Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Over the tracks.

23 June 2014 Oyumino Chiba

I opened my email this morning to sooo many emails from friends and family!! Made my day! Thank you!!!

Rainy season is turning out to be not so rainy. The occasional rainstorm cools down the hot temperatures too. It's a blessing.

This week we went to the Young Women's activity. They were having a pasta party. I was soooooo excited! But, when we got there I saw we were NOT making normal pasta. The first pasta that we made was spaghetti with dandelion greens, tuna, fish flakes and smashed Japanese radish (daikon). Second was cold pasta with muscles, tomatoes, summer squash and something else... And third was my favorite: fish egg and cheese pasta. Yummy! The other two I didn't really care for. Our friend, Haruno chan went! She has gone to the last few. I don't think we will need to go to accompany her to the next one. She seems to really like them and would probably go regardless of if we came or not!

On Wednesday, I decided we should go someplace in our area we hadn't before! It was supposed to rain that day, but I was sooo sick of sticking close to the apartment because of the rain. It feels like a waste of time to me. So we walked about half an hour-forty five minutes out, and crossed the train tracks. It was like stepping into a whole new world!

No one knew who we were. Quite a few people would ask if we were Jehovah's Witnesses. We would very quickly respond "chigau" or different. We did a lot of housing!

At first it didn't seem like it was going to be very effective. There were quite a few, what we call, "bukyo houses"; old, old, old, but very beautiful, houses with people just as old living in them. When they hear "watashitachi wa kyokai no boulenteer desu. Matsu jitsu seito iesu Kirisuto kyokai." They just smile at you, wave there hand and say "bukyo desu." The minute they hear church they stop listening and tell you they are Buddhist. So after probably 20 minutes of that we stumbled upon this cute and fairly new neighborhood. We had much better luck there! In fact, two of the people we talked to while housing that day came to eikaiwa (ed. note: English class) the next! Yay!

While there we also met a pretty interesting fellow. While talking with an obachan (ed. note: old person), who wasn't at all interested in anything we had to offer, I noticed this man walking down the street. He had a shirt that barely covered his belly and he was carrying a whole bunch of very long bamboo poles and wood planks. As he walked up the street he said hi to everyone.

Then, he got to us. I think he said something to us in English and so we replied. Then he beckoned everyone in the street to come over so THEY could practice their English as well. We ended up with two mothers and their children and a couple of boys riding their bicycles. It was pretty funny. We were telling him about our church and ended up handing him a Book of Mormon. At one point he turned really fast and hit one of the boys on a bicycle with all his poles!

The boy, all though shocked, was ok. He and his friends biked away soon after that. After a while the man decided we had talked enough and needed to return to his garden. He tried to hand the Book of
Mormon back but we didn't want it back! First, because we wanted him to read it and second because his hands were all dirty, making the book dirty too! We told him he could keep it. Finally he hands it to the young mother who had been standing there and marched away. Now she is stuck with the book. She tried to give it back too. But, she ended up keeping it. We invited her to read it and then continued on our way.

We passed the man working in his garden and he beckoned us over. We ended up talking for a while. We told him about our church some more and gave him a little booklet about the restoration. He almost didn't
take that either. He was concerned that a book, with a picture of Christ on it, had no place in a dirty garden. I told him it'd be ok.

At one point while talking he lifted up his shirt and started to take his back brace off. I got a little worried...what in the world was he doing??? Turned out he was showing us his cancer scars!! They were
huge! They looked more like a bullet and knife had gotten him than cancer. Wow! He also invited us to help in his garden. I really wanted to! But Hubner shimai quickly responded that we couldn't. I thought it would've been fun! She told him however that we had friends (the elders) who could help. Finally, we said our good- byes. He told us to come back anytime he was at his garden, haha.

This week, as I'm sure a few of you have noticed, there has been some activity on my Facebook. Tokyo mission can now use Facebook!! We are only to use if for mission purposes though. So if you'd like to send me a message you still have to do it by email or mail otherwise, I won't be able to respond.

Before our Facebooks went "live" each of us had to go through it and clean them out. Mine took the entire day. That is not an exaggeration. I had hundreds of photos I had to I tag myself in. Ohhh my goodness it took forever. But I'm really grateful I got that chance. There was quite a lot of stuff that, after 7 months of not seeing, I realized didn't really need to be up there. Also, as missionaries we are asked to only have pictures up that reflect standards of our church and of us as missionaries. And, although I didn't have awful pictures of me up there were quite a few pictures of me dressing immodestly that had to come down.

Also as missionaries we don't date. So...any picture that was of just me and someone of the opposite sex and to come down too. There were a lot of those as well. Pictures with brothers and boy cousins also had to come down. I don't know if it's the same in state-side missions that use Facebook...but here, sometimes it's a little hard for the Japanese to tell the difference between a brother and a boyfriend so...we just avoid the confusion altogether. Sorry Kristoffer!

I'm really excited, now that the clean-up is over, to start using Facebook! It's a really awesome opportunity to reach more people in Japan and share what I believe in a different way. The Japan Tokyo and Tokyo South missions are the first international missions that get to use Facebook! How cool is that? It's also a little intimidating...everyone is watching. So, if you'd like to keep up with me on Facebook you are more than welcome to! And you are also welcome to comment and add uplifting and wholesome comments to the things posted. But remember nooo messaging.

We had dinner with Yui chan this week. She is such a rock star! She got baptized a little after I came to Oyumino. Well, recently finding time to read scriptures had become hard. I think we've all been there at one point...or are currently! I know I have been. Anyways, a few weeks ago we taught a lesson on the importance of scriptures and gave her a notebook and colored pencils. We showed her our Books of Mormon and how marked up they are and I showed her my journal where I write things I like from the scriptures and church talks.

This week when we went over she had been reading! And not only reading, but actually thinking about what she was reading too! She had questions for us and showed us how scriptures connected. She was so excited! It made me excited too!

She is such a good example. Even if we stop praying or reading the scriptures or going to church we can always start again! If at first you don't succeed, try again.

We are also doing Personal Progress together (ed. note: this is a Church program for the young women in the church). We started this week. During personal study (ed. note: time set aside each day to study and read) I read multiple talks that made mention of Personal Progress.

Oh, Personal Progress is a program that church has for the young women of the church ages 12 to 17. It focusing on different qualities/ attributes like divine nature (my favorite), individual worth, knowledge...and has projects to complete about each one. It has a Girl Scout like feel to it...but it's different. The focus of the program is to help build up girls’ confidence, faith and testimony and prepare them for the future. It's great.

Anyways, I was thinking about what a great base personal progress gives girls to build up from. But, when you join the church as a single adult you miss out on that! And I really felt like Yui chan could benefit and really enjoy it. So, we talked to the young women's leader in our ward, she thought it was a great idea, gave us a book, and then we gave it to Yui chan. I'm excited. It should be fun. I haven't touched Personal Progress in years. And it is a really neat experience getting to go back through it and really recognize its value for young women. I'm loving it.

Sunday we had a miracle! One of the women we had been teaching came to church with her daughter!! We hadn't been able to meet with her in a while and when we had eikaiwa that week she hadn't been there. We sent her a text the next day telling her we missed them. And she replied back, apologizing for not being there and then said hopefully we will see you Sunday. Hubner shimai and I were shocked!!! We had invited her to church soooo many times and she hadn't come. Then this Sunday she came! I was so happy. I couldn't stop smiling.

At Kamatori eikaiwa (ed. note: English class in a different location) this week we had 22 people in kids class!!! 15 of them were children! It has gotten soooo big. Kid’s class started with 6 or 7 kids on a good day. Now we fill the room! It is sooo exciting! And super fun too! There are also two other classes we have, so all together we had about 40 people come! When I got here we might have had twenty, and there wasn't even a kid’s class to begin with.

It's really great getting to see the "fruits of our labor". I've also created 24 weeks’ worth of lessons, with pictures, handouts and activities and the occasional song for kid’s eikaiwa. It's been a lot of work, but totally worth it.

This week I've felt like my time in Oyumino is coming to a close. It's a little sad. I love the ward members here. And I absolutely love the area. I love the families at eikaiwa. My sister training leaders and zone leaders are awesome. And, although our investigators are far and few between, there are a few I've come to love.  But, if I get transferred I'll be ok with it. President Budge (with Heavenly Fathers help) knows best. And if I get sent someplace else, it is because I am needed there. We will see. Transfers are on July 7th...I think...

I love you all.

Thanks again for the emails!


Sister Molinari