Aisuru kazoku to tomodachitachi,
Tuesday disappeared! I bet you can guess why....haha. Ok, i'll tell you. We lost a day flying over here to JAPAN, and it was actually really funny. I was way confused about what day it was for the first few days we were here.
So this is how it went...
My airport experience is one I'll never forget. We were all so incredibly excited to just be out of the MTC and talking to real live people that we all went a little nuts with sharing the gospel (which is definitely a good thing!) After calling home to the family during our layover in San Francisco some of the Elders and I headed over to get some pizza. The man and woman ahead of me in line were Asian so obviously I'm goign to talk to them! Hehe. They were from Korea and told me they knew who the missionaries were and everything. They ended up inviting me to sit with them at their table and feeding me their pizza! Yummm. They told me that they had been street contacted by the missionaries once upon a time and their office had been taught twice (the man and woman were coworkers and on a business trip together). I asked them why they had stopped having lessons and they said the missionaries who were teaching them got transfered! I was so sad to hear that! I wonder how many investigators are lost because missionaries fail to pass them off to the next ones coming in. Anyway, they were super interested and they gave me their business card and told me to email them. When I got to the honbu(mission home) I gave their info to the missionary who is in charge of referrals and he told me he would pass it onto the mission president in Seoul Korea. So that was my very first experience contacting as a full time missionary!!! That was the first time I really understood what I had been learning for the past 12 weeks in the MTC about really loving the people you serve, even if you don't know them. As I sat there eating pizza with those two, I developed such a love for them in just 20 minutes of talking to them and wanted so badly to just tell them everything I knew. There just wasn't time! I feel like they will accept the gospel someday. They were kinjin (golden)!
The other great part about my airport experience was that I sat next to Elder Tipton, probably because our names are right next to each other in the alphabet, and he has motion sickness so he was throwing up the whole time. He is also a way hilarious Elder who says anything that comes to his mind, so everytime he came back from throwing up he would tell us what his throw up looked like and then collapse. He also talked to me a lot about his favorite books and movies, in sort of a half awake state, and folded a lot of oragami because he couldn't study without getting sick. It was a fun 12 hours.
When we arrived in Narita we were greeted by the mission president and his wife and went straight to the Honbu. The room I stayed in with the two Japanese sisters who also came to Fukuoka is the room they reserve for the General Authorities (apparently), so a bunch of the Elders were teasing me that I slept in the same bed as President Hinckley did when he came to visit. I hope its true because that will be my new claim to fame! The next day was really fun. I had my interview with the President. I love him SO much and also sister Margetts. They are both so amazing. After that a sister who was serving in Fukuoka picked me up and we went straight to a lesson! When we got there we sat down and she just looked at me and said, "Ok, teach the first lesson". I was really confused because I didn't know anything about it beforehand. I thought we were role playing with a member or something....so for the first 15 min or so I was really confused. The woman we were teaching also kept stopping me and correcting my Japanese and saying things like..."Ok, but you probably should introduce yourself, like, say your name, etc"....but I was way confused because I had already met her before we started teaching...so thats why I thought it was a member role playing with me for practice. after about 15 minutes she had to leave to take a phone call and I turned to Sister Fluckiger and said, "IS THIS REAL OR A ROLE PLAY!!!???" Come to find out, oh yeah, she's a real investigator. The reason she was correcting my japaense was because in order to get her to come and hear a lesson sister Fluckiger had told her, "we have new missionaries coming in who need to practice teaching and you can help them with their Japanese!" But really it was just a ploy to get her to hear the lessons. Hahahahaha. Awesome first teaching experience in the field. It went great though. I taught the whole first lesson by myself pretty much and shared the first vision. Yatta!! I loved it.
The rest of that day we went street contacting and talked to about five thousand people it felt like. I really enjoy streeting and housing a lot, even though it usually creeps people out. Come to think of it, that's probably why I like it...haha. That night we went to Eikaiwa, which is where once a week the missionaries teach english class to investigators and members and anyone who wants to come. It was seriously the most fun I've ever had in my entire life! I can't really explain why. I just was so happy to be in the field finally talking to Japanese peeps!
Ok, now lets get to the area I am in now. At the Honbu we found out who our trainers were going to be and where we were going in the mission.....I got called to OKINAWA and my trainers are SISTER MCINTYRE and SISTER LYNCH. I knew Sister McIntyre in Tokyo way back when, so I was really excited to hear she was my trainer! And in Okinawa!!! So exciting!!!!!! I arrived and was greeted by my companions. They are so awesome! I love them so much. Our apartment is way cute and tiny. Exactly what I imagined. There is definitely not room for three people in there, but we are making it work. The area in Okinawa I'm in is called Naha. We are over two wards, the Naha ward and the Higashi ward.
My first awesome memory of being in the field is going to a little shop owned by a member named Kinjo Shimai. Oh, by the way, every single person in this area is related, and they all have the same last name. There are two last names that people have, Kina and Kinjo, so If I ever don't know who someone is I just say one of those two and I can usually get it right, haha. It makes it really hard and confusing, though to keep people straight. I never remember if I've met someone already so I think I offended some people when I re-introduced myself :/ haha. Anyway, at Kinjo shimai's shop there were bugs flying around everywhere and she had this little tennis racket thing that was electrified, so she was walking around the shop while we were sitting there waiting for an investigator to get there, just swinging it around and zapping all of these flies. It was so hilarious because as soon as they get zapped, where do they fall? Right on the food she's selling. I hope her customers don't get any diseases from eating roasted flies.
My first housing experience was also one i'll never forget. We had just finished teaching a lesson to an investigator, and as we were walkiing out of the parking lot of the apartment complex we saw about 6 little kids playing near the fence. they starting yelling cute things in English to us and we talked to them for a second. They kept following us everywhere. We decided we should go knock some doors,so we picked a random apt complext and went up to the first door we saw and knocked. A sort if disheveled looking lady answered and we shared our message. in the middle all of a sudden all of those little kids came bursting through the door. They were hers!! Right when that happened I kind of shouted over the racket, "do you have any interested in hearing more about our message?" and she said, "Hai". Which means yes. I was so shocked! I was completely expecting her to say no. I need to have more faith! It was the first house I had ever knocked. I don't think its a coincidence that we had met all of her kids down there on the street and then randomly knocked on her door. We were really led by the spirit. We haven't gone back yet but we're going back later this week.
One lady we teach is super old and just got baptized. Whenever we teach her and show her a picture of Jesus, and ask who it is she says, "Josephu Sumisu!" we have to tell her, no its not Joseph smith, its Jesus! She\s so cute but shee forgets everything. I love her. Her name is also Kinjo shimai...haha.
My first investigator that I found and have seen progressing from the beginning is Rinseika. She's from Taiwan and is working part time in Japan right now hoping to save up money to go to a University here. We found her streeting. We played ping pong with her at the church on Saturday night and then she came to sacrament meeting on Sunday. I was so happy she came! She's so cute. She keeps asking me if I have MSN, and I keep trying to tell her missionaries can't use MSN or anything. She doesn't really understand what we're doing here, but she's really receptive and willing to listen to us so I hope we can keep teaching her. Its a little hard to communicate because neither of us speak very good Japanese, haha.
We had 4 investigators come to church on Sunday!!!! It was our goal to have four come so we were way excited. I haven't had any luck buying a bike so far, so hopefully I'll be able to order one today. Oh, other funny thing, my companions keep talking about this "lady in red" who apparently broke into our apartment and stole a former sister's nail file.....and she is crazy and always comes to the church saying, "give me the books!" Apparently she was banned from coming near the missionaries or the church because she was kind of scary. After all of that explanation I come to find out that my companions have never actually seen her. So I think the Elders just told them about her to scare them, haha.
Ok, sorry this email is soooo long. I just had so much to say!!! I love you all and I am having a blast in the field talking to everyone I see and sharing the gospel!!! Take care!!!
Love, Tingey shimai