Monday, July 10, 2017

From Your Friendly Apartment Moving Expert

Ushiku Transfer 9 Week 1


Welcome to Ushiku!!!!!!!!! It's a magical place full of miracles!

I started out the week in Matsudo, doing a lot of packing. So much packing. I have too much stuff. I'm so sorry :)

However, on Monday we had a Family Home Evening with some members and mission school students and it was so powerful. We ate a bunch of really good food then Sister Shim and I shared a video called "The Hope of God's Light" and bore our testimonies. The Spirit was so strong and right before our eyes we saw a Mission School student whose heart had been really closed to the gospel, open up just a little bit. I then had the chance to share why I decided to serve a mission and I felt the Spirit so strongly. I am so grateful that I chose to serve a mission. Nothing has changed my life more than serving here in Japan.
Last night in Matsudo

On Tuesday, we had to spend a lot of time packing and doing last minute things, but we did have a chance to walk through the pouring rain after Mission School and go to a dinner appointment with Mami-san. We went to the Watanabes' and they were so cute! They even made a 4th of July Cake which was great since all of us had forgotten that it was the 4th of July. Whoops! I will miss all of them so so so much though!!!!

Wednesday was a special day though because usually transfers happen on Wednesday, however because Sister Honda and I were opening an area and didn't have an apartment, we had to stay the night in Matsudo. So I got to go to one more Eikaiwa!!!!!! YAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYYAY! However, having gone to one more Eikaiwa, I realize why we transfer on Wednesday mornings. That last Eikaiwa was so hard, I didn't ever want to leave. Many of the students found out that I was transferring and wrote me notes, we took lots and lots of pictures, and some of my favorite members came to say goodbye. I was so sad. I am going to miss Matsudo so so much!
Last Eikaiwa in Matsudo

Before Eikaiwa on Wednesday though, we saw a huge miracle. Hitomi Shimai (a recent convert from Urayasu who moved to Matsudo and stopped coming to church) called us! I was able to talk to her for the first time in months and it was so good. She really wants to come back to church and I hope the sisters are able to meet with her. She is so sweet and adorable and I was just so so happy to talk to her.

Thursday was the day, the day we went to Ushiku.

We got to the eki (train station) on time, then the Ushiku Elders called us telling us that the Honbu Elders were closing the apartment in Mito (about an hour away) and were going to be late. So we made this huge list of questions for the Elders since we had no idea about anything in Ushiku.

Some of my favorite mission school students
Eventually the Honbu Elders came and we made it to our apartment where both the Bishop and his wife and Shigematsu Choro and his wife (the senior missionary couple who got released a little while back) were waiting. It was such a big surprise to see all 4 of them there! We thought it was just going to be us and the Elders. It was such a blessing though.

All of our furniture came from the Mito Elders' old apartment, so we had the chance to go through all the things we wanted and didn't want. There wasn't much to begin with, but we were able to get appliances and some shelves. Currently we are waiting on futons, a table, desks (our chairs arrived yesterday), and a washing machine. :)

A Sister in the ward found out that we didn't have futons and were just sleeping on some blankets on the ground and she came by with some futons for us to use. Ushiku members are so sweet!!!

We were also lacking a lot of important things, so on Thursday and Friday we went shopping with the Bishop and his wife. We spent so much we had to go into our emergency money and personal money because we had to buy dishes, pillows, curtains, and lights (lights are so expensive). It was bad...but we are getting reimbursements so, we will be fine. The whole time we were shopping we just kept saying to ourselves "We are investing in future sisters."

I think I can safely say that I am an apartment moving expert now. If they ever need to move apartments somewhere else, I know exactly what to do. ^^

Since Wednesday, our apartment has improved dramatically and we are so so excited to be working here in Ushiku. We have had the chance to do some normal dendo and this area has so much untapped potential. It's amazing.

Some favorite Matsudo members
On Saturday, Sister Tobe invited us to a seminar she was teaching to talk to some of the moms and we met a mom who actually comes to Kodomo Eikaiwa and she is so sweet and has lots of potential. Masuda Kyoudai, a ward missionary from Matsudo, was also at the seminar and I almost cried when I saw him. I miss Matsudo already! But that's okay because I'm still in the same zone so I will see them again soon.

The funny thing about Ushiku is that I know a lot about Ushiku, but I know nothing at the same time. For example, I came to Kodomo Eikaiwa in Ushiku last week and met some people and knew a little bit about how it was run, but that didn't make it any less confusing when I actually went this week and had to teach. It was chaotic. Another example was the Portuguese Sacrament meeting. I know many of the people who come and they have all seen me at least a few times, but now this is my ward and I really need to get to know them and know how to help them. It's a small difference, but it's an important adjustment that needs to be made.

Side note: Sister Honda and Elder Kooyman (the other new Ushiku missionary) were both so confused during the Portuguese Sacrament Meeting. It was the funniest thing. At one point, they were talking about visiting teaching in different countries and Elder Kooyman thought they were arguing about Japan and America and Brazil.

The Elders here have been a huge help, they have referred many of their female investigators to us, so we aren't starting with nothing. One potential investigator came to church on Sunday and somehow I was thrown in a room with her and a member while Sister Honda and another member went in another room with a less active during the third hour of church. We were so confused. I just tried to build a relationship with the potential investigator and learn about her needs and desires and in the end I invited her to take the missionary lessons and see how they can help her in her life. Heavenly Father really blessed us this week to find this investigator. He knew that we were moving into a new apartment which didn't even have the basic necessities and that we knew nothing about the area, but he still helped us to progress the work forward this week.

I'm really excited to be working here in Ushiku. It's weird because I feel like I know a lot, but I know that I know nothing, but Sister Honda and I are so excited to work together and see lots of miracles this transfer. The transfers are starting to feel shorter and shorter and now more and more missionaries that I know are going home. It's getting real. Time really does fly on the mission and that is so scary. This transfer, Sister Honda and I will hit our 1 year in Japan mark together and that is insane.

Now for a few funny things, because you know there will be funny things when you have to go shopping for everything in an apartment:

1-Star pot for the apartment
So we had to buy a pot for our apartment because we had no cooking utensils whatsoever. We found a pretty good one, bought it and brought it home. Then as we were unpacking it we noticed that the package literally says that it is a 1 star pot. 1 out of 3. They didn't even try to hide it. We absolutely died (probably because it was the end of a really really long and tiring day) that of all the pots we bought the "1 Star Pot". Good times.

Second, so usually in Japan, when you move, the Landlord will give you this big complicated sheet explaining how to separate your garbage and what days the different garbages are picked up. Well, we never got this vital piece of paper, so the Elders' helpful suggestion was for us to go house our neighbors and ask when the garbage gets picked up. (Housing/tracting is when missionaries knock on houses to share the message about the gospel...however instead of sharing the gospel message we would be asking about trash).

Last. Let me just preface this by explaining that sometimes Portuguese, English, and Japanese hymns have slightly different melodies. One of these songs is "I Believe in Christ" where English and Japanese have the same tune, but Portuguese is different and Spanish is different from all the rest. Naturally, the branch decided to sing this song at sacrament meeting and I'm the poor pianist trying to play this song which people singing in Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese and it was just all wrong. Afterwards, everyone got into a big argument about this hymn and why we couldn't sing it and it was just a big disaster. The funniest part though was that Sister Honda and Elder Kooyman didn't understand what they were arguing about at first, then I told them that they were arguing about the hymn and they died. Well, naturally, they decided that we needed to try again so they sang it for Sunday School and Elder Kooyman decided to sing in English just to mess it up. It's the little things I guess.

This week wasn't really dendo heavy, but we were the recipient of a lot of help and miracles from the members. They really helped us out with moving, futons, buying us some food, and just helping us to jump right into missionary work. The ward is so excited to have sisters and we are so excited to be here.

Love you all! Have a great week!!!!


Black Shimai

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