Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 12th, 2013 email

Mom and Dad,

Tuesday was Zone大会 (taikai), or Zone Conference, so we traveled back down to Kobe for that (it's about a 2 hour trip involving two trains and a bus from the station to the mission home). We ran into a few other elders also headed there so we all got to chat while riding the bus. Zone Conference here involves three zones all meeting at the same time. The three for this one were Kobe, Kobe West--Akashi, and Fukuchiyama (mine). All-in-all there were about 30 missionaries present. The first half of 大会 was a couple of presentations from the medical and mental health advisers for the Asia North area. Then we had lunch and went on to the spiritual part of 大会 and the training. President Zinke's the man! The stuff he spoke about was great and after him we got to hear the testimonies of all the missionaries from those three zones who are leaving after this transfer or the next. Basically 大会 is super awesome. One of the new procedures in place is that the missionaries study every morning at the church. It's actually great timing because the AC in our apartment went out, so studying in the heat was awful.

Wednesday and Thursday went pretty normal. We have, however, been having tons more success in the area. We didn't do any intense 'finding' because we were busy teaching a bunch of lessons and visiting other potential investigators and referrals. One referral was really solid and we're teaching the two of them every week.

Friday started out REALLY fun. There's this singing group called Harmony that's popular in Japan. Apparently they sang at a hospital and one of the patient's dying wish is to get their CD's and listen to them. The hospital is in our area and the bishop of Bogedahl長老's last ward is friends with people in the group. So he called us up and we met him Friday morning to deliver the CD's to her son who also is in the area. Long story short, we drove WAY out far to where we'd never have time to bike to and delivered CD's to the son. Cool little tidbit: we delivered them to him at his workplace which is a sake factory. He gave us each an information brochure about the sake his plant makes. Then the bishop dropped us back off. He also gave us trail mix and A&W! Never did I think I'd get that in Japan! Thank you, Costco!

Then came Saturday. I'll be surprised if I have a better day at anytime on my mission than I had that day. The morning was normal with studying but, once it was afternoon time, it picked up. We had planned to go out and visit that one investigator that lives way out about an hour or so by bike. So, because of that, we weren't able to make time for anything else that evening and were pretty bummed, especially since 大会 was Monday and we had not been able to proselyte. We hit the road, stopped by a 7 Eleven (which are surprisingly everywhere) to get some drinks for the long trip. Our investigator had called us right before we left and said that there'd be another guy there who's interested in the church, so it became a referral contact as well! Then, as we were biking along, we stopped at a red light and a man on a bike came up to us. He was really excited and told us how he had met the missionaries a year ago but couldn't meet with them because he didn't have time, but now he has time and wanted to meet with us. A new investigator, entirely out of the blue! Overall, the long ride didn't even feel that long. Finally, at the house of the person we were visiting, we ate and drank the stuff they gave us to relieve us of the long ride, then we talked for a while, bore our testimonies, and the guy she had invited over said he'd like to meet with us and learn more. New investigator! Also, this woman and her husband are some of the nicest people ever (refer back to story of being taken to yakiniku restaurant). At some point the woman left the room, and all of the sudden she comes back in with two huge bags of McDonald's: she had gone and bought food for us all, and the two of us each gratefully received of a large Big Mac combo. So happy. They also ended up giving us the glasses from the McDonald's purchase, mats for our bedding that keeps it cool, and a large watermelon. We really got spoiled that night. But that's not all. While in the lesson, a former investigator whom Bogedahl also knew from his last area called us and said he wanted to take us to that night's まつり festival. When we got back to Nishiwaki, he was waiting for us with his car, and we went to the festival for a little while. After the festival, we had an impromptu lesson with him in the church and he said he'll meet with us more. Another new investigator! Just goes to show you that the Lord can do anything in any amount of time. If you sacrifice the time, He'll make it worth while. He'll even lead those who are ready to teach to you. Pretty big week. I'm excited for this next week.

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