I feel like I say this every week, but what a week!

A lady we only met once just bought us lunch and kept telling us to order more and then insisted on treating us to cakes from this fancy Ginza store. It was that kind of week.


We saw so many miracles. And other things. I ate fermented soybeans (Nattou) every day. Apparently after three days you’re supposed to start liking it. I’m on day 7.
One morning, our alarm just decided not to go off and we woke up at 7:50. That’s the latest I’ve slept in since June of last year, besides the one week I was sick in December. I may have had a mild heart attack when I saw the time on my iPad.
We had splits this week and we knocked on one woman’s home, and she says she’s not interested. Then we knock on the next door, and the SAME woman answers!! She must have bought both apartments and connected them. We were so confused. Then a few minutes later, a woman opens the door and gives us these rhinestone adorned sandals. Too bad missionaries don’t wear sandals. Apparently she took English lessons from missionaries over 50 years ago.
On Monday we went bowling. I don’t even like bowling. But I enjoyed giving sage advice to our Hawaiian Chourou who got maybe 20 points the whole game. (“Ok, now try aiming the ball where you want it to go!” And other really inspiring bits of encouragement like that).
The week was packed with lessons. It feels good to be able to look back on three months of effort and see how far the area has come since the first week I came where it was just dead. Now we’re rushing to appointments all day every day. It feels just like back in Yamato/Zama area.
On Friday we had another Yamashita conference. And I WAS AN INTERPRETER. YES, THATS RIGHT, I INTERPRETED FOR OVER HALF THE CONFERENCE for a member of the 70 (leadership in the church that cover several countries). It was insane and my brain hurt by the end. Much of it was a repeat from the trainings last year, but this time around was more about Just reaching out and doing more, elevating our vision, and our standard of work. Thanks to some of the things he challenged us to do, I was able to shake off some of the trunky emotions I’ve been harboring, and we’re back in business, working twice as hard and finding so many people interested in learning from us.
One evening the lady we had an appointment with was running late and wasn’t home yet and so we were just contacting door to door and for some reason, people kept saying “it’s dangerous here, go home.” “Nobody will open doors for you at this hour.” “Someone might stab you.” Which was mildly terrifying, but we felt like we shouldn’t give up (smart or not who knows…but if it was Shinan we would have been out of there in about 5 seconds). We got to the next apartment building, and only three lights were on. We went to each of those doors and at every single one of them the people accepted a Book of Mormon and invited us to return sometime.  If you’re wondering, that’s rare, but it was awesome.
Then one night, the scariest thing ever happened. And I don’t really get scared. Not even when people tell me there are murderers about. But we were doing an English lesson by skype at about 8pm and the other missionaries left and turned out all the lights in the building (there’s one button that can do that for every light inside) not knowing we were there. So we go to the stairwell with the emergency light because we were too lazy to go down to the first floor and press the button again (it’s a four-floor church). Just before we leave, we suddenly hear water running in the sink in the men’s bathroom which turns off a minute later. I call out to see if anyone’s inside and even push the door and look in. No luck. It’s about 9:00, dark, and the lights won’t turn on. We give up and go downstairs and press the all-building light switch again and then lock the doors and start to leave. Ibañez Shimai calls out to me and tells me the light from the room we were in on the third floor was turned on again when I pressed the switch. So I turn to go back and unlock the door when suddenly the light turns off. That’s not natural. That would only happen if someone pressed the button.
We get freaked out at this point and call the chouroutachi (elders) to see if any of them are at the church still but they’re all in their apartment. They say they’ll come check it out and a few minutes later three skinny Japanese guys and one Hawaiian, all wearing suits and wielding plastic baseball bats, come sprinting down the street. They certainly know how to make an entrance. I unlock the door and we all crowd inside and proceed back to the third floor to open doors and check inside. But we don’t see anyone. They all run downstairs and we stay to turn out the lights, but as soon as we do, we hear a thump coming from behind us in the men’s bathroom. We sprint downstairs and everyone comes back up but we don’t find anything…or anyone. Eventually we give up and go home.
Brick squad. ^
Good things are happening here. Loving life. It’s finally fall!
Smiley Shimai

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