Monday, February 8, 2016

Life in 西条 (Saijo)

Hello everyone! 

This week has definitely been one of the more rougher
weeks since I have been out. To start off the week Kaori called us and
said she wasn't sure when she'd have time in the near future to meet
with us. We are hoping she will call us after school ends in a little
bit so we can start trying to teach her again. But yeah other than
that, that leaves us with no investigators to teach. Which means lots
of dendo each and every day. Dendo is usually pretty fun but this week
nobody would listen to us so it made it really hard. My companion and
I are going to focus on calling a lot of potential investigators this
week though and see how well that goes. We have a big list of people
that used to meet with missionaries here but for whatever reason
stopped. Hopefully we can find someone from that list that would like
to continue being taught.

The rest of the week was kind of uneventful, mainly just filled with
dendo each day. We did have Zone Training Meeting on Thursday though
and that went really well. The main focus of the meeting was to have
more effective dendo. Instead of going out each day and kind of being
like a robot and knocking on doors really having a purpose behind it
all. It is more than just working hard, it is being effective while
you work. Because you can go and knock on doors for 6 hours each day
but if your hearts not in it you won't yield any results. If you go
knock on doors for 6 hours and you have a purpose and a goal in mind
of what you want to accomplish you will be more successful. They
shared an analogy from PMG I really liked, it is, "None of us should
be like the fisherman who thinks he has been fishing all day when in
reality he has spent most of his time getting to and from the water,
eating lunch, and fussing with his equipment. Fishing success is
related to how long you have your line in the water, not to how long
you are away from the apartment. Some fishermen are away from home for
twelve hours and have their line in the water for ten hours. Other
fishermen are away from home for twelve hours and have their line in
the water for only two hours. This last type may wonder why they do
not have the same success as others. The same principle applies to
missionaries, whom the Master called ‘fishers of men.’ A missionary’s
line should drop into the fishing water the moment he or she leaves
the apartment”. That really made me think of how long my own line is
in the water and how much effort I am really putting into each day.

This week we also got news that Elder Yamashita of the First Quorum of
the Seventy is coming to speak to our mission! It is going to be
happening on February 19th and I am pretty stoked for it. I have
definitely missed all the devotionals and opportunities we had to hear
from speakers when we were in the MTC. All of the Hiroshima zone will
be traveling down to Fukuoka for the conference so it will be pretty
cool. I have heard in the past missionaries from Hiroshima get to take
the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Fukuoka for these huge conferences so
I am really hoping we get to do that, they look like so much fun! But
I also heard its kind of expensive so we may just get to take the 5
hour normal bus ride instead haha, either way I am excited to hear
from Elder Yamashita and learn what he has to teach us.

To end off the week I actually got to have one of the best experiences
I have had so far on my mission! On Saturday night my companion and I
along with the Minamimoto couple went to this gym where they hold
activities throughout the week for kids and adults with special needs.
We volunteered to teach basketball to kids with down syndrome as well
as play basketball with adults/teenagers who are special as well. When
we first got there we got to meet the kids we would teach and they
were all so much fun! There were about 6 kids and we taught them how
to pass and shoot. While we were playing they looked so happy and all
their parents that came to watch looked so happy to see their kids
having a good time. After we finished teaching the kids it was time to
play with the teenagers and adults. There were about 25-30 of them and
before we started Elder Harrell and I introduced ourselves. They all
thought it was so cool to see two Americans and kept coming up to us
and giving us high fives and hugging us haha. I thought Japanese in
general was hard to understand, it was even harder to understand when
they were talking to me. Thankfully though I could understand most of
it and if I couldn't I would just guess and respond back and hope I
was saying the right thing haha.

To warm up we did some stretching and then ran around the court for a
few minutes. Then after that we started to do full court sprints! A
lot of them were actually really fast too! There were a couple younger
kids that would come up to me and want to race me each time. Each time
I raced I really had to give it all I got or else they would beat me,
that's how fast they were! After each sprint they were all just like
you're so fast and would come give me high fives and want to race
again. It was so much fun. Then after all that we started to play some
5 on 5 games and I was really impressed with how good they were. They
have a lot of energy and no matter what the score was or who made a
point they were constantly happy. We haven't had really any chances to
do service in Japan so far and from doing this I feel it gave some
people just a little bit better image of the missionaries. I feel like
a lot of people in the area think of us as the annoying foreigners
that knock on their doors and talk to them about religion. From this I
hope they saw that we are trying to be more than that. We want to
serve the people here in Japan and help them be happy.

I'm excited we will get the opportunity to go teach them basketball
each Saturday night from now on. Next week I will try to take a
picture with everyone there so you guys can see them. This mission has
been a difficult experience so far but I can see how it is so much
more than just knocking on doors and teaching lessons. It is about
showing love and helping other people. I love this gospel and for the
happiness it gives me. Oh! One more thing! I want to leave you all
with a けつい (commitment). In ZTM we also focused on love and how we can
show love to others. They committed us to find one way to show love to
someone each day, so I would like to extend the same commitment to you
all. Please find one thing you can do each day to show love to someone
else. I promise you it will help you be happier as you look to serve
others and lift them up. I hope you all have a great week!


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