9:57 AM

June 23, 2013

Dear everybody,

First of all, Happy late birthday to my wonderful, fantastic Grandmother. She's 100, guys. TRIPLE DIGITS. She's an incredible woman and an incredible example to me and that big Clements family out there.

Also, it's my birthday this week or whatever. I'll get back to you next week on how that went. I have a few things I want to cross off the Bucket List (a birthday tradition).

I HAVE THINGS TO SAY. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride. There are miracles in Hofu! It's so awesome!

Well, a little over a week ago we met this woman named Kazuko. First of all, this is literally one of those cheesy missionary stories where we were hungry, cutting into our dinner hour housing. We were having no success ping-ponging all them doors, and we were about to go home. We decided to do one more building (apartments). Well, on the very last door of the building - yes. The VERY LAST DOOR - we met this woman. Half the people in Japan don't actually answer their doors, they just shout to you through it (they would have to put their shoes on and that takes too much effort - silly Japanese rules). Well, she shouted through the door and said just to open it and talk to her.

Then she started speaking in a language that definitely wasn't Japanese and we weren't sure what was going on. It took us about a minute to realize she was speaking ENGLISH to us. Turns out she had lived in America for over 50 years and spoke fluently. She was absolutely thrilled to meet Americans and talked about how much she missed it there. She started crying as we were about to leave. We got her phone number and left.

Last Monday, we randomly decided to visit her again. She told us she was busy a lot so she probably wouldn't be there. However, we're pretty sure that she just THINKS she's busy. But she actually never leaves her house except to go to an old-people home every once in a while.

Actually, wait a minute. What ACTUALLY happened was we had two new investigators in her area. We had appointments with them, but neither of them answered their door. It was about this time that I slumped on the ground and started whining to nobody in particular, ''what are we doing wrong???'' *sob sob sob story* Then we decided to visit her. I'm trying to make this story as dramatic as possible.

Anyway. We got the feeling to visit her so we did. And we talked for two hours. She talked about how excited she was that we decided to knock on her door and she literally cries every time she sees us. We were able to meet with her three times last week, taught her a lesson (hard to get her to stop talking - mostly about old people drama ''so-and-so isn't talking to me anymore'')(Want to know about old people gossip? We can totally give you the 411 on that). I said at one point, ''Would you mind if we talked a little about that book we gave you?'' She responded, ''Don't talk a little. Talk a lot.'' Seriously, this woman is awesome. The first day we met her she's all, ''So do you think I could go to your church place?'' We're all, ''Yes. Yes you can. Let us help you with that.'' We tried to invite her but we weren't sure how we were going to get her there. She expressed interest in coming to church and stuff - but she has bad legs/back so she doesn't drive or anything. (Many plans were thought of - such as stealing a car and just going to get her. Mission rules breach for the greater good).

She's basically the cutest lady I've ever met. Every time we call she says, ''Now don't you go blaming me if you catch cold, you hear!''


Well, we decided to call her on Sunday to see if she was coming to church. She had told us previously ''Don't get your hopes up!'' Well, we called and (while crying - seriously, she's the most emotional Japanese woman I've ever encountered), expressed her deepest regret that her back hurt her and she wouldn't be able to make it that day (the tears came AFTER she said, ''Oh I know why you're calling me...'') We were sad about that and stuff, but, well, whatever. Stuff happens.

Then 10:00 rolled around and she waltzes in the church door having taken a taxi there and, with a big smile on her face says, ''I wanted to surprise you! I came! I'm here!'' She was wearing her cute little hat and her cute pants and tennis shoes. She was seriously grinning from ear to ear as if this were the greatest decision she'd ever made.

And then I almost started crying, too.

She seemed to really love church. She gave funny commentary throughout all of Priesthood/Relief Society (''That man really needs to speak up. Why doesn't he speak louder?'') and Sacrament, (''I think that water's from heaven. It's from God. I know it''.) On top of that, our PLARK came to church too! I also made a phone call to her that morning and she says, ''Oh! Well, I'm actually still at home...'' I said, ''Yes. I know you're still at home. Did you want to leave your home and come to church instead?'' She made it just in time for the Sacrament (Sacrament meeting is last here). 

So Hofu is supes small, right? With two new additions to the congregation, it felt like the room was full. Two new people make a huge difference. Also everyone's faces were filled with shock and disbelief when this one less active walked through the door. It was quite the sight. It was like in the movies where she walked in and then everybody started whispering, ''So-and-so's here!''

It was my first time getting anyone to church in Hofu. Guys, Hofu's on the brink of something big. I think Sunday was the tipping of the scale. Everyone was looking at me with eyes of, ''hey, you actually DID do something here, huh?'' It was seriously the most incredible Sunday I've ever experienced. Also, apparently I pumped the people up with my talk last week. Everyone was talking about it today and referring to me as ''Sumisu Shimai the powerful.'' I'm not sure what that means, but if it means they'll help us then I'm all for it. The church is so true it's insane.

Here's the funny story of the day. When we had our mission coordination meeting, we were asking for some information about a certain less active in the branch. 
Me: ``Do you know anything about Brother so-and-so?``
Him: ''I think he's dead.''
Me: ''So... it's fine if we don't visit him?''
Have a great week everyone. 愛しています

1. Rain gear. Before I said we looked like Abominable Snowmen. Now I think that we look like Marty McFly when he pretends to be Darth Vader and scares his dad in the middle of the night.
2. Wet.
3. Kazuko.


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