Monday, March 4, 2013

   Hey everyone! Hope you're all doing well! Things were pretty good over here for us this week. The weather is a bit bi-polar right now with spring on its way. Earlier in the week it go so warm that we were comfortable in just our white shirts, but then by the end of the week it dropped back down again and was so cold we put our heavy coats back on. I think most of it probably was because of the crazy wind we've been having the last few days. It's been really strong, blows all day, and it's cold. As soon as you step out of the wind, you can feel the temperature jump up immediately. So that's fun.
We went over body parts for English class.
I was surprised at some that they
came up with.
   Last Tuesday we went on splits with the Elders in Mito, so Elder Crain-Zamora came here to Ushiku with me. What kind of name is Crain-Zamora you say? Well let me explain... No, there is no time to explain, let me sum up. His Dad is half Mexican, half Irish, but his parents weren't married and the dad split before he was born. Crain-Zamora's Dad was adopted and raised by his uncle. His mom's side is the Mexican side, so he goes by Zamora. After Crain-Zamora's dad got older, he found out that his real Dad's last name is Irish with the last name of Crain. So, when Crain-Zamora was born, his dad wanted to give both names to his children. Hence, Crain-Zamora. Did you folow that? Good. But yeah, the split went pretty well. It was fun.
   Thursday was an interesting day. Elder Mangum and I were talking, as we tend to do, and we found out some pretty cool stuff. It's been really interesting to see how many odd similarities we have. We live 10 minutes away from each other back home, we both have a family of 8, we both went to Yamato for our first area, etc. Well, in the course of our conversation on Thursday, we found out something really cool. It turns out that we have indeed seen each other before the mission. My sophomore year of High school when I went to prom, Elder Mangum was there at the same dance. He and his date started people watching from the wall about half way through the dance, and my group of friends was over in the exact same part of the dance floor he was. We were dancing literally about 15 feet away from him. There's a good chance I may have even talked with him. Who knows.
   Friday was an awesome day. We had a special all mission conference that Elder Nelson came to. It was 3 hours long, and we got to hear from a few other speakers, but the bulk of it was Elder Nelson speaking, and he opened the floor for questions. It was pretty cool. I loved being able to just see him interact with everyone. He was cracking jokes and telling stories just like you would expect from an older guy like him. When one missionary asked what a good way to deal with people saying they're too busy to talk is, Elder Nelson suggested inviting them to have lunch somewhere. What he said was ask them "do you have time to eat? Do you like rice?" Everyone got a good laugh out of that. Maybe it doesn't sound as funny over email, but it was pretty funny when he said it.
   Saturday we had some free time in the afternoon, so we decided to go exploring ad check out a part of the area we weren't super familiar with. I had only been there once when Elder Christensen and I went to visit a member who lives over down that way. When I went that time, we rode our bikes, which took just over an hour, but there's a train station literally a 30 second walk from the guy's house. I wasn't sure why, but we did. Elder Mangum and I decided it would be far more time efficient to take the train. We looked at the map, and the train line splits one station down from us. One line goes to Tokyo, and that's the one we usually take. The other line leads past this guy's house. We get to the station where the line splits, and we get off to transfer. Well, we wander around looking for where the platforms are for this other train. We don't see any signs that say anything about it in the other line, so we figured it must be in a separate station nearby because they do that sometimes. So we go outside, and we still can't find anything. After a while we finally found a sign that looked promising, and it sent us down this really weird hallway that looked like it dead-ended. At the end of the hallway there was a doorway on the left that you couldn't really see until you were right up on it. We go in, and there's nobody there. we walk up onto the platform, and it is the smallest platform I have ever seen. There was only enough room for maybe two trains cars. We looked at the time table, and trains only came every 40 minutes. Well that would explain why Elder Christensen and I took our bikes. Anyways, the train pulls up, and it's only one car. It was a one car train. That was really weird. Definitely not what we were expecting.
   Sunday went really well too. Sister Ishihara's son, Nobuki, was baptized in Urayasu. After Sister Ishihara was baptized in Yamato, we met her son Nobuki and taught him a lesson. We found out that he actually lives in Urayasu, so we referred him to the missionaries over there. Since I knew Nobuki and baptized his mom, Elder Mangum and I got to go to that, and it went really well. The church in Urayasu is actually a re-modeled pet shop. That being said, there's no baptismal font. What they do have, however, is a room with a drain in the floor that used to be used for washing off dogs and other animals. So what they do is they set up an inflatable pool, fill it up, and after the baptism they just drain it all out onto the floor. That was pretty interesting to see a pool inside of a church. Nobuki was really excited though. I think he'll be a great influence on his family in helping the rest of them come to the gospel.  
   That's pretty much it for this week. I hope the extra long letter this time makes up for the short one last week. Everyone take care! More to come later!

Elder Blake

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