Hula and Curious Manhole Covers

The transfer is drawing to an end, and as it does, things in Fujisawa keep getting more and more interesting. This week we had interviews with the mission president, and that went very well. He shared that he could visibly see my growth over the past few months, which was encouraging. His wife also brought cookies, which was considerably more encouraging. And at long last I received my packages! Thank you to the wonderful people who sent me things, it made my week!

Unfortunately, this week most of the people we teach were sick and so we visited everyone and brought them treats and cards. But, on Friday we got to attend an event called Friendo, where moms and their small children come for an activity. This week it was a Halloween party! I learned a Japanese Halloween song and handed out candy as they trick or treated through a maze of rooms. It was adorable!
“Carrying a Jack-O-Lantern/ having lots of courage/ going out with friends!” It’s a lot cuter in Japanese I swear.

In other news, I found out firsthand that “even the best made plans go awry.” We biked out to the northern edge of our area, where farms start appearing every few minutes and people do double takes when they see you, almost crashing their tiny trucks as they stare at you. We had an appointment later in the day, but before we stopped by the homes of some people we knew to pay a brief visit.

However, one of the elderly women who we visited around 1:30, upon hearing our appointment was at three, assumed we would stay to visit until that time, and we could not deny this adorable old woman. So we ended up feasting on chocolates and persimmons from her garden, watching a 15-year-old cat glare at us while he peed on a litter box on the couch next to us, and being treated to a hula performance (wearing a skirt and all!) by this 80-something year old sister. If I were half as energetic as she is when I’m her age I would be lucky. She also gave me three books on Japanese floral arrangements (Meri they’re coming your way soon!). I’m amazed how kind and giving people are here, it’s amazing and overwhelming.

Around three she insisted on driving ahead of us to lead us to the home of the family we had an appointment with. However, as we arrived and she was turning her car around to leave, her tire was punctured! Out of the kindness of his heart, a Sri Lankan man stopped his car and came over to see what was the matter. Thinking he was from the insurance company she had just called, our friend asked him: “Will you change this tire?”

The man, perplexed, replied “Umm…. No?” She said: “Well I can’t change it!” And then, followed by an awkward silence, everyone realized he was just a random man and not who we had assumed.

So then we enlisted the help of a neighbor who happened to be outside smoking to help us, and all was well. 

The house we taught at was traditionally Japanese, I loved it! 
Forgive the poor picture quality…

This week I also realized how life saving promptings from the Holy Spirit can be. We bike past a blind T-intersection in an industrial area every day, and there is a mirror so that you can see if anyone is coming from the right before turning (reversed road directions, remember?). Because there’s no real stop sign, usually I just look in the mirror and then go. This one day, however, as I was about to bike through the intersection, I had a sudden prompting that I should stop and wait. I had only paused for a second when a car sped by from the left in the wrong lane through the blind corner, so that if I hadn’t stopped it definitely would have hit me before it had time to stop. I’m more and more grateful for the promptings and inspiration we receive every day as missionaries. If they didn’t occur, or if I didn’t listen, I might not be here to send this email! Suffice to say, I’ve been a lot more careful while biking since then. 

On a side note, the manhole covers in Japan are way fun! 
They differ depending on the city and prefecture you are in! More to come…

On Sunday I was informed that I had to give a talk in front of the entire congregation. They had told me weeks before, but I completely forgot. Even as I got up to speak I wasn’t really sure what I would talk about, but apparently it went well because afterwards one person wrote me a thank you note, and the Bishop thanked me for my insights (I ended up talking about repentance being for anyone, not just those who have made enormous mistakes but those who want to improve daily). If I had been asked to do this even a month ago the results would have been really questionable. 





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