Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012

No I haven't switched back to Monday preparation days. I'll be back onto Saturday preparation days this week. We had to move an apartment on Saturday so we are taking our preparation day today. Please continue to write on Thursday nights.

In response to your email, no I am NOT cooler right now. It is blazing hot, no clouds in the sky everyday now. The Dallings (the senior couple now, the Priddis's went home in January) come back to the office from the bank looking like they jumped in a pool. They're from Rexburg Idaho and haven't ever been outside of the U.S.
There have been some gorgeous sunsets lately. I've also forgotten how beautiful this city is. It's definitely my favorite big city in the mission. Much prettier and cleaner than Osaka.

The Kobe Stake Center

I don't even know where to begin. It's been so long since I wrote last and a lot has happened this week.

First of all, our apartment has spiders and cockroaches and it's nasty. It was winter the last time I was here so we didn't have that problem. We haven't seen them lately but it was pretty bad earlier in the week. The place is pretty old. The church actually bought a ton of land and houses directly behind the church and mission offices and are going to be doing construction for the next five years. I can hear them hammering away at it right now. Apparently they're going to make this church massive and combine it with two neighboring wards to save money. I guess the they are trying to make more big units and less units all together.

Last Sunday there was no 伝道調整集会 (Ward Mission Coordination Meeting) because the 伝道主任 (Ward Mission Leader) has a serious illness and is in the hospital. His name is Brother Taneda. They were the first members I visited on my mission and they're amazing. I know I sent a picture of them.
Here's the picture. The Taneda family with Elder Low and Elder Bowman back in December, 2010.

They're a young couple with a five year old (now about to turn seven) son. Everyone was in shock and really sad. In spite of it all, Sister Taneda still showed up to sacrament meeting, visibly tired, but with a smile on her face. She walked up to me to say hello. She remembered my name and apologized that her husband is un-able to fulfill his calling and that they can't have me over for lunch sometime. Of course, I told her to stop being ridiculous. That couple is incredible. Some of the strongest, most faithful people I've met on my mission. Apparently he's stable now, still in the hospital and can't accept visits.

It's been good to be back with this ward, but also really strange. I now can understand and communicate with people perfectly fine whereas when I first met them, they were speaking nonsense to me. There's also lots of members who I don't know who are either converts or moved in. Lots of members have also sadly gone less-active since the last time I was here. It's very bittersweet. The ward has an older feel to it now.

We've taught a college student a few times and he's really interesting. I think I wrote about him last week. He is definitely the most intelligent investigator I've ever had. We can teach him one principle through one verse of scripture and he can then repeat the principle back to us in his own words sounding like a general authority. His understanding is perfect, he just isn't converted in his heart yet. It's going to take a lot of effort and guided teaching to crack his shell open. He's a really good person and I love teaching him.

On Wednesday we went to look at an apartment in Okayama for the sisters out there. That was a long road-trip, two hours one way. It was fun though. We go to 大東建託 (a property management company) and they put us in their car and drive us around. They're really nice to us, but also a little bit weirded out by our appearance. The apartments are really the commisarrian's (茂田長老) (Elder Shigeta) duty so Bevan 長老 and I are just there to be his companions. The commisarrian's duty is really tough. I don't think a foreign missionary could handle it. They have to be so business-like, polite and well....Japanese.

Wednesday night we had Eikaiwa (English Class) and H姉妹 was there. I was so happy to see her again. Elder Bowman and I had a really good relationship with her and she helped us a lot. It sounds like Elder Bowman is coming to Kobe with his fiance on the 8th.

We're also teaching an 86 year old lady. She was the sister's investigator but since the mission is short on sisters right now, there are none in Kobe this transfer. She was already interviewed for baptism, but needed some review because she didn't remember everything. She was a little bit rushed before as well because one of the sisters teaching her was on her last transfer. She is the perfect opposite of our other investigator. She's converted in her heart, just can't remember it all. If we can just get her to remember the commandments and principles in the baptismal interview questions, she'll be good to go. She's a very sweet, healthy lady.

We also went to Sakai to look at an apartment. Sakai is in Osaka and the most expensive rent in the mission, plus it's old and in bad shape so they're trying to move it to a nice new one for less rent. Common sense right? Sister Zinke has been working on replacing as many lowsy apartments as possible (through the commisarian) since she got here. It's not only nice for the's saving money. Most of the new apartments are feel unworthy. It also creates lots of physical labor for us. We went and found an extremely nice apartment on Friday afternoon, left a message saying that we wanted it that night after getting it cleared with Sister Zinke, faxed in the form, but the apartment was taken by Monday. That was really sad. They've been looking for an apartment in Sakai and just haven't been able to find one. We went spur of the moment when this one popped up. We're thinking that the owner possibly gave it to someone else after us because they didn't want to rent it to the church. That would be sad.

Saturday we moved the Shimogamo (downtown Kyoto) Sister's apartment. There are no sisters there now but they'll be there next transfer. We moved them out of an old rickety house that was being loaned to the mission by a member into a gorgeous new apartment. It was so hot. I was drinking water bottles in one gulp. Sister Zinke and Sister Dalling came to help us. I had no idea that Sister Zinke drives herself around. She's pretty tough.

Yesterday was the 5th Sunday and there was a shokuji kai (potluck dinner). They never did that when I was here last time.

Your questions, my answers:

Q: How are you adjusting to the office routine?
A: It's very different but we really enjoy each other's company. The three of us get along really well and the office couple is very friendly as well. It's hard to go out at 5PM to proselyte. You're just in a different mind-set and tired mentally rather than physically.
Normally companionships decide who prays by playing jan, ken, po (rock, paper, scissors); but since there's three of us, this is how we decide. (Note: If you're reading this in email, click here to watch this movie clip.)

Q: How many hours of actual missionary work do you get to do a week?
A: About 10.

Q: What about eating? How’s the food situation different now that you’re in the office?
A: It's the same as the last time I was here. Everyone in the apartment pays 2000 yen and the office elders go buy it. So I go shopping here, in a car. That's nice.

Q: What's it like working daily with President and Sister Zinke?
A: They're great. Really fun. One thing the office elders tell me is that the AP's are President's assistants, we're Sister Zinke's. I didn't notice that at all before, but it's true. She looks over all of the temporal stuff that we manage so we have to talk to her and work with her a lot. She may not speak Japanese, but she's really adjusted to living in Japan in a year. She's smart, drives, knows her way around, how people think and how to deal with them. She brings us homemade treats all the time just to be nice.

Tomorrow is zone leader council so a bunch of the zone leaders are here and we went to eat at Brazilliano`s. All-you-can-eat meat for a good price. It was fun. They`re all still in Sannomiya hunting for G-Shock watches. It`s a HUGE fad in the mission right now. Lots of missionaries own two or more in multiple colors that they can match with their ties. I hate watches in the first place so I have no interest.

I heard about the Denver shooting last Sunday. Didn`t hear much, just that there was a shooting. I am absolutely in shock that Jansen was there. Man, that`s a 懐かしい (memorable) name. I`ll never forget her house. It was almost as good as Disneyland. I told all of the elders that story today and they were in shock. Lots of them hadn`t even heard that there was a shooting.  Haven`t really talked to her since elementary school.

How long was Sister Wirthlin home? That`s sad that she had to spend that much time out of the field.

I heard the Olympics started. Anything interesting?

I feel like there`s something else I`m missing. Maybe I`ll remember later...

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