This week has been pretty eventful. Unfortunately we were out of our area for a few days, but it could have been worse. Between meetings in Kobe and my companion's wisdom teeth problems it has been a good week :)
After emailing on Monday we had a lunch appointment with a member. He usually works all week but he had some time open up so he offered to take us out. We went to Sukiya and got some good gyuudon. We followed up on his work on the area plan was going. He said that work has been taking up too much time for him to allot any thought or effort to the area plan. I understand that, and I know he wants to work on the plan. He is doing his best. Sometimes that is all we can do. When we got back to the church building we walked to our bikes and found them tipped over. The weather was very windy so it wasn't like anyone was a punk by tipping over my bike. However, someone might have been a punk if they stole my helmet. Yep, either the wind took it away, or someone else did. Either way, this meant walking back to the apartment to get the spare helmet then returning to the church building to get the bikes. On the way to the apartment we stopped at the dentist to get Yamamoto Chōrō's teeth checked out. Turns out it was a wisdom tooth problem. They had us make a return appointment for Tuesday before we left. After that I got my haircut so I look sharp for Elder Stevenson when he comes on Sunday. By the way, we were informed that if we are not inside the building, sitting down in the chapel by 2:30 that we will be turned away and told to return to our area. The soonest bus from Sumoto that Sunday leaves at 12:30 which means we will get to the train station closest to the mission home around2:20. And it's about a ten minute walk from the station to the mission home so we are definitely going to be running like nobody's business! It would be such a bummer if we miss it. Anyways. After our preparation time we had planned to have home teaching with a couple of elderly members. But by this time the weather was not nice at all so the members canceled on us. The weather was really bad so we decided to let Yamamoto Chōrō rest a bit and we studied the rest of the night. I studied prayer because we are going to be teaching prayer to a progressing investigator this week. In my study I think I found something that has been part of a theme in my life. It is hard for me to imagine God as my personal father. The same for Jesus Christ as my elder brother. But it's true. I understand the principle and I believe it is true. But having that kind of relationship is something I struggle with. In the Bible Dictionary, under Prayer, you will find words to the effect of saying that if, and when, we realize our true relationship toward God (as our father and us as his children) then all the "difficulties" of prayer are erased. It becomes something we want to do, it will become natural. This is what hit home to me. I want to at least have the kind of relationship I have with my earthly father with my Heavenly Father.
Tuesday began with us getting our groceries because we didn't have time on Preparation Day. We also got a new pot and whisk because the ones in the apartment broke. Then we went to the senior center for service. Talking with old people is difficult, especially when your someone like me who is barely getting by with speaking and understanding Japanese. But it's great, the old generation is a funny bunch :) After that we went to the dentist for the return appointment. I was expecting to be there for an hour or two considering the fact that they were doing work on wisdom teeth. But, to my great astonishment, Yamamoto Chōrō was in and out in ten minutes! It was a welcome surprise because that meant we could get more done that day. So, after the dentist we visited a couple of investigators, but none of them were home. When the time came we we not to the church to get ready for English Class. For Eikaiwa we usually bring snacks and some drink for afterwards. This time around we got raspberry Kit Kats! They were super good. The lesson for Eikaiwa was on time so, as you will see in the pictures I send, I was not able to resist and talked for just a few minutes about Dr. Who XD Now, trying to explain Dr. Who to an English speaker is hard enough. I remember when my friends tried to describe it to me and I was like, "what". So now I was trying to describe it to Japanese people who could barely speak English. Oh boy, it was fun. But, one of them was looking it up for the rest of class and asked me questions about it throughout he lesson. YUS, mission accomplished. After Eikaiwa we headed home. So we have follow-ups on Tuesday night which means our district leader has us call him around 9:30 just to talk about concerns, questions, problems we are facing in our areas, etc. I'm not going to go into details of what we talked about but I will say that it was a good follow up. It helped me prepare for the next day. The main thing I took away from the follow up was to keep going, keep doing your best, and keep loving the people. It's not like I have been having a hard time with any of those things, it's just the way my district leader put it across helped me reenergize a bit.
Wednesday was a beautiful, sunny day. So was Tuesday, I forgot to say that. It was pleasantly warm. We started by going to our shigansha. We wanted to talk to him about the Atonement of Christ and repentance. And we also ended up asking him questions about various things that we had been wondering. It felt like a good lesson, a little better than usual anyway. After him we went to visit a few investigators but they were all busy at the time. We then went to the day care for service. Those kids were on drugs or something because both Yamamoto Chōrō and I were getting trampled. They are cute and all, but some of them were bouncing off of the walls! It was fun and the time went by really fast which was nice. After that we went to our apartment for dinner before game night. On the way to the church building to set up for game night we passed a less-active member's house. This less-active is right next to our apartment so we always pass them when we go out or return. Anyway, when we passed we saw that the senior missionaries were outside the front door with the less-active mother. It looked like it was going fine, we stop to talk because they were in the middle of talking, but it was great to see them! We got to the church, set up the ping pong table, played for a bit, and practiced music. We did his for about an hour when the senior missionaries came in. They told us about the visit with the less-active mother. Apparently it went really well and the mother wants them to visit again. That was great news! Then the senior missionaries took us out to eat. I had katsudon on rice, needless to say it was heavenly. After that we headed home and ended our day.
Thursday was a good day. Not really for a particular reason, it was just a good day. Well, actually, it was a good day because I say it was a good day. Because I said so. Boom! Anyway... After lunch we did a little bit of our weekly planning session. The main thing to figure out was all of he logistics of our weekend of meetings in Kobe. We had a Zone Conference on Friday, then some stake leadership training on Saturday, then the Elder Stevenson conference on Sunday. We decided that we were going to spend the night at the Office Elder's apartment Friday night. Then we would return to Sumoto after the stake leadership training meeting. We also decided that we would only have sacrament meeting and Sunday school on the Sabbath so that we can make sure we catch the bus for the Elder Stevenson conference. The branch president was out of town on Sunday so we were the only ones with keys to the church to lock up afterwards. And if we gave the keys to a member we wouldn't be certain of when we would get them back. So, yeah, those were the logistics we figured out. Hopefully all will go well (pray hard and cross your fingers). After all of that wonderful planning we headed to a member's home to study with her. She also fe us lots of bread and crackers and hot chocolate which was great. We read a little of Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk Opposition in All Things from the April 2016 General Conference. And that's what our study was based off of. God gives us opposition so we can learn and grow. If you read the story of Job from the bible you will see how God tested him. Many of us do not face all of those challenges at one time. But to some degree we face them. And by follow Job's example we can stick through the hard times. No matter how hard it gets, never give up or give in or give out; keep your head in the fight. After that appointment we went to an investigator's home. We gave her the talk Why the Church by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. We also talked with her about other stuff too. We played with their kids for a little bit, helped teach English, then headed home to end our day. So yeah, it was a good day because I said so.
On Friday we woke up at 5:30 to catch the 7:00 bus to Kobe for Zone Conference. In the first half of conference we just talked about the Atonement of Christ. We focused heavily on Lehi's vision of the tree of life. Needless to say my mind was blown. Everything in that dream, as in this world, is a physical manifestation of eternal principles; namely the reality of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. Like Sierra in seminary, "my mind was blown" XD After Zone Conference me and my companion did a little dendo in Kobe since we were spending the night in the Kobe Elder's apartment. We came back and had a party of rice and lamb meat that Yamamoto Chōrō's parents sent him. Yes, very good.
On Saturday Yamamoto Chōrō had his stake meetings and I tried to understand what was going on. Nope, no idea what they were talking about. So yeah, no notes were taken XD We hoped the 5:05 bus back to Sumoto and got back around 6:40. We had home teaching at the church building with the branch president's family. They brought us Costco pizza!!!!! We shared a message about choices. We always need to follow our Savior's example whenever we make choices. It is super important. Then we came home and sacked out.
Sunday was the big day. We left for Kobe right after sacrament meeting on the 11:00 bus. We made it there around 12:50. I saw lots of friends there including Raker Chōrō, Welch Chōrō, Hamilton Shimai, Grifitts Chōrō, etc. It was great! Stevenson Chōrō got there around 3:00and we began. To sum it up, he talked about a lot of different stuff. He told us to pick spouses like President and Sister Welch, to always promise blessings and testify, and to increase sacrament meeting attendance. It was awesome! We got done around 4:30 and headed out with the Kobe Stake President and the Akashi Elders. We had dinner with the Stake President which was cool. So much pizza. And then we talked about love and charity. Then they drove us to the Akashi Elder's apartment.
We spent part of today with the Akashi Elders. We went to a really good takoyaki shop where I literally had 16 takoyaki balls. So good!!! Then we came back to Sumoto and now I am emailing you guys. It's been a very busy week and this week will be the same. And no, we weren't able to do the bike trip today because we were in Akashi this morning. We will try to do it next Monday. After this email we will go shopping and probably try to get a nap in. It's been sunny, warm weather all week long!
I love you guys so much. Please keep praying for me as I am praying for you. Fight the good fight and never give up! あいしてるよ❗️