This is your desk flying friend cruising in 本部. To me this has been a really long week and it always felt like P-Day just wasn't going to come. A lot did happen, but just at a different pace than what I'm used to.
Saturday night Nakamoto and I had to go to the airport to pick up a missionary who was returning to the mission after going home for a couple of months. We once again were able to hit up CostCo and purchase some good items. That evening after picking up this sister with the 石井's (Ishii's) there was a musical family home evening at the 本部 with the Meito and Nonami missionaries and their investigators. It was way fun! Sister Thomas sang, Elders Abe and Masuko played the guitar and sang, and even President Ishii surprised us with his talents and sang "My Way" by Frank Sinatra in English with his own twist of Japanese lyrics.
The next morning Nakamoto and I took the returning sister missionary out to her new area in Shizuoka which is a 2 1/2 hour drive away. We attended church out there so I still haven't even been to church here in my own area of Meito yet. Shizuoka is a pretty city right on the ocean and it's reasonably close to Mt. Fuji, but it was too cloudy to see it well so I was pretty bummed out. It's way crazy to be able to drive in a car for a long distance and see Japan from the road. I really can't wait until I can start driving.
Speaking of driving: so this week I went into the DMV to go take my written test for my Japanese drivers license and everything just got more complicated. In Japan, in order to get a license as a foreigner without having to take special classes and such you need proof that you have been driving in your home country for three months. I thought I would be ok because I renewed my license in August and left America in October, but because it wasn't a full three months they won't accept my license. They asked me to bring in my old license for evidence (which is ridiculous right) which meant I needed to email home to ask my mother dearest to find and send my old license out to me. Incredibly Mom found my license and it's on the way, but I can't believe how picky the DMV is no matter which country you are in. I swear they are out to get you no matter what.
I got kind of frustrated this week by being in the office so much. I feel kind of trapped and unproductive at times because we don't necessarily have a set list of tasks to do and the APs share a computer and so usually one guy (me) gets left without too much to do which makes me wish I could do something more. It makes me feel guilty that I'm not out proselyting like I used to do. I have never claimed to be a dendo-machine that talks and preaches the gospel with every person he sees, but by not working outside and doing normal dendo all day just makes me feel like I'm not being a good enough example. I was once told that there are three ways to lead: example, example, example. It's just been hard not to be able to do so with the new responsibilities that have come my way. I guess the best thing that has come because of this frustration is that I have come to appreciate every chance I get to teach and proselyte. I'm by far not the best missionary, but I am learning to enjoy the work more. When I do get to go out and share the gospel I feel better. I feel like I have gotten more accomplished in my 3-4 hours of dendo a day verses my 8-10 hours in the office.
I received a letter from a member from 松本 named 五味姉妹(Sister Gomi) that raised my spirits a little bit when I was kind of down sitting at my desk the other day. This lady was my favorite member in Matsumoto and is someone Jeff knows really well. While I was in 松本 we (Tu'akoi, Andrade, and I) were trying to get her grandkids interested in the gospel by playing soccer with them and little by little sharing simple messages with them. Not much progressed while I was there, but Andrade on his last Sunday in Japan baptized one of the grandkids we were working with. Anyways that's the background info for the letter. What she wrote to me was what kind of touched my heart. She expressed to me her gratitude for Elder Andrade's and my patience and diligence to work with her grandkids. She told me how she thought that things were maybe being taught a little too fast for them, but Andrade recommended her to pray and ask our Father in Heaven what was right. She said that as she prayed she felt immense peace that it was the right thing for him to be baptized. She kind of testified to me about how the missionaries are truly the Lord's tools and told me about how much her life has been blessed by missionaries. She thanked me for my service in helping her family and told me that even though I don't have that much more time left as a missionary I should keep having fun as I work and feel the joy and happiness that comes from it because it will bless someone else. I didn't think much would come from working with her grandkids and I never thought that I made too much of a difference, but I learned a lesson here. You never know how you can affect someone's life. As a missionary sometimes you wonder how much good you actually do. By small and simple things great things come to pass. As long as you fulfill your purpose to the best of your ability you may never know what kind of an affect you could potentially have.
The last major event this week was attending the Meito Zone Conference. No travel for that since it's our backyard, but it was really good to see all the members of my last zone. The conference went well and afterwards I was able to go to Nonami and go on an exchange with Tommy. We were able to go visit Roberto for a couple of minutes and he was really surprised to see me and lit up with a huge smile. He is such a nice guy and he is doing so good as a recent convert. He told us that he has been reading scriptures that we gave him about the Plan of Salvation and he said everything makes more sense when he reads the Book of Mormon. I love that guy to death. Even though communicating with him is sometimes kind of hard, I've never felt such brotherly love from an individual before. He's someone I'll never forget.
Lastly I got visited by another dead missionary yesterday. Alli Patrick came back to Japan after only a week and a half of "death." I think that's a speed record for a missionary to return back. This is my second encounter (first was Rhys Tramacchi) with "dead" friends on my mission and it's cool to see how happy they are and how much joy they have after their mission. The blessings don't stop at the end, they just keep rolling.
I hope you enjoyed your novel again this week. Things should be picking up again soon as we head out to two zone conferences a week for the rest of the transfer with exchanges mixed in there. Fewer office days! It should be a lot of fun. Best of luck this week and go do a good turn daily.
Pic 1- 石井会長 and his pipes of gold
Pic 2- 静岡(Shizuoka) I know it's not the best pic, but I'll try again when I go back on Sunday
Pic 3- Meito Zone Conference
Pic 4- How we 交換
Pic 5- It's a little snug, but it works
Pic 6- At our favorite Indo Curry shop