So this e-mail is being typed late in the day because I went to go pick up my noble steed. Yes, you heard correctly, I finally the proud owner of a bicycle that`s not a mama-chadi! I got like 4 e-mails last week with everybody telling me that my bike was super girly. Well now I have a stallion that rides smooth, silent, and absorbs shock like nothing else. I hope it stays nice for a long time.
So I decided to weigh myself this morning after I did one of my excise routines (you have to be creative) and I did so. To my surprise I weighed in at... 194 lbs! I haven`t weighed that since the fall of my senior year in high school! I really miss the weight room at USAFA (Tommy probably misses it more than I do) because I feel like I`m not going to be able to maintain anything I had pre-mission. Oh well, I guess that`s not the point of a mission.
Also speaking of USAFA, I just learned that two of my friends soloed last month! A big shout out to John Cahill and Ashley Torres! Ya`ll rock.
Back to Japan. Well everything is going just genki. I have been all over the place this past week. I`ve been to Seto-shi for my bike, Okazaki-shi for district meeting, and good old Toyota-shi for some excellent dendou (missionary work). I learned something super interesting about culture this week. So chewing gum in public is super taboo (super weird for Americans), but you can take a pee in the bushes in the middle of the street and that`s ok. When Elders Bills told me that I didn`t believe him, but later that night as we rode though Toyota City, sure enough there was a guy walking away from some bushes zipping up his trousers. Really!? Gum is bad, but you can pee wherever you want?
My language skills grow super slow and I`m a very impatient person. I want to talk and understand people so bad. After every time we talk to someone I look over at my trainer and try to translate and recite everything I heard so that I can see if I actually understood what people were saying to me. It`s so frustrating when you are super far off from what they said. I`m still in the 10% range of comprehension. People say that the mission isn`t about learning a language, it`s about teaching people. To that I say yes, that is true; however I can`t teach if I don`t understand a word they say. I guess I`ll just have to just press on.
So we had couple of really good lessons this week. We have three Filipino investigators who speak fluent English. They are 18-24 years old and they are pretty cool guys. After I first met them my first week I felt they really needed a Book of Mormon. We got to teach one of them this week. His name is Koji and he is super cool. We taught the First Vision and about the Book of Mormon and it was super good. He said he would get his buddies to read as well. This Sunday (yesterday) was actually pretty good. I had to talk in front of the ward, but it was only an introduction and testimony. The members were a lot more friendly towards me this week for some reason. We had a really good lesson after sacrament meeting with a 47 Japanese man named Ando-san. His Japanese is super hard to understand because he has no teeth. We taught once again about the First Vision and the Book of Mormon and the importance of prayer. bills taught most of the lesson but I was able to share what I thought about prayer and bear my testimony about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Even though I didn`t understand a lot of what was said I definitely felt the Spirit and it was such a good lesson. We invited Ando to be baptized...but he declined and said he needs to think about it.
I wish I could tell you all that I experience. Life`s full of ups and downs out here. It`s a matter of making the ups last longer than the downs. God bless all of you! Your support means the world.
Pic: A sweet bell from a shrine in the mountains