こんにちは！ How is everybody doing in their various locations? I am doing quite well here in 清水、日本 (Shimizu, Japan)!
First, and most importantly: 母、誕生日おめでとう！Happy Birthday, Mom! Are you doing anything special for your birthday? Whatever you do, I hope it is a happy, wonderful, joyous event! I love you, Mom!
This week was Kumamoto Stake Conference, which was wonderful. We missionaries sang We Are All Enlisted for the Saturday evening session, and we did relatively well considering the short notice and very little practice that most of us had. Also, you may not remember, but the Kurokis lived in Miyakonojo, but moved to Nobeoka during my first six weeks there…and Nobeoka is in Kumamoto Stake! So, when I came to Shimizu (in Kumamoto), I was excited to hopefully be able to see him at Stake Conference. Well, who should be speaking but Brother Kuroki! He gave a great talk about members working with missionaries. He is currently the Ward Mission Leader in Nobeoka, and they are very blessed to have him there. The Kurokis are such a wonderful family! We were definitely very sad to see them leave from Miyakonojo, but I am glad to have been able to see them again! We all took a picture together outside the stake center after Stake Conference (Brother Kuroki took it on his camera and emailed it to me, which is why I am able to email it to you):
Left to right, front to back: Me; Elder Jensen; Brother Kuroki; Sister Kuroki; Ayaka Kuroki (their daughter, who is currently going to college, but I don’t remember where; she was visiting her parents)
You may recognize Elder Jensen standing next to me, because he was my trainer! I think I mentioned in a previous email that he had also transferred into Kumamoto Zone, so we were able to see each other at Stake Conference (and will again this week at Zone Conference, and probably again sometime this transfer during a Zone P-Day). The Kurokis were very happy to see both of us. I love them so much!
Last night Elder Gonzalez and I were knocking doors when we came upon yet another apartment full of Vietnamese! One of the doors we knocked on and they invited us inside! What?! That never happens! We met two of the four Vietnamese who apparently live in that apartment and conversed with them a bit (their Japanese is a bit better than the other Vietnamese that we have been meeting with), during which conversation we discovered that two of the four who live there are apparently members! From what we understand, they have been living in Japan for about a year, but since coming to Japan they have been attending a Catholic church near their apartment because they did not know where the LDS church is located. One of those that we spoke with is not a member, but the other said that he is but then at first did not recognize the Book of Mormon (although he then said that he did, and said that another person in the apartment has that book), so we are still not sure whether he is a member or not. The language barrier definitely did not help with that confusion, but hopefully we will get that figured out when we meet again tomorrow. Perhaps the others who live in that apartment will also be there, and we can discover whether or not they are actually members. It will be super awesome if they are! Perhaps we will be able to get them to joint with us for our lessons with the other Vietnamese that we are meeting with. We’ll see! Elder Gonzalez and I are wondering if the Lord is telling us to start studying Vietnamese… 🙂
I am grateful to be serving in this mission at this time. I know that this is the Lord’s work, and I love it!
I love you all! Have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a great last two months of the year!
p.s. It looks like everybody had a lot of fun for Halloween. Dad, I loved your Jack-o-Lanterns! They are quite entertaining. We were going to do Jack-o-Lanterns to decorate for our Ward Halloween party, but we could not find any pumpkins anywhere! Japanese people eat pumpkin, but apparently don’t sell it. 😦 Oh, well. It was still great fun!
p.p.s. It appears that directly following Halloween festivities (or, really, during Halloween festivities), Japan goes straight into decorating for Christmas. Last week I mentioned that KFC’s Colonel Sanders is dressed as Santa Clause, and now we are seeing Christmas lights pop up everywhere! Oh, Japan. 🙂