Week #21

9:42 PM

Today, for the first time since coming to Japan, I woke up to snow. The little Minnesota kid inside me was excited. The missionary was a little cold.

Learning a new language is kind of like growing your hair out. For months, you see no progress. Then suddenly you`re looking in the mirror and you realize that you`ve been pulling your bangs behind your ears for weeks. 

(True story).

Two things about Japan:
1. They call ``corn dogs`` ``American dogs``
2. I live in constant fear that I will split my lip whenever I use the cheap wood chopsticks.

One thing about missionary work: 
1. No matter what any returned sister-mish tells you, there is no such thing as a good bike riding skirt. Too long, they get caught in the tires. Too short, they don`t stay put. Seriously, no matter what, it`s a tough life.


This week I was pleased to be a part of a baptism for three wonderful ladies: A mother and daughter, Chizuko and Kurumi (8 years old), and our cute Filipino friend Dorothy. All up until the baptism (Saturday), I was pretty convinced that forty more things were going to go wrong and that it wasn`t going to work out. My worries were increased when one of them - Dorothy - didn`t show up at the church.

It`s okay, you can calm down. She made it with five minutes to spare. She walked in and we practically grabbed her by the collar and dragged her into the bathroom to get her dressed in the baptismal gi. As we`re corralling her, she says, ``Does the baptism start exactly at 12?``

This past week, I have seen enormous growth in these two women. I had two favorite moments from the baptismal service. One was watching them walk up to the church dressed in skirts for the first time. They looked just like a regular Shimai. It was really amazing to see their countenances totally change from when I first met them 2 months ago. 

Second was watching Dorothy give her thanks/testimony after her baptism. She doesn`t speak great Japanese, so the day before, Sister Hinode helped her write out a brief speech in ``romanji`` (roman alphabet) so that she could read it. Right up until she stood up to speak, her hands were shaking and her face was bright red. I realized that it was probably the first time in her life that she`s spoken in front of a crowd in Japanese. However, she stood up and not only read the speech, but added some of her own feelings. It was a really touching moment.

It was a really, really happy day. I was pleased to be able to play the piano for the service and also help them get ready and changed after the actual baptism. (Not an easy task. Three women who want to get all make-upped and beautiful when there`s a crowd full of hungry children waiting for them to come back). All throughout the day, it was really fun to reflect on my own baptism. Even though it was over 10 years ago and I was only 8, I remember it pretty well. 

After the baptism, I could hardly believe that it was real. I just kept thinking to myself, ``I actually DID something as a missionary.`` I guess my expectations for missionary life were so realistic, that I just thought I`d be teaching and finding and talking and learning Japanese and waking up at 6:30 every day. I didn`t realize I`d actually, like, REALLY be helping people. That`s what I wanted, that`s why I came, but I didn`t totally know if it was possible. I am so thrilled that I was able to be the smallest of help to these great people.

Great stuff, right?

Ahead we have one more baptism in two weeks. I am, of course, excited to be busy still but I`m also SUPER exhausted from last week. Can`t get a break, eh?

Thank you all for your wonderful prayers. I feel them, seriously. Also best of luck to my dear Nellie-belly in Cambodia! I can`t believe my lil Nellie is going on a mission. I`m super excited for her. Eighteen months from now we`ll have a lot to talk about, huh?

I love you all! 愛しています!A faa`ito`ito!

-スミス 姉妹

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