Monday, August 5, 2013

Hey everyone!

   Sorry if this week's post is delayed. That would be because my amazing sister who so kindly puts these letters up on the blog for me every week had her second kid on Sunday (probably)! All I know while I'm writing this is that she's in labor right now, but chances are high that she'll be born today, and not tomorrow. I won't know for sure until next week, so I suppose none of you will either. Haha!
   It was a pretty good week for us over here. There was a little bit of confusion at the beginning of the week, trying to reschedule splits with the zone leaders. I got a call from the mission home last Sunday, and they invited me to a special training for interpreters that they're doing for the first time, and that training just so happened to be the same day we were supposed to go on splits with the zone leaders. In the past, for zone conferences and mission conferences, they just randomly select missionaries to do the interpretation for all the Japanese missionaries. From what I've heard, it sounds like President Wada wants to have a small group of missionaries specifically trained as interpreters, and it will just be their job to do it whenever there's a conference like that. I was kinda wondering what they could possibly teach us about interpreting other than study Japanese harder. It ended up being really good though. Brother Westman, who is a professional interpreter and also does alot of interpretation for the Church PBO came and did the training. He had lots of tips and tricks about how we can practice, ways we can improve our interpretation skills that are independent of our overall language ability. So yeah, that will be fun. We have a zone conference this Tuesday, so we'll see how that goes.
Group shot of the cinnamon roll activity
It was Kohura's birthday [daughter of an
investigator]. We told the Powell's
and they brought her a cake with candles.
   Saturday was a huge success. There's a senior couple in the district called the Powells. They came to Fuchu and did a baking demonstration class. Brother and Sister Powell opened up a largely successful chain of stores with over 50 locations, and it all started with selling cinnamon rolls in a little booth at a fair. So, apparently her cinnamon rolls are pretty good. And that's what they demonstrated. There was a lot of effort put in by the ward to plan this activity, and we put in alot of effort to invite everyone we could to come. When it was all said and done, there were over 50 adults (and a couple dozen children) that came! We didn't get an exact head count, but between 1/3 to 1/2 of the people that came were non-members. Friends that members brought, students from our English class, investigators, potential investigators, etc. It was great. The best part about it though was when the Shinomoto family came. They're the ones I wrote about a couple weeks ago where the Dad called out to us in the park. They had been on vacation in Okinawa all week, and got back Friday night. When we tried calling to remind them about the activity and ask if they could make it, his phone was off. Then the activity started, and they hadn't come yet. We were a bit disappointed, but not too surprised considering the circumstances. About an hour into the activity, they did end up coming though! And it was great! They have a 7 year old daughter, Koharu, who had her birthday that day, so I gave Elder Powell a heads up to bring some birthday candles. Everyone sang happy birthday to Koharo, and her parents seemed to really appreciate that. They got to meet several of the members, and we even got a lesson/dinner appointment set up with them at the Bishop's house for next weekend. What a blessing! I'm really excited to start teaching this family.
   Last interesting bit for today's email, and then I got to go. Yesterday I officially started my study of Shuwa. What's Shuwa? Shuwa is Japanese sign language. There's a deaf sister in the ward is going to teach us after I asked if she could. One of the missionaries I became friends with back in Ushiku, Elder Posey, had learned Shuwa, and I always thought that was kind of neat. I didn't really think too much about it, until I came to this ward and there was this deaf sister here. That makes Fuchu the second ward I've been in with a deaf member, and in the last several weeks, I've actually run into 4 deaf people while we're out and about. Every time, I thought to myself, "Man, I wish I knew Shuwa so I could try to teach these people". So, now that I'm learning it, hopefully these deaf people will keep coming out of the wood work.
   That's about it for now! Take care everyone!

Elder Blake

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