Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First day of service

So much for this black hole I:m suppose to fall in (just so you know for the next two years I will only be using `:` in place of apostrophes because that is how their keyboard is set up here). Anyway. Yeah so Shinno choro didn:t get a chance to email on Monday which would normally be his p-day and there was some things we had to get done here, so we got the assistants to ok us having another p-day today. Anyway! Wow this is an adventure!

So Monday night as I said we had our mogi with the member and that was interesting. He lived in Hawaii for a while so he is really good at english so when I gave him a weird look he would say it in English. Anyway. Sendai is SO big and we are in the outskirts! Holy cow. I won:t lie there are times I have never felt so alone. But I got through with that. We had my first really japanese dinner which I:m not sure what it was, other than rice I:m not sure of anything I ate so far. Not actually bad though. God has blessed my taste buds.

Um the next morning we woke early and got on a bus to go do service. It was nice seeing so many other gaijins (foreigners) until they opened their mouths and sounded like japanese people. Someday I shall be there....I hope. Anyway. It was few hour drive to who knows where somewhere near the coast. I just have to say, this country is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!! You have no idea. My goodness. I love not being in the city here. Rice fields, rolling green hills, the bomb! Anyway, we got this guy that is a volunteer that helps run all the service activities (something I didn:t know, at least our activities of Helping Hands the church doesn:t plan. We just give labor to random people that others figure out). Anyway, not quite as hard hitting as some other the stories I have heard of previous service by some of the missionaries that have been hear since before the tsunami. But it was nice to pull weeds and pick up debris from what used to be this man:s house (something super cool is that they seem to always have someone there that it directly affects to kinda help run what they want to see what happens). So we finished there, went to another area did some more work right on the coast which was again beautiful but super depressing because this time we were surrounded by stacked up cars and all that jazz. That pretty much filled up the day. It was nice to be there nice to see some missionary work in action.

We got back with about an hour before we were suppose to be home so Shinno choro decided (as he should have) that we needed to do my first dendo (proselyting) so we walked out the door and started knocking doors. I have never been so close to puking in my life and all I had to do was stand there and smile (literally the words from Shinno choro:s mouth). Anyway. We stopped a few people on the street and it was amazing. All Shinno choro said was, Do you have a second? And they are so super gracious and stop and are actually super interested in what you have to say even if they aren:t interested in the gospel.

Also something we almost push more than getting peoples contact information for teaching them is inviting them to ekiawa (english class). It:s interesting how much that is being pushed. Not to say all the doors answered we good. One man wouldn:t open the door so we talked to him through the door and pushed flyers through his maildrop. Another older man open his door and he was pretty ticked, I don:t know quite what he said but he seemed to be bugged that it was so late and he couldn:t walk very good and we made him come to the door. I just wanted to say sorry and walk off but good old trainer of mine stuck with it and I literally saw this man:s heart change in a matter of two minutes of talking. By the end he was expressing his worry for us to be out late and told us not to stand so close to doors or we would get stabbed (kind of a little much I think) and when we left he wanted to make sure we got safely out of the complex. These people! I tell you. I love americans but man we are kinda huge jerks compared to these people! Anyway.

This morning we got on a bus and came to Aizu for the first time. The apartment is......quaint? Definitely a missionary apartment. Then we went and applied for my 'gaijin kado' (foreigner registration). Now email. Maybe after this go to get a coat. Maybe that will come next week but don:t worry about ordering me a coat. Also we need to go get me a electronic dictionary sometime because I need all the help I can get. They already bought my bike for me so I:m not sure how the whole paying back thing works. Its kinda weird. When you transfer here they ship you stuff (two luggage and bike) to your new area so right now I:m living out of my backpack until all that stuff shows up and I didn:t really preapare for that so yeah, kinda living on the edge right now.

Anyway. I'm good. I won:t lie though. This is the hardest mental\emotional thing I have done in my life by a long shot. Not being able to understand the majority of what people are saying. Not knowing what you would say even if you knew how to say it. Not knowing anyone. Not being able to understand you companion 50-60% of the time. Unfamiliar people, food, environment, living constantly confused. Scared to death. I hope all this passes soon. Anyway, think I:m almost out of time. I:m helping teach the eikiwa tonight (have no idea what that means or how to do as with everything I have been doing since I left the MTC). Then tomorrow is our first real day of dendo (probably should learn/translate that word on the blog because I:m going to use it a lot I feel) then the weekend will be filled with general conference so not a whole lot of dendo then and I:m not sure how that is going to work either. I wake up at 6:30, go to bed at 10:30 and what I do in between I have no idea until I:m doing it. Oh and yes we are doing the 12 week infield training here, haven:t actually started but yeah we will be doing it. Um. Yep. Lots to say but that shall do. Love you. Oh and tell mandy that my companion is 23, loves americans, especially mormons, and says for his language study he would like to practice writing her letters........he:s my trainer, I have to let him do whatever he wants. ;-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

I arrived!

My goodness it hass been a long few days but oh has it been worth it. So quick run of things. As you would have expected since I am writing this email now, I did eventually make it to this place. The flights went well. Its funny to see all of the random members on my flights and in LAX that would run me down seeing my name tag and talk to me. I`ll be perfectly honest, I was kinda surprised with the flight over from LAX to Tokyo. It wasn`t that bad. I slept for a few hours but not a whole lot. Studied some (personal and language study). All that good stuff. Lets see. Landing and getting out of the airport was possibly the most terrifying thing of my life (well I thought). However I was not detained by customs or any of that and it actually almost felt like there was no security at all. After wandering Narita for about 30 minutes I finally found my bus and was off to the airport. You truly learn the bare minimum with these people of how to talk. However all went there well. Anyway. It was pretty lonely but super nice and I felt super weird being alone. Woke up the next morning went to the domestic terminal which had no english speakers it seemed. Got on this tiny plane. Finally built up the courage to talk to the person next to me on the plane (happened to be the one american) and he snorted, looked at my nametag, and then went back to his newspaper! Yep, I`m on a mission. Ha. Anyway. Landed and go to get my luggage and I see them! President Rasmussen, his wife, and the assistants to the president. I`ve never been so excited to see people in suits in my life! We took a picture there.

Talked about some of the devastation and then took about a 30 minute ride back to the Homebu (mission home). It was kinda funny. Instead of him telling me to speak japanese he was having his assistant practice his English on me. It was a pretty fun trip ending up with the assistants (1 nihonjin and 1 raised by nihonjin) convincing the president to try nato (fermented soybeans) which means I got to try them. Oh joy. It actually wasn't bad. We had dinner with all these people and my new doryo! I think you may have been sent a picture of him. He is a native. His English is good. Not perfect but very good. He is basically one of the coolest Elders I have ever met. He is always so happy and telling a joke but also is really into the work (well it seems that way at least we haven:t really done anything yet). Anyway. Some fun stuff.

Gotta keep it short because we are biking to our first appointment a mogi (roll play with a member) in a few minutes! Talk about baptism by fire! Tomorrow we do service in the morning and then head to my area. The area is named Aizuwakamatsu. Famous for ramen (noodles (also my doryo is a self proclaimed expert of ramen so that is even cooler!)) Anyway, our p-days are Mondays so probably won:t hear from me until then but yeah. I'm alive. This place is crazy but I'm super excited. Love you all and peace out.

Elder Carter