Mina san! kyou wa dou desu ka(Everyone! How is today?)
It's interesting: this week has been very defining. Well, first off, our zone/branch went from at least 50 people to have just ten--our district--this week. All the Dai-senpai(upper classmen) left on Monday, and what I'm not sure I mentioned was that there were 19 Nihonjin (japanese) here for two weeks. It was so fun to talk to them, and become friends with them. It was sad when they left. Sacrament Meeting was super emotional, because we'd become good friends with the Nihonjin, and with our senpai. There were two musical numbers, one by some of the senpai and then another by the Nihonjin. They sang "I'll find you, my friend" in Nihongo. ^.^ I turned pages for the pianist.
Well, everyone in my district has a calling now. The other sisters are the sister training leaders, and my companion and I are in charge of the music, and also: we are in charge of Online orientation for new missionaries in our zone. :D Guess you know what that means: When we get kohai (underclassmen), we get to teach them how to email their families and also how to email the branch president.
Something that we're all really excited about: ANOTHER group of Nihonjin are coming this Monday! 22 of them! they'll be here for two weeks and then leave, just like the others, but it will be so great to have them here.
Japanese is becoming more and more complex, but I'm keeping up well enough. There are so many moments where I'm speaking, listening, or whatever, and I'll stop and think: "This isn't my native language... why do I understand it?"
Interesting story: Another branch received 5 new elders (going to Japan) ... Our sensei (teachers) have asked us to only speak to them in Nihongo: Nihongo dake! (only Japanese). I haven't met them yet, so I haven't had the chance, but some of the members in my district have.
It's really amazing to see how many people (teachers, mostly) know "Bureiku Choro" (Elder Blake--I.e. Aaron). I'll meet a teacher, ask where they went, and if they say Tokyo, I ask if they know Elder Blake. "Yeah!" they answer. One actually told me that Elder Blake showed him a picture of me opening my mission call. So, he recognized me. That was interesting.
hmmm... what else this week?
I can tell you about some amazing experiences we've had with our "investigators". First, Hasegawa-kyodai(Brother Hasegawa). I was having a hard time. It felt like it was hard to connect with him as a person, so talking with him was especially hard. He didn't seem to really be listening to what we were saying, or when we left, he'd forget what we'd taught. This time, my companion and I wanted to challenge him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Our lessons are really short, though, so with our broken and slow Nihongo, it can be difficult to do all you plan to do. So it was with this time.. We got off on a bit of a tangent, and continued on it for a while. Today was going a little better than the last time. Also, my companion had asked a really important question. She asked him if he would want direction from God in his life. So, the discussion was about really great stuff. I just looked at my watch, though, and realized we were almost out of time. I began to say something, but the words wouldn't come. I kept wanting to say something, but silence was all I had. Hasegawa kyodai and Sister Hurlbut just sat there, waiting for me to say what I was trying to say. It felt like forever.. Though in reality it was between 30 seconds and a minute. Then, holding the Book of Mormon, the right question came, "Hasegawa-Kyodai, will you read God's word?" He thought, and then agreed. We left the Book of Mormon with him, and invited him to pray about it. He said he would pray. We'll see later this week, though, when we meet with him next.
I hadn't thought much about the lesson. I felt that it wasn't all that great, but our teacher came up to us later, and talked to us about the lesson. He told us how amazing that was, and what a wonderful and powerful thing it was. Now, when I can't think of anything to say in a lesson, be it a minute or five minutes, I will stop and consider whether that's God's way of telling me that I need to give the person time to ponder what we're really saying.
More than ever, I know that this church is the true church on Earth, and that the Book of Mormon is so important when you want to draw nearer to God. Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:3-5 is still very real:
3. Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time e shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
I add my own testimony to Moroni. The Book of Mormon is true, and if you will read it, and think of these things, and really ask God--in your own words, and sincerely pray to know, believing that God will answer you, He will. And He will tell you that it is true. I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Love, Sister Blake
"You are hereby called to serve in the Japan Tokyo South Mission."