This week I feel like all I did was play. But I did real work I promise.
I also ate fantastic food. We invited a Chinese friend of our relief society president to come teach several church members and friends how to make Chinese Sui-gyouza (pot stickers) and they were delicious. If you ever see me post-Japan and want to make them, hit me up. I have the recipe.
My ankle was well enough luckily and we had a basketball activity with lots of the high school students in Yamato and their friends, and several of them couldn’t get over the fact that my name was “Smiley.” The meaning, apparently, is universal.
We also had a small four person birthday party for a woman who is Spanish-speaking and has been having lots of pretty terrible events in her family lately. It was good to spend time together and see her smile.
Later in the week, we crashed (and were subsequently invited to stay) at a youth cheese-fondue activity, and were able to make friends with lots of the middle schoolers and high schoolers and make plans to meet with them and their friends in the near future. A few of them found an English Bible and took turns trying to pronounce words like, “verily,” and “whithersoever,” much to my amusement.
We started after-baptism lessons with two of our recent converts (people who have joined the church) and at one of them we went on the military base, always the adventure, and made our own pizzas. They bought a two-pound bag of cheese and that entire thing was gone in a matter of minutes. #America. To be honest, we may have even spoken and heard more English this week than Japanese.
This week the weather was sporadic to the extreme. I thought we were on the brink of spring last week, and then in the evening it snowed.
On Thursday I met and taught a lesson to a woman who had visited University of Oregon after hearing about it in the news. She still has a Ducks sweater and pen, and tie dye to boot, almost 15 years later.
Unfortunately, many of our friends were sick this week with influenza, which has had especially large outbreaks in the Kanagawa prefecture lately. Whole grades were canceled in the elementary schools because not enough people were attending.
Even worse, one of our dear old friends was diagnosed with cancer, and admitted into the hospital today indefinitely. She’s very old as well, so we’re just praying for her and her doctors. We sang songs with her the night before and it was so touching how brave she is, saying firmly “genki ni naru yo,” which means “I WILL get better, don’t you worry.”
Our other friend just went in for one of her final chemo sessions, so we’re hoping the cancer disappears completely within the next month or so. It’s so painful to see people go through that, and so inspiring to feel the power behind their sheer will. She’s told me time and time again that she won’t let something like this stop her from being happy and finding joy in life. She’s so strong.
Something amazing from this week that we heard from various perspectives at zone conference had to do with this friend as well. When we visited, we noticed she finally had a bed in her apartment instead of just a mattress and asked about it. She replied that the senior missionary couple and the chouroutachi (male missionaries) had stopped by and moved it in for her from her old apartment a few doors down.
We then heard from the senior couple that they had just felt like they needed to visit and had stopped by and run into the chouroutachi (elders) just standing on the street nearby her home.
Later, the chouroutachi told us that after their appointment had canceled across town, they didn’t know what to do, but felt like they needed to go visit this woman, which was strange, because missionary rules discourage you from entering the home of someone if a member of the same sex isn’t present as well. So not knowing how they would be able to visit, they were just standing there as the senior couple walked around the corner, providing them with just the people they needed. They were able to carry the heavy bed into her apartment just the day before her chemo session.
Don’t you just love it when people feel prompted to do something and things work out perfectly like that? It’s amazing to see things like this happen several times a week. Lots of small miracles all over the place.
That’s about all for the week.