This week was pretty incredible! I learned a lot, grew a lot, and had some good cultural fun.
We had our first zone conference in which the mission president visits the zones in the mission and does a training to help us be better missionaries. He calls them "revelatory sessions" in which we are individually edified on ways we can improve and become a more "consecrated" missionary. That was the theme of this conference- The Consecrated, Full-Purpose Missionary. To make things short, consecrated means giving your heart and will to the Lord - which two things are the only thing we have that God doesn't own. It means giving up personal desires, unfocused thoughts and ulterior motives and then submitting fully to God's will for us and for His children. Yes, it is pretty much as hard as it sounds. It's no easy task, but it is motivating and the growth that comes from losing yourself is so very rewarding. I grew a lot from that conference.
Another thing I learned this week was one of the tougher lessons I've had on my mission so far- that my humor doesn't exactly work here like it works in America... Don't worry, I didn't make a fool of myself or anything publicly embarrassing like that, it was just a gradual thing that built up I think. But ya,, Japanese people don't understand sarcasm and they don't really understand joking around very well. Which, for anyone that knows me well, is PART of me. My companion was good in explaining it to me that you kind of have to adapt and learn when to use your humor and when not to. Hard stuff, but it's good I learned it earlier rather than later.
This past weekend was crazy sweet! Ever since the 2011 Tsunami in Sendai, Tohoku (northern Japan- the region that makes up the mission) has put together festivals that are aimed towards getting the people of Tohoku "genki" again, to make them happy and pump them up. There are 6 "ken"s or county's if you will, that make up Tohoku. Each ken has there own cultural festival thing. So Tohoku put this thing together that once a year, they have all 6 kens gather together in one of the 6 kens. Akita has it's own ken and I was very lucky to be here when it was Akita's year to host! We missionaries went of course with the focus of dendou in mind and talked to as many people as we could. We hung out all day with this super cool 18 year old I had met the day before at the train station, which was a miracle in itself, and we had a ton of fun. (That's a cool story to tell but too complicated to write out). Anyway, we were out and about from 12 to 8:30, watching a lot of cool cultural stuff, meeting a lot of people (there were around 3 million people in Akita this weekend, most of whom were out on the streets, super super crowded!) and soaking up the sun and fun. I'm definitely blessed to have been one of the lucky missionaries to be at the right city at the right time for the once a year in northern japan event.
That's about all for this week. Love and miss yall! Have a good one!