Sunday, January 8, 2012

Too much mochi, not enough finding

Dear loved ones,
Isn't this the most gorgeous girl you've ever seen?
Its been a great week! ! ! It finally feels like we are back in normal working mode with all of the Holiday stuff over. Phew. We were able to do LOTS of finding this week and had a really cool experience with streeting.
That mallet was SUPER heavy. I was exhausted after about 30 seconds of poundage!
We were on our way to a far away area to visit a referral we recieved a little bit ago and stopped at a red light. Earlier that day during companion study we had talked about how sometimes when we decide to ride to a far away area, even if we don't have an appointment, we're so set on getting there as fast and efficiently as possible that we don't take the time to follow the spirit and talk to those that Heavenly Father places in our path. Plus its really cold outside and lately it has been hard to stop in the middle of a long bike ride. We talked about how this has been a weakness in our companionship and we commited that we would take our time from now on, especially when we don't have an appointment, to open our eyes to those we meet on the street. Anyway, we were stopped at a red light next to a lady on a bike and I routinely handed her an Eikaiwa flyer and told he we're missionaries teaching about Jesus Christ. We talked for a second and told her if she's interested to please call us. When the light turned green sister Tagawa and I were both on our bikes pedaling already when we heard from behind us, "Do you always ride mountain bikes?" It was the lady I had just been talking to. Because of the bad habit we have formed, as soon as the light turned green we were off, even though we didn't have an appointment or immediate need to go anywhere!!! What in the world??? We immediately stopped and ended up talking to Hashino san for about 20 minutes, getting her phone number, and made an appointment to teach her a lesson the following week! When we rode away we were both very humbled and felt like horrible missionaries, haha. In order for Hashino san to receive the blessings of this gospel she was the one who had to call out to us and stop us from riding away. Can you say guilt, or what?  Anyway, HUGE learning experience and we're working hard to break our bad habits. My transfer one self would be shocked if she saw that behavior from me! 
The Mochi being pounded to smitherines
More Mochi making
Last Monday as a New Years celebration we made mochi, which is rice pounded into smitherines and made into a gooey little ball of 100000 calories, covered with all sorts of toppings and flavors including sea weed, soy sauce, sugar-like stuff, cheese, etc. Before my mission I actually really like Mochi, but lately everytime I eat it I feel like as soon as it enters my stomach it expands 10X and I just feel super sick. Anyway, we went to the Ogata family's house with our investigators Anjana, Mineoi san, and Yokotsuko san and had a blast making Mochi. I did force myself to eat several balls but immediately regretted it afterward, haha. To make mochi you first have to cook the rice, which they did in this cool little wooden oven thing over a fire in their backyard. Then you put that rice into a big granite-like bowl and pound the bageebees out of it until its sticky and moldable. Then we took it inside and made millions of little balls, stuffing it with sweet beans and all other sorts of Japanesy things. It was a really fun experience. 
More Mochi making
I was kind of happy thinking I would never have to each mochi again, until the next day we had three appointments, lunch at Brother Okafuji's house, where he served us Nabe (big pan of boiled fish, vegetables, and MOCHI). We knew we might possibly be fed at our other appointments so we ate as little as possible while still being polite. Right after that we visited a member named sister Honsho who also, unfortunately, prepared a giant feast of tamago yaki (omlette-type thing) and three different desserts, that we of course ate. Luckily there was no mochi involved but she did give us a giant bag of it to take home with us. 
Warming my hands with Anjana
Then right after that we visited a woman named Suetsugu san who also made this giant Japanese gourmet meal of the most delicious foods I have ever seen, and I was just so sad that I wasn't hungry AT ALL, and also because we knew that we were going to have to eat every bit of what she fed us, haha. Oh, the woes of being a missionary. I didn't really anticipate these types of trials. Anyway, that was last Tuesday and since then I have literally been eating nothing. I am literally still not hungry, hahah.
the incredibly delicious Japanese gourmet meal that rounded out our day of being force-fed...
...and the aftermath of that....(throw-up looking gunk we found on the street)
 We also received a ton of referrals, which is the best feeling ever. This week we have three appointment to meet with referrals from members and also investigators! Wahooo.
Sister Tagawa and my transfer theme: Unity through perfect obedience
The Oyama family is doing awesome and progressing toward baptism on the 28th. We met with just the Father yesterday and he told us how dedicated he is to this gospel and he knows that he was led to this point in his life. He also shared how lately he's been realizing that it is his duty to be a good example to his other family members during this critical time. His two sons and wife have really been noticing that example because lately whenever we talk to them on the phone they say, "My husband was reading the Book of Mormon today!" and so forth. Because of that example, the biggest miracle of all time occurred on Sunday when the Oyama couple walked into church to attend sacrament meeting. It was the first time that the mom has ever come and totally out of nowhere! The kids were staying at their cousins house and couldn't come, so we honestly weren't expecting anyone to show up, but in they walked! It was the best! I was translating for the English speakers during sacrament meeting so I wasn't able to sit with them but afterward we were able to talk and she said, "This morning was so hectic and I've been staying at my parent's house helping them out and didn't have any of my clothes even at our place, or even shoes or socks to wear, but I just felt like I HAD to come today!" Usually she gets all primped up if leaving the house for anything but she came just wearing sweats, no make-up and her husband's socks!  I know that Heavenly Father is hearing all of the prayers in behalf of the Oyama family. We feel that so strongly and they are feeling it as well. So...thank you for all of your prayers!
The Fukuoka missionaries gathering at the ward mission leader's house
Well, another week has passed and another exciting week ahead~! Can't wait to see whats in store with all of our referrals and with Hashino san who we met on the street. I know that Heavenly Father fulfills all his promises and answers our prayers. When we commit to putting forth just a little more effort, whatever it may be, the Lord gives us a lift and helps us accomplish what we need to. I love this gospel! I know that Joseph Smith really did restore the gospel to the earth and because of that these amazing Japanese people can receive all of the blessings that come with that...most of all true joy and eternal life!
More Mochi!!
I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember how incredibly blessed you are to have a Father in Heaven who loves you!
I love you, too! :)
Love, Tingey Shimai



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