Dear Aisuru friends and Kazoku,
Well, this week was probably the most eventful/unproductive week of my entire mission (and no I didn't accidentally forget the "un"). Let me explain.
We started out the week traveling to Fukuoka by plane to attend the Fukuoka Mission Sisters Conference!!! We arrived at the Mission Home on Monday night, had a delicious dinner of ramen at a nearby ramen shop, and then had a blast hanging out with President and Sister Margetts and about fifteen other sisters who also arrived that night. We slept in this huge room of bunkbeds. I felt a little out of my element, being one of two foreigners in the room, and relatively new in the field. I didn't know any of the sisters besides my companion and the other three sisters serving in Okinawa but I made a ton of new friends and had a blast talking to all of the Japanese sisters.
For the next two days we had training from President Margetts, the Assistants to the President (Elders Bingham and Watanabe) and a bunch of Sisters who have been out for a year or longer. There are 26 sisters in the Fukuoka mission, and 5 who aren't Japanese. in the Next two transfers, three of those sisters will go home, and more Japanese will come with no foreigners, which means that in two transfters Sister Mueller and I will be the only non-Japanese sisters in the mission. That is pretty crazy!!! That probably means from now on I will probably have a lot of Japanese companions, and hopefully my Japanese will improve a lot. Recently a lot of ward members have been telling me that my Japanese improved a lot this transfer, which was really good to hear because I really cannot tell at all, haha. The training we received was so amazing! We did a lot of "keiji renshyu" or "revelation practice." We paired off with different sisters and practiced teaching, really emphasizing looking to heaven for good questions to ask and pausing more to receive direction from the spirit. It was a really great experience and we all learned a ton! It was also especially fun to meet a lot of new sisters, hopefully some of whom I might become companions with someday. I love all of the sisters so much!
Some of the other activites during Sisters conference included eating DELICIOUS breakfasts prepared by Sisteer and President Margetts, getting to see their wedding album from the 70's, having a wrestling tournament with all of the sisters, staying up a little after curfew with Sister Mueller and Fluckiger to paint lipstick on ALL of the sisters' faces while they were sleeping (so hilarious), and just being able to feel the spirit with all of the sisters in the mission. It was such an uplifting few days. I feel so blessed to have been able to experience a sisters conference, because they don't happen very often. If I'm lucky I'll get to attend another one next year.
Dakara...this week was very eventful.
So why was it unproductive? In a few words... MASSIVE TYPHOON!!!!
We got a warning from the Senior missionaries on Tuesday that a typhoon was supposed to hit late Wednesday night. Fortunately we returned from Fukuoka on Wednesday night right before the typhoon hit. Thursday morning we were able to run to the store and grab some food and water in case we were stuck in our apartment for a while..
The typhoon started Thursday morning. The last time we had a massive typhoon it lasted for about half a day, and pretty much destroyed everything in its path because of the strong winds. I was sort of expecting the same thing this time but it was completely different. It rained...and rained...and stormed...and rained...and rained....FOR THREE DAYS STRAIGHT. I'm not talking just some light rain. It was insane, like someone had a high-power firefighter hose just spraying our windows on full blast for 36 hours. I can't even comprehend where all of that water and wind came from! Can anyone enlighten me on the subject? I'm guessing it came from the ocean somehow, but I really have no idea. So Thursday night we had weekly planning, so it was Ok that we had to stay inside all day, but we had to cancel our lessons we had that night and do them by phone instead. Then Friday I was expecting it to clear up by morning, but we woke up to the same sound of blasting wind and rain. It kept going full blast all day, so we called pretty much all of the ward members in both wards and sang them hymns, called all of our investigators and taught them over the phone, called all of our potential investigators, old investigators we found in the area book. The best part of those three days might have been finding loads of old records from 1997 in an old dusty folder in a cupboard. We're planning on calling those people at some point :).
Anyway, we were finally able to go outside Saturday at about 5:00 PM. There wasn't much devastation, but a full sized trash can we had on our deck from before the typhoon started was completely filled to the top with water, so that gives you an idea of about how much rain fell. So crazy!!!!
I guess I feel like we were really unproductive this week because we didn't do any finding, which is probably my favorite part about being a missionary. I cant wait to go crazy this next week and talk to everyone I see!!!
Well, that was what my week was like. I love this gospel and I'm so so so grateful for the amazing gift of the Holy Ghost. I don't know what I would do without it! I have such a strong testimony that when we follow the promptings of the spirit we are blessed so much! On the other hand, if we ignore those promptings, even if its something little, the spirit withdraws itself from us and we can't feel it as strongly. I experienced that this week and have made a new resolve to follow EVERY little prompting I receive.
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Ganbatte!!!
Love, Tingey Shimai