Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Japanese Addresses and beauty in simplicity

So much has happened in a week...slash it has already been a week and I don't even know how...and I also don't have a whole lot of time to write. #classic #missionary. 

But...the week in super-speed style. 
Tokushima Beach (Not sure that is the name, but that is what I call it)
 We have a new mission president! It is the strangest thing ever...all of a just have a new mission president and Zinke Kaicho is gone...and the work just moves on like normal and you hardly even notice! And that is how that went. But at the same time, things are changing, but it is good because you can feel it in your bones that the work is moving forward and that the mission was ready for changes and Japan was ready for changes...and this world..EVERYTHING is about eternal progression and the church leaders have a pretty good idea about what is going on in the world and how to run the church...and so mission presidents transition the way that they do for a reason. So this is how it all goes down...on Friday night (of last week) Welch Kaicho arrived at the Kansai airport. On Saturday morning he and Welch Shimai have breakfast with Zinke Kaicho and Zinke Shimai. Zinke Kaicho and Zinke Shimai have three hours to tell them everything they want to tell them. And then Zinke Kaicho and Zinke Shimai hand over the keys to the car (when Zinke Kaicho explained it to us this way, Zinke Shimai burst into tears and then I also burst into tears because when Zinke Shimai cries...I cry) and then Welch Kaicho becomes the mission president! And the Assistants have to catch them up on what is happening in the mission and all of that fun stuff...and then Welch Kaicho does whatever the Lord has revealed to him that he needs to do! 

SO! This week I got to meet Welch Kaicho. We left for Okayama and I slept on the most disgusting futon of my entire life....which probably had been used by centuries of Elders, it probably was around when there were dinosaurs in Japan or something. Mostly I spent the entire night trying not to touch my futon, but that is beside the point...
so on Thursday morning we went to the Okayama church and met Welch Kaicho! And he is awesome! And Welch Shimai is AWESOME! And Welch Kaicho sounds like a Japanese person when he speaks Japanese. Most of our training is in English, everyone just speaks in their native language and then there is translation and what not. But, at one point Welch Kaicho was giving specific instruction to the Japanese missionaries (it was very hilarious) and he just went off in Japanese and it sounded way cool. Granted he has been living in Japan for over 14 years and running large business meetings in we all figured that his Japanese would be way good. BUT Anyway. He talked a bit about his mission when he served in Kobe, Japan. And how he cried all the way home to America because "I would never see Japan...again." The sarcastic expression on his face as he said that was priceless. (He had just spent the past little while explaining to us his past 14 years in Japan and what it was like for Welch Shimai to come here, as it had taken all of his convincing to get her to come for just one year....and then they stayed for 14). But they both just have so much love for Japan and they understand the Japanese people so well and they understand the church in Japan because they have been here and lived in it and helped it and they know exactly how to move forward and they are definitely called servants of the Lord. 

Also - one of my absolute favorite quotes from him was: "If you learn how to do things the right way - the world around you changes." We have a larger circle of influence than we know or can see - that is obvious from the work I have seen done on my mission. Members - you influence our lives more than you think. Random girl on the street - you changed my day...and maybe even my life. Crazy grandma that almost hit me on her bike - I will remember your face forever....
Tokushima Beach (The pictures don't really capture how
 beautiful Japan is)
And then as missionaries...we stick out a lot. People know who we are. We have a very large circle of influence. The world around us changes.

In other news, we met a less active this week who is 92 years old. She is absolutely hilarious and I think she thinks I am speaking English when I speak in that is always awkward...but sometimes I might get my accent right. She loves missionaries though, and loves the church...she just needs to...remember the gospel. So we will be working on that with her :) 

This week we had a cool experience with inviting people to church. We tried way hard to help all of our investigators get to church this week...and for whatever reason...none of them could come...but we just invited everyone and three people showed up! One of them being this guy that comes to game night every week and used to come to church, but then decided he had zero faith, but on a stroke of genius I invited him to "come help me translate sacrament meeting." (And by stroke of genius, I mean a completely led by the spirit idea that ended up being a way bigger deal than I realized). And he came! And the entire branch kept coming up and being like "Wow...he is here? He has not been for 10 years...what did you do?" And I was like... uh .... nothing. Hahha. But, during sacrament meeting he kept telling me that everything was way natsukashii and he was having all of these memories from coming before and great questions and all sorts of stuff.

And we called a bunch of other people and people came and then some even came after church and we taught them lessons with the of the guys that came said probably the funniest prayers ever, but I was way heartfelt, so good for him! He is leaving for America in two weeks, and he prayed that he could please find an american girlfriend. I love my investigators prayers...they don't have any sort of structure in their minds. I learn a lot from that...they just talk with God. And that is what it should be! He really does want to hear EVERYTHING!  

Rice Field Week 6
But was an amazing week. I am happier than I thought I could be in a country where I can't read signs and I get lost like...all the time. (How in the heck people expect me to find my way anywhere when addresses are in Japanese....I do not know....) I would honestly rank that in the top five for hardest things about my mission...the addresses. Whoever made up the Japanese address system....basically there just is no address system......I do not understand their logic. The numbers have absolutely no order. At all. But...nonetheless, despite the crazy address system, and the rainy days and the sometimes strange food #fermentedsoybeans #nato, I just love this place. And I love what I am doing. On the fourth of July...when I remembered it was the fourth of July...I thought a bit about that. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now. There is just some moment...where this really does become the happiest you have ever been. And you don't really know why, because your bike helmet is gross and your clothes are getting a little old and sometimes the Japanese words you say don't make any sense...but it is just the best thing ever. Missionary work is the best thing ever. I would highly recommend it :)

Much love,
Grundvig Shimai

Oh p.s. the visiting member from Michigan got up and bore his testimony yesterday in the funniest Japanese I have ever heard. I would imagine he sounded much like me in the MTC. And it was probably the most powerful thing of my life. I very nearly cried. Simplicity is the easiest thing for the spirit to work with sometimes. 

At Tokushima Beach

With Payne Shimai and a dear friend
We had a barbecue and I had a hot dog. I don't remember the last time 
I had a hot dog.  But it was very large. I think they are not that big in america?

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