Monday, July 30, 2012

Ebetsu Fun!

Hello again!

Ebetsu is still great! Imanishi Shimai and I are working hard, having a lot of fun and eating a lot of ice cream (it has been hot lately! The ice cream is a necessity, I am sure).

One of the awesome things about Ebetsu that I forgot to mention last week is that there are like five colleges here, so there are lots of fun young people for us to talk to. It has been really fun to talk to people close to our age on the street about classes and tests (and be glad again that I don`t have any right now) and things that I can easily relate to. We met a really awesome girl this past week that I am excited about. She`s a third year student studying archaelogy and philosophy (which is pretty awesome in itself), and she is really smart. We met her on the street on Wednesday and then again on Saturday when we were able to talk some more, and she even came with us to church on Sunday. It was actually the first time someone I have met has come to church, so it was super happy. I think she is still getting a sense of what we are talking about, but we have another appointment tonight so I am excited to see where it goes!

Um, I am having a hard time concentrating so I will just start sending pics and describing those!

Scripture of the Week:
3rd Nephi 13:19-21 (Book of Mormon. Compare to Matthew 6:19-21)
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and theives break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where theives do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Fun Japanese word of the Week:
dokutoku = unique

My new district in Ebetsu! It should be a lot of fun, because everyone is super entertaining. There are six missionaries in the Ebetsu area right now, so our district is all working in the same ward and we see each other all the time, like pretty much every day. Oh, and Stilson Choro, who was in my district at the MTC, is in Ebetsu right now too so it is a lot of fun to work together!

Also, one of the awesome members of the Atsubetsu ward came and stopped by the Ebetsu English class (which is kind of different from the regular missionary English classes, so I will have to explain that later) so that was super happy.

And Imanishi Shimai and I ate food. Always a good idea.

We ate at some wondeful Ebetsu members` houses. It was delicious. And fun!

This weekend near the train station they had this big summer celebration/dance competition. We kept seeing two second snippets of it as we rode our bikes, so during our dinner break we took a few minutes to watch a bit. It was really cool Japanese dancing! I will have to see some more sometime in the future.


Monday, July 23, 2012

And this email is coming to you from...


Where is Ebetsu, you might wonder? Right next to Atsubetsu. It is so
close that I am actually sending this email from the church in
Atsubetsu (the one in Ebetsu doesn't have computers), which I guess
means the email isn't coming from Ebetsu, but still, I am a Ebetsu
missionary now, so it's different.

Ebetsu is actually a little different though because while Atsubetsu
is a ward of the city of Sapporo, Ebetsu is its own city. In fact, I
would say Ebetsu is to Sapporo as Gresham is to Portland... I'd say
that is a pretty good comparison, because my first day in Ebetsu I
found out that just like Sapporo and Portland are sister cities,
Ebetsu and Gresham are sister cities! It was so funny, because I told
a member that I was from Oregon and they were all like "Oh Oregon! Are
you from Gresham?" And I was like how in the world does someone in
Japan come up with Gresham as the first city they think of in Oregon?
I am loving all of the Oregon connections I am finding over here.
Maybe my next area will be sister cities with Beaverton. I probably
just need to go a little more over to the west...

I am super excited to work in Ebetsu, and even though I have only been
here for a few days I can already tell it will be fantastic. Just like
in Atsubetsu the members are super involved (we ate at a member's
house for lunch and dinner yesterday), and my new companion is
fabulous. Her name is Sister Imanishi, and she is from Osaka. She is
actually 27 and worked as an engineer (with metals? Science
translation is hard!) for a few years before coming on her mission.
She is seriously so awesome; I actually really wanted to become her
companion. I think I will be able to learn so much and we will be able
to do a lot of good together here!

Scripture of the week;
Romans 8;38-39
For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, no principalities, nor powers, nor things present, not things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Japanese word of the week; it is a good one!
betsubara - there is always room for dessert!

I love you all!!

Ok, I will give you some pics, haha!

All of the gaijin who came with me to Sapporo from the MTC, reunited at music practice!

So there is this magical bagel place in Atsubetsu. I may already miss it. It is so good!!

The last district meeting of transfer 3

Before our last music practice we went to a cool sushi place where the sushi goes around in a big circle and you can pick what you want. Nishijima Choro (next to me in the group pic) was super adventurous and took whatever looked interesting... which turned out not so fun when he accidentally grabbed fish guts! There were even bits of bones in it, he said... nasty. I definitely stuck to the salmon and tuna varities. No fish guts for me!

Kito Shimai is always trying to steal my hair... it`s dangerous.

Also, just in case you were curious, my bed in Atsubetsu!

Ok, the end. LOVE YOU LOTS!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Music, Music, Music

Sorry this email is probably going to be a short one! But it doesn`t mean I love you any less.

As you may have guessed from the subject line, recently in my mission life there has been a lot of music. And by a lot, I mean a LOT. But it should be really awesome... All of the missionaries in the Sapporo area are putting on a musical concert this Saturday!

There are some missionaries who are super talented, so there should be some really awesome stuff. But in order to make sure it will be good, we have been practicing a lot. This week will be the fourth p-day in a row that we are practicing I think, and it literally takes the whole day to go to the mission home, practice and come back to Atsubetsu. We haven`t gone grocery shopping since the first week of the transfer (don`t worry, we`ve been getting lots of food from the awesome members so it`s not a problem)... And I have six songs to memorize in Japanese! But it should be so great, and getting to see everyone every week can be fun. There should be a good 50 missionaries or so participating. Music is a really great and fun way to feel the spirit and touch people`s hearts, so I am sure that since we are putting so much time into it we will be able to see some miracles. This past Friday a few of us had a practice concert for Institute, and it was really a wonderful experience. I am excited for the real thing! Just wish me some luck memorizing the words, haha.

Scripture of the week:
Romans 12:21 (New Testament)
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Random Japanese Word of the Week:
ichikabachika = take a chance, try one`s luck

Also, random thought, but my hair has officially reached the point where it is probably in the ridiculously long category. I cut it at the MTC once... but you really can`t tell, haha. So recently I`d been thinking about getting it cut but with music practice never had time, and then the other day in the shower BAM idea! I could just let my hair go wild for the next year and then donate it to Locks of Love again right when I get home as one last act of service. Also, it would be kind of funny because the last time I donated it was right after I got back from living in another country (England). I was looking at some pictures from London and my hair is a lot longer now... Anyways, let me know what you think! I want your opinions!

And tomorrow we have our transfer announcement... so next week when I send the email, it could be from anywhere! Well, from any of the Sister areas in Hokkaido. It will be interesting to see what happens! I love the members in Atsubetsu and the kids English class is going really well so I want to stay in Atsubetsu for that, but I also really want to see other parts of the mission, so whatever happens will be good! (Oh side note, the address for mail on the side is the mission home address, so you never have to worry about transfers for that. The mail will find me!)

Love you all!!!!!

pictures = delicious soup curry place in Kita Hiroshima and a sunset on the cycling road. (sorry there aren`t very many!!)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Japanese Fourth of July

Aaah, so I have like a million pictures (mostly of food...) and things to talk about, but negative time because one of the computers at the church is broken this week. So I am going to do the best that I can! Wish me luck.

Ok, first up is an event we had on Saturday called Prep Mission. It was awesome. Bascially they had an activity in Sapporo where any young men or women who are thinking about going on a mission could come and get a taste of mission life. They had a couple of classes with President Evans and others, but most of the time was spent on splits with missionaries. It was actually kind of funny because the youth were nervous because contacting people on the street can be scary the first time, but some of us missionaries were kind of nervous too because we were going out one on one with them and didn`t want to mess up and have them end up with a bad impression of missionary work. And I was concerned I would mess up on the Japanese without my companion with me! The youth probably didn`t pick up on that at all, haha.

But there was really no need to be nervous at all, especially for me because the girl I worked with was a pro! Her name is Masuko Shimai, and she is 20 and really awesome (for example, her hobby is skateboarding with her friends). She said she was nervous, but you really couldn`t tell at all. When we were out streeting (talking to people on the street) near Odori Park and the Sapporo Train Station she would totally go up to people and start talking to them with out me having to tell her to, and she introduced our message so well. It was awesome and inspiring. And it was so fun to talk about mission life and the decision to come here in between. I learned a lot too. Right now she really wants to go on a mission, and if she does I know she will do great! She is a natural.

(next part in next email with more pics. ok? ok)

Ok, so next I shall talk about the Fourth of July, in case anyone is wondering what we did. It was kind of interesting to be in Japan for the Fourth, where no one I talked to even knew what it is, after being in Washington D.C. for the past two summers. Definitely polar opposites. But I was still able to have some American fun! When I was describing what the 4th of July is to Ochiai Shimai in the morning (me: Happy 4th of July!!!! Ochiai Shimai: What?) I started craving a hamburger, so I decided that one American thing we could easily do was... go to McDonalds, haha. Classy, I know. But it tasted like America, and I even received a free Olympics Coke glass, so that was a win. And then later in the day I got to talk to an American in English, so naturally that was fun too. And then we finished out the day by taking some puricura (the Korean style photobooth), which is always great. So it may not have been the traditional 4th, but we were still able to have some fun and I got to enjoy some American pride!

Also a bonus: pictures of a cool Japanese caterpillar! My companion says the pictures make her feel disgusting, but I thought it looked cool haha. Obviously not pics like my beloved big camera, but still fun!

I got to play with Nakandakari Ke (Ke = family) and have my hair did-up reals good. (Side note: I think my English is improving while I am here in Japan!)

This past week when we took the cycling road we took a little break in the middle and stopped at a cute little farm, with an adorable dog, for a nice chat with the owner and some shaved ice! It was a wonderful summer moment.

Ah I am out of time, so I will have to finish next week! Sorry this email is so all over the place... But hopefully it is still fun!

Real quick, the scripture and word of the week!

Scripture of the Week:
Mosiah 2:17 (Book of Mormon)
And behold, I tell you all these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

(Recently I have been thinking about how literally everything we have in our lives, our family, friends, possesions, has been given to us from God. But in return, we can`t really give anything back, because it is all His anyways. But the one thing we can give that He doesn`t already have is ourselves, our time. So whenever we help someone else or do something good we are able to give some happiness to our God who gave us everything!)

Fun Japanese Word of the Week:
Machidooshii = impatient.

Love you all lots! You are all fabulous people!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Six Month Mark

Something surreal happened this past week -- I surpassed six months of being a missionary.

It has seriously been so fast. My sense of time is all warped. In my mind`s eye all of you at home are still cleaning up wrapping paper and watching the Christmas episode of Community (which was seriously so magical that I would like you all to watch it again right now. I literally watched it at least five times before I left). I`ve been so surprised at how fast time has gone, and especially how easy it has been to go without my regular addictions -- namely TV, more TV, movies, books, and of course the news.

I can definitely see the Lord`s help in strengthening me. Before the mission I couldn`t even make it through a whole class period without playing with my phone. Sure, once in a while I`ll have like a 30 second panic attack -- `wait, who is still in the Presidential race? Where is my cell phone so I can read the New York Times? Aaah the Dark Knight Rises is probably coming out soon! If anyone tells me anything about it I will never talk to them again`-- but that is seriously all it consists of (it also helps to imagine me being able to do all of those things, but spending the majority of my day in an office at a normal person job... Especially in a grey cubicle like the one I had at Intel. I much prefer even spending the day soaked in rain to that).

What freaks me out is how fast this past year has been. Not just the mission, but before that. It`s been over a year since I graduated, and almost a year since I finished my internship in D.C. It feels like I was just in D.C wandering the museums with my lovely big camera last week. So if the next year goes as fast as the last one... that hurts my brain.

But onto the activities of this past week! It was a good one. For example, on Friday we got to do a service project, which I LOVE. We just pulled weeds in front of one of our investigator`s houses with a member, but it felt so good. I love using my hands and being outside. And I feel like doing service is one of the best ways to show genuine love, which is a small reflection of God`s love. I also got to wear jeans for the first time since I came to Japan, so that was nice.  And then on Saturday we got to go to a barbeque (not hamburgers, but the same idea with everyone cooking food outside and chilling) where we were able to relax and have fun while talking to wonderful members and their friends. The people here are so wonderful!

One of the things that I`ve talked about before but still absolutely love about Atsubetsu is that the temple site is in our area. Just seeing the excitement of everyone is so great. We were walking down the street close to the church like normal the other day when we were stopped by someone in a car -- it was a member and his friend who were trying to find where the temple is going to be. And then there was a visiting family at church who said they had found it. And pretty much all of the members have artist rendering of it in their houses, and there is a huge printing of it in the hall at church. We even carry small pictures of it with us to give to members and people we meet. You can just feel the excitement for it all of the time. They haven`t started building it yet so the site may still just look like grass, but it really isn`t just grass. It is such a special place that will bring people so many blessings. Yay temples!

Sorry I wrote a lot this week. As a reward... pictures!

For P-day last week we went back to Maruyama Koen after stopping at the mission home for some music practice, but this time we went to another part of the park that has a bunch of shrines and places of worship for various religions. That has been one of the really cool things about being in Japan, being able to learn about other people`s beliefs. Most of the people we meet are Buddhist, so we especially get to learn about that a lot as we share our own beliefs. I tried to study up a bit on Buddhism and Shintoism before coming out to the field, but it is really cool to be able to see how people worship in their daily lives. I definitely have a lot of respect for people who are earnest in their religion.

 We also saw a fox!

Ooh another thing that has been going really well lately is our Eikaiwa (free English language class). At the end of the last transfer two mothers and their kids started to come, in addition to a family who had already been coming, so we decided to create a kids class. Two of the kids are only four years old but are seriously so good at English! I teach the kids class and even though I`m probably not very good (I have no idea what I`m doing. If you have any good tips or ideas for teaching activities definitely let me know!!), we have a lot of fun singing songs and practicing simple conversation. And this next week there will probably be three more families coming (two members and their friend)... which would mean there would be a total of about 14 kids! Crazy. I seriously love all of the Eikaiwa people so much. They are so cool. (But seriously, if you have tips let me know).  Oh and another fun fact about the pic -- the really tall blonde Elder in the back is new, from Finland! I think some of the people at Eikaiwa didn`t know where that is...
Scripture of the week:
Matthew 10:29-31 (Bible, New Testament)
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
(While doing missionary work it is definitely the knowledge of this love that God has for everyone individually that I want to share! I want others to be able to access all of the beautiful happiness that comes along with it. Everyone still has difficult times, but God truely knows every detail of our lives and wants to help us. He never will forget us, and it is never too late to come back! He will help us with any good thing that we desire)
Fun Japanese Word of the Week:
Moyamoya = cobweb, fog. i.e. like if you can`t think very clearly, you have moyamoya.
zurui = cunning, sly or crafty
Thanks for reading! I love you all! It is so cool to have this opportunity to be in another country and learn all about a different culture and language, and most importantly to be able to help people in the best way possible. It`s also really fun to have Amber abroad right now too. She has been sending me her blog entries via email so I have been loving reading them along with my breakfast in the morning! You should probbaly hop over to her blog and check them out too!
Also, have you ever wanted an international pen pal? Getting one is really easy! All you have to do is send a letter to me. There is still a year of international fun left! I have really cool stationary and new stamps, if that is any incentive. (I actually have kind of a stationary buying addiction... It`s all so cute and only a dollar! But now I probably have more stationary than I have time to use...)



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