Monday, July 23, 2012

Transfer 3 with new companion in Matsudo!

Hi family,
I hope everyone has had a good week! Summer is in full swing in Japan and I'm lucky I haven't melted yet. I survive mostly on two drinks called POCARI SWEAT and CALPIS. Pocari Sweat is sort of like Crystal Light, and Calpis is a sweet milky water that is way more delicious than it sounds. I wonder if Asian markets (or even regular ones) would have them in America?
Doing missionary work with my new companion Mano Shimai is so FUN! She has a lively little personality, but what makes it fun is she has such a great attitude about the people. Even if conversations with these crazy people go horribly awry she always has something positive to say about them. I'm going to get out of the habit of complaining quick this transfer. Mano Shimai also is always coming up with fun little games or conversation topics in between talking to people or ringing doorbells. She's helping me be a better missionary towards the Japanese people, which is important, but she's also teaching me how to be a fun companion. I'm taking good notes so the rest of my mission can be this enjoyable. It's still tough, and it's frustrating when the people here don't think they need the gospel, but my great companion keeps me motivated to keep working and just love everybody.
Two highlights from this week:
1. Teaching Yoshida-san. She's an eighty-year-old woman whose husband died recently, and she's the neighbor of a church member who invited us over. We were expecting to just listen to her vent about how sad and lonely she is now, but instead she pulled out a notepad and said, "Okay, tell me all about your church!" びくりしました!It was so sweet teaching her the plan of salvation and saying, "This is where your husband is right now! He's learning all about Jesus too and he's waiting for you. One day you're going to be reunited, and if you follow God's plan you can live together with each other forever." People on this side of the world have never heard anything like that. They need to know the doctrine that death isn't the end of our loved ones. It really strengthened my testimony of eternal families to be able to teach her about it. She was so funny too---I was the first American she'd ever talked to, and she kept worrying that my feet would fall off from sitting on the floor. She also worried about me riding a bike, sleeping on a futon, and eating Japanese food. Bless her heart. My companion is American too but since she has a Japanese face she didn't warrant much concern.
2. A member took us out to dinner for a less-active member's birthday and we went to a "tabehodai" restaurant, which is basically all-you-can-eat bread! During our three-course dinner, waitresses kept bringing around plates of at least a dozen different varieties of bread and rolls. There were normal things like sourdough and croissants, savory breads like onion and garlic, sweet orange and cinnamon rolls, and then some unusual ones made from Japanese herbs, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables. All SUPER delicious. Bread is, by far, my favourite food to eat in Japan. Even though it's not originally Japanese food, they have perfected the art, I can assure you!
Are you guys doing anything fun in Utah for the 24th or are you all too busy? It sounds like you're having a great summer!
Keep praying for me to learn Japanese, because I need all the help I can get. Thank you for your support everyone!
~Long Shimai
P.S. If anyone has been wanting to send me a present, I could always use more sketchbooks! I brought two with me from America that will last another month or so, and I haven't found one yet in Japan that I like much. I've heard the cheapest way to send packages to missionaries is to order it on and select the mission home as the shipping address. There's an Amazon warehouse in Sapporo Japan so it shouldn't cost much more than if you sent it within the United States. Pretty cool. I'm sending a picture of the kind of sketchbook I like if anyone wants to send me one! I love you!

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