Hi family and friends!
Today has been such a great day so far. We started off the day doing the "Insanity" workout DVD at one of our favorite member family's house. Laundry, wrote a couple letters, then had a BBQ at a park with our entire zone and then the neighboring zone of missionaries. There was a couple in our ward that recently got married and they had a BBQ style reception and had tons of leftover hamburgers and hot dogs and chips and buns so they gave them to us and we fed nearly 40 missionaries. So fun! The other set of sisters and us just went and got Cold Stone ice cream and then came here to email. I LOVE my zone!! I have made some really good friends so far and I will be bummed if I get transferred out or if some of them get transferred out, because I will miss seeing them! I saw Elder Homer today at the BBQ. haha so good to see my "son."
Some little fun facts of the week:
Dad!! We were tracting and met this Filipino kid (which is like everyday) and his Dad went to Carson High!! Hahah go figure. His last name is Itchon.
We met a Filipino lady that lives across from a Less Active Samoan family that we visit. She is always out watering her lawn and says it's her "therapy" (say it with a Tagalog accent) haha. Guess what her name is? Zena! And her sister's name is Azucena just like our Grandma Cena.
There is a girl in our singles ward named Katy Porter and she knows Katy Andrews from the BYU X-Country team! Her family is on our list of "Focus Families" that we go out to make regular visits to. She wasn't coming out to the singles ward but on the first visit that we went over there I invited her to come out and she came that Sunday and has been coming ever since.
Mom, do you remember the Stanges from the Vista 8th ward? Well there is an Elder Stange in the mission! I met him my first day in the field, actually, at the transfer meeting. He looks just like his siblings. He came up and was like "Hey, you're from Encinitas?" We got to talking and we totally know a ton of the same people. He goes home soon though.
There is an LDS chiropractor that has his own practice here in Silverdale and gives free adjustments to missionaries. So on Pdays we get to go get worked on. He even does the neck adjustment where it looks like he is going to snap or break it off and pops it. Haha but it actually feels really good.
Ok, so I think it has been a while since I have shared a nasty dog story. Yuck. Ok so we go and visit this recent convert named Deorbrah (Dee or brah) that is from Georgia. Thick southern drawl accent. The first time we ever came in to visit her I go and sit down on the couch. A second later I hear the jinglig of dog collars in the next room. Not one, not two, not three but FIVE miniature pinchers come barreling out like those little dinosaurs from the second Jurassic Park movie and descend on me like a frisky wolf pack. Five little dinosaur dogs jumping on me from all angles. One on each shoulder. My lap and one on my leg. I may or may not have swatted one with my scripture case and not even felt bad about it. She calls them "min pins" for short. I call them heinous miniature reindeer from the underworld. They are way ugly and yip and sniff and bark and jump. So nastyyyyy.
So this past weekend was the best weekend ever!!! We had lunch with my favorite Japanese lady ever, Sister Warner!! I told you about her last email. She is moving this week to Utah and I am so sad. I requested her homemade yakisoba noodles and she offered to teach us how to make them. So good! I went to this specialty supermarket and bought her some Soba noodles that I thought would be perfect for the lunch. But apparently I bought the wrong ones. They were the kind that "you make on New Years" according to her. I guess they go in some type of noodle soup like the Udon noodles do. She makes her yakisoba with spaghetti noodles that she stirfrys. She even makes her own sauce. Sooo good. I got the recipe from her and she even wrote it in Japanese. (and English too). She also made us delicious fried rice, fresh fruit slices and even home made creme puffs for desert. Since all of their stuff was pretty much packed up in boxes we ate on a little card table and she used a larged furushike as a table cloth! Haha so Japanese! While Sis Mills and I were eating she wrote in my Testimony Journal. It's a journal that I bought in the MTC that is specifically for people that I love and new members and our investigators to write their testimonies in. Kinda like a missionary yearbook. So neat. She wrote her conversion story so you'll have to read it when I get back!
After that we got to go down to Tacoma for the first ever Sisters Conference!! Our mission president's wife, Sister Weaver, wanted all the sisters in the mission to come and spend the night with them at the Mission home in University Place. So we carpooled down with the sisters from Port Angeles and all met there. (I got my blue card so I can drive now!!) Sister Weaver is seriously the sweetest lady ever. It was such a nice gesture for them to invite 24 sisters into their personal home and to spend a part of the weekend with them. I remembered when I first met her that she said her first week was really hard so I could totally relate to her being new and the fact that we arrived in the field a week apart. She had mentioned that she lovvves chocolate, so naturally I knew I needed to get her some chocolate. At Central Market, that specialty market I told you about, they have the hugest candy section. All kinds of foreign, local, and unique sweets. So I bought her two bars of chocolate by a company called Seattle Chocolates and a cute note pad and tied it up with ribbon and a card. She LOVED IT. It made her so happy and we were able to connect on our common bond of being new in the mission. Sister Warner taught me a greeting in Japanese that I could use towards President Weaver when we were at her house for lunch. He served his mission in Japan so I thought he would like it. She taught me to say, "Konichiwa, dendo bucho san!" Which translates to hello mission president. But she said that the "san" denotes a very high and respected status almost like a master. I bought him that little brick of azuki bean that you had bought that Japanese lady that you knew, Mom. He was so happy to get a little something that he remembered from his mission. I We spent the first 45 min- hour all just talking and laughing and chatting and visiting. They fed us a delicious dinner and breakfast and we had a fireside and morning scripture study together. So funnnnnnn. It was so great to meet all of the other sisters and of course to see sister Eichenmiller and sister Robinson from the MTC. The elders found out from all the sisters in their zones that this sleepover extravaganza was going on and they got so jealous and even annoyed. Said that it was a waste of time and why didn't they ever get invited to do that. Before we were all about to leave the mission home, President Weaver said this: "As your mission president, I have been trained and instructed to have you as missionaries have everything you do and say pointed towards baptisms. So how might I justify this time we have spent together?" For the first time, I saw my mission president get emotional and he even shed a few tears when he said, "We invited you to our home because we love you. We know how hard this is and know that some of you might feel alone. We wanted for a weekend to have you here in a place that will make you feel like you are loved and appreciated. If you can leave feeling encouraged, uplifted, motivated, and rejuvenated so that you can go off and continue on in the work, then this Sisters Conference was not in vain." I couldn not agree more. It felt good to do something fun and to feel loved. I could tell that the old mission president was not very affectionate or particularly warm and loving. This mission president is the total opposite. He has told me several times how much he appreciates and loves me and that he is so proud of me and my work that I am doing. He is the greatest!
One day while we were tracting we knocked on this one door and this Japanese lady opened the door. It was obvious that she was upset and had been crying. Her eyes were wet, red and puffy with tears. There was sadness in her countenance and she looked like she was in distress. Before we could say anything I else, I asked her if she was alright. She proceeded to tell us that she had just gotten in a fight at the grocery store because some lady carelessly cut in front of her in line. They got in an argument and it escalated and became pretty heated. The lady at the door said she was cursing at the woman and so much hatred and anger inside of her. She had been home from the store for a while and continued to cry because that angry and hateful feeling would not leave her. She said that when we knocked on the door the feelings went away and she was able to stop crying. Her name was Toshiko and she is a Japanese buddhist. She was not interested in the gospel at this time but she thanked us for coming by her door so that she could have that awful feeling go away.
I probably am making it sound that everyone here is Japanese or Filipino. Hahah I guess it is true but only half true. Caucasian people haven't made for as interesting stories so far. The following story doesn't really help the cause haha. So last week when we were tracting we met this Chinese man. When he opened the door it was pretty obvious after the first couple words that we managed to say were not understood by him. He told us he did not speak english and we clearly did not speak Chinese. Well, Sister Mills actually spent a couple months in China as a foreign exchange student so she was able to say hello and how are you. Although he didn't have any idea what we were saying he didn't send us away either. All I could think of was that we needed to come back tomorrow. "Tomorrow," I said, "Tomorrow we will come back." It's funny how you can think that saying it slower and louder will make english suddenly understandable. He repeated, "tomorrow," and we hoped that he really understood what we meant. I saw that we had one of two options. Either we come back with a Chinese Book of Mormon or we come back with someone that speaks Chinese. Lucky for us I was able to come back with both. I made a few phone calls to a lady in our ward who recently adopted two kids from china and she gave us the name and number of a lady, Sister Batchi, in a different ward that served a mission in Taiwan so she spoke Mandarin. She happened to have a simplified mandarin chinese BOM to give to us. I thought of a few simple phrases that I wanted to say to Mah (the name of the man) when we presented him with the book so she translated it outloud and I wrote it down how it sounded phonetically so I would be able to read it back to him. So here is what I told Mah when we went back to the door the next day (keep in mind that it is spelled how it sounds and not how it is actually spelled)
Song gay knee (This is for you)
Jay bun shoo hun how hway gay knee hun do-wah kwigh la shing fu (I promise that if you read this book you will have much happiness in your life)
Shun eye knee (God loves you)
He really seemed to like it and was shocked that we not only came back but we returned with a gift for him, spoke some Mandarin, and had Sister Batchi on the phone ready to speak to him. She told him that we were missionaries and we were inviting him to learn more about his Savior Jesus Christ. The conversation over the phone went on for about 15 minutes. While my companion and I stood there on his porch we were offering silent prayers that something Sister Batchi was saying would cause the Spirit to touch his heart and that he would want to know more. He told us after he hung up that he had a son. A son that spoke english. Then he wrote some Japanese characters down and said "work" "sushi" "go" "son" english" "talk". We were able to figure out that he had a son that worked at a sushi restaurant nearby that spoke english and his dad wanted us to go visit him. We took the slip of paper with the Japanese on it and scowered the streets of Silverdale until we found it. We knew that we needed to find and speak to his son. We had no idea what he looked like or what to say but we knew we needed to meet him. So we had a legit stake out. We sat down like regular customers and asked to waitress to tell us when Ma was getting off work because we wanted to speak with him after she brought us the check. We waited for him for nearly an hour and when we finally were able to speak to him, we realized that he didn't really speak english either. Turns out the sushi chef was actually chinese so he translated for us right there at the sushi bar in front of a bunch of loud navy men drinking sake. Despite the untraditional setting the Spirit was there and I was able to bear powerful witness infront of all those people. I don't think anything will come from it at this point but I know that a seed was planted and that at some time, some where they will be ready and harvested in the gospel of Jesus Christ.