So much happened this week so be prepared for one of my longer emails. Probably going to have long emails the rest of my mission, so I apologize in advance. However, they're going to be good emails, so I suggest you keep reading them
I saw some many miracles this week it was kind of crazy. I didn't realize the mission would be like that. However I also had a lot of sad moments that I'll discuss in just a bit.
To start off, early in the week I had sushi for the very first time in my life. Japanese sushi is so freaking good. I tried everything my companion gave me and burned my mouth eating wasabi. I probably gained 10 pounds from how much I ate. Apparently the place we went is one of the best sushi bars in Japan. I wouldn't mind going there every day for the next two years.
Alright time for the really interesting stuff.... As you all know by now, I can't understand anything anyone is saying to me or my companion. I'm talking understanding 5% if I'm getting prideful. Japanese people just talk so fast. Of course I stand there and nod like I know what's happening when I don't have a clue. So early last week we went to visit an investigator (Sawata San). No answer, so we decided to go visit another investigator close by (Murakami san). No answer. We were walking back to our bikes and I was saying a prayer in my heart for something to happen. Some kind of success because success out here is hard to find. We ran into Sawata San!!!! We taught a quick lesson and I was stoked! As we left his apartment we ran into Murakami san! I was beyond stoked!!! We talked to her for about 30 minutes (more like my companion did and I just stood there nodding the whole time). After we walked away I told Elder Birch how that was an answer to my prayers and how I'm seeing miracles. I spent a good 5 minutes ranting about how cool it was and how I was so happy. I looked at him and he had this blank stare on his face. He then proceeded to tell me how she self dropped herself, so we won't teach her anymore. You can tell how awkward that got. Shows you that I'm dying out here language wise.
That also made the 2nd self drop we had in the whole week, with one progressing investigator that we dropped.
Yep, lost 3 people in a week out of the 4 or 5 we had, but I'm still staying positive. Everything happens for a reason.
Later that day we ate McDonald's for dinner. Fast food... It's been too long. We started talking to this mom and her daughter about our English class "Eikaiwa" she said they would come and they actually showed up this past Wednesday. I was stoked! I get stoked easily here because the success is hard to find. Like a needle in a haystack, but it's so cool when people actually follow through.
This week we visited a member and he told us about his favorite church hymn and how it gave him comfort. We told him we'd sing it for him I'm English. We did and when we finished we saw that he was crying. It was such a powerful, tender moment. Shows me how much this gospel touches lives.
We also found this guy in the park and taught him the whole restoration (Joseph smith and his story). He was super interested and we set up a time and place to meet for Sunday, but he didn't show up. We waited 45 minutes outside the building we planned to meet at, so we were kind of bummed out. My companion really thought this would be his first baptism. (He's been out a year and a month now).
Something interesting happened this week. We locked our bikes up and took the chikatetsu (subway) back to apartment because of how hard it was raining, and considering we were 40min away. The next day we noticed that someone stole our helmets. I saw elder birch's helmet was gone so I started laughing and making fun of him. Then 2 seconds later I said: "wait! Hold on. Where's my helmet?" So, we did a ton of walking this week. It's hard to get places because our area is a 40 min bike ride away, but we need to keep our heads up.
Elder birch and I like to fold origami to pass the time when we're on the subway and he always gives them to little kids. It's awesome watching their faces light up. We both made something special and gave them to a bunch of little kids in a park a couple days ago. They love it! Such an awesome way to lighten up people's days.
So I know this is long but I want to talk a bit about the culture:
You sleep on futons on the ground
You kneel on the ground when meeting with people or eating (this seriously kills your legs) usually my legs go numb or I just give up and sit cross cross after 10 minutes.
Everyone here is always smiling (except for the subway station...kind of like New York)
Eating with chopsticks is the most difficult thing I've ever experienced. People love watching my struggle. I think it's kind of funny too
The signs are all in kanji (if you don't understand what that means just do a quick google search of "Japanese kanji signs". It'll take you 30 seconds)
Alright that's all. Thanks everyone for getting me to this point and being so supportive through all of this.
I love you all. Hope you have a great week. Good luck at school for all you youngins
We can only take pictures on P day, so I'll see what I can send
ー シャイト 長老
Japanese Kanji Sign
Steven and a pal from the mission