OCTOBER 7, 2013
This week was TRANSFER CALLS. The long anticipated moment. So I don`t know how I am so blessed, but I am thankfully not a trainer. There was a smaller incoming of missionaries this transfer, so THANK GOODNESS. However, I am transfering areas. :( Nagano is becoming a two sister two elder area again. Sister Grant is staying here and then a 10th transfer Japanese missionary is coming in. Me, Smith Shimai, and Katsuta Shimai are all leaving. Me and Sister Smith are going to a place called Kariya. It is completely SOUTH. It is more of a city and I have lots to look forward to. Katsuta Shimai is opening Toyama with a missionary from the kobe mission. So our district is moving everywhere! I am so sad because I love our apartment, Nagano, and especially the people that are here. Me and Smith Shimai are going to a 4 sister area. So she is companions with Avarell Shimai (who was in my district at the MTC) I am companions with Sister Silva from BRAZIL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cool right?!?!?! She is a convert and didn`t know much English when she came out on her mission. SO she had to learn Japanese through English, but she didn`t speak either language so it was really hard for her. She now has really good Japanese and English! And I hear she is hilarious and a really hard worker. SO this girl is stoked. I am soooooooooooo sad to leave Nagano, but I know that the Lord has lots prepared there. It is more city, less country, less hills! We leave tomorrow for Kariya. I am so happy that me and Smith Shimai are still in the same apartment, she is hilarious. I honestly love her so much.
This past week has been insane. We have been everywhere just trying to get me prepared in case I had to stay. It has been super fun and we have been working hard. Amongst these travels I got a flat tire on my bike. OF course, me and Smith Shimai had no idea how to fix it so our elders helped us out. Elder Tsukamoto to the rescue!! Hopefully that doesn`t happen again and my bike is good for a while.
Me and Smith Shimai were on the train and these school children boarded with us. There was probably a good 20 of them and they surrounded us on the chairs. So I was studying flashcards and Smith Shimai was trying to sleep, and we would look up and all 20 eyes were just staring at us. Hahaha Smith Shimai said "it`s kind of hard to sleep when a million munchkins are staring at you." So we`d smile at them and they`d giggle and whisper about us and what not. SO after a while of this I turned to the girl next to me and started talking to her in Japanese. Every single kid was like "EHHHHHHH?!?!?!" Then they were like gesturing at the girl and asking her how I started talking to her. So the girl asks me what country I am from and I say, of course, America. Next thing we know, we are SURROUNDED by every child on the train just trying to ask us questions and talk to us. ALL of them are telling us there names and how old they are. Two of the girls came up and gave a picture of us they had drawn with our name tags and everything. On the name tag it said "Jesus" hahaha. It was the craziest thing EVER. I had no idea how to take it all in. So we had to get off the train and they took a picture with us, isn`t that the greatest picture ever? Classic, SO fun. Then when we all got off the trian we were visiting members and less actives houses and the kids would scream every time they saw us walking around and say hi.
Me and Katsuta Shimai went on comp switches last week since she is a Sister Training Leader. She is honestly the cutest, most beautiful human alive. ＷE HAD to take this bus wayyyyy up into the mountains to visit one of our cute little members who is only 8 years old and was baptized last year. His mom doesn't go to church. It was THE SKETCHIEST bus ride I have ever been on. The road was like 12 feet wide and just went back and forth around these corners. I honestly don`t know how I lived, but it was really beautiful and had the cutest Japanese cottages.
Our members have been getting a lot of dendo fire, passing out pamphlets and doing everything they can. It`s been awesome to see them help in the work, with referrels and visiting people together. I love this branch from the bottom of my heart and the goodbyes have been really hard. We teach children's eikaiwa every Saturday, and when me and Smith Shimai told one of the kids mom`s that we were leaving she started bawling and just saying how much she is going to miss us. It is really hard because I don`t know if I will ever see these people again, it breaks my heart. Yesterday we told Takemoto san that we were leaving, and she was honestly devastated. She kept saying how deeply sad she is and was just crying and crying. She begged us to let her meet with her one last time today. She was hugging and just wouldn`t let go. I love the heck out of her and am going to miss her so much. It broke my heart and then some. She was so shocked and disappointed... Ahhhh :( I never realized how deeply you would love your investigators.. Wow it has been such an opportunity.
Yesterday we had an FHE with the cutest family ever, they have 4 kids and they just love the missionaries. We were playing fun Japanese games and they were asking all these questions about what it is like to be a missionary. I couldn`t help but reflect on when I was like that, it made me super grateful that I have this opportunity. Ahhh I love these people.
We will watch General Conference this weekend in Japanese. SO STOKED!!! It sounds amazing.
I have so much love in my heart for these people. I never thought I would have such a deep, yearning desire for the happiness of complete strangers. When they don`t accept the gospel, it breaks my heart. Jesus Christ is the same way, except He is more patient. He has grace and He understands God`s timing. He has so many blessings He wants to give us, and he just lovingly waits for us to receive them. I love my Savior so much. Each day I understand more and more how wonderful He is.
My next e-mail is from Kariya! I don`t have the address, so just send everything through the honbu. It only takes a couple extra days.
Sister Crofts & Sister Smith with Japanese Children
|The Nagano Branch|
|Those flat tire blues|
|All the children boarded the bus with us up to the mountains.|
|It was foggy up in the mountains, but beautiful!|
|Kesako Shimai (the bishops wife) and another member.|
|The Takeis are super missionaries. She would always turn to me during church to make sure I understand what they are saying. Their daughter was in the MTC with me.|
|Yuto. The very definition of energy and craziness. Our weekly kodomo eikaiwa student.|