I really hope that Elder Everett and his family don't mind that I share some of the posts from his mission blog here. I just know that you will all enjoy this excerpt from Elder Everett's. As many of you know, we read in the news about all of the rain and flooding there and I was quite surprised that Joseph didn't even mention it. I guess he didn't have time but Elder Everett gives another little bit of insight into why he may not have written about the rain.
From Elder Everett (Joseph's Companion):
Ok, so what's been happening around Oita. Well, first off, we've been in the middle of the worst rainstorms that there has ever been in the history of Oita and Kumamoto! It's been raining for days on end now and it's been crazy to watch as the rivers rose to above tree level and just went everywhere! We took a ride with a member to go visit him in the middle of the biggest bit of the rain and he had the news on in his car so we got to see the floods around Oita and Kumamoto. It was absolutely crazy to see that much water everywhere. But in the midst of all this, I have to tell you all about Elder Gandy's magic raincoat.
Ok, so we knew that it was the rainy season in Japan and we didn't have raincoats that were any good for the rain in Japan so we went and bought Elder Gandy a new raincoat a couple of weeks back. So right after we bought the raincoat it started raining like crazy here. The thing is though, in the middle of the worst rain that Oita has had, ever, we have not been rained on a single time. This whole month we've experienced nothing more than a light sprinkle. So pretty much the pattern of every day has been: wake up and it's pouring, do the morning study, and then get ready to leave, put on the raincoat and by the time we get down stairs, it's all dried up. Then we'll ride to where we're going, see the rain pour down while we're in the church or talking to people, then as soon as we get up to go, the rain stops. Once we get home we think that maybe the rainy season isn't that bad and decide to look outside the apartment to see how it is, and it's raining cats and dogs again. I don't know what it is about that rain jacket, but, we're pretty convinced that it's got magical powers!
As far as the weather goes, though, right now it's hot, humid, and sunny! Which was perfect for yesterday because we had a ward BBQ! We traveled up to a beach 2 cities over and had a big ol' barbecue under some trees over there. It was a really fun event, and we had a great turn out. I think I counted a good 50 people there with several less active members and people visiting from all the way up in Yamaguchi (they heard that there was a BBQ down in Oita and decided to take a road trip that day and see how everybody was doing :D) In the original plan I was going to be in charge of a big group activity for all the primary children, but I lost out to the ocean, and all the kids just spent the day out in the surf. Things I learned from the BBQ: Japanese sand castles are based off of actual Japanese castles; People use hand fans to get a flame going, and blow torches to light the coals; Oceans are really nasty after a big storm, and the wood debris on the beach is all bamboo; Beach frisbee is way fun, even if you're playing with 3 year olds and 73 year olds. I think it was a good ward activity!
Earlier in the week, we were planning on having another BBQ on Saturday, but due to the rain, it ended up being canceled. The thing is though, we forgot to get in contact with the member that we had arranged to take us there and he showed up at our apartment while we were teaching Eikaiwa! The BBQ was supposed to be in place of Eikaiwa so we were going to do it there. As soon as the BBQ got canceled we sent an e-mail out to all the students, but we just forgot to make that one call..... oops! He was a really good sport about it, and even came to Eikaiwa with his food and we had a small party up at the church.
Working here in Oita has been awesome. It's weird thinking that it has already been 18 weeks since I first came here, because it seems like so much has happened here in that time. I've had my hardest time on the mission here, I've had the best time on the mission here, it's been a roller coaster for everybody in several different ways, and I love it. Here I've learned to really just love people for who they are, what good they do, and to try and view everybody as the child of God that they are. I've come to realize, in a very real sense, that the power of the atonement is more than just overcoming your own sins, but it is also strength in times of hardship, hope in times of need, a person to talk to when nobody else is around, and sometimes, the only place of solace you can find.
At this point I don't know if I'll stay of if I'll go, but I know, whether it's me or Elder Gandy who stays, that Oita will be in good hands and this will continue to be an awesome place for everybody who comes (Including the mission president who is coming on the 5th of August to see if we really can make a branch in the other city we work with). I wish you all good luck in all you do this week, and have a great day!
Love you all lots,