According to Viking lore heaven was a location know as Valhalla, which was a place of intense heat and fire. This visual is a stark contrast to what many Christians believe due to the fact that the Viking version of Heaven is our Hell. I have no idea how the Vikings could ever consider melting in the flipping sun heaven because it sure ain't.
Not much in the way of super exciting stories happened this week, but I did have some cool experiences. On Wednesday we had interviews with President Ishii here in 松本. It was good to meet him again and get know him better. It's really strange to have a change of Mission Presidents because you have to readjust to a completely new person and their vision. It hasn't been to hard, but it has just been different. It's just a new tempo to adjust to.
After interviews I got permission to do a 48 hour exchange with Elder Crippen in 諏訪(Suwa) because we had DTM in 松本 on Friday so we didn't want to go back and forth and spend all our money on trains. It was a good experience. Elder Crippen is an extremely obedient missionary and follows every letter of the law, which is good, but needs to loosen up a little bit. He is a young missionary (Transfer 3) so I tried to help coach and train him with planning and teaching. On Thursday we followed his plan and went out into the blazing sun for six hours to go to less active members' homes and go teach one investigator. It was by far the hottest day I have had so far. One kind LA gave us each a bottle of Aquarius (the Japanese version of Gatorade) which was a life saver. The night ended at a Brazilian member's home where they gave us my newfound summer time weakness... ice cream.
On Friday we switched back and Klein and I had a lot of teaching appointments (3 actually which is a lot in a day for us). It ended when a teaching experience Klein and I had never had before. We found a lady named Ichihashi 一橋 housing an apartment building on Sunday and she was unusual in the fact that she was Protestant. She had met missionaries several years before and had read a pamphlet from them and when I asked if she had read the Book of Mormon she said no and was interested so we set a next advent. Anyways Friday was our return appointment and she opened the door and told us she couldn't talk to the Mormons because she loves coffee and I started talking to her and told her that we don't drink coffee because it's a commandment from living prophets. We got into a little discussion about prophets and the Book of Mormon and she didn't know what to think of prophets living on the Earth today. I felt prompted to ask her if prophets lived in a long time ago in the Bible and Book of Mormon times, then why should there not be prophets today? She said she didn't know and we shared the message of the Restoration of Christ's church through Joseph Smith and how the Book of Mormon contains the pure message of Christ and how it with the Bible makes a strong, unbreakable testimony of Christ. We read Moroni 10:3-4 with her and challenged her to read the introduction and Moroni 10 and and pray to know if our message is true. She accepted and we promised she would receive an answer. We have a next appointment so we'll see what happens from there.
This experience was special to me in several ways: Firstly it was my first time teaching a Japanese Christian allowing me the opportunity to bear strong testimony about the Restoration of the gospel. It was also one of the most Spirit directed teaching experiences I've had. We had no plan but to teach about the Book of Mormon and we ended up teaching a lot of things clearly and simply without a plan. We also testified a lot in the lesson. This stuff is true folks. My invitation is the same as is written on the introduction to the Book of Mormon: "We [I] invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true." If you do follow the invitation to read, ponder, and pray then you will receive an answer that the things which are written are true. If you are seeking for truth, then you'll find it there.
The week ended with the 松本ぼんぼん祭り (Bon Bon Matsuri)! This is a huge festival on August 1 where there is a massive parade of people from different clubs, companies, and organizations perform the Matsumoto Bon Bon dance in the streets going in both directions from 1700-2200. We got to participate with the 松本 Barbers Association because a member of the branch is a barber and invited the branch to participate with them. It was a cool once in a lifetime experience. Each time you dance the Bon Bon song blasts on loud speakers throughout the city for sets of 30 minutes. We did two set and then decided to go look around. It was crazy with how many people were out on the streets. It was packed with people in kimonos, yutakas, normal clothes, hardly any clothes, and street vendors trying to sell you high priced food and beer. We walked around just making our presence known and found some of our friends who we have talked to on the streets before. It was an awesome experience I will probably never have again. Missions are cool.
I got to get ready to go to the castle again today. I am taking my district over these and then going to get Indo curry! I hope you all have a great week folks and enjoy the heat. 気をつけてね！めちゃ暑いから.
Work Hard, Play Hard