Sunday, February 28, 2016

Well, I finally got into my first bike accident...


Don't worry, it was nothing serious XD I'll explain in a minute.

So, in honor of Tsuchia Chōrō's last Preparation Day we went to a shop in the mall to eat a giant parfait. It was so good!!! There was so much ice cream! We didn't have much time after the giant parfait because Tsuchia Chōrō had to catch a bus to Kobe. So we were only able to go grocery shopping before we had to leave. We went to Yonago first so we could do companion exchanges for Tsuchia Chōrō 's travel. We had Abarca Chōrō come back to Matsue with us. We were able to do a few hours of dendo before the day was done so we tried to meet with a few Potential Investigators. Unfortunately, none of them were home. After that we headed to Burger King for dinner. And I was faced with a very interesting challenge while I was at Burger King. There were a few songs that came on the radio that might have maybe kind of made me  just a tiny bit trunky. I'm using trunky for lack of a better word XD But I was struggling with it so I resorted to singing hymns...out Burger Japan. I had to sing Spirit of God and Nearer My God to Thee to get a hold of myself. I didn't see it, but apparently I surprised some of the workers behind the counter XD So, yeah, singing hymns out loud really helps when your feeling out of focus.

Tuesday was flippn' amazing!!! We didn't have anything planned from our weekly planning session because we thought the three of us were going to be in Kobe with Tsuchia Chōrō. We decided to do some English Class flyer hand outs over by the university, but no one was on the street when we got there. And we can't go on campus to do any sort of dendo. So we decided to visit some Potential Investigators around the university. None of them were home though so we moved on to our next activity. Boken Dendo (Adventure Dendo)! There are many places I have never been in the Matsue area. Until Tuesday I had only ever stayed in the city. But Vui Chōrō and I have really been wanting to go out a ways to see what there is. And in our area there is an island in the middle of the east lake that we wanted to go. So we designed to go there. It was raining when we started our ride out, but about 20 minutes in it brightened up enough that we had to shed some layers. By the time we got out to the lake there was a little blue sky and it looked great! We biked another 15 minutes south to the bridge then onto the island. We biked up about five minutes and started housing the area. There are not many apartments on the island, I only saw one complex on the way. We had knocked about five houses when we met him. And we were definitely not prepared for it...


Just kidding, sorry, couldn't resist XD His name is Yoshioka-San. We were walking down the small alleyway when we saw him working in the corner of his beautiful yard. He is about 60 I think, but he was really working. We said hello, and that was all he needed to respond with a lot of enthusiasm. It was polarizing for a few minutes! He was smiling big, and talking loudly (as apposed to the small whisper of most people we talk with). He asked us where we were all from and he asked if we were Mormons. He knew a lot (compared to the normal Nihonjin) about Mormons. It was only a few minutes before he invited us into his home. He freaking invited us into his house! Who does that!? Freaking no one that's who! My mind couldn't understand what was going on. My brain was trying to get traction on reality but it wasn't. This man, whom we had just met, was inviting us into his beautiful, traditional Japanese home. And he did it with a smile and a warmth I have never experienced before from a Nihonjin. There aren't many people I have ever met that have done that!

So, we go enter into his geinkan and he invites us into a room of the entryway. He is about to make tea when we realize it and tell him we can't drink the tea he is making. He had a few other teas that were ok but he said he had milk so we went with that XD He brought out crackers, anko, and apples for us with the milk. He had to keep getting up and down too, he was so awesome! He asked us if meat was ok and I was like, "what, no way!" But I'm glad he didn't because I didn't want him to have to get back up again XD

He told us how much he respected that men our age were away from our families, in a far-away land, to learn a language so we could share something that had a special meaning for us. He talked to us about how sad it is that war happens. That people will argue or disagree to the point of war. We talked to him about our beliefs of God and Jesus Christ. He said he kind of claims to be Buddhist, but he only does so because his ancestors were. He explained to us how he is a go-with-the-flow kind of person. He doesn't really know much about the religion though. We shared our testimonies with him. His wife came in about half way. She was really nice too. There were many times where they would be looking at us, we would teach a truth, then they would lock eyes with each other and communicated as if by thought. And when we were about to leave they told us again and again about a feeling they were experiencing in there hearts! I gotta tell ya, I was freaking out inside! We asked if we could meet again and they were like, "well, you probably want money." We told them we are volunteers and that we don't want money. Then, he was like, "alright, you got me. I'm beat." XD This guy was so cool! We got his name and number then headed out. We were kind of in a daze afterwards. "What just happened?", I said.

After that visit it was time to head home. We decided to take a different route home because it was guided by highway signs and and was getting dark. We were about 10 minutes into the ride when I biffed it. To start I will tell you I was riding without grabbing the handlebars, so that was part of the accident. But I was a little bit in front of my companions at the time which I probably shouldn't have been doing XD I didn't realize how far ahead I was until I I was looking up from the ground. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, I was riding with no handlebars. I was going pretty fast and I was trying to take my gloves off because it was pretty warm. I got my gloves off and started to unzip my jacket pocket to put the gloves in. I got the pocket unzipped when I hit the curb. No, the curb was not that high, maybe half an inch. The thing that got me was the angle I hit the curb. So, I have a cross-bike which means it's a little like a road bike and a little like a mountain bike. The tires are thinner that a mountain bike so they don't have as much traction, but they are thicker than a road bike. This means I am more prone to slipping than a mountain bike, but I can go faster than a mountain bike. But I have more traction than a road bike and I just sacrifice a little speed. So when I hit this small curb, at that shallow angle, at the speed I was going, with my cross-bike tires, it was just enough to mess with me. Now, it didn't send me flying, it just sent my bike in the direction of the fence XD I tried to grab the handlebars to correct my course, and I did...just not in time. By the time I grabbed the handlebars I was moments away from the fence. My front tire made contact first...then my head XD

I don't remember exactly what happened during the moments of bouncing off the fence because it all happened so fast. The left side of my head made contact with the fence. Once I got on the ground it was only a few seconds before Vui Chōrō and Abarca Chōrō reached me. I looked up before they got there, and I thought about getting up, but I was like, "nah, I don't want to hurt myself too much, I should probably wait for them to help me." So they helped me up, asked me what happened, laughed at me (as did I), and looked at the dent in the fence from my tire and my head. A woman came out whose property was boarders by the fence I had just put two wonderful dents into. I, we all, apologized profusely for the damage, but they were just concerned about us. They offered to take me into Matsue and have Vui Chōrō and Abarka Chōrō ride their bikes the rest of the way. We had to explain that we needed to stay together at all times. They then offered to take us all into Matsue and have us leave our bikes at heir place so that we can pick them later. Then we had to explain that we can't ride in vehicles win people of the opposite sex. So, we thanked them profusely, but told them we will just walk the rest of the way. So we started the nine kilometer journey back Matsue XD

We had walked about three kilometers when a man offered to take us home. We were barely able to fit our three bikes into his minivan. Vui Chōrō and I had to be in he back because the seats were moved to make room for the bikes. He knew some English, but he talked to us mostly in Japanese. He was very nice. We tried to offer thanks by arranging a meal but he said no thanks. We were very glad he picked us up because on the way I was looking out he window at the path we would have walked and boy, it would have taken a long time!

He dropped us off at the convenience store across from our apartment. After we got all of our stuff out of the car I noticed that my knee was not feeling good. My knee wasn't experiencing a lot of pain, but it was definitely stiff. My finger was bleeding, my right elbow was bruised, as was my right leg, and my left pinky's knuckle at the palm of my hand took a beating.

My knee wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be when I woke up Wednesday morning. It still hurt, but I was able to move more and the pain had subsided a bit. We called Sister Welch right after the accident happened so she knew what was going on. Her instruction was to take three ibuprofen at each meal. I have been doing this. I also laid off exercise until today just so I don't incur any extra damage.

We went to Yonago Wednesday morning to meet back up with Tsuchia Chōrō and Abarca Chōrō's companion. We got back around 10:30. Tsuchia Chōrō had to pack because he wasn't going to have any other time before he left on Friday. So while he packed Vui Chōrō and I studied. We had to leave the apartment at 2:30 so we could take the train back to Yonago where we would take the bus to Kobe for another Trainer Trainee Training meeting. We got to Kobe around 9:45.

We started our meeting Thursday morning around 9:30. It was really good to see all of my doki (missionaries that were with me in the MTC) and kohai (missionaries that came in while I was in the MTC)! I could see that each of us had become stronger since last TTT. And we all seemed happier. During the meeting we talked about basic health and safety stuff, adjustment stuff, and the role of the Holy Ghost in missionary work. TTT is split into two parts: the first is where the Trainees talk about what they are struggling with, and then those things are addressed by the Mission President, his wife, and his Assistants. We ended around 3:15. Our bus was at 6:40 so we had some time to talk with President Welch and Sister Welch. Tsuchia Chōrō also got to say goodbye to some friends. We got back to Yonago around 9:45 and stayed the night at the Yonago Elder's apartment.

We woke up early Friday morning so we could get to Matsue in time to prepare for district meeting. I am waiting for travel reimbursements to come in so right now I don't have any money. So I took two ramen packets with me for the trip to Kobe for dinner and breakfast. But I forgot about breakfast so I just skipped breakfast XD Vui Chōrō made "Cocoa Samoa" which is Samoan hot chocolate! It was soooooo good! It has a tinge of coffee flavor and aroma which was fantastic XD There were chunks of chocolate that just made me so happy XD After district meeting we all had lunch with Tsuchia Chōrō and a less-active. We kind of made it Tsuchia Chōrō's last supper. Then came the moment of Tsuchia Chōrō's departure. There were many members of the Matsue Ward there to wave him off. It was rushed because they were about to miss their train to Yonago where Tsuchia Chōrō' would take the bus to Kobe XD

After Tsuchia Chōrō left we conducted our weekly planning session. We then visited the bike shop so I could get my bike fixed XD Which brings me to ask, unfortunately, for another hundred dollars into my account. Honestly, I feel like a trouble child right now concerning money XD Sorry! It only took an hour to get all things in order, during which time Vui Chōrō and I taught a lesson to a less-active member at the church. Then we picked up my bike from Yamasaki-San's. His English teacher was there and we started to talk with him. We ended up teaching him a lesson. We got his contact info, he took a copy of the Book of Mormon and said he would like to meet with us again. He said he is looking for the truth! I guess there is just something magical about Yamasaki-San's bike shop XD jk. Anyway, we tried to finish weekly planning and ended the day.

It was really weird to start the day knowing we are just a normal companionship now. There are now only two futons on the floor instead of three.  Anyway, we visited an investigator and tried to visit a few Potential Investigators. None of the P.I.s were home though. We had game night with our mission leader and another brother in the ward at 7:00. We played ping-pong the whole time! It was fun. We then talked with them about Jesus Christ. We shared the Bible Video, "For God So Loved the World". We all testified of Jesus Christ. It was very simple, but very powerful.

We visited an investigator before church to remind her and she was in the process of getting ready. We walked with her to church then had mission coordination meeting. Vui Chōrō spoke in sacrament meeting on the Holy Ghost. He did very well. We taught Sunday school class on why we need God's help. We were given this assignment last minute by the brother who had to leave town unexpectedly. This means we're not able to teach our investigator because she left after sacrament. But, after church, we were able to visit with a less-active and talked about why baptism and confirmation is important. How the gift of the Holy Ghost helps us throughout our lives. We then met with a member who is working on his mission papers. He was actually having his bishops interview when we had our lesson with the less-active member. When we walked back to our apartment it had warmed up quite a bit which was really nice! We had lunch and did 12 Weeks study before we headed out. We tried to find a less-active member over by Matsue Castle but we weren't able to. Japanese streets are so confusing. No, wait. Japanese cities are confusing! We came back to the apartment to finally finish weekly planning, just the fine details left. We then did daily planning and headed off to bed.

Today we did study and cleaning. I always, always, always look forward to cleaning! I got to clean out the fridge and wipe it down, so much fun! After some emailing we will try to go grocery shopping, maybe get some hairs cut, do some other stuff, we'll see. We are both super excited for summer here because with the warmer weather comes the ability to run in the morning without freezing. We are going to start running a little in the mornings. My goal is to slowly work my running strength back up. And since I haven't exercised since my accident it will be nice to get back at it. I'm going to try and lose a little more fat this next transfer. I need to figure out how to eat healthy without spending a lot of money. Good luck with that one XD  Then we will try to visit some Potential Investigators and an investigator. We are going to try especially to stop as many people as we can this week.

There is a wonderful talk by Elder Larry Lawrence I think called, "What Lack I Yet". It was given in the October General Conference in 2015. It is very good! Please read it.

I love you all very much. I miss you Dad, and you Mom, and you Makena, and you Broklynn, you too Sierra, you as well Jake, and Lizzy of course, and I can't forget Jean-Luc, or Smooches, or Ashes, or Crooked, or Brizinger. And, last of all, the fish...I love you fish! XD

Thank you for your love. Simply your love. Thank you!

Pikoku Chōrō

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