Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 43 - Fussa, Japan

Getting to you early Monday morning today! We have a lot of changes going on in our mission right now, and one of them is that P-days will now be on Mondays, except for Transfer Days and Temple Days (and then they'll still be on Tuesday during that week). Crazy.

So this past week has been a crazy one, last Tuesday, it really was a typhoon that came through. It lasted for a couple days, so we got to mix things up and ride in the rain. Unfortunately though I ended up getting my first flat tire about 1 hour away from where we live. Luckily we found some nice people at a close by Honda who gave us shelter from the storm and also helped fix it.
We also had a conference where we got some training about the computers we'll be getting TOMORROW (at another full days worth of training) and have been preparing for a baptism that is this Saturday!

So yeah, one of our investigators Ethal is getting baptized! She and her son! I'm so excited and happy for her. She was at church yesterday just completely glowing from head to foot, and the transformation that has come over her and her three sons is miraculous! I am consistently stunned by the power of conversion that comes over people as they listen to the gospel and then change their lives accordingly. Ethals dealt with a lot throughout her life, and you can just see that weight being lifted from her shoulders as shes learned knew things and felt God's love and Spirit! So thats this Saturday!

So yes it's finally happening that we're getting computers here in the Japan Tokyo Mission! We've had a few computers in some of the areas already, but they've never had too many of the resources to get it fully swinging with those. You asked a few questions about the computers before so I'll try to answer them. Yes, we will have Skype, so on Christmas, I can Skype you. The main purpose for the computers is to see if it will help in teaching. People are insanely busy here. If they work they usually head into work before we wake up as missionaries and come home after we're asleep, so through Skype we'll be able to email/Skype them during lunch or some other break they have and follow-up or teach lessons to them (of course first priority will be to have those lessons in person). All our area books will now be electronic which will help keep things organized and will allow the bishop and ward mission leader to have access to see the progress of our investigators any time they want. Anyway the list goes on and on about what we'll be able to do. But yes, like you said it is on the dangerous side. They've taken a lot of precautions, building custom computers with security cautions, but in the end they're trusting us. President Albrecht has really stuck his head out on the line in trusting us actually. The First Presidency, Mission Council and others are watching us really closely. So if one person screws up, then they're gone. And we'll be filling out things that will create stats to see if the computers are actually helping more people to come unto Christ. If not then there's no point in having them either.

So those are some exciting things for the week!
Hope you're all having a great day!
Love you
Sister Erin Benne

Here are some pictures!

Mashito san's baptism!!!! Utsumi Shimai and I were both able to come!

Do you not see that thing of fish that I"s head and tail were still on.
Aren't you proud! But yeah, still don't like it...

Sister Derricott and I during filming
Sister Laird and I at our 4th of July Party, well a little before people came

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Week 42 - Fussa, Japan

Well Hello! Another week in, and SO much to tell you!
Where to start? Well, hmm, so this might be an all over email because there is so much to say.

But, last wednesday I had the amazing opportunity along with 7 other missionaries, members of the PBO, and President and Sister Albrecht to go to a Shinto Shrine, Meijingju Shrine, talk to leaders of the Shinto religion, talk about our experience in Tohoku, and cleaning up the jinja, the temple that we helped clean up, and about why we became missionaries and what we do. It was an amazing opportunity and huge step for the church here in Japan. Shinto is the government supported religion here, and the church has been working for years to build the relationship between our church and the Shinto religion. So to have them invite us to talk a little about our church and then also thank us for our efforts in Sendai is amazing, and for me to get to participate in that, so cool! It was awesome too because we got to learn more about Shintoism too. They took us around the shrine and we were able to participate and learn what they do there.

Then the next day, well we, Sister Derricott and I, had been asked by President to be in Kichijoji for pictures, what for we weren't sure, but because we were late getting out Wednesday night and our apartment was 2 hours away, we just ended up staying at the Kichijoji sisters apartment which was closer, without a change of clothes or anything (because we thought we would be going back Wed. night to Fussa. Sorry I'm explaining this very oddly but it's sort of complicated and I dont have time to make it sound fluid). So we're in Kichijoji, wearing the same clothes we had sweated in the day before (because yes it is very hot and humid here), not feeling too clean, but still head to the church for "pictures". Anyway turns out, this is way cool, they wanted to film us, for a video to put up on YouTube about volunteering in Sendai. So I got to be filmed for a youtube video!!! haha I think that"s the video I sent to you, but since this computer is having problems, we can't view it, but if I look gross and dirty, the reason you now know! It was way cool!

Other things: I love Fussa, it's so fun! Plus this is interesting, Sister Derricott's dad is actually really famous here in Japan. So streeting's interesting sometimes because people are like, Kent Derricott? Anyway way fun. And it's really funny because we're finding all these old videos and pamphletts that have her dad on them and usually her as a little kid in them too! Its great! Which may bring up the question if she's lived in Japan. She lived here until she was 7 and then her family moved back to the states, so no she'd basically forgotten all of her japanese when she was called to japan. That's okay though, shes doing great with japanese now!!!
Anyway those are some of the highlights of the week!

Love you all so much!!!
Sister Erin Benne

Erin can be seen at the 2:21 mark

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Week 41 - Fussa, Japan


Well believe it or not, my 4th of July didn't include many 4th of July celebrations. We did have our 4th of July English Class party which was a hit; I wore a red skirt, white shirt, and blue sweater that day, so I looked so festive in my American colors too! And then a few days later I did see a family with 2 little kids playing with sparkles! Haha but that's about it. Mainly I spent my 4th of July moving. Yup, I got transfered again... What are we on now?

It turns out that because of the earthquake they were'nt calling to many people to Japan. Makes sense, but thats hitting us right now (all the people who would have received their calls in March/ April would be coming to the field around now) Anyway that's put us kind of low on Sisters out here, and we had 3 more leave for home yesterday. Because of that, they had to take sisters out of some area, and well because there are so many missionaries in the Honbu (mission home), they decided to pull the sisters out from there. Which means I had to go. It's hard leaving, putting all of our investigators into the elders hands, I know the elders are good, but with everything that is going on in the office right now (Tokyo is will be the first mission to have computers in every apartment as of July 26!!! I guess we're the test group! So the honbu elders are going crazy getting ready for that among other things), some things that Sister Laird and I have been working on are going to have to get dropped. But I trust the elders and know they'll do their best.

My new area though is Fussa! It's great, and guess what I have an English Branch (and a japanese ward too)!!!!! YEAH! It's so weird! There is an American Air Force base right next to the church, so that makes the number of americans in the area, way high! We're not allowed to proselyte on base, but we can work with the members for referrals from them! It's weird have to do missionary work in English. I called the Bishop and Ward Mission Leader last night, and had no idea what to say, kept fumbling over words. My companion Derricott Shimai was just keeling over laughing. And we went grocery shopping today...I had no idea what to do, there was American food and the grocery store was huge (well, the same size as they are in the US, but, huge compared to here), it's blowing my mind! But it should be fun. I feel so strongly that this is were I need to be, a connection I didn't feel as strong in Nakano, this just feels right.

Anyway my companion is Sister Derricott, and she's American too! Before unheard of in the Tokyo Mission and now I've had 2 American companions here! Crazy! She's on her 2nd transfer, so I'm a follow-up trainer, a little scary but it'll be good.
So that's what's going on in my life right now!

Love you all so much!!!!
Sister Erin Benne