So, big news for this week's email is that I transferred and went sempai! So in Japanese, the way we label the senior companion (who does a big portion of the companionship's work) and the junior companion (follows their senior) is Sempai meaning senior, and kouhai meaning junior. I went Sempai after 4 transfers and it's actually pretty rare, and way early for this mission in particular. Looks like I need a little beating to gain some humility. Sheesh God knows my Japanese isn't good.
My responsibilities have shot up ten fold. My new companion is Elder Pace, who is on transfer 4, meaning he came to the mission and Japan only 6 weeks after me. Basically, being Sempai is the same with a couple of differences. I have to lead lessons and always know what is going on in the lesson, report numbers and information about investigators, and make all the phone calls. To be honest, the teaching part is way hard, because if I don't know what's going on my companion definitely doesn't either. Little different from last transfer where my companion was Japanese and always knew 100%, but God is sending a lot of help our way. We are going to need it. I'm getting real used to nodding and saying mhmmm without a clue. It's only been 3 days haha. A big part of teaching in Japanese is showing that you understand when you actually don't have a clue. Then you realize it's a question... Mhmm wait what?
So, I transferred to a place called SUEHIRO and it is out in the countryside. I've been in the city for 4 transfers, so it's way new to me. However, suehiro is in the 2nd biggest city in Hokkaido, called ASAHIKAWA. So, even when I leave the city, I go to the city in the countryside. It's way cool, I love it here. There is a famous place here called Bistari-Bistari (famous Indian NAN) that I want to eat at, but my comp. is being super stingy with his money. I've been pretty wise up to this part, so I'm rolling in doe and can't spend anything. I might just pay for him because that's the only way. Smart strategy Elder Pace. He's 19 and fresh out of high school. Also probably 6'3" 210 lbs. To give an accurate image. Yep, two Americans who can't speak Japanese walking around with no other missionaries for miles. I look huge next to him.
This week was pretty normal other than what I forgot to mention in last week's email. So when we had transfers before it was always done in the following. Everyone gets their calls whether they are transferring or not. If one person in a companionship is indeed transferring, you head to a specified church in the middle of Sapporo. You see all you old missionary friends and then pick up your new companion and head back to the area. Pretty safe right? Yep, it WAS. Recently (I mean about a week ago) it changed 100%. Now it's no transfer spot that people meet at. Instead, you get your call and get information about how to transfer, and yep... Go ALONE. Of course I went from city to countryside the first time this happens. I had to take a 45 minute train ride and 2 1/2 hour bus ride alone. If I get lost that sucks. No phone on me, only directions and of course can't use the iPad's because your companion has to see your screen at all times. Yep, I was scared. I was just look at a sign and think "yep I can't read that" and then head in a random direction. Somehow, I made it to the bus terminal safely. That somehow is help from God. My transfer info. Was very vague, and I just didn't want to get lost because I can't talk to people for help, and have no phone. I never want to transfer again. Just kidding it actually wasn't too bad.
Other than that, this area is awesome! We teach almost 8+ lessons a week. That's way more than my past two areas, and I'm excited to see what we can do here. The first two days my companion (who actually is experiencing his first time being the one to lead us around the area) and I got way lost and walked basically all day. He knows the area about as much as I do. Looks like I'm going to learn patience this transfer too.
It's about an hour to each area we work in, so 2 hours of walking minimum every day. I'm about to lose 10 pounds no doubt. The ward is awesome, and I'm really hoping I can get this area going even more than before. After all God does make weak things strong! This gospel is real, and I'm so grateful to know the truth and be able to teach it to people in ignorance. I love the Book of Mormon and the apostles are the best! Those men are called of God, and are teaching for our benefit. THANK YOU.
Sorry that this week is pretty long, but last thing....
So the shower here. Oh the shower. My companion and I can't figure out the warm water. There's a bathtub and a shower head, but the hot water only works on the tub. Every day thus far I've tried to work the shower head and give up after 20 minutes. Put the plug in the bathtub and wait. While I'm waiting for the tub to fill up I use this little bucket and dump the hot water on my head like a little boy in Africa. It's definitely a first, and believe it or not it is actually very humbling haha. Okay. Pray for my water heater to start working haha
Peaches! Love you all
Shout out to the Mitchell family for sending me Girl Scouts cookies.
Sorry mom you got nothing! Hah jk love you
敬具 (sincerely yours)