We met at Nagoya Station on tuesday. This time there were a lot of final farewells as many well-known missionaries are about to return home within the next two transfers, including 3 of my past companions. Elder Yamada goes home actually tomorrow. I was afraid I wouldn't see him again before that, but he was at the eki saying goodbye to everyone. I only got to speak for a minute with him but it was good to see this great friend and example one more time. Elders Jackson and Beck go home at the same time in June. It is really strange to think that they are almost done, I'm not that much far behind them either. With all these familiar faces leaving and a new mission president on the way, this mission will look really different come summer.
|Off to the clock...|
I took a 4 hour train ride around the Japanese Alps to get to Takaoka with my new District. I don't know any of them except for Sister Grecco who came with me from Nonami district. Some of them are older missionaries about to go home, most of them are younger than I am and I've never met before. It was a fun train ride getting to know each other. It reminded me of a year ago taking a similar long train ride with my district back then. It is strange to be surrounded by so many new faces, but fun too. They are some interesting characters.
Takaoka is an interesting place, it's really out in the boonies. Nothing too fancy, but there are some cool sites from old Japan. It was getting warm in Nagoya, but it is still cold in Takaoka. My companion is Elder Irlan Miranda from Brazil. He is really cool. His english is a bit funny, but I understand what he means. His Japanese is pretty good too. He also cooks really good food. And he was also trained by my trainer, Elder TuAkoi, as I said before. Almost all our investigators are Brazilian too along with some members. Looks like I might need to learn some Portuguese haha. We live with 2 other Elders, Esplin from Utah and Smith from Oregon (not my Elder Smith). They are really funny and really energetic missionaries. Elder Esplin is training Elder Smith and he is also the District leader.
|All my Seto Companions!|
I haven't met many members yet because we had conference, but the ones I have met including the Bishop seem really friendly. I love how the church is the same no matter where you are. I haven't really found my groove in this area yet, still don't know much, and I miss Nonami a lot more than I thought I would. I kind of felt like I was just lost earlier this week. But last night I had a small spiritual experience.
We went to a far out part of the area to visit someone. It was night and we were in a small, quiet town. Not many people around. As we walked I noticed a familiar smell in the wind, one I had not smelled in a long time. We walked in that general direction come to find that we were at the beach and we were looking at the sea of Japan! It was the first time I'd seen the ocean since I was at Myrtle Beach back home. It was very calm and peaceful. I looked at the stars and thought to myself how the Lord made all of this, and "without Him was not anything made that was made." It was so nice to see the ocean again.
|Elders Eadie, Frost, Me, and Mianda|
We also watched General conference. There were lots of inspiring messages that got me thinking about what kind of Returned Missionary I want to be. I also recognized many people I've had the chance to meet in person, Like Elder Ballard who commented about shaking the hands of missionaries around the world. It was cool to think I was one of those. Also if you look close you can see President Yamashita sitting on the stand with the other 70's. And there were other people I knew too including people in the choir. President Monson of course was still one of my favorite speakers.
Well thanks as always for your prayers and letters. They help me out a lot just knowing I'm thought of, especially when times when I feel alone in an a place I don't know. But I know that this transfer I will make new friends, have more great experiences, and as the Choro tachi like to say; "Give 'em Heaven!"
Much love, yours,
|Bowling on P-day in Nonami.|
|Bowling at round 1|
|Leaving the Shimai apartment.|
|This always feels so strange.|
|Last selfie with Yamada.|
|Me and Jackie|
|Takayama...He's going to Nonami in my place.|
|Everybody at the eki.|
|Beck being Beck, haha!|
|Mineta Shimai and Grecco Shimai on the train.|
|Elders Esplin and Smith|
|The Fukuoka Mission?|
|Brings back memories.|
|Come out sun!|
|Huh, Fukuoka is in our area.|
|Service with elderly people. One lady was 104 years old!|
|Traditional Big Lion dance.|
|Still some Sakura.|
|View of the ocean from the train.|