Sunday, August 31, 2014

Can You Eat Fermented Soybean Paste?

Squid.  Shrimp with eyes.  Snail.  Wet seaweed, every sort of raw fish you can imagine, and perfectly and precisely placed upon a fancy platter and valued at ¥3300 (about $33).  This all took place inside the K Hotel, the tallest building and most expensive hotel here. We were there with the M*******`s (the ward mission leader and his wife), a less active named H******* Shimai and her very strongly hantai (opposed to the church) husband.  And they were paying for us.  I had no choice but to eat it. 

But other than that, it was a great week!

This week, strangely enough, we felt really guided by the Spirit in our finding efforts and that we have been guided in the last week or two as well, which isn`t something I can say I`ve really felt before on my mission.

On Monday, we had a dinner appointment with the branch president and his wife instead of going to FHE at O*** Shimai`s, so we had mysterious half our that we weren`t entirely sure what to do with.  Luckily, Eddy Shimai, with her fabulous sense of direction and sensitivity to the Spirit, led us up to the top of a ridiculously tall hill where we began to ring some doorbells.  After only a few doors, a remarkably genki lady opened the door  and said, `Morumon Kyou?`(Mormons) and invited us on in.  She was apparently once an Eikaiwa student of an American member in our  branch and was very excited to see us!  (She is also completely fluent in English, which is lovely, so we talked to her in English.) Her name is A** E****, and she`s 67, but she doesn`t look it. (No one in Japan ever does.) We had to rush in order to get to the branch president`s house in time, but she invited us to the hula class she was teaching the next day to meet her friends!

We went and watched E****`s hula class, which was the coolest thing ever, and then we sat down with her four friends who thought we were adorable and got to talk to them about God.  We have now been invited to come back every week after their hula lesson to talk to them.  After that, we had a lesson with M******* N********. Last week I wrote to you about feeling prompted to pinpon a certain house and setting up an appointment with the lady inside. That`s her. :) Her lesson was a wonderful experience.  She loved the things we talked to her about, and thanked us for how we made her feel when we prayed.  She`s a new investigator now!

We did service at `active member O**** Shimai`s house, and then went to go teach less active member O**** Shimai at her shop again.  We had planned a lesson for her, but then felt like we needed to instead share Alma 37:36 and 37 with her about counseling with the Lord and asking him questions, which she`s never thought to do before.  It went really well!

Alma: 37: 36, 37
 36 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
 37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

This was the seafood disaster.  You see, it`s very impolite to not eat everything someone gives you in Japan. Quite impolite.  And I might have been able to get away with not eating a few things, but...this woman`s husband is the one keeping her from coming to church.  I had to make a good impression on him, I just had to!  He just needs his heart softened just a liitttle bit.  `Can you eat this food?`  He asked.  `Yes,` I replied cooly, trying to be subtle about wiping the sweat from my brow.  `How about nato? [fermented soybean paste]  Can you eat that?`  `Of course,` I said, saying a silent prayer he wouldn`t order nato as well.`  He sat there for a second and said, `Wow.  That`s pretty good.`  And he didn`t order nato.  Moral of the story...don`t ever let someone take you to a fancy schmancy Japanese restaurant.  It can only end in upset stomachs and tears.

After that, we intended to teach Y**** Shimai about baptism and invite her, but then her baby got fussy, so we had to postpone that until this week.

District meeting!  Found a couple of really good PI`s housing, and we taught O*** Shimai about the temple and she set a date to be ready to go by! She`s been really struggling, particularly financially lately, and she said that she thinks us teaching her about the temple and her making a goal to go inside it is the answer to her prayers.

We also bussed way out to an island in our area to teach a referral one of the members gave us, K***** s**, who we visited before, and this time she brought another friend!  They were both really interested.  She said she wants to bring more friends next time we come as well.  (Now we just need to figure out how to afford going there more than once a month!) 

Then we had branch Family Home Evening at the church, ate lots of Soba noodles, and played `Do you love your neighbor?` or rather, `Rinjin o ai shite imasu ka?` which turned out to be a blast!

Church!  And we went to go visit E**** again and actually teach her a lesson.  She apparently went to a Christian school when she was younger and was so excited about what she heard that she stopped us in the middle and said, `I want you to talk to one of my friends.  Is that okay?` and called her up on the spot and gave us a referral!  It was hilarious to hear her on the phone, `Morumon Kyou, ne?  Futari no onna no ko, kawaii, kawaii, KAWAII!`    `So there are these Mormons over here, two girls, and they are so cute, cute CUTE!`  We were just dying laughing while listening to her. She`s hilarious. Also, we set up our next three appointments!  Whaaat?  Including on where she`s going to teach me how to make Okonomiyaki!

It`s been really cool to watch the Spirit at work this week, knowing that this really has nothing to do with us, but just that the Lord can do His own work! We just have to be willing to go along with it.  It doesn`t feel like we`ve been doing anything different lately, just the usual--trying to be obedient, trying to follow the Spirit, trying to get a little better every day--and things are just beginning to work out.

Alma 26:27  Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.

Doctrine and Covenants 100: 15 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the church.

I know that this is the Lord`s work, and I`m lucky for every day I get to be a part of it!

I love you all!

The church is true!
The book is blue!

Love, Sister Whitney

Sometimes trains in Japan look like this.

The view from the train last week.

The little bike we`re borrowing from the branch president since Sister Eddy`s got stolen.

My futons hanging out to air today!

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