Mom and Dad,
Here's the end of my first full week in Ako. We had a pretty good week! It was kind of busy with two kokans and other stuff, but it all worked out well.
Last week following prep day we had a shokuji at the branch president's house. It was a 'Welcome Wilson Choro, Congratulate Akira (the branch president's grandson who just became a deacon that week), and Fellowship Noel Kyodai (less active) Party'. That's quoting the branch president's description of it. They live far away in Aioi, another city in Ako area, as do basically all the members. So it took quite a bit of time to get to and from, but was really great.
Tuesday we had a kokan. Hayashi Choro came here to work with me. I discovered that there are indeed Japanese people that don't act Japanese at all. Hayashi Choro is kind of crazy, but waaay fun: he is way mellow and spiritual when he needs to be, though. It made for a really great kokan. Later in the evening we had a lesson with an investigator that recently got back from summer break. He had only been investigating a couple weeks when he left for break, but he remembered basically everything he was taught prior. The lesson wasn't planned super well because Anderson Choro took the plan we wrote to Himeji, but it was led by the Spirit and went very well.
The next day I met another investigator for the first time. He's up there in years--somewhere around 80, I think. He's been Catholic for a long time, but admitted he doesn't really understand what's taught at church and mainly just goes because his family's been doing it for a long time. He seems to want to join this church because it makes more sense to him and it's easier to understand what we teach, but his wife is super Catholic and won't likely let him. He also has a big responsibility every week at that church because the priest guy left some time ago.
Thursday we had two lessons. One with a former investigator who decided to start investigating again. He, too, is already Christian and likes to learn about other sects. He had tons of really great questions, too! I love investigators that ask questions since you can tell they're trying to learn, want to learn, and are actually involving themselves in the lesson. The other lesson was with the same guy from Tuesday. This time we taught with a thoroughly written lesson plan! At the end we extended a date and he accepted! He'll be working toward being baptized on November 1st!
Friday we had the second kokan and this time I went to Himeji. It's a pretty decent-sized city. It reminds me a lot of Kyoto actually: city-like, but not ridiculously so. It was nice to be in a city again! The best part of the kokan was that one of the four elders there was in my MTC district and the two of us have almost never seen each other in the field. After the day was over we got to chat and catch up about all the happenings. Oh, the zone leaders also came from Akashi to kokan, so we had six elders in a rather small apartment. The two of them ended up sleeping in the kitchen. I had to do that once in Yonago, so I probably can imagine how well they slept.
On Saturday, back in Ako, we had a lesson with another investigator. This time it was an old woman. She's probably one of the kindest, most sincere people I've met! The only issue is she likes to talk about WW2 a lot. To the extent that a 10-minute lesson plan becomes an hour lesson. We also had a ping pong activity to which our new shigansha came. Then after that we visited a family in the branch, shared a message, and they kindly gave us two referrals! THAT is how dendo needs to happen more often! Not only in Japan but all over the world. That's what Welch Kaicho has been stressing to us since he's come: work with the members to establish the church!
Lastly, on Sunday, the main thing that happened is our shigansha came to church! All three hours, too! In Ako, we actually do the hours in reverse order because everyone lives far away and won't make it to Sacrament Meeting if it's not the last hour. No matter, church is always great!
Responses to your question:
Some units in Japan have Primary Programs. Mainly just the ones that have enough kids to do one. Even then each kid will have to do two or three parts.
Okay! That's all I have for this week! Give everyone my best!