Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 1, 2012

Transfers are over and I'm still here (in the Mission Office). I just realized that I haven't taken any pictures this week. Transfer week is absolute chaos in the honbu (Mission Office). There's no time to breathe, let alone take pictures. I'm sure there are a bunch on the mission blogs by now, those will give you an idea of what's been going on.

I just sat here and took a picture of my desk and my new companion、 篠原長老 (Elder Shinohara) at his.


I'm now in my last full month as a missionary. I came into the office only last transfer and knowing that it will end this transfer is kind of sad. I feel like I just started a new adventure, a completely different phase of my mission and it's definitely going to feel like I got jipped off at the end. Oh well. I'll just squeeze as much joy as I possibly can out of every last day I have left. No count downs.
The APs have been taunting us all week about transfers. Some things never change. They did that back when I was a first transfer missionary. I really didn't care; everyone else was biting their nails the whole week. Elder Batis and Elder Lee are still the Kobe zone leaders (have I ever written about them? Elder Batis is from Meridian, Idaho and Elder Lee is from Seoul, Korea), Elder Boice and Elder Vail (Seattle and Meridian, Idaho) are still the AP's and Elder Shigeta and Elder Bevan both transferred leaving me alone in the office. I was really not expecting that one. I thought they were just using me since there was an odd number of missionaries and they didn't want to make a three-some in the field, but I didn't think they'd let me take over here for my last transfer. I'll have to work fast to get things to a smooth operating pace so I can hand the job off to somebody else smoothly. Elder Shigeta is now companions with one of my favorite missionaries, Elder Wong in Habikino and Elder Bevan went to Kochi. Elder Shigeta and Elder Wong didn't transfer until this morning because Elder Shigeta had to train my new companion Elder Shinohara how to be the Commisarian. That job is much, much harder than mine.
What is my job exactly? Have I told you? I'm the Mission Recorder and my two biggest resposibilites are baptismal records and referrals. I manage all of those for the mission. Make sure baptismal records are filled out correctly, and then send them to Tokyo where they become membership records. Also, when anybody refers anybody or wants to refer somebody to the missionaries, it goes through me. There's a bunch of other office work that I do and I help the commisarian with missionary orders and stuff. You'd have to watch me for a day to see what I really do.
篠原長老 (Elder Shinohara) is awesome. Like really, he's already one of my favorite companions. He's maybe about 5'4 in height and always happy. He's only on his 4th transfer but is a very intelligent, responsible missionary. I'm really excited to work with him. He's from Shizuoka-Ken.
Elder Low and Elder Shinohara.
"True Disciples"
An investigator with a baptismal date was referred to us from another area and we're teaching him. He's solid and is probably going to go through in two weeks. It's been amazing to see how humble he is. He's a smart man, has had everything and lost everything in his life. He was homeless for the past couple of months and just got back on his feet, that's why he moved here. He's so prepared for the gospel. He knows that God exists and wants to follow him. We've met with him three times this week and he's been taught everything, we just need to follow up. Hopefully, he'll go through on his date (9th) but we may extend to let him get used to Kobe and the ward and also review everything he learned from the missionaries that taught him first.
We spent Monday and Tuesday in preparation for the new missionaries. They came in on Tuesday night. That preparation includes a deep clean of everything here and it's pretty exhausting. This building is really old.
The new group of missionaries was really great. It was fun being with them for their training in the Honbu. There were four elders and five sisters. I think everyone was most impressed with how....how do I say this....tough(?) the three American sisters that came were. The mission sometimes has problems with timid sisters, but these three are definitely not going to have those kind of problems. We played ultimate frisby for morning exercise with them, and one sister in particular was out-running, out throwing, out jumping, and out-doing the elders in any way you can imagine. When we finished, she smacked her companion on the back, said "let's go" and sprinted back to the mission home. They'll do good work. Two Japanese sisters and one Elder from Sapporo came as well and they were all great. It's exciting to see them at this stage and kind of sad that I won't get to see what they become on their missions.
The trainers came and picked up the new missionaries on Thursday and then the returning missionaries came in. In great contrast to last transfer's 17, there were only three missionaries going home this transfer, all three of them from Japan. 結城姉妹 (Sister Yuki)、平林姉妹 (Sister Hirabayashi) 、and, 神道長老 (Elder Jindo), all great missionaries. All three of them had their parents come pick them up as well. That was chaos. However, it sounds like the parents were all able to make really good friends. Usually it's a mix of Japanese parents and American parents that don't speak a word of Japanese over an awkward breakfast but President Zinke said they were all laughing and having a good time together. 
Sister Yuki drew this picture below before she left for home. She created an animated video before her mission that's pretty famous among members.
Sister Yuki drew cartoon characters of all the Mission Office Elders. Title: "Kobe's Soldiers." Elder Low is the bottom left corner. His description: "He even preaches to the deer! (referring to his time in Nara). A master at diligence." Click image to enlarge.
Nara became a sister area and Sister Yuki finished her mission there. The picture of me reading the Book of Mormon to the deer was on the DVD so everybody knows it. She got a much better picture than me though.
Well...I'm already out of material. Hmm.
Looks like a fun week at home. Mom's classroom is extremely nice. From your descriptions I always imagined this old, trashy, Japanese-looking classroom but that's way nice. Makes sense though. When I was on my elementary school tour at BYU with A Thousand Cranes, all of the inner city schools were the nicest. I'd love to sit in on her class some time.
I'm really excited to go to Sage Market. I'm excited to finally be HALF-Japanese for real now. No more poser half.
Well I guess that's all. Let me know if you have any questions. Have a good week!

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