. Probably the most miserable weather of my mission so far. The hottest place we ever went was our own apartment. We were drenched in sweat at 9:00 at night during planning. I loved this apartment in the winter. It`s nice clean and pretty big, but for some reason it really soaks up the humidity and gets really murky and hot. Plus, there`s only one air conditioner in the tatami room and the rest of the place you have to drag the electric fan around or use a sensu.
It will not stop raining. And yeah, we had some typhoons. All of the rivers are over flowing. No flooding though. I just keep thinking of that one Invader Zim episode where Zim throws an earth-sized water balloon at Dib and Dib ends the episode by saying "...the wetening." I am so wet, everyday.
We`ve been picking up garbage lately. It`s actually kind of fun. It`s amazing how much you can find. The old people love you for it
We had district meeting in Himeji this week. The district has been all wanting to meet in Himeji since it`s been closed for a year so naturally, none of them have been before. I kept saying it was a bad idea because the church is really far from the eki and I had no idea how the buses work. Well we ended up riding a bus to the middle of the mountains, had to walk to a hospital and call a taxi. That was a mess, but actually a really fun adventure. We were laughing the whole way. The really cool news was that the Himeji elders are teaching F san. Do you remember F san? I found her nearly a year ago, her husband had just died. We actually never had chance to have a ちゃんとした (formal) lesson with her so I figured that when the area closed, there was no hope for her. Apparently she`s really in good shape, has read from the Book of Mormon and believes it`s true and as of yesterday has a baptismal date. That was really exciting to hear.
This is a shrine in Sakoshi that was actually very fascinating. It was a nice hike and had lots of artifacts and history in it.
From there I went on a 交換 (exchange) with Wong 長老, the Hawaiian in Kakogawa for the second time. He`s grown so much. I was really impressed with how much he had improved in just a transfer. It was a lot of fun. We visited a Nigerian member named whose family is still unbaptized. I LOVE Nigerians. I`ve dealt with them here and there on my mission but wish I could`ve been around them more. I named a couple Nigerian members from my former areas, and he said he knew them both. He said "I know every black man from Osaka to Nagoya. Dey probably stey et mai house before." He was so smiley and friendly, I felt like I was floating on a cloud for the rest of the night. That next morning (still in Kakogawa) we taught a less-active member. He was a single man. He was saying that he can`t come to church because of his work and he can`t ask for Sundays off because that is the grocery stores` busiest day. Apparently the elders gave him a reading assignment in the Book of Mormon in their last visit. He had read it. We asked what he had learned from it. He said "悔い改めないとあかん” ("I need to repent.") which was a perfect springboard into why we go to church (to partake of the Sacrament). As soon as he understood the doctrine of the sacrament he said ”日曜日に休む希望を出すは！” ("I'm going to request Sunday's off.") It was really cool to see how quickly he changed his mind. "True doctrine understood changes attitudes and behaviors."
These shoes are dead.
Have you ever seen my bike? Well, this is what it looks like. It`s on its last legs. I really hope that it will make it to the end.
Yesterday was stake conference. It was actually an all-Japan conference and Sister Wixom (primary general presidency), Elder Chey (seventy, former member of the Asia North area presidency), Elder Oaks, and President Uchtdorf spoke by live satellite broadcast. It was really cool. I had no idea that the meeting was going to be that. My companion and the district leader said they were going to the English room and asked if I wanted to come. I thought, "Why would I do that?" and stayed with the other Japanese missionaries. Then when the projector screen rolled down, I realized why they left. I wish I could`ve watched it in English; it`s always better to hear untranslated material, however it was fun to be amongst all the members. It was very interesting to be sitting with them and just feel the atmosphere. These talks were directed at them and addressed issues specific to them and their portion of the vineyard. There was a lot of talk about families and being active in the gospel, not just the church (quoted Elder Hallstrom`s General Conference talk). They begged families to pray together and have Family Home Evening. There was a lot of talk about re-activation, especially young priesthood holders. They talked about strengthening the young men. They also talked about reaching out to the rescue with love and not being judgemental. President Uchtdorf very powerfully said that the Law of Tithing is not a law about money but a law of faith and that all commandments are given to us by a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to return to his presence. He ended with a plea not to be ashamed of faith and membership in the church. It was a really good experience.
A little while ago at a branch activity, a member in a wheelchair asked me to take tons of pictures of flowers so that she could draw them later. I`m fascinated by flowers now.
As always, I got to see people from former areas at the stake conference. That`s always fun. There was a sister there that served a mission in Hawaii and was learning English in the MTC when I was there.
I guess that`s all for this week. Hope everything is well at home!