Week #14

8:51 PM

It`s a really good thing that Lauren is my FIRST name, and not my last. It`s really funny to try and hear Japanese people try to say ``Rourrenn?``

Get this, we did some yard work at a less-active`s home this week. The father is an avid Star Wars fan (so for once, I could KIND of have a conversation with someone and feel like we connected instantly without too much pity on their end). He has two kids named LUKE and LEIA (and by that, I mean Ruke and Reia). Yeah. That`s for real. Jed, if you`re reading this, I DARE YOU.

Getting this whole phone call thing worked out over email kind of sucks. But Mom, I have now been offered by the Sumikawa family the use of their computer for skyping purposes. Perhaps you would rather call, but if you would like to avoid the expense, we could work it out to Skype. What do you want to do? Also, what day do you want to call? Christmas or Christmas Eve?

The other day, we took the train to Takasu for our District Meeting. A large group of school kids came on. Whenever young children see me, they all break out into excited chatter: ``It`s an AMERICAN! Smith? Church of Jesus Christ? WOW! That`s so cool! It`s my first time seeing an American! She`s beautiful! Did you see the foreigner?! COOL!``

It`s whatever, I`m a rock star.

Whoever said I didn`t need kanji is a LIAR. I actually can`t read anything here at all. 

Congratulations to my beautiful niece Madeleine for her baptism this last week. Oh how I wish I could have been there. I love you, babe! Hopefully I`ll get to see some baptisms in the near future, though. This week our investigators with baptismal dates bumped up to 4. If all works out, we will have a very busy January! I am very excited at the progress that our investigators are making. We teach this one darling Filipino woman named Dorothy who is very excited about the gospel. Our lessons with her are very exhausting though, because she mixes Japanese and English like it`s no one`s business. She prefers English, but then suddenly she`ll start rambling in Japanese. She also talks a LOT. So Sister Hinode and I have to work very hard to understand everything and keep us all on the same page. But we`re hopeful that she`ll be baptized in January. Whenever I DO get to teach in English, it tears at my heart to not be able to express myself the same way to my other investigators. It`s really frustrating not to be able to help them in the same way or really be able to bond in the same way. But I do try my best.

It doesn`t snow that often in Hiroshima, but I did get to see my first snow fall this week and also experience my first rain storm. And by experience, I mean EXPERIENCE. I was drenched from head to foot by the time we made it back to the apartment. I can`t remember if I mentioned this before or not but it is SO FRICKIN COLD HERE. 

If you do ever send another package, Mom, some more long sleeved shirts would be nice...

I did not feel no earthquake.

It`s odd, so many things happen in a day, but nothing really happens in a day. We talk to people. We get ``no thanks-ed`` by people. We bike. We eat. We study. We sleep. Sometimes I feel like my entire existence is just waking up and going to sleep. The days pass so quickly, and the mornings arrive even quicker. I do believe my Japanese is just getting worse day by day, but I`m trying supes hard not to get frustrated. It gets a lil lonely not being able to speak English to anyone ever.

This week President Gustafson has asked us to raise the bar on contacting. For Christmas `n` stuff. So we`re going to really work hard to talk to everyone we see. It`s a pretty exciting time to be a missionary, though I do feel a twitch of homesickness whenever I hear the phrase ``Merry Kurisumasu!`` But it`s cool. Missionary work is great. And we have a family to spend Christmas day with, so that`s even better.

I love you all!

スミス 姉妹

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