This week was beautiful! We met a wonderful person named Ryuchan. I haven't even known her a week yet, but it is so easy to love her. She is my new best friend. She is from Beijing and looks like a runway model. We were going to teach our friend English at the local donut shop but she didn't show up. A little downtrodden we decided to buy a donut and head out, but then this beautiful girl with long black hair walked in. I told her I liked her hair and she looked at our name tags and said "Kirisuto Kyo?" "Christ's church?" And said she was a Christian too. We hit it off and got donuts together, and sat down and chatted. Now we've met with her 3 times and will meet her again tomorrow. She is only 21 but is very mature. She is very unique and loving. She said her parents wanted her to be independent so at age 14 they got her her own apartment in Beijing and she's been living alone ever since. She said her heart was angry a long time at her parents for doing this, but now that she's older she understands they just wanted her to learn to be independent, and show her that she can do anything. And she really can, she is an amazing strong woman!
Ryuchan took us to Nikko this week. It's this famous place in the mountains where I think samurais used to live. It is way up in the mountains and it is famous for the three monkeys who "See no evil, speak no evil. and hear no evil." We saw the stable where they are carved into. All the shrines and beautiful statues were nice, but the whole time in my heart of hearts I wished more than anything I could see a wild monkey. It was beautiful and many people from all over the world were there. The Emperor is buried there too. Ryuchan's friend/teacher, Tamakison who is like a father to her practically, took us there and got us an English headset to listen to. I loved the Emperor's teachings. One of them was, "the world is yours. the country is yours, act like it is yours". Really made me think it is true---God created this beautiful world and everything in it, for me! And for everyone, so enjoy it! The Emperor seemed to be very wise. We walked up a long stone staircase to see his grave. It was a beautiful day! Ryuchan is Christian and reads the Bible everyday, so we gave her a Book of Mormon to read everyday and we're going to teach her again tomorrow! I really love her! The best part of Nikko was when we were leaving we accidentally took a wrong turn (we were going head on into a one way street) so as we were making a U-turn, lo and behold a wild monkey and her cub popped out of nowhere! I could not have been happier! I love teaching the gospel to my friends and enjoying God's creations. There was even a waterfall at Nikko and beautiful mountains, such a change from Tokyo! It's funny although I am clearly in Japan, surrounded by Japanese people, a different language and statues that look like Mushu the dragon, when I see the mountains and the waterfalls, I feel right at home, because I can see Heavenly Father all around me in the Earth's design and in the faces of the people here, that makes me feel at home more than anything.
This week we also met with a lady named Mobik from Gabbon somewhere in Africa. She was hilarious. She loves the Bible too. She said she gets a lot of stares in Japan since most people are Japanese around here, but she has a really good attitude and chooses to teach people about her culture instead of being angry that they stare at her so much. She is a chemistry student here in Japan and is still unsure about the Book of Mormon but is one of the most spiritual giants I have met in my life, she does everything by feeling. She's been to several churches but doesn't agree with their teachings even though they all use the Bible, so I hope that she will start to see why the Book of Mormon is so important.
This week we also met our friend Yuka who we met on the train a few weeks ago. She is about my age and she said she goes to the shrine to get strength before she has to do something difficult. This reminded me a lot of us and our temples.
I love being here. I really know now that if we want a full life we have to try to make other people's lives full. This week my English class was hilarious. We were all giggling like school girls. All four of my students are men and are from different walks of life but we had a ball together talking about food and the weird things we have eaten. One of my students said he ate dog while he was in China, One of the other students, Kentaro practically jumps out of his seat and asks, "what kind of dog was it? was it toy poodle!" Nowhiroson said that his favorite food is McDonald's because it's the same all over the world, but in India since a cow is god they serve chicken burgers and he said in India it tastes like curry chicken." I couldn't not stop laughing for some reason. They are so adorable.
This week we studied Elder Holland's talk "the 1st and Greatest Commandment." Christ asks Peter over and over, "do you love me?" and it is after Christ has died and has been resurrected and Peter has gone back to his old ways of fishing, back to exactly who he was before walking with Christ. Because I have come on my glorious mission I feel I can never be the same again or should never be the same again. I can't go back to doubt. I can't go back to living in fear. I can't go back to relying on other people to be the responsible ones. I know too much and have experienced too much to go back to what I was. Heavenly Father has replaced my fear with courage, where there was uncertainty he has blessed me with confidence, where there was ignorance he has given me precious knowledge, where there was regret and feelings of doubt and questioning my self-worth, Heavenly Father elevated my eyes and let me ride on his shoulders to see my potential. I, of course, don't know it all and can't let up, but I realized that with the Lord's help I can do anything!
I love you my family thank you for being everything to me!