So my advice is this: Don`t live in Japan if you`re claustrophobic. I barely fit through doorways and sidewalk gateways and stuff. I`ve hit several poles on my bike....it was graceful though. And I just don`t fit in the cars here.
But I absolutely love everything, regardless. My companion Elder H is awesome. We`ve seen some miracles!
Last week, we got an epic typhoon. It rained for hours, and the streets were flooded about a foot and a half deep outside our apartment. We were out biking in the rain to visit a family and we got absolutely drenched, like we had been swimming for hours. When we visited the family though, they were really grateful that we visited. They had a bunch of questions for us. It was kinda an impromptu visit....they hadn`t been expecting us...but it was so worth it. We were able to answer all their questions and invite them to church.
That night, we had another lesson with N-san. I seriously love the guy so much. We`ve decided that we need to get more bold with him....he`s expressed a desire to be baptized, but isn`t sure about setting a specific date. We`re hoping to commit him to be baptized on October 5th. I think if we actually set a specific date, we`ll make more progress with him. He is always reading the Book of Mormon and praying though. Our lessons with him are always full with the Spirit.
I love riding my bike through long stretches of rice fields! They`re everywhere, and they`re gorgeous. When the wind blows across them it looks like a long green ocean shimmering in the afternoon breeze. We went to visit a member, Sister N, who lives across one of these long stretches of rice fields. When we got to her house, we met her returning home from shopping. We shared a short scripture message on her doorstep about how God loves us...1 Nephi 11:17. Then I shared my testimony in simple Japanese. This was the first time since coming to Japan that I have felt the Spirit so incredibly strong as I testified. I could not hold back my tears, and neither could Sister N. It was a very strong spiritual moment.
On Friday we had Zone Training in Fukutoku. On the train we met a cool guy named Y-san. He helped us get where we were going. He was super nice, and we shared some pamphlets with him and got his phone number. We`re scheduling an appointment with him this week.
Zone Training was awesome. I learned a lot about how to be a better missionary. I also ran into three of my buddies from the MTC who were in my district...Elder F, Elder E, and Elder C. I really missed them. After ZTM, I went on companion exchange with Elder B. I went to stay with him in Gifu. Gifu is really cool, and really big! This is Elder B`s third transfer, so he is also relatively new. On the train to Gifu, we saw a man standing alone. The Spirit gently nudged me to go and talk to him. I was nervous because now I didn`t have Elder H (who is very fluent in Japanese) to back me up. But I approached him with confidence, and the Spirit took it from there. We had a wonderful conversation for about 25 minutes.
His name was F-san, 22 years old, Buddhist, has no idea what the purpose of life is. We talked about his hobbies and interests and then talked about the church, families, and Jesus Christ. He was genuinely curious. It was awesome, and truly a miracle. He lives in Gifu, so if he shows anymore interest, they`ll take care of him. It was my first time carrying a full conversation with someone in Japanese though, so it was a major step for me. Elder B was awesome too. I`m still not understanding much of the language as of yet.
I have so much more to tell you from this week, but I`m running out of time! Suffice it to say that I`ve seen many miracles already, and also had many discouragements. But I have taken a pledge to stay happy and smile at everyone, every day. Elder H is really good at that. I`m learning a lot from him.
I miss you all, and I think of you each day and each night as I pray. I pray for all of you, friends and family. The Lord is unfolding the Gospel in miraculous ways here in the Land of the Rising Sun. The church members are the strongest I`ve ever seen. We could learn a lot from them, and their zeal for missionary work and their love for Christ. My companion, Elder H, told me a little about Korea. He said that a General Authority came to speak to them once not too long ago, and told the Korean church members to prepare well, because their children and grandchildren will serve missions in North Korea. That is a truly powerful statement. The Lord is hastening His work on the earth, for sure.
Stay classy and stay true to what you believe. The Lord is on your side, always.
P.S. The ward mission leader asked me to play guitar in a talent show next month!! Woo!!