I know I:ve been super namakemono about getting you news and updates and stuff, so back by popular demand, I:ll spend some time on that stuff now.
I don:t know if you can get authentic Japanese Yakiniku in America, but if you can, do it. It is the most incredible-tasting food I:ve ever had. Bar none. Forget Tucanos. Yakiniku.
We did Taboo wih Eikaiwa. It was a hit! It works better with lots of people, though. And making the vocabulary cards takes forever because we have to do it by hand, think of all the words, and translate them all into Japanese for those students who can:t explain in English. Taboo is fun though. We don:t have a buzzer, so we use a paper funnel. When someone messes up the referee gets to say [bu-bu!] in the other person:s ear. It:s funny. Does anyone have any other ideas for English-related games we could play with Eikaiwa?
The last two months, all the missionaries in the mission have been studying the principle of faithfullness. As defined by our mission president, faithfulness basically boils down to four things – Work hard, be happy, don:t complain, and never give up. If anyone is looking for a cool study plan at the moment, this is a great principle to guide your study. Take a look at D&C 75:2-5 (and the rest of that section, for that matter) and the Christlike Attributes in Preach My Gospel – especially faith, patience, and dilligence. Also see President Zinke:s Blog (http://preachinghisgospel.wordpress.com/). I:m sure he:ll have something about faithfullness in there, probably under [training]. The more we rely upon The Lord, the more successful we will be in all our endevours. Remember that He does not ask you to have all knowledge or all power. He already has that. He just wants us to be faithful and rely on Him.
We carried some futons down to Tanabe. Carrying futons is incredibly difficult. But we got them to the apartment. So now we can go down and actually stay the night in Tanabe, which will greatly ease the burden of traveling down there. We dropped one of our investigators down there who likes missionaries but didn:t really have any sincere desire to come unto Christ. But T-san has been working hard, against mounting opposition, to be baptized. We:ve met with him twice this month, and have been calling him twice a day to encourage him and help him feel the spirit. For a while it was a bit of a roller-coaster with him. Misunderstanding after misunderstanding, fear and doubt and opposition from family all combined into a bit of a meltdown. We almost got dropped. But with help from the branch president and a lot of prayers, we were able to resolve his concerns, and now he is back on track. It has been an emotionally exhausting proccess for everyone, but God is faithful, and Tsuchiya-san is sincere. He is awesome. We just got back from Tanabe last night, in fact. We rescheduled his baptismal date. He knows what he needs to do, and he:s willing to do it. If he relies on the saving grace of Jesus Christ, he will be able to do it.
We also had to reschedule E-san:s baptismal date. Her husband is worthy to batpize her…but he broke his hand it won:t be healed until November. Bummer. But hey, now she and her son might be able to be baptized on the same day! That would be cool!
We did a Koukan with Sakai (the Zone Leaders). It was…interesting. We worked hard and we found a lot of solid P.I.:s. One of them has since become a new investigator. W-san. He:s a great guy. Right now he:s at a hard place in his life though. He is living on the street. He has a desire to learn of Christ, which is wonderful, and we will work with him and encourage that desire. That being said, we will be focusing on his most immediate needs first. We have been working with our District Leader to try and figure out a good plan to do that. We need to see what W:s thoughts are himself and ask how we can help. He is very smart! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he read through to 3rd Nephi in just one week! He understood way more than most people do, and had very insightful questions about it. With a mind like that, there:s no reason for him to suffer in poverty – of a temporal or a spiritual nature.
I bought an allan wrench at the Daiso and used it to salvage a drink-holder from one of the scrap bikes behind our apartment. Take THAT dehydration!
M-san came to church and is getting baptized in Sennan on the 2nd! I:m so excited and so proud of her! I hope I don:t transfer so I can go to the baptism! Words cannot express how happy I am that she:s finally made it into the fold.
Letting the Spirit direct where to send us during Dendou is really cool. This work was meant to be done via revelation.
Okay, funny story. Our last district meeting was a Zone takeover meeting. For that, the Zone Leaders asked us all to prepare five minute talks on the principle of faithfullness. This was not difficult for me, because our training plan has inspired a great deal of personal revelation. Formatting that into a talk or a lesson was just a matter of deciding which were the most important insights to share. When we got to the church in Sennan, the Zone leaders asked Baker-Choro, one of the missionaries in Sennan, to give his talk. Baker Choro is six-foot-six with bright red hair. He stands out in Japan. But he is also about the kindest, gentlest, most spiritual person I:ve ever met – right up there with his companion…who is six-foot-seven. Anyway, the talk was very spiritual. After Baker Choro sat down, Hugo Choro (one of the Zone Leaders) asked if there was anyone else who was just dying to go…which I kind of was. But I didn:t speak up. Neither did anyone else. So Hugo Choro asked again. [Is there anybody whom the Spirit is telling to go right now?] The Spirit told me to go, but I held back for some reason, like you do in fast and testimony meeting. And then Hugo Choro asked a third time: [Is there someone who theSpirit is telling to go right now, but they:re holding back for some reason, like you do in fast and testimony meeting?] Finally I raised my hand. [Okay, okay, twist my arm why don:t ya!]
So the work rolls on. We:re finding more effectively, we:re teaching more effectively, and we:re being faithful. That:s the jist of all this. It:s not always easy but it sure is enjoyable! The weather is still hot but I think it:s past the hot of the year. Perhaps as the weather begins to cool off, the Spirit:s light will begin to burn in starker contrast within the hearts of the people. I love all of you and I pray for you often. I hope you are all well. Stay faithful. The Lord will bless you.
P.S. But seriously, Yakiniku is the bomb. 焼肉はボンブです。