March Madness and cheap child labor

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Little kids are pretty cute. And Japanese little kids–even cuter. What makes children from foreign countries so charming? Two reasons: 1) they look like miniature versions of the adult foreigners; and 2) they’re super smart. They can already speak a foreign language fluently when they’re only, like, three years old. It’s impressive! Anyway, Charlie and his companion found themselves being chased by these little rascals one day while knocking on doors. They were adorable! And toothless!

Charlie and his child laborers--I mean, his new friends!

The most hilarious thing happened on Saturday. My companion and I went to do some housing in a neighborhood where a member lives and we saw this group of kids playing outside. So of course I had to talk to them. Japanese kids are so cute! I gave them all Eikaiwa* flyers and my companion gave them all a bunch of candy. They started following us from door to door, and then we kind of stopped tracting and just starting playing chase with these kids who kept shouting “ame hoshii! ame hoshii!”*  Sooo funny. After a while we asked them if they wanted to help us, and they all agreed to put Eikaiwa flyers in all the postboxes. So we handed them each a stack of flyers, and they took off, running from house to house! They had the whole neighborhood done in about 15 minutes. I think we discovered a new way to do missionary work. We call it “Child labor dendo*!” Such adorable kids.

*Eikaiwa–free English classes taught by the missionaries

*”ame hoshii!”–we want candy!!

*dendo–missionary work

I know what you’re thinking: didn’t anyone ever teach those children not to take candy from strangers?! Fortunately in Japan most people are familiar with the sight of two clean-cut, Mormon young men in white shirts and ties going door to door, and they tend to have a squeaky clean reputation. If your kid ever does take candy from a stranger, pray that it’s a Mormon missionary. As for the “child labor dendo”–that was a stroke of genius, Charlie. Sheer genius. Now on to more serious stuff.

All Saturday night I was really worried about Fukumitsu. She’s been really nervous lately, and she wanted to postpone the baptism because of a problem quitting ocha [tea], her favorite drink. We assured her that with the Lord’s help she could do it, but she was just having a really hard time. I was scared that things wouldn’t work out the next day. But I dreamed that night that she got baptized. I woke up the next morning, knowing that that was a good sign but I was still a little anxious. Through my own power, I can do nothing. But through the Lord’s power, miracles can happen, and the Lord blessed me with the opportunity to baptize Fukumitsu-san! We’re so happy for her.

Fukumitsu-san at her baptism, with Charlie and Marquez Choro

Fukumitsu-san at her baptism, with Charlie and Marquez Choro

The beautiful countryside of Hashimoto, near Osaka

The beautiful countryside of Hashimoto, outside of Osaka

It's the Avengers! Oh, wait--it's the Kawachinagano District.

It’s the Avengers! Oh, wait–it’s the Kawachinagano District.

(The sisters forgot to pose like superheroes.)

Marquez Choro and I are happily staying together in Kawachinagano. I’m super stoked for this next month. Great things are going to happen, and I’m so happy we get to stay here. As for March Madness, too bad you didn’t win those billion dollars*. But who cares when BYU and even Duke loses in the first round, eh? Maybe give a bracket to one of the Quorum of the Twelve. As prophets, seers, and revelators they could probably do pretty well.

*reference to the “Billion Dollar Bracket” challenge for the NCAA tournament; Warren Buffett offered $1 billion to anyone who filled out a perfect bracket. Sadly, this won’t be me.

That’s our boy. Always end on a happy note. Until next week, sayonara!

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About eldercharliebahr

Charlie is from Oro Valley, Arizona. He loves volleyball, sushi, piano playing, and rocket building. When he was little, he wanted to grow up to be Superman. For now he will use his superpowers among the people of Japan, as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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