Monday, April 25, 2011

Week 31 - Akashi, Japan


I think I`m still catching it on your Easter! I hope it`s been filled with lots of candy, chocolate bunnies, and rememberings of everything Christ has done for us! I'm reading the New Testament for part of my study time and it's just been blowing my mind how amazing Christ was. I knew before but as I'm reading the New Testament now, I can't believe all that He's done for us. Christ performed so many miracles and loved people so well, that it's astounding to me.

Anyway, a lot of news for this week! First, transfers!!!! Yes, they happened and yes as I knew things would change up a bit. I`m still in Akashi, along with Sister Weatherston, but my companion is no longer Sister Murdock. My new companion is Myagmarjav Shimai, haha, have fun trying to pronounce that one at home! She's from Mongolia. The crazy thing is, is that we're 'doki' meaning we came to the field at the same time, we were in the MTC together. Co-senpai/senior companions now! It's been way good. At first I wondered how it would go with the Japanese, according to missionary time, we're both still young and to be put together with your doki at this 'young age' is pretty uncommon, but so far it's been way good. We're learning a lot, making mistakes (like getting on an express train that took us 30 minutes outside of our area instead of a local train), but it's all working out. We're really having to rely on each other, there are a lot of words that she knows that I don't, and surprisingly a lot of words that I know that she doesn't, same with the kanji characters. I think from this transfer we'll both come out knowing a lot more, that will prepare us for later transfers when we are senpai.

Speaking of transfers...other great news! I don't know how long I`ll actually be with Megu Shimai (Megu is short, and easier to say, so we all just call her Megu Shimai). We got the news this morning that next week, they will start sending us Tokyo missionaries back to Tokyo!!!!!! It won't all be at once, little by little all through out the transfer. There are so little details right now that I don't know when I'll be headed back, but it most likely will be by the end of May! Tokyo is perfectly safe, they wouldn't send missionaries back if they didn't think so, but I guess there are still a lot of worried parents. I have loved serving in Akashi, but Tokyo is home, and I want to go back home.

As for celebrating Easter here, well Japanese people don't know to much about Easter at all. Even members, I think I heard one mention of Easter while at church and that was from a member who said it to me because I`m American and he knew Easter was an American holiday :) haha, but in our apartment we had a small and quick celebration of eating a giant chocolate easter egg, Sister Escalante's (Weatherston shimai`s new companion, and whom I shared a room with at the MTC) mom sent her, and some jelly beans (thank you!)

So tornadoes in St. Louis! I`m glad ,Mom and Dad that you, our house and the surrounding areas are okay! So many natural disasters lately! And it hit the airport, I`m glad everyone was okay!

So my bike, President Albrecht had told us to take apart our bikes and stick them inside the apartment, then if possible they would send them. I had taken apart mine, but since it was my first transfer, I didn't know that my bike bag was too small, so my bike was just taken apart and basically sitting in pieces in my apartment when I left. We have special slips for transfers where when we send our bags it automatically charges the mission, so the ward was able to use one of those and not pay for it, but they did have to pack up my bike and send it all down to me. The wards really do take care of us missionaries in Japan, definitely look after us. They are so good!
Anyway this is way long and time is up in a few minutes, but love you all! and hope you have a good week!

Love you all!
Sister Erin Benne

Monday, April 18, 2011

Week 30 - Akashi, Japan

Well Hello!

So this week coming up we have transfers...the way they do transfers here is a little bit different htan in Tokyo. They`re on Thursday instead of Monday. So I find out tomorrow, what will be going on. I think it`s quite possible that I`ll head to a different area, but you never know and I`m not one to just sit and speculate, so we`ll see and I`ll let you know next week what the changes have been. Because of the earthquake and everything mixing up, transfers were pushed back a week so that this past one was 5 and the next one will be 5, to help divide this past transfer more evenly.

Anyway, life`s been good, we`re doing our best and working hard. This past week I called Koike san, the 82 year old investigator from Kichijoji, who wanted to get baptized on her birthday. Her birthday is this Saturday, the 23, and she`s still going through with it! When I talked to her, I was just so happy! Koike san`s faith is amazing, and I`ll admit that mine wavered a bit, wondering if she would still get baptized without the missionaries there, but she`s going to! Shame on me for even questioning that! I`m sad I`ll miss it, she`s way sad too, but the most important thing is that she`s taking the steps to come closer to Christ and she`s so excited to be too! Plus she said she would take pictures and send them to me. She`s so cute!

So it sounds like everyone is doing really well, getting ready to enjoy their summer!

Any other exciting things that has happened?

I love hearing from you all and am so thankful for all the support and love you give me! Getting your letters just brightens my day!
Love you all
Sister Erin Benne

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week 29 - Akashi, Japan

Hey, so General Conference! WHEW!!! Now I`m just so sad it`s over! It was good, since my area is in the Kobe Stake we went up to the Kobe stake center (which is where the mission home is located) to watch it. It was way fun to see so many missionaries there, and also I got to meet Utsumi Shimai`s family!!! They were way nice! Also this is amazing, one of my investigators from Kichijoji, Megumi san, moved down to Kobe after the earthquake to stay with a friend while things calm down in Tokyo. I knew she was going down to Kobe but didn`t know where. Anyway she ended up coming to General Conference all by herself!!!! She hasn`t had contact with any members since the earthquake (she moved and got a new phone because her old one broke, so nobody was able to contact her) but she heard about it and looked up where she could watch it online and then just came!!! Amazing, huh! If I hadn`t been there and seen her nobody would have known she wasn`t a member and she could have just come and gone unnoticed! Miracle!

Today for P-day we`re going to do a little sight-seeing. We`re headed up to Kyoto right after this. Kyoto is where the old capital is and it`s known for it`s beauty. Probably if you`ve seen any pretty pictures of Japan, they`re from Kyoto! So that should be fun and since the cherryblossoms have started blooming, and apparently today is the `peak` of their bloom it should be gorgeous as well!

Kohatsu shimai and I: companions for a short while, but I was able to still learn a lot about faith and diligence from her
A bunch of rental futons that the mission had to get, the night before we left. Missionaries were sleeping all over the church and mission office floor the night before we left for our new missions.
How we found out where we would be going.
President Albrecht and I right before I got on the bus to leave.
All of us headed to Kobe on the bus ride down.
The Akashi missionaries. Sister Murdock is the one next to me.
My new area: Akashi, farmland with large clusters of house/apartments in between. You can`t see it too well in the picture but right behind me are tons of fields and those houses were pretty far away.
Working on the farm.
My district and President and Sister McIntyre when they came down for interviews, she baked us Easter cookies.
Megumi san and I, with a lovely cherryblossom tree behind us.
Utsumi Shimai`s family and Gantumur shimai, who also lived with us. :) Oh and my zone leader popping in in the back.

Anyway hope you all are having a fabulous week!

Love you all,

Sister Benne

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 28 - Akashi, Japan

So this week has been interesting! Because of a leadership training going on down in Kobe for three days this past week that my companion and Weatherston shimai had to go to, I became a trainer to Ishiyama shimai for 3 days. Yikes! It was way difficult but it was good. Ishiyama shimai is still terrified to talk to people and although her Japanese is perfect, she still struggles (understandable it`s her first transfer). So for three days it was `ganbaru` for me (i don`t know how to describe ganbaru...gung-ho maybe, bring it on, who knows) as I had to step up and carry most of everything. It was good, I think I realized that `yeah, I can actually do this on my own without a senior companion`, but then when the 3 days were over, I was more than relieved to go back to my junior companion status. and I think I was really able to help Ishiyama shimai with a few things too. So that was good.

We also had the opportunity to go help out on a part-members farm this Saturday...yeah I`m definitely not in the city anymore... which was a lot of fun! I got to wear pants! which I haven`t since the MTC and it was nice to be doing some manual labor again, just a good feeling to be out in the sun working (well I guess we`re always out in the sun working but it`s a different kind of work). Have you started your garden yet dad? I guess it`s still a bit early right now itsn`t it... What do you think you`ll plant this year?

Things have quieted down here, there still is no news as to when we`ll be going back, only speculation, but with transfers coming up and our area president having been in SLC for General Conference there is no telling what could happen. What we do know, is that none of the missionaries that are in the MTC right now will be coming into Japan, and none will be leaving (since they all got sent home after the earthquake when they closed Sendai and Tokyo) Mostly what I hear right now is that the drinking water is the biggest problem in Tokyo for the time being. Bottled water is difficult to find and the tap water isn't that good. But I don`t know anything for sure. Sadly as missionaries, we don`t get to do too much to help out with the relief efforts, but members are doing so much. There have been food, clothes, etc., drives and many have gone up to Sendai for days at a time to help clean up.

So General Conference was good? Ah! I`m so excited! We have it this weekend up in Kobe (where are stake center is). And guess what Utsumi shimai's family should be there, so I`ll hopefully get to meet them! Cool!

Anyway time's basically up! I`ll try to send pictures next week, since today I don`t have enough time! Love you all

Sister Erin Benne