I'm off to serve an LDS mission in Kobe, Japan from June 2015 to December 2016. My mom will be keeping this blog updated with my latest letters, photos, adventures, etc.! Also I would LOVE to hear from everyone - katya.wagstaff@myldsmail.net

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Oct 12, 2015

It's getting colder- samui...cold! Not sure about my spelling, I just worry about speaking. So I pulled out sweaters this week! It was kind of nice to have new things to wear.

So last Monday, after emailing we were hurrying to the post office and got into a little bike accident...with each other. Oops! Going fast, and I wasn't sure if a car had seen me, so I stopped really fast and didn't warn Fujiki Shimai so she crashed into me and we both fell. That's companionship unity right?!! Really though we're okay- Fujiki Shimai's a nurse and we went to the closest convenience store and washed ourselves off. Basically my knee got pretty scraped up and it hurts to kneel on it- thank goodness I haven't had to do any seiza
(the traditional kneeling thing) this week!

We went out to eat Okanamiyaki to treat ourselves- I LOVE Okanamiyaki! Basically think fry up a pancake thing with veggies, fish, whatever you want in it, then you put mayo and Okanamiyaki sauce on top. Don't know how to explain the sauce, it's just GOOD. Maybe they have it at the Asian Market?

On Tuesday we had Watabe Shimai's BOM institute class, normally Thursday but got moved. We're in Alma where they're talking to Zeezrom about the Plan of Salvation. Trials are part of life and it's hard sometimes! I was asked to talk about that-particularly pioneers, examples we have of enduring hard things! Then we had a lesson with an investigator before kodomo Eikaiwa! More plan of salvation! Working on helping know and feel with your heart, not just intellectually. 

In the evening, after our recent convert lesson (always so spiritual- big highlight in my week! Talked about Gift of the Holy Ghost), we worked on entering area book records into the iPad...a little tedious, but needed! Thank goodness it's going digital because the handwriting is hard- first you have to figure out if it's English or Japanese romaji (Japanese using English alphabet) and then try and decipher it!

Wednesday- NEW INVESTIGATOR! Also we did service in the morning planting seeds with the Watabe's and recent convert. Anyways, so for lunch we went to this little cafe because last week the lady came up to us and asked what we were doing, or something like that. She was very nice! It seemed like a cute little hole-in- the wall place that Dad would probably like! Anyways, taught about God and prayer.

Thursday was a little different- we taught a Family English Program lesson in the morning (30 min English/30 min gospel) to the cake shop owner. Love her a lot! After the Watabe's picked us up and we went to a luncheon/ music program with women from her English reading club. We went to one of the ladies' houses- very nice! They are all older and accomplished, well-rounded people. The hostess is an accomplished pianist and her music room wasn't any different from one in America- honestly looks a lot like Kathryn's, so that was really comfortable for me. They did their final book discussion on "The Giver"- sadly I've never read it, anyways talked a little about the importance of the arts and freedom of choice. After we all ate lunch together- traditional Japanese in her Japanese room "washitsu" - means a traditional Japanese room.

After lunch (which was delicious of course) we had the music program they asked me to sing in. Started with the accomplished pianist playing a few classical pieces. Then I sang: Italian, "Think of Me" and Savior Redeemer. After, one of them did a hula dance- she's a hula dance teacher. These women all have really cool, different hobbies! After they had a couple other various songs including Amazing Grace! It was just a nice little afternoon meeting the nicest people, not to mention their great English! We switched back and forth between languages.

On Friday we had ZTM (zone training meeting) in Matsuyama! Kouchi got put back in our zone, so we're a lot bigger! So good- lots to learn about better using iPads and working with members. So one of the new apps the church created that our mission has been testing out are "LDS Teachings for Non-Christians" they wrote new electronic pamphlets that are very basic and just what we need here! I think the standard pamphlets, while very good, seem to be written with a Christian background. I'm pretty sure anyone can download it from iTunes- see if you can! It's very basic meeting with missionaries, Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? We've tried them out a bit with people and it's been pretty successful! The work is moving forward and iPads are a great tool!

 I'm bending down a little in these, just too tall for this place, I guess! Also obviously we have a lot of fun!
After, Watabe Shimai had a doctor's appt in Matsuyama, so we waited with Watabe Choro. Waited longer than expected so we walked around the area, which Dogo- a really famous hot springs place. We also walked up a bunch of stairs to this shrine (miracle from ballet- I still have good calves and didn't get sore!)
Here's the hot springs!
Here's all the stairs!

Saturday and Sunday SOUTAIKAI! General Conference! We watched in Imabari with the members, though only 4 people showed up on Saturday. But lots of people came Sunday and we had a pot-luck lunch which was soooo good! The Aoba's came on Saturday (Area Authority from Niihama who was talked about on Saturday). They really are SO strong and good at uplifting everyone around them.
After Conference on Saturday we did some housing and it was really successful- we were spiritually charged and
...I wrote a bunch here and it erased...don't remember what I said
Conference was great! I listened on my iPad they had it projected. I especially loved the music this time- English hymns! All hymns are great but especially meaningful when you can understand all the words. I liked the new song- "Our God is a God of Love" from Sunday Afternoon.
After conference we stayed in the apartment and reviewed (I loved reviewing- why didn't I do that very much before?!) since Fujiki Shimai's been a little sick. I'm really trying to not get the cold/cough thing!

So being a missionary is a lot of fun and rewarding and learning A TON especially at conference!
Love ya lots! 
Wagstaff Shimai

Dad sent a bunch of questions, so here's my answers!

 What are you learning from your companion?
- Lots! I love that she doesn't make me feel like a trainee- we're really in this together. She is VERY polite- that's a cultural thing and I'm trying to learn and copy as quickly as possible.

  Does she teach you much about culture?
- Lots! We do a lot of America/Japan comparison. For example they always peel apples, no skin.
 Do's and don'ts?
- yes...can I remember any right now? No, hopefully I'm not doing anything too horrendous!
- we cook together- honestly everything we do is pretty basic but there are lots of options! The funny thing is there are lots of Japanese foods she doesn't really like. Though we both love ramen!

This is our "oven" as you can tell it's a microwave-but it has an oven button.  Technically it work it's just difficult to figure out and hence my cookers were a sad bunch.  Gave up and had to humbly come empty-handed.  Not a problem because the members brought way too much food!

Also they were very generous with the fruit basket this week--this is what we got form members! It's nice to in "inane"- country where we have farmers who bring their goods!  Also those oranges are mikan's-this area is famous for them.

How about the miracle board-did you write any of the Japanese parts?
-I didn't write any of the Japanese! American missionaries are told to focus on speaking-so I can read basic hiragana and katakana because that's a survival skill, but not kanji.  I recognize a few of the basic church ones that I see frequently.

Is it hard riding a bike in a skirt?
-I don't think it's hard at all, not sure what other people's problems are.  Only problem is wind sometimes, but I got a clip that keeps my skirt down, so problem solved! Though one of my skirts is dirty on the bottom probably from mud-water splashing.  Sadly it's not coming clean.

Have you had to use one of the Asian squat potties yet?
Still haven't used one, I've seen them, but there's always been a Western option available!

I tried to explain all words and abbreviations this week.  Funny thing is missionary abbreviations are hard of us sometimes too--is it English? Is it Japanese? Is it missionary-only word, meaning no one else understands?

Love you all so much! Love reading your weeks.
Love Katya

I LOVED conference. Hearing English hymns was really nice- getting little familiar glimpses was really nice. And of course the speakers. I felt like a big theme was preparing for the future and how the world is getting worse and we really need to step it up, not just plateau.
Meetings...sometimes it feels the same way with the church! I'm trying to find something important, worthwhile, especially when I don't understand what's going on.
Next week I'm speaking in sacrament meeting- eek! Started preparing my talk and being with Fujiki Shimai is the biggest blessing- I can check my language with her and find out what sounds normal, not just functional.
Love you so much! I love Mondays when I get to hear about everyone's week!

Patience- Americans are very impatient! Also it can be hard to be patient with the work here- why aren't people getting baptized? Why won't they come to Sacrament meeting (that's the big project right now) Very humbling- the branch goal is to have 40 people come to Seisankai (Sacrament meeting). Kai means meeting/group- for example "godhead" is Shinkai. Very, very humbling to not speak very well, to be the minority, and to not see immediate success.

Love you so much! Sushi- burrito (can't remember if I told you- I explained sushi burritos, the food, to Fujiki Shimai and she couldn't believe it. Definitely a fat super-sized American thing.) they are very healthy. And yet everything I eat is really good and if it's not I can still chew and swallow, thank goodness!
Love, Katya
カテイア - that's my name in Katakana, which is the alphabet for foreign
words. It's nice to have it organized like that!

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