"I still love you, but I don't want to miss you!"
Maybe you saw on Facebook a picture of me at a table with a bunch of kids and two women. That was an awesome day and it went like this:
Right now we're teaching a family almost every week. For half of our appointment, we teach them English, and for the other half we teach them the gospel. It's the best. This family invited us over last minute for dinner. When we got there, two kids we've never seen before open the door and quite literally yell an introduction to us as loud as they can. Turns out we'd been bamboozled into babysitting. The family we knew was home, but they had some friends over. Three to be exact. All under the age of six. Yeah. So we played some games, we taught them Primary songs, and eventually we got to eat. Because this visit was so last minute, we had thrown together a fragile plan. We knew that the mother was going to have a friend over, who most likely knew close to nothing about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so we settled on a Mormon Message. I thought it would be fun to watch "Love Her Mother." Luckily, both of these mothers speak fluent English. A night that had been so loud and rambunctious suddenly became dead silent. When the video came to a close, this friend mumbled: "You're parents must be so proud of you..." and began to cry.
I have seen this video a lot of times. It's been parroted back to me by so many people I'm sad to say it had almost lost its meaning until that night. As this stranger wiped the tears away, I thanked God for every person that had been involved in the making of that video. It was truly inspired.
This woman went on to say that she loved what we were doing. She told us she had put her children in a Christian school so that they could know that "there are real things that you can't see." She assured us that our work was good and well needed especially in a country like Japan. We gave her our number.
As we were leaving, one of the kids started to cry. We had just met him and he cried when we left! In a desperate attempt to make us stay he cried out: "I still love you but I don't want to miss you!" It is only a matter of time before we see this family again.
"Sometimes, I think the female duty is too hard!"
There is an awesome recent convert in our ward. He's Japanese but he speaks near fluent English and he's learning Spanish. He comes to Eikaiwa (Free English Class) every week. This last week, he told me he brought dinner. I thought he had just misspoken until an elder overheard and agreed: "No really he made you dinner. He knows paella is your favorite and he made it for you." He went on to say that earlier that day he had called the elders to ask for help in making the dish. When my companion and I had sufficiently cooed and whined he added: "He loves you and he knows you're workin' hard." Well, he had made a ton so we were able to share it with everyone who came to Eikaiwa. But, before he served all of us, he announced: "Sometimes I think the females' duty is too hard! So I made my special paella! That's all!"
*English Translation* "Please create a lot of children!"
We have this awesome investigator who has a real name but demands we call her Mama G, so that's her title. She's a forty six-year-old Philippine with kids the same age as myself and my companion. She's hilarious and loving and religious and kind. In her past, she's been wronged by her friends. They took money from her. So she told us straight up that she doesn't trust other Philippine people. Therefore, when we looked out to have a member present lesson, we looked for a nice, Japanese family to warm her up. A family actually found us, inviting all three of us to dinner.
Now, without giving away any personal information, let me just say that this family and Mama G had nothing in common. Absolutely nothing. They had walked different paths. But that night was so much fun! We all laughed and cried and sat in silence like we had been friends all along. It was a beautiful moment.
Now you're wondering where this quote comes in. Well the oldest daughter of this family is married, and her and her husband live with her parents. They've been married for eight years. The husband is saving up to go to BYU Hawaii for school. They haven't had any luck having children. It's a touchy subject, right? It's one of those things where either you've got it or you don't. It comes way easy to some people and for others it's a struggle.
But of course that was one of the first questions Mama G asked. I blushed. The couple smiled and explained their situation. Mama G suggested that in Hawaii, the climate is different, so they could be successful in their efforts. I looked at my companion, who was blushing too and my face felt even hotter. As a final note, in Japanese she encouraged them: "Please make a lot of children!"
I've met with this woman twice and I love her. She reads the Book of Mormon on the train. She's doing missionary work and she doesn't even know it. One of my personal phrases is: "Aw man!" and Mama G thought it was SO funny. I'd say "Aw man!" and she'd say "Ramen!" Yes, like the noodle. I LOVE HER A TON.
*English Translation* "I really think we should meet today!"
Today we received a call from an unsaved number. We answered, and a woman on the other line simple told us she'd "like to receive our Church lessons." We told her we'd love to meet with her tomorrow! We were jam packed today. She insisted. I don't know how many of you know genuine Japanese people, but they're strange. They don't beat around the bush they meander around the bush from ten feet away. I've actually never heard a Japanese person say: "No" They'll say: "I'm busy" or "I'm okay, thank you!" or anything else but no. So when this woman insisted, we couldn't help but feel intrigued. So we cancelled some stuff and moved things around so we could meet her today. And in the pouring rain we met her barely today. Why is she so interested in our church? She wants to prepare for the Second Coming. No really, she told us so. It just goes to show that there are super prepared people even in Japan, ESPECIALLY in Japan. I JUST met her but I asked her if she comes to know that our church is true will you join our church? You know what this stranger said. "I REALLY THINK SO." WHAT IS THIS BEAUTIFUL WORLD WE LIVE IN?!
"Thanks a lot for all your nice words."
Bought this shirt for nine dollars here. Bad English translations are RAMPANT even on clothing. I saw a girl wearing a hat that simply said: BOY. At this same store, there was a purse with the recipe for brownies on it. BUT THE POINT IS that I love you guys back home and I really appreciate your nice words via email and letters. So there. I also had to buy a massive pouch to keep all of my letters in. I call it my Love Pack and I whip it out whenever I need a pick-me-up. See you soon!