Well, this week has been fun :D
To start, we had a lot of snow on Monday! It started of slow, then it started to grow (XD) So, we get mission money loaded onto our cards on the first of every month, right. And Monday is Preparation Day...and it was also the 29th of February. Freaking Leap Year! We had no money to get groceries or do anything that would have cost us money. So we felt pretty stuck XD We really just emailed until 6:00. When we went out at 6:00, we tried to visit a couple of Potential Investigators but neither of them were home. After those attempts we tried to visit a man we met in the golf shop. We had met him once before and we were excited to see him again. After looking at a few clubs and taking a few shots we talked with him about our church and invited him to come. We exchanged contact info and headed out. While we were at the golf shop, it really started snowing. But it wasn't just heavy snow...it was heavy snow, with wind. And this was very strong wind. We walked out the front door and the car that was parked right there was blasted with snow on the side! We had to bike very slowly to be safe. Going over the bridge was ridiculous. My face wheat numb and my bike was being pushed around a bit. After dinner we biked home in two inches of snow. But, before we left for home we decided to build a snowman! It was sooooo fun! A few people stopped to watch us and take pictures of us. One of them wanted to take pictures with us which was amusing. We also had an epic snowball fight on a street corner XD Then we got home and built another snowman! All of the YUS!! We got into our apartment, dried off, and warmed up, then ended the day.
Tuesday morning greeted us with some snow, but it was on the decline. We had lunch with a member over by the city university. While we were there the snow really picked up. Big, fluffy flakes that filled the air. We enjoyed big bowls of ramen, and they were having specials that day so the price was lowered XD Loved it! He asked us questions about how to teach the things Christ taught. Like how we should teach as missionaries. We weren't able to talk for very long because he had to go do stuff. Then we went over the west side of town by the east side of the west lake (XD) to visit a Potential Investigator. We met him while housing and he said we could visit on normal weekdays anytime. He was home, but busy at the time. He said he would like to see us on Thursday at lunchtime. So we left him the Restoration pamphlet to read. After him we visited a Progressing Investigator. He has been reading from the Book of Mormon and been understanding what we have been teaching. This was made really apparent when he talked to us about what he had just read in 2 Nephi 31. He was really getting it. The lesson went so well! In fact, we felt that he was ready to accept a baptismal commitment. We extended the commitment to be baptized and he accepted! We have a shigansha! He definitely has a lot of work, but I know he can do it. After him we visited another Progressing Investigator. This investigator has been attending church for over a month now and she has really been enjoying it. When we visited her she seemed extra chipper (I just said 'chipper' XD) She told us that she was in the hospital the other day and that while she was there she was telling everyone around her that we are all children of God, brothers and sisters. Yeah, she was being a missionary! The people thought she was weird but she still said it. She told us that we helped her understand that. That filled me with warm fuzzies! It was so good. After that we ended our day.
Wednesday was a pretty busy day. We wanted to try and hand out Eikaiwa flyers before our appointments. We tried going over by the city university around lunchtime but no one was out. We had to head back to the other side of town for our first appointment. Our appointment was with a member who has really been sharing the gospel with her friends. She is good about handing out materials from the church. She will often give out magazines or copies of the Book of Mormon. After meeting with her we had to hurry to the church for our appointment with a less-active member. This member has been soaking up all of our lessons and has been attending church for many weeks now. I don't know why he was less-active, but he seems to be doing fine now. From there we had three appointments at the church building one after another. We met with an investigator who we feel like was ready to set baptism as a goal. He is a great guy, and he really enjoys meeting with us. We focused our lesson on Jesus Christ and linked baptism at the end. When we extended the commitment his response was not what we thought it would be. It wasn't a direct "no", but he said not right now. He doesn't have a desire to be baptized. We asked if we keep meeting with him would he gain a desire. He said maybe, but he isn't sure. He told us he likes us and that he enjoys our lessons though. So, we'll see where we need to set the direction from here. It's hard because he is in Tokyo every weekend for his work so he can't attend church in Matsue. After him we had a lesson with a young man who is very close to finishing his mission papers. We spoke with him about humility. Humility is very important all throughout life. We need to always trust in, and rely on God. We need to do everything for Him and give Him all of the credit. Especially since he is about to become a full-time missionary.
After our appointments at the church we were about to head out when a member came in to set up for institute. This member has been helping us get missionary work going in the ward so it was good to talk with him for a bit about that. After talking with that member we didn't have much time left so we decided to go to a member who lives very close. We weren't planning on visiting her, but Vui Chōrō got a strong, sudden impression that we needed to go visit her. And I'm glad he was listening and that he followed through with it because she needed it. It was the one month mark from her daughter's unexpected death and she really needed support. We were in agreement that the Holy Ghost led us there. After being with her we headed home and ended our day.
We didn't have much time on Thursday before we had to leave for Zone Training Meeting in Okayama. We tried to visit a Potential Investigator but he wasn't home. It was beautiful weather though! We also met with a man who runs a cram school. He recently got a new building that is more of a lounge study than anything. It was good to talk with him and a couple of his assistant teachers. He is fluent in English which is nice XD He showed us a home-made film about boxing. It was way funny. They referenced Rocky soooooooo much! After that we headed to Okayama on the 3:55 bus. Got to see the Okayama apartment around 8:00 and ended our day.
Zone Training Meeting started at 10:00 but we had spiritual prep for about half an hour before hand. Vui Chōrō and Hanagan Chōrō played ukulele and sang together before and after the meeting. It was very good! We talked a lot about how our mission study is going. What we are learning about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was very good. After Zone Training Meeting we headed to Izumo for kokans. Because Tsuchia Chōrō left early they didn't make Vui Chōrō district leader, instead, they made Machado Chōrō district leader. So we had kokans in Izumo with them. We got to Izumo around 9:00 and walked about 30 minutes to the Izumo apartment.
Saturday was the day of kokans. I was with Winegar Chōrō (who was my first kokan), and Vui Chōrō was with Machado Chōrō. The morning was thrown off because of the baptismal interview that Machado Chōrō had to conduct. It took a while so we were only able to do a little bit of finding before lunch. We were able to talk with a few boys so that was good. After lunch we had a little bit of study before dinner. After dinner we tried to meet with a couple of Investigators before meeting back up. It was Saturday night which means we had game night. But before that we had to set up the inflatable baptismal font. We played for too long because we missed our train and just spent the night again at the Izumo apartment.
We woke up early Sunday morning in order to get back to Matsue in time. We were able to change into suits before we had mission coordination meeting. We had one of our investigators come so that was awesome! She has started reading the Book of Mormon but she want us to help her understand it. Testimony meeting was great. A lot of members spoke and they went 20 minutes over the time XD After church we met with a couple of members for lessons. At this point we hadn't done our weekly planning yet so we tried to do that quickly before meeting with a family for a dinner appointment. We met with our Shigansha and we can tell our lessons with him have been getting a lot better. Not that they were bad before, they are just really improving! Then we talked about the area plan during the dinner appointment. We made it interactive for the kids by doing cut-outs that they could tape to a paper. They were then able to keep the paper that they made. It was a really good lesson and the family told us they could feel the goodness from us. I was very glad. It was a big improvement from the last time I was in their home XD We headed home, tried to plan through our tiredness, and sacked out.
This morning was the beginning of our running. We are going to try to run every morning. Well, maybe every other morning so I won't hurt myself. We ran to the west lake and back. At 8:40 we went to the train station to head back to Izumo for bowling XD So much Izumo! We had three games of bowling awesomeness! It was way fun. Afterwards we went to a Brazilian restaurant for burgers. And they were soooooo good! I also got some French bread! It made me so happy XD After that we came back to Matsue. We won't go grocery shopping today because we definitely have enough food to last through the week. We aren't really going to do anything else but emailing the rest of the day. We will try to visit a couple of Investigators starting at 6:00. But yeah, it has been a good Preparation Day so far!
This week I have started focusing on humility. There are things I want to do in the future hat will require great humility. And, no matter what I do, I will always need to be humble before the Lord. I need to always trust in Him and know that He will always guide me to what is best. I have also strengthened my focus on faith. It really is through faith that God works among the children of men. We need to exercise faith, and then ask for more. This will be my focus for a while. I need to have strong faith. We all do.
I love you guys so much. You are a fantastic source of strength. Never stop trusting in God. I love you!
*Pictures and videos coming soon! :)