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...)


1 comment:

  1. Hey Natalie! We tutored little kids on the weekends and they loved singing songs, playing hangman (to practice spelling and reading), pictionary (to practice vocabulary), and bingo (use words that sound similar to help them with pronunciation. Like ball and bowl, sheep and ship, tree and three). Good luck!



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