Monday, May 27, 2013

The Obihiro Week!

This week's exchange was in Obihiro, which is a 3.5 hour bus ride from Sapporo. There are two companionships there right now, so we were there from Tuesday night to Friday morning and it was a ton of fun! It was my first time going out there. The highlight was... meeting my trainer Masuda Shimai! She is married now and living there so I got to go to her house with the other sisters. It was a party. But more on that in a sec! I shall tell this story with pictures.
First ones are from last week's p-day! We had another music fireside this past week (did I remember to tell you about that?), so last week was our last practice. And we had a special guest of Kawasaki Choro, who was in my first district but then went home only a couple of weeks after I got here to Japan. So it was fun to see him again! These are from the room where we practice upstairs in the mission home. Yep.

In front of the Obihiro Eki! (This makes it look like pretty big city, but it is actually more of an agricultural area other than the main downtown. It is super pretty with lots of flowers!)

And there were super adorable kittens at one of the members houses that we visited. That is important.

And dinner with Masuda Shimai (ok, now it is Hashimoto Shimai) at her apartment with her husband! It was sooo happy! And delicious! She made all of my favorite foods we ate together because she is so wonderful -- pizza and crispy little apple pies.

Making dinner at the Obihiro apartment for the six of us. It was pretty packed with futons practically on top of each other to get us all in, but way fun!

From the group pictures left to right: Kise Shimai, me, Furue Shimai from Kagoshima Japan, Yabutani Shimai from Wakayama Japan, Sugihara Shimai from Washington, and Coyne Shimai from all over (most recently Oklahoma? But she lived in Germany for like five years too and is super super fluent, which is awesome).

View from the bus back.
The four Odori Sisters in front of the old Hokkaido government building on the day of the music fireside. It was a our meetng spot to go out to lunch with a member and it was just so pretty that we couldn't resist taking pictures while waiting!

And pics from DTM lunch last tuesday! And a road stop on the way to Obihiro. A little out of order.
And that is all I can do today! Love you all! Things are going great, and the weather is finally getting nice! I am going without tights for the first time today. Freedom!
Ok, until next week!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Kotoni and Ebetsu Week!

As my highly creative title suggests, this week's exchanges were in Kotoni and Ebetsu!

Ebetsu was especially fun because I got to meet pretty much all of my investigators, and then some members too! It was actually pretty crazy how many people we were able to meet -- there are definitely miracles that come with exchanges!

And here are some pics from the exchanges of the week (I am still way behind on pics from the past transfer of course, but I figure it would be good to keep at least a little up with time. If I have some time after I'll send some of the old ones!)

Oh first, a pic from a way fun member dinner last week! They are in the Kotoni ward.

And last Monday was Osterloh Shimai's birthday! She is living in the same apartment as us, so we all went out to dinner.

#1 is me and Amada Shimai in Kotoni during a rain storm. The cherry blossoms have finally started coming out!

Me and a favorite person from Ebetsu.

Me and Miyamoto Shimai, who I worked with in Ebetsu.

Plus me and Kise Shimai in front of the Ebetsu church!

Ebetsu members!

All of us.

And the Nopporo Eki (the train stop we always use in Ebetsu).

And that is it for now! We've been super busy, running from place to place and it is crazy, but there are definitely a lot of great things that have been coming along with it. I am excited to see what happens!
Love you all!

Monday, May 13, 2013

STL Adventures begin!!

Hello everyone!

I am officially in Odori, my new area, with the new sisters training responsibility, and I feel like we've had a running start!

It was kind of funny because almost nothing about this transfer was normal -- to start off, we always have transfers on Thursdays but because of a mission president conference in Tokyo this week we had it on a Saturday. And then because we have another music concert this month, instead of going to the normal transfer spot at the Sapporo train station we all went to the church in Kotoni for music practice. Then Kise Shimai and I ended up going on a split of sorts so weren't even together our first official day of our companionship  haha.

I went out to dinner with one of my favorite families ever that I met housing with Masuda Shimai just over a year ago and a bunch of the missionaries that they've become friends with in between then. It has been so wonderful to see the relationship that they have made with so many missionaries and the members too, even though only one small daughter has joined the church-- it has really become a part of their lives.  Then we actually went to Atsubetsu for their ward FHE. It was so much fun to see all of the members from my first area! Such a blessing. It was kind of funny though because since it was transfers I lugged my red suitcase with me the whole time, from Asahikawa to Sapporo, then the church, then the other end of the subway line and then on the street car... and it was raining the whole time so it got soaked, haha. But it was a team effort. Even the kids helped!

And without further ado, since I am now going to be at the mission home for emails (at least most of the time, I think) I can send some pictures! Let's see what I can do... (I may be super behind)

Puricura (korean style awesome pictures) with Lundstrom Shimai! I'll have to scan some of those gems in when I get home...

Lundstrom Shimai's bean shower (welcome for new missionaries)!

Picture on our balcony for Ai Chan's birthday card -- it was deceptively cold...

Lundstrom Shimai's first day on her new bike!

Trying out some natural dendo in Asahikawa's Kaimono Koen

The snow was finally gone! It was time to celebrate (I saw some of my first cherry blossoms this week after coming to Sapporo!)

The ward potluck with Ai Chan ans her sister before her baptism!! (They are so awesome!!)

The lunch group pic! It's a little off center... don't worry about it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Asahiyawa Zoo: Round Two!

Hello family and friends!

The running theme of my mission life continues -- we`ve been super busy so I don`t have time to write much...

Today was a lot of fun though! We went to the zoo with all of the Elders in our district plus half of the Takikawa District. I have a year passport so I was more than happy to use it again! I love going to the zoo. Like a lot.

We also have to go to Sapporo tonight though because I have a meeting first thing in the morning and then an exchange in Shin Kotoni (with Northrop Shimai, my MTC companion so it will be a lot of fun), and it is a little over a two hour bus ride so we have to finish this up real quick and then grab our bags to head over to the bus station.

I`m kind of exhausted though. But in a good way.

Especially because this past week, after I did my last email, we had Ai Chan`s baptism! Hopefully next week I will be able to email a picture. Baptism, if you aren`t too familiar with the term, is a church ordinance that was taught in the Bible (and Book of Mormon, of course) that cleans us of our sins, or mistakes. We promise to follow Christ and keep His commandments, and then God promises to forgive us of the things that we do wrong as long as we repent and continually try to follow Christ`s example to do better. That`s a terrible
explanation, but it is really great.

Anyways, she had her baptism last week and it was fantastic -- you could feel the Spirit so strong. It was awesome to see how she was able to have the way prepared for her to come to the church, even if it took some time. And her sister also came up from Abashiri, which is like a 4 hour drive away, and it was perfect. Her sister just joined the church like a year ago, and actually was introduced to the church by her sister Ai Chan. So cool!

Ok, have to go!!! I feel like these emails are always a sprint!


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