Is food an effective motivator for bringing about the salvation of souls? What really IS the most effective way to talk to a large number of people in the town of Ichinoseki? Why do Japanese people eat grilled eel on the 25th of July? Does rejection bring about any good? Will Elder Orgill and Elder Garaycochea win the all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu?
I will endeavor to answer these questions and more in my analysis of the week of 7.17-7.23.
So yeah, this last week was straight ridiculous. President Sekiguchi extended a challenge the mission, a call to action, an earth shattering proclamation involving all you can eat meat. For the three companionships and one district in the mission that receive the most rejections this week, they will be treated to a dinner of shabu-shabu, steak, or something else of their choice. Now you're probably thinking - do missionaries really need food to motivate them to go out and try to find people to teach and bring unto salvation? Nope, but a challenge like this did really change the way we work and try to find people. I'll talk about all the groundbreaking things I learned later, though, it's time for FOOD TALK.
DO NOT READ IF HUNGRY Not much special food this week, tried a killer good ramen shop in Morioka while on splits there, the coolest part about the place was probably that they had ALL YOU CAN EAT FRIED CHICKEN. I don't know if you've ever had a "黒豚ラーメン" (black-hog/Berkshire pork and soy sauce ramen), but it's good, and it's even better with fresh-pressed garlic, and it's even better topped with fried chicken. One of the best bowls of ramen I've had in Japan, thick base, good noodle texture, and pretty cheap. Other than that, I made a Korean teriyaki chicken and rice bowl this week (it's Korean because of the spicy miso) which is my new favorite; I think I'm starting a Korean food phase. It's the end of the month, so we're running out of money to spend on fun food, but you best bet next month is gonna get INTERESTING. END OF FOOD TALK
We change the method of finding this week to talk to more people, and we saw some really cool things come out of it. We did a lot of finding on the street this week, except Ichinoseki it's not very big, so we mostly stuck around the train station and talked to as many people as we could. We met a guy on Monday night and ended up talking to him for about a half an hour, and then we ran into him on Tuesday night, and then we ran into him again on Wednesday night. We're pretty good friends now, and even though he doesn't have any interest in the gospel, he bought us ice cream the third time saw us, so MIRACLES. We met a super nice guy from Nepal, a cool couple who walked all the way from Yokohama, a Japanese girl from London who spoke perfect English and Japanese, a guy who spilled sake all over his shirt when we started talking to him, a guy that got two inches away from my face while we were talking, and made a few other homies as well. The funniest guy we met was this guy who scolded me for calling him お父さん (“father”) and corrected me to お兄さん(“older brother” - sounds kinda weird if you try to explain this in English), and then scolded me for not knowing Japanese cultural history and said I need to study more like Elder Garaycochea and going off on random stuff and then he gets a call and says his girlfriend is waiting, and corrects Elder G's pronouns for him from お兄さん (“older brother”) to お祖父ちゃん (“grandpa”), and tells us good luck and was on his way. Basically he was straight messing with us and I didn't even realize it until after, but Elder G has been roasting me ever since telling me that I need to study more. We got rejected 508 times this week (which is pretty dang good for being in one smallest areas in the mission (technically the fifth smallest area because Yokote and Odate and Miyako and Misawa are smaller)) but it was way cool because I was super happy this week and it kinda turned my perspective around from a rejection meaning I didn't do my part or talk well enough or anything like that, it was more of me realizing that I gave somebody the chance to hear the gospel, and that's pretty dang cool.
We had splits with the zone leaders this week and I got to work with Elder Price who's a straight stud of a missionary and we put in a ton of work and found a couple of people at the end of the night which was pretty dang cool, I learned the power of testifying simply and from the heart, it means a lot more to bear a simple testimony about how these things have helped you feel joy and become better than it means to bear testimony of things they don't even understand about. Also, Morioka is amazing, there are so many people.
So I got thinking a lot about the contest this week, and found myself thinking about why President Sekiguchi would put something like this into place, why an inspired leader would put a contest like this to see how many rejections we could get. From this week, I learned a lot. One of the interesting things was how to get rejected. There were certain approaches I could go with that led to instant rejection almost every time, and others which grabbed people's attentions bit more. Another was how to read people - nobody is going to feel the spirit testify of the message when they're worried about a train to catch or just really don't want to be there talking to you. By keeping them there against their will, all we do is build an image of missionaries as annoying Americans who are inconsiderate of peoples' time. I also learned more of how to open my mouth this week, because until you open your mouth you never know if someone is interested or not. The two best contacts of this week were two guys straight hauling on bikes (also, the faster they are going on a bike when they stop has a direct correlation with their probability of being super prepared to hear the gospel). The two we met on bikes, Sato and Gen (my homie from Nepal) weren't necessarily interested in the gospel, but by opening our mouths we were able to build a relationship quickly and strengthen the image of the church. In everything I did this week, I tried to talk to people in a way that the next time they met missionaries they would just smile at the sight of them, and I think for 95% of people I actually did succeed in strengthening the image of the church. It's interesting how a challenge just to get rejections to win all-you-can-eat meat changed the way I think, speak, and do missionary work, and I think the way I think and do missionary work has changed far beyond just what I did this week, I have learned things I will be applying for the rest of my mission and life. I now know very well what DOESN'T work, and now I just have to do the things that DO work.
Rejection is great, it helps you learn and grow, and I challenge you all to do something this week where you expect total rejection, and if you do get rejected you lose nothing and if you don't then that's AWESOME. Love y'all, have a great week and get rejected a bunch!
Elder Orgill オーギル長老
P.S. I forgot about the grilled eel thing, it's apparently really good for your health so they eat it so you don't get heat fatigue, but it's actually just something clever eel salesmen came up with back in probably the Edo period or something to sell more unagi. But hey, an excuse to eat unagi is an excuse to eat unagi, so I have no problems with that.
P.S. #2 Oh yeah, the dance battle was just we talked to some homies in high school and they were chilling in one spot on the main street in Ichinoseki and just not moving and kinda making fun of us and I decided to just chat with them a little more and just mess around and I asked if one of them danced and he threw down and then I threw down; good stuff.
|"I love 7-11 spicy snacks"|
|Went to a ramen shop this week with a garlic press and all you can eat|
|Our buddy Kumagai|