Alright friends and family don't get mad at me. I know I've become a worse email writer. One would suppose I should get better as time goes on. BUT CITY LIFE IS SO BUSY. I'm living with four sisters again, just like I was my first transfer. Let me tell you, it just makes for more mess. I have no real excuse as to why I didn't send emails last week, but I can give you what I wrote last week and give you an update on this week.
Last week: I don't know how I did it. I survived these past five days in Shibuya. Please, do yourselves a favor and Google places like "Hachiko square", "Roppongi", and "Harajuku." These are the beautiful city sights I get to see on a daily basis. As you're looking at pictures of these places, picture me, and my purple bicycle, riding right alongside taxis and motorbikes, semis and cop cars. It's an absolute dream come true. Our teaching pool isn't quite what I imagined; we have our work cut out for us. I am known for pumping up areas and what's stopping this area of beautiful Shibuya from being a garden spot of the mission?
So I've come up with an analogy for my mission so far. Here it is. When I arrived in Koga it was as if I was standing at the edge of a cold pool. I knew I was inexperienced, I knew no one would judge me if I took my time easing into the water. I had heard of "swimming", asked my dad about it, but never tried it until now. For whatever reason I just jumped in and started moving around. The water was still cold, colder than I could have ever imagined, but I was glad I had decided to jump in at once. I knew that if I hadn't, I might have changed my mind and given up on swimming. Eventually, as I immersed myself deeper and deeper I got used to it and my muscles warmed up. I swam better as time went on. I enjoyed my own, quirky, stroke.
Then my hour in that pool was done. I was called to a whole different pool in a whole different language full of completely different people. At the edge of this pool, the coldness of the water, my companion, and the complete and utter lack of preparation was enough to make me hesitate. I stuck a toe in. I needed the cheers of you guys, my friends and families to encourage me to walk in deeper and deeper. I honestly think in the end it hurt more. I spent more time suffering in the cold than I did when I jumped in. But eventually, after an embarrassing amount of time, I started swimming again. My time was cut too short and suddenly I was in front of the pool of Shibuya. Family I'm already in ten feet deep. I'm deep enough in this pool I can't even hear your cheers from the outside. I'm still not the perfect swimmer, but I've got a year of experience under my belt. I know that my time is short in this pool.
But it's in the bag. I'm not resurfacing anytime soon. Not until The Lifeguard calls me out. Till then,
This week: It was the worst. We taught no lessons. Yes this is one of the biggest cities in the world but when I arrived we had no friends to teach. We would continue to have no friends to teach this entire week. That meant a lot of good old fashioned stopping people on the street or on trains and getting rejected hundreds of times. It was rough. By the end of the week we only had the contact information of like three of these people we stopped.
I got lice. HOW GROSS. Holy molly seeing that first creature was the scariest experience of my life. The horror. Worse than any horror movie because even if you close your eyes THEY'RE STILL THERE. I was in the shower, with my special lice shampoo washing away all the critters and everything just hit me at once. I realized how sore my body was, how low the bags under my eyes hung, how exhausted I was. And I thought: Why? I haven't kept anything for myself this week. I haven't even thought about myself. I forgot myself and got to work and I got lice instead. I didn't even email for my full hour and a half and God bestows lice on me. Where is His mercy?
I thought about going home and treating myself to massages and hair treatments for an entire week but for some reason when I came out the shower we just went back to work. We still had little success that day and I cried myself to sleep that night.
But what a Sunday yesterday was. Two Peruvians walked into church for the first time without having met any missionaries. A long time investigator came to church as well. The brother of a recent convert in the ward came to church for the first time after a simple game of basketball with us. We received the number of a Brazilian woman who had been investigating the church in Osaka and was ready to meet again with us strange new missionaries after a phone call in her native tongue. It was quite literally the first day on my mission that I spoke English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese all in one day. And I know it will not be my last day doing so. That day too on our way to and from church we met cool friends actually interested in our church and not just English class. We came home and kissed our filthy apartment floor, thanking God for allowing us to represent His Son in Shibuya, Japan.
I believe God pushes us and pushes us to our farthest point. But we, selfish creatures, never know our farthest point because we've never tried. Who wants to suffer for free? But I know that right before we crack, God pours the blessings on our pitiful, lice infested heads.
He's done it time and time again to me. I think He does it to remind us that He is God and we are nothing. Because when it comes down to it, my mission is not about me, it's about "the Lord, His work, and Heavenly Father's children." (Elder Renlund, October 2015 Conference)
I know that I do not speak four languages for me. God didn't teach me four languages so I could brag, or get a nice job, or talk to my Brazilian and Japanese companions. I was blessed so that I could bless others. I know four languages so that I could teach this message to nearly everyone in their native tongue. It's about God's children here in Japan, and it turns out a lot of them are not Japanese. They had to send somebody, God sent me, and I'm bringing them back to Him one at a time. I'm signing out for this week with several appointments throughout the week whereas last week we had none,
See you soon,
Sister Goldsberry iPadから送信