Thursday, February 5, 2015

Happy Groundhog Day!

With the mountains in Niihama, SO Beautiful!
Happy February! I think that today is Ground hog day? But I am not actually sure if I am remembering the date on that one correctly. 

I am currently incredibly hungry, and so this might be a really quick email because I really want to eat something. There is this really delicious takoyaki stand (Octopus Pancake Ball? How on earth does one translate takoyaki into English I do not know) by the eki and so we are going to go eat it. But, takoyaki is octopus fried in batter and it is one of my favorite Japanese foods ever. When Chapman Shimai (see post ) and I ate it she thought it was super weird and kept saying: "Do you not think of the many legs?" And it was absolutely hilarious. Takoyaki is delicious and I highly recommend it to anyone who will be vacationing in Japan soon. 

This week was really cold here. It snowed in Ehime Ken! Which is really rare. Ichikawa Shimai and I did a major evaluation of our teaching pool - because we had so many people we were teaching, but not a lot that were actually progressing - and as a result of that a lot of progression happened in Niihama this week! 

On Wednesday we went to Matsuyama for Interviews with Welch Kaichou. And interviews were amazing. I realized as I was preparing for the interview and figuring out questions to ask that I have grown a lot from my first interview, and maybe I might be a little bit more humble. My first interview I really struggled with coming up with questions to ask, and this interview... I had to narrow down my list. Why? I certainly know a lot more about missionary work now then I did when I was a month into my mission...but I think I have realized that the ability to say 'I don't know, but I want to' is a whole lot more important than knowing all the answers. Because, the reality is, I mostly don't know any of the answers, but the Lord does know them all - and also mission presidents give really good answers too. 

On Friday we had district meeting and companion exchanges. I kokaned (taught with another missionary, while my companion taught with that missionary's companion) with a 5th transfer missionary named Furusawa Shimai. She is from Sendai, Japan and she is training a new missionary this transfer! It was SO MUCH FUN! Furusawa Shimai is hilarious and she had so many good questions, that mostly I didn't know the answers too, but we learned the answers together and so then we both just learned a lot from the kokan. Also, we ate a lot of curry because we bought curry for lunch and then that night a member invited us over to their house for dinner and they fed us curry too. And also these weird radish-y pickle-y things that were not made correctly according to Furusawa Shimai and so they were a really strange texture and we struggled to eat them, but we laughed a lot at each others attempts to eat them afterwards. The kokan was powerful and miraculous and the whole day was guided by the Lord. One thing I was nervous about when I became a Sister Training Leader was that whenever the Sister Training Leaders would come on Koukans with me... I would always expect something amazing to happen. And, I know that I can definitely not preform anything amazing - but I knew that the sisters that I kokaned with might have that same expectation. What I have learned is that amazing things happen because the Lord wants them to happen, and that as we have faith we will see those miracles. Kokan-ing in Imabari was a lot of fun and we saw how the Lord will use us as tools in His hands. At the very end of the kokan we had a really powerful contact with a man who we housed. As soon as he opened the door it started to rain on us. He seemed really confused about the sudden rain, and we simply explained who we were and what we do. After which there was a really longgggg period of silence where no one said anything. Usually, I think I would jump in and fill that silence, but I felt like I shouldn't, so I didn't. And finally he asked us: "But....why? Why are you out here doing this?" And we started teaching him the message of the Restoration, because that is what missionaries do and we bore testimony and I think Furusawa Shimai was maybe glowing and he invited the missionaries to come back and teach his family. 

On Saturday we had a super crazy busy day and we were biking all over Niihama. For whatever reason, Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days ever in Niihama, which I love, but it is funny because all of my other areas those have kind of been the dead days. But, here they are super busy! And we were able to teach a high school girl who has been reading her Book of Mormon and praying and progressing really well and I love her a lot :) 

Ichikawa Shimai and her fish (see desk)
The funny moment of the week was when Ichikawa Shimai started eating dried fish, that had eyes still in them, like they were potato chips. She didn't understand why I thought eating a bag of dried fish that still had eyes was strange. But, I promised her I would try them eventually because she says they are very delicious. 

Love you all!
Grundvig Shiami

p.s. We also ate delicious sushi this week and I love sushi.  Ichikawa Shimai and I have the same favorite sushis and so I think our companionship match was maybe made in heaven. That is all.

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