Monday, September 7, 2015

Hello from Nihon!

Sorry, couldn't think of a less cheesy subject line. But yes, indeed, I am in the Land of the Rising Sun!

A little short on time - we're going hiking at Monkey Mountain as a district in an hour. 

So our journey to Nihon went something like this: fly to Denver an hour late. Miss flight to Tokyo by 20 minutes (kind of knew that going into it, kind of wanted to hope we would make it anyway/not return to the beloved MTC). Stay at the airport for 3 hours working out flights. Stay in Denver over night. Fly to Tokyo. Except for 5 of our group. They stayed in San Francisco for that night. We fly to Fukuoka. Orientation 11pm-2am. My companions both got called to Okinawa! I cried. Next morning (Thursday), 8:30 am I think, went to bus station to bus to Beppu, my first area! It is on the eastern coast of Kyushu, the main island. It is so beautiful here - everywhere I look, there are cool buildings, mountains, Even when I'm biking up a hill and sweating more than ever in my life, I just can't get over how beautiful it is here. 

My companion is Sister Chun from California. She's so fun and outgoing, and really focused on the work. She makes me think for myself instead of giving me answers, which I appreciate. What a gem. I'm the quirky one in our companionship, she it really that weird to eat raw potatoes? Speaking of, the food is delicious. I thought I would get bored or miss American food, but in my whopping five days here, it's been awesome. 

The church is small here. Our ward is actually a group...we had about 25 at church on Sunday. But we have six missionaries - 4 elders and 2 sisters in our area, so we know the work is hastening! Church is just 2 hours in a rented floor of a building (the other floors are businesses/bars so that's fun). We don't have auxiliaries because there just aren't enough people. 

Yesterday at church, something cool happened! I sang a solo in church yesterday! It's called "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul."At first I was like "man shoot I sound nothing like Cox Shimai" (she sang this song in our MTC branch - basically an angel) but then I decided that doesn't matter. We have different voices. I recorded it with my iPad when we practiced and was not a fan of my sound. I haven't sang a vocal solo since I was seven years old, in a stake production. So it was a growth zone moment for sure. Anyway, I wasn't hugely into how practices went, but when I got up to sing for the group yesterday (not ward, not, as soon as I sang the first note, I felt an overwhelming love for the people! After that, I have no idea how it actually sounded, but I knew the Spirit was there and touching the hearts of people in the room. It was so cute, they clapped when we were done haha. I know that the Lord doesn't need professionals - He just needs people with willing hearts and a desire to stay on the straight and narrow. He takes our imperfect offering and transforms it into what He needs. Just like the world was created from existing matter, our efforts can create miracles in the hearts of others. 

We teach English class (Eikaiwa) once a week. We teach vocab, pronunciation, have conversation, and play a game. When we contact, it's often a good way to get people to talk to us. 

So funny story, a member here interviewed me for the newspaper yesterday because I'm new (still waiting to hit that one-week mark), and he asked about North Carolina being part of the Civil War. He asked about Abraham Lincoln and said how much he respects and admires him. When I told him we were 11th cousins, he, wow, he was the most excited I've ever seen a Japanese person be. It was hilarious. We'd just had a lesson on family history, so I told him to do his and see what he finds. 

Favorite scriptures: DC 6:34; Job 38 (kind of makes me laugh. I'd hate to be Job here)

Love you all! The church is true!


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