Monday, September 22, 2014

How Many People Does it Take to Fix Janky Randall?

How many people does it take to fix Janky Randall?  3 Filipinos, 1 Japanese Man, and 2 White Girls' Prayers.

*Special thanks to Sister Howard for the creation of this subject line.

Sister Howard. American. 10th transfer.  Fantastic missionary, rocking Japanese and absolutely hilarious! It`s only been three days, and we are already fearing transfers.  Neither of us are sure we can take it if we only get one transfer together!

But seriously though, this is already a great transfer, full of so much laughing, identical senses of humor, getting lost, but finding our way again, teaching by the Spirit, tender mercies of the Lord, and 7 billion other things that encompass all that is wonderful!   Also, she loves running and we go running every day.  

Nothing too special.  Just transfer emails, and a little bit of distress from both me and Eddy Shimai.  Eddy Shimai was finally leaving this island for the first time her entire mission, which was kind of a sad thing.   We packed. Okay, actually Eddy Shimai packed, and I made her peanut butter cookies!  Of which I gladly partook and ate too many.  Because peanut butter cookies.

We went to go visit the M's, an older couple that the E  san referred to us.  They said they weren`t really all that interested, but then asked a bunch of really good questions, that you could tell were from the heart, things that they were really worried about, including what it`s like to get answers from God, why bad things happen in the world, and how to feel God`s love.  It was about half and half Japanese, and we`re going back again next week!

We also went to go teach O Shimai for the last time before Eddy Shimai transfered, and O Shimai made donuts for us and gave us some special sweet soy sauce which is actually pretty yummy. :)

Then that night, we had a lesson with H, basically our favorite human. We read from the Book of Mormon with her, just a few verses (Moroni 10:3-6) about how to get an answer from the Book of Mormon. We began by praying with a question in mind, reading, writing what we got from it, praying again for increased understanding, reading again, writing more, sharing what we`d written, and praying to know if what we had written was true.  And it was fantastic.  She said that something that stuck out to her is that there it says that we need to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, and she had never understood why before, just that that`s what we said to do, so she did it.  And in the past, every lesson when we ask her to say the ending prayer, she always says, `Nan dake? (What is it?)  Ten no Otousama (Heavenly Father)...Iesu Kirisuto no mina ni yotte, o inori shimasu, amen. (We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen).  Just to make sure she has it right before she prays.  But on Tuesday night at the end of the lesson, there was NO `nan dake`!!!  It seems like a small thing, but Eddy Shimai and I were so happy we just about jumped out of our socks! Besides that, the prayer was the most beautiful and heartfelt one she had offered yet.

She`s making such good progress, and Howard Shimai and I are dead set on Helping her make it into the waters of baptism this transfer!

In order to prep things for the couple missionaries, we studied at their apartment for a few hours to be there for when the appliances all came.  Which was a party. We also had a lesson with LA A Kyoudai and taught him about the spirit. His heart is so open right now, and he wants to return to the things he knew and cherished before.  He wants to grow close to God and to follow him, and he has so many questions from his heart.  He has so much potential, and we love working with him.

Then, O Shimai came by to help Eddy Shimai send off her bags, and we ate Eddy Shimai`s homemade fruit leather (sent by her family from the beach).

F Kyoudai came down all the way from the island that he lives on just to say goodbye and give us Sushi bentos (I ate all the sushi I could, until I got to the ones with wasabi on them.  That I just couldn`t quite handle.)  And O*** Shimai met us at the bus station by surprise with a big bag for each of us with a soda and 3 or 4 apples!  Which was very sweet of her.  And around 5 we set off for Okayama, where we stayed the night with Sister Colter and her companion there and the Shimai from Niihama, the area next to ours in our district.  It was a party.

At the Eki by 7, send off Eddy  Shimai...and wait.  And wait.  But Sister Colter, Stevenson Shimai (who is actually a Nihonjin.  Her Dad is American, but she doesn`t speak any English.  But I love her!), and I had a party as temporary companions waiting out in the sun.  We tried to pass out Eikaiwa flyers at the Eki, but got shooed off by the police.  We still managed to contact a few people about the gospel.  And find an imported good store that sells ROOTBEER.  I bought me some of that stuff. :)  And then finally, all of our new companions got to  the eki around 3 and we headed home, back to our beloved city.

We went to go visit a PI that Eddy Shimai and I found last week named S san, who invited us right in and let us teach her about God!  It was our first lesson together, and it went a little bit off what we`d planned it being, but it still went really well!  She told us to come back any time, and she has a lot of potential.  We also did some finding.  

We did weekly planning, and ending up not eating lunch until after 2.  Only just after we went out to go finding, we got a call from the senior couple telling us that they had just arrived in the city and we were the only ones with a key to their apartment, so we went to go meet them.  Their names are the W's and they are the absolute greatest.  Sister W is from Hawaii. She looks Japanese (and probably is by descent), but didn`t learn Japanese until going on her mission. Elder W is Japanese.  But both are fluent in English and Japanese.  They`re absolutely sweet, and after helping them carry up some of their things to their apartment (they`re on the 2nd floor), they insisted we go out to eat with them. However, this was barely an hour after we had just eaten, and we had eaten quite a bit, having been so ravaged by our morning`s expedition attempting to receive revelation and work out plans to help this area, branch, and the investigators.  

But when a senior couple insists you go out to eat with them at Osaka Osho`s, a Chinese restaurant, you do. And they ordered SO MUCH FOOD.  Friend rice, gyoza dumplings, softer gyoza dumplings in soup, miso soup, a couple of meat dishes, a vegetable dish, and just more than we could possibly get down.  It was a constant silent battle between me and Howard Shimai to get the other person to eat more.  `You can have the last gyoza.`  `No you, I insist!`  `I couldn`t possibly.  I know how much you love gyoza.`  And then grumbling me, I had to take the extra gyoza.  In Japanese, they have a saying called `betsu bara` or, a separate stomach, that always allows you to eat more.  I guess, I must have one, or Saturday would not have gone well. Notwithstanding our stuffed stomachs, the food was delicious and we are so excited to start working together with the W`s! They have so much dendo fire, and we can tell that they are going to be absolutely wonderful and do wonderful things for investigators and especially the branch here.

After that, we went to go visit a new investigator. He's a Chinese man that Eddy Shimai and I housed into a couple of weeks ago but weren`t quite sure what to do with because he`s Chinese and doesn`t speak great Japanese.  But after reading the Potential Investigator section in the area book where we`d written about him, Howard Shimai felt inspired to go back!  We caught him just as he had his wife were going out on a walk and got to talk with them both about the gospel a little bit.  We`re going back to teach his wife (who is the sweetest) on Saturday.  Booya!

Also, we got lost a lot.  I should know where I`m going, but if you know me at all, you`re not surprised that I don`t.  Luckily, Howard Shimai is with it enough that I can give her the Navi on the phone and she`s able to figure things out pretty well.

Church!  Howard Shimai gave a talk.  It was a rather unpleasant surprise, I assume, when she walked into the apartment for the first time to see that special message from Eddy Shimai (it was to be Eddy Shimai`s talk if she didn`t transfer), but at least she left a Black Thunder candy bar as well!  That makes things okay, right? Anyways, her talk was great.

Later that night, we went to go teach E san for the first time in a while.  And it was so, so powerful..  The lesson was about half English, half Japanese, and she was more open with us than she has ever been before. She talked to us about her struggles with being lonely since her husband died, about how she was afraid what other people would think if she became a Christian, and her fears to believe and to take a step of faith.  We came prepared with a lesson, but were able to follow the Spirit to teach according to her needs, to share scriptures she understood that helped answer her concerns, to powerfully testify of a God in Heaven, a Father who knows us, loves us, and wants to talk to us.  And Sister Howard threw in a fantastic Indiana Jones reference as well.  And in the end, she prayed.  It was powerful, and beautiful, and we were so proud of her for taking that first step of faith that we knew was so hard for her.  Sister Howard's testimony is powerful, she speaks with love so the investigator can feel it, she weaves all the thoughts and ideas from the lesson together, and makes it really apply to the investigator.  

And even though it was completely different then what we were planning, we taught almost seamlessly together. The Spirit was sooo strong, and we`re so excited to help E  progress some more.  Also, she may or may not have randomly said as we were talking about faith that she had a wand, and then proceeded to show us, but as she went through all the layers of wrapping (because everything in Japan is wrapped 20 times), and the moment was reaching its climax...THE WAND WAS GONE!  It was hilarious.  She`s also apparently a huge Harry Potter fan.  Kudos to our friend E.

By the time we were done, it was dark (the lesson took a little while), but I was confident I knew the way home! That is, until I found us on a road I didn`t recognize, got thoroughly confused, and then to top it off, Janky Randall broke down.  `Janky Randall` is the name that Howard Shimai has given her bike.  He`s janky because they brought him down from the mission office, he only has three gears, is a little bit trashy, and is kind of prone to breaking down. Yesterday, all we did was go over a big bump, and all of a sudden the chain just popped off.  And we were still a long ways from home.  (Not to mention lost.)  So we began to pray.  All of a sudden, three Filipino men who had just ridden past us on their bicycles came riding back and all starting attacking the bike at once to try and fix it.  Then a Japanese man coming down the road saw, stopped as well, and finished fixing the whole thing up. And all was well.  We even found our way home and made it miraculously on time before the Sunday 8:30 curfew!  Because God is good, and he is a God of miracles.

This ordeal with Janky Randall has also lead to a series of jokes.  See a junky apartment, say, `If Janky Randall were an apartment, he would be that apartment.` Pick up the knife in our kitchen drawer only to have it split in half, say, `If Janky Randall were a knife, he would be that knife.`  Probably that was a really funny story that I should save for parties, but I think you get the picture.  Make a Janky Randall joke of your own if you really want to have fun with it!  

Howard Shimai and I have decided we want to die together.  

That sounds maybe like a concerning line, but really we just want to be companions for the rest of our missions. Which really isn`t that unreasonable, since the transfer after this is the last one. 

I`m loving my life!  These last 3 days have been some of the best days of my entire mission, and I`m so excited for the rest of them!

I know that this is the Lord`s work, and that he knows and loves each one of us individually. I know that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and sometimes the tunnel was exactly what you needed to lead you to the light.  He is our Savior and Our Redeemer.  He lived for us, He died for us, and He is ever there for us, waiting with outstretched arms to welcome us into his peace.  I love Him, and am so glad I get to be a part of this work inviting others to come unto Him!

The Church is true!
The Book is blue!

Love, Sister Whitney

This clever restaurant looks like it`s falling down, but in actuality, it`s just a clever ruse. :)  The W's were quite shocked when they first saw it. :)

Tofu McNuggets

How one eats at a Chinese restaurant - at a big round circle table that you just spin and pass things around.

Okonomiyaki making, Hiroshima style with noodles.

A mysterious abandoned park by the roadside.

Me on a giant たんぼ or dragonfly, in said abandoned park.

Me in front of the abandoned park!  (all angles of this park must be included).

Saying goodbye to Eddy Shimai at the eki.

Me, Stevenson Shimai, and Colter Shimai were kind of companions for a few hours at the eki (from 8 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon) waiting for our companions.   We tried to pass out Eikaiwa flyers at the Eki, but got shooed off by the police.  We still managed to contact a few people about the gospel.  And find an imported goods store that sells ROOTBEER. 

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