We`re definitely alright. There was a little bit of a typhoon that lasted from Saturday afternoon until after church on Sunday, but by the time church was over, it was over, and looked like nothing had ever happened. It really wasn`t that bad. It was just really windy and rainy and we still went housing on Saturday night when an appointment fell through because of the typhoon. It was actually quite fun! And then when we were done, we realized that we had 3 missed calls from our district leader telling us to get the heck back to the apartment. Haha. All was good.
We went to bike the Shimonami Kaido bridge! Sister Eddy and the Elders biked it with C****** last transfer, but we apparently went so much farther on Monday than they did before. It was so much fun, and quite possible, my favorite thing I`ve done for preparation day in Japan! I kept thinking about how much I love the ocean and how much Dad would love a bike ride like this. If I ever come back to Japan with my family, this is the thing I want to do most! Except we would go the whole way. :) The way they build the bridge that long is because it connects a lot of different islands. We would ride the bridge to the first island, ride across the first island, ride the bridge connecting to the second island, etcetera, until we reach the third island, Eddy Shimai is dying to go back, and we realize we`re pretty sketchy on time for making it back by 6 o`clock. But it was so much fun! I had a little bit of a crash (one should never brake while quickly going downhill at a very wet spot...never a good idea), but God sent a nice lady from Tokyo with kleenexes in her purse to clean me up a little bit. Eddy Shimai was also such a trooper! She doesn't enjoy biking and going so far, but she was a champ and went the whole way! She even went FASTER on the way back so we could make it back in time. 3 cheers for Sister Eddy!
We did some housing, a lot of housing, in the rain. BUT, we made up a great song called `Happy Smilers` to the tune of `I Am Hungry` from the Dr. Seuss soundtrack I love so much at home. To sum it all up, here`s the last verse:
`We are happy, happy smilers;
Won`t you please open the door?
We sure hope that you`re a senmiiiiiiiin!
But if not then we`ll just house some more!`
And we saw that it was good.
Also, we had possibly the closest thing I`ve ever had to a straight out missionary miracle that I`ve ever seen on my mission. We were biking home from housing when a car honked at us and pulled over. I thought it was some drunk teenagers (they honk a lot) and was just going to keep riding, but Eddy Shimai was wise and stopped. The lady got out of the car and said (in English), `I have interest in missionaries! I`m looking for church!` Hold up. Wait a second. This doesn`t happen in real life, just in my friends letters and the miracles section of the email, right? It turns out she`s an investigator in Tokyo, here visiting her parents, with her little daughters for a couple of weeks and wanted to know where the church was and to meet with us. It`s too bad that she`s going to go back to Tokyo, but she came to Eikaiwa this week, we`re meeting with her on Friday, and she`s coming to church on Sunday. She`s super sweet and really good at English.
And then ANOTHER miracle. We stopped right after that to buy Taiyaki (fish shaped pastries filled with chocolate and or custard or something of the sort which are about a dollar each). I bought a custard one and a chocolate one. I reached into my wallet and pulled out 200 円 for both of them, but he stopped me, insisting that the chocolate one was free because it had broken a little bit. Things like that really put everything into perspective for you. ;)
We had a lesson with a less active named A****** about prayer! He`s really interested, but can`t meet for a couple of weeks because of a holiday about your ancestors coming back to earth for a day. It`s called obon. And then we had Eikaiwa. Eikaiwa was a wee bit of a let down. Remember last week when we passed out 7 zillion chirashi at the Onmaku Festival? We were expecting a small crowd of eager newcomers, but alas... the only new person who came was our miracle Tokyo lady. 残念です。 Zannen desu. Too bad. Maybe one day.
We had lessons with our two favorite investigators! Y**** Shimai is showing a lot of promise. We taught her about the Chart (the Gospel Jesus Christ overview lesson) and she says she believes everything. She was so into the lesson, that even though her kid and her dog were going nuts, she was just focused. She also wants to know more about Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how she can apply them in her life. Well then. We didn`t get to explain baptism enough to invite her, because her lessons have to be really short because she`s taking care of her kids, but can you guess what the next lesson is on? Probably you can. But it will be a couple of weeks from now because she`s gone for obon too! Then we met with H******* Shimai, who we teach in English, who is adorable and making a lot of progress as well. We`re finishing up the plan of Salvation with her and rebuilding up the interest she had before. She`s doing great! Plus we gave her a notebook for taking notes, and she started writing stuff down like crazy.
We had Zone training meeting and headed home at the beginning of the typhoon. And that was really about it.
We taught our wonderful less active friend O**** Shimai a lesson from the Book of Mormon to help her understand the importance of reading it. This lady has a lot of hard trials in life, mostly centering on not having enough money and always having to be worried about her family. When Porter Shimai and Eddy Shimai first started teaching her, she hadn`t had anything to do with the church for years, including reading the Book of Mormon or even praying, mostly just one of those `life got the better of you` cases rather than anything against the Gospel. She`s been on and off reading the Book of Mormon since then, but has been praying regularly, and she has been seeing the blessings from doing so. She says that while her trails haven`t gone away, she isn`t as stressed about them. She says that she is able to find joy even though she`s experiencing hard things, even joy from the hard things. Because her daughter is sick a lot, she has to take care of her grandchildren much of the time, while at the same time running her little store we teach her in. This is tough for her. But she says that recently, during small moments, she gets glimpses of them laughing, or smiling, and it just fills her with joy, even though it`s hard to have them there. She knows that reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church are important too. It`s just a matter of doing them, and I`m excited for her to see the blessings from those start coming too.
I`ve been trying to do a little bit better with prayer, lately too. The last little while I`ve been realizing I need a little bit of an attitude adjustment, and have felt myself feeling like C.S. Lewis when he said, `The need to pray just flows out of me.` Whenever I have a spare moment, I find my thoughts turned to the Lord, sometimes in gratitude, sometimes in pleading, and sometimes just simple prayer. I have felt myself, little by little, growing closer to the Lord and finding myself ever so grateful for a Father in Heaven who is constantly there to support. There`s still not quite as many answers coming from the other end as I would like, but I`m pretty sure it`s a work in process.
Also, Alma 37: 36 and 37 is really good. You all know it, but it is. I remember Dad had us memorize it once. (I no longer have it memorized, but that`s okay. Sometime soon again.)
Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thydoings 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.
Church, typhoon ended, and we housed a 10 story apartment building!
And that was the week.
I love you!
The church is true!
The book is blue!
Love, Sister Whitney
I bought this little Japanese doll in this bag. It`s the same place I bought the hair clip from.
We live by a bunch of rice fields, and apparently they`re a pretty good breeding ground for little frogs in the summer. Baby frogs are every where! Basically my all of my attention immediately outside of the apartment is spent focusing on trying very hard not to step on or run over little baby frogs with my bike. Also, they`re often all over our doors and windows. This little buddy was hanging out on our window by where we study.
We biked this bridge!
The bike I rented for biking the bridge! (We had to take a train to get to the area, so we couldn`t bring our own bikes. And these were CROSS bikes.)
View from the bridge.
It is a common thing to do to bike the bridge. The whole way is 70 km, but we went about 14 miles each way. It was really fun
Us on one of the three islands we biked to on Monday.
More bridge view stuff!
Zone Training Meeting