Our first day in Japan, President Budge told us about The Box. It's a box where you put everything that ever happened before your mission that could distract you from the work. School, sports, movies, boyfriends (sorry Josh!) stuff like that. He even gave us two minutes of silence so we could mentally pack everything away. It was a fairly easy concept for me. When I played basketball, we talked about that a lot. We had to leave everything that didn't have to do with basketball or the team outside the gym. When we were on the court, we were all about basketball. The Mission Box is a lot bigger than the Basketball Box and sometimes the Mission Box flies open but that's okay. I'm trying to live as strictly as I can to this rule.
Just Thursday however, we had a Zone Meeting. Sister Howe and Sister M. trained us on how to find people. Sister M. finishes her mission in two weeks. These two sisters pretty much white washed this area. All the people they teach now they found themselves. I can't say I've done that yet. The point I'm trying to get across is that they are very experienced missionaries! But they started the training off with a terrifying question.
"How do you flirt?"
That's right ladies and gentlemen. We talked about how flirting can help us bring more people unto Christ. Don't get me wrong! As sister missionaries we don't even APPROACH any men, let alone talk to them. That day we talked about how the skill of flirting can help us have more meaningful conversations. What have I been doing all this time?? I think of all the awkward conversations I'd had with Japanese people up till now, and I just want to crawl under a rock. If I approached people with the same mindset and confidence that I approach flirting...well I wouldn't bring all of Japan unto Christ because I'm only talking to half of the population, but I would get pretty close! What I took away from that meeting is that just because we're missionaries doesn't mean we have to hide our skills. If anything, we ought to use every skill we've got! So watch out world! I'll be coming back from my mission an expert flirter! (Cue my second apology to Josh)
Japan's being pretty hard on us missionaries! Sister M. has FROSTBITE. No like really I saw her feet and they were purple. But no one suffered more than Jesus Christ and because of that, as much as we experience bad and scary things, we're seeing absolute MIRACLES here in Japan. Don't worry Mom, I'm always wearin' socks n' tights' and boots! I'm okay.
I made some alterations to my bike. It's more of a Christmas tree than a bike. I have two reflectors that my thoughtful friend Arcie gave me before I left hooked onto my basket. My bike has an automatic light in the front that lights up whenever the wheels turn. I have an elastic light I bought here in Japan that I wrapped around the seat so it shines behind me. I also have a light that screws on to the little tube on my bike tire where you let out the air(?) You know what I'm talking about? Well anyways that's motion sensitive so when it's on my tire, all you can see is that red light. I also bought reflective bands to strap to my jacket. Nobody can miss me. I put on a show. I'm like Japan's Electric Light Parade. 200% safe.
Great news! I'm cleaning up my Facebook so I'll be on soon! Look out for me and my religious posts! As a wise Elder Richard Jewkes told me, there are some real miracles that go on on Facebook. For example, there's a Peruvian couple here in this ward. They've always been members, but when they moved to Japan fifteen years ago, they had the hardest time finding the church. TEN YEARS go by and this couple sees that their nonmember friend on Facebook took a picture with a missionary. They found the church through Facebook. How amazing.
Life in Japan is weird. I still feel like I'm jumping into a slumber party whenever I go to bed. And we're all so close together, if someone cries themselves to sleep one night, we can all hear her. Super awkward. But also convenient because we can offer back rubs or hugs without getting out of bed!
Before I came to Japan, I honestly believed it was impossible to remain unchanged after a mission. I thought it is impossible to not come back a better person after a mission. This week I learned this is not the case. You could go into a mission as a high school kid and come out a high school kid. But, it also possible to become fluent in Japanese on your mission. Easy. But, with God, even more is possible. With God, you could become fluent in Japanese and pick up Portuguese at the same time. With God you could learn Japanese sign language. With God, you could totally turn yourself inside out and get rid of every attribute and trait that you don't like and replace it with something better. With God you can come back from your mission a prepared mother. Every day I'm more aware of ways I can improve. I have so many goals I can't help but improve. God helps me every single day. I don't know how He does it, but the more I rely on Him, the more help he gives me. He gives me more goals to set, more visions for my mission. I remember I thought it was silly to bring so many journals but I'm so glad I did! I'm receiving so much revelation I need somewhere to write it down.
Whew. That was a rant's rant! To end on a funny note, the Bishopric's First Counselor is Brother Sueldo from Peru and he likes to call me Shakira. Sometimes I'll be talking to him and he'll just giggle and mutter "Shakira."
I love you all! See you soon!