Hey everyone! We had a pretty good week here in Hachinohe!
Unlike most of the mission, we didn`t transfer, so we spent the whole week here, which was nice, though it would`ve been fun to see all the other people who were moving around the mission. The new missionaries here in Hachinohe are pretty cool, and I think we`ll get along pretty well.
We taught "A"-san twice this week, and he`s really starting to move forward! He has expressed genuine gratitude for our visits, and he seems pretty set on joining the church! We just have to keep working with him and help him understand what will be expected of him when he becomes a member. I think he can do it!
We also did service for the American family and played basketball with them. It`s been really fun to work with other native English speakers, and their family has really appreciated how much wood we`ve managed to move for them. The dad told us that if he had done the work on his own it would have taken nearly ten hours to do, but it took only an hour and a bit with six missionaries on the job! I doubt that they`ll be converting any time soon, but in some ways that makes the service more satisfying because it really is selfless, instead of just a way to find people (though that kind of service is really good too!)
Finally, we had a crazy activity on Saturday called 流しそうめん. Basically, they place a four-inch wide slide that descends from the second floor of the church and turn it into a noodle water slide. Everyone gathers around and snags noodles with their chopsticks, places noodles into a mixture of tsuyu, water, garlic, wasabi, green onions, and any other desired flavor, and then devours them! I really don`t understand why this isn`t a thing in America, because it`s so delicious and fun! We`ll have to do it when I get home. The activity was also pretty good from a mission-standpoint with tons of people coming, including plenty of non-members. Most of the people that Fox Choro and I had invited bailed out in the end, but there were still plenty of people to talk to and set up stuff with.
Well, that pretty much sums up our week. We also had our normal English class, shuwa, and other fun stuff. And everyone keeps telling us about the riots in America and how it`s too dangerous to visit.
This week has been insane out here in Hachinohe!
So, to start with the good news, I saw my first baptism in Japan yesterday! One of the sisters` investigators who`s been taking the lessons for more than a year finally got the courage to get baptized! It was really hard for her because her parents were not especially supportive, but she finally realized that joining the church is what she needed to do. It was really an exciting event, with Jones Choro performing the actual baptism! Fox Choro and I had one of our investigators, come watch his first baptism. I hope it will help encourage him to really push himself a bit more.
Along with that, we went to our investigator`s house to invite him to the baptism. It turned out that he had never heard of baptism before that, which isn`t really all that strange in Japan. When we taught him about what baptism was, he told us that he want to be baptized! He was pretty impressed with how through baptism we can become free from sin and basically start our life over again with a clean slate. He couldn`t come yesterday to the baptism, but we were able to meet with him yesterday and get a baptismal date decided on! Now we just have to hope that he`ll be ready by the 11th of October!
Also, we went to a fireworks show last night! The Japanese are pretty intense with their fireworks, probably because they don`t have to worry about setting things on fire when it rains so much out here. We also ended up talking to some people who really want to learn English, so they`ll come to Eikaiwa on Wednesday, which could lead to who-knows-what! I wanted to take pictures, but my camera is currently missing in our apartment, so I`ll have to steal pictures from the others when we have time!
Oh yeah, transfers happened, and we are one of the nine companionships in the entire mission that actually stayed together. I don`t know whether this is how transfers are going to work out from now on, but it is pretty interesting!
Anyhow, that`s about all I can write! If you want to hear full stories, ask, but we did service at the Americans` church and played basketball with their family, attended sign language class run by the city, had middle-schoolers in the area warned that we`re dangerous by teachers, and did our typical dendo!
We`ve had a pretty interesting week here in Hachinohe as usual! Tons of rain, so it`s been cold for the past week, but it looks like it`s going to be improving now that the typhoon is gone.
First of all, we had an earthquake yesterday. As we were teaching the young men`s class, we started to feel a shaking and then all the earthquake alarms on people`s cell phones went off. It was probably the strongest one that I had felt as a missionary in Japan. Thank goodness the church is built on a strong, concrete foundation. Kind of an appropriate metaphor, I think.
We had companion exchanges on the fifth, which was also the one year mark for being in Japan for us. We were going to an investigator, but on the way we saw a festival at a military base on the way. We were running a bit early, so we decided to see what it was like. Generally, it`s next to impossible to enter bases like this, but we were allowed to just walk right in! Bodily Choro wanted to take pictures of the helicopters and tanks, but there were soldiers blocking those roads. When we asked them, though, they called their superior, and he ended up giving us a personal tour of everything! He even took pictures for us in the helicopters! He was really nice, and maybe he`ll be an investigator someday! We heard a crazy story about how during the war with Russia, a group of nearly two hundred Japanese soldiers died on a march between Hirosaki and Hachinohe due to the cold. You can learn such cool things from the experts.
That`s pretty much it! You should definitely be excited for next week! We`re taking pictures in traditional Japanese outfits today, we have the transfer call, and we`re eating at baikingu today! Hope your day is as good as ours! Aishiteimasu!
Hey everybody! I thought I`d put a picture of the festival to start out this email! Basically they have huge floats that are pulled through the city by groups of screaming children. I took videos, but unfortunately you`ll have to wait to see them.
Anyhow, in other news, we finally have multiple investigators! We`ve been visiting this older guy for a while, but he hadn`t been able to make the jump to investigator. However, on Tuesday, Elder Fox left a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation behind and asked him to read it. Surprisingly enough, he did! And not only that, but he enjoyed it! He said that the more he read, the more he wanted to keep knowing what would happen next.
Also, we taught a thirty year old guy, who`s really awesome! We wanted to get a baptism date for him, but he says that he`s not really ready to make that sort of commitment, because he doesn`t know whether he`s reached his turning point or not.
And here`s something interesting that happened. We were riding our bikes around as usual when we saw a group of American children weeding in a large garden. We asked their dad if we could help them, but he said that since we were wearing church clothes, that it would be better if we changed into normal clothes. So, the next day, we came back in clothes suitable for yardwork and weeded/ pulled out potatoes for a few hours. The dad turned out to be a minister, so we got bible-bashed for the first time! It was pretty exciting, honestly! He was really nice, though. We`ll probably try helping them again in the future!
That`s pretty much it for this week! I`ll try sending more photos! It`s great being in Japan for the summer festivals!
Aaru Chourou Yori