Wednesday, July 23, 2014

That one time I biked into a rice field

Hello everyone!

It was a very eventful week and we struggled a lot with various injuries and unfortunate events, caused largely by our own clumsiness...luckily, Payne Shimai and I are super duper tight and we just laugh a lot about everything that happens to us. Which is good, because otherwise it would have been a very unfortunate week.

On Wednesday we had the craziest lesson ever.  We were trying to refer this guy that we had met a week before to the Elders, so we met with the Elders and this guy at the church to teach him a lesson. Basically, what ended up happening is Payne Shimai and I led the lesson (one of the Elders in the area is a brand new missionary - so he essentially had no idea what was happening at all) and it was the craziest lesson ever and I think that he is very possibly insane.  But, basically we sat down and he launched into an explanation about various social movements that he wanted our support on and crazy political stuff and various conspiracy theories...and Payne Shimai and I were like - well, actually, as missionaries we can't really be involved in this stuff.  But, all of this could be solved by the gospel! And he didn't really seem all too interested in that.  So, we taught him how to pray, and told him that he could talk to God about his political matters.  So that wrapped that up nicely.  Sort of...he keeps trying to talk to us about strange conspiracy matters so we are figuring out how to deal with that currently. 
That one time I biked into a rice field

From that lesson we went to visit a less active!  Who was not home.  And on the way to our next appointment...we were biking a new way...and at one point, there were these two old ladies talking. So I saw them down the street and I turned to look at them, thinking that maybe I wanted to go contact them...and I didn't look at the road ahead of me, and when I looked up, I realized that I was heading straight into a rice field...and it was a little bit too late to stop that. So, I biked into a rice field.  I got very muddy.  You can't really see the mud on me or the bike in the picture...but there was lots of mud. And the mud also got all over my bag and the Less Active information...and that was unfortunate.  So, I extracted my bike and bag from the mud, and Payne Shimai turned around and saw me in the rice field...and we laughed for a while.  I also had a pretty bloody knee because I had hit it on something when I fell into the rice field, and so we started making our way back to the apartment.  Side note - the rice was all a little bit bent but we didn't really know how to fix that...we sort of just shuffled it all around a bit and are hoping that it still grows nicely.  On our way home, Payne Shimai and I decided that this would be a good time to contact absolutely everyone we saw...which we did.  Meanwhile, I was standing there with a very muddy bike, muddy skirt and blood running down my leg.  When we were almost back to our apartment, we contacted a lady standing outside her house.  Her husband came out and they were incredibly friendly, so we talked to them for a while and then they invited us in!  So...I parked my muddy bike and got some of the mud off my bag and we went in!  So they sat us down on the couch and gave us some drinks (which led to a classic word of wisdom discussion - Japanese people and their tea...) and then one of them noticed that my leg was bleeding.  And then they also noticed that I was rather muddy.  So naturally they wanted to know what happened.  So we all laughed for a while about me falling into a rice field (everyone was very confused about how this could possibly have happened.  The mom asked Payne Shimai if I was just really bad at biking, which was hilarious). And I had to explain that I got distracted by the two elderly ladies, which was embarrassing. Basically, they just thought that I really struggled with biking.  But! Then this nice family helped us out a ton!  The dad was the nicest guy ever and he cleaned my bike, and the mom poured this cleansing stuff on my knee that stung a lot, but washed it out a lot better than I could have with my limited medical supplies.  And it was super super nice. AND THEN we found out that this family is actually an incredibly important family in Tokushima and they have a son who is running for some office and we see his face on posters everywhere.  And the dad used to be a really important basically we just have friends in really high places and they offered to help us if we ever need help with anything.  And my leg has healed and my bike is fixed :) And telling people about falling into a rice field has been quite the fun experience to share.  It usually makes people laugh a lot and then also worry about my ability to bike. 

The next morning, we went out running...and Payne Shimai fell and hurt her hand!  So we were just quite the injured companionship.  Her hand however ended up getting worse and so we had to go to the hospital this morning...which was unfortunate. (Oh quick peek into Japanese culture, there aren't regular doctors, so you just go to the hospital for absolutely everything.  It was very confusing when I got here...because people in the ward would get a cold and then go to the hospital and I was perplexed to say the least).  But, all of the hospitals were closed because apparently it is a Holiday here. (A member took us to one that she thought might be open...but they wouldn't look at her hand for some reason, I don't really understand why exactly.  I think because it was an injury from falling herself or something). But, luckily we now have some medicine from a member, so Payne Shimai's hand is healing.  Also this morning, Payne Shimai dropped her bike key down an irrigation thing by a rice field (curse these rice fields.....) and we couldn't get the grate up to find we had to go to a bike shop. (We had to carry the bike, which was heavy) and so today has already been a little insane.  But, the good news is...the bike is fixed, Payne Shimai's hand is healing, my knee seems to be ok and we finally made it to the email place.  Only a few hours later than usual hahahaha. 

In good news though...we had interviews with Welch Kaicho this week.  He is the most inspired person ever, probably.  It was such a good interview.  I received soooo much revelation and he knew exactly what to say to me, and answered so many questions that I didn't even get the chance to ask. I had written out some questions that I wanted to ask, but I only was able to ask two.  But in the process of answering those two, he answered all of the other ones.  He was led a lot by the spirit.  He was able to discern things about me that he had absolutely no way of knowing, it was way cool.

This week we had another amazing experience with one of our investigators. We met with him and when he sat down he immediately started sharing some really hard experiences in his life.  He opened up more than ever before.  After he talked for a while, Payne Shimai shared a thought and then I shared a thought, and then he just got this huge grin on his face.  His countenance completely changed.  He had been really down-trodden looking, and he just looked so happy.  He said: "Are you trained to talk or something? You are very good with words, you always know exactly what to say to me to strengthen my faith." We both laughed and told him that no, we weren't trained, but that sometimes words are just put into our mouth to help people.  He was clearly astonished and he left with a lot more faith.  He also expressed great amazement at our Japanese.  He was like: "I don't know how you do it, but I see you one day, and then three days later I see you again and your Japanese is already way better!" And we told him that we have the gift of tongues and that God helps us a is amazing to see other people notice these things.  Other people besides ourselves I guess.

In other news, Tokushima is doing well.  The transfer is ending, but I just love this place so much. Since I got here I have had the most amazing experience of watching the branch grow and the work expand.  The Eikaiwa class has grown, game night has grown, many more people are coming to teach. We are teaching more, finding more, teaching more Less Actives...and it has just been one of the best things ever.  I am unbelievably grateful for this place.  It is an island of miracles. 

I hope everyone has an amazing week!

Much love,
Grundvig Shimai

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