Sister Leah Hodson has been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She has been assigned to the Nagoya, Japan mission. This is an account (as posted by her family) of her mission.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Week 7! Wow things are picking up.
Sorry for writing so late. We went to the Nagoya Castle today, so we decided to do our missionary work in the morning, go to the castle in the afternoon and do our normal P-Day things in the evening. More on that later. In Japan, we don't get to watch conference until the 13 and 14 because of the time change, so no spoilers! Also, I'm thinking about getting an electronic dictionary so that I can look up the writing system characters (called kanji). The cheapest are about $100 and the expensive about $400. The catch is I would have to use personal money. I haven't decided if I really want to buy one yet, though. It would be extremely helpful and it would help me improve my Japanese and I could use it after my mission, BUT, it is expensive and I have a paper dictionary and I don't want to spend what money I have on one thing. I'd rather split it up so that I can buy more for other people. What is your input?
Mon I bought some marshmallows earlier in the week and we toasted them over the stove. Some things that I forgot in my letter from the week before: at the sports night activity, the bishop, whenever he was trying to steal the ball from someone, he would come up to them with wide open arms and say "Give it to the bishop. Give it here. To the bishop" very softly. At ward conference, there were a couple of people on the floor because there weren't enough spots on the chairs. Two of those people were the elders. The first counselor in the bishopric was one of the people taking the picture, so he scurried out from behind the camera, dove onto the floor, and cuddled up to one of the elders. Then the stake president dove on top of them in a dog pile. I laughed so hard. I also raised the seat of my bike. IT MADE THINGS SO MUCH EASIER. The hills that we rode before, no sweat. Literally. Unfortunately, my bike seat keeps sliding down as I ride. Periodically I have to stop, raise it back up and then mount again. It seems to be that the seat pole (for lack of a better word) is really greasy. The clamp at the bottom of the seat pole seems to work fine, though.Tue One of our investigators got put in the hospital. She has a brain infarction (Mom, what does that mean? Her speech is slurred, she has a hard time writing) according to what Sis Rogers electronic dictionary says the kanji of her illness means. We're really worried about her.
I've lost my sense of proportion. In the US, I'm undoubtedly short. Here, I feel average sized. The only people who are shorter than me are the old people, and most of the young people are taller than me, but any one who reaches any where past 5'5" is tall. Also, when I look out at a crowd or a train car, I no longer see "Asian" faces, I just see normal faces. When someone isn't Japanese is when it's odd. We found 2 investigators in the same day! WHAT THE? We have a plan to save up our money all month and go to a $60-a-plate crab restaurant at the end of the month for Sis Rogers' birthday. We'll see if we actually have the will power to not spend...
Thu We visited an investigator for the first time. I thought that it would be kind of slow getting the conversation turned to religious topics, but we kind of barreled
through the first lesson. The lady just asked the right questions and said the right things. She doesn't seem like she's super interested, but we gave her a Book of Mormon and if she reads it with the right heart, I know that she will gain that interest. Here's hoping. We visited a less active couple. They both like to travel and about 20 years ago the drove all of Route 66. Guess where they've been? Golden Spike! I told them that I'd been there too and they showed me photos of it and I was like "Yep. Been there. Seen that. I remember that." The husband also had an original poster from those days advertising the new train. He was talking about the western part of Route 66 and he said "It's just like watching a John Ford movie." I was like "I know those movies! My Dad watches them all the time!" Hopefully we can work this angle to get a relationship so that they will start coming back to church. We dyed eggs for Easter using food coloring. It actually turned out ok.
Fri We dropped by a member's house just to say hello and she was like "come in I have something to give you." She then proceeded to give us each an authentic yukata (a kind of kimono) complete with accessories made by an authentic Japanese grandmother! I'll be sure to send you pictures soon. The sakura (cherry blossoms) are white! I always saw them depicted as pink, and they do have a pink tinge, but most of them are white, surprisingly The husband of our investigator who is in the hospital seems to have had a change of heart because his wife is sick. Hopefully this experience brings them closer to Christ. I also hope we can help them in any way that we can.
Sat Easter Egg hunt. I won. One of our investigators passed his baptismal interview.We taught a lesson in English to a lady who is teaching English here. I felt weird in that lesson. We had a strange finding experience in the dollar store. We were picking up a picture frame for our investigators so that we could give them a picture of Christ to have in their home. This lady kept staring at us and smiling at us. Sister Rogers nudged me and told me to to go talk to her. So I did. The feeling the whole conversation was like "oh it's you! I've been waiting for you." We asked if it would be ok to visit her and she said why, so we said we talk about families and God and she said ok. She then gave us her name, number, and address. WHAT???? It was hard to believe that she was so willing to give us that information after we only talked for like two minutes. Hopefully she'll become a real investigator.
Sun Udaka-san got baptized (see photo). After the baptismal service, we went to visit our investigator in the hospital. The elders and one of the members who is her friend gave her a blessing. It was a tender spiritual moment. I can only hope and pray for their faith and for the doctors to be guided. I had some personal revelation after we left the hospital. It's simple and basic, and something you hear from the beginning, but a mission isn't about you. When you get sucked inward, you start to get depressed. When you turn out, you can do and see and feel a lot more. We had a mini Easter dinner (potatoes, carrots, onions, beef). It wasn't that great, but it was something.Mon We went to Nagoya Castle with all the Elders in our district and one of their investigators (see other picture). We met another Mormon (a tourist) and some Presbyterian missionaries there. It was a truly beautiful place and some beautiful weather. I also got a little sun burnt. Love, Leah