Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Back to the Countryside

I've been transferred back to Sagamihara!  I was here exactly a year
ago.  I even got the same desk in the same apartment as last year, and
the same side of the same closet.  I'm sleeping in the next bed over
from the one I slept in last year, though.  :P  I'm looking forward to
seeing the members again on Sunday.  It's going to be interesting
serving in the same area with completely different missionaries.  And
it'll be really nice now that my Japanese is a lot better than it used
to be.  :3

Monday, May 11, 2015

Birthday, Mother's Day, Transfer Day

We finally did my birthday cake the other night.  Only about 50 days
late.  :P  It was a two-layer cake with the bottom layer made from
cookie dough, and it was all cooked in the rice cooker.  It was kind
of a crazy venture and it turned out looking bizarre, but it was
delicious anyway.  :3

Today I talked with my family via Skype for the last time before
coming home.  My family video-called some of my other relatives during
the call, so I said hi to my grandparents and a couple of my aunts
through my iPad through the Internet through my laptop through a
smartphone through the Internet through their was kinda
cool :P  My next oldest brother will most likely be out on his mission
by the time I get back, so I'm expecting that the next time I'll see
him is over Skype this Christmas.

We got word last week that they've altered the transfer schedule.
Instead of getting our transfer announcements on Monday next week and
transferring the following Thursday, we're getting the announcements
this Saturday and transferring on Monday.  o.0

The top layer was made like a normal cake.  The bottom layer was made
from cookie dough.  It's half cake, half cookie cake.  And buttercream

Elder Wallace made it for us.  :3

Exactly 50 days late, if I'm calculating correctly...

Screenshot from today's Skype call.  This is the last time I call my
family before I actually go home in six months~~~

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Open House

May 3-5th in Japan is a string of three different holidays right in a
row.  Because of that they call this week "Golden Week" and have
festivals all over the place.  We saw a Pok√©mon festival going on up
by Landmark Tower today, and there was a J-pop culture festival going
on in one of the parks the other day.

For Golden Week, Yamate Ward turns the church into a temporary
visitor's center and opens it up for tours.  There were displays set
up for family history, temples, the Book of Mormon, and the history of
the Church in Japan, and a room with lemonade and cookies and movies
playing, and organ music playing in the chapel.  They had missionaries
and members come from all over the stake to help give tours, to stand
out in front of the church to direct people inside, and to go out into
the parks and hand out fliers to the crowds of people.  That was my
Monday and Tuesday.  Our P-day got pushed to Wednesday as a result.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Young people, old people

This past week we've met with a few different 60-ish-year-old men.  One of them is trying to get us into the Chinese medicine business (he says that it'll help us raise money for our missionary work), and another is a retired English professor who's trying to get us to study Jewish history and academic theology (he thinks that'll make us more qualified for our missionary work).  They're really quite passionate about their respective fields, and they have good intentions, but they talk so much and listen so little that we haven't been able to explain to them that our missionary program doesn't work that way!

It's got me thinking about how the missionary program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does work, though.  Young men get sent out on full-time missions for only two years, and they have to be younger than 25 years old or they're not allowed to go.  This by itself means that from an academic perspective, the elders will never be as educated as our professor friend.  We're not required to have the same kind of training that some other churches require of their ministers, either.  The Book of Mormon says "they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance" (2 Nephi 28:4).  We have to rely on the Holy Ghost to make it work, and it does work!  And then, once the two years are up, we go home, go back to school, and usually pursue majors and careers that aren't religious!  We become engineers, doctors, lawyers, programmers, entrepreneurs, and so on.  

From a worldly perspective, it's a really weird way to run a missionary program, eh?