Monday, August 27, 2012

August 24, 2012

Zone conferences have been going on all week. The President, his wife, assistants and Elder Bevan attended all of them so mostly Shigeta 長老 and I were alone in the office with the Dallings. There was a lot of preparation to do for all of those so we've been upstairs most of the week. It went by really fast. It feels like it was all one day.
The one here in Kobe was on Thursday. It was my last so I gave a final testimony. Strangely, I was the only missionary in the group that was returning so I was the only one to bear testimony at the end, usually there's three or four.
 This is Elder Wilkes. I took him out for his first dendo experience a little over a year ago when he first arrived in Japan and he still remembered that. His older brother taught at the MTC when I was there and I was so shocked at how much they look alike when I first saw him.

President Zinke ordered these flags to take to zone conferences. Cool, right? ("True Disciples, One and All")
Zone conference was all about "helping" our investigators as opposed to training them. The missionary purpose (which everyone has memorized by their second day in the MTC) says "Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel...." President Zinke focused on those three words. I thought it was pretty good. The area mental and physical health doctors also came. I can`t believe it has been a year since the last time I heard their presentations. They come once a year. Unfortunately, they were still giving the same presentations, same slideshows and everything. It is very important information that the younger missionaries need to hear I guess.
We did have one lesson with our investigator from China. I think I wrote about him last week. He didn`t show up at first. He told us he lives about 5 minutes away from the church by foot so we were pretty sure he could come. He said that he was busy, but when we asked what he was busy with, he couldn`t make an excuse. He showed up about 20 minutes late looking very depressed. None of the excitement from the first meeting was there. I do think we did everything we could to follow the spirit in that lesson, though. Had we not, we probably would have just sent him home. We started by teaching what was planned, reviewed what we went over last time. It really was miraculous how questions popped into my head. I can`t really think of too many other times when I`ve felt such specific words enter my mind during a lesson. It really should be that way. He obviously wasn`t listening to what we were saying. I asked him if he could ask one thing of God, what would he ask. He thought about it and then we had something to work with. My companion was on the same track and was able to really focus and tell him things he needed to hear. We have an appointment with him on Monday.
Also, as promised, Y-san was baptized on her birthday this week in Marugame.  It was really exciting to see her picture come in. She stayed true to her word. I've got to get back to Marugame some time.
The two of us also went to Sakai on Tuesday to move an apartment. It`s the oldest and its rent is the most expensive in the mission so it was quite natural to get them a brand new apartment that`s sparkling clean and in a better location...and cheaper. The old apartment was pretty gross and had tons and tons of junk. The two elders (zone leaders, Elder Hugo and Elder Healey) who live there were fantastic. They were very clean, very smart, very strong, very helpful, and very happy to be helping which made a huge difference. It was blazing hot and there was tons of stuff to move. I think my arms still might be a little sore. We had to move four desks into the new apartment through the back doors. We took the sliding glass doors out and then had to lift the desks above the four foot railing on the back porch. It was amazing that we got it done. We were all drenched in sweat. Even the two wearing jeans looked like they had waded through a river.
Last Saturday night was the summer festival for the Kobe ward. It was Hawaiian/Okinawan themed. They called it "Alohaisai" It was really amazing. They went all out. The food was incredible and only about a third of it got eaten. Lots of investigators came and they all seemed to have a good time.

They taught all of the female investigators how to dance. They loved it.
(Note: If you're reading this in email, click here to watch these video clips.)
This member is from Okinawa originally. My companion Shigeta 長老 went to college in Okinawa and knew him before the mission.
Transfer calls are on Monday. Honestly, anything could happen. I could stay and finish here or be sent out for six weeks somewhere in the field. I don`t know. I don`t really have too much preference either. I wouldn`t be excited to pack up again but, whatever happens happens. This transfer has gone by especially fast.
Ah, 申し訳ない (sorry), I can`t really think of much else to write about.
Sounds like an interesting week at home. I can`t believe Randy is in college either. He`s not the same person he is when I left, none of you are. I haven`t realized that until really lately and it will be a big surprise.
Mom`s job sounds so exciting. I`ve always dreamed of some opportunity like that. I really just love diversity. For that reason, I don`t know if I could live in Utah for my whole life. The amount of diversity I`ve seen on my mission has really been a pleasant surprise. This is such a homogeneous society, but as a missionary, you deal with the people who are hidden...hiding under rocks and tucked where nobody can see. I`m sure that will be a fun job, but it will also be an adventure every day.
Well, I guess that will be all. Unless I can think of anything else...
Have a great week!

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