MERRY CHRISTMAS! And happy new year!
So Christmas morning we woke up at our regular time and exercised like normal. We tried to rush out as soon as possible so we could get to doing some missionary work. We visited a recent convert who lives alone and wished her the merriest of Christmases. After that, we took a forty five minute bike ride to the Ward Mission Leader's house here in Koga. This couple, the S's, actually came and picked me up when I arrived from the train station and drove my companion and I to our apartment. We paid them back in the only way missionaries can. We decorated their door and gave them candy. We came, everything was pretaped, we were quiet, we were quick. But in the twenty seconds we were there they still heard us and opened the door mid-decoration. Surprise ruined.
That same day, it was the birthday of one of our investigators, so we visited her and brought her cake and cookies. She's real old and sick though, and when we called her she said she was at the hospital...again. BUT NO MATTER. Later, miraculously, I butt-dialded her and she reported that she ate the cake and cookies and they were good!
Despite the coming forty-five minute bike ride, my companion and I could not have been more energetic. We weren't just riding bikes, we were on our way to talk to our families! It was a nice enough day, choice bike riding weather. Man how our legs pedaled down the single highway that runs all the way through the our area! We really love our families. They're great.
Following our skype call, we took a bus to the train station. We brought our hymn books and tons of flyers. We caroled there with the other two sisters that live in our apartment. Two of us would sing and the other two would hand out flyers and should " MERRY CHRISTMAS" to passing people. We got a lot a smiles, but nobody was up for getting baptized on Christmas. Bummer.
The rest of the night we visited a ton of people. I honestly don't remember studying a word of Japanese that day, but it didn't stop me from talking to everyone that crossed our path. Our strategy is: I ride ahead of my companion. I discombobulate a single person. I start speaking Japanese to them, and they are so confused by my horrendous, tremendous lack of skill that they slow down to a stop. My companion catches up and shares a spiritual message. I smile. It's quite genius. It is so bitter cold here in Japan! Ocean winds blow all the time. I swear I could be riding downhill, and when it's windy, if I don't pedal my bike will come to a complete standstill. I can't stand it. But! I invented a brilliant solution for my skirt. I took a regular old clip and an old head band and wrapped the head band around the part of my bike that goes between my knees and the clip. Once I clip my skirt in, it never flies up! Necessity is the mother of invention. I'm eating super well! No need to worry! It's a lot of rice and noodles. To my horror, I discovered "rice cheeks." It's an old missionary's tale, but the legend is, you can lose all the weight you want on an Asian mission, but you will always have large cheeks because of all the rice you eat. So now I swallow mouthfuls of rice whole. I'm kidding. It's so sad the foods I took for granted. But no it's good! I bought some lemons, and I kept the juice so I can add it to things! Tonight I also made horchata! On the same website that we order Books of Mormon, we can also order peanut butter (an absolute treasure in Japan).
Today also, I ate mochi for the first time. It's a traditional dish but especially festive during the new year. And, you guessed it, it's rice. Japanese people take huge amounts of rice and pound the living daylights out of it until it's this mushed, gooey, taffy life substance. Then they add stuff life beans to give it flavor. We had this activity at the church where we cleaned the building, and then all made mochi together. It was super tender. Do I like mochi? Not at all. Do I love missionary work and the people in the Koga Ward? Yes. Did I eat all the mochi I could so as to not offend a soul? You bet your bottom dollar.
UGH I wish I could tell you all about the sisters I've met here! AND MY COMPANION. On a week that not so much happens, I'll tell you all about everyone. For now, just know that God helped me get to know Sister O. before I even knew her name. I love you all! Share the gift! See you soon! Sent from my iPad
|This is our shower, practically a room|
|Books in 4 languages, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and Tagalog|