Hello friends, family, and fellow garlic enthusiasts,
Hey! How are you? That's good, I'm pretty good too!
So it's been another killer good week in the land of the rolling stone. I'm just going to start off by saying this town has an absolutely awesome aesthetic. I'm a bit of a 雰囲気 (ambience, atmosphere) junkie, and this town just has a super good ambiance in the evening with the mismatched pre/post tsunami buildings, the patchwork roads, the smell of the ocean and look of the dead grass and the natural beauty combined with rusted industrial buildings. I'm no writer and not much of a photographer so I can't capture it quite the way I'd like it, but trust me, it's great, slightly dark, and very unique. I feel so blessed to be able to be here and do everything I have to bring joy to the people here.
This week had a few things that made it just the best. The first one is my 日本人 (Japanese national) companion who I love very much, he is absolutely incredible and he also cooks the best food ever. His current hometown is Osaka, which is famous for its okonomiyaki - savory cabbage pancakes loaded with pickled ginger and crunchy dried shrimp and pork belly, then covered with a delicious savory fruity sauce with fish base and Japanese slightly sweet mayonnaise. Then topped with shaved fish flakes. That sounds super weird when I explain it, but it is absolutely AMAZING. He made it and taught me how this week, and the next three days after that I made it every day for breakfast. You can put pretty much anything in it, it's excellent with kimchi, and cheese is also excellent. You best bet I'll be making it for all of you back in America.
That wasn't even the best thing this week though. The best would've probably been getting to BENCH with one of the recent converts from Sendai who comes to 石巻 (Ishinomaki) each week for classes at the university. Long story short, ya boy can still throw up 1pl8 (plate) on bench LIGHTWEIGHT BABY AINT NOTHIN BUT A PEANUT🦍. Also, the weight room we went to had a super cool aesthetic as well since it had a bunch of old slightly rusty barbells and it was a little dark and the wind was blowing like crazy outside and it was making a bunch of weird noises and it echoed like crazy and basically it was amazing.
The apartment here is still an absolute party, 工藤長老 (Elder Kudo) and ヒュストン長老 (Elder Houston) and ワーナー長老 (Elder Warner) are the best. We all went with one of the other Elder's investigators to play basketball and after that went to Aeon mall this last p-day and it was hilarious, Naoki, the investigator, is basically fluent in English and he's hilarious. I jokingly pointed out a girl and said "hey, I think I see your future wife over there" and he super obviously walked over to check her out and it's just a straight party hanging out with him. He's super close to baptism too, and I really hope he gets baptized because he's amazing and I know it would make him so much happier. I can see a little bit of myself in him. I also gave him a couple music recommendations and he low-key got really into drum and bass this last week from it. Sharing joy - one copy of the Book of Mormon/music recommendation at a time.
So I've been thinking a fair amount about preparation this week. There's a scripture I love, and use a ton, it's Alma 34:32 "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." I very well may have shared this scripture another time recently, but if I did, I'm sharing it again. This is so good. Now is a time to prepare! Every second we are preparing for something else. I spent 19 years preparing for my mission. I am preparing now to meet God. All of you are too. When you meet God and have a perfect recollection of everything you have ever done, how will you feel? Right now, God is using the experiences you are having right now, no matter how easy or hard they may be, to prepare you for something else, something even greater. God gave me the trial of depression to prepare me for something greater than myself, and through it I was made stronger, and better prepared to help people who have experienced the same kinds of things I have. I am preparing now to be a better husband and father in the future (part of the reason I'm learning to cook incredible food and stepping up my masseuse skills, husband me up ladies). We don't always see the big picture, in fact we rarely do, but we are all tools in God's hands to bless and bring joy to others.
And that brings me to the second part of the scripture. This day of life is a day for men to perform their labors. Life is work. Yeah, that kinda sucks, sometimes I wish I could get through life without work, and then I realize that would be awful! We have someone who is a recent convert to the church who we work with - he is 40 years old and has never worked a day in his life. I'm not going to go off on a rant about him, but I will suffice it to say this - he is able to work but he doesn't, he spends all of his time doing the things he wants to do, going to karaoke and watching tv and eating what he wants, and despite what he may say about his happiness, he is miserable. I asked him what his biggest accomplishment so far in life was, and he couldn't come up with anything. Doing hard things is good. Doing hard things is fun. Doing hard things will inevitably suck sometimes, but then we can look back at the mountain of problems we just climbed and say "well, the climb kinda sucked, but the view is great and I'm glad I did it". We all have mountains to climb, and I encourage you all to face them head-on, don't try to find a shortcut, don't try to skip this peak and climb towards the next, tighten your laces, get a little drink of water, and start climbing. There is joy in the satisfaction of doing hard things, and every mountain we summit prepares us better to climb the next one.
I love you all and pray for your success. Kill it this week.
|One of the many okonomiyakis made in Ishinomaki|
|Add your own caption ____________________|
|Can't tell what the food ingredients are, but for sure there'll be a lot of cooking going on!|
|Can't even guess why missionaries need hard-hats|
|Looks like a picnic in the park|
|Ishinomaki missionaries (plus a few extras?)|
|Grilled meat (undoubtedly all-you-can-eat)|
|The carnivore twins|
|Our guess is that this looked so amazingly delicious, it wasn't until they were half-finished that they realized they hadn't taken the obligatory food-pic of the dish.|
|We snagged this from a Facebook post (we have people "on the inside"). This is from a Sendai Zone conference last week.|