Wednesday, February 3, 2016

First Week In Saijo

Konnichiwa friends, family, acquaintances, distant cousins, random people...

I am now in Saijo. I took a four hour bus from Kagoshima to Fukuoka.
Then I waited for two hours for my next bus. Then I took a four and a
half hour bus from Fukuoka to Hiroshima then I took a thirty minute
train out to Saijo. That was hard. My suitcases are really heavy :) I
was with someone all the way until I had to take the train and that
was hard. I have a box I meant to send home but forgot to go to the
post before it closed, so I had to haul it around with my two stuffed
suitcases. I got down to the plat form and I was kind of worried about
how I was going to get everything on and off fast enough because the
train doesn't stop for too long. I prayed that someone, some angel
would help me and both when I got on and off the train, random people
helped me with my luggage. It was a miracle! I really felt God was
aware of me right then.

I was really sad to leave Taniyama but kind of relieved. I had a lot
of hard days there and I feel like this might be a new fresh start for
me. But I love Taniyama. I feel like I left a lot of my heart there
with the people I worked with. I feel like I tried really hard while I
was there.

Saijo is kind of weird geographically. We are kind of in a valley so
the amount of hills and mountains is slim Yay!! We aren't really too
close to Hiroshima. It's like being in Eagle Mountain compared to Salt
Lake kind of. (I don't really know what I am talking about) Like that
country feel. When you're in Saijo city, it has that "huge city" feel.
The buildings are tall, close together, and there are shops
everywhere. But then you bike like ten minutes out and it's like a few
neighborhoods and tons of fields. It is beautiful and I love it so
far. It feels a tiny but like Nakagawa. Not really but kinda. Haha.

View out our back porch.

Saijo is also a hot spot for foreigners. We have met people from Kenya
and China so far and we were invited into the home of some girls from
Myanmar. They were really nice! It was really funny. They were really
loud, we could hear them outside their door and Shibayama Shimai
looked at me and said, "I don't think they are Japanese" and they
weren't haha. But it was fun

We have no investigators. We are literally starting from scratch. It's
been fun though. we have been working hard to find people and we have
a few return appointments we are hoping will go through. Our branch
literally just became a branch. It used to be a group. There are
twenty plus people who are considered recent converts, which means
baptized in the last year or so. Crazy right? So the church is
expanding out here in Saijo. We only have two hours of church. 45
sacrament meeting 30 Sunday school 30 third hour class. It's kind of
weird but it's fun. The members are really nice. I got to meet them
yesterday because it was Sunday and we had church, obviously.

There are 8 Shimai in our zone. Including us. My apartment is Me, my
companion who is Nihonjin, Shibayama Shimai. The other two Shimai are
Kumano Shimai (Nihonjin) and Rogers Shimai (Half, grew up in Japan)
and they all speak Japanese to each other. My head kind of hurts.

This will be a interesting transition for me. I am hoping we can get
things rolling soon. Our apartment is pretty small for four people and
I still don't have a desk, so it's been kind of hard to study and be
normal, but we should have everything settled in this week. I have to
go to Fukuoka on Tuesday for MLC and then we do Zone training on
Thursday. It will be busy but fun.

I hope you are all happy and healthy. I love you all!

Love, Raines Shimai

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