Typhoons and Bike Accidents, Kaiyo

This week was full of adventures.
We had a bike accident, got kicked out of a preschool, got stranded in another city, lived through another typhoon! But lots of miracles happened too!
First the miracles, we were able to start teaching Kaiyo this week. She is the one we met at the train station who just lost her mother. Our first night when we were walking to her house for our first lesson, I was trying to get to know her more. I asked her "what kind of job do you have" She is some type of bartender, but she didnt seem to be too fond of it, so I asked, what is it you would rather be doing? She told me that she just wanted to die. This caught me off guard and I didn't really know what to say, but I knew when we reached her apartment we had to teach her more about the Plan of Salvation. She told me that her mom had been sick for most of Kaiyo's life. For about 30 years, since Kaiyo was little she took care of her mom who was in and out of the hospital. Even thought she was sick, she said her mom really loved her no matter what she did, she was always supportive of Kaiyo. Later this week we took the newly released Relief Society President with us to Kaiyo's house to help teach a lesson. We were teaching about commandments and we asked if Kaiyo's mom ever gave her any rules that she should follow, to keep her safe. Kaiyo said her mom only had one rule when she was growing up, "don't cry". Then she just started crying and said, "I've lost everything, my mom, and I don't have a very good relationship with my dad, my dog of 10 years has died, and now I'm sick taking depression medicine. It's very strange because I just met  all of you, but I trust you more than anyone." She told us that she couldn't believe people with such beautiful pure hearts existed.
The spirit was so strong in her little apartment and our Relief Society President just bore a simple testimony about how she knew our meeting was Heavenly Father's doing because he is watching over her. She then turned to me and asked me, if God loves her how much longer would her life be so dark? I didn't know how to answer but then I said, everyone has a difficult time in this life, if we were happy all the time we would never learn. I shared a scripture in 2 Nephi about opposition in all things and promised her that God wouldn't just take her problems away but through doing the right things, going to church, reading her scriptures, saying her prayers and keeping commandments God would give the strength to overcome her many difficult trials and many of her problems would eventually fade away.. I really felt the spirit and I know Kaiyo did too.
Sunday was wonderful and our lesson in Gospel Principles, even though the ward mission leader who was teaching had no idea of Kaiyo's situation yet, taught about Eternal Families. He asked us all to close our eyes and envision living with our families forever and asked us all to describe how we felt. Kaiyo just loved church and even though when we picked her up with a member in the morning, she said she could only stay for a little bit, she kept saying she wanted to stay longer, and ended up staying all three hours and then met many members afterwards including the Bishop. Bishop also used to have a smoking problem before he was baptized. She told him how much she loved church and how she wanted to start a new life. He reassured her that it was possible. She told Bishops wife that she wanted to become just like everyone she had met at church. We showed her the baptismal font and we told her we knew that Heavenly Father will give her the strength to stop smoking. When we met her she smoked 10 cigarettes a day, and on Monday she was down to three, and yesterday we asked the Elders and a High Priest in our ward if they could give her a blessing to help her stop smoking. The whole day I felt the spirit so strong, and every time I would look at Kaiyo she was so into what the speakers were saying and she was highlighting in her books we gave her. I am so excited for her. I can just see how much having the light of the gospel has changed her, and I can just picture how much it will continue to work in her life. The gospel is true!

We had a bit of a rough patch-literally one morning when we were running late for a meeting. Sister Staples and I were speeding to get to the train station for a Zone meeting and there was a huge sweeper truck in front of us so last second Sister Staples swerved up the curb which was too huge, so she flew off her bike and then her bike was on top of her, I was right behind her watching the whole thing so I flew off my bike too (on purpose) to see if she was okay. She was all scraped up but she was so tough she said, "let's go!" She got back on her bike bleeding and everything and we made it to the train station. We were sitting on the train waiting for it to move and Sister Staples was still shaking from her accident. We were relived and assessing her damages and then realized the phone and my scriptures were gone! I didn't realize it then but when she fell down I dumped my bike over and some of my stuff spilled out onto the road. Sister Staples said "we have to go back!" This was such an adventure. We got off the train and traced our steps all the way to the scene of the accident, and then when they weren't there we went all the way back to the apartment- no sign of them. Knowing this is Japan we didn't panic.
After asking around everyone around the site of the fall they all had the same answer "go to the police station" sounds a little extreme for Americans but in Japan that's where all lost things end up. We consulted with two police men and they took us into the station and right away I spotted my scriptures out of their pink case and a man was inspecting the contents of my scripture case, I think he was wearing gloves, and the cell phone was just sitting on the desk.
Sister Staples and I were cheering yay! when we walked in, but little did I know we were not in the clear. The police officers were taking notes of everything we were saying, including the exact time of Sister Staples crash, as well as the time we realized the scriptures were missing etc. It's funny we were saying to each other if this was America, people just slam things down on the lost and found shelf and say "here you go", if you come to claim it. Americans are happy to get rid of stuff. Here it was just the opposite. The police officers said we needed to file a report. I was starting to feel like a criminal or something for trying to get my scriptures back. After a half hour of filling out a lot of legal documents and quizzing us about our lost items, we were free to go scriptures and cell phone.

This week we also had the most terrible typhoon. People were saying it was supposed to be one of the worst ones in 50 years. I literally thought Hurricane Katrina was back. I didn't sleep a wink because it was so loud I thought at any moment surely a huge pot or antenna was going to come crashing through the window. I was staying the night in Oyama going on splits with two younger missionaries who are pretty brand new. I started having a small panic attack in the night because I didn't know where anything was in this house/city, so I got up and checked the house for flashlights, and the other sisters seemed unaffected by it. In fact one of the sisters was in such a deep sleep. I could tell because she was snoring very loudly, adding to the sleepless night. I knelt down and said a prayer for comfort in the study area and took a small Book of Mormon from the shelf. I felt so unsafe because I was the oldest missionary and responsible for these younger missionaries. I got back under my covers and held on to my Book of Mormon. I just held it tight and prayed that I would feel peace. I wasn't able to fall asleep but I felt such a warm feeling coming from the Book of Mormon it literally stilled my heart and a few hours later the storm passed. I know Heavenly Father always hears our prayers.

When Sister Staples came to Oyama to pick me up, the trains went down because of the storm so we were stranded in another area, half an hour away from Utsunomiya. It was about lunch time so Sister Staples and I took our lunch break in Oyama. We were literally moving down the line at the food court, literally going to every restaurant at the food court and eating their food. Sister Staples, I found out, also had somewhat of a sleepless night. She was hilarious. She got some fries and she couldn't believe you had to pay 20 cents for ketchup, she had to keep going back to buy more, it wasn't enough. She came and sat down and said "these ketchup packets cost 20 cents each-God bless America!" Since the Typhoon had just happened of course Sister Staples and I were both on high alert. We are always thinking about what we would do in case of an emergency situation.  Sister Staples is a professional at staying calm she says because she said shes always thinking of Emergency situations and the best way to react "that way you are never surprised when an emengency hits, but you're always a nervous wreck". I asked what she would do if she started choking right now, I told her I would grab that mans large soda and start drinking it, Sister Staples (Shes a nurse) told me "If I choked I'd slam myself up against this table and give myself the Heimlich" Shes so hilarious.
Finally we made it back safely after lunch to Utsunomiya. This week we also had a Halloween Party, lots of members brought their friends and dressed up. We were able to get two new people to teach from there and Marjorie came too. We dressed her up as a pirate and she won 2nd place in the costume contest! Yay! Okay I have to go, but I am so excited to keep seeing miracles here. I am going to do everything I can to help these people! Thank you family for helping me LOVE my mission by loving me.

Love You
Sister Vail

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