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 6, 2015

October 5, 2015

I'm so bad at thinking of titles for these...my creativity just doesn't stretch that far. Gomene! (Slang for sorry)

K so last P-day was so much fun because we went shopping and Fujiki Shimai knows what she's doing!! Also we had KFC for dinner :) Sometimes it's just nice to have a little American something, even if it is probably a billion calories. But we do bike a lot, so...?

On Tuesday the SGG members took us to lunch at the "Saikuringu Teruminaru"- Cycling Terminal. Great food and a BEAUTIFUL view of the water and bridge ($50 round-trip bridge that makes it hard for some members to come to church...not a huge fan of the bridge) BUT it's pretty I guess. Then after we had SGG and they had an American guest come and talk- she talked about the Shukoku Pilgrimage she's going on right now (there are 88 shrines on Shukoku). We go to SGG because I think technically it's service, helping them with English, and its just been a tradition with the missionaries here, but we're probably going to stop soon because it's not the best use of our time. Praying to figure out how to best approach this situation! 

Great view. Bad quality pic. Good food- look pasta!! Also Air Drop is the greatest feature because Fujiki Shimai takes lots of pictures and then she can just send them to me!

Anyways after we had our usual adorable Kodomo Eikaiwa- I read Green Eggs and Ham to them, which was so much fun! We kept asking them if they wanted to eat some and like usual, there's one little girl who is  very LOUD and made sure we all knew her opinion :) 

In the evening we had our Recent Convert lesson and got to teach an LA after that! I was feeling a little discouraged that our LA, Y Kyodai wasn't improving as fast as I wanted, but then he said the closing prayer and it was a good prayer, seemed fairly normal and heart-felt and that's when I remembered that during our first visit, he had forgotten the prayer houhou, method. He is improving! That was a tender mercy from God, also a lesson in patience for me.

On Wednesday we went to visit an investigator who's a hair stylist, but she was busy, which was again a little discouraging, BUT as we were getting ready to leave, her neighbor walked up to us and asked us what we did. It wasn't a huge deal and she was much less interested once she heard we were church missionaries, BUT I've had the small feeling/thought to go talk to her before and didn't, so obviously it's important that we go meet her! She owns a little cafe by the hair salon, so we're going to go eat lunch there next week and hopefully talk to her some more. 
It's in these little moments that I realize God is directing this work, and he really cares about these people.

On Thursday we had a koukon with the STLs- I stayed in Imabari and Hood Shimai came! She's from Hawaii and is almost done and is such a good missionary! image2.JPG
(On a side note: everyone please notice that you can see my eyes! Yay!)

It rained like crazy and sadly she didn't bring a kappa, so the ride back to the apartment from the Eki was a little sad. Thankfully she got to dry off while we studied in the morning. Random Japan side note: the showers can be dryers! There's a bar for hanging clothes in the shower and you just shut the door and turn on he hot fan-thing. There's so many high-tech buttons here, so I just push the ones people tell me to push because I'd probably end up pushing the eject or self-destruct button if not :)
We then went to Watabe Shimai's BOM class- discussed Alma 8-12 with Alma and Amulek. This time through I realized its about members and missionaries working together! Alma is new to Ammonihah, but Amulek is from there- he's knows the place and the people. They had to work together in order to be as successful as they can be!After, we had a Family English Program appointment, or 30/30. We teach 1/2 hour of English and 1/2 hour of gospel. This was for the owner of our favorite cake shop- cake dendo! Turns out you really do need to talk to and invite everyone, all the time, even when you're buying cake (thank you Sands Shimai!). Sadly we didn't watch the time, so 30/30 turned to 50/10, but we watched "Because of Him" and Hood Shimai gave a REALLY good introduction to who we are as missionaries and why we share the gospel. Learned a lot! 
Also dropped by and helped our LA who just got out of the hospital- yo katta! Helped out in her little shop and tried to teach a lesson, but she was pretty intent on relating everything we said to a movie she watched in the hospital...we're trying to find that balance between getting to know the, and connect with them, which is important, but teaching the gospel which is really really important! All in all I learned a lot through experience. 
I love, love, love Fujiki Shimai, but it was also really nice to have a day of English! Love the STLs!

Friday was our 1st District Meeting this transfer. For J-Kaiwa we learned a bunch of Japanese automotapias? The words that describe sounds, I think? Anyways whatever they're called, Nihongo has a ton of them! Watabe Choro and Fujiki Shimai taught them to us!

Here's a few:
Pika pika- light shining
Kune kune- slithering snake
Fuwa Fuwa- soft (like Imabari towels, or cake)
Beta beta- sticky

Focus of District Meeting was on prayer and its role in preparation, since we have ZTM- Zone Training Meeting, Soutaikai (General Conference) and Zone Conference coming up! Look up prayer in BD- so good! Also Side note: Bible Dictionary doesn't exist in Japanese- there's no LDS version of the bible- the Japanese Bible Society has a copyright on it, anyways that was really sad to find out! 
Watabe Shimai brought treats as usual and then Alba Shimai brought us these amazing pastries she made! Side note: from Dad's email it sounds like Alba Choro was talked about in GC? He's the Area Authority who lives on Shukoku- in Niihama, and does pottery. I've only briefly met them, but I've heard a lot about them from the Watabe's and the Niihama missionaries! They are spectacular. 
In the evening, we had a lesson with our cute 15-yr old girls R and S! We were so ready with a full baptismal invite with a date, and they came in, and turns out from the beginning they wanted to learn English too, so there was a communication error somewhere...oops! But they were really kind and so now we'll be doing 30/30 with them. So we were finishing he Restoration lesson, talking about Joseph Smith and I was telling the First Vision, when I realized they were falling asleep!! We felt so bad- it's interesting to us, but we forgot that they're 15, and just talking isn't the best route- we've got to make it a little more fun. Also I was a bit wrapped up in myself, so proud that I finally had he First Vision fully memorized- I've been working on it this week. So focus more on their needs... This week was a lot of live and learn!

On Saturday we went and helped a member, kind of less-active, clean her house. It was pretty junky. Like I don't know if they throw things away or clean things, but that's what we were there to help with! Because of my height (ps people here notice that way more than my hair), I cleaned the light fixtures. There was one that I thought was a nice tan-color, only to find out that it was originally clear, that was just the dust! So 2 hours later 2 of the light fixtures were very clean! She is such a nice person and was really chatty with Fujiki Shimai. I've noticed that people open up with her more than before with 2 gaijing (foreigners). Yay! Then later, she can explain what they were saying to me. Gospel Japanese I can do fairly well, very basic conversation is okay, any conversation beyond that is beyond me right now! But honestly as long as I can teach the gospel very simply, I'm okay.

On Sunday, right when we got to the church, we checked lds.org and found out the new apostles! I've heard a lot about Elder Stevenson here because of his Japanese connections. Also the Watabe's are good friends. Basically all church leaders with Japanese connections all know each other! We'll be watching conference next week with the branch when their translated CD comes. I'll watch in English on my iPad at the same time. 
Thankfully the Women's Conference talks are already on Gospel Library, so I've read through a few of those. I LOVED Pres Uchtdorf's talk- Summer with Great-Aunt Rose. I made that pioneer picture my background. Can't wait to watch all of conference! 

So this is our miracles board that Fujiki Shimai started! At the end of the day during daily planning we look back for Kyo no Kiseki- Today's Miracles! It's usually little simple things, but God works in simple things and it's nice to go back and see them. I've started a little notebook just for these- an idea from Hood Shimai. It's nice to look back and see how generously God blesses us! Love you all and I would love to hear all of your little miracles! Thank you for the ones you've already shared!

Love, Wagstaff Shimai

Love you, good to hear about this week! Yay BYU won their game! Trying to remember the other things I wanted to say...any questions? Am I writing what you want to hear about? Any random questions?

Random info:
-Garbage is super intense here: we have 3 bags and everything has to be sorted properly, but it's based on the city and I guess Imabari is just one of the crazier ones.

-Cooking is actually pretty fun! We usually don't make anything crazy-a lot of what's in the fridge? Though the other night Fujiki Shimai taught me how to make gyoza! Turns out it's really easy and you can put whatever you want inside- we put cheese and onion. We have a lot of onion- and onions here are a lot better- they're a little sweeter!
Anyways, turns out I'm capable of cooking and it's pretty fun! We just kind of trade off/do it together and that's been a lot of fun.

Fujiki Shimai! She's from Fukuoka and is 25. She's graduated from college and is a nurse. She went to a catholic university because it was associated with a good hospital that she really wanted to work at! She's a 2nd generation member- there aren't very many, at least that are active. She has 2 older brothers, both married and active. She never planned on going on a mission, but then it was what she needed to do, so she did and I'm so glad! The church is relatively strong in Fukuoka- they have a stake, she comes from a ward and they have the temple!
Something I thought was interesting is on average, wards aren't actually that much bigger than branches, at least to me coming from Utah. She said there were about 70-80 active members. The biggest ward in our mission has 120 members, I think? Very different. One thing we're heavily encouraged to not say is "The church in Utah..." Because we're all the same church.

She's pretty crafty/cute and likes to stay organized, which I'm all for! (Don't worry mom, I really am a very clean person and in that regard I don't think I'm hard to live with, at least as far as I know...! )

Conference weekend is so nice and sounds like a good time, you know I would love to be there! But now I can read about home, think about and happily be here!

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