Sunday, November 1, 2015

Kamisugi Transfer 6 Week 3

Happy November everyone!

Hope yall had a super fun and exciting Halloween this year and that things didnt get too crazy!

This week I want to share a story/ series of events concerning the Kamisugi Ward Halloween Costume party. As you all know, I got here on the 12th and was presented with this responsibility my district was in charge of. Since the ward had just finished planning and putting together a fall festival party and were also planning a Christmas party, they said to the missionaries, hey, if you want to have a halloween party, its all up to you guys... Thats what I came in to. And then was informed by the Elders that have been here since the transfer before that the ward said that they weren't going to help out with it at all! All of a sudden the pressure was insane! That week, Elder Larsen and I, while on companionship splits, spent an hour putting together a tentative plan for the party with all these great, but very American, ideas. The American part is what made it sketchy near the finish line, stay tuned. 
- A haunted house 
- caramel apples
- a shooting booth
- mask station
- dry ice rootbeer
- costume runway show
- ring toss
- donut on a string game
- Halloween background music
A week went by and not a whole lot of progress towards preparing for the party besides informing the district on the basic outline of what we would want at the party. So here we were a week before halloween, had a handful of decorations we had bought but nothing more and not a whole lot of perspective on how fast the day of the party would actually come. Throughout the week, we had made efforts and had asked members for some various help or ideas of where to buy things but since I'm new here, I didn't know who would be willing and good to ask for help! SO the people we called weren't able to be of a huge help to us at the time.. 
My companion and I attended our weekly meeting with the bishop and other leaders in the ward. We went in wanting to know our budget we would be getting from the ward to fund the party. Mentioned/ confirmed what I had heard from the other missionaries by saying "so its correct that we wont be getting much help from the ward since you guys are recovering from the akimatsuri (fall party) and prepping for christmas, correct?" and the bishop exploded on me with just the opposite! We were told we had support from the ward, plenty of money to spend and to just ask people for the things we need for the party. We were very relieved but still not prepared enough to know what to ask of the ward!
That next week we spent a lot of time finishing shopping for decorations, searching things and prices and places to buy things and everything party related. It was hectic. The dollar stores that, a week before, had all these great party items that would be perfect but that we didnt buy at the moment were now out of stock. Most all their Halloween goods had already been bought and they moved on to Christmas goods. It was unbelievable and we started to panic. What were we gonna do with the little decorations we had!? But on the Thursday before Halloween, we lucked out and found a whole bunch of useful goods at a different dollar store. (The dollar stores here in Japan are AMAZING.. anything and everything they've got it for a buck.) Anyway, Friday comes around. The day before our big party and all we had bought at that point was our decorations! We were in a mad rush and were stressing out about this thing being a huge failure. All the food ideas and stations we had planned on were WAY expensive. Apples were 6$, caramel was 5$ for a 250 gram bag, dry ice was hard to find and obviously needed a car to buy it, caramel apple toppings, and root beer- all way expensive and we assumed that would be too ridiculous. But then came our meeting with the bishop again! This time, the bishop almost seemed frustrated with us for not telling them to do more! But the thing was, we had made some calls that week to people and didnt get a whole lot of energy or help from the members so we were in a sticky situation! Up until that point, we had been the ones doing all the work and preparation, the travel and the expenses. The bishop told me that night, basically, our wish with this party, was the wards command. What a relief, but also a huge shock that was to hear. Why didn't he say that earlier?! He didnt care apples were 6$ a pop nor that all the other food we wanted to use was outrageously pricey for what it was. 
Since Im running out of time, long story short, I went on splits with my bishop and his wife on Halloween morning for all the food we wanted and needed while my companion stayed with other volunteers at the church and finished setting up the haunted house and activities. We traveled to 5 different stores to buy just a few different things and spent a whole lot of money... the zone leaders finally found their costumes, the sister missionaries pulled through with their assignments and 4:30 rolled around, 30 minutes til showtime. Up til this point, we as a district had done close to 0 advertising for the party besides the announcement in eikaiwa (weekly english class) and in church. We were very scared that only 20 or so people would show... 
The party was AMAZING! Everything and more than what we had planned out came to be: 100 people came (members, families, nonmembers and their families, less actives), everyone loved the caramel apple stand and the rootbeer, the Haunted house was a huge success and even made some kids cry, two of our missionaires serving as scarers in it;), the costume runway was entertaining for all, had a pinata for the kids at the end, an usher to run the party and a bowl to guess how many items were in it with an announcement of the winner at the end... it was great! Everyone had a ton of fun. The bishop told me at the end that it was "daisaikou" = pretty much the best ever party that Kamisugi had seen. Such a huge relief and it all happened thanks to the help, service and willingness from the ward. 
The Bottom line, communication, if done right, and preferably not in another language :), is the key to having things work out and run smoothly. Its the key in every relationship, the key to planning anything, the key to executing anything.., its crucial. The more you communicate, the less stress it is for everyone. Thats what I learned from this experience. :) Ill attach a picture with some of the people that joined the party.

Everyone have a good week! Its getting nippy over here so enjoy the warmth while it lasts!

Elder Robins
The Kamisugi district! Such a fun loving group- enjoying my time here!

60 of the hundred. 

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