Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Take me out to the ball game... in Japan!!

Sorry I didn`t get to write anything last week, but it was for a good cause -- all of the missionaries close by got to go to a professional baseball game together!! It was a super rare treat. The mission concert`s grand finale performance was on the Saturday before, so I think it was our reward for having to spend so many p-days at the mission home all day practicing. I guess I should talk about the concert a little first, since it was such a big part of our lives.

The concert: If you`ve been keeping up with the blog periodically you should probably know that we actually did the same concert before a couple of months ago. Basically it was a huge concert where all of the songs were performed by the missionaries -- about 50 of us who were working close to Sapporo. Evan`s Shimai, the mission president`s wife, is like a music professional so that whole thing was her grand idea, with help from Nishimura Shimai, a Japanese sister who studied music and is super skilled. She arranged most of the songs herself! So we did the first concert and it was great, and then the other Sapporo Stake (there are two in Sapporo) wanted to have a concert too, so we got to do an encore. All of the music was pretty much the same except for a couple of songs. It was way fun to do it in Atsubestu this time because it meant I got to see lots of my Atsubetsu friends and it is closer to Ebetsu so a couple of our investigators were able to come and a lot of members too. There was one non-attending member who we visit occasionally who came and said it was the first event at church he had been to in ten years! It took a lot of time and effort, but I think it was a really great opportunity.

Agh, way too much stuff to catch up on and way too little time! Ok, baseball. And then I will try to send pics to fill in the gaps?

So the call that we were all going to be able to go to a baseball game was a total surprise! It was a fantastic experience -- I totally wanted to be able to experience the culture of sports here and didn`t think I would be able to during the mission. I LOVE sports, so I love things like that. For example, when I was in England we all went to a soccer game and it was so cool to see all of the different cheers and cultural things. Baseball is actually huge here, so being able to go support the Sapporo Nippon-Ham Fighters (they were playing the Buffaloes. I feel like there aren`t actually any buffaloes in Japan... haha) was fantastic. Their cheers were so organized! It was impressive. A lot of it seemed super American though, which was also really interesting. They definitley played YMCA for everyone to dance to. Oooh another fun part was that before the game we all met at the mission home for a BBQ! It was perfectly American, with hamburgers, hotdogs and ice cream from Costco. So great. Thank you President Evans!

Before I run out of time, some pictures! I will start with the baseball ones, just to be safe.

The BBQ fun, and then everyone heading to the subway to go to the game! There were 52 missionaries who went... we kind of stood out.

More baseball! The stadium is actually inside a cool dome, which is kind of funny but entirely necessary in Hokkaido with all of the snow for so long!

One of the missionaries caught a ball, so he had everyone sign it!

They also had this cool balloon release in the middle of the 8th inning.

They are really big on business cards here, so every time a missionary goes to a different area they write on the back of them to give to all of the members and people they worked with. It is pretty cool and fun. So since the music concert was in Atsubetsu I wanted to finish before then so I wrote seriously like every single day. When I finally finished I had written 47!

Ahh lots more pics and such, but no time! LOVE YOU ALL!!!

I`ll catch up on everything next week, I`m sure. Famous last words.

Scripture of the Week:
1 John 3:11 (Bible, New Testament)
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Japanese word of the week:
katto base = Japanese cheer for when people are at bat

Sunday, September 16, 2012

can't email this week...

Because we're going to a professional baseball game today!!! I literally only have time to send this and print out the others. LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will send send pics next week and answer email q's next week. Sorry! But I am super stoked!!! BASEBALL!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

6 Months in Japan!

Craziness -- this week, on my sister Amber's birthday, actually, will mark six months since I left America for Japan. I can't believe that it has been so long! Especially when I compare it to like study abroad in London, which was around 4 months but seemed longer somehow (maybe because it was filled with so many magical memories). Time is cruising pretty quick. At the end of the month I will be halfway done with the mission.

Things in Ebetsu are going really well! This week was actually especially filled with good people and fun activities. I'll share a couple of highlights. If I can focus, which I am not guaranteeing at this point.

The first you can see in the pictures. We met a super nice grandpa while we were housing, and surprised to find that his genkan (like the door entryway area of the house) filled with all sorts of awesome wood carvings of people and squirrels and such. When we asked about it it turned out that he started it as a hobby after he retired, and then since we were from far away he brought us two handcarved Hokkaido bears to take home with us! They are so cool, and super professional. He told us to give them names, so mine is Kuma Tarou, and Imanishi Shimai's is Kuma Kichi (Kuma means bear). We went back a second time during the week and had a lot of fun talking to him and his daughter too.

We also had a fun surprise this week when we got a text message from an old investigator out of the blue on Saturday night saying that he wanted to come to church the next day. He came for all three hours and it was a lot of fun to talk to him. He is a college student right now and really cool. Hopefully he will come back next week!

A lot of the good things from this week are kind of hard to formulate in an email, because they are just small little things that maybe to the outside viewer wouldn't seem to be all that big, but that we have really been able to see God's love and help in. Like on Saturday after praying with a member we were able to make two appointments (during the whole week we had only been able to make one other one). On Friday when we met with a longtime investigator, her friend, who is a member, came and joined us and shared a powerful testimony of church attendance and how the investigator will be able to meet again her beloved father who passed away. We were able to meet someone who had met the missionaries earlier in life and then lost contact.  It's really in the small things of mission life, and in regular life too, that add up to something beautiful I think. This past week we have been making a list at night of all those positive things and I highly recommend it.

Thank you so incredibly much for all of your support!!! I really appreciate it. So much. I'm sorry I haven't been able to write much lately, in emails or letters! Hopefully I will be able to step it back up again soon.

Scripture of the Week:
Matthew 11:28 (Bible, New Testament)
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Japanese Word of the Week:
(ok, this one is actually a phrase)

Kuchi ga Sabishii = literally, my mouth is lonely. But you can use it for those times when you aren't hungry, but want to eat something anyways!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Transfer 5!

And for transfer five... I will still be in Ebetsu! With Imanishi Shimai!

I'm actually super excited, because I feel like we work really well together and have a good foundation from the last transfer so we will be able to do awesome things this one. It was actually pretty surprising though, because Imanishi Shimai has been in Ebetsu since February, so by the time the transfer ends she will be going on like 8 months.

Also, another fun thing of this transfer -- we got a new Gaijin! (Review: gaijin = non-Japanese person). That makes four gaijin sister missionaries now. She is from Utah (well, kind of. She spent most of her life in Tokyo), and her parents are actually the Tokyo mission presidents right now so she is only 19! (If someone wants to go on a mission when their parents are serving they can go two years early). But it is fun. She is Obihiro right now though, which is like 3 hours away so I probably won't be seeing her for a while.

Other fun mission stats: right now there are 82 missionaries in The Sapporo Mission, and 19 are sister missionaries. Apparently it is one of our bigger times for the mission, but if you compare us to other missions we are pretty small! For example, Tokyo has around 180 missionaries, and Kobe has around 140. So there you go. Fun fact of the day.

Now for pictures!!  They are all from the Winter Sports Museum. It was a lot of fun! Most of the missionaries who are in the Sapporo area all carpooled up together. They had the Olympics here in like 1972, and so they had all sorts of fun sports simulators inside and we also got to ride to the top of the ski lift (the ski jump is so ridiculously steep!) where we could see all of Sapporo. It was perfect! Enjoy the view :)

The district. Oh, I forgot to mention that Stilson Choro and Kakishita Choro are staying too, so the district is pretty much the same, haha. Shibata Choro went home, and Inumaki Choro became AP, so now Ebetsu is 4 missionaries instead of 6.

The big ski jump simulator. I got like 139, beating almost all of the Elders. Clearly this means I should become a professional ski jumper when I get home.

Our last district meeting -- since Shibata Choro and Inumaki Choro weren't there (they had training at the mission home) Yasuda Shimai, an awesome member from the ward, joined us!

Also, me and a dragonfly. They are all over here during the summer and I LOVE them. They are my best friends, I'm sure.

Ok, that's it!

Scripture of the week:
Alma 46:39 (Book of Mormon)
And it came to pass that there were many who died, firmly believing their souls were redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ; thus they went out of the world rejoicing.

Fun Japanese word of the week:
Kieru = disappear


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