Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Laughed So Hard This Week


It has been a crazy week here in Oizumi! Sister Pourre and I are really trying to help Oizumi, both the investigators and the members and this week we really tried to try some different things.

A note for one of our investigators
First, we visited Leia almost every single day this week (we missed Thursday because we had weekly planning and by the time we got there, she was at work). The first time we saw her, she was really sad and downhearted, but the second time we were able to do some service for her and her mood got so much better for the rest of the week. On Tuesday, we helped her put some wallpaper and hang some curtains to cover the drawings her daughter Satomi drew on her desk and wall. It took some time, but Leia's face after we did it was priceless. She was so happy! Then Satomi came home and she couldn't stop gushing about how pretty it was. We were really happy too, because service always makes us happy :) Throughout the rest of the week, we were able to teach her more commandments to prepare her for baptism and she understood and accepted them all! It was so amazing! She learned about many of the commandments like tithing, when she lived in the Philippines, so this was more like a review for her. I think the most amazing change was just how much happier and emote excited she got as the week progressed. She even invited us to Satomi's Undoukai on Saturday.

Undoukai - so may people, but lots of fun

Undoukai is basically an event for the elementary school kids where they have running races. All of the kids participate and all the parents get together and watch. Because we had some appointments, we didn't get there until the end, but it was fun! We saw so many members and other investigators there, so we got to say hi to them.

The funny thing is that 2 investigators and a member all invited us to their kid's Undonkai, but they were all the same day and time, but different schools! We could only go to one, but we made sure to text the investigators to see how their kids did. One of them won 2nd place and another won 1st!

Naomi and Camilla
Another focus for this week was strengthening the youth. On Tuesday we were able to visit both Eduarda and Naomi (12 and 13) and although neither of them could come to Ping Pong that day, they said they would be at Eikaiwa. We then were able to share the Because of Him video (my favorite!!!) and they both really resonated with it. Immediately after the video finished, they both had reactions and it was so great to see them interested in talking about the gospel. Naomi just kept saying "Second chance, second chance" and that is so perfect! Really, because of Jesus Christ we have second and third and infinite chances. He and our Heavenly Father really want us to become the happiest, best versions of ourselves and through the Atonement we can become those people!

Because of Eduarda and Naomi's promise to come to Eikaiwa, we decided to make it a Super Eikaiwa! We tried to invite as many people as possible, then we went out and bought so so much food and we were playing music and everything. It was a really fun Eikaiwa! We some new people came and we were able to play charades and it was so fun. Haha, on my last turn, I gave our investigator Florinda the word "stripes." She was a little confused so she wrote the word in Japanese to see if she was thinking of the right word. I grabbed my iPad to look it up, then she starts acting out what she thought it was to me and I died. She thought the word was "strip." I literally could not stop laughing, I died laughing and no one else knew what was going on, but they all start laughing because of how hard I was laughing. Oh goodness, I've never laughed so hard in my whole life. She was a good sport though, and Leonardo (a less-active) helped her understand the word. Ah, that was a good Eikaiwa.

Super Eikaiwa
So every week we have Eikaiwa on Thursday and Ping Ping on Tuesday. Both of the, were super fun this week. At Ping Ping, Fabricio beat us all, multiple times. He is super good at Ping Pong. We played King of the Court, and he went through all 4 missionaries and a few investigators 3.5 times before Elder Miller finally beat him once. My Pong Ping skills are definitely getting better, but we still have a ways to go!

We also had our first Oizumi District Meeting, where it was just us. We all gave trainings and we sang Christmas songs (Elder Miller chose them, I just played the piano) and we were able to set some really good goals for Oizumi for this transfer. These goals will stretch us, but I'm excited to see some miracles from our efforts to reach these goals!

Our quick meal
This was also the week of a lot of food. We have one investigator that really likes to feed us every time we go over. Well, this time we decided, oh maybe if we go later, she won't feel like she has to feed us. Well, we show up at 8:45 and she is cooking, and we just think "oh no," but we talk and teach her a bit as she's cooking. Well, 8 minutes before we have to leave to be home by 10:00, she gives us each a huge bowl of ramen, a ton of rice, and causa (basically potatoes and chicken salad kind of). We had 8 min to eat all the food and then we had to sprint bike home to be on time. It was rough. We got home and just kind of died. Good news is, we got to get to know her sister and she seems interested in all the things we have at church like Ping Pong and Eikaiwa and church itself.

Then there was Saturday. This story requires some background information.

At a Brazilian restaurant
So Laiane is a new investigator we found last week, and earlier on Saturday we tried to stop by and she said she was busy, but we set another appointment and it was all good. Her boyfriend then started telling us through the door that he knew the missionaries a while back and he even went to Ping Ping and Eikaiwa. It was really cool and we were excited that we had another appointment with her.

Fast forward to 6:00, when Vivi called us. We usually visit Vivi about 9:00 on Saturday nights, but today she invited us to a birthday party for the daughter of a former investigator. I was a little hesitant to go because how was a birthday party going to help us dendou (do missionary work)? But we said we would be there and at 8:00 we got to the Churrasco (family BBQ party) and guess who we see? Not only is Vivi (a current investigator) there, and Dayane (the former investigator), but Laiane is there too! It turned into a great night because we were able to teach some lessons, and build relationships with our investigators. And yes, there was a lot of food. Brazilians really like their meat. When we left, they still hadn't even grilled half the meat yet, and there weren't even that many people there. It was good though.

Sushi that looks like sandwiches
This is turning into a super long email, but it was just such a good week!

On Sunday, 5 min before church, none of our investigators were showing up and we were getting really sad again. But then a miracle happened! Eliana and her daughter drove all the way from Takasaki (1.5 hours by train) to come to church in Oizumi! Eliana was a referral from one of the members. She speaks Portuguese and only a little Nihongo so she wanted to come to church in Oizumi, but at the same time her daughter speaks Nihongo and only a little Portuguese and Oizumi is far away. She has a real desire to learn the gospel, but there aren't any Brazilians in Takasaki to help her. We talked to her over Facebook once and it was so good. We've actually been working with the Takasaki Sisters (Larson and Honda Shimai) to contact her and see if her Japanese is good enough for them to teach her. Then randomly this week, she messaged us on Facebook saying she was coming to church in Oizumi, and she did! It really was a miracle and it was so good to see her!

I think the best surprises are when I'm playing prelude or the opening song on the piano and all of a sudden I get distracted because the door opens and an investigator walks in! It's the best feeling!

The sisters from our zone
Ok, last dendou miracle. Yesterday we were leaving a less-actives house because she wasn't home and I saw a woman outside her house. I've been really working on being bold and talking to everyone, so I biked up and started to try to talk to her. It was a little difficult though because she was Chinese and didn't speak Nihongo. Then her two teenagers came out and they came over to translate for her. It was a rough conversation because I barely know Nihongo and they only know a little bit, but it was so crazy because they are interested in hearing more about Jesus Christ! It's so crazy! I found a Chinese family, in Japan, that wants to learn more about how God can help them in their lives! And I did it in Nihongo! Ah! I am so excited! The Elders have some Chinese pamphlets and we have a Chinese Book of Mormon, and that's all we really need. The lessons will be interesting since there is a huge language barrier, but the Book of Mormon and the Spirit are the real teachers, so I am not worried. I am just so excited!

As for today, it really is a blessing to be able to go to the temple once a transfer. I really want to help our investigators come receive the blessings of the temple. I know that they can do it! The temple is such a beautiful peaceful place and I love it so much. I hope everyone can come to the temple one day.

I was also able to see Barton Shimai again and she is doing amazing! I'm so glad she is so close by so I get to see her a few times every transfer! I was also able to see Elder Ricks from my home stake. He is adjusting to Japan very nicely. Haha, he stands out quite a bit though since he is blonde and super tall. He just got here 2 weeks ago, but he's doing well.

Today we also had a special surprise. Sunday Night, Honda Shimai called to ask about Eliana and church and then she dropped a huge bomb on me, there is a Shake Shack here in Japan, 1 stop away from the temple. I repeat THERE IS SHAKE SHACK IN TOKYO! So naturally we went there after the temple today. It was probably the best combination of things ever, the temple and Shake Shack. For those of you who have never had Shake Shack, let me put it in perspective for you. My family went to New York City a few years ago and we were only in the city for maybe 3 days...and we had Shake Shack 3 times. That's how good it is. Anyways, it was amazing, I loved it, my companion loves it now (it was her first time, since you know she's from Brazil). Shake Shack!
I found this on Facebook

Lastly, I don't know if I mentioned it in my last email, but Elder David A. Bednar is coming to the Japan Tokyo mission! We are having a super special combined mission conference with the Tokyo South mission on Oct 18th and I am so excited! Elder Bednar is definitely one of my favorite apostles. I had the special opportunity to hear him speak in person twice in the MTC and now he is coming to my mission! He asked us to study 4 talks in preparation for the conference, and it has been such a blessing. I love studying the words of the prophets and apostles. I am very excited for his visit, it will definitely be a special experience.

Sorry for how long this email was, it was a crazy week (as they all are) but thank you all for your emails and love.

 Black Shimai

Monday, September 19, 2016

How many times can I say crazy in 1 email?


Sister Pourre told me something funny
It has been a crazy week, and we tried lots of new foods,so be prepared for pictures! Haha :)

So, firstly, I forgot to write about Carina last week. Carina and her husband, Leonardo, came to church 2 weeks ago, it was a complete surprise miracle. Leonardo is less active and he just called the Elders one day to find out where the church was and that Sunday he and his family came. Carina isn't a member, but we set up an appointment to do Family Home Evening with them that Friday with the Elders. It ended up being super fun! They made us a ton of food (including steaks which were super good and Mac and cheese) and we were able to talk and have a good time. Then we taught about temples and Leonardo started testifying about temples and how he wants to go with his family. It was so good! We actually finished the lesson at 9:48 and if you remember from my schedule last week, we have to be home by 10:00 if we are teaching a lesson. So basically, all 4 of us had to bike super fast to get home on time. We made it across town in 12 min, it was super impressive ^^

As for this week, we had a lot of crazy lessons.

Sometimes I get cold during study time
This was the week of the cute, crazy children. We were able to teach Maria Gushi this week and she has 2 daughters and a newborn son. Her eldest daughter does the craziest dance every time we come and it is so hard to stay focused. Her younger daughter loves my clothes and she gives me the biggest hugs, it is so cute. Anyways, her children are so high energy, but we do our best to bring the Spirit to our lessons and help her stay focused as well. She is so sweet and she is always willing to talk and read. It's actually pretty funny, she is Peruvian, but she speaks Portuguese because her husband is Portuguese, so I was really confused about which language I should speak. She was reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish, then speaking a mix of Spanish and Portuguese, and Sister Pourre was speaking Portuguese. Ah it was crazy, I ended up speaking a mix of both because I was so confused.
Our rain gear

Then we also visited Dalva. The first time, her daughter, Julia, was running around and saying the colors of different things and it was so cute. It was hard to teach though. The second time though, her daughter was asleep and we were able to teach the Plan of Salvation. She said it is all so new and she doesn't know if it's true yet, but she feels good and that is so perfect! That is the Spirit! She said the most beautiful prayer asking to know if this is the path she should be going on. We are so excited to visit her again this week!

Then on Wednesday, we took a train to Hanyu (45 min train ride away) to visit Keisy and teach her the Restoration. She knows a lot about the Bible, so she had some interesting questions, but it was so nice to be able to understand her Spanish and be able to help her answer her questions. She is so sweet and we hope to visit her again soon as well! For now, we teach her over Facebook since going to Hanyu and coming back takes a lot of time.

That same day though, we had a really special experience. Luiz's son has been pretty sick for the last week or so and so earlier this week we asked if he would like the Elders to come give Ikel, his son, a blessing. He said yes, so Wednesday evening the Elders and us went and visited their family. The blessing was so beautiful and seeing the faith of Luiz and Lillian was amazing. They are such a strong family. This was also a testimony builder for me. The priesthood is such a special power, it is power from God and I know that it is a blessing in my life and in the lives of those around me. Ikel is doing much better now and I am so glad that I was able to participate in that special experience with this sweet family.

We had some pretty amazing miracles this week as well.

1. Daiane. We found her last week and we're finally able to visit her this week and it was amazing! She understood everything and really felt that it was right. Then when we started to explain the Book of Mormon she just looked at it and said "Another Testament of Jesus Christ? Yeah that makes sense" She totally understood it, even before we explained how the Book of Mormon and the Bible work together to testify of Christ. It was so amazing, she is so prepared! 2. Sofia. Last night we visited Sofia and it was so special! When we rang the doorbell she opened the door then ran and grabbed her Book of Mormon to show us a scripture she liked. She is so excited to learn more and it makes me excited to teach when I see people like Sofia who have such a strong desire.

Honda Shimai and me
Yeah, so this week was crazy good. So many miracles and spiritual experiences. Like I said, it was also a week of food.

First up, Zone meeting. We had Zone meeting this week and afterwards all of the Sisters (including a new missionary straight from the MTC) went to get Indo Curry and it was so good. Oh my goodness...this was one of the many things the MTC teachers raved about and it lived up to its expectations. It was so fun to get to talk to the other Sisters too and just have a good time. As always, Honda Shimai and I had a blast :)

This week I also tried Japanese Cheese Mochi, basically mochi filled with a little bit of cream cheese. It was super good, but I forgot to take a picture! I'm sorry! Also, since it's almost Halloween, Fanta came out with a Blood Orange flavor and it's really good. I forgot to take a picture so I was going to take one at the grocery store today, but they didn't have it! So here is a picture of the label

See the frog on the window ledge
Then on Sunday, Elder Miller made the ward brownies! When he went to his old area, Abiko, last week, he got a bunch of American brownie mixes and he shared! It was so good and everyone was really happy. Haha, it was a little taste of home for me, so that was nice.

Other crazy stories:

Early in the week, we stopped by Adriana's house and she was washing her car, so what did we do? We started to help her! Haha, it was so fun to help her wash and dry her car. It reminded me of washing my mom's car, because my mom loves washing the car. She says it's relaxing. I love you mom!
More Frogs

We also started finding frogs everywhere. I don't know where they came from! We were at 7/11 this week and they were just all over the window. It was crazy, but so fun. The Elders have some funny pictures where the held the frogs and everything. Sister Pourre wanted me to hold some of the frogs, but I didn't. ^^

So yeah, I don't know how many times I've said it, but it really was a crazy week. I love writing these emails every week because it helps to remind me of all the miracles I've seen here in Oizumi. I love you all, thank you for your emails!

Have a great week!

Black Shimai
Blood orange Fanta
Mochi Ice Cream

Monday, September 12, 2016

Time Flies When You Are A Missionary


This was the last week of the transfer! Can you believe I have already been in Japan for 6 weeks? I can't. A new batch of missionaries arrive this week from the MTC, and it's so crazy to think that that was me 6 weeks ago.

It has been a crazy week though, full of miracles.

First miracle was Juliyn. Sister Pourre and I went and visited her in Tatebayashi (20-30 min train ride from Oizumi) after District P-day last week. We had the most amazing crepes and we were able to teach her for the first time in person. Because she lives far away and she lives the busy life of a teenager in Japan (it is 100x crazier than an American teenager) we can only call her, but this week we were able to see her in person! We gave her a Book of Mormon and she was so excited, she wanted to share scriptures with her siblings. Towards the end of our time with her, some of her friends passed and we were able to give out Eikaiwa flyers. They want to get a whole group of friends to go with them every week. We're so excited!

Anyways, fast forward to Saturday, the next time we called her. Not only did she read the Book of Mormon and believe it is true, she even had a favorite scripture to share with us! It was so amazing and such a miracle, especially since we are really working on helping our investigators understand how important it is to read the Book of Mormon. She is such a sweet girl and we are so excited to continue teaching her!
This is the intersection we pass at least five times a day
Another miracle was that on Saturday we found 5 new investigators!This whole week we tried to find new investigators but we couldn't find anyone, then the one time that we weren't trying to find (we were going to appointments) we found 5! Crazy!

Miracle #3, a former investigator saw the sign outside our church building advertising Eikaiwa and she called the Elders. She came to Eikaiwa (English class) on Thursday and we were able to set an appointment to teach her. She came to us and it was so amazing! Along with that miracle,Eikaiwa on Thursday was amazing. We had so many people and it made Eikaiwa so fun. We played "Do you love your neighbor?" And it was chaotic with so many people running around. Ah, we are trying to make every Eikaiwa like that!

The view out of our house featuring my bike
This was also an interesting week because the Elders were gone for most of it. Monday and Tuesday they were in Kumagaya for Exchanges and they didn't make it back in time for Ping Pong, so we ran Ping Pong by ourselves. The two regulars, Vivi ad Fabricio, came and it was super fun. My ping pong skills are getting better, but Fabricio literally kills me every time. I've also started saying "Oi" all the time and so everyone was laughing at me. Haha, it was a good time!

Our beds.  Left is mine.
Then on Sunday, the Elders were in Abiko (Elder Miller's previous area) for a baptism so they couldn't make it to Eikaiwa so we taught that ourselves as well. Tanaka-San is so funny. He wants to learn English and Portuguese so we taught him a little of both. He's pretty old, but his mind is really quick and he picks up on languages really well. It's an inspiration to me to see him learning 2 languages, it gives me more hope that I can learn 2 languages too!

On Thursday, we had our final District Meeting for the transfer and we were able to go out to District Lunch at a really good burger place.The burgers were huge and so good and almost all of us got dulce deleche stuffed churros as well. Also, the place where we got the burgers also has a little Brazilian store attached. It's probably the only place in Japan that sells American toothpaste and deodorant, we were so excited until we found out it was almost $12 for a tiny stick of deodorant. Ahh!

Sunday was also good, Leia came to church! It was so nice to see her there! We are really working to prepare her for baptism and it is so exciting. I love helping people come unto Christ through baptism. She has such strong and amazing faith, and her testimony about prayer is rock solid.

Funny story about Sunday though. So on P-day, at the grocery store, I decided that we needed to try some new foods, so I grabbed a frozen dinner of some sort. Well, we finally made that frozen dinner for lunch on Sunday and it was really good. Basically, the dinner provides the meat and the sauce and you add your own vegetables, so we wanted to add some potatoes. Sister Pourre didn't believe me when I said I could just cook the potatoes in the frying pan, so of course I had to prove myself. Well, after several minutes, I noticed the potatoes weren't cooking as fast as I wanted so I thought back to the many cooking shows I watched before the mission and I decided to pour some water in the pan and put a lid on top. It worked!!! So everyone, I am now an Iron Chef. Ta da! It was really good though, and we are trying another one this week.

Now for the real highlight of the week, on Wednesday we had Follow-up Training in Tokyo with everyone from my doki (the other missionaries that came from the MTC at the same time as me). WHICH MEANS I GOT TO SEE SISTER HILL AND SISTER BARTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We made plans to got to lunch before training with some of the sisters and the moment Sister Hill and I saw each other we just ran to each other and gave each other the biggest hug! Ah she's doing so well and she's amazing! I love my MTC doryo. (Sister Barton too!!!!!)

Anyways, training was really good. We talked about obedience and how important 12 week is. Most importantly though, we did mogis. These mogis were extra special though because Sister Pourre and I were able to mogi with Elder GeLinas who actually served in Oizumi for a few months and knows Portuguese. This was the first time we got to mogi in Portuguese and it was so helpful! Yay!

My desk on the left
Also, there was a little earthquake during training. No one else freaked out, but in my mind I had a little freak out like "is this an earthquake? Why is everything moving? What is going on!!" But on the outside I was cool because no one else was freaking out. My first earthquake though!

Training was so good though and it was so amazing to see everyone (except for Titel Choro because he is in Nagaoka which is really far from Tokyo so he couldn't come). I love my MTC district and all the other amazing missionaries. They all love their areas and the work they are doing and it really helped to reenergize me.

Last bit of news. Today was transfer call day! So the first Monday of every new transfer the leaders call you to tell you if you are staying in your area or moving. Sister Pourre and I weren't quite sure what was going to happen, but guess what? We are both staying in Oizumi for another transfer! That's good because we have a lot of work to do still.

The crazy news though? About an hour later Elder Miller called us. We thought he was going to say that he was getting transferred (he's been in Oizumi for 4 transfers now, almost 6 months) but he didn't. He had different news for us. Oizumi is now it's own district and he is our District Leader! Ah! This basically means that the Elders and us can now sit down and talk about Oizumi and plan how to help it. This is so nice because Oizumi is really different from everywhere else in the mission because it isn't Japanese and the culture is really different.This makes it hard to apply some of the things from District and Zone meetings because the things we learn there are more focused on problems that Japanese areas face. We are so excited to work together as a District and help Oizumi reach it's full potential.

Thank you all for all of your support and love throughout the last 6 weeks! On to the next transfer!!

Black Shimai

Monday, September 5, 2016

Temples and Nashi!


This week has literally been insane. We have biked so much, it's crazy. We also taught about temples a ton this week! It was amazing!

Let's start with the beginning of the week. Earlier this week we found an investigator that Pourre Shimai dropped a few months ago because the missionaries could never contact her. Well, this week we were in the area so we decided to stop by and she was home! We were able to talk to her about a lot of different things, but the amazing thing was that she spoke Spanish and I was actually able to understand most of what she was saying and I was able to speak to her! It was the first time that I really felt like I was actively participating in a lesson and I was able to speak from the heart. I really felt like she was establishing a relationship with both up of us because we were both interacting with her. It was a real confidence boost and I can testify that the gift of tongues is real. None of the conversation could have happened if I didn't have the Spirit guiding me to say what I needed to say.

The next day we had exchanges again, but this time the Sister Training Leaders came to Oizumi, funny because neither of them speak Spanish or Portuguese. I was with Skster Wooley again, but this time I was leading and we had to walk. We visited Leia and had such a good lesson on the importance of church and always relying on God. Because we had to walk, we didn't have much time to visit anyone else (they were only in Oizumi for a few hours) but we did talk to some people on the street, including some Brazilians! I had to speak Portuguese to them and it actually went pretty well. Again, gift of tongues. It did help me realize that I know a lot more Portuguese than I think I do, so I shouldn't be afraid to try and use it.

On Thursday, Paulina left to go back home to Paraguay. It was a sad day, she's been such an amazing investigator and we hope that the missionaries in Paraguay find her and help her more. She was living with her daughter and two granddaughters, all of whom are members. Their family is so great, but we will miss Paulina. We didn't realize she was leaving so soon, we thought she wasn't leaving until later in September, so we weren't prepared. So sad :(

Then on Wednesday, one of the Elders' investigators wanted to make us dinner so we got a member and we're all ready to go over to his house, eat dinner, and have a great lesson. Then at the last second our member canceled on us. We started rushing around calling every one we knew but no one was answering. Well the investigator really wanted to feed us so he enlisted the Elders help and brought the food to the church. Luckily, while they were bringing the food, we were able to get Vivi to come and it was a great time. Vivi is amazing, she was a lifesaver and we were able to talk to her for the first time in a few weeks. She was one of the first investigators I met here in Oizumi, so she holds a special place in my heart.

On Thursday, I bought my first bag of Black Thunder. I know, I'm impressed too. I was able to hold off almost an entire transfer :) There aren't any other sisters in our district anymore (the Kumagaya sisters went home already) so we have no one to eat lunch with after District meeting, so we decided to get Black Thunder and Choco pies to treat ourselves. They were really good.

That same day we went and visited CK, a less-active. Usually we visit her on Wednesdays but she hasn't been home the last few weeks so we visited her on Thursday and it was so funny. We all started having mental crises because it was the first day of September and time went by too fast! I've been in Japan a whole month!! My trainer has been on her mission 6 months!!! It's so crazy! Where did the time go? It was pretty funny though because for a solid 10 min we were all just freaking out. Hahaha CK couldn't believe that it was almost Halloween, almost Christmas, almost 2017.

Now for the temple talk. This week we found a super good video that we showed to basically everyone, called "Our Potential, Our Privilege" and it's about how we are living below our privilege when we don't do everything God asks of us and how we have so much potential and he wants to give us so much happiness. Anyways, we would show this video and pictures of different rooms in the Sapporo Temple (the baptistry, sealing rooms, and celestial room) and talk about how our goal is to go to the temple and receive all the blessings there. Everyone loved it and they loved how beautiful the temple is. Everyone has the ability to one day go to the temple. Only members who are living the commandments can enter the temple, but everyone has the potential to become a person that can enter the temple and receive the blessings there.

Remember Vivi? Well we taught this lesson to her and her husband and it was so amazing because they couldn't take their eyes off the pictures of the temple. The temple is so special, I love teaching about it because it is such a sacred, special place. In the temple, we can feel so close to God, we can feel his love so strongly, and it is an amazing feeling.

Then there was Sunday. None of our investigators came to church, but that didn't make it a bad day. A couple who lives an hour away by bike came to church! They are members and apparently they were baptized in Elder Miller's last area, and it was so amazing that they came so far to come to church. Another less active and his family also came and they were so great! His wife isn't a member so we are going to start teaching her. Then after church, Graciela (a member) came with us to teach Luiz and Lillian. It was a last minute change in plans because Graciela's husband couldn't pick her up until 8, so we invited her to come teach with us. It was so good, she was able to testify about everything and really relate to Luiz and his family. She got them to open up and talk a lot and I think she was really able to connect with them and help them see the blessings of the gospel. Our last minute lesson turned into a little miracle! It was so good, I'm so glad she was able to come teach with us.

Now for some funny things. This week I was finally able to go to Daiso, and it is crazy here in Japan. They have everything and it's all 100¥ or $1! Crazy cheap, but yeah, it's even crazier than the one by my high school. I want to go back and look more. We only had 5 minutes last week, but there is so much potential. Daiso is great, haha.

Another funny story, so we were talking to Teresa, one of the members we teach, and she asked us what our parents did for work. So I tried to explain in Spanish that my dad is a patent attorney and my mom works at a Spanish immersion school. It was really hard to explain and she kept cracking up. She has decided that my dad is a secret agent because he keeps all these secrets about inventions and she thinks it's hilarious about my mom because I think that she thinks that my mom works at an all Spanish school but she doesn't speak Spanish (partly true, but the school is a normal school, they just also teach Spanish to the school, so all the kids do still speak English). Haha, she couldn't stop laughing. It was so funny.

As for today, p-day, we went Nashi picking with our district. Nashi are basically Asian pears and here in Japan they are super good.

The train ride was super fun, and in Kumagaya Station I spotted the first Starbucks that I've seen on my whole mission. Crazy! Haha. We are McDonald's for lunch, nothing special sadly, but the fries were super good. They didn't have any crazy Japanese things for me to try, maybe next time.

Oh Nashi picking. It was so good. The Elders biked because they were starting exchanges with the Kumagaya Elders, but we took the bus. It took a little bit of time to find each other, but it was good. The first farm we went to didn't let us pick any so we bought some Nashi jelly and got directions to another farm (there were so many in the area). The farm we went to cost 500¥ ($5) to enter and then it was basically all you can eat. You picked the fruit and they had tables and knives for you to cut and eat it. This cute grandpa came over and talked to us, it was so fun. I ate 2.5 Nashi, they were so big. Sister Pourre could only eat 1.75 before she was sick. The Elders were on their fifth or sixth each when we had to leave. The Nashi was so good though, oh my goodness. They have Asian Pears at Costco back home, but these are bigger, juicier, and so much better. Elder Miller says Nashi is what he imagines the fruit of the Tree of Life to taste like.

We took so many pictures, it was so fun! Great District P-day, even though 1 set of Elders couldn't make it. I sent some pictures, but I'll send more next week with the grandpa. My District Leader, Elder Broadbear has those pictures, but I won't be able to get them until Thursday.

Well, that's all. Japan is amazing, it's hot, I'm still learning many languages, my brain still can't get any of them straight, but I'm loving it.

This is the general schedule, we modify things depending on who we need to visit for the day.

6:55 Wake up
7:00 Exercise (I usually do some sort of circuits, abs, arms, stretching)
7:30 Breakfast (toast, yogurt, granola, juice usually)
8:00 Get ready (I also write in my journal during this time for the previous day because I don't have time at night)
8:30 Personal Study
9:30 Companion Study
10:30 12 Week training for new missionaries (lots of District videos)
11:30 Language Study (I use Duolingo and we do some role plays in Portuguese)
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Begin Proselyting
 9:30 Be home unless we have a lesson, then we can be back by 10:00, we then do daily planning and recording everything that happened that day in Area Book
1035/10:40 Get ready for bed (I take 6 min showers now, I'm so fast)
11:00 Lights out, go to bed

The schedule is a little different in Oizumi. Normally you wake up at 6:30 and be in bed by 10:30, but we get up at 7:00 and go to bed at 11:00.

Church on Sunday's is 3:00-5:00.

Until next week!

Black Shimai