November 9, 2014
It feels like this week has been longer than most do to the extended transfer, but I made it here to Yonezawa on Thursday and it`s been interesting! No pictures yet, but today should be a good day to take a few!
Yonezawa is quite a bit different from Hachinohe. Pulling in to Yonezawa on the highway bus, it was very clear that this place is much smaller than Hachinohe. It`s a pretty town with mountains completely surrounding it, but the whole city is in the valley so it`s pretty easy to bike around. The branch is extremely tiny: probably just about twenty active members here.
There`s lots of good stuff about this place. Missionary work is high on the minds of the members here. Every Sunday after church, they say a prayer specifically on behalf of missionary work followed by a shokujikai (pretty much a potluck). Recently, three less actives have been reactivated and one new person has joined the church, so a net gain of four! The branch has lost two people, but they both are on missions now, so that`s pretty good! It may be tiny, but the branch members are eager to share the gospel to the extent that they can. They talked during Sunday School about their specific efforts to share the gospel, and it`s pretty impressive.
I taught a lesson each day I`ve been here in Yonezawa, with more planned for this week. There was the one guy, T-san, who I had actually met in Hachinohe before coming here who`s pretty nice. We taught him along with the branch president, marking the first joint lesson in more than three transfers for me. He`s struggling to choose between the JW`s and us, a typical problem out here for those who are religiously inclined. He knows that if he makes an act of faith, than he`ll be more likely to receive an answer, but he fears that he`ll be limiting his options to hear from other religions, so he`s hesitating to accept baptism. Our other investigator we taught it mostly in it for the English, but he doesn`t mind the gospel. He actually meets with us many times a week, which I guess is better than not meeting at all like many of my previous investigators.
Anyhow, this transfer seems like it will be a good one! Our international apartment is pretty fun! I`m getting a chance to use Chinese as well as shuwa (there`s a recently reactivated LA who loves shuwa), so I feel blessed to be here. I`ll try to get pictures of the famous Uesugi Shrine and other sites around here. The church may be rather old looking, but it`s a great place. It`s not the building but the people that matter!