First, I’m safe. The recent 6.5 level earthquake in Japan occurred in Kumamoto, which is in the Southern Part of Japan near Fukuoka (800 miles away). We felt the tremors though. Apparently over 5000 people were displaced. Luckily there weren’t many found dead to date. Our Mission President had us update our 72-hour kits and check all of our water supply. So if anything happens, we’re prepared!
Second: in a recent health study of Japan, they found that the only rare outbreaks of obesity occurred within a five mile radius of a Costco.
So of course we went to Costco today. Just imagine normal Costco, double the prices, add some seafood and a whole lot of rice, and you have Costco-Japan. Also subtract all the Caucasians. I saw a woman drop ¥60000, or about 600 dollars. I bought carrots and bananas. And a pumpkin.
On Tuesday I had splits with our friends in Kamakura and we taught all a lesson in Spanish and one where our friend who works at a Wagashi shop and brought us amazing Japanese sweets.
Wednesday, I hosted the sister training leader training with Evans Shimai from Fujisasa to help train the new leaders. Wada Shimai, our mission mother, graced us with her presence and brought strawberries 😀 fresh fruit is such a hot commodity these days.
Thursday was booked the entire day full of lessons, four out of six which were in Spanish, and one in English and one in Japanese sign language. In case you were wondering, JSL is so much easier than ASL, and common sense, so usually we just guess and it ends up being correct. The obaachan who spoke with sign language also tried reading the English scriptures upside down and remarked how English looks really difficult….We went to a woman’s house on base and helped clean her house. It was literally a disaster (she warned us) but luckily by the end in resembled a human home. And she was the nicest person of all time.
(She didn’t want to be in the picture)
On Friday, I had a bit of a breakdown while biking over to the base. Something I realized about the mission is that as important as actions are, it’s not just about what you do, it’s about who you are. And I was feeling ridiculously inadequate and frustrated, thinking I should be more patient by now, more loving, more inspired, and just a better person by now. But I still have so many faults. But just as I had mentally given up, we got on base and ran into three people we had been trying to meet with for over a month. We were able to talk for a long time and help them with some things they were stressed and worried about, and also set up a time to meet this week as well. It just reminded me that no matter how inadequate I feel, if I can just help one person at a time, and make it through a day at a time, it’s enough. It turned into a really really good day.
Also, I drew something (character sketch of Christ):
Saturday, we ran all over the place. In the morning I got to go back to Shonandai with some friends for a sports/game activity and I saw all the people I love from a few months back. Then we booked it over with our Peruvian friend to Zama base for a BBQ we were invited to and watched little children slide down hills on cardboard boxes while we snatched chances to teach random attendees. From there we once again moved “quickly and with purpose” back to Yamato for a half/half English lesson and then headed over to the church to meet ‘my little sister’ and help her get ready for her special day. It was amazing. Her mother even came and gave a short introduction of her daughter, though she’d been threatening not to come if we asked her to speak.
Her confirmation was on Sunday, and once again, her mother attended and it was highly amusing. She showed up with an enormous bag of make up and a hair dryer and then spent the next half hour in the bathroom “making her face”. Then during the sacrament meeting she kept asking questions every twenty seconds loudly which were answered about twenty seconds later by the speakers. Words can’t even describe how funny and stressful and great and exhausting the whole experience was. My little sister decided half way through she wanted to speak so she just gets up to sit on the stand (making faces the whole time because she was so nervous) and we didn’t want her to be crushed and tell her that usually speakers are chosen in advanced so we had a random young man send up a note asking the bishopric to let her speak. They did, and she gave a joyful 20 second talk about her experience the night before and returned to sit by me, triumphant and quite pleased with herself.
(She drew this for me)
The week was full of some of the most polar highs and lows of my mission so far.
I’m so grateful to be in Japan. Here’s to the next eight months!