Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 5th, 2013 email

Mom and Dad,
To start off, I'll say that the week before last we started seeing some growth and success, as we've gotten to know the area, the members, and the investigators. Well, this week there was even more growth and there are a couple people we feel confident in inviting them to be baptized.
Last Tuesday was certainly a unique experience. We planned to work around the area then go to visit a part-member couple. We ended up leaving late so it was getting pretty dark as we biked a few miles down a highway (that's one thing I've forgotten to mention: it gets really dark really early--at about 8pm). So we're going down this overgrown sidewalk adjacent to the highway, dodging plants and garbage that we can barely see. Being human, I didn't see this one bush hanging over the railing and in the way of the path. It ended up swiping me across the left arm and cut me a bit, and left some really awesome looking scratches. I have pictures, so you'll see. We go on and visit this less-active man with an investigator wife. They really like the missionaries but the wife is afraid to associate with them because of her parents.

WEDNESDAY didn't go as planned mainly because of my bike. We had scheduled a lesson at the church in the morning with a couple members joining us, but the investigator didn't show up. We had to walk to get there and walk back. On the way back, we picked up a can of air that you push into a tie valve and fills it up. We were going to patch the tire and fill it in about 30 minutes. It turned out that the can actually fills your tire with air and some weird liquid. It was easy to find the holes with liquid spilling out of them, but it made a mess that we had to clean up. All-in-all it took about 2 hours and my tire was still flat.
THURSDAY we took our bikes to the church to look for tools to take the wheel off. There we found one of our potential investigators. He was in the parking lot spraying his car and the asphalt with a hose.We had an impromptu lesson with him in the church. After we finish and he leaves, we find a wrench to take the wheel off and take just the wheel and tube back to the bike shop. We get there and find that same guy from the church there, just chilling with the shop owner. He's everywhere, I tell you!

On Saturday we had a lesson at the house of an investigator who we knew from the area.We get to his house, way out, and outside his door are dozens and dozens of cigarette butts. No matter! We knocked on his door and he invited us in. We find dozens of cigarette butts on the floor, which are made of woven straw. He gave us brand new socks and a brand new box of laundry detergent. He's a really nice guy and seems to be ready to be challenged to be baptized, except the fact that he's struggling with quitting smoking.

Now a random paragraph of other little things: The milk here is really creamy. Even the low fat milk tastes like it could be whole milk. There are bazillions of cicadas. They're loudest in the morning but they chirp all day long. You rarely see them as they stay in trees and bushes for the most part. When we climbed the mountain during the last day at the mission home, we saw a giant centipede eating a cicada! Whoever designed the road-side rain gutters should not be allowed in the celestial kingdom. Essentially, on either side of the road, there's just a big, foot-wide, cement chasm that the rain falls into and flows through. For driveways, there are either secure, cement squares or loose, metal plates bridging the gap. If you were to be riding your bike and fell into one, it'd be a very bad day. Though there are tons of people that ride bikes, there's not much room, if any, on some streets. Main roads usually have wide sidewalks, though. The cars drive by a couple feet to your right and the rain chasms a couple feet to your left make it pretty nerve-racking, especially at night. I've been in some crazy spots on the road at less than desirable times of the day with less than desirable weather that would probably cause you to have a panic attack if you saw for yourself. I'm a big person in a place built for small people.Teenage and young adults seem to have never seen a tall, white person before; it's almost like I'm a celebrity.

I actually haven't encountered any strange food that I'd be less than enthusiastic to eat. Everything I've had has been delicious! My comma usage and sentence structure are fading since I'm around Japanese all the time. The word "eh"is just a silly thing that is equivalent to ending a sentence in Japanese with ね (ne), which they do a lot.

Everything is great. Investigators and prospects are looking good and we seem to discover a new one every day. My companion and I are getting a long great.The branch members are very kind. They're all so willing to participate in a lesson and every week there's some nice food left in the fruit box. The area is huge and it's a great landscape. We're actually surrounded be "mountains" that are really just large hills. The weather has begun to include much more rain and thunderstorms. I love it! Bogedahl Choro says he hasn't experienced a typhoon while in Japan. I probably won't see any this typhoon season since we're pretty far inland. I guess I'll have to hope I'll be by the coast next year!


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