Monday, March 11, 2013

Off with the marshmallow jacket!!

So something interesting has been happening this transfer. The days have been getting shorter!! It's like magic...the days that seemed like months have changed to days that blow by like hours and months that come like days. Whenever I think about it I feel time is like wind blowing all around me, without thought or concern for the moments it blows away so quickly. Sorry for getting all poetic here, I guess what I'm trying to say is, time feels really strange!! There are moments where time stands still, like when a testimony is being borne or a commitment extended, those moments where you hold your breath as you watch people make decisions that you know will affect their eternity. Then there are the hours knocking, the 24 mile bike rides, the conferences, the trains, the nights where you lay up laughing together, the nights crying together, the phone calls, the study hours...they are all like wind blowing past your face and sending chills to your toes. One moment they are there. Then just a memory. It absolutely blows my mind that soon I'll be telling people I've been living in Japan for a year. Being a missionary really puts things in perspective, doesn't it? How time is only a measurement used by us mortals. How the only things that really matter are the gospel, our families, and loving our neighbors. Those are the things that withstand time. Those things are what never fade. Everything that I regret from before my mission stems from those three things; not being a better daughter and sister, not showing more love inside my home, not more purposefully pursuing an education  and bettering myself while I was young, and not being an influence on those whose lives I may have had power to touch.

This week was pretty intense. Monday was dinner with a member family and a long-time less active, Tuesday was stuck in our apartment until 4 while a new toilet was installed (it is INTENSE,) and then making an impulse decision that we wanted a piano for dendo more then we wanted to buy groceries for a month (TOTALLY carried it under my arm for the mile bike ride home,) Tuesday night didn't end until about 2:30 am after getting home from the hospital (not for me), Wednesday didn't start until about 10 am once we finally woke up after the long night, Thursday was driving out with Hosaka Shimai (our 73 year old grandmommy) to a nursing home to visit another member, where she proceeded to drive her car straight into 4 foot deep trench she didn't see in the parking lot (we saw it...luckily we and her car are, Friday was a 24 mile bike ride to and from a less-active members home in Nirasaki, Saturday was a big blitz with the stake where we went out and dendoed with members in Hachioji (and I met, for the first time, a girl from Ukraine), and Sunday was as usual the miracle day of the week.

*breath* Okay so that is probably a lot to try and understand in one big breath, so let's calm down for a moment and talk about our miracle yesterday! Church was lovely as usual with our incredible ward family. Junpei made it to church this week (last week he got pulled over on his way there). Now that we have Elders in the area they are officially teaching him, but we are still friends. Emily helps me in Sacrament as I fumble around with my scriptures and notebook and electronic dictionary, trying to figure out what people are saying. When I can't find or spell a word I hand my dictionary to her and she types it in for me. Sacrament meeting has actually been a lot better these last two transfers. I don't fall asleep anymore!! And I can actually follow the speakers enough to take notes and understand the points of their talks. So anyway...after church and a few hours of putting together reports for the ward, we decided to go search for some long-time less actives. There wasn't much daylight left, and by the time we found the right neighborhood it was dark enough that addresses were hard to read. We couldn't find the home we were looking for and decided to knock on a random door and ask for help. We found an old old man in a big Japanese robe looking at us through huge coke-bottle (sp?) glasses, very surprised to find two gaijin on his porch. Well he happened to be an old man who was friends with the family we were looking for, and, being impressed with the Japanese we managed to spit out and feeling pity on us, he put on big cotton socks and slippers and started trekking down the road. We looked at each other and, with a shrug, followed after him. After a few blocks he walks into the yard of a traditional Japanese home, and starts knocking on their door. "Okubo! Hey! I've found two gaijin out looking for you!" Hahaha. We couldn't believe it. Well a man came to the door and our guide hustled away, and invited us into the genkan. His wife ran away into the kitchen but he sat and talked with us for about half an hour. He was really pleased at our visit, and said he felt something as we talked to him. He hasn't been to church in 40 years. His parents were against the church. But (get this timing!) his parents both passed away this year. He still has a Book of Mormon. He wants us and the Elders to come to his house again so he can help us learn kanji. And we really think he may even come back to church. He was the only home we made it to that night. Everything about finding him was a miracle. Things like that leave no room for doubt that God is leading this work!

So life moves on here in Kofu. :) I am happy. So excited for spring. It got so warm this week we haven't even used jackets. Three more weeks of the transfer, and much to be done! Hitomi san wasn't able to meet with us last week because her son got super ill (of course) but is scheduled to come see us this Friday, and is super excited. We are too.

I love you all so much! On we go!

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