Monday, November 12, 2012

Well, the weather is still trying to make up its mind over here. Earlier in the week it was cool enough that wearing a suit was comfortable, and then Saturday was warm enough that I went back to a short sleeved shirt, and now this morning (Monday morning) it's dropped again and is pretty chilly in the apartment when you first wake up. It now makes sense why so many people get sick during the turn of the seasons.
So it's actually been a fairly eventful week. To start with, last Monday, Elder Nakamura and I went to Enoshima Island with Elder Burningham and Apalonio. It was actually the first time Nakamura and Apolonio had been to the island, and they really enjoyed it alot. It was a little different with only the four of us instead of the whole zone, but in some ways it was kinda nice. It was much easier to spend time in the places we wanted to see and skip over the less interesting bits since there were only 4 of us. Also, with the weather cooling off, there were far less people at the Island this time too, so we could go see pretty much anything we wanted to.
Tuesday was an interesting day. One of the people we're teaching, Yohei, is about 17 or so. His parents are actually members of the church, but haven't come in a really long time, but he's never been baptized. Well, his Grandfather passed away last week, and the funeral was on Tuesday. Elder Nakamura and I went to that to pay our respects and show our support. Not only was it my first time to attend a funeral, it was a Buddhist funeral. It was pretty interesting. Considering this is my only experience with attending a funeral, I'm not sure how much is pretty much standard and traditional, and how much was unique to this particular funeral. For the viewing, they brought in the casket while everyone was already there. He was covered with a white sheet, and the only thing showing was his face. There was nothing else inside the casket. They passed around these booklets with different well-wishes and sentiments written in kanji, and people would tear out pages they liked and placed them in the casket with the body. After that, everyone took flowers that were provided, and placed them inside the casket until the casket was pretty much filled with flowers, but the face was still uncovered. When they placed the lid on the casket, everyone stood around the casket and placed a hand on the lid and lowered it together. Some words were said, and then the body and the direct family headed off to the crematory.
Wednesday we had a pretty interesting experience during district meeting. Towards the end of the meeting, this guy walks in and just stands in the doorway. He starts talking about how he came by, saw the church, and decided to go inside and talk to whoever was there. He then pulls this really gnarly looking Book of Mormon from his bag, then bowed and thanked us. We tried talking with him to figure out who he was, where he was from, etc, but he kept dodging our questions. I'm not quite sure if he was all there in his head from the way he was acting. The only thing we were able to figure out for sure is that he's not a member of the church. He wouldn't give us his contact info before he left, but we did trade his really nasty Book of Mormon for a new clean one. I really want to know who that guy was...

Seeing as how Elder Nakamura is the district leader, we've been going on splits a lot this transfer. So on Friday we went on splits again. This time we went on splits with the Hodogaya missionaries, and Elder Gallacher came here to Yamato with me. Elder Gallacher was Elder Crandall's (my MTC room mate, just as a reminder) trainer. He's a really cool guy, and a great missionary. I found out that he's actually from Mesa. And not only that, but I've actually probably seen him before I left on my mission. In fact, If you've been to the Hale Center Theater in Gilbert, you've probably seen him too. He used to work there. And he's done everything there. Ushering, ticket box, backstage, light and sound boards... everything. So yeah. That would explain why he looked so familiar the first time I saw him.
Saturday was a busy day. In the morning we went to help the Yamato Ward clean the church. Pretty much everyone who saw us there was surprised we came. I'm not really sure why. We use the church too, so it only makes sense that we help clean it. This was a little different from the regular weekly cleaning though. I guess in here in Japan they do a really thorough deep cleaning once a year. The whole ward was invited, and we had about 30 people show up. We did everything from vacuuming, to washing the windows, to pulling weeds out front, and there was even a group with a small steam cleaner cleaning stains off the chairs. Elder Nakamura and I ended up washing most of the windows, because as Sister Honda said, “Elder Blake is tall and he can reach the tops more easily.”That was really fun though, and there was even lunch provided. Saturday night we went to Fujisawa for a baptism. Hirokazu, Elder Jone's and Fuller's investigator, was baptized Saturday night. The whole district ended up going, because he's almost like a district investigator. Elder Fuller and Jones taught him 99% of the time, but I've taught him before on splits, and everyone else knows him really well because he comes to sports night every week and participates in other stake activities. It was a really good baptismal service. There was lots of support from the ward that came, about 40 people or so. We were all really excited to see Hirokazu get baptized.
That's about it for now. As you can see, things are going well. I hope things are well for all of you as well! More to come later!

Elder Blake

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