Today for P-day we went to a famous Sumo wrestling town in Tokyo called Ryougoku. One of my best friends from my first area, who I used to teach, Youchan wanted to meet one more time before I go back to America so she took us here and showed us around a museum and took us out to lunch. All the sumo wrestlers were going there to practice so we were all coming out of the train station at the same time. I felt they were all celebrities. They all do their hair very nicely and are dressed in obis, like a man's kimono. The smaller are the beginners you can tell.
Japan is making plans and preparing for the Olympics, woohoo! I saw some of the pictures of maps of where they are trying to build in Tokyo. I don't know where they will put it all Tokyo is PACKED! I took some pics on the train to show what its like in Tokyo. Trains are very cozy.
The sumo wrestlers are big, but I think they might be the same size as many Americans. But since we are in Japan, everyone is so tiny except for them. I felt like I was their biggest fan chatting with them and asking them what they carry in their sachels- very simple answer-an extra pair of "pants" and water. The best part was being with Youchan and Iyanachan. Youchan I met my first week in Japan. She was going through a rough time when we first met, and I had just arrived in Japan, and she helped me adjust and love my life here. Also my trainer called the mission home to see if she could see me before I left for America, so I was able to see Kai Shimai today too. Shes working now as a teacher in Osaka and looks great! It was a very special day.
My favorite thing that I saw today in the museum was the models of the town in the "Edo period" like in the 1600's I think. Japanese people are so intricate with how they design things. The model towns all had little miniature clay people in them that looked so real, and had facial expressions. There were binoculars to look through that I couldn't put down, all around the exhibit and when you looked through you really felt like you were there. I loved it!
Oh, by the way, I have a new companion now, Sister Staples. She is from Salt Lake City and she just got here 5 days ago. I said goodbye to little Tan Shimai at the beginning of the week and now she is a trainer in Tokyo! I'm so proud of her! She was really nervous to be on her own, but I know she will be great! I picked up Sister Staples from the mission home on Thursday and we have been seeing a lot of miracles together. This transfer will be really different. Utsunomiya has been the biggest area in the mission for a long time, and we were one of the only areas that didn't have Elders, just us two Sisters up here. So President Budge decided this transfer to send Elders up here to help us and also to protect us. Yay!
My new companion is wonderful. She looks like Kiera Knitley from Pirates of the Caribbean, she is beautiful and has a very strong testimony. Today I was able to bear my testimony to Youchan and tell her how much Christ and Heavenly Father love her and know everything she feels. I got a little sad thinking this is last time I will see here in Japan for a little while, and be able to teach her like this in person. But I feel grateful for all the special things we were able to do together. She said at the end, that she has a black heart, and that if anything happened to her, please to look after her daughter because we have "clear hearts". I felt so sad for her that she is such an amazing woman, but she doesn't see her value. Such wonderful people.
This week we were biking and we biked by a woman in all black. We knew we had to turn around and talk to her. So we did. Her name was Maria from Peru. She was waiting for her bus. We introduced ourselves and she said shes not usually here in Utsunomiya but that day she had come here and had just come from the Catholic church to meet with a priest and try to get some advice on some things, but he wasn't there so she was on her way home. She asked what was different between Mormons and Catholics, and I told her the two big things are we have a prophet, and we have the Book of Mormon. She thought this was great and told us she wants something deeper then what the Catholics have. We showed her a few pictures of Christ and told her about what the Book of Mormon contained, that it was probably about her ancestors and she was very interested and said she wanted to meet again. Before she got on her bus we quickly exchanged numbers. Later that night she sent us an email thanking us for meeting her and said, "God is everything to me" and wants us to teach her again. It was a wonderful experience.
This week we also had the opportunity to teach Yamazaki Kyoudai, who has been investigating the church for a year now. They recently returned from Yamazaki Shimai's brother's wedding in the temple. We started the lesson off asking about the feelings they felt in the temple lobby and asked if they would like to go inside together someday. Yamazaki Kyoudai said he would but he felt there is so much preparation that needs to happen first. We told him that is exactly right, that there IS alot of preparation, but pointed out to him that he is on that road already by being a wonderful father and husband, and also by taking the steps to attend church. We focused on prayer, and asked him to look at Lilly and describe how he felt about her. For the first time I felt like he got a little bit emotional and told us how much he loved her, and how cute she is. We told him that that same feeling is how God views him, that he yearns to be a part of his life. He seemed really affected by this and we promised him he could receive answers to his specific questions. I really feel his heart is softening. Sister Staples and I prepared a lot for his lesson, talked it over, and practiced several times to get the lesson just right. Then when we went to their home, we really all felt the spirit, and I know it is because we prepared that Heavenly Father was able to help us.
Last night we went to the Station and we decided to sing Hymns outside of there It reminded me of caroling. Sister Staples was so inspired to bring an English copy of the Book of Mormon to give away. One Japanese man dressed in very American clothes stopped in front of us and said, "what are you singing" and we handed him a flyer. He just kept asking us so many questions and then told us how impressed he was that we were volunteering out here. He lives in New York and is married to a Columbian woman. He said that Japanese people don't like to disrupt harmony, or the way things are, but they need to change their thinking. He told us that Japanese people need values, something sturdy something that has been around for thousands of years- something like the BIble. He said that he has read the Bible and has gone to a Protestant church in America and now he is going to a Catholic Church because of his wife. He was so interested and we were able to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with him. We are so excited to teach him, and we are meeting him again on Sunday. I know Heavenly Father is working miracles over here and he is using us, his imperfect servants to do it. I always think that is the most humbling part. If Heavenly Father wanted he could get all this missionary work done on his own, but if he did that, we wouldn't benefit or grow. It is sometimes a struggle, everyday we have to renew our testimonies, but I know really really that Jesus is our brother and Savior, and that the Book of Mormon is true and it is the witness of the truth. It is wonderful to be apart of it all. Even when I come home I promise to always be on the Lord's errand, it's the happiest life.