My brain's a little all over the place, so I thought I'd write about the absolutely amazing missionaries in my district.
Let me tell you folks about Sister G. She's beautiful. Yes nearly all of our conversations are in Japanese. I went from still needing a translator in a lesson to translating our meetings, phone calls, and English lessons into Japanese. Sister G. actually speaks alright English. But listening seems steep to her. I don't blame her! We're talking to all sorts of people with all sorts of accents. I can't imagine. Anyways what little English she speaks to me is adorable, simple, and gets her point across. She calls me Sister Berry. Goldsberry's pretty tough. Today she learned "patriarchal blessing." Well she's from Okinawa. She's the youngest of five. All of her family members are absolutely fluent in English. One of her brothers served his own mission in America and one of her sisters married an American who's in the Air Force. Her brother told her before she left that if she didn't speak English by the end of her mission, he wouldn't let her back in the house. She's tryin' with all her might. Heck, we both are. We were planning our week out the other day and I just had a crazy thought. "Sister G." I told her, "there's nothing holding us back from becoming translators by the end of this transfer." So we decided in order to accomplish that, we could tell each other funny stories and testimonies and translate for each other. We were eating a Sister favorite: fried rice and I just threw down my chopsticks and said: "Hit me with your testimony I'm translating it." Wow. Does that sentence happen in other missions? I think it might just be a Japan thing. ANYWAY and she started testifying. At first I was translating no problem but then a spirit fell over the room so strong I could only sit in silence. She testified so powerfully, all the while saying: "I'm not sure if how I feel is faith but..." It was a gorgeous evening. I knew God was there in that little apartment. At the end she said: "If it weren't for you, I would have joined another religion!" I told her "Diddo."
Preaching is hard. It's so hard. It's only made easier with a companion. Before I used to think (this was back when I thought a mission was going to be a piece of cake for me): Man a bad companion could ruin a whole transfer! But now I know that every companion makes the transfer. This work would be impossible without one. I read something in the Liahona the other day. This couple wrote an article to the youth about how awesome marriage is, but, being a missionary, I changed "marriage" to "companionship" and "husband" to "companion." The wife wrote: "Let's face it, girls, it's nice to know that someone loves you. And when you're in a [companionship] you have chances to share and receive love every day!" It's so true, Rachel, so true! You don't know how true it is on a mission but let me tell you: IT'S TRUE. My heart is full. Tomorrow is Sister G's 21st birthday. (She's the closest in age companion I've had.) I want to do something special. I bought some cake mix. Give me ideas family!
Elder N.: Yeah remember Elder N.? From Idaho? His girlfriend is Japanese? He's serving with me! I'm so happy!
Elder D.: He is an elder from Utah. This is crazy are you ready? Sister G. got the opportunity to be a foreign exchange student in Utah before her mission, when she was still in high school. That high school that she went to was Elder D's! They didn't know each other back then, but they're best friends now! Elder D. is lanky and loud with the bluest eyes you've ever seen. He's just way happy, friendly, and confident. And everyone knows him apparently. After I got to Chiba, and I met with missionaries from all over, they would all sigh: "Elder D is in your district?!"
Elder J.: Elder J. also came to Japan with me but we were in different classrooms at the MTC. We were actually sent to the same zone together when we first arrived. His first companion was Japanese. Elder J's Japanese is good because he studied hard and is super diligent, but it's also good because his trainer was Japanese. Elder J. has this funny pattern. President Budge likes to put him in difficult areas, he works really diligently, the area is revived, and then President Budge takes him out to a new difficult area. Right now, his area is still difficult. But he's such a hard worker! He finds every opportunity to teach. I know he's going to get his area up and running just like he did before...and then President Budge will take him out.
Elder W: is way cool. He's half Japanese (That's a Japanese name, folks.) but he studied Spanish for five years in high school. He looks like he could be my brother. We're actually neighbors back home apparently. He worked in a burger shop and most definitely made my order once. Woody's was the name of the place. He's Elder J's companion and our district leader so we talk to him a lot. Actually before I moved the sisters were taken out of his area. So now Sister G. and I take care of our own area and their's. We talk to Elder W. A TON. He's a lot like Elder J., if you fast forwarded to the end of his mission. He's way anxious to see an awesome end-of-mission miracle and we are too.
Elder H: So I thought I'd have everyone fooled when I moved to Chiba that I was a mature missionary. They would see my calves, hear my Japanese, and assume that Chiba was my final area. Despite all my clever tricks, Elder H. had served with my trainer Sister O. and already knew that I was but a wee new missionary. He's from North Carolina and get this: He knows Elder C. Elder C. is the only other missionary (I'll be honest the only other Mormon) I know from North Carolina and they're friends. Even though Elder H. is super nice and has his Southern manners down pat, I am terrified of this elder. He's way tall way wide and the young women of the ward and I decided he's like something between Clark Kent and Captain America. But he's one of our Zone Leaders, so he calls all the time. We have meetings all the time. It's the fourth week of the transfer and I'm still scared. Maybe he'll transfer.
Elder F: Alright family you have no idea how much I heard about Elder F. throughout my mission. People didn't just talk about Elder F. they adored him. My past companions had videos of him on their iPads. He was apparently the greatest, but all I knew was his voice. Every time he answers the phone, he sings his greeting. But of course, because it was over the phone, every video was of a phone in a shaky hand as he sang. Sister D. suggested I practice my own sing song greeting, because his greeting was so infamous. I did. I practiced. First thing I did when I got to Chiba was snatch the phone, wait for the other line to pick up, and sang. It turned out to be Elder H., his companion, but I think he got a decent good impression. Elder F. speaks English, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. In Elder H's words he's also a "love ball." He sneaks love notes into Elder H's scriptures all the time. He's our other zone leader so he calls a lot too. I've gotten pretty good at singing.
I'm including a picture of our whole zone from last week. We played Frisbee! I'm also sending a picture of our zone leaders because they emailed it to us so show their excitement over one of our investigators receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.
I love you all! See you soon!