Hi, family! I don't remember if I told you or not, but every 6th week all the missionaries get to go to the temple. It's closed on Monday, of course, so once a transfer we have P-day on Tuesday instead. If you were worried, don't panic! But if you were asleep when it's time for me to email anyway, then no problem.
Thank you to EVERYONE who emailed me this week! I love, love, love hearing all your spiritual moments and scripture study, and it's also very fun to hear about all your crazy summer activities. Tell Lacey that being busy doesn't get her off the hook from emailing me! I haven't heard from her or Bridgette in months!
The big news from Matsudo this week is that we had a baptism! It's technically my first baptism in the field but I'm hesitant to call it that since I didn't actually do much. Wakana Shimai is deaf and never understood me so my part of the teaching pretty much amounted to pointing to places in the pamphlets and scriptures for her to read. Oh and I sent her an email a few times. But anyway! Her service was on Sunday morning and it was phenomenal. Even I felt the Spirit and I had no idea what was being said. It's so exciting for investigators to get baptized! Sometimes we concentrate so much on getting them into the water and up onto the pulpit that we forget baptism is just the beginning---they still have many lessons for us to teach them (the ward members help), we want to prepare them for the temple, and our ultimate goal is to see them active their whole lives. It's so cool to be a tiny part of that experience! Wakana Shimai was really nervous but having her daughter there (she was baptized in April) was really wonderful. Enjoy the photo. Ignore the fact that I always look terrible in pictures. I've actually lost over 2 kilos this transfer and I feel great. It's all the biking and walking I guess, and Tanner would be proud of my biceps from doing push-ups every morning. I've heard that it's really common for people in Japan to lose a lot of weight during the summer; it's so hot that people just don't want to eat. This week it's been REALLY hot and muggy, and people keep telling me it will only get worse! I guess I should be used to it after growing up in Las Vegas, but the humidity here is killer.
So Tokyo Mission got a new mission president! President Budge. He's quite young, 50 or so I think, and he's super awesome of course. He served a mission in Japan and has lived here for many years since. We had a zone meeting this week where he presented his vision for the mission and got us all fired up to "take it to the next level." What really endeared me to him was hearing that near the beginning of his mission he had a lot of experiences similar to mine (well, I guess most people do). During our interview we talked about how rough it is to have a native trainer, and instead of lecturing me on all the lessons I could learn about patience and love, he just thanked me for my effort, told me to stick with it, and promised it would get better. He told me to remember the three P's of dealing with difficult people: 1) it's not permanent, 2) it's not personal, and 3) it's not pervasive (i.e. just because this one aspect of your life is hard, that doesn't mean you're entirely a failure). That helped me a lot. Transfer calls come on Friday! I'll probably stay in Matsudo and get a new companion, but I won't know for sure until then.
I have a request from Mum: can you send me that bread-egg-souffle-thing recipe you have? Lately the members have been giving us a ton of bread and I'm getting bored of cinnamon toast! Any other good recipes I should try? One thing I really miss about not having free internet access is not being able to Google recipes when I want them! So it's either stick with the basics or wing it and end up eating something not very delicious.
Questions from Mum: that sushi dinner we ate last week (two weeks ago?) was about 1500 yen each (around twenty dollars). When we eat in restaurants we typically spend between 700 and 1200 yen. That's a bit less than the amount I spend on a week's worth of groceries! We don't eat out very often, usually only on social occasions, and although I've heard of Tokyo missionaries buying convenience store meals almost daily, we buy only ice cream and rarely. I guess because we don't have many investigators we have more time to cook cheaper meals at home. I love cooking though, so I don't mind, and I usually eat quickly so I can work on my comics. My stomach is doing okay. I feel mostly fine when I'm careful, but I've learned that in addition to meat some foods that cause me trouble are tomatoes, cheese, and chocolate (nooooooo!). My doctor warned me about that so it's not a shock but it's still not pleasant. Stupid ulcer-or-whatever-the-MTC-gave-me. I'm getting slightly better all the time though, so hopefully before long I'll be able to eat like normal again.
Sorry this week's email is kind of boring! (I'll have more next week when I have a new companion and/or area.) I guess nothing can compare to the excitement of Tanner leaving for two years! It sounds like his farewell and open house were really fun. That's cool that you met a returned Tokyo missionary! I'm surprised to hear he knew me because I don't remember him at all. Treat your ward's missionaries nicely and just love 'em, because that's what they really appreciate!
Thanks for all you do, family. You're the best! Good luck with all your crazy summer activities!