Sunday, May 21, 2017

Back to the edge of the earth

Date: 5/15/2017
Place: Ise
Companion: Elder Buchanan

Wrote part of my weekly on the train ride home from Udono since we had about four hours. 

I'm sitting on a tiny, diesel local train headed for Matsusaka. We came down this morning on a fast diesel train and got off at Kumanoshi. Our appointment with Akasaka wasn't for 2 hrs so we made a desperate attempt to bike two pocket towns north to go visit the only other less active we hadn't visited in the area. We quickly ran into an impassable mountain and couldn't get anywhere so we pulled off and practiced for Akasaka's lesson on the cliffs by the ocean (a place called 鬼ヶ城). 
Then we went and found Akasaka's house. Turns out her mom was the one that we had talked with on the phone and she was friendly but Akasaka herself was extremely hostile and wouldn't give us the time of day. She informed us that she had joined a Protestant religion and couldn't even talk to us. Never mind the fact that we had just spent over a hundred dollars and an entire day traveling just to see her. She wouldn't even open the door for us but just kekkoed (shut the door on) us through the window. Her mom apologized to us with her eyes as Akasaka asked us to leave and never contact her again. To be honest I was pretty angry that she wouldn't even talk to us for a second after we had just traveled over a hundred kilometers to see her. We left a nice note and a Restoration pamphlet and left. 

As we were riding and trying to figure out what the heck we should do with our lives now, a car stopped and someone rolled down a window and asked us if we were Mormon missionaries. We were very excited and thought "this is the reason we came down here!" and she pulled over and we started talking. Turns out there used to be this little branch in the Kobe mission (not far from where we were) called Shingu. She used to go to their Eikaiwa and Christmas parties and such and also took some lessons at one point. She told us the names of a bunch of her old missionaries and we were really excited to find someone who wanted to talk to us! We then asked if we could exchange numbers and maybe meet up sometime but she pretty much just said no and wouldn't give us her number. So we gave her an Eikaiwa flyer and walked away feeling really down and confused. Maybe it will turn into something later. 

Members of Ise Branch

We had some time before our train so we decided to punt it out about 20 kilometers down the coast to hit the last less active in the area that we still had not contacted. We booked it down as fast as we could (I nearly died. That was definitely one of the hardest rides of my mission) and finally got to the area where he lived. We only had about 20 minutes before the train came (they come about every two hours out there) so we booked it up the side of the mountain in the crazy unorganized mess of Japanese roads. The roads proved to be too tangled and we couldn't find his house in the short amount of time that we had. We had to abandon our idea of finding this guy and scrambled back to the station just in time for the train. We got on and I started talking to some high school kids. They were some of the funniest guys I had ever met and we had a really good time while they were on the train. It cheered me up after a really hard day. After a while they got off and we stayed on the train for another 3 hours as it stopped at all 31 stops. 


About three or four hours later we finally rolled into Isuzugawa and booked it straight to the church for our appointment with Bro. Hamaguchi. He was actually really nice, had a testimony, prayed with us and set a next appointment. We were both so hungry and exhausted that we could barely string sentences together but we had a good lesson with him. What a good way to end the day. By then it was 8:30 and we hadn't eaten anything since that Sukiya we had at 11am so we pounded it over to the ramen shop by the apartment and asked for the biggest, hottest, fastest bowl of ramen they could whip up. We ordered our kaidama in advance, pounded it all down and got home before 9pm. Win. 

The next day we taught a temple prep class to Bro. Ota. Way psyched for him. Then we went out to ramen with John and he finally became an investigator! Sort of. We'll get him though. 

We had a good DTM with the guys in Tsu, then we cycled clear back up into the mountains to our appointment with Fukumura, another less active. He stood us up and wasn't home. So we ate another combini (convenient store) dinner sitting on the curb in the parking lot of a Circle K up in the mountains, then booked it home (probably 1hr and a half ride)
So far we are about 1/140 contact attempts in the less active department. 

Saturday we spent the day trapped at the church and got a ton of planningorganizing, data input, record keeping and everything in between DONE. 

Sunday was the usual Sabbath day madness. We got up, went to church and did the usual Presidency meeting and stuff, set up the church and had sacrament meeting. We probably had about 8 or 10 people or so. Then we had ward council meeting and planned a bunch of stuff with Kashima Kyodai (our high counselor) for Branch Conference

Apparently we are getting a senior couple this weekend and I will be released! Then we went to go visit Bro. Hayashi but he wasn't home. 

On the way out to another members place we found a Vietnamese kid. He was really nice and we took him all the way back to the church and played ping pong. He said he will come to church next Sunday! 

Life is good. Life is real good. 

Love y'all! 

Elder Johnson 

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