Monday, October 24, 2011

Splits with a gaijin (non-Japanese Elder)

So much love! Like 20 minutes of reading emails and writing answers. Now 20 minutes later I am starting this. So this really is going to be a smattering of ideas.

All music is allowed here as long as we claim we can feel the spirit. So we have a lot of music at the apartment. Super weird stuff too. Acapella. Southern music all about missionary work (strangely my favorite now) etc.

Every church here has a pingpong table so before every Eikaiwa (english class) and FHE we play with members and with investigators sometimes. Random but fun.

Also I may have mentioned this before but they use onomonopia (the formation of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to) in adult conversation here. Super cool. So like when people say they are busy we sometimes says, mata pingpong mo yoroshii desu ka (May we ping pong (ring your doorbell) again?) Or if they don:t have a doorbell, Shinno choro tells me to "dondon" (knock on the door). You randomly hear these words. Super funny. Someday I will learn them.

Also another interesting japanese thing here. They don:t really have the color code (Dad is a red, I:m white, etc) but they do it off blood type. Randomly the first week Shinno choro guessed close to my blood type and they do it all the time with each other! They are really good too! I have rarely seem people miss.

Another interesting thing. All the missionaries in Sendai are kinda older on average. Like Cannon choro I think went when he was 20, all the nihonjin (native Japanese) are over 20, Shinno choro is 23 right now and he is still near the beginning of his mission. I don:t understand why but its interesting.

Ok so my electronic dictionary has a micro sd slot and I got an idea this week. Whenever you send your next real letter (not needed now so don:t worry about it) throw in an sd card with pictures of the family, temples, pictures I could use during lessons (baptism what that looks like, Christ being baptized, etc) that would be super cool!. Something I didn:t think about is how often I would be sharing these family pictures and all of mine are of pretty much my farewell which is super awkward to share because I don:t even have a whole family picture. I have to flip though 4 different pictures to introduce the family so maybe throwing in a real one of those would be cool too, as well as the digital (Lyssa is welcome to throw in her own additions also ;-) )

Another thing, Dachshunds are everywhere! Really the most common dog I see here (there are not a whole lot of dogs though). The other day I saw a blind little dauchshund which was basically the saddest thing ever.

Saturday we had what was called Imonikai. Basically a party at the church. It was fun. One of Cannon chorotachi (if I add *tachi* to the end of something that means *and company* ex. Cannon chorotachi is Cannon choro and his companion) , super convenient so I will probably use that in the future (you love my japanese just keep telling yourself that)). None of our invitees showed but a LA (less active) did and we were able to teach him after and he came to church yesterday so crossing our fingers with him! Then we just ate and played Uso (aka lie (aka B.S.)). I won of course. ;-)

We had splits and I was able to go dendo (proselyting) with the district leaders companion who is a gaijin (not native Japanese) with only 4 transfers under his belt so that was actually super helpful to see how he studies, talk about having nihonjin(native) companions, how he deals with not understanding stuff. Also when I was with our district leader we taught a short lesson to one of Cannon Chorotachi:s old investigators about family and the Book of Mormon.

Oh our district got destroyed and we became our own district this week with the new senior couple as part of us as the Aizuwakamatsu district . So with the senior couple it will be a district of 6 people most of which live in our apartment. Kind of awkward. Cannon choro is our district leader.

We had a mogi (roleplay) with one of our American church members the other day because Shinno choro wanted to know how I felt. (not really an exact replica of a roleplay because he knows a ton of english but the thought was super nice). So we did that and it was nice to speak English but the best was at the end when we invite him to read the Book of Mormon and Brother Nugent just broke down and told us about how 40 years ago hearing that same commitment and then sharing his conversion story. Sometimes its easy for me to get lazy and think that I just have to get through this time (as Sister Carter put it in a letter to me near the beginning of my MTC experience "At a point you stop serving time and start serving a mission" (still kinda feel like i:m serving time to be honest)). But its experiences like this that give you what we call dendo fire (basically the energy to go proselyte). My mission has definitely taught me to look for those tender mercies that are all around us.

Lets see, our blind investigator fell through. We taught one of Cannon chorotachi:s investigators while they were off in splits in Sanjo which I totally failed at. So depressing. We have a couple in our ward that joined with us (which is required more than i expected, because we can:t teach single women and families are just really hard to teach). They are Americans. He knows Japanese fluent, went to the Sendai mission and Aizu was his first area. His wife knows basically no Japanese so he translates for her all the time so its nice to have them around because I can listen to him. ;-) Anyway yeah that crashed and burned.

Also I taught my first Eikaiwa (English class) which wasn:t as much of a failure but still hard. We went and visited this older lady who just wanted company and not to talk about religion but we snuck in some stuff although that was really weird. So I don:t understand a whole lot of what is being said and then she offers me coffee, tea, and alcohol (I swear she knows the word of wisdom). So then Shinno choro answers for me and I think he is talking about the word of wisdom as would be expected then I hear "seiteki na kankei" which means sexual relations.........apparently he felt the need to share the law of chastity so that was our first lesson with her was the law of chastity. We also gave her a Book of Mormon so hopefully she reads that. Although when we left Shinno choro just tells me, "How does it feel to break your first rule?" "What?" "There was no one else in the house with us and she is a single woman" "I thought she said her son was there" " No: Sigh. Ha. Oh well.

Finally we taught a college student we met on the street two weeks ago. We have this super weird introduction to the church dvd that we use sometimes. We showed that and tried to get his religious background. Something we have run into a lot is people here seem to think all christian churches are actually one church so he is talking about big stained glass windows and giving money during church and we are trying to explain that that is a different church. Also a fun lesson because he is vietnamese and knows quite a bit of Japanese and a good amount of English so through this lesson we are switching back and forth. Basically he has prayed before and didn:t feel anything so he stopped. Hopefully we can teach him this week and get a real lesson in and teach about prayer. He was also interested in life after death. He almost feels like a golden investigator but also gives that vibe of I don:t really want to do anything about figuring this sutff out. So I:ll be honest, no idea where he is going but hopefully into a font!

Anyway, that should cover it for today. Taken too much time already. Love you all. Thanks for the emails. Love little A for me. Pat little Abs head. Etc. The work is going pretty good here. Hopefully by the end of this transfer it won:t feel like we are whitewashing still. Just have to put in the work.