12:25 PM

June 30, 2013

Dear all the people,

First of all, thanks for making my birthday supes the best! So they, like, delivered my package last Monday, but we weren't home. So then they leave a little slip in your mail box with instructions for how to redeem your package. When I was in Hatsukaichi, I just made Hinode Shimai do all that stuff. Well, I've grown from being 100% illiterate to only mostly illiterate, so I did my best to read the thing and figure out what to do. (You call a number and talk to a robot and stuff. My favorite thing). 

Anyway, it took me like a half hour. But luckily the package came when I told it to come and I got it the day before my birthday.

Thanks Smith/Hoopes Family for the wonderful package. I was thrilled. It was kinda like Christmas. I just opened presents on the morning of the 26th haha. Also, Sister Olsen really pulled through and made me an AWESOME sign (I'll attach a pic, don't worry). I was pretty pumped about that.

Other than that, it was just a whatever birthday. I was able to cross a few items off the bucket list. Sister Olsen is a trooper and indulged in taking silly pictures of me. My options are somewhat limited on the mission. But I will include pictures of me...

-Using chopsticks. Technically I knew how to use them before the mission, but I'm a boss now. You should see me shove rice into my face. And pics or it didn't happen, right?

-Riding my bike without hands.

-With my new origami book that I got at the dollar store. Learn origami in all the spare time that I have never!

annnnnnnnnnd - touching my toes. This is a legit awesome bucket list item to cross off. I've never been flexible ever but I can touch my toes on a regular basis now. Cory, I hope you're reading this.

Anyway. On my birthdaypday we also wandered around to random stores and took pictures by cool things. Good birthday stuff. 

I'll throw in some funny stories, because the rest of the week was less good.

1. We were talking to an old man at his door. He kept oogling over how beautiful Olsen Shimai was. Then he kept looking at me and saying, ''Your face is normal. Her face is special.''

2. We got lost in the middle of graveyard when it was dark and we were out doing dendo.

3. We ran through a rice field to knock on a door of a house that looked cool.

4. A pineapple went super rotten in our apartment and so we had an infestation of fruit flies.

Other good things of note, we had a concert and it was a success! It was also kind of a ''Hey, come see how good Sister Smith is at the piano'' concert since I played for pretty much everything. But, whatever. #storyofmylife. It was good though, and a few people came. Not even the man who looks like a monkey when he sings did a bad job. So, yeah that was good. I sang in public for, like, the first time. It's NBD.

Anyway, now to the bad stuff.

Sooooooooo last week's miracle was this week's tragedy. Hero to zero. We're killing Hofu. Whatever you want to call it. Well, our one progressing investigator, Kazuko - our only hope! - dropped us. For some really lame reasons that we don't really understand. But basically it was the worst thing ever. And then we drowned our sorrows in peanut butter toast. 

Soooooo we're back at square one. Square One is my home. I can barely step a toe out of the boundaries of Square One. I've been in Square One so long I don't even know what Square Two looks like. We did get to watch the Broadcast this week, and all I was thinking was I WANT TO TEACH. Elder Perry's all, ''Well, back in my day we knocked on doors to find people. Today is different.'' I'm thinking, ''That awkward moment where we still knock on doors. ... and nothing happens.'' President Hinckley's all, ''There's a BETTER way to do missionary work.'' And I'm all, let's have a broadcast that JUST TALKS ABOUT ASIA.
(Other than that, though, the broadcast was really good. I just want to know HOW to implement this stuff in Japan).

So this week is sort of the make it or break it week for Hofu. We still are shooting for a baptism on July 31. I have no idea how it's going to happen. However, after some inspiration from the broadcast and a good, long talk with our Branch President - we've got some ideas for this week. And it's going to be a different week than I've had my entire mission. The thing that struck me the most from the broadcast (and ironically, the Branch President too), was when it was mentioned that we can't bring new people in until we take care of the people we already have. So we're starting with the members. And that's where our focus is going to be. I'm sorry to leave you hanging, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to get back to you next week on all of these crazy plans. But just know things about getting crazy over in Hofu. Before it dies! 

(I also hope you know that i use the name ''Hofu'' a whole lot just because I think it's a funny sounding name).

(My other thought from the broadcast was that they should probably call me as a ward missionary when I get home because that's the only way I'll ever get married. I don't know dating, but I know missionary work!)

(Also, I don't even know what morning missionary work is because I've had four hours of study time my whole mission. I've been with new missionaries or I HAVE been a new missionary the whole time).

I can't believe Beth is going to be home and Mike is coming home soon! Shout out to those two great missionaries and great people. 

Well, all prayers are appreciated. We're trying not to be the ruin of this place. And I'm trying to have more faith!

1. This great clock by the train station.
2. Random phone booth that reminds me of Harry Potter.
3. My Birthday Sign.
4. I can ride my bike with no handlebars.
5. And use chopsticks like a boss.
6. And touch my toes like a boss.
7. And buy origami books? Whatever.



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