Things are going so well! I think we have finally chipped down through all of our PIs, we dropped a lot but we know which ones we want to continue to visit.
On Monday, we went tracting almost the whole night--I think that was the first time this transfer we have knocked on doors for more than 30 minutes at a time, just because we have so many other things to do. We stopped by a PI who lives about 20 minutes away, then we felt like we should knock on some doors nearby. And it was a gold mine! We only had time to talk to 6 people, but we taught a lesson on the doorstep to 4 of them. We were trying hard to keep our "doorstep approaches" fresh and personable and tailored to each person we met. The first guy we met has a young family, so we talked about families and God and ended up giving him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. He seemed way interested, so we'll stop by again tonight and see how it goes!
His back door neighbor F was a lady who used to be married to a Buddhist monk, so she learned a lot Buddhism and thinks learning about religions is fascinating. She said she wants to try studying the Bible but doesn't have a Bible or anyone to study with. We offered her both a Bible and 2 Nihonjin sister missionary study buddies, all for free! The sisters went over to her house with a Bible and a Book of Mormon on Saturday, and they said it went so well--she wants to keep studying with them, and even committed to come to church next week! F's next door neighbor was a guy who told us that all religions are really the same, with the same purpose, and that he's already heard the Christian doctrine, and he likes Buddhism. We had a unique opportunity to talk about truth and apostasy and the Restoration on his door, and he started to listen a little more as he realized our message was different from anything he had heard before. He took a Restoration pamphlet and we will be following up with him tonight as well.
Then across the street from that guy, we met a high school student in his last year. He likes basketball and was way chill. We stared off with just an invite to English class, which is what we usually do for younger people, but we felt like we should talk a little more about the gospel with him. We introduced the Book of Mormon and he thought it was really cool--he took a copy and we'll see if he read any of it tonight haha :) So that may have been the most successful housing block I have ever been a part of during my mission, we only had time to talk to 6 people because they were listening to us! So great. We had 1 kekko, but that didn't slow our momentum at all.
F-san has been making solid progress--he has already cut his cigarette intake in half! We have been moving into teaching the other commandments, and he just tells us each time that he is already keeping them. We offered to set a baptismal date in August with him on Saturday, and he was kind of nervous and thought it was too fast. But we talked about just having the date as a goal will help us to be able to work together to be ready for baptism, and he told us that he would be ok setting a date next week! He wants to be baptized, but he still has some things he is nervous about--he told us it would be nice to read the whole Book of Mormon before he is baptized, and he wants to make sure he has all of the doctrine down in his mind. He also said that he wants to get baptized before either of us go back to America, so by June 2018 at the latest. I don't think he knows that we will likely transfer out of Kitakami before we go back to America, and that the next transfer calls come in August. It's hard because we don't want it to be a total surprise for him, but we also don't want to use the possibility of one of us transferring as leverage to persuade him to be baptized earlier, so we're kind of just waiting to see how things play out. But, we both really think that once he is able to stop smoking, he'll feel the spirit more and he won't want to wait to be baptized. He has been coming to church consistently and the branch members love him, so even if it takes some time, we're sure he will come around :)
We had an America-themed English class on Wednesday, we taught them some American slang and sang the Star-Spangled Banner together! It was a good time. We had another new student, which makes I think 4 weeks in a row with a new student! It's funny because we have been spending a lot of time giving out flyers to Jr. High and High School students on the street (we try to place ourselves conveniently near a different school each day around the time schools are getting out so we can catch the wave of students going home), but all of our new students so far have heard about the class through some other random way. One lady's friend's ex-husband used to come to Eikaiwa, and one lady saw a poster in a store 2 years ago and just recently had enough free time to be able to come, stuff like that. We went to a pretty far Jr. High School on Thursday to do some chirashi kubari, and this one san-nen-sei stud helped us out a lot--we gave him a flyer and he ran back to the school and got all his friends and brought them to us so we could give them flyers too. I think he was just trying to be funny, but he helped us talk to so many more students haha. He was trying so hard to talk in English the whole time, it was pretty funny. He even gave us hugs at the end haha.
Speaking of hugs, we kind of got hugged by this really old lady in a care center. We were doing service with the branch, each month we go to an old folks' home and change all the bedsheets. As we were leaving, this Obaachan in a wheelchair was super excited to see us. She couldn't really talk, but the worker was like, "wow she is so excited to see you guys. She loves young people, and especially young gaijin men apparently. I've never seen her this excited." Haha so the worker pushed her along so she could walk us out to the door, and she asked if we could take a picture with her before we left. Of course we said yes, but as we were crouching down next to her wheelchair, she put her arm around Elder Holdaway and pulled him in real close. I was laughing at him when she put her other arm around my shoulders and pulled me in too. Haha we figured that even if it might normally be against missionary rules, it was probably ok for that picture since she was close to 100 years old. Plus, it was visible on her face that she was just overjoyed, it was pretty cute.
We met Sekiguchi Kaicho this week! I am so excited to be working with him. We only met him for a few hours Friday afternoon, but he actually came down to Kitakami that evening to check out the church building. Basically he is just super funny and got everyone so pumped up to work hard and see lots of miracles!
We've had a great week here, glad you've had a great week too :) Thank for all you do and for raising us in the gospel. I love what you said about the RS lesson, that the happiest memories we have are centered in our families--so even if it sometimes feels like pressure, putting family first and doing the little things really brings so many blessings. Thank you for being such a wonderful example of putting family first and for being such an amazing mother! I love you so much!!
Yakiniku barbecue ↑↓
One last photo shoot with Masaki before he moves this week. (Ft. Masaki, Elder Paskett, Elder Holdaway, Momone, Ishikawa Shimai, and Mitsuyama Shimai)
Birthday party and ice cream cake! I promise it tasted better than it looked. ↑↓
Church with our homies Momone and Masaki ↑↓