Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This week was pretty great!

Tokyo Temple
Hello everyone!

I've officially been out for 3 months now! And I've been in Japan for a month. Where is time going???? Actually, three months doesn't sound all that long...but next month it'll be 4 months..and that sounds like 
a lot! Which makes me feel like I don't have much time left! And I still have sooooooo much more to learn...especially nihongo!

This week was pretty great. We were sooo busy. I don't actually know what happened to the week. We traveled all over our area and out of it too! We had a couple meetings and lots of eikaiwa (ed. note: English) classes and...oh yeah...we were on TV!!!!!!! 

They are running a commercial for our English classes and sister Orton and I get to be the poster children. Sister Orton just corrected me and said "you" hahahaha. What makes that really funny is that I barely say anything on the commercial. I wasn't quite sure what was going on...but at the end I smile and look into the camera and say "come learn English with us..it'll be fun!" The commercial starts showing this week so we will see if more people come to class Friday...

Orton Shemai and me in front of the Tokyo Temple
Today was temple p-day. That's why there was no email yesterday. It was super fun! After the temple I got to see almost everyone from my MTC district!! It was sooo fun! It was an “Alma 17: 2-3 moment.” Dopp shimai was there and I was just so happy to see her. It may have been a tearful reunion haha. Then we went out to eat with her and her companion and then we spent a little time in the city.

Downtown Shibuya
Shibuya is crazy! There are soooo many people and it smells really bad. I've become pretty sensitive about stuff that never bothered me before too. All the media that surrounded us was showing off alcohol and trying to make smoking look cool. And the way the girls who worked in the clothing stores dressed! Oh my goodness! Every single one of them looked the same and were hardly wearing anything. I just felt sooo bad for them! I wanted to tell them they are worth more than that! I think I'm spoiled over here in Oyumino. It's so family friendly! And I have yet to see a poster trying to sell alcohol.

So a couple weeks back I think I told about S San; the old lady who found us in the park. Well, we have been meeting with her each week. And this past week we gave her a Book of Mormon. It was the greatest 
thing ever! Based on her reaction you would've thought we had given her a new car or she had one a five day cruise. She was SO excited! I have not seen someone that excited before. And she was soooo excited to read it too. We would ask her to read a paragraph or a verse and she would finish it and then would say "I'm just gonna read the next one too, ok?" I can't wait to see her next week. I wouldn't be surprised if she has already finished the Book of Mormon. One of my other favorite moments of our lesson was when we told her Christ came to the Americas too. Her response "What? I didn't know that! How did I not know that!?" There was no question of if it happened or not. Just a question of how in the world did she not know that. How awesome!

So at the beginning of eikaiwa we teach pronunciation. On Friday we worked on "L" and "R". It was pretty funny. River and liver, fry and fly, and brush and blush each sounded like they were saying the same word. I would say River and Liver. And then they would repeat after me reeber and reeber. I had them do that one quite a few times. Then we went to fRy and fLy and they repeated after me fw-eye and fw-eye. It was pretty funny. Most of the Friday class is older people too. So there are all these little old nihonjin trying so hard to say the words correctly. And when they think they have said it right they are SOOO excited! I love it.

My other exciting story for the week: my bicycle bit me!!! There is a picture included for you all to see. I finally got my bike home...after going an entire transfer without it and how does it thank me?? By attacking me!

Bike bite!

Our bishop gave a talk at a baptism that was held this week. He said something that I really liked: just because you are baptized doesn't mean that the hard times stop. It means that you now have brothers and sisters within the church to help and support you AND you have this gospel to help you and support you. You may become very ill, or you may have an accident or you family may get ill BUT I can promise that God will always support you and that you now have brothers and sisters that will support you too.

Isn't that great? It's so true too. And I think sometimes people don't realize that. Hard times are just part of life. And we all will have hard times. That's just how it is. But we are promised we won't be given anything we can't handle. What if challenges and trials are actually blessings in disguise?? We learn and grow from them and become stronger and better people when we overcome them! And the best part is that we don't have to go at it alone. Heavenly Father is always there for us. And because of the atonement Christ knows exactly what we are going through. And then we also have the church which is a giant support system!

Well that's all for now! I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week.

Sister Molinari

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy late Valentine's Day!

17 February 2014 Chiba, Japan

What did you all do? I hope everyone got lots of chocolate!

By Friday we were once again knee deep in snow! Orton shimai and I decided to brave the cold and slush and went out anyways. First we went to a members home (who had invited us over for dinner a few weeks ago) and "heart attacked" their door.  They have two little girls so we taped some candy and princess stickers to the door as well. Then we ding dong ditched. Nihongo de it is called "ping pong dashu." After that we did some housing (door to door). And After roughly 250 no thank you/ kekko/ I'm about to take a bath responses we finally found someone who wanted to hear a little bit more about what we teach! We gave her a plan of salvation pamphlet and are going to come back later to talk about what she reads! We were very excited.

Sunday it was almost 50 degrees! Hopefully we are out of our cold spell...the rest of the week calls for no snow. I'm ready for spring. And cherry blossoms!! 

On Sunday we had Sunday school in spango! There is a large group of Peruvians and Brazilians here in Chiba. Since Orton Shimai and I can understand and speak some we have decided to help the less actives come back to church. It's hard for them because they don't get anything out of church. They speak Spanish or Portuguese and church is in nihongo. No good for them. So we have started holding Sunday school in Spanish. Now we just need to get more people to come! Roselly, who we taught last week, is going to help us too. She is great! She had us over for dinner this week. She is a great cook! After dinner we got to share a message about temples. It was fun to hear why temples are important to everyone. And we have a goal to all go together next month.

Our Relief Society President
This week we also had a music festival. It was soooo much fun! Our relief society president was in it. She plays the electric guitar!!! And then there is another family who has a band! One of our eikaiwa students also came and he brought his family! His little boy who isn't even in school yet played a beautiful classic piece on the spot on the piano. It was soooo fun. All 8 of the missionaries also sang but I don't think we really compared to everyone else...

A few of my favorite moments of the week:

While we were housing on Valentine’s Day we knocked on a door and this very old man answered. As Orton shimai talked to him he kept looking at me. I think he was a little smitten. He just could stop looking at my eyes. I made sure to open them extra big and smile extra sweet. When he finally said he wasn't interested he gave me this "I'm so sorry" look. It was pretty funny.

About an hour after that we were at another apartment. We ping- ponged a door, waited and then went on to the next. We ping- ponged that one as well, waited and were about to leave when we heard a voice coming from the first box. Then within seconds a voice started coming from the other box! Orton shimai was trying to speak to the first box so I decided I could handle the other one. I walked over and the lady
inside the house was just babbling away! Based on her tone it sounded like she was reprimanding the mystery ringers. She just went on and on! Luckily Orton shimai came over and saved me. Of course...the lady wasn't interested.

And here are a few funny moments this week they are brought to you by Orton shimai.

Conversation with Orton shimai-
Me: ok mamacita
Orton shimai: I don't know what that means
Me: it's what you call someone who is good looking
Orton shimai: oh...so like baby mama.
Me: hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaa

At eikaiwa (English class) Orton shimai was writing all our students’ dream jobs on the board. As she wrote them they got progressively worse. My favorite had to have been when she spelled pilot p-i-o-l-e-t and then tried to spell pirate, but spelled parrot instead. I was standing up front with her by the board and could not stop laughing. The nihonjin found that quite funny.

Clearly we are qualified to be teaching English...

We'll that is all for this week. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Love you! 

Sister Molinari

Monday, February 10, 2014

We Got iPads!

10 February 2014 Chiba, Japan

Hello from freezing-cold-covered-in-snow Chiba!

So after 3 beautiful weeks of almost spring it got cold. I think last Thursday to be exact. Then on Friday we woke up and there was snow on the ground! It was just a dusting and we weren't too worried about it.

Saturday morning we wake up to a pretty hard snow fall! It just keeps snowing and snowing...and snowing. By Sunday I think we had gotten around 8 inches!!! Church was canceled and the trains weren't running so after studying all morning we went around and shoveled driveways and got people unstranded. I really hate snow but As much as I don't like it I am so, so grateful for the dendō (ed note: service) opportunities it has presented.

I wish I could've gone around and videoed what people were using to shovel snow. Chiba doesn't get snow so they were totally unprepared! As we walked around we saw dust pans, garden trowels, hoes and dirt shovels being used. We used dirt shovels too. Sister Halverson and I had a rough time using them. Little people have little things. Their shovels came to our hips! There was a lot of extra bending being done. But it was totally worth it! The Nihonjin couldn't believe we just wanted to help!

This morning we got another opportunity to help. As we were eating breakfast we heard a car lose control. He was going backwards instead of forwards and we could hear the tires being run bare as he tried to move. We decided to go help him. Well sister Halverson and I did. Our companions followed later. So we go out and push him out of the road. It was soooo hard! The road was completely covered in ice! We had no traction and our feet would slip every time we tried to push. I said a little prayer in my head that we needed help and immediately the car began to move! We got the guy safely turned around and he headed back home. I think he decided wherever he was going wasn't worth going to today. He was also wearing sandals and socks. Not really dressed for the weather...

This week we taught a mini lesson on someone's door step. A San had three kids and still looked like she could be in high school! Nihonjin women do not age. They can have 5 kids and still look like they are in 
their 20's. And then...I think they wake up one day and are old. But not until they hit 60 or 70. Anyways, A San had the cutest kids! I played with them and tried to keep them from distracting their mother while sister Orton taught. We invited her to church and asked if we could meet again. She said she was really busy and sister Orton was just gonna take that as the answer when I said " tell her we can meet her in the park one day!" I had no idea what was going on in the conversation ( they don't teach you " no thank you" nihongo in the MTC) but the thought popped into my head to say that so I did! Turns out it was the perfect thing to say. 
We also got to teach a lesson in English to a less active member over in Goi. That was great. It was sooo nice to finally be teaching again. The spirit was really strong in the lesson and Roselly asked when we could come back! We were going to go Sunday night but because of the snow we couldn't. We rescheduled for Thursday. I cannot wait!

So every week we teach Eikaiwa (ed note: English class) on Thursday. And every other Friday we 
teach a second class in Goi. So this last Friday it was our turn to go. The theme of the day was friends. Two of the words were girl friend and boyfriend. Well later on during class we split into groups and one of my group members was an old man. The other an old woman- or as they like to refer to themselves: obasans or grandmas! So we were practicing sentences "it seems like..." And it " looks like..." They made sentences for me. My two favorites were " it sounds like your voice is like an angel" and "you look like a movie star." Of course I loved it. 

So, after we were all sentenced  out the old man starts asking me about the lesson earlier and what a girl friend and boy friend were considered in America. Boy was that an exciting conversation! I couldn't believe some of the things he said! My eyes were huge! All I could do was laugh. My favorite question of his had to be "when is you a lover?" Hahaha it was a great conversation.

Well, that is all for this week. Keep your fingers crossed for all the poor Nihonjin who have never driven in snow before...they need all the help they can get! They don't understand the concept of driving slowly in snow and on icy roads...we keep watching them go sliding off the road. We have a prime spot to watch from the apartment!

I love you all!

Sister Molinari

Church Building

This is the Chiba Ward building. Isn't it beautiful?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Where is time going?

3 February 2014 Oyumino, Chiba, Japan

Good Morning everyone!!

Today one of the Sisters in the apartment told me that we are already half way through our first transfer! I can't believe it! Time is flying by. I totally understand what people mean when they say that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. At the end of the week I have no idea where it went! But days can be very long sometimes...usually the cold ones...

Our new apartment finally has all the furniture in it! We put together our desks and tables and book shelves. It's great ‘cuz now everything that was on the floor is now where it should be. It is great. Certain people in the apartment are much happier now too...

So, I don't have much to report on. We did a lot of streeting and housing. There wasn't a lot of successful finding though. Everyone loves to talk to us because we are American, but they aren't so interested about church. They are usually interested in free English class though! I love teaching English class. Last week we had a class full of women and they are all so fun. I was also informed that I look like Lola...I'd never heard of her until now. And the girl who was telling me told me she was "moderu." I didn't know what that was, and so she tried to say it in English. Modern. Lola is Modern. And I am modern too apparently. The next day I saw moderu used again and Orton shimai told me it means model! So lola is a model! And I look like one too! That makes a lot more sense! This week at Eikaiwa I'm going to tell Rida I figured it out!

Funny story of the week: We were housing on Saturday (i think) and rang lots of peoples door bells. Here in Chiba, it isn’t really a thing to actually answer the door. As we walked away I saw some motion in a window on one of the upper stories of the apartment complex. I took a step back and made eye contact with a lady peering out of her window! Boy was her face funny! She'd been caught! Her eyes were huge and her mouth dropped open and she quickly closed her curtain. Maybe she thought I didn't see her... I got a pretty good laugh out of it though.

Oh, also at Eikaiwa (English class) we were talking about fall and autumn. I pulled out my pictures to show them what fall looks like in NY. The picture next to the trees is of my brother, Kristoffer (the one serving a mission in Tahiti). The teenage girls thought he was pretty "kawaii" and when I told some of the older ladies who he was I said oto san. Well, I should have said ototo. What I said was "Kristoffer is my father." And I spent the next 5 minutes telling them "yes, really he is" hahaha then I realized what I had said and their disbelief made much more sense haha

Japan is great. I love it here. All the trees and plants have buds, and I saw our first robin a few days ago! I'm so excited for spring! I love the Church members here. They are amazing! They love missionaries and they love missionary work. They have what we call "dendo fire". I am really excited to work with them while I am in Oyumino. I love going to church on Sunday too! Even though I don't understand much, I can still feel the spirit and the ward members are so nice to me too.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Sister Molinari