Sunday, December 14, 2014

A bike, an earthquake, and a renewed hope

こんにちわ 皆さん!

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers this week they have been well received!

First real p-day in the field! After emailing, we went to treasure factory! It basically puts every American thrift store to shame, it was pretty cool! They had all kinds of things, ties for a dollar, electric guitars for 40 dollars, old Japanese tea sets for 15. The Japanese are obsessed with Star Wars memorabilia, which makes it super cheap here. It was all way cool. After we went to Seiyu to buy groceries, Japanese stores instead of having a big bread isle have a big rice isle. After dinner we handed out English class pamphlets and I stopped someone, he was super cool. 

I bought my bike! It is a blue Precision, road bike, it is very reliable. I have named it Blue Thunder. When I checked my email at 7/11 I had 56 new emails from my mom with recipes and pictures it was a fun surprise. We then meet up with a less active member so my companion could buy a new camera. After that we went to a sushi go round! It was great! I had a ton! After our long day I made rice pudding, it was delicious. I do miss American cheese and hamburgers though, kind of random but since we were talking about food, I thought I might as well. I am learning to enjoy new tastes. 

Ramen! We went to a huge Ramen shop in Machida. We went with Také, he is leaving to be a graduate student in California, he brought his friend who is super nice and loved talking to us. We tried to visit his dad afterwards but he was busy, so we just stopped by for a little bit. We then went to south Machida which is about an hour walk away, we went to treasure factory again and talked to some people there. For dinner I made Tortillas, they were delicious. After we went to Ekaiwa class and taught, it was enjoyable. 

Earthquake! During weekly planning there was a 4.3 magnitude earthquake! It was awesome! You could feel everything shaking. We went to the gym and worked out and talked to people. We met a guy named Steve, super cool American who we talked to for a little bit. After we went around caroling to ward members and investigators, that was enjoyable. 

We street contacted people, and I stopped a man who spoke great English. He then said he went to our church building on Sunday but no one was their because it was Saturday and had forgotten church was on Sunday. He is super interested so that was awesome to hear. We had sports night which was fun, I played basketball with some 10 year olds. i am amazed how much I speak English on a daily basis, Japanese people prefer it with us. 

We visited Také for the last time, he leaves this week. We visited a few ward members afterwards. We went out to dinner with Yasura, he brought us to an American Steakhouse. It was kind of one, with a Japanese twist to it. We then went caroling with a bunch of ward members and other missionaries, it was a lot of fun. I talked to Yasura most the time, I gave him a Book of Mormon. He has been meeting with missionaries for a while but none of them ever offered him one. I have realized a lot of 20-30 year olds are receptive to the church, they love the fact that we are American and are always taking pictures with their "American friends". I made the goal to read through all the sessions of general conference by the time I go home, I am on a pretty good track to. Something that has really stuck out to me as I have been reading was, 
"Recently a group of bishops were asked for a report on their work. They were told not to discuss their problems, but to describe what they did better than anyone else. This philosophy of excellence was demonstrated by the artist Whistler, who once painted a tiny picture of a spray of roses. The artistry involved was magnificent. Never before, it seemed, had the art of man been able to execute quite so deftly a reproduction of the art of nature. The picture was the envy of the artists who saw it, the despair of the collectors who yearned to buy it for their collections, but Whistler refused steadfastly to sell it. "For," said he, "whenever I feel that my hand has lost its cunning, whenever I doubt my ability, I look at the little picture of the spray of roses and say to myself, 'Whistler, you painted that. Your hand drew it. Your imagination conceived the colors. Your skill put the roses on the canvas.' Then," he said, "I know that what I have done I can do again." Then he gave us a great philosophy of success. He said, "Hang on the walls of your mind the memory of your successes. Take counsel of your strength, not your weakness. Think of the good jobs you have done. Think of the times when you rose above your average level of performance and carried out an idea or a dream or a desire for which you had deeply longed. Hang these pictures on the walls of your mind and look at them as you travel the roadway of life."
Great Experiences
It is so true, we need to have that great accomplishment in this life to reflect back on for those rainy days. 

Church today! I was much better, I am starting to understand a lot more. I was asked to give an introduction, so I used my best Japanese and spoke to them. As we were welcoming people, a man walked in who said he felt prompted to come, he is from China and speaks perfect English. He was way receptive and the other elders in the apartment are meeting with him later in the week. After church, the missionaries were roped into singing an arrangement of the first Noel, put to the tune of Pachabels canon, it is all in Japanese but sounds really good! I am realizing that the ward is like any other American ward, they are just speaking Japanese. We watched the Christmas devotional Japanese. I found it online and read them, they were really inspiring. We had dinner with the Uyruyu family, they were very kind to us. We had a delicious curry. They also gave us mugicha, it is a barley tea that we are allowed to drink. It. Is. Disgusting. It tastes like someone put out there cigarette out in your water and gave it to you to drink. I am pretty sure if they made people who want to quit smoking drink this we would find the rate of smokers decrease an innumerable amount. We streeted around for a bit after and talked with another Buddhist man, he was very friendly. We finished our day by having a zone conference call, where we talk about each of the districts and what we can do to improve them, during which one of the elders in our apartment made fry bread, that we dipped in hot chocolate/cinnamon sugar mix. 

This work is definitely inspired, I am amazed at the amount of maturity at which I have had to grow into to fill such a capacity. It is defiantly hard at times, but the blessings received through such work, is more than I could ever ask for. Miracles still happen.

Thank you all so much again for your thoughts and prayers, I have much needed them. 

With love, 
Elder Nathan Dunn

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