Today for Pday we went out and helped our friend and recent convert Kentaroh and his family on their farm. Kentaroh said today, "read my grandma's shirt it is shocking". I couldn't stop laughing it said, "In fact I want to cry out I want to be saved." She was so cute and completely Buddhist and oblivious to what it said. Kentaroh said origianlly the t-shirt was bought for him from his mother, but when he read it he said "I was shocked, and I knew I could not wear it". So now the tie=die green religious t-shirt belongs to his grandma. I love their family. Kentaroh's mom gave us some bonnets to wear today to pick the blueberries since it is in the 90ies over here and very humid. That made us feel like pioneers. Over lunch we asked if they knew what pioneers were, they said they knew they were people with very difficult lives. Today after lunch we decided that we wanted to make an I'm a Mormon Video starring Kentaroh, so we followed Kentaroh around his blueberry farm and had him show us how to eat blueberries, show us his new motorbike, his tagline was "I'm Kentaroh, I have a blueberry farm, I love to ride my motorcycle, and I'm a Mormon and then he sped away on the motorcycle for the closing shot. It was perfect. We were laughing all today.
Sister Tan and I decided this week it would be a good idea to turn on the air conditioner. One morning we woke up so sweaty so I suggested, "maybe we should turn on the air conditioner." Sister Tan said, "WHAT?!! THIS WHOLE TIME WE'VE HAD AN AIR CONDITIONER?!" She was shocked that I didn't tell her earlier. We got out the air conditioner remote but unfortunately we couldn't read any of the characters on it so we ended up turning on the heater. We decided to carry the remote around with us and make it a point of contacting. We heard about a community Japanese class and so Sister Tan brought the remote there and asked her teacher to decipher it for us and drew a diagram to bring home for future reference.
The Japanese class was extremely fun. It was so nice to have someone focus their attention on you, it felt so foreign since we are always asking others how we can help. We met a lot of interesting people there, a Buddhist monk, an engineer from France, an English teacher from New York who acted tough but was really sweet, and a photographer from Thailand. They were all so kind and invited us to the bar with them which of course we declined and instead invited them to church with us... which they declined.
We had a member Fukuda Shimai refer two of her friends to us, one was able to meet this week. Her friend Akutsu-san was so receptive and said she wants to go on a mission like us because she couldn't believe that we just met and were able to become such good friends and talk about heart- felt things right away. She was asking great questions during our lesson and even she wants to take her family to the temple even if its just to the lobby. We spoke about our familes and how the gospel has strengethend them. Her eyes just seemed so curious and wanting to know more. We taught her the restoration and towards the end of the lesson I asked her when she felt this message was true would she be baptized? I felt like our member almost jumped out of her seat of shock, but Akutsu-san said, "yes once I know it is true". I love being a missionary. It has made me see everyone as a child, even people older then me I just see them as God's little child who wants to know him. I feel like I went to be the best member now and for the rest of my life. Missionary work really isn't scary once you just invite. Our wonderful member Fukuda Shimai knows this!
The most wonderful part of this week was visiting Irene. We didn't know if she was going to be home but we took a chance and took the 40 minute train ride out there to see her. We knocked on the door and she didnt come the first two times so we were really nervous she was avoiding us, that she had fallen just before her baptism this upcoming Sunday. But after what seemed like the longest few minutes she came to the door and apologized that her music was on and she didn't hear us. We taught her a few of the commandments, and she was so willing to pay tithing, and fast and already loves praying. She even said, "I don't want to pay tithing for the blessings, but because it's the Lord's commandment, and I want to obey the Lord". She is so faithful and she surprised her boyfriend about her baptism and she said his face turned as red as a tomato and he was looking like he was going to burst into tears. Jonathan her boyfriend will baptize her and they want to be married next year in the temple. It is so wonderful to see the change in her. Today she had her baptismal interview and she passed, so she will be baptized July 28th, we are so excited!
We have recently been trying to find new ways to meet people instead of just streeting everyday.One of the most effective things we did this week was we went to a potluck that our local library/community center puts on monthly. We dropped some free copies of the Book of Mormon off at the Local Library and then also found out they do potlucks once a month! Of course we joined in. We brought a huge pot of spaghetti, which of course you could tell was from the two Americans, the whole table was covered in Curry and Asian Dishes. It was wonderful for meeting people. Everyone there came ready to make friends so it was so easy to talk with them. I felt as if people were lining up to talk with us. It was great and refreshing! The people who put on the potluck are this cute couple in their 70ies who also have come to church in the past. When they heard we we were doing a musical number in church on Sunday, they said "well why don't you make an announcement to everyone here? And why don't you also announce about Eikaiwa, everyone will want to come". It was great to get to know people, build friendships and invite people to church. No one was walking away from us they were all really interested in us and what we were doing. From the potluck three people came to church the next day, and one other person we have an appointment with tomorrow to do a church tour. It was such a miracle! We also were able to hand out our Eikaiwa flyers to most of the people there and many of them said they will come on Wednesday. I know the Lord blesses us and leads us to prepared people when we are doing everything we know how to do.
I was thinking how on the mission when something is so disappointing, someone you thought was so ready, doesn't show up, or things don't go the way you imagined, you cannot stay down for very long, because there is always a miracle just around the corner waiting to happen to lift you up.
Yesterday in our lesson with Yamazaki Kyoudai we really wanted to help him know we were with him with trying to quit smoking. To help us keep him continually in our thoughts and prayers we decided to do a fast. When we challenged him to stop smoking, I stopped eating candy and Sister Tan stopped eating meat. We were able to talk about it yesterday how it is really difficult to give up something that you like, but that we are continually praying for him and with him. We started the lesson by reviewing the Joseph Smith experience, how Joseph had to make a plan before he asked God for help. He studied it out in his mind first. We sang Joseph Smiths First Prayer to him and then told him that if we make a plan together for him to quit smoking and then ask the Lord for help, he will be able to quit. We asked him why he started smoking in the first place and the times when he felt most likely to smoke. He said he just started smoking when he was younger because all his friends were doing it and now he knows he should quit because it's not good for him but he never felt like he had a huge desire to quit.
We had a member there Brother Ishizaki share about how when he decided to give up coffee, he threw it all away and just like that decided he was not going to drink it anymore. To help Yamazaki Kyoudai, Sister Tan and I asked Kim Chorro some advice since he used to have a smoking problem he told us that grape juice curbs the cravings for tobacco so we gave him a bottle of grapefruit juice and also we took pictures of ourselves with thumbs up pointing to the Book of Mormon saying "you can do all things through Jesus Christ", and a little picture of his daughter Lilly with a word bubble saying "I want to be baptized" and a picture of him and his wife with little word bubbles saying "I want to go to the temple". It was kind of cheesy but we told him to tape it to his cigarette boxes so every time he smokes he will think about what is at stake. I really want to help this cute family.
Sister Yamazaki is preparing to go through the temple in August for her Brother's wedding so this is really great. She is so strong. At the end of the lesson we read together Philippians "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". We asked Yamazaki Kyoudai if he thought this was true and he said yes! So we are really praying for him this week that he can live the Word of Wisdom. I really feel that if he does he will have the confidence and faith in himself to become a church member and Priesthood holder that I know he wants to be for his family.
This week we had such a miracles with finding people. Yesterday we decided to venture out with our rain jackets and the first person we saw was huddled under this shelter. We don't normally talk to men but he was just about the only person on the street since it was rainy and lightning. We asked if he was waiting for the bus and he said no he was just waiting for the rain to clear so he could walk home. He was a college student so we gave him an English flyer and our umbrella since we have millions at our apartment and he was in shorts and a t shirt. He was so touched and wanted to know more about who we were. His name is Osei and we talked to him about how he is our Brother and that Heavenly Father is our Dad. He said he is not really any religion and isn't sure if God exisits but he is coming for a church tour on Saturday and since he can't come on Wednesday he wants to speak English. When we said we were going to keep walking now I felt like he just wanted to hear more. I'm excited to teach him on Saturday.
I really know that no matter how little our time is that God will put the prepared people in our path for us to meet. Everyday I know we can see miracles if we try our best to follow the spirit we will find the person were supposed to find. Sister Tan is my favorite person ever. She is such an example to me of righteouseness, humility and diligence. Working with her has made me want to be a better more diligent missionary. Love you all love life
Love Sister Vail