Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 17 -- Aomori, Japan


So obaachan means grandma, or old lady. And they LOVE me. But this week it got a LITTLE uncomfy. They think that J and I are WAY PRETTY because we're both super tall (to them at least) blondes. And their accent (we call it obaachan-ben) is REALLY difficult to understand. So we were talking to these two cute old ladies (72 and 80) and one starts complimenting me, gesturing wildly at me while the other grandma just laughed. I asked for clarification and she made hand motions at my chest and continued to speak in emphatic, rapid obaachan-ben. Ummm thanks lady. We left REAL quick. And then we were chatting with these 4 really sweet 10-year old girls who just LOVED us and their neighborhood obaachan, who gave me a love tap on the booty before we left...WHAT ON EARTH?! THIS IS NOT USUAL. But you know what? It's okay. Winter is soon upon us and I'll be bundled up like a marshmallow ALL THE TIME and there will be nothing to tap but layers of coats!
  So now on to the good stuff. We visited a less-active member this week who has not been to the church in many, many years. Apparently it's impossible to get a lesson with her. Well no one told J shimai and I this (and we often just pretend we don’t know things about the language, culture, etc. to get more teaching opportunities;) so we went anyway and visited her totsuzen subtly. We chatted with her and I asked her why she didn’t go to church. She said it was complicated and that she didn’t want a divorce (her husband is a Melchizedek priesthood holder and has apparently turned kind of hantai against the church). We asked her to pray after we had taught about the importance of prayer. She said "I...forgot how. Can you say it first and then I'll repeat it?" So I did. It was just like little kids when the mom whispers in their ear what to say. It was so simple, but the spirit was so strong. As Gordon B. Hinckley said, there is no point in missionary work if we do not retain the fruit of our effort. I know that bringing sheep back into the fold is as important as those that are newly introduced into the gospel. J Shimai and I are working hard to try and strengthen the members in their testimonies so that they can become truly converted unto the Lord. From my own life I've learned that it is then that we obtain true happiness and direction.
  Japanese maps are impossible; and Aomori's "map" is the most difficult that Y Shimai has EVER encountered- so it's hard getting used to. Goodness knows I still struggle with it. Admittedly it's hard to find a specific house when they're not in any order and when THEY HAVE NO NUMBER on them. Tricky stuff. Once we were coming back from a house and it was POURING rain (shocking, I know.) and we really, really needed to get back for Eikaiwa English Conversation Class. So I eventually offered to take us the "other way" back, which was difficult because we were fairly in the middle of who knows where and it was pouring so hard it was difficult to see where we were. I started praying really, really hard that we would be guided back to the church. We got there without a misstep- a pretty rare feat for me. Heavenly Father is certainly watching out for us, and certainly listening to our prayers.
    And Heavenly Father has certainly answered my prayers this week. J Shimai and I have been praying HARD to find someone to teach. Our formerly strong kyudosha investigator Abe-san has near dropped off the face of the Earth and we were left investigator-less. So we prayed and sacrificed things for this 4th quarter, and EXPECTED to see miracles because the Lord promises them to those that have kept themselves worthy. And then the Lord sent us Kamada san. And the Ohta family. And Shiba san. And perhaps Kamada san's wife. And it is a MIRACLE. Once when we were lost (typical...) we stopped off on a random street. There was a house at the end that we felt we needed to go to. We parked our bikes and walked up to the house. The man who answered asked about prophets and invited us in, but we couldn't go in because there was no woman home. We gave him the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and he told us to come back. When we went back on Sunday, he had read the whole pamphlet and gone to the homepage and learned about Joseph Smith, God, the gold plates, and the Kingdoms of Glory. This guy's a stud! And then on Sunday since his wife was home, we were allowed to go inside and talk to them! And then she brought us coffee, which gave us an awesome opportunity to teach about the Word of Wisdom! The wife is "Bukkyo" Buddist and initially had no interest. She wasn't paying attention and was making food or something. Then she said she was listening from the kitchen. And then she finally just came in and joined the discussion, asking as many questions as her husband!  They agreed that the Word of Wisdom was way difficult (he likes sake, tobacco, coffee, tea...) but that it was sure healthy. I bore testimony to them of the blessings that have come to my life from living it, and they told us we could come again. We have such high hopes for those that we are teaching right now. The Lord is blessing and prospering us and absolutely protecting us in all that we do.
   SO I think a certain trend in my weekly emails is my fail of the week (it's embarrassing that there is always CERTAINLY at least one every week). So this one was the incident of the natto fermented beans. If you don’t know what natto is, count your many blessings, name them one by one. It is foul. And I ate a container of it...5 days after I had opened it (because I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it). And it made me straight-up ILL. Gross.

But I love you all, I usually eat normal food, and Heavenly Father blesses us.
Love you all.

Orgill Shimai

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