Tuesday. Rain. Like I was a wet dog. The SGG members took us out to lunch at this nice hotel here in Imabari and it was raining harder than I've ever seen rain come down, and sadly I didn't buy a kappa last week...but I bought one today! Anyways so I wore my blue rain jacket- turns out though it's cute, it doesn't help a ton in this kind of rain. I also wore my rain boots, but those just ended up holding water in. Needless to say we show up to this hotel and I'm this wet straggly dog they pulled off the street...I was a little embarrassed, but dried off pretty fast! Traditional Japanese food, I had this noodle dish, which was good but took me forever to eat, also took a
long time because they all want to talk with us and practice English. Seriously though they are the kindest people. One guy likes origami and made me a couple things- very cute!
Then after lunch we went and had regular SGG (still have no idea what the acronym is), and I totally forgot that I had promised last time to sing for them as part of my introduction, so I just pulled out my go-to: Savior, Redeemer of My Soul and then we briefly explained what it meant! So then they had me keep singing, for like an hour.
Apparently normally they have the missionary give a speech (so they can work on understanding English from a native speaker). So I sang a couple hymns, mostly Christmas because they recognized those, plus they remembered I'm a theatre major, so I also did "My Favorite Things" and "Think of Me". My favorite moment was when one lady, Higaki San asked about they hymn the Titanic band played- Nearer My God to Thee and we talked about that for a bit! We tried to keep inserting little gospel things, lots of "God gives us talents so we can share/develop them".
Then that evening we checked in with the 15 yr old who didn't have time for a visit, but we asked if he was praying and his response was basically "Of course." Wow! That made our day, because we weren't sure.
Wednesday- stopped by a bakery to get something for our Chinese neighbor who we've talked to a little bit and said she wants to come to Eikaiwa, but we haven't seen her yet, so we thought we'd make a nice note. Oh and appearance is everything here, so you can't just drop off a piece of paper, it has to be NICE! Hence the bakery treat. Lots of weeding for a less-active, we found out she's in the hospital for her knee. Though I guess going to the hospital isn't as big a deal here- the ambulance is free and they seem to go to he hospital for a lot of things, like the flu. Flu is probably a swear word here or something, they are really worried about health!
Then Kaori Shimai took us to dinner- Sushiro! This was another conveyor belt sushi place and I liked it a lot better than the other place. Tried eel for the first time! Nihonjin are still impressed when I eat all the foods, so I wonder if they're just nice, or Gaijin are just bad at eating their stuff...I think it's good!
Eikaiwa fun as usual!
Thursday- we went to the BOM study with the Watabe's and only 1 of the 3 sisters could come. It was on Alma 1-4 and went really well! She bore her testimony on Sunday and said that for the first time, the scriptures were fun/engaging for her to read! That was really awesome! Then in the evening we taught Eguchi Kyodai, the new convert Word of Wisdom. Hand of God moment- we needed another doseki since Watabe Shimai couldn't be there, and we tried 2 other people who couldn't come, then called the 3rd, Murakami Kyodai from the branch presidency which turned out to be a great blessing because he had WOW problems before converting and bore a powerful testimony! Watabe Shimai was running an English book group for some of our SGG members, so we popped our heads in and of course they had snacks- they always have food for us. :)
Friday- 1st zone meeting! We met in Matsuyama and to get there you drive through the mountains which were beautiful, though the road was really curvy- slightly reminded my of Hana Highway in Maui...though I think Maui's road is still worse than this one. We talked a lot about how to teach someone of a non-Christian background, which is everyone we teach, so that was good! Main points I pulled out were respect culture, teach simple and testify!
After, Sands Shimai and I went with the Watabes to an Indian restaurant- so good! The nan was huge and I had a 2 on the hotness scale from 0-4- I think I was feeling a little adventurous, next time I'm def going back to normal...0 or 1.
We came back and felt like we should go to the church early for our lesson with the 2 new girls- we get there and one of the girls comes up on her bike! She remembered to bring her BOM! Came to tell us school was busy and important, so she wasn't so sure...we asked if she could do 15 minute lessons, she agreed. We went over prayer again and thankfully our doseki (member present at lesson) came a little early, because the girl was an hour early! Anyways, Yamamoto Shimai, a young mom who's one of the YW leaders bore testimony of prayer and shared a
favorite scripture. Then we waited around for the 2nd girl and planned and she showed up 20 minutes after we scheduled, with a giant bandage on her knee! She's so sweet, she asked if it would be alright if we rescheduled so that she could go to the doctor...yeah! She's been praying and we got to meet her mom. This girl seems a lot more interested than her friend. Praying for them to have time to continue lessons! School is so crazy here, lots of kids-even members, have a hard time staying active while
in school here.
Saturday- went with the Watabes (I keep writing that and realize we spend a lot of time with them!)- they are wonderful! Anyways we went over to do service for a kind-of less-active who's becoming active again, Nishi Shimai. Sands Shimai and I pulled weeds. Basically we're pros! She was so kind to us, gave us snacks, then little gift bags
with flowers and a sweat towel. Took us to lunch. As a general rule, these people are just really generous, it's hard to actually do service because they always find a way to give back and to an extent it's rude to say no...always puts us in an awkward spot, we want to just do service! But this restaurant was he greatest thing ever! It's right on the coast, traditional Japanese where you kneel and the there was a ton of food and it was all great- the picture of the view is from right outside the restaurant!
Sunday- testimony meeting, as far as I could tell went really well! Also Fast Sunday is when all the auxiliaries meet instead of having Sunday School. I wish they could have RS all the time, it was really
nice. Watabe Shimai taught Pres Uchdorf's talk about the Potempkin Village. After church almost no one we visited was home. Thankfully we caught a less-active, Youhei Kyodai in the evening. We met him last week and
he's so nice and honest, not just polite like most Japanese. He told us he prayed twice and didn't read the BOM, just flipped through it. We talked about the BOM and I felt like I could talk and understand
more than I usually can, that was a really good blessing!
Sorry this was really long, love you all! Living the gospel is joyful! 2 Nephi 2:25 -Yamamoto Shimai shared that with our 14 yr old this week, such a good reminder!
Love, Wagstaff Shimai