Monday, October 17, 2011

"Things Elder Carter Didn't Expect"

Hello again from the land of the rising sun.

Ok ready for some random assortment of things? Good because I can:t make these cohesive.

1. There is this huge family in our ward the Saito family. Basically the most amazing parents in the world! They invited us to FHE on Monday which was a blast. They are always giving us food and helping with lessons and everything. The sad part is though that the family has such a hard time. A lot of the kids have apostasized. Divorced (I don:t know how because she is the most amazing person I swear). I may bring them home. (sorry).

So this week was filled with a lot more of our getting out and talking to members but mostly the less actives. Let me tell you. I hate old records. I think out of 10 or so LAs (less actives) we tried to visit, only 1 of them still lived there. Our area book needs some work. Not horrible but kinda outdated. A lot of housing (knocking doors) this week too. Still though. The people are never home and then when they do get home they eat (which they aren:t thrilled when you interrupt) then go to sleep at like 8. Kinda cuts into our dendo (proselytizing) time. Also this week we had 2 appointments with actual investigators. One we found housing and the other was an investigator the Fukata and Cannon choro (Elders) were sick of so they handed to us. They both cancelled. Wonderful. Another interesting thing I learned this week. These Japanese people are horribly nice but they also really have a hard time expressing what they are thinking or really saying anything to us.

"Introduce our selves
Have you seen us before
We are here to share this message....
Have you ever thought about the purpose of life
Not really
Well this book contains the truth
Can we come visit again to share more
What is holding you back
Nothing really."

Sigh. Not much of an exaggeration there. It will take some getting used to to figure out how to really talk to them. But at least they are ok with us talking with them (Except the man that told us he has been talked to by missionaries everyday for 61 years (If that was actually true the judgement bar could be a very scary place for him)). Anyway. This week we went and did service at this nonmembers house (not actually sure if she was a member but she drank coffee). It wasn:t very hard. Cleaning out this shed. She is rich though. Biggest house I have seen in Japan. Also when we went back to finish yesterday after we were done she took us out to eat at this super expensive place. Something like $40 a person. This is also where I learned that Japanese people LOVE fatty meat. There is more fat then meat on these pieces I swear. Another thing I didn:t expect to have to get used to.

Moving on. We had a couple role plays with members this week which are good and I think it will really help when we have real investigators. After our mission meeting with the ward mission leader on Saturday Shinno choro and I had a mogi (role play ) with him and then half way though he stops us and goes on for the next 40 minutes about how we need to change what we do and (without actually knowing this is what he was saying) go against PMG, our new New Missionary Program, and President Rasmussen. Ha. He had good intentions and Shinno choro got the brunt of it. Probably won:t mogi with him again though.

Another random thing. Whenever I introduce myself to members here they always say something along the lines of, *do you know Jimmy Carter* or *Are you related to Jimmy Carter?* I first thought it was a joke, nope, they are serious. Kinda hilarious. Just roll with it now. Lets see. So apparently my power as a foreigner isn:t as powerful as I thought. A lot of people don:t like americans apparently. One older lady told us she wasn:t going to have a *gaijin* (foreigner) come into her house. Or I will be introducing myself and I will say *I:m from america* then they just get thins look on their face and close the door. Ha. Oh well. If they have a problem with that they probably aren:t ready to make a whole lot of changes in their life.

Also something I didn:t understand before is how widespread buddhism is in their lives. They are *buddhist* but they don:t actually practice it. We were talking to one lady on the street yesterday and she said she was buddhist and we complemented her on being a faithful person (I find it strange that we do that but whatever, softens peoples hearts) and she tells us, *Well I:m Japanese, there is nothing I can do about it* Huh? You are talking to a fellow Japanese person who is not buddhist. You can do something about it. Sigh. Oh well. Lets see what else. Today is kinda a strange pday (again) we are taking a bus at 4:30 back to Sendai because tomorrow we are doing another service assignment like last week. Which brings me to another thing I didn:t expect (So this letter is become *Things Elder Carter Didn:t Expect About MIssions* sorry). Between travelling places, service, study time, ward activities, etc. There is a lot less proselyting in a mission than expected. Kinda interesting.

Partly the reason they put Shinno Choro and I here is because before the earthquake our zone was completely different and we are the only area left of that zone (although next transfer they are putting a senior couple in a more radiated area (Interesting yes)) so we are kinda like travelling missionaries for this old zone if people need us to go places we do.
Oh yeah I forgot to say. On Friday we went to Nigata for specialized training with my district from President Rasmussen which was all him pounding in our heads that we aren:t using the Book of Mormon enough in our proselyting.

On sunday because Fukata and Cannon choro had to go to Iwaki for a member, when one of there investigators came to church we took care of him. It was his first Church and Sacrament was good then we get to sunday school and what is the lesson on. The Second Coming. Doh! Poor guy was trying so hard to understand but was so confused. After we wanted to help him understand a little so we kinda went over it again and over the Plan of Salvation. He only had like 10 minutes so all I did in the lesson was testify at the end but it was kinda sorta terrifying to realize this was a real person really investigating the church.

So hopefully this letter doesn:t sound too negative. I am happy. It is frustrating but that is to be expected, especially as I:m trying to figure out this language. We have 3 scheduled lessons with investigators we found coming up this week and also the two that cancelled last week we will try again with so hopefully we can start getting some lessons under my belt. The work is moving forward. no matter how slowly it feels it is moving forward.

Love you all. Hope all is well with you. Talk to you next week.