Ai suru ryoshin... :) :)
I learned something interesting at the grocery store today. The baskets actually DO NOT take your money forever! When you get a basket you put a 100 yen in to detach it from the others. I never realized it gave it back to you at the end when you put the cart back!!! Waaa! Hahaha. Apparently Japan isn't after my money as much as I thought...
It is very strange that it is the end of September. Only two more weeks of this transfer. Next transfer is Sister Takei's last one...so hopefully I get to keep her through November. We will see. This week I get to go to Kiryu on splits with Sister O'Rourke from Australia. I haven't figured out who she is yet haha although I'm sure I've met her. I'm super excited though because Kiryu is way out in the more countryside of Tokyo. Pictures next week!
This week Tama area called us with a referral. Sumi san. She was actually an investigator last year but only met the missionaries twice, before her records drop off without reason. She has also been to church once. We gave her a call and she was pleased to have us come visit for 'tea and bread' although she made sure to tell us that she is Lutheran and can't join our church. Turns out she only lives about a 6 minute bike ride from our apartment. We weren't quite sure what to expect. We were surprised to find a 71 year old woman with a huge (well Japanese huge) house who is genki and bouncy and just beaming with happiness and fortitude. She is an adorable little lady! She fed us bread and potatoes and herbal tea and told us we had to eat a lot because we needed power to be out talking to people all day. Her beliefs are super similar to ours...and meeting her has given me a really good image of the Lutheran church. She even had an organ she played for us. Oh and she is also fluent in English. So we spoke Japanglish most of the visit, haha. She already had a book of Mormon and listened with pleasure to our message and promised to read the Morumon Sho more, and even come to church again. (She promised to do these things before we even asked her!) She loves Jesus Christ. It was such a lovely thing teaching someone who already has a testimony of Jesus Christ. We aren't quite sure what her potential is, but she was a ray of sunshine I'll tell you what. One of my favorite moments with her was when we were talking about trials and challenges. She said, with passion and vigor and a sparkle in her eye, "Challenges come to me because I can overcome them. When something difficult happens in my life, I can say, BECAUSE I CAN OVERCOME, THIS HAS COME TO ME." She was so inspiring to me. I was definitely the student in this case. This moment came right out of a movie, I swear.
Funny moment was when she was trying to explain something to me that is down in southern Japan...she was trying to remember what they are called in English, and she was explaining them to me in Japanese. Finally she pulled out some paper and started drawing one. In lieu of what I thought her drawing was a perfect replica of, and forgetting everything she'd already explained to me, I said, "Oh, a Christmas tree!!!!" .........for the record, it was not a Christmas tree! It was an old traditional Japanese style house. A 'gashozukuri'. Takei Shimai was about dying in the chair next to me trying not to explode laughing. Luckily Sumi san has a good sense of humor!
A miracle I want to share from this week. We went with one of our members to visit one of her dear friends. This close friend, Kuehara san, has family who are members of the church, but isn't a member herself. She is in her 70s. Our member has taken missionaries over before, but Kuehara san has only ever peeked her head out the door for a few moments of brief conversation. Our member asked me to bring my violin because Kuehara san loves music. Our idea was to say hello and then play her a song from the genkan (foyer). She'd left a note for her a few days earlier mentioning we would be coming by with a violin. We came to her door and ping-ponged. After a few moments, Kuehara san opened wide the door and invited us in. Surprise number one. Then she listened to me play 'Nearer My God to Thee' in her living room. Afterwards, she wanted to hear more. Surprise number two. I ended up playing several songs. Then as we began packing up to leave, she insisted we stay for a small dinner. Surprise number three!! After leaving her house, our member was quite emotional and touched by this experience. Such an unexpected miracle. We have hope for Kuehara san becoming an investigator.
So some great things this week!
If you are curious about Miyuki Shimai, she is doing well...but I think I mentioned before that she is studying Christianity and Buddhism? Well this week she has been more interested in Buddhism, so we haven't seen her much...but we have hope for this coming week!
Lots of love and prayers coming at you from across the pond...