I am serving in the Osaka Higashi district :) Apparently, this is the ghetto part of Osaka, but I wouldn't really know because I don’t have much to compare it too.
|Dean Shamai and Grundvig Shamai|
My companion is Sister Dean and I absolutely love her. She is from Utah and she is on her fifth transfer. Her Japanese is good (even though she says it isn't) she at least understands what people are saying! She tells me that my Japanese is good for only having learned Japanese in the MTC...but I still don’t really know what is going on. I can follow conversations better than I can speak though. And, the language will come with time. Yesterday at church I had to bear my testimony in Japanese. Before Church I met a ton of the members, and the first lady I met...I really stumbled through introducing myself politely and stuff. Bearing my testimony went well, and after church she came up to me and told me she was impressed because she had expected my Japanese to be worse after meeting me the first time. At least, I am pretty sure that was what she said. She was so funny. The ward is so cute. It is small, but strong. I love how strong the members are here, there aren't many of them and this is not an easy place to be Christian...but they are so kind and so willing to help us. My companion has worked hard and built up this area a lot. And so have the Elders. I am so blessed to be in it! I have an incredible trainer, a strong area, a lot of investigators - we have taught at least one lesson every day since I have been here - and we have three investigators with baptismal dates.
|Me and my Bike!|
|Zinke Shimai and Zinke Kaicho|
|The Missionary Group that left the MTC together|
So much has changed in one week! The night we left the MTC all the girls in the branch sang hymns together in the hall (in English - last time I will do that for the next 16 months) and then traveling to Japan was nice. I had time to do all the things I hadn't had time to do in the MTC. And I studied Japanese a little bit with Fuller Choro, because he was next to me on the plane. I have never seen Fuller Choro and Eversole Choro so happy as when we landed in Japan. Eversole Choros trainer is a Nihonjin and they bounce around together like little bunnies. Fuller Choro spent the entire flight looking at the map of the airplane getting closer and closer to Japan, and he was so excited. It was my favorite thing ever.
On the flight, Daniels Shimai and I talked to a few people about the church. They were mostly interested in why we were going to Japan, and they told us that the Japanese people would like us because we are small and blonde. And they wouldn't even mind that we dressed weird probably! (Seriously, one guy told us that...sometimes in the MTC I forgot that most people don’t wear long skirts all day every day).
|In front of our apartment.|
There are so many things I love about Japan. I love that the toilet paper is pink and scented. I love the pretty trees. I love all the packages that food comes in and that they are so brightly colored and cute. I like sleeping on futons. I love the way the food smells wafting out into the streets as we ride our bikes by. And I am so excited to share the gospel with these people- because I can just see it in their faces. They NEED the gospel. They need this message. They need the happiness that it can bring them.