It's been a busy week, here are a few highlights...
On Tuesday, we were trying to visit some PIs, and there were a couple houses of former investigators on the way, so we figured we might as well stop by those and see. The first address was either recorded wrong or the house doesn't exist anymore, but the second house was for someone named O San. When we first got there, there were 2 girls walking up to the door, and we assumed it was the Jehovah's Witnesses. They were talking and laughing with the lady in the house, so we were planning our battle strategy to be even more happy and friendly than the JWs. But when they walked out and passed by us awkwardly waiting in the street, we talked for a second and it turns out they weren't with any religion, so that was a relief.
We rang the doorbell and a lady in her 30s answered the door, we asked if she was O san and she said no. But after that we went into our regular tracting spiel, and she listened. We talked about God and Christ and families, and she accepted our invitation to learn more! We went back over to the A family the next day and taught the Restoration to her and 2 of her daughters. The husband and her son were there but decided not to join us this time. But the lesson went well, the 14 year old daughter was especially engaged the whole time, and we planned a little object lesson with a candy bar to engage the 6 year old daughter. The Mom said she still doesn't really know much about Christianity, and wants to learn more about the beliefs and history, so I think that probably made the message of the Restoration of His gospel less meaningful to them. But, we are planning to go over again this week, I'm so excited to be teaching a family!
I got yelled at by one of our other Investigators, Ya san. He has been an investigator for 8 years and hasn't really been progressing, so we finally did the "do-or-die" lesson. He has been teaching tea ceremonies for 30 years, so he knows the Word of Wisdom but he says tea is too important to give up. We talked about Ether 12:6 and how God will try our faith, but he can't understand why God would disapprove of something that is such an important part of culture. That led us into talking about how race and culture aren't eternal things, but the Gospel is, and I told him that tea doesn't have eternal significance. That was when he yelled at me and told me my way of thinking was a mistake, and let me tell you, it is very scary to be yelled at by an old Nihonjin man. He told us that he would rather go to the Terrestrial Kingdom than give up tea, so we told him to just keep reading and praying, and give us a call if he wants to meet again.
We set a baptismal date with our Investigator Y!! He was the one we coincidentally met in Akita last week. We tried really hard to apply what we learned in the missionary broadcast, and rather than just presenting information, to help them think about it and be taught by themselves and by the spirit. The lesson went so well (he also speaks fluent English so that helped), we helped him to really understand the atonement and how important it is. Maynes Choro used a nice metaphor of being at an expensive restaurant and ordering a bunch
of food, even though you don't have any money, then when the bill comes there is no way you can pay for it. We asked him how he would feel if someone just came up and said he would pay for all of it. At that point something clicked in his mind, he said he would be so thankful.
Once he understood the atonement, repentance and baptism came so naturally. At the beginning of the lesson, he said he wasn't yet sure if he wanted to be baptized. He prayed about it and said he just felt awkward. But by the end of the lesson, he said he definitely wants to be baptized, and he would like to be baptized before he leaves for college in April. We pulled up a calendar to pick a date with him, and he said his eyes shot straight to February 17th. He was like, "I don't know if that means anything but my eyes just went straight to that day
and it's all I saw." We hopped right on that and asked him if he would be baptized on that day, and he said yes! He wants to study and learn more, but he didn't even seem nervous that it's less than 3 weeks away.
He came to church yesterday and it was great! The branch mission leader's wife gave a superb talk about the Book of Mormon and getting answers to prayers. She talked about how once she knew the Book of Mormon was true, everything else just falls into place automatically. That was perfect for Y since he said he has specifically gotten an answer that the Book of Mormon is true! We taught him the word of wisdom after church, and he really liked it. He said, "many Nihonjin use alcohol and tea and tobacco to calm down, but it's probably better to calm down through prayer and the Holy Ghost." He is so golden! I wish he would have a chat with Ya.
We mentioned during the lesson that Satan doesn't want him to be baptized, and how he will be working his hardest to prevent it from happening. Then right after that lesson, he went home and said his parents (who previously said he was ok to be baptized) weren't sure if they wanted him to be baptized. His Mom was asking him all kinds of questions about what type of funeral he would have and stuff and his step-dad is a Buddhist monk so that doesn't help. He said his Mom thinks it would be better if he waits until he is 20 (he is 18 right now), but hopefully we will be able to talk to them this week and ease their concerns.
In other news, we have started visiting M Shimai, an obaasan who used to be an investigator but was dropped because she wasn't progressing. When we stopped by, she said that she didn't know why the missionaries just all of a sudden stopped visiting her, and she was glad to see us. She has a dog, Bebe, who she walks twice a day, but she is scared of slipping on the ice and asked us to help her walk her dog. So we spent Wednesday morning with her and Bebe chan, it was way fun! Bebe is super cute. Since there was snow everywhere, everyone will be able to see her pee spots for weeks. Kinda gross. But dogs are the best! I wish I had a dog. I think I might get a dog after my mission. They are just so fun! I bet that would be a good birthday present for Dad if you need any ideas.
We also met an old man with one eye! We knocked on his door and started talking in Japanese, then he got this little smirk on his face and started talking to us in English! He was super friendly and invited us into his house. We talked for a while, and he seemed like he really needed someone to talk to. He doesn't have any friends or family nearby and he was just pouring out all these thoughts he's had onto us, I think we listened to him for almost an hour. He loves movies and books, he even invited us over to watch movies with him. Obviously we had to decline but we gave him a Book of Mormon and explained what it was, and invited him to church the next day. He was
45 minutes late but he came! The school lesson was a super solid one about the restoration so that was perfect, we watched a lot of the restoration movie and he said afterwards that he felt like it was true! He said that Book of Mormon is hard to understand in Japanese so he wants an English one, so we'll drop by to deliver that
this week. Still don't know what happened to his left eye though.
And there are also many other things which Paskett and Maynes Choro did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the internet itself could not contain the emails that should be written. But it was a great week!
I love you!
5, 6. These giant snow gumdrops are called Kamakuras, they have been
popping up everywhere. In February they will hollow them out and have
some big festival where you can chill inside the snow caves!
|Some pretty snow|
|My submission for Smith Kaicho's birthday slideshow|
|Little taste of home (mashed potatoes)|
|People spend insane amounts of time shoveling off their roofs here. Notice the sled/shovel on the roof and the ladders.|
|These giant snow gumdrops are called kamakuras, they have been popping up everywhere. In February they will hollow them out and have some big festival where you can chill inside the snow caves.|