Konnichiwa Kazoku! Okay, for starters, no. There was no mention of the 4th of July, but I celebrated myself and we sang the star spangled banner and I talked about BBQ and Hamburgers all day :) So it was synthetically real :) I had the Sandlot running through my head all day too. Probably not missionary appropriate, but it was the 4th okay? I wish I could have gotten old navy shirts with all of you! That is a really fun part of the 4th too. But, I celebrated in Japan, so it was all good.
I was really sad to hear the news about the legalization of gay marriage. That breaks my heart. And President Packer and Sister Bell passing away.. I hope everything else is going well though. Has the Facebook stuff calmed down at all? I hope so. I don't want to come home to that. But I know that God has a plan for all of His children, and those who remain faithful will be the ones who receive the blessings. I have found that a lot on my mission, that just being a member isn't enough. It is the trusting in God, and believing and following his commandments that really bring true, lasting joy. This will not last forever, but God will. His plan is eternal. Stay strong. Turn off Facebook for a while if it is hard to listen too, or tempting to agree. There is no reason for us to give into the wrong when we already know the right. I know God will help us as we try our best to stand firm. I got the package from the relief society. It was so great! I loved all the notes so much, they lifted and inspired me and really helped me to get that boost that I needed, and the treats were delicious! Thank you SO MUCH! Cedar Hollow 2nd Ward relief society, aishiteimasu!
As far as me, it's the same old thing! Nothing really grand to report, but I am really loving Sister Layton. We get along really well, and we want to figure out how we can work the best together and we are just really having a fun time together. Actually, the more I live, the more weird things I do, I realize that I have the sense of like coolness of Grandma Big. Like the whole, I think it might be cool for me to do a little tap dance here, or yeah, I have a song for that thing. Uh huh. Yep. I'm basically a grandma. Who needs to be old when you can be a grandma now?
This last week we had a miracle! Haha or so we call it. We housed into this lady who told us that she would rather meet at our church for a lesson, so it was awesome, and we went to the church, and we started getting really worried and more worried that she wasn't going to come, and it got later, and we called, and no answer, and called and no answer, and so we decided to just stand outside of the church for 5 more minutes, and she came! We were able to give her a church tour and we really felt so happy to teach someone in the church. We don't get those chances very often, so when it happened, we were really happy. She didn't seem all too interested, but we thought it was a miracle. Someone kept their appointment and it was at the church! Yahoo!
We had our last AB lesson with Haruka Chan this week too, which was really sad! Haruka is the sweetest girl I've ever met. She was baptized at the start of this year, and she is already a wonderful, member. She's my age, and really an angel. She really has been such a wonderful example to me of standing for what you know to be right even when you are the only one. She attends church every week, and has been a great friend to me even though we can hardly communicate :) But we had a lesson on enduring to the end, and temple marriage, and then we got ice cream at McDonalds together, and it was actually a lot of fun. I love when we get to be around her. I'm glad we get to see her every week at church!
So, did you ever figure out that I am "area sempai?" That means that I have been in the area longest, so I have to lead and teach my companion about the area. Did I ever tel, you how bad of an idea that was? Yeah. I got us on the wrong bus, because I can't read kanji, and we took a bus that went over an express way and didn't have any stops for 40 minutes, and then we had to wait and take another one back, and we were both very sad about it by the end. Actually, I am finding I have some sort of good sense of direction, and I taught myself how to use a map! Yeah. Basic life skills I should have probably already learned, yet depended solely on the technology that was always so readily at my hands. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. I am no "radar Raines" but I can get myself places... Eventually. Baha. This week I tried Okonomiyaki for the first time and it was SO GOOD. It's like a pancake thingy with cabbage and vegetables, and you cook it for a while and you douse it in Okonomiyaki sauce and mayo and it's just so good. It made me kinda sick, but it was so worth it. Also, the scary statue is of Tanuki. He is every were. All obachans in the world have him in their yard. I hate him, so I made myself take a picture with him.
Welllllllll I will send pictures for last week and this week. Wow. I haven't sent a lot of pictures. :) GOMEN NASAI. Also, Dad was wondering how much I understand now. I am becoming a very good body linguist. I can pick up a lot more just by body language, and the few things I do know, and I'm doing my best. I can understand, like, actually comprehend about 8% of the words that I hear. Yeah, so I'm.... Working on it. The more I know, the easier it is getting to pick up stuff, so that's good. Oh yeah! We have a new mission president! President and Sister Egan! They are wonderful! We had short interviews with them yesterday and they really just instilled in me a desire to more, to be better, to work my hardest, and I can't wait to see how we work together to make this mission even better than it already is. I already feel their love, and I am excited about them. I love you, and I am happy. I love being a missionary even though it is really hard sometimes. This is the hardest thing I have done, but I am changing and growing in ways I never even thought or considered might be good for me. I love the Japanese people, for their love and patience, and I love them even when I get Kekko. Thank you for always praying for me. I am doing my best each day, and I will continue to improve even more. I sure love you all! Stay strong! Love, Raines Shimai P.S. Mom, I got your package and it was wonderful thanks! I love kit Kat! Can you send me, actually, two paperback copies of the English Book of Mormon? Just like the cheap, blue bound ones? I have some study ideas I want to do, and I would like to have those. No rush. If not, that's fine too! I'm okay if you don't! I love you, Mom!