Mom and Dad,
Sakura's--I'm sure you've heard of--are these pinkish, white flowers that bloom on trees. They only last a couple weeks, then they die. It's so special here in Japan that McDonald's sells sakura-teriyaki burgers and sakura soda. I ate them for the experience. :)
We had to completely replace the brakes on our bikes because none of them were working. Eversole Choro doesn't really know how to do it so I did all 8 brake pads. My hands were waaay dirt by the end, but I liked it. You know how I am with taking things apart and putting them back together. Like the BYU ME motto: If it's not broken, take it apart and fix it!
We had a couple lessons with the two seishinbyo's that meet with us regularly. We need to search and find more people that want to follow their Savior. We also had a lesson with the recent convert. Explaining patriarchal blessings in Japanese is very difficult--much harder than I thought it'd be. Just saying it in Japanese is hard: shukufukushi no shukufuku (pronounced 'shkufkushi no shkufku); however, he was thrilled at the idea of having a personalized guide just for his life.
Friday we had ZTM. Basically this mission is surpassing all the other missions in Japan. After the training plan to help us learn to work by relying on Christ and then the two week training plan to teach us who Christ is, we're now starting the training part based around then-Elder Heber J Grant's 1903 prophesy that one day the work in Japan will astonish the world and it will be one of the most successful places for the work in the world. Now, using our knowledge of the Savior and how we can rely on Him, the next plan is to "astonish the world." If you look at everything that's been happening in Japan, especially in the Kobe mission, Kaicho really believes that this is the start of it all. Not to mention that "Kobe" means "God's Door". These next three months are going to be intense.
Another crazy change that's come about--I don't think it's that crazy because I've thought about this a few times before--is the shimai missionaries are going to focus basically all their efforts on reactivating less-actives. On Shikoku, the big island in our mission, they've been pushing to make a stake by reactivating LA's to get enough active members for a stake. Some missionaries are even assigned as "stake missionaries" to do just that. In the last few months it sounds like almost all the necessities have been finished and the stake will be here soon! Now, since there are so many LA's all around Japan, Kaicho has decided shimai with focus on bringing them back. Hopefully it won't be long before there will be an announcement in GC for a Kobe Japan Temple!
Oh yeah, on Friday we had to take Eversole Choro's bike to the shop because one of the shifter gears completely fell off and got lost. It'll take a week to replace.
At church, this couple who are good friends with a few people in the branch came by. The guy is actually from Holland and he's half-Turkish...or maybe a quarter? Not sure, but he's probably one of the coolest people I've met. After Sacrament Meeting, we talked with him during Sunday School and Priesthood Quorum,and then another hour and a half after church! I don't know if he's interested in becoming a member, but he really likes Mormons. He has many philosophies/outlooks on life that are the same as what we believe. Today we went with him, his fiancee, and the shimai to the yakiniku place.
" I guess the scripture "men's hearts shall fail them" is literally being fulfilled." Holy cow.
Yes, we have to wait a week for general conference. It all has to be translated to Japanese, then sent to the Stakes.
I'm excited for President Grant's prophecy to kick in and that I'm part of the force that's kick-starting it. I hope I can see it in much greater scale before I go home. It'll be my dream come true!