Place: Ise, Mie Pref.
Companion: Elder Brown
Well it's been an interesting week.
On Monday we went out to lunch with Parma Shimai and her daughter and son in law. They were way cool and we had such a good time! I'm way sad to be leaving just as Parma shimai moved back into the ward!
Elder Nakatsuka and I finished packing our bags and had them sent off. Me, Elder Nakatsuka, Taylor and Hovorka went to the famous Tsukemen Bachan noodle shop for our last meal in Shizuoka together. I got the classic Sanshou flavor (Japanese prickly pear) thats spicy and turns your face numb. Elder Nakatsuka got the same thing but for some reason his was twice as hot as mine! #sketchyramenshop
We got up the next day, said goodbye to Elder Taylor and Hovorka and then went on our last ride through Shizuoka to get to the train station. After six months of watching the seasons change and watching missionaries come and go, it felt really weird to be leaving. I was the longest missionary in the zone and had watched everyone come in, get new companions, change companions, learn and grown and gain experience. I felt like I had become part of the place. It was really sad to leave.
We met Inouye Shimai and Brown Shimai at the station. This is Sister Inouye's first transfer so we got on the same train together. Some members were gathered at the train station to say goodbye. Man I love Shizuoka.
Then the three of us, Elder Nakatsuka, Sister Inouye and I, hopped on a train for Nagoya. We talked about all that we had learned and the experience that we had in Shizuoka. I finally had my turning point, my greatest learning experience, in Shizuoka. I finally reached the point where I feel like I "get it." Elder Wilson taught me and prepared me for it and then Elder Nakatsuka helped me finally understand it. I realized that the single biggest, most important thing that one can come to understand is this one fact: When you want what God wants, you both win. It is possible to sacrifice what you want for what God wants and still miss the point. It is not enough to sacrifice a behavior. You must sacrifice the very desire to that behavior. In other words, your desire to do the will of the Lord should overpower the desire to do anything else. We talked about this all the way to Nagoya. Elder Nakatsuka gets it. Sister Inouye gets it. Man I wish I would have understood it earlier in my mission.
Inouye shimai stayed on the train to Gifu and we got off at Nagoya. I hate saying goodbye to friends. As always on transfer day, we bumped into quite a few other missionaries as they transferred. We spent some time at the Golden Clock waiting for the guys from Ise. They arrived and it was time to say goodbye to Elder Nakatsuka. That was hard. Man I love that guy! We had so much fun and learned so much together. He will do great things with Elder Handley up in Ueda.
We all parted ways and Elder Brown and I headed out for the Honbu. Upon arrival we discovered that we had received the wrong time for the meeting so we were half an hour late for trainer's training. Oh well. ELDER GUBBAY WAS THERE!!! I HAVENT SEEN HIM SINCE AUGUST!!! It was so good to see him! He's training a brazilian bean chan! I'm going to be a grandpa! It was so good getting to talk to him after the meeting. I seriously love that guy so much!
We headed off for Nagoya together. As we got on the train, Elder Gubbay walked over to the other side of the train and started oyming people. Just like old times. Man what a beast! He's seriously the best. It reminded me of the train ride home from the honbu when I first picked him up. He OYMed all the way home to Inuyama and he had only been in Japan for one night! He's become such a powerful missionary. What an honor it was to be his trainer.
At Nagoya we said goodbye and Elder Brown and I hopped on a kintetsu train for Ujiyamada. The train system is different so it was difficult to OYM anyone other than the guy I was sitting next to. We got to Ise at night and went home and unpacked.
Elder Brown is cool. He's a chill guy, right outta high school and comes from Ogden Utah. He's my first American companion since June, last year. He's been in the mission for 8 weeks so I will be half-bake training him. He's quiet and he's really nice.
Ise used to be a four Elder area but they closed down a companionship and brought Elder Brown over from the other companionship so we are basically whitewashing. We spent the majority of our energies this week cleaning up the area's records and maps. There is still a mountain worth of cleaning and organizing to do. We messaged everyone in the phone but didn't get a whole lot of responses. I have a computer now (that's weird) so we used that to get all of the records put into a missionary ipad friendly note file.
On Sunday we had our first Branch Presidency Meeting. Then I spoke in Sacrament Meeting. We had 11 people in attendance. The Stake President and his first councilor also came down and visited for the meeting. Afterwards I was set apart and then we had meetings until about 4ish. After that we went with one of the Tsu Branch members to visit the Deji family that lives about an hour away by car. They live in such a remote area! It was way cool to meet them. We will be going back next week to teach a lesson! Hopefully they can become investigators.
There is so so much work to be done here and this branch needs all the help they can get. Due to some bad things happening in the branch as of late, we are going to need to do a lot of work to cheer them up. The meeting house here is a really cute and small. "Fun sized" you might say. We live right in between the inner sanctuary and outer sanctuary shrines of Ise Jingu. Our competition is the biggest Shinto shrine in the world. Ise is more of tourist town for people coming to see the shrine.
The branch here has about 10-15 active members. We have no real investigators yet but a few good potentials. We are going to try to visit every member in the branch this week. It's going to be fun! Ise is beautiful. It's seriously Jurassic park out here. It's all a bunch densely wooded little green hills poking up out of the ocean. It's very beautiful here.
Ok sorry gotta go!