Kobe, Japan

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 26 - Because My Parents Were

You know you`re in Japan when you are at a mall, in the food court, and you can leave your bags and coats on chairs to save your spot, and no one moves or touches them. I love how safe this place is....everything is incredibly tiny, the food portions, the people, the stairs...but it`s safe! We took an investigator to lunch on Saturday, she`s 12 and really soft spoken. We asked her what she wanted to eat and she wanted Subway. So we were standing in line and she looked kind of nervous so I asked her if she wanted something else and she said, `We should probably save seats first.`

 Her English is amazing. She lived in Australia for 2 years when she was 9. She also speaks Chinese and Korean because of her mother, and of course Japanese too. I was surprised when she said that because I would NEVER leave my stuff on a chair without someone watching it in America, but she`s from Japan so I decided to trust her. We found some seats and left our stuff only taking our wallets with us. When we got back 15 minutes later with our food everything was…right where we left it! Thank goodness for good, honest people. Japanese people are great in that way!

This week all our teaching appointments kept falling through. We`d start the day with about 3 appointments and slowly one at a time, they would fall through. So when you have no lessons and nothing else to do, you find. Our mission goal this week was to get 400 people to church for Fast Sunday. So we invited every person we came in contact with to come to church. In order to get a lot of people at church we decided to target families. So we made a 2 minute message we could share with people as we housed and testify about how the church strengthens families, and then we would invite them to church. So we housed for hours and hours and finally this guys came to his door (which is rare. They usually have ping pong boxes and you speak with them through it like a phone so they don’t have to let you in) and we started our message. He asked if we were talking about religion and we answered yes. Then he said, `not interested.` We asked why and he said it`s because he was buddhist. We asked him why he was buddhist. He was totally thrown off guard. He didn`t even know why he was Buddhist! After a few minutes he finally managed to say, `Oh, because my parents were.`

He ended up not accepting our invitation to church, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless. It wouldn`t be enough just to say I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, `because my parents were.` Every single one of us needs to exercise faith and be diligent in nurturing our own testimonies, no matter how small or how young we are, so that we know who we are, what we believe and why we believe it.

The next day when we went finding, we were riding down a really sketchy looking street by Japanese standards. We were trying to find the nicer newer homes but we took a wrong turn and rode past this old woman trimming her trees. She saw us and as always, we said hello. She flagged us down and asked us to look at her trees. We hopped off our bikes and parked. She took us around her house pointing out all these things and saying names of plants. It`s at times like that when I wish I had paid a lot more attention to Dad, his green thumb, and his love of gardening. I had no idea what she was talking about! I just smiled and nodded like I always do. She took us to the front of her house by her front door, (culture tip: Nihon jin are VERY private people. They like their space. You usually can never get to their front doors.) so I was feeling kind of thrown off because most people wouldn`t take you this close to their house, and she started picking fruit off her trees and giving it to us. Colter Shimai and I looked at each other totally bewildered. We had no idea what was going on. Colter`s a 4th transfer I`m a 3rd, so we don`t yet know much of the vocabulary this woman was using. Then she ran into her house and told us to follow her! We walked in and took a seat on the floor. She came back out with more fruits and little paper cranes. She started telling us about her life and how she was an English teacher at a high school 40 years ago. She then taught us how to make paper cranes. We just talked and laughed and ate fruit with this stranger in her house. She was kind. We invited her to church but she said she would be busy. We exchanged numbers and she asked us to visit again soon. Before this we had been housing for a long time and we had been biking for a while, too. It was a tender mercy from the Lord to give us a small break and let us chat with a really sweet old lady. We left her house so pumped to find more sweet people like her!

Just like last week, this week we worked really hard to invite as many people to church as possible (and you remember how that turned out). When sacrament started Colter Shimai and I had 7 new people there!!!!! The Elders had 5! Not bad, haha. Today we found out we almost hit our mission goal, as a whole our mission brought 396 people to church yesterday!!!! I`ve really seen how the Lord will bless us if we`re diligent. When we do all within our power, the Lord will make up for the rest.

Thank you fam for the package!!! American toothpaste is waaaayyy better than japanese toothpaste. I`ve been listening to the Ambassadors CD morning and night ever since I got it. I loved all the letters...Pua and Becca and Normz`s letters were awesome! Ah, girl power! I am always uplifted when I get letters from you guys. Sifa`s letter was funny as always, too. Girl power, jk. Well, I hope the best for everyone at home, especially Grandpa. Get better, Gramps! Harry, I promise to get around to writing you soon okay, bud?

Love you all!

Sister Heimuli

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