Sooo I made it to my first area in one peace. I am serving in a place called UBE and it is in the YAMAGUCHI zone. My companions name is Sister Buhler and she is pretty much amazing. AMAZING. She has been on her mission for ten months now and she is just killin it!!! This town is super small and it is nothing but old Buddhist grandmas that don't want to hear the gospel, ha! I can't believe how nice everyone on the street is though. We literally don't let a single person pass by us without saying "excuse me" and they ALL STOP to hear what we have to say. I guess its just polite Japanese culture, because that would never happen in America. And then when they aren't interested after they have heard us go on for five minutes they apologize and say thank you and take our pamphlets! My first day here we went out tracting and it was awesome, I bore my testimony to everyone. Nothing brings the spirit like a testimony, I am learning that very quickly. These people are SO different from Americans. I am still trying to wrap my head around there interesting culture...it will get more normal with time im sure. We stopped a younger girl the other night on our way home on the street and asked her if she had ever heard of Jesus Christ before, and she said no! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? Its not uncommon at all for these people to never have even thought about God a day in their life. Some look so confused when we start talking about God or Jesus Christ. IT has made me realize HOW BLESSED I am to have the knowledge that God exists...
Since so many people have no clue about why they are alive, my favorite question to ask people on the street is "have you ever thought about the purpose of life?" I try to get them thinking...more times than not they think about it for a second and say no. They have no direction in life and it breaks my heart. Good thing we are bringing them the gospel right!!
I went to the ward yesterday and it was SO GREAT. There are hardly any members attending church. In UBE there are 400 LESS ACTIVES and maybe 60-65 people attend each week. Buhler Shimai and I are on THE HUNT for our less actives. She is so amazing at finding them with the limited resources that we have. We basically have a list of members and a huge map and we just go to work and find them, and then make plans to go visit them. I know we are going to reactivate so many people once we can finally track them down and start teaching them again...some got baptized over 20 years ago and don't even remember that they were baptized. We are starting form square one, its tough but amazing at the same time. I introduced myself to the ward and bore my testimony. The spirit hit me like a brick wall when I started to testify of Christ and i cried! YAY! I am starting to feel the spirit really strong when I bare my testimony in Japanese, its a miracle and it makes me sooo happy!!!
The is 4 of us living in our tinny apartment. Sister Eddy and Burgon Shimai. I was in the MTC with burgon shimai, so I already knew her which is awesome. I love her she is great. So is Sister Eddy. Once again, i feel SO blessed to be with these people that Heavenly Father has placed me with. This email is probably really all over the place and choppy, I am sorry! I don't have much time and I am just writing whatever comes to my mind...so ya!
The weather here isn't bad, its humid but im not dying like everyone made it sound like I would, so that's good! I don't have the exact address right now, and I don't know if my companion knows it off the top of her head, but I will get it to you next PDAY. Just know that i am serving in the city of UBE, it is on HONSHU- I am no longer on KYSHU, I went north...
Kwak Shimais first area is OKINAWA! I am so happy I didn't go there, it would be sooo hot during the summer. I feel really blessed to be in UBE. It isn't much, and its pretty poor, but the people are so special, and I can feel how much Heavenly Father loves them. We are going to do a great work here reactivating EVERYONE!!! We haven't taught any lessons yet in homes, I was jet lagged for the first 3 days but i am feeling way better now so we are going to start contacting and meeting with a few potential investigators.
The gospel is so true, I wish I had more time to talk, but I don't I need to write my president. Just know that I love you all. Stay strong. Read the Book of Mormon, it is true!