That is crazy news about the mission splitting again! That will be hard for you to lose half of your missionaries! But now you:ll get to know the ones you still have even better than you could have before! So does that go into effect in July when the mission presidents normally change? How and who decides which missionaries will transfer? That is pretty exciting news!
Janna, your baby is just too adorable! I can:t believe you are a mommy now - there are a few ladies in the ward here that have little babies, and it is so fun to imagine you with them with little Colton too :) Tell me a little bit about his personality - he looks like he is a very happy baby! Do you think he looks more like you or Phil?
Dan, congratulations on becoming a teacher! I do have a birthday present for you by the way, hopefully I will have time to send it off sometime today... sorry its late!
Well another week has come and gone, I can:t believe how fast time goes! This week I think I am just going to share a few of my favorite moments - they have no relationship to each other so it will be a bit jumpy, but here it goes:
On monday we were on our way home from housing and we met a lady on the street. We explained who we were and that we were doing, and she immediately reached into her shopping bag and pulled out a coffee roll cake and gave it to us with an "Otsukaresama desu! Konna samuinaka ni, taihen desyo!gannbate kudasai! " or "In this cold weather? That must be exhausting! Good luck!" When we explained that we didn't need cake, and that we couldn:t have coffee, she quickly reached into her bag and exchanged it for some rice cereal. Simply a really nice grandma with no interest in our message - I tried the cereal this morning and it was delicious!
On tuesday we met with a member who hasn:t been coming to church for a while - she feels like she doesn:t know enough about the gospel to be confident in coming to church, or even telling her parents that she is a member (she got baptized 5 years ago). But she is full of questions and a desire to learn and understand and with that kind of enthusiasm I know she will come to understand and know for herself and have confidence in her conversion. It was so refreshing and inspring to see her excitement and enthusiasm to learn.
On Wednesday we had another interesting encounter on the street. Again she had no interest in listening to our message, but felt very open in talking to us. She too was an older lady, maybe in her 60s or 70s, but very genki (healthy) To prove her genkiness to us she told us how she was on her way home from playing tennis with 30 or 40 year olds, and was thus wearing spandex pants. Before we knew it she was insisting that we both touch her thigh to see how firm her muscle was! When she was satisfied that we were impressed she then continued on her way - just another day!
On friday we had a first lesson with a protestant lady that we found housing last week. She is in her 70s and LOVES to talk - we had a blast with her! She has all kinds of interesting stories - she is orignially from Osaka and she was 5 years old when the fire bombs in World War 2 struck her city - she remembers it very clearly. It was really neat to hear her stories and get to know her. Its not very often that we meet people with a christian background that are willing to talk to us - (I don:t know how many times we have heard - Oh its okay, I:m Christian! You don:t need to talk to me! ) We are meeting with her again on tuesday - it is a really fun opportunity to use the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and studying for her has really been a testimony builder for me of how those books really do bear testimony of each other. Anyway, we had a chance to share our family pictures with her. She absolutely loved the picture that I have of Jeremy and Lizzi at their wedding. She kept asking if Jeremy was a model, and went on for probably a good five minutes about how he would make a perfect model - his eyes are not too close not too far, his forehead is the perfect size, his teeth are perfect, etc, etc. I don't know what the modeling possibilities are in Liberia right now Jeremy, but according to Haraguchi san you could make it big in the modeling business! My favorite part of our meeting with her was at the end after we shared with her the Book of Mormon and asked her to pray and know if it was true - meaning after she read it sometime that night - but she listened, thought about the question, and then just started praying right there! It was a beautiful prayer, and really from the heart. I am really excited to meet her again.
On Sunday, the Nakandakari family came to church! The mom and all four kids came to all three hours, and then stayed for a couple hours after church as the kids all played with the kids in the ward and became friends. They were all pretty nervous at the beginning, and the 10 year old even turned to me at the beginning of primary and said "it seems like it will take a long time to become friends with these kids". But just a few hours later as they left the church they were friends with nearly every single primary kid, and the ward kids were asking them if they were coming back next week, and the Nakandakaris were all promising that they would! It was the cutest thing - after they left Sister Nanjo thanked Seira chan who is six or seven for becoming friends with them and being so nice. She looked confused and asked, why are you thanking me? For her it was completely natural to become friends with them. Nobody asked her to become friends and she hadn:t even decided to try and reach out to them - she just naturally and immediately loved them and included them and couldn't understand why we would feel the need to thank her for doing something as natural as being a friend. If I have learned anything on my mission it is that I LOVE little kids!! They truly are the best. I love them.
Oh and by the way, I somehow got through my talk in sacrament meeting! It was actually really interesting to study about. I ended up using the example in Matthew 25 of the ten virgins with their lamps and comparing filling our lamps with oil to filling our lives with charity. To sum it up simply there is no better preparation for when Christ will come again than to fill our lives with his love so that we can shine his light, and when he shall appear we shall be like him, and be able to see him. If you feel like reading a little more about it I used matthew 25:1-13, Matthew 22:37-39, Moroni 7:47-48, and D&C 33:17-18.
And theres just a few highlights from my week! Being a missionary is unpredictable, rewarding, stretching, hard work, and absolutely the funnest thing I have ever done in my life! I love it!
I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I love and pray for you all!