Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 48 - Senzokuike, Japan

Ah, this week seemed so long, went by so fast, but last Monday, was forever ago! And it seemed like there were some eventful things going on back home too!

Allison and Paul, earthquake and hurricane, it seems like you're living a similar life like me; having 24 gallons of water on hand, filling your bathtub with water, staying indoors to ride things out, food storage, yup it all sounds pretty familiar! And Dad says you recently had a Stake Conference talking about what to do if a hurricane comes, amazing. Did you ever hear that just a few days before the Tsunami hit in Tohoku, the Sendai mission had had a conference on emergency procedures, what to do in case there was a big earthquake and a tsunami hit, and then a few days later they had to actually use what they had just been taught. Modern day revelation is an amazing thing, protecting us in so many more ways than just even the physical.

Yamada shimai and I started training this past week. It's fun and I love having the opportunity to work with so many sisters, but I'm realizing I'm going to be just about dead by the end of this transfer! We got back from being gone for only 2 nights, and I realized just how much I love my futon, even if it is just a mat on a floor! Of course part of the reason just might be because, well, when you stick 4 sisters in a normally 2 person apartment, your sleeping space becomes infinitely smaller. For Japanese sisters that's okay, but when you're as tall as me, your feet go in closets, on top of chairs/luggage, or just remained squished up. We've gotten a good laugh out of it.

Other than that things have been pretty normal. We've seen some cool miracles here, as we've been working to build up this area; at the moment it's basically all streeting. God has been good though and given us some cooler days (low 30 degrees Celsius!). The other day we got caught in a huge rainstorm as we were visiting members, we didn't have our bikes that day, and well it turned out the members weren't home, so we couldn't wait it out there. Anyway, the train station was a good bit away, so by the time we got there we were completely soaked from head to foot! At least it made for a good conversation starter piece as we were on the train!

Also this past week Japan just finished it's first EFY! All of the counselors and helpers were volunteers, took time off of work (in Japan that's huge) to help out with it. Everyone was so excited about it! I think in America sometimes we take for granted things like EFY and other activites. I'm so glad that the youth of Japan finally also got to experience a week that helped change my life.

I love you all so much!
Hope everything is going well!
Sister Erin Benne

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week 47 - Senzokuike, Japan

Hey there!

It was so good to read your emails this week! It's been a fast one, and well, it's nice to be having P-Day today! I'm sure this transfer though they're just going to start going by even faster! We had so many things going on, since Sister Yamada and I are both new, it's all about getting to know the wards, (but this is crazy, my freshman year roommate, Pica, her family is in my ward, her dad is the Bishop), and the investigators, so among having training for our training and preparing for training, it's been a busy week. We start heading out to different areas tonight, I'm excited, but it's going to be crazy, still carrying an area, but only really being in that area for about 3 days of the week! It'll be good! I've felt so much of the Spirit's guidance as we've been preparing, that I know this is something the Lord wants us to be doing here in the mission. Other than that things have been good, the first half of the week was brutally hot, probably the hottest of the summer by far, but on Friday it started raining and cooled down dramatically to a nice 70's temperature. Perfect weather.

Thanks for the pictures! Benne chips and Jon's Birthday! Two good things! How was your birthday Jon? did you do anything fun? and Kim is that your new apartment in the background? looks nice! I noticed the cake was gooey butter cake! Looked way good, and then I had the sad realization that now I'd probably have a hard time eating it... :( sad. It's weird, I've gotten so used to japanese food and snacks, american food is just way too sweet now... it's good, but I can only eat a little of it at a time!

Anyway I love you all!
And am so thankful for all of you!

Love you!
Sister Erin Benne

ps. yes I did feel the 6.8 earthquake. that one was strange, usually they build up, and then get stronger, but that one just seemed to hit all of a sudden.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Week 46 - Senzokuike, Japan

Well hello there!

Haha, I guess the news you are all waiting for is where I am this transfer??? Maybe I should make you wait a little longer... Anyway I got my call Saturday morning telling me that I was headed to Senzokuike...the city. So yes, this is probably the most in the city I've ever been! You know how you see pictures of Tokyo, with the giant crosswalk that is always filled with people? (Yes I've been there a few times, it's 10/20 times crazier than Times Square), that's Shibuya (where Sister Derricott is now, which also holds the most expensive missionary apartment in the church, but has a huge cochroach problem...). I'm right south of there now. If that helps give a picture (our apartment also has a cochroach problem, we've already seen 2 in the less than the day that my companion and I came here...but that's missionary life. I think I was spoiled in Fussa with the apartment we had. even though the apartments are more expensive in the city, they get less and less pretty the more you go in) Anyway my new companion is Sister Yamada, she's from Hokkaido Japan, and hilarious! We're whitewashing, so neither of us know the area, so we should have a fun first few weeks here. We also have a fun assignment. We've been called as traveling sisters.

What that means is during this transfer we're going to go to all the sisters areas, do splits with them and give them training. President said we'll basically be Sister AP's because we'll be doing the same thing as the traveling APs that just got called for the same thing, but since sisters can't be AP's we're not APs. So that's really cool, an amazing opportunity. I think more so than the sisters learning from Yamada shimai and I, we'll be learning from them. So yeah for about 2 weeks we'll be out and about travelling the areas of Tokyo. I've heard they did this over a year ago, but it's the first time they haved traveling missionaries since I've been in Tokyo. So it's cool.
Also with the transfer, Utsumi shimai went home. How sad! I've realized, especially over the last transfer, just how amazing a missionary she is. And how lucky I was to have her train me. The mission's definitely at a loss without her.

Anyway so I'm doing good! It was sad to leave Fussa, but Senzokuike is an amazing area I can already feel it. I'm excited to be working here. Thank you for all your prayers over the past two weeks, I know it's helped make the transition easier.

It sounds like everyone is doing well and having fun!

I love you all!
Sister Erin Benne

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Week 45 - Fussa, Japan

Well Hello there!

So yeah, I'm coming to you a little later than usual today, but well, our schedule has been upside down and over these past few days. So P-day is finally coming on Wednesday :).

Transfers are this Saturday, so while, like I told you last week, I do know that I'm officially transferring, I have yet to learn where. Thank you so much for all of your prayers, I've felt the Lord really bless me and help lift me up through Sister Derricott and also small miracles that have occured. We've decided to really use these 2 extra weeks of knowing the area is closing as a blessing rather than a curse and the Lord has been blessing us for that, fulfilling promises that He's made. Over the past week we've been able to set 2 baptismal dates and also amazingly 3 of the LA's we've been working with came to church! It doesn't make leaving this area in easier, but I've felt Heaven helping me as I come to a peaceful conclusion to my time in Fussa.
It's good too, as now we're having time to fully swing our investigators over to the elders and had some time to say goodbye to some of our favorite people who we wouldn't have gotten to see if we only knew we were leaving when we usually do.

Haha it's funny the word has slowly started getting out in the wards as well. We decided we weren't going to tell the wards until normal transfers but, well President Albrecht told the Bishop and Branch President, who then told the Councils, and well from there it's history... So even if President Albrecht hadn't have told us the ward members would have!

So it sounds like a lot is going on back in the States with everyone! Kim's moving, Beth restarting school, Mom and Dad, you have Sister Missionaries living with you, So you have to tell me how living with Sister missionaries you share a fridge? where do they study? are you allowed to watch TV when they're in the house? Kind of random questions...

Oh so this is cool. Summer is festival season in Japan, so this past weekend was the Fussa Festival! It was way cool. Our apartment is right by the train station, which is where most everything happens in Fussa, so we got to see the decorations and everything going on for it. Plus on Saturday night we went with a member to the Hamura Festival (a city right next to Fussa, that's in our area) and the city thought it was funny to have 2 Americans who could speak japanese there. So they had us go and dance an おどり, a traditional japanese dance, with the dancers just so they could take pictures. That was fun, especially since we didn't know the dance at all! Luckily it was pretty simple.

Anyway, I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers!
SIster Erin Benne

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week 44 - Fussa, Japan


Thank you all so much for all of the birthday wishes! I felt so special! I even got a few packages (which Sister Derricott unfortunately wouln't let me open until my actual birthday, boy, was that more dfficult than any other birthday!) Haha but it was way fun! My birthday, of course was on Sunday, so it was quite crazy, we were up at church from about 8am to 5pm, with different meetings, but so much fun and there were so many blessings! We had a new investigator come to church who is completely golden and then Ethel was there with her sons after just being baptized on Saturday! It was amazing the baptism. Because she speaks English better than Japanese and her son (who also got baptized) speaks Japanese only, plus members from both the english and japanese wards were coming we had the baptismal service in both english and japanese. One person would speak a sentence during their talk and then the translater would quickly translate it into the other language. It was crazy but way cool! What an amazing birthday present: being able to help someone come unto Christ.

Thank you Mom and Dad and everyone else for the book from members in the ward and friends. I couldn't think of anything more that I would have wanted! It made me so happy to hear from so many people that I love!

You might notice I'm writing a little later in the day today...for Pday today we went and hiked up Mt. Takao! It was absolutely gorgeous! And we got to see some cute monkeys!

Anyway that doesn't leave us with much time tonight. I love you all so much and thank you for all the birthday wishes!
Love you!
Sister Erin Benne