Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Week 40 - Nakano, Japan

Well, hello!

How's it all going? Guess what? I`m back and alive!!! We were finally able to get back out and start working last Thursday, which was such a relief after being stuck in our apartment for a week! I think we literally went crazy with excitement getting back to working, because by Sunday and Monday, we were completely exhausted, but that's not a horrible thing, right? Haha, we'll rest up a little today. It's been fun though! And we've seen so many miracles occurring from this experience. We had 2 people come up to the church while I was sick and they both now have baptismal dates!! One's a flight attendant though, and with that works a lot on Sundays flying around. Part of the requirements to get baptized is that you have to go to church at least 2 times before you get baptized. Please pray for her that she'll be able to get off at least 2 Sundays before her baptismal date. She's working so hard to be able to!

This Wednesday for our English class, we`re having a 4th of July Party. It's the last day of the `semester` so we thought we would do something fun. and hey, add in a little American culture! It'll be a good time! We're making pies today for a pie eating contest, hehe!

Other than that, transfers are this huh? but I guess with transferring to Kichijoji and then Nakano and then having the chickenpox, this has been a little bit of a different transfer. Haha come to think of it, I haven't had a normal transfer since my 2nd one! I don't really bother thinking about transfers anymore, whatever happens, happens.

So Dad, you asked if we`re still feeling aftershocks, yeah, they`re still going on. Earthquakes have really just become a part of normal life. Luckily, while some have been bigger, from what I've heard, there hasn't been damage. But well, I guess I don`t hear too much.

Anyway that`s about it for today I think. I love you all so much!

Sister Erin Benne

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pictures from Sendai

My companion...
Haha she`s crazy! Sister Laird, she`s from Idaho, this is her 9th transfer so she goes home in 2. Strange because she`s the last foreign sister to have come to Japan before my group, only 4 transfers ahead of me, so slightly scary, how quickly this goes by. But yeah, she`s the most energetic person ever, so she`s hated being inside these past few days. But yeah, its been way nice, because she likes being active and doing sports, so we actually excercise in the morning (japanese sisters NEVER like anything to do with sports, I don`t know why) She wants to be a theater teacher.
Its been way nice having an american as a companion. Its just so different from having a japanese companion. You love them and you have fun, but because of the limitations of the language, and just how japanese people are, they don`t share emotions very well at all, its just a completely different kind of relationship. It`s funny I feel like I have a me and then a Japanese me. And it`s nice to just be me again for a little bit. especially since we`ve been stuck in the apartment, to have a companion you can speak to without opening up a dictionary, that`s nice.

Week 39 - Nakano, Japan

Well, hello!

Haha, so this weeks been a bit different from the rest if you didn`t already realize that... Can you believe I have the chicken pox??? Really of all the things to happen on a mission, I NEVER thought that I would get the chicken pox! Since we're not allowed to go outside, Sister Laird and I have basically been stuck in our apartment for the past 5 days, not really fun. So I don't have much to tell you, except for my story of how I came to realize I had the chicken pox, and how I've possibly infected the WHOLE mission, every single person in it actually.

So I was feeling perfectly fine on Tuesday until the night, when I had a pretty bad headache, not anything horrible, I'm used to headaches and usually can sleep them off at night, but Wednesday morning I woke up and still wasn`t feeling well. We go play basketball or some other game with the elders every morning for excercise, so we decided to skip out on that but continue on with the rest of the day. I was doing fine until language study, when I just became completely exhausted, so we decided to take an early lunch, during which I would sleep a bit and then have language study after, during our usual lunch time. I took a quick nap, and finished language study, but could just feel my body fighting with me. It was then that Laird Shimai made me take my temperature. It was a low 99.9, but enough to make Sister Laird nervous and send me to bed for an hour; I didn't protest too much. After that things just kept getting worse. My temperature went up to 101 and even though it's been way hot here, I was freezing in our apartment, putting on sweatshirts and sweats, piling blankets on top of me, and I'd still be shaking because my insides were just so cooled. With Ibuprofin we were able to get things under a bit more control and though I wasn't in top shape, I was feeling a little bit better, so we headed out that night at 5 for a few appointments that we had along with our english class. I got back that night, and remember thinking, wow, I know the mosquitos have come out, but sheesh, I got a lot of mosquito bites tonight!

Thursday: Thursday was Zone Conference, interviews with President, a day I love and everyone looks forward to like crazy, plus I was singing during it. I woke up that day, got in the shower, looked at my stomach and realized there was no way, a mosquito could have bitten me that many times during the night, and I didn't think it could have been any other bug either. I got out of the shower and went to Sister Laird and was like, "Sister Laird, I know we've been joking about me having west nile and chicken pox (believe it or not it had come up as a joke on Wed), but, um, I think I really do have the chicken pox.." And that's what started it all.

We headed up to the church for conference, went and saw Sister Albrecht and Sister Hobbs, to get their opinions, and the vote came back unanimous. However because we didn't think I was still contagious at that point, I was allowed to stay at the conference. I stayed for a while, for my interview, my song, and for most of the training until I was just so exhausted that I went to the Mission Office and slept on the couch (with Sister Hobbs as my companion and the other Sisters in training as Sister Lairds) there. I was out for most of the day after that, taken some Benadryl that knocked me out pretty well. Anyway I was finally woken up, and sent home with provisions to help me get better. Along with instructions from the mission doctor, and President and Sister Albrecht; turns out chicken pox have an incubation period of 2 weeks, before you show any signs in which you are contagious. And you continue to be contagious until all of your spots have gone through 3 stages: appearing, blistering, and then crusting/scabbing over.

I don't know where I got the chicken pox from, you have to come in direct contact with someone who has it, but with all the moving I've done it could have been while I was in Kanagawa/Kohoku, Kichijoji, or even if mine appeared faster, from Nakano. Last Monday, we had an all mission conference, Thursday we had a Tokyo Zone conference (Tokyo Zone includes about 40 missionaries), I also saw the whole mission when we went up to Sendai. Basically what this means is, in those 2 weeks, where I didn't know I had the chicken pox, I have come in contact with every missionary in our whole mission, and possibly given it to them... I don't even want to think about all the people I`ve talked to as a missionary. I guess there's not really very much I can do though right?

Since Thursday I`ve been doing okay- it's been itchy, but I've been doing everything I can not to scratch them and to help me get better as fast as I can. I think I've had a relatively mild case, maybe having had the shot helped with that! Now I feel perfectly fine, just waiting for all of them to scab over, so we're allowed to go back out and work! We've had the chance every now and then to come up to the office, which has been nice to get out of the apartment. Today's the missionary day at the temple, we were hoping so badly I'd be cleared by today, but with a lot of the mission being there again, President Albrecht doesn't want to take any chances, and well I don't want to get anyone sick either. Anyway, Sister Laird and I figured since nobody would be in the office and we have to come up here to email we would chill here for most of the day, a change of scenery.

I've seen a lot of miracles through this experience though. I've felt an overwhelming feeling that because I have so many people praying for me at home, that I'm getting better faster because of those prayers. It's been miraculous, as I've woken up the past few mornings and just have had spots disappear that were still in their early stages. We've also found 3 new investigators just by calling people up in the area book (a book containing a record of all previous investigators). Finding 3 new people in one week, in any circumstance, for our mission, that's huge! and we had another woman come up to church on friday to ask about eikaiwa and then she ended up hearing the first lesson, and the 2nd, and the third is scheduled for tonight. She wants to be baptized as soon as she can, so we have a date for July 3. Since I can`t teach her at the moment, Sister Laird and 2 elders have been teaching her, while I sit in the office. It's been amazing.
Hard things come, but God always blesses us.

Anyway that`s been my week...this is way long...haha, it seems I have a bit more time on my hands today, for some reason...

Thank you for all your prayers! I love you all so much! And I really am feeling better, I should be able to go back to work soon, I think!!!

Love you all
Sister Erin Benne

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Week 38.5 - Chicken Pox

Hey All!

Bet you are all surprised to hear from me today!

Here`s why:
Remember how I've never had chicken pox? Welll.... That`s not true anymore! Haha, yup, I have chicken pox! I guess I haven't been to the doctor so I'm not officially diagnosed, but the itchy red dots all over are a pretty good indicator, I think. Anyway, I'm fine, just really itchy. Sister Albrecht, the senior missionary couple sister: Sister Hobbs, and my companion are all taking good care of me!

Love you all!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Week 38 - Nakano, Japan

My Wonderful Family,

Well, one week down in Nakano! Bah! haha, it's been good, just getting used to a new area. My companion' name is Sister American, that NEVER happens in the Japan Tokyo Mission for sister missionaries, ever! It's been so much fun though! And there have been so many miracles, I can't believe it. We've been finding people everywhere as we're streeting and talking to everyone. It's insane! It's still hard, but seeing the goodness of God, makes everything else not matter!

We had a Mission Conference was so good, we watched a video of all of us leaving Tokyo, coming back, and then serving up in Sendai, crazy all that's happened. We also had some amazing training on attitude and finding the elect, the pure blood of Israel, and then heard from all the missionaries that will be going home this transfer, always sad, and so many of my good friends are heading back now... that`s okay though, they`ll just get to continue on with missionary work at home!

One of the missionaries shared this scripture during their testimony. Isaiah 64:8. I don`t have my Bible with me right now, but you should read today. We really all are clay in Heavenly Father's hands, being molded and pressed constantly until we can become the person he wants us to be. Our whole life he works with us, never putting us down, smoothing out the scratches and bumps. and only when we`re put through trials, a burning kiln, do we come out beautiful in the end.

This is also cool, I heard yesterday at the conference, that my investigator in Akashi, got baptized on Sunday! I'm so proud of her, sad I didn't get to see it, but really in the end that doesn't matter, all that matters is that she's taken that step through the gate, and she's on her way to salvation! I`m so happy for her!

I love you all!
Love you!
Sister Erin Benne

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Week 37 - Nakano, Japan


Well, where to begin! So a bit of news:

We went to Sendai this past week. I went to an area called Tadajo with half of the missionaries. I can't explain the experience, We left Thursday night and drove throughout the night for about 6 hours to get up there. In Tadajo, we cleaned the area in and around a Jinja, a Shinto Temple. As we were picking up things, I couldn't help but think about the people who lived there and their lives. You're going through peoples things, seeing books they've read, their dishes, really learning who they were. The Japanese people, they're a simple people, focused on their culture, they love their history and their proud of it. And to see all of that ruined, the beautiful Kanji, artfully decorated shoji screens, everything now unusable. It was a feeling I've never felt before.

We headed up to Sendai after Tadajo, the hardest hit area, to see what's happened to Japan. As missionaries, you don't watch the news, you don't see the pictures, and to now see it first hand... I don't know... Thousands of people lost their lives in both the places we were. Thousands of people now have no homes, they have no where to go. I think about how little I have right now. Missionary's lives are simple. I don't have a car, a computer, my own phone, my apartment is really temporary, but I do have the pictures of you all, I do have my scriptures. How sad I would be if I lost either of those. I have so much because I have the gospel, and many of these people, they lost all of their material things, but they don't have the gospel to rely on. I'm 21 years old, and just now realizing that there is so much in the world going on that doesn't have to do with me. So many people out there who need help much more than me. Why as humans are we so selfish?

Anyway on a completely different note...I'm no longer in Kichijoji. I got emergency transferred today. Found out last night. Yeah, really sudden, it seems that I'm meant to always get suddenly pulled out of Kichijoji. It's okay though, I'm now in Nakano, the area where the mission home is, so it should be fun! I will admit, it's a little difficult. This is my 4th area within a month- most sister missionaries, only have 3 or 4 areas during their whole mission. haha however to all things there is a purpose though right? God always has a plan, I'll trust in Him.

Anyway that's all for today, I love you all so much!
Sister Erin Benne