Mom and Dad,
It was a crazy week this week--like the first paragraph sort of explains--but I forgot to bring my planner, so I can't remember exactly what we did each day. You probably remember how on missions all the days tend to blend together.
Last week for prep day we did sightseeing in Ako: Ako Castle ruins and Oishi Shrine! It wasn't quite like in Kyoto but still great. We didn't look much at the footings of the castle ruins but we walked a bit around the shrine. They have a bunch of statues of warriors that fought to defend the castle and the shrine lining the main path to the shrine. It's a bit like the terracotta warriors, I imagine, except there are only two dozen-ish.
Tuesday we went out to Aioi; the first time that week. We mainly did housing all day and visited a member right before heading back. The funniest part was one of the last doors we housed. A young boy opened up and looked at us and we asked if his parents were home. They weren't, so we asked him to give a chirashi to them when they get back. After he goes back in and we turn around to house the apartment across from them, we hear the boy scream to his friends, "there are handsome gaijin at the door!" Nobody opened up the door we just housed, but when we started walking down the stairs we heard rustling at the door and looked to find the same boy peeking out. He sees us, yelps, and jumps back in. As we walk away from the building he and his two friends bang on the window and wave at us. They reacted like we just gave them the best surprise present of their lives.
On Friday we had ZTM in Akashi. Best part: Bentley Choro, my MTC companion, and Langford Choro were also there! The training itself from the zone leaders was great but reuniting with the two of them was pretty fantastic, too. Akashi, being on the other side of the zone from Ako, takes a long time to get back from. Right after we got back we had to rush out on our bikes to Aioi (second time) to have a lesson with a LA. The lesson went sooo well. Maybe because it was in English? Don't know but it was great. He had some concerns and we helped him figure them out using scriptures and experiences. We couldn't stay for too long, however, because we had to book it back to Ako for a lesson with our shigansha. It also may or may not have been raining and pitch black, but I'll never tell. That lesson, though we were quite wet and didn't have much time due to his busy schedule, went very well. We also had a member doseki for us and he helped out quite a bit.
The next day, we went out to dinner with the shigansha. We went to a yakitori (grilled chicken) joint by his apartment. The thing about yakitori, it's sooo good. Chicken doesn't really fill me up, but it was really good.
Sunday. Once again, we headed out to Aioi. We didn't actually plan to but at church the branch president gave us a referral, so we headed out to visit him. The referral is actually the older brother of a LA in the branch. He knows the missionaries and members so he invited us right in. He just retired. We talked with him for a while and got to know him. He has two ghost stories from his childhood that were fun to hear. He kept telling us he's very lonely and bored, so we testified a lot to him about how God's always there for him. He agreed to have us come back so we'll be going again this week. Seems like we'll be going to Aioi every week from here on out. Hopefully I get my mountain bike back.
THAT'S how dendo really should go, especially in those places that have a hard time seeing things get off the ground and take flight: build kankei and trust with the members and they will ask you to visit family and friends. Then you go and visit and they're willing to listen because they are fairly familiar with the church. Members and missionaries should always work together. That's how Zion is built! "And they called themselves Zion because they were of one heart and one mind and dwelt in righteousness..."
The kind of ruined slacks are the lone slacks. Should be okay because suit season is coming up and I won't be wearing them anymore.
まぁ、 I guess that's all I have for now. Plus, time is a little short! Give my love to everyone!