My most lovely mother who is mine,
On Monday we had an appointment with a new investigator, an obaachan named Y san. We went over there with our ward mission leader (since we need another guy or we can't go in her house), but she was sick so we had to cancel the lesson. As we were walking away from her house, we got a call for, the Sisters saying that their investigator (M chan) wanted a blessing. It was perfect timing because we had another adult male with us and had an unexpected block of time with nothing planned, so we were able to give her a blessing right away! I said the blessing, it was the first one I've ever given in Japanese. Man I was so nervous. But I think it went well!
We were in Morioka for splits on Tuesday, and M chan goes to school in Morioka so on our way back on Wednesday morning we surprised her with some (supposedly) Japan-famous Fukuda pan! She was so shocked because Morioka is like a 45 minute train ride away from Kitakami. That night, she brought a friend to English class! She told us that she shared the bread with one of friends during lunch and that led to them talking about missionaries and English class and her friend wanted to try coming! Cool little miracle there.
F is doing great! We have just about finished all of the lessons with him, so we are just reading the Book of Mormon with him and teaching what we feel like he needs. His date isn't until October 13th, but we are hoping he will move it up a little sooner. He is still trying to quit smoking, but once he is able to do that he will be totally ready for baptism. There will be a baptism for the Sisters' investigator on Saturday, so we are hoping that when he comes to the service he will get more excited for his own baptism and want to be baptized sooner. We'll see how it goes!
The investigator who will be baptized is AF san--she is 90 years old and her son is our branch president. On Sunday I got to do her baptismal interview, which was another first for me. She doesn't have the best hearing and sometimes she was hard to understand haha, but it all went well. After interviewing a 90 year old obaachan I think I could interview anyone.
Our branch has a pretty small building, and we might be getting a new one--President Sekiguchi told us that they would take the attendance count from the last 2 weeks to determine how bad we need a new building and how fast we would get it. Usually we have about 25 people, and Presidnet Sekiguchi said we probably need about 35 people there to be able to speed things up. Both us and the members went all out and we were up in the 40s for people at church on Sunday! It was great.
We also recently started a Gospel Principles class for the non-members who come, taught by M Kyoudai! It is so cool because he was less active literally 4 weeks ago, but after just 1 visit to his house he has been coming each week and now is so involved in the ward. He is an RM so he way good at teaching and the Sunday school hour is so great for our investigators. It makes me want to bring everyone because I know they will feel the spirit! Seeing that class on Sunday really helped me to see how much God is involved in this work--M Kyoudai coming back to activity right at the time when more and more visitors are coming to church and when the branch attendance is being recorded to see if we can get a new building, the timing of everything is just too perfect.
We had 2 dinner appointments this week, one with our friend Tm. and one with the T family (M chan and her Mom and brother). We have been able to meet so many new people recently and have been given lots of good opportunities to strengthen our relationships with them, it has been great! We also met a new family on Sunday. The Dad and his son were outside kicking a soccer ball in the street, we were going down a different street but saw them outside. Dads aren't usually very excited to talk to missionaries here so I was feeling a little hesitant about going over there, but we decided to just bike by them and say hi and then just keep biking if it seemed bimyou. But we said hi and the Dad was like "ええ？アメリカ人！？" [Ehhh--Americans?!?] and totally wanted to talk with us! He thought it was so cool that we are only 19 but are out volunteering in a foreign country and speaking a foreign language too. He said he wants his 15 year old son to be like us in 4 years haha! We invited him to English class and his Dad really wanted him to go, he seemed pretty excited about it too. We tried to give them a Book of Mormon but the Dad said it was too big of a gift for people who had just met. But he told us to come stop by their house and say hi whenever we are in the area! So cool. They are the S family, and I have really high hopes for them--from my experience, generally the most common source of problems when we have tried to teach families is with the dad. But just right off the bat we have a good relationship with the Dad, and both of the sons, so as long as the wife is isn't crazy hantai or anything I think we'll be able to teach all 4 of them :)
We had a cool miracle Sunday night with the very last door we knocked on--we were late for Houkoku so we were ringing doorbells and if it seemed like no one was home we left pretty quick. We knocked on the last door and no one answered so we walked down the stairs and were going back to our bikes when we heard the door open! We raced back to see a guy's head pop out of the doorway, and we were yelling back to him and we ran back to his door haha. The door started to close and I thought he was just going to ignore us and go back into his house, but it turned out he was just putting on his shoes so he could stand in the genkan and talk to us! We found out that he is from Aomori, so we were able to bond really quickly--he is going back to Aomori next week for Obon and Nebuta, so I talked about seeing Nebuta and Obon the first few weeks after I moved to Japan (which made me realize that I hit my 1 year in Japan mark this week--ahhh!). We had such a solid conversation and introduced the Restoration, he thought it was way cool. He was just so friendly and has a lot of interest in God and life after death, I think he's a Kinjin! Since he'll be out of town we can't follow up for another couple weeks but we'll see how it goes when he gets back :)
I have so many other stories that I don't have time to tell but we are doing great and having so much fun!
Love you mom!