Sunday, June 29, 2014

Well....I Transferred. So It Was A Wee Bit Hectic This Week.

Well...I transferred.  So it was a wee bit hectic this week.

Transfer calls!  I`m transferring!  Yaaaay.  So then we went back home, I wrote some letters to procrastinate packing, eventually got onto that, and then we started dendo time.  First, we visited K******** Shimai, this older less active lady, to bring her some cookies we didn`t know if she could eat and tell her I was transferring. There`s really not a whole lot we can do for this lady.  She`s 93, can`t really walk, can`t hear, so we have to write everything out for her. It is just about the saddest thing in the world.  She comes crawling out and is just so excited to see us.  We told her I was transferring, and then she started to cry, saying. `But we only just met!  I thought we would be able to talk some more...`  I promised to write her letters and Broadhead Shimai promised to continue to visit her with her next companion.  And then we asked her if she liked cookies, to which she responded with some grateful tears in her voice, `大好きです!` Dai suki desu!  I LOVE cookies!  And I wrote that I loved her. She was quiet for a few moments and said, `Really?` And she started to cry a little more.  So basically it was just about the most heart breaking hour or so of my life.  This poor little older lady.  There are just so many sad and lonely, broken people in the world.  If you`re ever around one, just give them a little love. 

And then we went to the A*****`s for my last FHE dinner.  They bought mochi for desert, since they know mochi is my favorite.  They`re good people. :)

Tuesday...was weird.
So a member in our branch called us and said something about meeting in Nishi Maizuru by the eki and going to visit a less active.  So we bike halfway to Nishi Maizuru...and I get a flat tire.  `I have a flat TIRE` I said in a high squeaky Kid History voice, but there was unfortunately no one around to get the reference. So we walked for an hour until we got to Nishi and finally found a bicycle shop.  And then we met the branch member and waited at the train station, until the less active arrived, but then we started walking in a different direction to visit a different less active that neither of them knew.  We didn`t follow the conversation very well.  At the very least it was entertaining.  And then we went home and taught my last night of Eikaiwa in Maizuru.

We had a lesson with S***** Shimai and N************* about why it seems like prayers don`t get answered sometimes, reading a story from the Liahona together, and it seemed to work. We established that her answer to praying that her hair will grow back in her baldspot is probably no, which she accepted.  And we explained that even though the answer we receive is sometimes no, it`s still an answer.  And whatever answer we get from God, we can always trust that it`s because God loves us.  After that, we just visited a bunch of people to tell them I was transferring.

M***** took us out to eat at her friend`s restaurant with her son, S*****, which was fun.  We then went to go talk to T******* Shimai and her friend H********* for a little while, and then went to Goro Skytower (at last!) with Y***********, an Eikaiwa student, almost investigator.  Then finally, we went to teach a lesson to K*** Shimai and she made us a yummy dinner.  And best of all, she willingly listened to a message, prayed at the end, and agreed to read the chapter I gave to her.  I`m hoping Broadhead Shimai and her companion will be able to make her an investigator again soon.

I  It was exhuasting.

We got on the bus at 8:30 and got there at 11.  About 12 I left with a group of other missionaries heading to the opposite side of the mission via train, which took about 2 and a half hours and involved a lot of stressful train changing.
Around 3, I met Sister Eddy and we headed by train about an hour and a half a way.  Then from there, we took a 3 hour bus to my new area.  And then around 7 we got home, had dinner, she filled me in a little bit about investigators, and then we slept.

We didn`t actually get to do much this weekend because we had district conference on Saturday night and Sunday morning, which took us about an hour and a half each way to get there, plus the conferences themselves.  But we went to go teach a little lesson to a less active named O*** Shimai in her shop. And then we went to stake conference.  A member also named O*** Shimai drove us.

Stake conference, and then the weekly planning session, which we didn`t actually have an opportunity to do this week before then.

And that`s the week!

A couple of things about my new area.
Our apartment is far away from everything!  Which is bad, because we`re far away from everything, but good because it means that we never have to study at the church!
It also looks like a fairly city place...but there`s no one out on the streets...ever.  Mostly it`s like Miazuru in how many people are out.  Alas, it looks like I shall never learn how to street.
There`s no computer at the church, so we have to email at an internet cafe again.  Ouch, that`s a healthy chunk out  of the monthly budget. 

But, we`ll just keep swimming.

So that`s it.

The church is true!
The book is blue!
I love you!

Sister Whitney

The Pikachu socks I bought!  Because I have no self control.

Butterfly camouflage fail.  They would have been really good if they had each just moved about a foot away....

 GORO SKY TOWER! In Maizuru.

The View!

More view from Goro!

More view and us with them.

More of the surrounding Goro Area!

We went and had a lesson with former investigator, K***Shimai, who was really sad I was leaving, and so she made us dinner and her always oishii bread.  Here is a picture of said meal.  It was delicious.

The beginning of the view from the bus ride.

More View!  

More View!  Unfortunately it was a cloudy sort of day and not as beautiful as it supposedly is normally.

And that's all, folks!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Goodbye Maizuru!

I'm transferring.  I've enjoyed my time in Maizuru, but now it's time to move on.  I've met some wonderful people and I will surely miss them.  I don't have much time today to email, so here's a quick update:

Letters, some area book, FHE at the A*****`s, where we celebrated the anniversary of S***** Shimai`s baptism.

Lesson with T*****, then went to visit less actives in Nishi.

SKK and visiting some less actives in Nishi.

All day in Fukuchiyama for District Meeting, and then the Zinke`s bye bye conference, which was supposed to be an hour and a half, but then because it went a little bit over, everyone missed their trains, and since everyone lives very far away, the next trains didn`t come for more than an hour later.  It then turned into 3 and a half hours.  Which was good.  Because we love the Zinke`s and got to hear stories about them. :)

Attempted to visit a less active very far away, and then some more less actives in Nishi.

S*******`s lesson and visited some less actives close by.

Church!  We had a less active 19-year-old Filipino come.  And then we attempted to go housing around a less actives area who asked not to be visited again in hopes that we could `accidentally house in to him.  We did not find him.

Have a great week!  I'll email you next from my new area!

The Church is True.
The Book is Blue.

Sister Whitney

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Kobe, Akashi, & Fukuchiyama Zones -- Photo from the Zinkes in Japan Blog

When God Closes A Door, Somewhere He Opens A Window.


We went to the Museum again!  Because there`s really just not a whole lot of choices of things to do here.   We took some funny pictures, made one of the workers` day when we asked if we could be her friend and swap phone numbers, and bought a funny kind of soda called, Ramune, where there`s a marble stuck in the top of the bottle and you have to knock it into the soda to get a swig at it.  That wasn`t a very good description of it, but that`s what it is.  And then, at the grocery store we ran into a lady named, N********, who was surprisingly good at English and then came to Eikaiwa the next day!


Lesson first with T*****.  We taught about dispensations and Christ`s earthly ministry, leading up to the Restoration, which we`re going to teach tomorrow.

After that, we had possibly our best lesson with M*****, just reading straight from the Book of Mormon from Moroni 7 and discussing what was within. I`ve decided that my main strategy from now on for non-progressing investigators is just going to be to read the Book of Mormon with them!  Let`s see how this works. We were then slightly late to Eikaiwa, but luckily the Elders were on top of things.


Visited some less actives, had a lesson with a lady and her daughter who ended up being much more severely Buddhist than we had originally thought and then had a lesson with I**********, about prayer!  He gets it and he thinks it`s powerful.  Which it is. :)


A**** Shimai took us all the way out to M***** to visit some less actives, and we got to talk to all 3 of them!  One who wasn`t so keen on us visiting the last time we came, was flattered when we brought cookies (it was her birthday on Wednesday) and said we could visit again.  The next one wasn`t interested at all, and the next one was an older man who let us in and says we can come back anytime. I`m really glad A**** Shimai was with us, because this man was very difficult to understand.  We found out his wife died a few years ago, and we talked about getting her information ready to take to the temple to do ordinances for the dead.  (His wife wasn`t a member.)  All in all, a pretty good day.


We had Zone Training Meeting in the morning and stopped in N************ on the way back to visit a less active. He was less than friendly, and as I was grumbling about being tired of less actives, we decided to do a little housing in the surrounding area.  Only a couple of doors down, we talked to a lady for a little bit.  Apparently her parents and her brother had become Christian when they were living in Brazil, and while they had died, she had been to church with them before, she really admired what they believed.  After a little bit of internal debate, she invited us in, we taught setting the table, and she realized that she wants the hope that comes from the knowledge of life after death!  I believe this woman is a senmin.  She wants to come to church so badly, and would have this week except she was going to take care of her field for a week in another city (such is the way of rural Japan).  We prayed, and she felt goosebumps.  She said, `This was not a coincidence.  You were led here!` True, T************, true.  And then at the shock of hearing that we`d walked from the eki, she insisted on driving us home, not just to the eki (train station), but all the way back home. .  This woman is great. We can`t wait until she gets back into town so that we can teach her more. :)  Moral of the story: Don`t grumble about unresponsive less actives.  They might just put you in an area with a senmin.  Or maybe Fraulein Maria phrased it a better way when she said, `When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.` 


We visited some less actives, and then had a lesson with S******* Shimai about faith.  I think I`m going to have to pull out my straight up reading strategy with her now as well.  She`s one consistent prayer for someone who didn`t want to have anything to do with baptism at first, but reading the Book of Mormon for some reason presents a little bit more of a challenge.  

And then, at the beginning of dinner, the A****`s called to tell us that the FIREFLIES were out and they were coming to take us to see them!  Which we did.  There still aren`t very many out yet, but enough that we could see them, and it was magical!  Sometimes not having free range of the internet is really hard for me. If I had been home after this experience, I would have read everything the internet had to say about fireflies.  And stars.  And all the things.  And I might still be reading.  First time firefly-er!  Apparently they will start to come out in bigger hoards soon.  :)
You can`t tell, but there are FIREFLIES in these pictures!  Sister Broadhead is holding one.
 One is one my middle finger, where it stayed for about 20 minutes. :) 


Some of our best less active visits yet with the H***`s!  We first went to go visit this lady named K******, who can`t hear and lives by herself, and has to crawl to get around and it was just the saddest little thing ever.  Once we managed to get her attention from outside and get inside the house, we wrote her messages, and told her we were from the church and talked to her a little bit.  We made this little woman`s day!  She remembers the church and loves it.  Apparently today is her baptismal anniversary, so we`re going back in a few minutes.

Then we visited K*****, a recently reactivated and then unactivated Filipino teen.  After a long conversation that went in a lot of directions, he basically decided on his own that he needed to come back to church !  You go, K*****.

And that was it.

Well, have a good week!

The Church is true!
The Book is blue!

Sister Whitney

This is a giant egg with strange random tiles apparently made by Elementary School students in front of the museum.

 I`m a boat captain!  

And me and a  Or something? Inside the museum.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

It Was A Clear Message To Me From Heavenly Father, Reminding Me That These Were Still His Children.

Nothing much.  We emailed.  We lettered.  We attempted to visit some less actives.  And we had Yakisoba at the A****`s house for FHE. 

We taught T***** Shimai again, and it went really well.  First off, she told us she had been reading from the Book of Mormon by herself in a place that talked about what happens to people who don`t believe in Christ.  We were a little bit nervous upon hearing this, but what she said next immediately absolved all our concerns:  `Many people don`t believe in Christianity because they don`t know Him, you begin to learn about Christianity, you will want to be a part of it.  かなあ (I thiiink.)`  She said this bit a little bit hesitantly, but it was wonderful, like she is beginning to recognize that desire in herself, that desire to become a part of it.  Then we taught from 2 Nephi 31--you know, the Gospel of Christ chapter.  And her desire is strengthening, slowly but surely.  She said she understood Jesus Christ better as well as why baptism is so important.

And we had Eikaiwa.  There`s a single mom who comes to our Eikaiwa class with her little baby sometimes, but has a hard time coming because she`s so busy with work and stuff.  Her baby is named K**** and is probably the smartest thing ever.  She`s a year and a half old, and often says the English words after us, sings the ABC`S, knows lots of words in both English and Japanese, and is probably the most behaved little kiddo you`ve ever seen. A couple of weeks ago, it came up that she had a saxophone but didn`t know how to play it.  Knowing that Broadhead Shimai DOES know how to play the saxophone, I immediately volunteered her to teach this lady how to play the saxophone after Eikaiwa if she ever decided to bring her instrument.  She did this week, and they had a great little lesson while I kept the baby entertained.  (I can`t play an instrument to save my life, but I`m pretty good at giving a baby a white board marker and letting her have at the whiteboard.) Through this, I think she was able to feel our love and tell that we really care about her. We invited her to church, but she said it was too early and she liked to sleep in on Sundays.  And yet...stay tuned for Sunday.

We had a really long lesson with a couple of missionaries from another religion.  Obviously, it didn`t turn into much, but we were fulfilling our purpose in giving everyone a chance to hear this Gospel message and at least the opportunity to accept it for themselves.  They tried to convince us that God`s name is Jehovah (for which the only scriptural evidence they could find was only in their special translation of the Bible...hmmm.).and said they didn`t want to hear about Joseph Smith.  HOWEVER, through responding to all of their questions and bringing up points of our own, the discussion gradually and naturally took the form of lesson 1 (the Restoration), beginning with God is our Loving Heavenly Father and leading up to the Joseph Smith experience, which I was able to share (I LOVE sharing the Joseph Smith experience, but don`t often have an opportunity to do so, seeing as Lesson 1 is usually NOT the first...or even one of the first....lesson in Japan.).  And I got them to read some verses from the Book of Mormon.   And I saw that it was good.  When we`d done our part of witness and it was time to leave, we asked if we could pray with them.  They looked at each other and said no.  In that moment, I had an intense, sharp feeling of deep pain and sadness, beyond any that I have ever felt before.  It was just for a very brief moment, but had it continued even a second longer I probably would have burst into tears. I think it was a clear message from Heavenly Father, reminding me that these were still His children and my sisters, and that His pain is such for all of His children suffering in unbelief, as they.   Even just thinking about that sadness again hurts. But one day, there will be a day to rejoice over another child of the Father, who does choose to believe and to follow.  I hope.  In the meantime, it`s just a matter of seeking them out.

Lunch with S****** Shimai was followed by visiting LA T******* Shimai who had her friend over. They love English and T******* Shimai is practically fluent, so we spoke in English most of the time. Then they said we could speak in Japanese to practice for a little while, and they were surprised! The best thing of all was they said my pronunciation was beautiful, and that my ありがとうございます (arigatou gozaimasu) sounded like a Nihonjin! It made my heart happy.  And we went to M*****`s son`s birthday party.  

District meeting, some less active visiting, the works.  One less active wasn`t there, so we taught Setting the Table to his mom and her little dachshund. Not a whole lot of interest there, but we can came back.  And she gave us juice boxes and told us not to get heatstroke.  

We had a lesson with N********* san and  S***** Shimai, and finally answered her question about why bad things happen to good people and vice versa, by reading about the tree of life.   In the end, all that is unfair shall be made right through the love of God.  And her question was answered!  But she said that all she was going to remember is that the fruit is the love of God.  *sigh*  I guess that`s the important thing though.  And then we had a lesson with S*********** about faith in Jesus Christ, which went so much better than I imagined!  Last week when we started talking about faith, she kind of freaked out and we didn`t get very far.  But this week, we talked about the blessings that Jesus Christ brings us, about how he saves us from sin and death, and she said that it was wonderful, and that she believes.  Wow.  She said that death used to be very scary to her, but while she still doesn`t want to die, knowing that we`ll be able to meet all of our loved ones again after this life has brought her hope and peace, and it`s a lot less scary to her now.  I pointed out to her that this is what she said she wanted when she started meeting with us, that the very thing she envied and desired was that hope that we have, and now she is beginning to have it too!  It`s still a little bit of a slow road with her, and she still does NOT want to come to church, but hey, some must be invited to come unto Christ just a little bit at a time.  Plus, she told us that she prays for everything to be happy.  Not just everyone, but everything.  She says she doesn`t just pray for her family, not just for Nihonjin, not even just for all people, but for all of the living things!  For all of the plants and the flowers and the animals and everything in the entire world to be happy and get along.  And she says she wants to love everyone, to be their friends, because wouldn`t that be fun?  Wouldn`t the world just be a better place then?  Why yes, S******* Shimai, yes it would.  She was a great person before, but this is a new thing for her.  It`s wonderful to see the changes that the Gospel can work on a person, little by little.  We`re helping her realize what a big difference this is making on her, and one day she`s going to decide to follow this all the way.

So imagine our surprise when guess who comes walking in with her baby yesterday--Y*********** and K****! It turns out she woke up at 5:30 that morning. YES. She seemed to be a little bit stressed out at first because of the new atmosphere,  but the branch did a wonderful job of fellow-shipping her afterwards and fawning over the baby.  What proud mom doesn`t love that? She said she had a good time and really did seem to leave happy and in high spirits. 

And then after some less active work, we called it a week!

And it became June yesterday.  How did that happen?  Well, that`s the way the story goes. 

The Church is true.
The Book is blue!

Sister Whitney

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Meeting Elder Christofferson Was The Coolest Thing Ever!

Do you know the song `Provo Utah Girls,` a BYU Divine Comedy parody of some Katy Perry song?  Well, in it, there`s a line that says, referring to some of the strange things about Mormon girls, `We have way different celebrities!`  And then pictures of old men (apostles) and then mysteriously Kronk from the Emperor`s New Groove passes by.  It`s true!  It`s true!  The mission has been preparing for MONTHS for one of these `celebrities` to come to Osaka and talk to us.  And while we didn`t get to see Kronk, meeting Elder Christofferson was the coolest thing ever!

But we`ll get to that later.

I wrote about last Monday last week.  That was stressful stuff.  However, one surprising thing that happened later is that we had DECLICIOUS tofu steak at the A****`s for FHE.  You didn`t hear me wrong.  It was baked, and then fried, and surprisingly おいしい食べ物.  (oishii tabemono, yummy food).   We also had spaghetti with a tropical fruit sauce.  That was new, and also yummy.  And because Elder Y*** went home and C**** Choro was in F**********, we had the A****`s all to ourselves!  It was delightful.  They bought cake for Sister Broadhead`s birthday the next day, we heard A**** Kyodai`s conversion story (he was a devout Catholic on crutches...the missionaries saw that he couldn`t get away, so they pounced...he was baptized 3 weeks later).

It was Sister Broadhead`s birthday!  I got up early and make pancakes!  ...  And then remembered that she doesn`t like pancakes.  Oh well.  It`s the thought that counts, right?  We had an effective day visiting less actives!  The first one we visited had passed away.   She would have been 90 or so..  The next one had been transferred to somewhere in Kyoto.  If we can`t get them coming back to church, then at least we`re cleaning up the records right? The next one...was home!  And fluent in English! And terribly confused about some doctrine, but let us in because we speak English, which is just too good of an opportunity to let pass, I believe. She`s been inactive for eons, but loves missionaries. (Probably because they all tend to speak English.)  And that`s where it is right now, but she`s interested in letting us come back.  We`ll set some things straight, help her feel the love of God again, and bring her back to church!  That`s my plan anyway.  Let`s see if she`s game for it.   

Then because that took longer than we`d imagined, we rushed home and made some instant mashed potatoes and gravy, which we took with us and sneakily ate behind the whiteboard during slow intervals during Eikaiwa.

Also, we got a new elder!  We began Eikaiwa with the sob story of Y*** Choro and told everyone that we, Shimai, would be the only ones teaching Eikaiwa for the rest of the transfer.  And then, who walks in not 20 minutes later but Elder C**** and a new elder from the doki (transfer) below us.  His name is Elder A****.

Remember K*** Shimai? She`s still not interested in `studying` with us anymore, but we went to lunch with her at a sushi restaurant.  It was a classy little place!  We felt very underdressed.  We also went with her husband as well, who I`d met a few times.   I (perhaps unwisely) let K*** Shimai choose my food for me.  It wasn`t took bad at first, but then the raw fish just became too much more was a miracle I was able to choke it down.  The worst part was the big chunk of green stuff I put in my mouth without realizing what it was.  With the intense burning came the realization that it was wasabi.  I grabbed my cup of mugi cha (barley herb tea) and chugged the rest of my water and somehow made it though!  For everyone`s future reference...don`t eat the green stuff.  The tenpura, however, was positively delicious.  Probably the best tenpura I`ve ever eaten.  :)

Then we had a slightly less day of visiting less actives where we didn`t actually find anyone at home.  But that`s okay.

H*** Kyodai joined us on our less active bike!  At the first stoplight we pulled up to, he breathlessly said, 早いですね! (Hayai desu ne! Wow, you`re fast!)  We went far away, couldn`t find the house we were searching for, got a flat tire, visited another less active just as he was pulling away on his bicycle until Broadhead Shimai courageously called out for him to stop!  And we talked for a little while.  Probably it would be okay for us to go back.

We had possibly our best lesson with N*********** and S***** Shimai who dosekied.  N************ has a lot of concerns about God.  So, we read in 2 Nephi 4 together from Nephi`s psalm and discovered a lot of her concerns.  S***** Shimai, who is kind of on the border of less active-dom, voiced a lot of hers too.  Mostly, the conversations kind of go like this.  N********: `Well, if God is real, then how come when I pray about my hair it still doesn`t grow back?`  S*****:  `Yeah, I have a similar concern!  How come when other people pray about things they want, you here about all these miracles, and when I pray and I try really hard to have faith, but nothing happens.  How do I keep having faith then?`  N*********:  `Yeah, that`s a good point!`  *sigh*  We`re helping both of them.  I hope.  However, the questions are slowly, slowly being answered. 

Then after teaching M******* Shimai and her son, T**********, we rushed off on the train to O*** to spend the night with H*******Shimai and H*** Shimai (whose place I took).  We did this so that we could make it to the Christofferson conference on time the next morning.  But we made it that night, and the Shimai kindly welcomed us into their apartment at the top of probably the steepest, evilest hill in all of Japan.  And I came bearing treats from K*** Shimai, who as soon as she heard that I was going to stay with H**** Shimai and probably see D****** Shimai the next day, sweetly asked if I could deliver some goodies for them.  How could I say no?

Also, funny story.  On the train there, there was a lady who kept looking at us.  We thought she was just interested in 外人 (gaijin, foreginers).  Then when we switched trains, she came to sit by us.  We, of course, saw this as a perfect opportunity for dendo!  Just as we were about to get all gospel-contact on her, she pulled out two business cards and said, `Do you know these two?`  They read Sister A***, and Sister O****, Shimai from the mission whom I did indeed know.  And we all started laughing.  She was a member from the F********* ward! 

She was just the sweetest lady.  While we talked to her, I realized how much observing Japanese members here and strengthened my faith.  When you`re in little branches in a place like Japan, it`s hard to just be lukewarm about the church. You`re either inactive or you`re in it with all of your heart. She told us excitedly that she was heading all the way to Ibaraki to hear Elder Christofferson speak the next evening (which, by itself, is quite an expensive train trip).  She had the two most recent conference Ensigns in her bag, which she was studying on the train ride over, both copies well marked, with little hearts by her favorites, markings and highlights and comments and cross references.  She was all by herself, and she didn`t yet know where she was going to stay that night or even where the Ibaraki stake center was, but there was one thing that she did know: she was going to hear an Apostle of the Lord.   And that was all she needed.  Wow.  What an example. This Gospel is worth ALL that we have.

Another thing she taught me: as we talked, we of course asked questions to each other.  We found out that her brother went to Eikaiwa and met the missionaries when she was younger, and that he invited her to listen to the missionaries as well.  The rest was history.  They both got baptized, and she served a mission in Sendai.  But, she added quickly, she and her brother were the only members in her family.  Then she asked with a friendly smile, `You`re from Utah and Idaho.  Everyone in your family are members, aren`t they?`  And we both said yes, almost everyone in our family are members and have been our whole lives.  She smiled and said ‘いいね‘.  (ii, ne-- that`s great), but I could see something in her eyes: longing.  She wanted that too.  So much.  I have always taken having all of the members of my family being church members for granted.  It just is.  Sometimes I`ve even thought it to be a little bit of a disadvantage as a missionary since I`m completely lacking the opposite viewpoint in knowing what conversion involves.  But I`d never TRULY contemplated the opposite side.  This woman, every day, was worried about her family`s eternal salvation.  Would she be able to live with them forever in the celestial kingdom?  She just doesn`t know.  She wants it more than anything; she wants what I have, but take for granted. It made me more determined to share this with as many people as possible.

We went to Ibaraki!  All the missionaries from the entire mission gathered in one spot, for the first time in eons. This seriously never happens. Whenever there are conferences, they split the mission up into 3 or 4 groups.  But when an apostle comes, we all come to him.  I`d been so excited for this day for WEEKS, telling Broadhead Shimai over and over again, `We`re going to see an apostle of the Lord!  We`re going to see an apostle of the Lord!`  I`m sure she just about wanted to hit me.  But we did!  All of the people there, and being expected to talk to them, overwhelmed me like crazy.  I was glad when spiritual preparation in the overcrowded chapel began and I could think again.  

And then Elder Christofferson entered, and we stood, and there was silence.  We filed up one by one to shake the hand of this great man of the 12, and I thought, `This man has seen our Lord.`  And he spoke to us.  And it was beautiful.  He spoke primarily about the love we need to have for those around us, the true and abiding love of Christ for these people around us who are members of our family.  And he answered our questions, teaching us the importance of the scriptures by turning to them for every answer he offered.  And then he blessed us that either that day or within the next few days, we would know that the Lord approved of us.  And to then get back to work.  It was all I hoped it would be.  (Also, that makes 2 apostles whose hands I`ve shaken!  13 more!   Haha.)

Then we had to try to get back to M******.  And it was traumatic.  There was a train and a subway and  Kyoto eki just teeming with people involved, and then finding we`d missed the bus back by just minutes.  It was a very stressful thing.  I was very close to deciding to find a corner, curl up in a ball, and remaining until I wasted away. Probably I should just go be a hermit in the mountains.   Eventually, we made it 8 o' clock that night.

Sunday things.  Church.  N************ came.  S***** Shimai didn`t.  Is that how it`s supposed to work?  Your investigator having to tell your member doseki that she needs to come to church?  She said she was going to call and tell her off for it.  You go, N*************.

And that`s the week.  It was a good one.

The church is true!
The book is blue!
I love you!

Sister Whitney

Broadhead Shimai`s lunch (tempura) at the sushi place.  Let`s just say it looked a lot more normal than my lunch.
The Kyoto tower!  It`s part of a hotel.  If you go to the top, you can see all of Kyoto!  Or so I`ve heard. :)

 O Miyage

So Japanese people have this funny cultural thing called an o-miyage.  It`s basically a food souvenir.  When you go somewhere, you bring people back an o-miyage, for which they have little stores in train stations and gas stations and the like you for you to quickly grab on your way back.  I think they`re foods that the area is supposed to be famous for or something.  We passed through Kyoto on Saturday on our way back from Osaka and the Elder Christofferson conference, and there was a store in the eki (train station) called Kyo-miyage.  Get it?  Like O miyage but KYO miyage, because KYOTO!

I`m not sure exactly whom one is supposed to bring back an o-miyage for though.  I wouldn`t suppose the missionaries would be on that list, but apparently they are.  This is a sweet potato biscuit thing o-miyage that ******** Shimai (a recent convert/less active that we teach) brought back for us.  And then the A****`s brought us back some yummy macaroons from somewhere. Yay o-miyage s!   

A pretty place we passed on the train this week.  :)