The big move came for Charlie, and now he’s in his second area in Japan with his third companion. He thinks time is flying! Back here at home, we’re not so sure. But he loves being a missionary, loves Japan, loves the work–he loves it all. And that makes us happy.
So Friday morning came transfers. We rode up to one of the big stations in Osaka city called Tennoji and met up with a bunch of other missionaries and then rode up to Kobe city, where I got reunited with Marquez Choro! It was so awesome to see him. I love that guy so much. He’s the best. I also got to see Muhonen Choro, my first district leader. He’s moving to Kyoto this time around, lucky guy!
As for my new area, it’s just a little bit northeast of the grand city of Kobe, Japan. We’re actually in the city. And it’s pretty urban in some parts of it. The rest of it is up in the mountains and the people are few, but where our apartment is is right in the middle of the big city. It’s sweet. Lots of people to talk to. I love it here already. It’s a great place. The ward is huge! Huge huge huge! There are 100+ people who come every week. I’m really going to focus on getting to know all of them while I’m here. Strong relationship with the ward = lots of referrals.
This ward is already convinced that I’m Japanese and I could speak Japanese from the time I was a little kid–not true! They don’t realize I’m not really fluent at all. I can just fake really good like I can speak Japanese. And I talk fast and without a foreign accent which makes people think I actually know the language, too. If you ever come to pick me up at the end of my mission, you should probably start brushing up on your Japanese so you are 100% fluent, because that is what people are already expecting of you.* It’s pretty funny. All I say is I have family living on Shikoku** and they instantly ask if you still live there. I usually just nod my head and say “hai” [yes] to all their questions because it takes too long to explain that my grandma is from Shikoku and my mom is adopted and and she’s half Japanese, but I look like I’m three quarters or something.
*(He’s talking to me, his mother. Who said I wasn’t 100% fluent? Why would he even suggest that? What?!)
**Shikoku–an island in southern Japan where his mother’s side of the family comes from and part of the Japan Kobe mission.Well I had an absolutely amazing week. We have been teaching lots of lessons! This past week we taught twelve. On Tuesday we got a new shigansha [investigator] named Naoki. He’s a 15 year old kid and he wants to be baptized. It was super awesome. We taught him a lesson about the Holy Ghost and Heavenly Father and we also talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost, and that you need to get baptized to have it. He wants to be baptized on September 6.This weekend, the huge typhoon came in. It was heavy. Some places in the city I’m in even flooded. I took a ride in the car of one of the members and you could see the canal that exploded into Colorado River-like rapids. It was intense! It rained so much that they cancelled most of church across the mission. Fortunately for our ward, they still had sacrament meeting. But only about half the members came. The crazy thing is we still biked to church that morning! I got soaked even underneath my raincoat and rain pants. Then a miracle happened. Naoki brought his mom and his little brother to church despite the heavy storm. It turns out it was because of the rain that his little brother’s baseball practice was cancelled and they were able to come. We taught them a little bit after sacrament meeting and they’re now investigators, too.
Man, I just love my mission. On Sunday I got to see Elder Jackson, a missionary who is going home and he is touring around his old areas with his family. He came to church. I got to translate Sacrament meeting for them which was hard but pretty fun. But how sad Elder Jackson must be to leave the mission field. I never want to leave! I’m glad I have about 16 months left or so.
Thank you so much for the birthday package! You’re the best mom ever!* I loved everything inside of it. Domo arigatoo! Everyone’s letters were so nice. I’ll try to get to everybody eventually. Anyway this week was just the best. It began well, it ended well. I’m still never going to want to leave the mission. I can’t believe it’s already 1/3 over.
*He says that now that he’s halfway around the world.
A happy missionary makes us happy, too. To those of you who wrote letters to Charlie for his birthday, thank you!! Your love and well wishes made it all the way to Japan. Happy 19th, sweet Charlie. We love you.