Konnichiwa ai shite iru hito,
I dont even know what to say about the heat here- it's not very fun, lot's of sweat, we bring sweat rags and fans to lessons cause no one has AC and your body just explodes with moisture once you sit down. But I know other people have it much worse:) so I AM grateful to be so far up north for the summer.
Had a solid week! Highlight was definitley the Nebuta festival in Aomori on Friday. We went up Friday morning for Zone Conference, after which President Smith said the zone could stick around (sleepover that night) to watch the festival and fireworks, experience the culture and to DENDOU! (preach the word)! It was super funny, as we were walking the streets we see this lady across the street waving to us. She's wearing big sunglasses, a hoodie jacket, shorts, high heel flip flops and a hat over her pony tail'd hair. And she was not Japanese. Turns out, it was good old Sister Smith, the mission presidents wife! Not even wearing her name tag (she said when she's dressed like that the church doesn't want her repping the name! Haha.) She was just walking around by herself in the streets of Aomori, buying things and having a jolly ol time while her husband was stuck in the hotel room preparing for our zone conference in a couple weeks. And she can talk. So after telling us about her daughters wedding plans and this and that, we parted and went our separate ways. It was a classic Sister Smith moment.
Back to the festival. It was way sweet! The floats are incredibly big, incredibly heavy (it looks like), and just incredible in general. Pics attached at the bottom. We were lucky enough to be there for the last day of the parade which meant there was a closing firework ceremony on the port! They put all of the floats out in the bay on barges, turned on the lights to the floats which made them glow and they went out chanting and floating around while the fireworks went. The fireworks started at 7 and went til 9... super long show! They got off to kind of weak sauce start and we began to make the classic american assumptions that fireworks were much better in America. #Merica. But we were proven wrong. As it continued, they started bringing out the big boys- emphasis on big. And it only seemed to get bigger. These things were huge and expensive looking fireworks with a massive boom- as if it were a bomb, you could feel it on shore. Since the apartment was about a 45 minute walk from the beach, we had to leave shortly after eight, but as we walked the rest of the night home, we were still able to see them easily and the booms seemed to get louder as we walked away from them. Probably a kilometer inland we were still able to feel the boom from some of them. It was so cool. It sounded like a war zone with the continuous sound of booms and explosions.
Super cool, fun experience and ended up being a pretty effective missionary opportunity.
One thing I've been studying these past couple weeks is the concept of patience. Reading from the Bible in James 1: 2-4 it talks about "counting it all joy when we experience diverse temptations (many afflictions), for the trying of our faith (bearing through those afflictions and holding strong) worketh patience, which patience has a perfect work in us that makes us entire, wanting nothing." Rough elder robins translation, but time and time again the Lord has lead me during my study or during my day to remember to be patient, and how as I become patient and continue to trust in the Lord and His timing, I will be made whole and want for nothing. Such an important thing to remember for me right now and I'm sure for a lot of you. We all may be wanting for something, for me- to become fluent with the snap of a finger and to have more investigators, for you, maybe to be able to get to go to Venice or something... but in the end, it's the Lord's will. The Lord's timing. The Lord's plan.
Love you all so very much and appreciate all you do for me!
Elder Dallin Robins