President and Sister Yamashita are spiritual giants. They are SO wonderful. As soon as I met them I could immediately feel how much they love us.
|President Kazuhito and Sister Tazuko Yamashita--Japan Nagoya LDS Mission|
|Elder Naylor and Elder Heo in Ichinomiya|
We are serving in the Ichinomiya Ward, just west of Nagoya City. It`s a very urban area....lots of subways and trains and cars and people. There are rice fields everywhere though, even in the city. And everything is super compact and squished together. I can barely fit through some places, and I`ve already banged my head on doorways and my knees on tables....I think I`m too big for this country! It`s so beautiful here though.
We`re serving with two wonderful sisters here, Sister M (who is brand new from the MTC with me) and Sister S. They live in the apartment right above us, and we do stuff with them every day, whether it`s planning or eating or teaching. We`re really enjoying working with them. Sister S knows the area really well, so she`s been teaching us everything.
The very first day we arrived here, Sister M and I taught Eikaiwa (English Class). We teach it in the church building (right across the street from our apartment), and it is SO fun! I swear, Japanese people are the coolest people on earth. They are so funny and eager to learn, and so loving.
So Elder Heo and I are spending time getting to know members of the ward and visit people who are interested in learning more. We are SO BUSY! But it`s awesome! One of our guys, N-san, is amazing. He is in his 40s, is partially crippled (but still walks himself everywhere, because he`s a boss), and loves the church. He comes to church every week, and also comes to Eikaiwa. We had a spiritual lesson with him on Saturday night....I started crying out of nowhere as I shared an experience with him, and Elder Heo shared another of his own experiences with him, and we talked for so long, all about faith. N-san took a lot of time to think about it. He`s thinking really hard about being baptized, and we`re gonna talk about setting a baptismal date with him at our next lesson.
Another family we`ve been teaching is the Y--. They`re a husband and wife who have been investigating the church for a while. We had a wonderful lesson with them and the sisters last night, and talked a lot about faith and the Holy Ghost.
I need to talk about the church members here in Japan. I just met them all yesterday at church. The ward here (and from what I hear, most of the wards in all of Japan) is SUPER focused on missionary work....I swear, about 80% of Sacrament Meeting, people were talking about how important it is for EVERYONE to be involved in missionary work. We could take a few lessons back home from their examples here. It is SO important for members to be actively involved with the missionaries in the ward. We rely on them heavily.
Testimony meeting yesterday was awesome. Everyone`s testimonies were so sincere and spiritual....remember how Sister Michiko Siron`s testimonies are back home in Boise? It`s like that here, except in Japanese. Elder Heo, Sister M, and I all went up to bear our testimonies yesterday. The whole ward was so nice and polite, and they politely laughed at all of my dumb jokes.
|Baskin Robbins. 31 flavors, 31+ countries.|
Elder Heo and I have been visiting a lot of less-active members. On Saturday, we went to visit another less-active member, and afterwards swept through an entire apartment building knocking on doors. We met four new people, one of whom gave us his number, and we`re gonna meet with him again later this week. New contact, woo!!
I want to tell you so much more, but my time is short. Suffice it to say that the church is SO true, especially in Japan. The work is growing fast here, and the church members are strong. I love it here. I love this work. Missionary work is absolutely the greatest thing on earth. We help people by doing service, and we also help them come closer to Christ. Could there be anything greater?
I love you! Stay safe and wonderful!