We were able to talk to Charlie on Mother’s Day so he could tell us over the phone how things are going and, of course, so he could shower his mother with obligatory maternal praises. A phone conversation brings out bits and pieces of his life he might not mention in a letter, for example, that he lives next door to a pachinko parlor (sort of a cross between a mini casino and a pinball arcade, Japanese-style). That was nice to know. We also learned that his favorite kind of sushi is raw octopus (don’t knock it till you try it–it might just be as slimy and chewy as you imagine!). But he said his favorite part of being a missionary so far is seeing people’s lives change for the better. And that pretty much made our day. Actually, it made our week. It made the past five months of missing him so much all worth it.
Even though we spent one hour with him on the phone, he still found the time later that day to write us a letter and send some photos. Here are the highlights:
This week was pretty tiring. We tracted and went streeting pretty much every day all day this week. We spent 8 hours on foot on Friday and handed out a ton of EiKaiwa chirashis [English class flyers]. Lo and behold, no one new came. Baah! Our EiKaiwa class is really tiny usually and the same people always come. But it was good. Tuesday we did lots of housing. We even accidentally knocked on a member’s door which was kind of embarrassing, but she gave us mugicha [wheat tea] and cookies so it was ok. We also taught Fukumitsu Shimai again. She has such a strong testimony! She’s grown a lot and her greatest desire is to go to the temple and take her husband one day. I’m so blessed that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of His great work and to see miracles like her. On Wednesday we tried Morumon sho densha dendo* and got on the train and just rode around for a little while and talked to people. We just sat there sometimes and read the Morumon sho and waited for people to say “joozu ne!” [“very good!”] when they saw us two gaijin “reading” nihongo [foreigners “reading” Japanese]. I gave away three copies of the Book of Mormon that day!
*Morumon sho densha dendo–passing out copies of the Book of Mormon on a train
But we’re constantly trying to further the work here and find the elect. We’ll find them whenever the Lord wants us to find them. I’ve realized lately that finding people to teach is not so much about knocking doors or talking to people on the street every day for hours and hours, but becoming the kind of disciple that the Lord can trust His children to. Missionaries who come to the field with this mindset will have so much more of an advantage over others with the same calling. Finding will be as simple as saying hello if the Lord can trust us enough to put people who are ready in our path.
Well it’s been a great five months. The best five months of my life. I can’t believe it’s gone by this fast. It’s craaazy. My testimony has really grown. I know that the Savior lives. This work is His work. In my own life, the teachings of Christ have brought me so much peace, and through His teachings life can be full of joy and meaning. I want to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone. I testify that the gospel is God’s gift to us!