Uprooting Potatoes and Tochimarukun

Our faith is like a muscle, it grows when we use it.
This week we had interviews with our mission president. President Budge told SisterHunsaker he thinks I was born in the wrong era, that I should have been born in the 60ies because I'm a hippie who always wants peace and harmony.  I feel grateful he knows me though.   We have transfers this weekend, so we will see what will happen.  Our mission is splitting into Tokyo and Tokyo South so I said goodbye to a lot of the south missionaries today.  I love my companion so much, Sister Hunsaker.  She was only 19 when she got to Japan and she has grown so much in our 12 weeks together.  I'm pretty sure she will train now starting next week because she's so good and because there are tons of sisters on their way. 
So this week was exhausting / hilarious.  I was having a laugh attack accidentally during one of our new investigator's prayers which was a first.  His name is Daikiku.  He is from our English class and is 31 but seems 23.  He drives a huge van and the only problem is he is studying wine making and it is his passion, he's even moving to Sonoma, California to work on a vineyard this summer.  He is always wearing flip flops rain or shine and loves the Beatles. When we called him he had just come out of a root canal or wisdom tooth extraction but came to the church to meet.  So in his prayer at the end of our lesson he was going on and on for about 5 minutes asking Heavenly Father to take the pain away from his tooth. I couldn't hold in my laugh it was the most interesting prayer I've ever heard.  We also showed him the hymn book and told him he could pick anything and we would sing it.  He picked 'true to the faith' which I have only heard a few times so we started to singacapella and the pitch was set too high for us, so we were squeaking through the song and that made me laugh too.  Anyway the good thing is he is reading the Book of Mormon.  My zone leader, Elder Apolonio, said this really good thing which I liked, "we don't read the Book of Mormon like it's a normal book like Harry Potter. We don't even read it for the knowledge that's in it. We read the Book of Mormon to feel close to Heavenly Father".  So we testified of this and Daikikun said he will read! 
Sister Hunsaker experienced her first ever Japanese sushi.  It was so yummy.  KentaroKyoudai and two other members took us to this restaurant where everything is 1 dollar and the sushi is delivered on a little toy car or train that circles around the restaurant.  It was so much fun.  Afterwards we went to see Tochigiken's 140th Birthday.  It's been a town now for 140 years, I guess.  Japan is funny and each city has its own "character".  TochigiPrefecture's is this little round person called "Tochimarukun." He was very cute.  Kentarohpurchased us this entire fish that was on a stick, like a hot dog, but only it was a fish! I bit into it and I was like "oh not bad" and he said "yes this is where the eggs are." I looked in my bite and I had eaten all the little Nemos.  Anyway, very Japanese. We are really trying to help Kentaroh Kyoudai have friends.  He's been a member  for three months now and loves the missionaries, but we want him to love the ward members too.  Church can be hard if you don't have friends.  My goal every week now and for the rest of my life is to sit by someone new every Sunday.  We were able to teach him about the temple and we showed him pictures of the inside and he seemed really impressed, so hopefully he will be able to go soon!
This week we also had a really special lesson with the Nakayasu couple. They feel like my long lost family.  They are two of the most beautiful people I have ever met.  The children were at school so we had a chance to talk to them about going to the temple and being sealed together forever. Nakayasu Kyoudai has been a member for just over a year now but has become less active since his baptism. We have been working with them every other week lately and teaching lessons to him and his son Kevin who is seven almost eight. When we started the lesson, I felt such a huge outpouring of love from Heavenly Father for them, I know he is so happy with the progression Nakayasu Kyoudai has been making, and is blessing him for his efforts. We read some scriptures together from D&C 132:15-17.  I showed them a picture of Ojichan and Obachan since their temple work was just finished.  (YAY! ) and I told them of the joy that I felt knowing that they are together now forever. They both seemed really touched by this and said "when can we go to the temple?" They want to go right away. Nakayasu Kyoudai came to church on Sunday and was able to be interviewed and is worthy now to receive the Priesthood. He is going to be able to baptize his son Kevin this week Sunday and we are all so excited. I loved watching them all sit together at church as a family. 
This week we also visited a lady who always looks sad in our ward named Sister Tsuji.  All her kids are less active and she rarely smiles.  But when we visited her at her house, which is surrounded by beautiful rice fields and has a great wind, she was just so chipper.  She is a gardener and even let me aid her in uprooting some of her potatoes to take home.  It reminded me of how Grandma Gladys would always send us home with a fresh bouquet or roses from her garden. I want to have a garden too!  How fun it is to grow your own vegetables and give away to your friends as they visit.  I really admire these sweet Japanese people. I love visiting people and seeing them become happy over something so small.  I want to have a Jesus Christ like heart. I know every time we do something good we are becoming more like him.  He really does know the way to true happiness. I feel it!
Sister Hunsaker told me recently something that her aunt told her, that 'there will come a day when you lay your head down on your pillow and it is the last day you are a missionary.'  That day seems scary and I never want it to come.  But I decided it will never come because even after my mission I want to always bear my testimony and always help people find Christ.  Elder Shibuta, my other Zone leader, said this that I loved, "You are here to change people's lives.  People will have to trust in you. We are not in our wards to be the stars and have everyone like us but we will be remembered for generations if we can change people's lives for eternity".  I know this is true. 
I know I'm supposed to be on a mission.  It has not been easy, not even now.  But I know the Lord gives us challenges so we can stay close to him.  I can't believe how lucky I am to be here.  It doesn't seem like a sacrifice at all because of all I have received.  My awesome zone leader, Elder Aplolnio, said that the mission is like college, 'it is here that you learn about the things that will help you for the rest of your life.'  It is so true!  It has been the greatest privilege to serve a mission. Lately I have been thinking I need to treat every day like it is Christmas morning.  Everyday I am a missionary ---something I always wanted to be.  I'm living my dream! I love Nippon. I love these sweet people and I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know he is real and his power can help us do anything.
Love you all so much!!

Sister Vail

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