Monday, June 25, 2012

An Ode to the Cycling Road

Hello again family and friends!

Today I would like to talk about a wonderful part of the Atsubetsu area -- the Cycling Road! I think I mentioned it before, but didn't go too in-depth. The Atsubetsu area acutally includes Kita Hiroshima, which is a city that is close if you go by car (only like 20 minutes), but it's about an hour and a half door to door if you go by bike. But the cycling road is magical so I love it. It is a good 10 km of natural beauty. We're always a little exhausted when we get back, but it is so worth it. Every week we go once or twice because half of all of our referrals, plus other awesome members and investigators live there, and this week when we went we decided to take our lunch break as a picnic on a bench along the way. It was great. Pictures included!

Another fun thing from this week (sorry this email is probably terrible... I'm at the mission home so I can't concentrate at all with all of the Elders talking) is that I met someone who knows Portland super well. She hasn't ever been to Portland before, but she's seen the Rose Parade on TV multiple times! I was so surprised. We met her on the street using my favorite street contact (making friends with people's dog), and when I said I was from Portland she got all excited. It was really happy. Next time we are in the area we plan to stop by and show her some fun Portland pictures. And from there hopefully we will be able to talk more about the gospel.

Things are good! Ochiai Shimai and I are having fun. Sorry this email is so bad... I will try to make up for it next week.

Scripture of the week:
1 Nephi 3:7 (Book of Mormon)
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commanments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

(I know this scripture is reference all of the time in the Church, but that is becase it is great. And I definitely think there is a reason it comes right at the beginning of the Book of Mormon. God really does love us, and he wants us to succeed, so if he asks us to do something he will help us to do it)

Fun Japanese word of the day:
nebaru = to persevere

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Mysterious Building in the Distance

Today`s pictures (which is what you were really looking forward to, I know) are of... the Mysterious Building in the Distance.

No matter where you are in Atsubetsu, you can almost always see the Mysterious Building in the Distance, so naturally ever since I arrived here I have wanted to go there and check it out. But we never had time on p-days (or so I thought) to go all the way over to it, so everytime we would dendo (do missionary work in Japanese) I would always joke around and say `let`s go to the really tall building!` and then Ochiai Shimai would say `ok, you can go. I will see you later!.` Yesterday, when we were housing in a new area, we followed the same pattern. But as we kept working and traveling up this huge hill in the neighborhood, the building kept getting bigger and bigger, and when we went out to the main road to find the next area we wanted to go to... there it was! We were practically at the bottom of it. So we took a little bit of our dinner break and took pictures. It is huge! And it turns out that it isn`t far away at all. Going home from there only took all of like ten minutes, haha.

What is the Mysterious Building in the Distance actually? Um... I`m not entirely sure, haha. The name was in Japanese and I didn`t really have time to find the description. But I think it is some commemorative anniversary Sapporo thing, We want to go back on a clear p-day and climb it (you can see the whole city from it! I think) so I will let you know then. In then mean time, enjoy the pics! Oh, and since I know my mom will ask, the green cardigan is from a member.

My proudest accomplishment of the week was having a successful normal conversation with an investigator. I walked into the apartment and saw a Mark Rothko block print, which I happen to like quite a lot, so I remarked on it. She got all excited (apparently not many people in Japan know who Rothko is) and showed me two more prints in another room (she`s really into art, and creating art) which led into a conversation about how I did study abroad in London, where I saw a huge Rothko exhibit and she talked about how she had seen them at an art museum too, and how you can`t look at them in a book you have to see them in person because the atmosphere is entirely different. Ok, maybe my part consisted mostly of `I like Rothko` `i studied and london and went to art museums,` and `book is not the same.` But even though the conversation was super basic it felt really great to be able to build more of a relationship like a normal person with an investigator!

Random Fun Japanese Word of the Week
houcouonchi = no sense of direction
plus a bonus!
nen no tame ni = just in case
Scripture of the week!
1 Nephi 10:19 (Cook of Mormon)
For he that dillegently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times as old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of God is one eternal round.
(I love this scripture because the miracles of the Bible really aren`t a thing of the past, which only happened then and are over now. God is always the same, and he loves us just as much now as he loved the people then, so we can recieve the same blessings in our lives! He always wants to help us if we let Him.)
Things in Atsubetsu are going well! The work definitely requires patience, but it is a lot of fun at the same time. Hopefully you can get a little feel for that from the emails. It is always so hard to know what to write about... if you have any tips send a letter my way! I will gladly receive it!
Love you all.

Bonus pics flowers from a member that make me really happy every time I see them on our table. I don`t have my nice camera, but I wanted to share some of their happiness.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

And the next transfer..​.

I will still be in Atsubetsu!  But I have a new companion. Introducing...

Ochiai Shimai! She is from Okinawa, which is the Hawaii of Japan. The fact that we are companions was actually a big surprise, because in missionary life we are both very young. We were actually together in the MTC! She was in the first group of Nhonjin that came, so she is on her 4th transfer here and I am on my 3rd. But I will actually go home a transfer before her, since I entered the MTC first. It`s kind of funny. We will both reach our 6 month mark this transfer (can you believe it has already been practically 6 months?). Since we are young we don`t know everything that is going on yet, but we have lots of energy and enthusiasm to make up for it. I`m excited to see what happens!

It is kind of weird not having Masuda Shimai around all of the time though. She actually got transfered to Kotoni, where she will be working with Northrop Shimai. Northrop Shimai stole my trainer, haha. And Kito Shimai went back to Odori, after being in Odori for two weeks (with the same companion she is returning to), then Atsubetsu for four weeks this past transfer. Crazy! I wouldn`t particularly want to do that much packing...

Since I have more time today I will finally share my miracle story! Sorry for leaving you hanging so long... you know that I love you all, right? Right. Ok, it goes like this. Masuda Shimai, Kito Shimai and I were in Kita Hiroshima just doing normal contacting along the street while on our way to a potential investigator`s house. I started to contact a lady on the street, but hadn`t made it past konnichiwa when she started a friendly conversation of `where did you come from` which somehow turned into `are you busy right now? I think I want you to meet my daughter!` Mind you, at this point she still didn`t even know we were missionaries. But she totally took us to meet her daughter, who is 24, and her less than one year old son!

They are such a cute family. We talked a little bit about why we had come to Hokkaido and the importance of families, and when we asked if we could stop by the daughter`s apartment when we were in Kita Hiroshima again she said yes! So we did, and when we talked about church and her family and beliefs and little bit more there was such a good feeling -- you could definitely feel the spirit really strongly. So I am excited to see what happens next! Maybe this story doesn`t seem like a miracle to everyone, but I really feel like the meeting was a miracle. I don`t think the mom really knew why she wanted us to meet her daughter -- at first we had thought that it was because her daughter really liked foreigners or something, but when we asked on the way to her apartment the mom said she didn`t have any special interest in foreign countries of anything like that. I really feel like she was put in our path for a reason -- I don`t think we would have found her on our own.

Let`s see, what else... Yesterday we got to see the place where they are going to build the Sapporo temple!! At least I am like 90% sure it is the right place. I may have been going off of the description I read in a newspaper article before I left for my mission. But the description was pretty clear -- across from the university, next to a river and a famous rainbow bridge. There was only one big construction site that met those requirements! They haven`t really started building it yet, but I am so excited for the people here to be able to have such a wonderful place that they can get to easily (right now all of the members have to go to Tokyo if they want to go to the temple). And it was fun to do missionary work close by! It is definitely a special area. I will attach pictures!

Oooh I have been meaning to start this for weeks but never ended up having time. From now on, every week I will share one random Japanese word I learned during the week and a favorite scripture! Yay! I know you are all excited. Yep.

Random fun Japanese word of the day:
yuukan = brave, courageous

Fine, maybe this week I will share two random words.

hato = pigeon (an important word)

Scripture of the week:
Ether 12:4 (Book of Mormon)
Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

(Fun side note: One of my MTC teachers said that during his mission he would love to have his Book of Mormon open to this page on the bus or train and then lean over to the person next to him and say `Isn`t this interesting? Wouldn`t you like a better world?` I`m not quite up to that level yet, but I feel like that would be fun!)

Ok, I think that is it! I`m done making you read a lots of words. To reward you for your good work, here are some pictures! There are actually a ton this week, since it was the end of the transfer.

You are all fabulous people. Keep up the good work.

Kishi Shimai went home last week. It was sad! Also last Masdau Shimai and I picture. Well, until we see each other again. Which will probably be soon. But still, it won`t be quite the same.
Kito Shimai and I had a really bad relationship. We always were fighting. 
A really nice member made us an especially delicious gratin that... was inside a pumpkin! (You would have loved it, Annie)
We played with giant leaves, Totoro style.
Masuda Shimai and Kito Shimai had a little temporary farewell tour that involved visiting fun members and friends.
And we took one last picture of our district! They changed the zone boundaries, so everyone is going to be somewhere different this transfer.
Love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Japan in June!

So I may have told a lie last week when I said I could share more stories today... because I don`t have time again. But I swear I will tell it as soon as I can! And even though it is bad for you because you don`t get to hear much, it is great for me because it means I am getting to do all sorts of fun things on p-day! For example, today we successfully made it to the zoo!

But I am getting ahead of myself. Before time runs out I want to be sure to send at least a little sample of the pictures from this past week (we took a ton! You`re welcome, mom), so I will do that first.
First, pictures from the zoo today! The weather was perfect for summer. And the whole Atsubetsu zone came so it was a lot of fun!

We had a picnic at the zoo too! Kito Shimai made bentos.

This is the last week of this transfer, so we have been visiting a lot of the wonderful members in Atsubetsu! And look, bike pictures!
We had exchanges last Friday, and it was super fun because I got to go to Kotoni (still in Sapporo) where Northrop Shimai is and work with her and her trainer for a day! It was great to be able to actually do missionary work in Japan together after being in the MTC together for so long. And her trainer, Kishi Shimai is super entertaining and always takes fun pictures (you would like her, mom). She actually goes home this week, so it was great to be able to work with her before she leaves! We had a dinner with one of their investigators too, who just received baptism yesterday! She is awesome. Yay!

And some pictures from last week`s adventures in Maruyama Koen! We took a ton. And none of them are normal, haha. Love it.
Hopefully having tons of pictures makes up for not being able to write...?
Love you all so much! You are the best. 


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