Monday, September 10, 2012

September 8, 2012

We rode the cable car up 六甲山 (Mt. Rokko) last Saturday. It was really pretty up there.

Click to enlarge. The tall buildings in the distance are downtown Osaka.


It's been a crazy week. So first of all, I wrote last week about an investigator who had a baptismal date. Well, we taught him a couple times at the beginning of this week and he was completely solid to go through. Had tons of faith and a desire to follow. He felt like ever since he'd started listening to the missionaries, his life started coming together. He had a job, a place to live, everything was great. Well, on Tuesday night, when all of the zone leaders were over for zone leader council, some guy came knocking on our apartment window demanding to see him. We said we hadn't seen him. This guy was his roommate and said that our investigator had stolen all of his money and run away and couldn't get a hold of him. The guy was really weird, but it turned out that we weren't able to get a hold of our investigator at all that same day either. His phone was turned off. That really worried us and sent us on an emotional roller-coaster. We weren't sure who to believe.
The roommate showed up again the next day; this time his story was slightly different. He said he got into his apartment and all of his stuff was gone, but he refused to tell the police. That was a red flag, obviously. He also was saying stuff about how our investigator had said that he was about to become a missionary for our church and had been meeting with the 最高責任者 (the person in charge) who he demanded to speak with. We tried to explain that he had only been meeting with us and that we're not very important and would never encourage theft. He half-believed us but was super upset and told us to call him as soon as we saw him.
We finally met with our investigator that night and were really nervous. We talked with the mission president before-hand and he told us to go and trust our investigator. When we saw him, we knew he was innocent. There was still a light about him and we knew he had done nothing wrong. He had been sleeping outside for the past couple days and couldn't charge his phone. It turns out that the roommate does lots of pachinko (gambling), wins money, spends it all on alcohol, comes back drunk, and then wakes up in the morning forgetting that he had spent all of his winnings. Naturally, because our investigator now has a job, he thought he was stealing it.
He still had faith and wanted to go through with his baptism. We pushed it back and said we would go forward with caution. The next day, he showed up while we were eating lunch and said that he was going back to 大津 (Otsu) where he originally met the missionaries. It wasn't safe for him to be here anymore. It was sad, but it was the right thing. It was so touching to see how much compassion 篠原長老 (my companion) had for our investigator when he left. He's only on his fourth transfer, but I think I look up to him more than any other companion I've had so far. And I've only been his companion for two weeks. He's incredible. I could see that he loved this man like a blood-relative just looking into his face. We watched him drive away and then hugged each other, pretty naturally. It felt good. I'm sure the missionaries up there in 大津 will get him baptized. We were just blessed to teach this man for a short season and the two of us grew closer together because of it. It was one of the most spiritually uplifting moments of my life. I just felt good. I felt love, I felt loved, and I knew God existed. I love those moments.
As far as the rest of the week, we went to Costco on Zone Leader Council day which was Tuesday. That was an experience. I went to Costco once in Atsugi with Grandma and Grandpa. It's still the same. It's shocking how Costco here is exactly the same as it is in America. It's getting so popular too. When I got to the mission, there was only one Costco in the mission boundaries. Now there's four. 篠原長老 (my companion) only had a license for about a month before his mission so he was nervous driving, but he did fine.
I went to Costco for my first time as a missionary. The 本部 (Mission Office) stocks this stuff for missionaries to buy. We go buy it for Zone Leader Council each month. The zone leaders come over to the office after their meeting and all of it usually disappears. They take orders from their zone. Serious business.

Zone Leader Council is crazy. When they finish up they all come over and we start running around like beheaded chickens doing favors for them. It's fun though.
We've been busy up in the office. Keeping track of the baptismal records is stressful. The convert's salvation depends on those things. Pretty much I just have to be the bad guy and bug missionaries over and over to get them filled out timely and correctly. It's really bad when someone sends one in and they leave half of it blank. I nearly had a panic attack when that happened.
We were doing some translation on Sunday night when Elder Hasegawa who went home in March just walked into the office. That's happened a ton since I've been here. It's always great to see them, but is also really, really hard to focus for the next few hours.
We attended Ward Priesthood Leadership meeting this week since 篠原長老 is the district leader. It was really a good experience. I never noticed when I was here since it was my first area, but 神戸 people are so おしゃれ (stylish). The bishop showed up in business casual and looked really cool. There's also kind of an odd bond between the members and I. They all remember my face, some remember my name, but they really don't know me at all. They always seem so surprised when I open my mouth to speak. I wish I could stay longer and 知り合いなおす (get reaquainted with) everyone in the ward.
This morning, this monster climbed up the wall while we were trying to study. You can't really get a good perspective from the picture, but that thing's legs stretch further than the circumference of my face. Dead serious. We were all running around and screaming like little girls trying to kill it with spray. It. would. not. die.
Click to enlarge.
Pretty much our investigator took up all of our attention this week. I can't remember what else happened. I haven't got an email from you yet so I think I'll leave it at this, but I should be back later in the afternoon so I can reply to what you write. See you later.

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