We had Stake Conference yesterday so all of Okinawa came here and I saw Tagawa Kaicho from my first area Ishigaki! He recognized me straight away and gave me a hug and said my Japanese was good, which he used to tell me all the time when I could never understand anything he said, as a bean-chan. I had the opportunity to translate the meeting for Sister Egan, the Mission President's wife, and I spent a solid amount of time thoroughly apologizing for how terrible it was. Translating from English to Japanese is no problem, I can understand English well enough that even if I can't translate word-for-word I can understand the meaning or the feeling and then use simple Japanese, but when I'm hearing complicated Japanese and then trying to figure out how to say that in normal English I end up missing the next few sentences, and on goes the downwards spiral to embarrassment and a humbling reminder that I need to improve my language skills.
There was a couple from Naha (south city in Okinawa) who's daughter is serving in Brisbane. Their daughter met my girlfriend's grandmother - the couple called me a few days earlier asking if I'd be at conference and so when we met up we took a photo together. Interesting connection!
Mission President also paid us a visit during dinner yesterday and we're glad that we spent some time cleaning the morning before, but we cleaned the floor too nicely, and it's super slippery. Someone made the joke that when President came in it almost looked like we were going to be in need of a new President, but he managed to grab on to the chair before he slipped completely over.
This week was hard for a number of reasons, one was the lack of fruits from our efforts. What I mean by that is that we found so many people that would let us come back but when we followed up with them they were either not home or if it were over the phone they said they were busy, many didn't even pick up. For example we had 5 lessons scheduled one day and they all fell through.
Through this I remembered something my last companion Elder Richards taught us just before he finished his mission - about faith promoting experiences and faith perfecting experiences. All those times we would walk away from a contact feeling the Spirit, feeling joy & excitement, with a return appointment, or just after we had given someone a Book of Mormon or invited them to be baptised, promoted our faith and reminded us of what can come from hard work. Then, this week, when it looked like nothing happened, when we, instead of teaching 5 lessons, knocked on doors all day, had a faith perfecting experience because though we didn't see the fruits of our work, we got out there, we worked hard, we looked for the Spirit in everything, and we continued doing the work of the Lord because we love Him and know this is right. And that is one of the greatest reasons why I'm out here, because I love the Lord (John 14:15, my favourite scripture from Seminary) and want to be here doing this work with Him.
Love this work and love all of you who read this :)