Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas week!:

This week was literally so crazy that I can`t remember where I left off on my last blog! But thank goodness for journal writing. Really I am so grateful that I have kept a journal up until this point. Such a blessing that I got into the habit of journal writing before I came on my mission. 
But this week was Christmas week! It was so fun and exciting. On Tuesday night we had district meeting and then we sang at Honbu for another open house. And something that I have realized is that there is no reason for me to be scared of not being able to speak Japanese. Because Japanese people are usually so patient and nice. So I went up to a girl who was kind of standing off in the corner, and it was in all sense of the work awkward. But I trusted in the Lord that it would just go well. And we just chatted about her hobbies and stuff. I just threw out any question I knew how to say, and she answered and sounded like she was having a good time. Turns out she wasn`t a member but a members friend who came to the open house with her. So it was exciting to talk with her. She was so nice!
Then it was Christmas eve. We just rode our bikes around for three hours delivering cookies to some investigators and members who lived alone. It was so fun! I love riding my bike around, even if it is really awkward to stop and talk to people that way. But people usually stop because we have our bikes, so that`s awesome. We met with one of our investigators and her daughter for a little while before they were getting ready to go to a Christmas party. And her daughter gave me so many sticker! She is the cutest, though. And as we were riding away she watched us go until she couldn`t see us anymore! It was so cute! But we were able to set up another appointment with her Mom, and we were thinking of asking her to eat out with us so that she won`t be able to cancel this time. Hopefully she will feel genki enough to come and meet with us.
Another small miracle is we were looking for this members house. And we couldn`t find it. Because:
1. Japanese addresses are impossible to find, half the houses don`t even have addresses on them.
2. He apartment number wasn`t even written so even if we did find the building, we wouldn`t know which apartment to give the cookies to.
But right as we were thinking about what to do. We turned and she was coming up the street, which was so cool! So we gave her the cookies and she seemed so happy!
Then the next day I called my family which was awesome! Then we went and ate out with the missionaries and then watched frozen. Ya, like the Disney movie. It was so weird, But fun. Then we went and looked at the lights and met a lot of crazy people. But it was fun. And we found a place that had a snow machine! So there was all this fake snow around and we had a snowball fight! It was super fun!
So Christmas was basically just awesome. We also met a new investigator and set up an appointment, but she didn`t show up so that was sad. But then we met another girl who said she would meet us again on the street that we met her on her way to work. So hopefully we can meet with her again. 
It`s pretty hard to meet with people now because of new years. Which is the biggest holiday in Japan. But we will continue to look for those people who aren't busy and can meet with us and continue to work on the people we have already found. 
I`ve also just finished Helamen in the BoM and am going to try and finish it before the year is up. 3 day reading dash! Wish me luck! And Have a Happy new year everyone! 
Love from japan,
Fancy restaurant we ate at with a less active and his girlfriend.

us on the Ferris wheel

Us on Christmas in our matching pajamas, haha! That`s about sums up our companionship!

Us walking around looking at the lights. And photo bombed by some elders.

Looking at more lights

Blog:Pre-Christmas 2014

Okay this week we got a call from someone in another area saying that someone in their ward wanted us to make Christmas wreaths with her for our investigators. So we were trying to find the place and got lost of course :)! And obviously we had to climb to the highest mountain in order to get lost. But it was beautiful so no regrets. But the actual place was like this neighborhood of model homes. They were really nice, but the whole block was like abandoned so it was a bit creepy. So that was fun! 
And I`m never telling anyone I have ever glanced at an instrument ever again. I have already played for a sister in our ward for a Christmas program, on stage, at a mall. Lead the music for a fireside. And been asked to play the organ for sacrament meeting and piano for relief society. For some reason when I tell them I barely play they think that means I can play any song in the hymn book. Ya, lesson learned. But even though our ward is crazy they are way awesome. 
This week we also had our first meeting with someone. He is a less active and he lives with his non-member girlfriend. We just went and visited, but then it turned into a lesson after we showed them the Christmas movie. She was asking so many questions! And the less active started bearing his testimony, the spirit was so strong. She told us that she could feel the power coming from us, which was awesome to hear because sometimes I feel very powerless. Especially when people run away from me on the street. I really can`t help but laugh at that though. 
Then the next day we decided to visit a kind of investigator. Right when we pulled up though she was going to go somewhere with her daughter and she told us she thought about calling us because she wasn't busy, but then she thought maybe we were busy. And we were, visiting her. We ended up going inside her apartment and talking for like an hour. I was mostly entertaining her daughter since it was hard for me to understand what they were saying, but it was fun! She kept giving me little gifts, like stickers, and pages out of her books. She was so cute!
Then we sang at a mall type thing with all the missionaries in our zone. It was so cold and fun. I also think I found the next Josh Groban. He is a missionary from Brazil. Time stopped when he started singing, it was very unexpected. I am still amazed.
Then yesterday we had church again and I got to know the ward better. And we have this really hilarious chorister who gets super into the music. I wasn't singing half the time because I was watching her. Then we had kodomo eikaiwa (children`s  English class) They were hyper as usual, but it was fun. The family whose house we have English class at kept giving us mugicha (herbal tea?) which I don`t like that much. So I ate my companions mochi, because she doesn`t like that, while she drank my mugicha. We thought we were being sneaky then we looked over and saw that one of our students had totally witnessed the whole thing. But he didn`t tell, so I guess he`s playing for team senkyoushi (missionary). Then on our way back we met a woman who said she respects Christians and wanted to come to our Christmas party. She had a lot of kyoumi (interest) so that was good.
It was an awesome week, and Christmas time is busy, but I am so excited. We have our ward Christmas party this week! And we are meeting with a few people again. I am so excited! Hope you are all doing well and having a great holiday season!

Johnson 姉妹

I coincidentally met one of my Mom`s friends at the train station! Crazy!

The ocean!

Our investigator and her daughter

Us at the wreath making model home

Me and my bike, Chuck.

My companion and I at kodomo eikaiwa (English Class). The baby on my lap can`t talk. He was just the families youngest son. Mhmm, we got along well. Neither one of us knew what was going on. We`re not supposed to have kids on our lap, but his brother placed him on my lap. I couldn`t just push him off... so I didn`t :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Week 1 of Japan:

This keyboard is different than American ones. The space bar is very small. So it is taking me a lot longer to type. So bear with me, haha!
Anyways! Japan desu, ne?! (right?!) I wish I could remember what happened! But I didn`t even remember my camera or address book, so I really feel like I am losing my mind! But things have been really crazy since I left the U.S. which feels like forever ago now, but was actually exactly a week ago. So I arrived on Tuesday night, even though I left Monday early morning. So there was a bit of a time warp. But basically I was sick on the whole plane ride, it was awful. But when we got to the mission home, we were all just zombies at that point, and it was literally like walking into heaven. The mission home is underneath a temple. That`s right, you heard me, under a temple. There was a christmas tree, american style classic home with some Japanese touches. And she had food laid out for us. Real food! We all just ate and passed out. It was the most beautiful dream ever. The next day was basically orientation, it was good, I don`t remember what it was about really, except they showed this really graphic video on bike safety. It was interesting. Then the next day I was brought to the station and shipped 15 minutes away by train to my area. I am like one city south of the honbu (mission home) in a place called Fujisaki. My companions name is Southward shimai. This is her last transfer, and this is my first. She is really an awesome trainer, though. It`s four sister in our apartment. And we actually have no elders in our are at all. It`s just the four of us sisters, which is weird from going from a district of all elders to just sisters. But it is still awesome and fun.
All we really did that day was weekly planning, and then we went to bed. The next day was so cool, though. Although missionary work is like exactly what I thought it was, but it is so different experiencing it vs. like actually being out and doing it. It is kind of dejecting when people don:t want to listen to your awesome message. And Japan really needs this message. I can tell that even in just the week I have been here. But anyways, we had one of our investigators volunteer to come to the church so we could teach her, because she thought it was going to rain. So that was a miracle, apparently she had never volunteered to do that before. But it was an awesome lesson. Basically all I did was stare at her, and shut my companions fingers in the baptismal font doors. Whoops. She is the nicest lady, though. She made us bookmarks for our BoM and she gave me a big hug the first time she saw me. I was surprised, but it was awesome! Then we taught kodomo eikawa (childrens english class), ya they were off the wall. But they were so cute! It was so funny, though, one of them was doing a puzzle and he dumped the pieces everywhere and he couldnt find the last piece. I saw it was behind me and handed it to him, and he basically said along the lines of, ``Ah, so you were hiding it from me.`` I just laughed, like really hard. But Japanese kids really talk fast, I can:t understand anything they are saying, but still awesome.
Then the next day was sunday, the members were nice and I had an interview with the bishop which was... good. It gave me a lot to think about. But while I was bearing my testimony (because it was fast sunday so they asked me to do an intro) I told them I like to each Japanese people, not Japanese food. Haha! Luckily I caught myself and the members laughed with me. The members are nice, but I still haven:t met most of them yet. Then on monday brother Heaten, who is the person who runs the MTC, came and did a training meeting with all the missionaries in Fukuoka mission except Okinawa. Apparently it was a big deal, but it just seemed like another day at the MTC to me. So I got to see everyone that I said goodbye to on Thursday, so that was nice to see people I actually knew :).
I really do love it here, and am learning a lot. I have come to realize that this mission is very much not about me at all. Although sometimes I like to make it out to be. But I am here to invite, which is my success. But it isn:t about my success it is about the people of Japans success which is them choosing to come closer to their savior. And that:s all that I can really do. And it`s frustrating at times, but still so humbling and cool! 
Also a small miracle (there are lots of small miracles, but) so I was riding my bike to like the other side of our mission in the rain, and it was uphill. I was so tired I just wanted to stop peddling and lay on the ground and cry. So I said a little prayer in my heart. And I kid you not, I look up and on the side of the building in huge letters it said, ``You can do it, don:t give up!`` I have no idea if it was an advertisement for something, or I was delusional at that point. But it was really a sign from God. And I did make just fine.
I will continue to do my best. I`ll never have the opportunity to do something like this again! So gambarimasu (I will do my best)!! Have a great week everyone. I don:t think my emails will be as long as this one from now on, but it:s week one so kamaimasen (I don`t care). Love you lots!

(johnson shimai)
 P.S. Something interesting I`ve noticed about Japan. Is that they get surprised easily. Like on the streets it makes sense, because it`s weird for someone to just come up and talk to them. But I`ve also noticed something else that is strange. When I knock on doors. They answer, jump, and say, ``oh! Bikuri shita!`` Which means, Oh, you surprised me. So I don`t know what they usually expect when people ring their doorbell or knock on their door. But ya, just thought that was pretty funny.