Joseph's companion is Elder Everett and, thanks to the group ldsmissionarymoms, I was able to contact Elder Everett's mom. She has been posting her son's letters on a blog just as I have. It's fun to hear about Joseph's mission from his companion's point of view and I thought you'd all enjoy reading this letter that he wrote about the work they're doing.
It's Fathers' Day and the Start of Rainy Season 6/18/12
Happy Monday from the land of the rainy season!
Well, it's June now, so that means that Japan has finally entered into the infamous rainy season here! The rains started a couple of days ago and so far it hasn't been too bad, just very, very wet. Going through the days we quickly realized that the rain jackets that come from the missionary store... they are not made for rainy climates! The water leaks straight though them so as to dissuade any attempt at keeping oneself dry. It pretty much just becomes, get wet and try to protect all the pamphlets and Books in your back pack. It's been a fun exciting couple of days!
It has been a super good week though! Monday we played sports and hung out with one of the Young Single Adults (YSA) in our ward and then went to go visit Less Active members with him. It was way good to see the members get together and have a good interaction; really the best thing to keep someone in the church is a good friend!
When it came time to plan for Tuesday we had no idea what to do. We didn't really have anybody to visit and we were at a complete loss. We decided to pray about it so that we could know what the Lord would have us do. We prayed and discussed what it is that Oita really needs, and we thought about our recent convert members. One man's name came into our minds and we decided to call to see if we could meet with him that evening. When we called him, he told us that he had just been trying to have a gospel related conversation with his non-member mother and wasn't sure how to do it. We told him that, well, that was our specialty and we would love to meet with them. Well, to make a long story short we ended up visiting him that Tuesday, met with both of them in their home, had a wonderful discussion, then went out for Sushi together for dinner! (The sushi place is called a Kaiten Zushi type restaurant, which is where they just put sushi on a conveyor belt and your bill is measured by the number of plates you accumulate by the end!) It was Elder Gandy's first time at a sushi place, which is always fun :D I think he ended up eating just as much meat as he did fish, which the member picked up on right away. In response he commented in Japanese "American's do eat a lot of meat huh," then in English he said "Meat, meat, meat... Meat Festival!"
I love Japanese members!
The interesting thing about going out and finding people is that sometimes we don't actually get what their name is. Either we forget to ask, or they feel awkward about giving it, or any number of reasons, but, when those times occur, we have to figure out some way to refer to those people, right? So recently we've been visiting people such as "That one lady" and "Nightmare before Christmas guy". Maybe we should work a little harder on getting people’s names.....
Thursday we got in contact with one of our former investigators who just so happens to be a captain of an Ultimate Frisbee team here in Oita! We joined them for their Practice, and it was so natsukashii. It’s the Japanese phrase for nostalgic, but it doesn't quite sound as stiff and uptight. Truth be told though, my legs still hurt from it.... man, I haven't done any sort of sports exercise in a long, long time! But I do have it up there as one of my favorite ways to Dendo so far (Dendo means to do missionary work: Frisbee Dendo, Phone Dendo, Lehi Dendo (where you sleep and receive revelation in a dream), Dance Dendo, House Dendo, Member Dendo.... and the such). Hopefully from the coming weeks something will come out of this awesome group of people!
Some other cool thing from the working this week: Members like to give us food! It definitely is a plus from working with a lot of less active members because just about everyone wants to give us food! We get packets to make Au Gratin, oreos, bananas, chips, drinks, eclairs, and a ton of great stuff! We even managed to get some more Less Active members to church again on Sunday, too! I have to say, I am definitely a fan of people being at church.
Oh, I really should put in a plug about being in a four-man apartment again; essentially every night is like a Junkai night. Games, pranks, really long conversations abound in the apartment now. (Well, Games have always been around while I've been in charge, that's just who I am :D) It has been a little hectic as far as cleaning, food distribution, and other such things that become strained as you double your numbers.
Well, we've got to go hit a bus to go to Kumamoto in less than an hour. We have our last Zone Conference with our Mission President before the new one comes in on the 29th of this month. It'll be an interesting last ZC, and everyone is super excited for it!
Have a good week (and hopefully we'll somehow miss the super typhoon that's barreling toward us)