Tuesday, September 23, 2014

And We Learned From Above About Soup Below.

We`re tearing it up and the Lord is doing great things here! First off, we found FOUR new investigators this week!  That`s more than I`ve found sometimes in an entire TRANSFER!  We know however that it has absolutely nothing to do with us and that the Lord is just doing as he will, for He will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work. (2 Nephi 27:21)  And that`s true bits right there!

Variousness of all that which is preparation day (emailing, groceries, some letter writing) and partying it up at the Castle!  Then we had FHE at O Shimai`s.   We played a game called Pterodactyl (poo-teh-roh-dah-ku-toh-roo, in Japanese), in which one has to say the word Pterodactyl in a strange manner meant to make other people laugh and show their teeth while simultaneously covering one`s own teeth.  If anyone sees your teeth, you lose.  Ochi Shimai was laughing so hard she almost cried.

We found a little obaachan (grandma) while housing before going to see S san and uncharacteristically got invited in to teach a lesson.  Howard Shimai pulled out the big guns right away, and brought out the chart, starting connecting to eternal life, and worked her Howard Shimai magic!  We had no plan for this instant lesson, but were able to follow the Spirit decently well and teach a good lesson that we know Y san felt the Spirit in.  We`re going to visit her again this week as well.  We think she has good potential.

We were going to heart attack a member`s house...and Howard Shimai was leading...because I have absolutely no idea where I`m going, but she`s still only been here for just over a week.  And so we got lost. :)  We stopped a little older guy on his bike, who called his wife, who came sprinting down from her house a few streets away to guide us!  She didn`t become a new investigator or any other classic missionary miracle or anything; it was just nice to see the goodness of mankind and to experience a little reminder that God is looking out for us.  The member that was heart attacked wasn`t home, but was apparently just delighted by the delivery of cookies and colorful hearts with poorly drawn Japanese covering her door, and she came to play pingpong after Eikaiwa the next night to talk with us and show her appreciation.  She seemed really happy, which was good, because we`d been feeling like she needed some cheering up.

Deserted apartments.  That`s what we found on Wednesday.  Only a couple of weeks before, Eddy Shimai and I had been there and found a PI who seemed to have a relatively decent amount of interest.   But when we got there, not only was there no one home, there was no one in the apartments at all.  No furniture in the rooms.  Complete empty abandoned-ness.  Which was mysterious.  On the bright side, it did give me a chance to learn the word for `deserted` (okizari ni suru), which is probably absolutely useless to know, but worked in this circumstance!

Then we went to go teach A Kyodai about the Plan of Salvation!  We teach him in English, and he`s quite good, but Japanese English is really funny.  It`s so straightforward and blunt.  After Howard Shimai told him how much she loved the city, rather than just asking her why? or What do you like about it, he asked, `I want you to tell me what you like about the city.`  Well okay, then.  That`s actually not a very good story at all, for which I apologize, but Japanese is really messing with our English as well.  We have no idea what we`re trying to say half the time.  But anyways.  A Kyodai. He`s progressing so fast, he`s almost on fire!  He read the Book of Mormon homework not just once, but many times to try to figure out what happens after we die, has been praying regularly, asking God questions about how to deal with his five year old daughter, and is even getting answers (be patient)!  He`s so receptive to testimony, and we never have to wonder what to teach next.  At the end of this lesson, he asked, `How can I learn more about Jesus Christ and what other ways are there to prove him and find out more about him?`  Guess who`s teaching from the Book of Mormon next time!  We love him.

Afterwards, we taught Children`s Eikaiwa, and then Normal Eikaiwa, which had the most people I`ve seen there my entire time here!  It`s a miracle!

A lot fell through, but we still had a great day!  We went and taught our friend S san again, who this time became a new investigator!  She`s super cool!  She has so much potential and really wants to learn.  We were planning on going to teach O Shimai a lesson with a member, but since there are only 3 chairs in her shop, we decided to boldly bring a chair from the church...on our bikes!  so I biked to O Shimai`s house with a chair on my shoulder.  Unfortunately when we got there, O Shimai had just gotten called into her new job.  So we  had to bring the chair right back.  H Shimai had also cancelled her appointment for the day because she got sick.  We messaged her in the morning, asking if we could bring her soup or something, hoping to be able to visit her and also find out where she lived.  Unfortunately, she didn`t message us back until 7:30 or so saying we could.  We had no soup.  She lived relatively far away.  What was to be done?  We said prayers in our hearts and thought of all the options, until I miraculously remembered that we have a trapdoor in our kitchen floor filled with food from the missionary couple who were here forever ago.  And what do we find?  CLAM CHOWDER!  And it`s fast!  And we bike to find H  Shimai!  And got a little lost!  But we made it to her house, with the clam chowder, Howard Shimai got to meet her, and just as we were about to head back to try and make it for the curfew on time, a car pulled in and she said, `Can you wait just a second? It looks like my boyfriend is here. I want you to meet him!`  Oh my goodness.  Could this be?!  THE boyfriend she`s been talking about us too?!  We simply weren`t strong enough to resist.  He was cool.  But the consequences are that we sprinted home far faster than our aged missionary bodies could have possibly carried us by ourselves and we were blessed with more green (they call them blue here in Japan) lights than we could have reasonable expected, giving us just enough time to get home, drop down on the floor, and begin praying before 9:00 curfew.  Howard Shimai prayed for us, starting off in her lovely Japanese, when all of a sudden it broke into some unexpected English, exhausted and tired between some heavy breaths. `Heavenly Father...that was crazy.  We almost died.`  I was trying to keep my cool and be reverent during the prayer, which I managed to do until she said, `Thank you for learning us that there are cans of soup under the floor.`  And then I just about lost it.  See what I mean about Japanese killing our English?  But it was a miracle.  And we were learned from above about soup from below.

District meeting in Niihama!  It was good.  Then we pulled weeds at Active Member O Shimai`s house for a long time.  I got to be in jeans and climb up on walls to get rid of some vines and push Howard Shimai around in a wheelbarrow for a little while too.  The elders were there as well, but we quickly learned that if you want some real work done...you`d better call a Shimai.

We went to go try to visit an investigator, and I had directions from Eddy Shimai, but they were just not working for me.  Nor had they the other two times we`d tried to visit her!  We were just biking around, trying to find T Shimai`s house to bring her cookies and set up an appointment, when I realized I had gone in entirely the wrong direction.  So I was frustrated with myself.  I slowly biked over to Howard Shimai and said with a long face (remember last week`s joke formula?), `If Janky Randall were a person...I would be that person.`  She thought that was pretty hilarious.  But possibly many of the things we say are only funny to us. :)

We went to the farthest island in our area to visit K  Shimai, a referral from F  Kyodai in the branch.  It started out with them taking us out to lunch at a rather fancy Japanese restaurant.  And you know how I feel about Japanese fancy restaurants.  They tend to have unspeakable foods.  This was no exception.  And they just kept bringing out more...and more...and more.  Right after we thought we  had finally conquered the last of the octopus slices and raw fish and wasabi and rice with tentacles in it, they would bring out something else with eyes and fins and slime.  Howard Shimai was down the hall (I could still see her) playing with K Shimai`s 2 year old when they brought in first dish and told me what it was: taco no tamago.  Octopus eggs.  It looked like a furry tongue and had a most unpleasant texture.  Howard Shimai came back and asked hesitantly, `What is that?`  `Scary,` is all I would respond.  And so we tried to do as much eating without swallowing as possible. (I told her afterwards what we had eaten, and she has since expressed gratitude for my silence.)  And we`re pretty sure that the blob in the bottom of the bowl was intestines.  And Howard Shimai`s taken anatomy, so we`re pretty sure we`re right.

After that, we went and taught K`s two year old a little bit of English, then got to teach K  and her friend a little message on God!  K  Shimai then told us that she has a lot of interest in the purpose of life.  And we can help with that.  We think she`s sweet and has a lot of potential!

After we got back that after noon, we went to go visit a man from China that Eddy Shimai and I found housing who had interest, but didn`t really know what to do with him since he mostly spoke Chinese.  But what we learned last week when visiting, is that he has a wife, and her Japanese is pretty good!  When we visited them Saturday, they were in the middle of eating dinner, but immediately set it aside and started listening to us!  They have a lot of interest and are way excited to get the Chinese Book of Mormon we`re bringing for them when we go back next Sunday.  They`re really sweet, and are going to have a baby in January!  Another cool thing about this is that our Zone Leaders asked us to focus on finding, teaching, and baptizing a family this transfer.  And they`re a family!  They were definitely an answer to our heartfelt little prayers.

Church was good. LA  Shimai CAME, and so did H Shimai, another less active we work with who is really sweet.  

We went to go visit E Shimai after that, finding her also in the middle of dinner. She stopped right then and there and made us curry rice and an apple salad.  She`s too sweet.  And we got to teach her a lesson about how we can learn to trust in God, and that was pretty cool too.

So, all and all, things are pretty awesome.  This is the best time of my mission so far!  I love being in my area!  I love Sister Howard!  I love the work!  I love the Lord!  And I love being a missionary!

The Church is true!
The book is blue!

Love you!

Sister Whitney

Me and Howard Shimai.  Look at the beach behind us!

The Castle -- again!

At the Castle....again!

Me and  Howard Shimai!

Our name tags and some really classy plastic slippers about 6 sizes too small for my feet we had to put on when entering the castle.

Our district!  

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