Dad and Mom (felt like I should switch it up a little bit)
This week was great! At the start we had a lot of appointments for lessons but most of them didn't work out, so we spent a lot of time finding. But, that's okay because Kyoto dendo is so great!
Last week, we went to some pretty famous places. First, Kamigamo Jinja--which is right by the apartment/duplex--then Shimogamo Jinja--which is right by the church; literally right there. They're these two way big Shinto shrines (jinja) complexes. I can already tell I'm going to have a lot of pictures while I'm here!
We did a bit streeting around Kyoto Daigaku--Kyoto University. That was actually way cool. We found someone who has some interest and we got to check out the daigaku while dendo'ing. It was kind of strange though since I've thought pretty seriously about studying there for a semester or two. It'd be a great experience and would look way impressive on resumes. It's the second best college in Japan.
Wednesday morning we had quite a fun time. We're teaching AB lessons to one of the recent converts in the ward. Naturally, there's a member present. That member is sooo funny! He always says or does something that you just don't expect from a Nihonjin. He's rather wealthy and generous because he takes the missionaries and members out to eat frequently and always pays for it. We went with him and the other member to a place called Shakey's. It's an all you can eat pizza place. The best part is that it's American-style pizza! If you ever have tried Japanese pizza, you'll understand why I was so happy.
Later that day, though, was kind of tough. We had two lesson appointments but both of them were cancelled. We ended up spending basically the entire day around the church. We discovered just about everybody around the church is older. Older people in Japan aren't usually very excited when they open the door and see Christians standing there. It was a pretty long day. Nobody really was interested. This one guy, however, talked with us for a little bit. He's one of those old, professor-type people. We left him with a Book of Mormon.
Thursday evening we had a shokuji with a family that is housing a BYU student who's here to teach English for a few months. First, I have to say that it was a very good shokuji. Second, the BYU student is awesome. He's way good at drawing and computer animation and he's pretty funny. He also served in the Houston, Texas Mission a little while ago, so we got to share tons of hilarious mission stories.
Saturday was way fun. In the morning we went to the community center to have one of those family English lessons. The son was in the middle of his Shogi--Japanese chess (I messed up and said "shoji" last week)--class. We went in and everyone there all shouted "gaikokujin!" (foreigner) and rushed to be the first one to play against me. I'm not good at all so naturally the kid that played me--who was way happy to--beat me. He's 10... BUT, I played another kid, and I actually beat him! He was too busy trying to capture my king with an all-out attack, so he didn't notice how I was making a move for his king with two very weak pieces. I was surprised it worked. He was too! After all that we had the English lesson with the mother and son. The son's young but his English is already very good. I was impressed.
Later we had a lesson with the one guy we found last week on the street. The one we had an unplanned lesson with. We were a little concerned because he said last week that he'd be by the church between 4 and 4:30, but he showed up at 4:27. We had a probably one of the best lessons of my mission. He said at one point that he didn't have all that much interest at first but that his interest perked up quite a bit while we were teaching. He said it could possibly be what he's been looking for by studying religion and theology. That's what lessons should feel like.
Sunday was waaay cool! First, one of my Sensei's in the MTC showed up to church! He's actually one of my favorite Sensei's! Apparently he served here in Shimogamo for 7 transfers. We were both way surprised to see each other. He was also surprised at how much better my Japanese was. Being able to talk to him in Japanese this time around was awesome!
After church, we walked around a lot on the streets to find more people. Nobody was particularly willing to talk. We also stopped to house an apartment building. No immediately good prospects from that. After finding we had to head to a members house for a shokuji with the other choro's and some members. We got close to their house a bit earlier than we expected so we stopped to house another apartment building. Nothing prospective was coming from that either....until the very last door. It's ALWAYS the last door. Remember a few weeks ago how I said on a kokan in Kurayoshi that we had a door contact (the first door, that time) in which we said things we don't normally say in our contacts, and were let into the apartment. Then I said we totally knew it was guided by the Spirit. That last door was just like that. We talked about things we don't normally do in contacts and did so on the spot. He said we could come back the next week! I think I'm finally starting to get this down!
And of course, the shokuji was great! My MTC sensei was also there, so it was even more special.
So my first full week in Shimogamo was pretty great! Maybe I'll end up like my Sensei and serve here for 7 transfers!
Shogi is kinda similar to chess in that some of the pieces move in similar manners, but when you look at it as a whole it's way harder. Biggest difference: you can put pieces you took from your opponent and use them. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of strategies!
Basically anywhere in the mission is hot and humid (100 degrees, 100% humidity) in the summer and cold and dry/drier (25 degrees, 60% humidity) in the winter.
That's all I have for this week. I've taken quite a bit of time because Mineta Choro only takes maybe 45 minutes to email then watches Mormon Messages and Bible Videos. He asks me to translate some since his English isn't perfect.
Thanks for all the spiritual thoughts and emails you've sent me over this last 13 months! I know you're all busy and could be doing other things, so I really am thankful! Also thanks for all the other many things you've done for me to get me here and since I got here! Give my best to everyone--and keep some for yourselves, of course!