The yabai (dangerous) S dinner- On Thursday we had Zone Training, which pushed back our lunch til way later than usual (we usually eat at 11, we ate at or 3). So we went to Ishiiya and bought and scarfed down $13 of bread each (pretty impressive for shimai.) And then we went to discuss some dendo (contacting) with Y shimai (sister) who...fed us. So we were in a little pain. But we thought, "Hey, we've got and hour and a half til our dinner appointment. We'll be fine." Umm....WRONG. As S shimai brought out plates and plates and plates of food for just the two of us, my heart broke a little as I realized there was no way in Heaven or jigoku (Hell) that I would be able to down even half of this food. But culture is culture; and you eat what you are given. So we tried. We tried really, really hard.
But S shimai noticed us slowing down. My companion asked to used the bathroom (NOT okay to do if something's not horribly wrong) And then she asks us if we're okay and we insist we're fine. She goes into the other room to grab something (more food; as it would happen) and I grab tissues and started sneakily stuffing food from my plate into the tissues and then stuffing those tissues into my bag (when I pulled them out later that night; I realized I'd stuffed about 10 in my bag in the space of a few minutes-a proud moment). But we were fine, really. Then she brought out the dessert; the famous S jelly. I'm working on mine. B shimai has one more bite. I finish and start introducing the spiritual message. I turn to pass it to B shimai. Her plate is empty; and her face is alarmed. "I need to go to the bathroom," she says.
While she's going (AGAIN) they ask me, "Is she okay??" Yes, she's fine, I assure them. She comes out looking much less alarmed. We share the spiritual message, say our goodbyes, and get on our bikes. I turn to her. "I'm gonna throw up," I say. "I already did," she replies.
So long story short we bike home (the PAIN) and I say"Okay, let's plan. Hold that thought; we're planning in 5 minutes. I'll be right back." So I go and up comes the jelly. I come back out, "Let's plan," I say. "Nope, round two...!!!!" she says.
It was a memorable experience.
And who was it that took us to visit LAs the next day, and took us to a BUFFET when we could barely even LOOK at food? Yep, S shimai.
But all in all going out with S shimai the next day was an excellent experience. We visited the LA (less active, meaning they haven't been to church in a while) H shimai, who as a result of her husband's DV (domestic violence) had a bit of a seishinteki na byouki (mental illness). She hugged me the first time she met me- I'm NOT accustomed to that. We sang for her and the Spirit was so strong and she cried. It was so nice to get to visit with her, it did so much good for her and her son (also a victim of DV). Have I ever mentioned that Japan has made me passionate about a few things? Proper diagnosis (and TREATMENT) of mental illness and governmental punishment for DV. Because those are the kinds of things we as missionaries have to deal with a LOT.
Ah, mission life.
The hatachi party- SO 20 in Japan is a big age- it's when you become an adult and there is a HUGE ceremony (like prom but more boring) where the guys are in suits and the girls in kimonos (and us in our awkward missionary getup- R kaicho (president) nixed the kimono wearing) and we were invited as well (well, me and K shimai." So we went on a split with N and W choro elder to the Tomizawa station where there were HUNDREDS of 20 year old's standing in their little groups of friends screaming in high pitch voices or being tools and creeping on me and K shimai. I won't go into detail on that part; but let's just say that a certain white 5'9 shimai almost did some damage on some punk tool sheds. You didn't need to be a Nihonjin Japanese to know what they were saying...directly to our faces. I about slapped someone. But my best friend the mother hen N choro (AP) body blocked them and sheperded us to safer areas....blech some of the guys here are filthy gross (and they have the shaved-side, orange-dyed, clown-topped hair that only Mexicans can rock. Like SIR I HATE TO INFORM YOU BUT YOU ARE JAPANESE AND THAT DOES NOT WORK.)
But anyway the speeches were not too kando sareru (enlightening?) but I got to chat with N choro the whole time which was the BEST. One of my best friends has dated his best friend and we're both pretty real-talking people. It was a good time.
We found K! He's 21 and he loves hymns and is studying Christianity and wanted to come to church with us! Then when we pulled out an Eikaiwa chirashi (English class flyer) to show him the map of where it was and he said "YOU TEACH ENGLISH TOO?! Oh I REALLY want to go!!!" So all in all even thought that day was conclusively the MOST CREEPED OUT I'VE BEEN, it was worth it! Ah the sacrifices we make for dendo (contacting). My father sacrificed his hair by getting a perm; and well...I don't sacrifice my hair but I sacrifice!
But sacrifices truly bring miracles; whether they be sacrifices of time or sacrifices of self, the Lord sees every little thing we do for the benefit of others and He blesses us! The blessings of this gospel outweigh any seeming cost. Through it we know where we came from, for what purpose are we here, how to better thrive in harmony with God through this life, and that our families can be together forever. And that knowledge is priceless.
The work is hard here- at this point T san is our only real investigator (and she's incredibly busy and her husband is hantai (against the church)) and so my poor companion has actually never taught a real lesson to an investigator in all these 6 weeks. Member referrals are essential and they are precious. Please, work with your ward missionaries; they need your help.
Love you all, have a great week! I'll let you know about transfer calls next week (but chances are I'll still be here training!)