Right now I am sitting in a Japanese hospital! these places are so sketchy compared to the U.S. Plus this place is overflowing with really really old people. That is something that I love about Japan. There are old people everywhere and they are really hard to understand. Japanese is a difficult language already, but if you mix it with toothless mumbling 90-year-olds it becomes almost impossible. Even the Japanese missionaries struggle with some of these ancients. I think that they are really funny. Some of these old people are so mentally isolated that they become these psychological islands that exist apart from any daily experiences or influences. They are so immersed in their separate thoughts that that seems to be all they can think about. I have had some pretty wild conversations with really old people here. The latest one was about prehistoric animals and how that old man would love to go back and ride a triceratops. Another one waxed eloquently existential while talking about the recently bloomed Ume blossoms (plum trees). Something that I have learned is you can usually tie some part of the gospel to whatever people are talking about. We talked to a guy that was really into art and we ended up talking about how some pieces of art, for example the Sistine chapel ceiling, transcend the abilities of man and are evidence of divine assistance. The man brought all of that up and we got to testify about God and his love for his children. That was a pretty cool experience.
Anyways, yesterday we had an amazing two mission conference with Elder Ballard, Elder Rasband, and Bishop Stevenson. It was really really amazing, the spirit was there so strong. I am excited to go back and read my notes and feel the aftershock spiritual experiences. They talked a lot about teaching the restoration and studying. It was kind of interesting to see where the talks went. They made a point to emphasize that the talks were not planned or anything just on the spot. I thought that that was kind of cool. I felt the spirit a lot and they answered a lot of questions that I had. It was a wonderful conference. (Mormon Newsroom has an article about these church leaders visiting the US Ambassador to Japan as well as members and missionaries during this same visit)
Then we returned to our area and got our assignments for next transfer. I am going to a Place called Kohoku down in Yokohama! I am really excited! It is going to be great. I hear that they have a lot of mountains down there... so my legs are going to get jacked from riding my bike up and down them. So that's pretty exciting. My companion will be Elder Dana. I don't know him at all but he seems like he will be a pretty good companion. He will be working on his fourth transfer while I am on my Sixth. I am really excited. I will be moving down there on Thursday.
This past week we got to do a lot of fun things. After Eikaiwa (weekly English class) ended, we were talking with a bunch of students and some members. A less active member showed up and I got to have a really good conversation with him. He hasn't been coming to church for a long time and he likes to make jokes about pornography and beer and other things that are against the commandments. He makes those jokes a lot and on Wednesday that's what he was doing. I asked him about his beliefs and what his desires are and what he is willing to do to reach them. We had a long talk and he ended up bearing testimony about commandments and Jesus Christ and eternal life. The spirit was really strong and I felt (I don't do this very often but I really felt like I should) like I should promise him that if he does what he can to get to church and take the sacrament, God will help him deal with the problems that arise and he will be happier. So that was a great experience. I am sad that I will be gone as he makes the changes necessary in his life to follow the commandments, but I am really happy for him because I think that he is willing to make the sacrifices and changes necessary.
This past transfer I have really realized how much I love the people here. Sometimes it is so hard to look past all of the problems that you see--I think this is especially true as a missionary, where you want to help people change. It is easy to see the things that need changing, but I really love the people here. They are so kind and so hard working. They are the nicest people in the world, they are just missing something. I am so happy to be here and so grateful for the chance to serve these beautiful people.
Love you all!