I Love Hachinohe!!!
I love HACHINOHE!!! It was sad parting ways with my beloved companion sister Iwahashi. But I know she will do great things with her new companion in Akita and I know my companion sister Kanno and I have work to do in Hachinohe. I love sister Kanno! She is so easy going but at the same time a diligent, strong misisonary. She is mellower than sister Iwahashi but we already are laughing and having fun together. I am excited to learn a lot from sister Kanno. We have one progressing investigator named Shion, which is ZION in Japanese! She is 15 years old and she wants to get baptized. She first started the lessons about 4 weeks ago, and her mom is also reading the Book of Mormon. We are going to try to have a lesson with Shion and her mom this week before Eikaiwa (English class). Eikaiwa here is so fun! Akita`s was fun, but the missionaries here and so creative and it`s really fun! I am so happy to be with elder Low and elder Bodily, my two good friends from MTC district! I also feel so lucky to be with sister Watanabe and sister Miura, two awesome Nihonjin (Japanese). It`s me and 3 nijonjin, we only speak Japanese in the apartment!! やった！！Yay!!
When I first walked in our new apartment, I was amazed! It`s the nicest apartment and it really feels like a home. I thought I`d be sleeping on a futon the whole rest of my mission but we have beds!!! I love these Japanese sisters and I love the members!
There is such a different feeling in Hachinohe branch than Akita. All of us missionaries stood by the door at 9:30am and greeted every memeber as they walked in until Sacrament started at 10am. I am also so happy to be in this amazing ward because I`m learning Sign Language!!! In Japanese! I already can say a few things like, “yummy“ and “Thank you“ and different greetings. There`s 7 deaf members out of the 50 members. The Bishop, Bishop Yamanaka is so kind and creative! We have so many activities. Every week we have Eikaiwa Wednesday, but we also have sign language class the same day, and Thursday and Friday is “Open Space“. Open Space is for anyone and everyone to come play ping pong, piano, guitar, (now we`re adding a learn how to beat box class haha). It`s two hours and it`s so people can come to the Church and feel comfortable in the Church. It`s pretty low numbers now but our new district of missionaries is going to try and think of ideas to get more people to come. We also have Eikaiwa on Saturday too!
We taught a lesson on Thursday to sister Kanno`s grandfather. He doesn`t seem to have much interest but I think it`s special for her to teach him. Her grandma is the YW president and Shion goes to YW`s. I love the classes on Sunday`s here. Every member is just so kind and fun! The first member I met Friday night came up to me and hugged me and as we talked she just shined! These members shine! Akita shines too, but these members have a special light.
There`s a recent convert named Kohei and he`s 22. He is AMAZING!!! He has so much faith and is so kind to everyone! The past missionary before I came returned home from his mission but gave Kohei his bike and helmet. No one wears helmets in Japan but missionaries, no one! But Kohei wears the helmet to remember the missionary that gave him the bike. He has a special light about him too. We all ate at a members house last night for dinner!
I haven`t really mentioned a lot about the Japanese food, but I keep getting asked about it. I`ll say one word…HEAVENLY. Japanese food has always been my favorite, but now being in Japan I get to eat the real stuff. Last night we ate smoked fish, rice, cucumbers, and this pickled vegetable that`s super good. We also had miso vegetable soup. I also drink lots of tea, that`s from a vegetable I don`t know in English. Sometimes I eat rice for breakfast, which is common in Japan to eat a meal for Breakfast that`s like dinner or lunch food. I love sushi!!! I eat octopus, squid, fish eggs, and this pancake that has vegetables and meat called “Okonomiyaki“ so GOOD! There isn`t anything I don`t like…except NATO! Nato hasn`t adjusted me with yet. It`s slimy fermented beans and it smells like it was in a gutter for 3 weeks. I heard though after eating it 3 times you come to like it. Well I`ve only eaten it once so I`ll have test out that theory.
Thank you for all your prayers and love. I couldn`t be any happier. I have a wonderful companion, beautiful area! Oh I love riding my bike here! There`s this huge bridge that overlooks the city and today riding I saw 10 hawks flying! I`ve never seen that many Hawks before. They flew right above my head and the sun was shining through the clouds.
Heavenly Father is blessing us every moment, sometimes we just need to forget ourselves and list all of our blessings to remember Him.
I love you!!!
Sister Tori Butler