This week was super solid, me and Elder Garaycochea put in some solid work here in Ichinoseki. The work is slow here because this entire town is nothing but old people, but it's no worries because we're working hard to shift our focus to young people and build up our English Class and get an in with all the high schoolers and spread joy and change lives and bring some homies to SALVATION.
This week I had a chance to go on splits with the one and only ELDER LANDON PASKETT. That boy knows how to work, I'll tell you what. I might or might not have forgotten my helmet in Ichinoseki, so we were on foot all day, but we still were able to do and see some awesome stuff. He taught me the ways of Chirashi Kubari (distributing tracts) to high schoolers, and it was pretty sweet, the Kitakami Eikaiwa (English conversation class) is going to be bumping. Only problem is Elder Paskett is too tall, handsome, and 元気(energetic, happy), so every time we started talking to a group of high school girls they all started giggling like... well... a group of schoolgirls. But that's no worries, come for the handsome gaijin (foreigner) and stay for the gospel (good thing they put in sister missionaries in Kitakami). We got a couple of lessons in too, one with an investigator of theirs who is SUPER prepared and was talking about how it was stupid that there are tons of different churches with different interpretations of the same stuff and how Japanese shouldn't celebrate Christmas if they don't believe in Christ and how he gets power from reading the scriptures, and basically he should've been teaching the lesson, not us. And we got to meet with my homie Momone-chan (came to our last district p-day) and her little brother and we sang "I am a child of God" together and it sounded great (primarily thanks to Elder Paskett) and shared a little message about our individual worth as children of our Heavenly Father. Also, they have a cat named "Mame Daifuku" which means "Anko-mochi balls with beans" because he's white with a bunch of black spots; it's like the Japanese version of naming your cat 'Oreo' or something I guess haha.
So on Friday we went straight from splits to Zone Conference in Morioka, and Elder Paskett and I found ourselves standing on this super crowded train at some obscenely early time in the morning. I guess we were on a bit of a spiritual high from the day before because we worked super hard and were super obedient. We had to sprint to make the train and literally made it by three seconds, and we got on this super crowded train and were ridiculously sweaty (thank you 10000% humidity), but we were just glowing with the light of Christ (and, you know, I guess the sweat gave us a little bit of a glimmer as well). Anyway, I'm holding onto a pole so I don't fall over and bowl over a gaggle of 4-foot tall high-schoolers, and a group of girls points to my hand and makes the comment ”切り過ぎた”. Excuse me?! Girl, I did not cut my fingernails too short, who do you think you are?! Well, it turns out they were going to cosmetology school for hair and nails and stuff, so maybe knew their stuff, but still. They also offered to cut my hair (but I told them I already got my boy Diego lining me up). Anyway, we got talking to them and they were pretty cool but it turned into a little bit of a Joseph and Potiphar's wife, so luckily some people got on the train and split us up before Elder Paskett had to break any more hearts, but as Sir Galahad said "my strength is as the strength of 10 because my heart is pure". Gotta stay away from peril.
On the train back from Zone Conference, it somehow ended up that the Kitakami Elders and Sisters, us, and the Yokote Elders were all in the same section of the same train. Needless to say, it was a party. I talked to a 21-year-old 社会人 who was super cool and gave me some solid recommendations on Japanese music for that post-mish and then talked a bit about why I am a missionary, talked to a bunch of high school students, and whadya know it, Potiphar's wife showed up again, this time in the form of a nice young office worker going home from work, and she invited me to climb 岩手山 (Mt. Iwate) with her. So needless to say I symbolically left my tunic and ran away.
The former Elder Barton also visited the branch, he finished his mission last week and is back already, and I got to talk to him and his family too, which was really cool. Low-key thought his family understood basically my entire talk because they looked like they were very attentive the entire time and nodding and stuff, so I just translated a couple of words into English that I'd had to look up to tell the story I wanted to tell. Nope, they spoke almost none, so I can only imagine what they thought I was talking about with the handful of English words I gave them haha.
Our last zone conference with President Smith was amazing; I am going to miss that guy so much. It was all centered around light and the Light of Christ, and how the most important thing for us as missionaries is for us to develop the Christ like Attributes we need to be the best missionaries we can be. I have been able to see that in the way President Smith has led the mission, the way he has done it has ensured every one of his missionaries develops lasting conversion that will ensure at least one total convert on their mission in an area of the world where the growth of the church is very slow. I learned for myself that I have a choice for how I can respond to any situation, and I can choose to have joy and share the light I have inside. Sometimes I choose not to be happy, to be overwhelmed by my circumstances and let that be my excuse for not being joyful and spreading joy, but I know that I am more than a mere result of my circumstances.
I love you all a BUNCH; hope you all have a killer week!
オーギル長老 (Elder Orgill)
|盛岡 MORIOKA ZONE - I LOVE ALL OF THESE PEOPLE|
|"You cut your nails too short"|
|"Ya boy is no longer allergic to salmon"|
|All Japanese food is actually from Chinese food: Case A, Delicious|
|Case B, Taiwan ramen (ramen is technically from China)|
|Case C, 酢豚 Subuta, which is actually just sweet and sour pork|
| Case D, butter miso ramen (this ramen alone convinced me to drop $4|
on a tiny thing of real butter)
| (The former) Elder Barton's family visited less than a week of him|
getting released from his mission