Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 26th, 2013 email

Mom and Dad,

This week wasn't quite as eventful as some of the other weeks, but it was still great. We've been teaching many more lessons per week than have been taught in Nishiwaki over the past couple years. So, we may not make all Standards but we've certainly turned this area around in terms of how much success it's seen.

We started off the week well on Monday by getting a new investigator who was actually an old yakusokusha--investigator with a baptismal date--but ended up not getting baptized and stopped meeting with the missionaries because he's had a rough life and problems with the Word of Wisdom. It seems like this area has lots of people who were at some point yakusokusha but then dropped out. This time around, he seems much happier. He's another one of those people that's old and never married and lives alone or with their parent(s). There are actually quite a few people like that in Japan.

On Tuesday we had an appointment with a potential investigator that fell through, so we biked out to find a former investigator. He either no longer lives there or the coordinates in the navigation are wrong. We decided to knock on doors while we were out there and tract these nearby modern houses that stuck out because all the other houses in the area are traditional houses. We actually only ended up knocking on one door because the young woman came out and talked with us for a while. She's really interested in learning about the church and wants to meet with us, but her mother doesn't want her involved in anything to do with religion. The real point of the story is that when we did the companion exchange the previous week, Bogedahl and our DL had a lesson with a young woman who was really interested in the church. So, Bogedahl had been praying really fervently that we'd find a young person because the one he taught was really interested and the lesson was really great. Well, after all had been planned and not worked out, the very next person we talked to was a young person who had a lot of interest. Prayer works.

On Wednesday I popped my tire again... Don't worry! it wasn't as bad. I ended up running over a rain chasm because it was dark and I couldn't see; however, I ran perpendicular over it rather than parallel so my tires took a good knocking. This was actually in the same area I popped my tire the last time. This time it didn't all pop immediately. It made a small hole and as we were riding back I noticed it was unusually hard to ride. Then I went over a little bump and heard an audible popping sound and the air quickly escaped; however, my trainer was ahead of me and I couldn't get his attention. When he stopped at a light and looked back to see me, he didn't, so he waited and I caught up. Since we had made it that far, I said I was fine riding back on the flat, so we did. Which sucked. I kept my weight shifted to the front to not ruin the rim entirely, so my whole body hurt by the end of the ride. The next day when we patched it it was easy--so it's fine again. The rim isn't even in bad shape from riding on a flat!

On Friday we had another companion exchange, except this time I went to Miki and Bogedahl stayed here. The thing about Miki is it's never really seen success, even with Barney長老, whose an amazing DL, and his trainee. I was assigned with Barney. We set goals and worked hard to achieve them and we saw miracles. One was with a family who use to meet with the missionaries. When we visited them, the mother was very kind and accepted to meet with the missionaries again. While housing the complex we even had fun with these kids that we were hiding from because they remember Barney and wanted to bug him. Second-we ran into these two Vietnamese girls who were just walking by and wanted to speak in English. The two of them aren't good at English, but they're decent in Japanese. We ended up having to communicate in Japanese, which wasn't any of our first languages, and they accepted a teaching appointment! The Lord really does make anything possible if it's expedient for the progression of the Gospel. Also, while on the exchange, we could see a lightning storm way off in the distance over Nishiwaki--we saw all the bolt strikes and everything! When we met up again to exchange back, Bogedahl and Crook talked about how they had a lesson in the lighting. Cool stuff.

"Mata raishu"--また来週--is, effectively, "see you next week" or "until next week" and "dendo"--伝道--is "proselyting", so effectively missionary work. Hakujin--白人--is a white person. The sheep revelation is our ultimate goal and the other goals we set, as well as the Standards, are there to raise our vision and help us become the perfect missionaries, the makoto no deshi we can be.

One more thing I keep forgetting to mention: there are vending machines EVERYWHERE. There are literally machines at about every corner and building. They look a lot different from American ones, but it's actually kind of convenient when you need a drink. I don't know if they're all owned by their respective companies, or the government put them there, or individual people and store owners buy and place them for another source of income, but it's weird. Also, since it's not illegal here, a lot of cars have LED under glow or side glow or some sort of alternative lights of different colors for decoration on their cars. Even "semi's" have them. I put the quotation marks because even the semis are small. Most commonly the lights are blue or green. Some cars even have entirely different colored head lights. It actually looks pretty cool, especially on the cool cars.

In church yesterday, they mentioned a new thing about "super missionaries." Would any of you be familiar with that and if it's going on in America? If so, I'd like to hear more. But anyways, give my love to everyone!


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