Holy cow so much has happened!! I can't believe it!!!
Our flight out to Tokyo was sooo long! It was difficult because there were like a billion people watching movies around me and I had to either just sit there, pretend to sleep or read more scriptures! Haha that wasn't too bad really, but it was a really really long flight. We got to Fukuoka late, maybe around 10:30 Japan time. We met the mission president and from there we went to the Mission home and slept.
The day after we got here in Fukuoka, we had an orientation with the Mission president and his wife. They went over rules, bike safety, health and money and that type of thing and we had interviews and then after that we actually went out and dendoed. I was with a Nihonjin and Doi Shimai and I had really no idea what what was going on half of the time but I really tried my best! We handed out a lot of "chirashi" which are like flyers with our website and a few questions answered and stuff and we also give out with that english class flyers. Every week we teach english class, which I'm actually kinda looking forward to because they have to speak my language for a change!! :) Also, we did attend that that night and that was fun. After eikaiwa, we all went back to the Mission Home and we were taken into the President's office. There is a really large wall it was covered by curtains and they like "unveiled" it and on the board were all of the missionaries in the mission and we all got to figure out where we were assigned and who our trainer would be! Oh yeah, and that night also after we were done doing our first ever contacting, we ate at a real Japanese restaurant and it was good but I wasn't used to the flavors yet so it kinda threw my stomach off, but it was a fun experience!
I have been assigned to the Nakagawa area which is about 40 minutes away from Fukuoka city. So really, not far at all. I am companions with Sister Cox! She is from Provo Utah, and she has been here for 7 transfers I believe. She is really awesome! She knows her stuff! She has taught me so much already and I couldn't have asked for a better training situation.
The day after, Thursday, we got up, prepared and we set off for the train station which is also a bus station and we met our new companions! We took the train into Nakagawa and then from there a member couple met us and picked us up. They were so kind, and they even offered to take me to get my bike right then, so of course we said yes! So I got my bike that first day! (I feel like I need to type faster I have so much to say!!!) We went to two different bike shops and at the second one we found my bike! It is a Louis Garneau (I think) and it is bright blue and awesome! It is a mountain bike and I really actually like it a lot. I have a bike basket attached to the back and a little bell and the lights and all that jazz. Mom, it was REALLY expensive. The total cost was like 670 or something... really ridiculous but I will take really good care of it and do my best to keep it up the best that I can so that it will always stay in nice condition. I hope that's alright. I didn't really have a choice, and the day before the Mission President had talked about making sure we just get a nice bike right off the bat. So, I hope that's alright..........:|
Well, so I had a bike, but my trainer didn't so we had to walk from the bike shop home which was like an hour and thirty minute walk. We got home, unpacked a little and the rest of the day was spent doing our weekly planning and getting to know each other.
First trip to dai so!!!
I have a really cute futon! My sheets were given to me by the mission home and they are pink and wonderful. I really like them. Actually, sleeping on a futon really isn't that bad! I actually kinda like it. It was a little harder to sleep the second night because I was really stiff and sore but I'm getting used to it already.
The next day we road out and did some housing and stuff and a lot of contacting. It is so beautiful here in Japan! Here in Nakagawa you can see trees and like tall hill things from basically everywhere. We are like nestled in this little valley and it's really awesome, I just love it.
This weekend was really good. I got to watch ALL of General Conference again for the second time :) It was really long but really good. I felt really good watching it again because I was really able to focus on what sort of promptings I was receiving rather than worrying so much about what I was going to write down next. It was actually a really good way to start off my mission. I got to meet a lot of ward members in a low key setting and it was really good.
The church we go to is actually in Fukuoka city. So, we either have to take a 40 minute bus ride in, or we have to bike in. I haven't experienced biking in yet, but I think that's just because Sister Cox is trying to be nice to me. :) But we have to come to the church probably 3 times a week or so so that will be wonderful.... :) I'll have really good legs hopefully. I am actually really surprised at how okay I am with riding the bike. I was SOOOO worried about it. I purchased it and wondered if i would ever even really be able to use it because I am SOO bad at riding bikes, but I've actually gotten along pretty well and I feel pretty comfortable with it, however, please take a moment and watch the Best Two Years. Please watch the scene when they first buy his bike and he is riding it down the ramp and like 1 mile an hour turning the front wheel in awkward directions trying to get it to go straight and not really understanding what sort of skills it takes to ride the bike. Yes, that is basically me every time I get on, but after I'm alright. I was just never bikily gifted. That really is just too bad. However, I hope every time you think of me riding my bike you laugh because it's worth laughing over. :)
My desk is soooo cute! It's like a light blue and I have space and it's awesome. My apartment is four floors up, so wherever I look on the back side or by the front door we can see a view of the city and we can see the hills in the distance. It really is gorgeous. The doors are like my sized! They are way shorter than normal doors in America. I didn't take a picture yet, but I will sometime. Our apartment is meant for four people but we only have two so it's spacey and nice. Yep, it's just the two of us all day long!
I have met some of the strangest people already and some of the sweetest and some of the most interesting. It's funny because when we house the people will just kinda peek out the side of the door, or they will stand like three feet away from the door, or they will not even open the door and you have to talk through it, or you have to talk to them on their "keko box" which is like attached to the doorbell and you talk through it like a walkie talkie kinda. I don't know how better to explain that. I have already taught my first lesson with Sister Cox! We actually did that today! We are teaching an older lady who loves Karaoke and right when she got there she sang for us it was the greatest thing ever. However, I was able to extend an invitation to her to be baptized and she wasn't really sure but she said she would like to come to church this next Sunday and we were so excited!! I love missionary work!
Already I have seen so many miracles. We have accidentally run into people that Sister Cox said disappeared or they wouldn't ever answer their phones and it's just really great to see the Lord's hand in this work! I know I can't do anything without the strength of the Lord. Sister Cox and I decided that every day we are going to write down a miracle that we saw and always remember what good has happened when we have a harder day!
I really can't do much yet because I don't have the language down, but when I bare my testimony of the Book of Mormon using the juvenile language that I know, I feel the spirit so strongly testifying to my own heart that what I am saying is what I really believe. No matter where we are in the world, we are all God's children and we are all able to feel the same spirit. It is truly amazing.
Also, I met a recent convert who is from the Philippines, moved here about 20 or so years ago and we go over to read the Book of Mormon with her. So this is what happens, she reads in Tagolog, we read in English because she can understand a lot of English and then we explain things to her in Japanese. It was a really odd combination and experience but it was good, and I felt good. We also went over to her house to help her pack some things because she is moving soon. She also made a "delicacy" for us... It was like corn pudding or something and that's what she gave us for dinner and that was really interesting hahahahaha.
Yesterday, Sunday, we had the privilege to eat at a members house for dinner and to have Family Home Evening with about four young families! There were like 12 kids under the age of ten there and it was crazy but we were able to share a message about serving one another and loving one another. Also, something cool that happened was one of the Brothers had us all practice saying "I love you" because in Japan they don't really say that to one another, they say kinda like "I really like you" but he said as members of the church we know that it is important to LOVE one another so we kinda played a game where we went around and said aishiteru (I love you) and if someone said I love you in English, we had to switch the direction, and if someone said it in Korean, we had to skip the person and it was a lot of fun and a really cute way to do that. I really liked it. We were served really delicious curry that one of the Sisters made and it was so good. And I also tried Sea weed.. not my favorite yet :)
I am surprised by how easily I have been able to adjust to everything here. I feel like it hasn't been very hard and I know that's because every morning I pray that I'll just be able to put my best foot forward and do whatever is needful for me to do. I have liked everything I've tried food wise, I've been able to communicate enough of what I'm feeling to help a little bit for Sister Cox and, I don't know, I just feel ridiculously blessed that I'm in Japan. That I have the chance to be here and I just really love it.
I hope you are all doing well. I LOVED the pictures you sent me, thank you! I am sorry that you have all felt SO bad. That makes me sad!!! I will pray for you even more but I know you'll be blessed for loving our extended family. I will probably be emailing on Tuesday my time because it is too hard to bike out here Monday and Tuesday and Saturday and Sunday. We have to email at the church. This week was different for some reason, I'm not all caught up on what's really going on but I'm trying my best :) So, you will probably get this Sunday night and usually I'm assuming you will get it Monday night your time.
I am so thrilled to be here. I love the people, it will take some more getting used to, and my bike is crazy weird to have to ride all of the time, but I know that I can make this a great experience. I have a great trainer. Please pray for me to be able to pick up the language quickly so that I can contribute more to what I need to do. Already I've learned so much, but I know there is so much more for me to learn. I'm sorry if I forgot to say something or write something, there's just too much that's happened for me to say it all, I'm also sorry if I forgot a question or something but please know I love you!!!!!!
You are all such great examples to me and I love you all. It was so fun to hear you on Monday and I can't wait for Mother's day because I'll be able to talk with you again! I know the Lord will bless you if you have the faith that He will, and if you ask for it.
I never forget my family in my prayers and in my thoughts. I sure love you all. Thank you for letting me go on a mission and for all of your support. It's really surreal that I'm here.
I LOVE YOU