13 PaGeS LoNg

WhErE tHe PaGeS oF tHiS bOoK nEvEr EnD

Monday, April 25, 2011

First week in the field

Hey Everybody!!!
Sooooo, I don't even know where to start! This was one of the fastest weeks of my whole life and at the same time, sooo many things happend! I guess I will start out with a laugh for everybody. So first of all, my area is Shiroishi right, so we don't have an apartment currently, so the past week and until we find out otherwise, we are living in a different area called Atsubetsu. We are in a tiny little apartment with 6 of us! Elder Clinton and I are living out of our suitecases and it is just...its pretty crammed to say the least. This morning for p-day, three of us went to play some ping pong at the church in Atsubetsu, so since i don't have a bike i just borrowed another elders. So, within the first 5 minutes of riding bikes on the mission I ate some serious dirt! hahaha There are these stairs we have to go way up and then way down to get over the train tracks. In the middle of the stairs there is a ramp for bikes to be WALKED up and down. So we RODE up the stairs on the ramp just fine...it was going down the 80 steps that was the interesting part. It rained yesterday so the ramp was a little wet. The other two elders got down just fine so I thought I would be ok...I was wrong. I started going down and picked up maybe 20 mph of speed really fast! I made the mistake of trying to ease on the REAR brakes to slow down and with the wet surface, the back tire very quickly flew out from under me. My bike went flying and I, first hit really hard, and then rolled down about 15 feet of stairs. It was super graceful you know? :) You all know me, and so naturally, I just got up, picked up the bike and we went to the church to play some ping pong. I have a couple bumps and bruised but I will be fine, so don't worry! :) Leave it to me to have the quickest missionary bike accident ever! :)
The week went by pretty fast. You are right, Elder Clinton is a really hard worker and we really thrashed Shiroishi this past week. I will share just a couple little experiences and things. I really have seen miracles every single day. We contacted over 100 people last week and taught over a dozen lessons. Elder Clinton's Japanese is super good which is great because this language is way way crazy. I try really hard and I follow some things, but the only thing I can really do that is effective is just bare testimony. I can tell you that in teaching, the spirit really is the most important thing because people just don't care if you are just spitting info at them. The thing is with the Japanese people is that people here just havent felt the spirit before for the most part, so if we can invite the spirit and they soften there hearts enough to feel it, they feel a way they have never felt before. That happend several times this week and it is a truly amazing thing to see. We worked really hard and on Sunday we got 3 investigators to church which was awesome! One woman named Yuzuka came when she told us she couldn't because of work!
On Sunday Night, right before we were about to go home we hit a guy that could be gold!! We contacted him on the street. He was just walking along smoking a cigarrette and we asked him if he knew who we were. He said, "I have seen you before, people are always trying to ignore you." Elder Clinton asked him if he was one of the people that would just try to ignore us and he said no! We got to talking to him and he is 20 years old and both of his parents have died. We asked him if he believed there was a God and he said yes. We asked him why and he said that it is because he feels like he has felt his parents helping him since he died. We talked to him about the Plan of Salvation and showed him the pamphlet. He said that it was such a good thing, we asked if he wanted to learn more about it and he said yes! We are meeting with him tonight and I just pray he will show up!! I told him that I know this message is interesting and new, but that if he will recieve it that it will bless his life and bring him shinjitsu na shiawase...true happiness. We told him he can see his parents again and he said thankyou. It was an amazing experience, one of those experiences I was talking about where the people just feel something they have never felt before.
I know that the Lord led us to him, and that every other contact that listened and rejected us allowed us to meet him at that exact moment. The Lord blesses us all with miracles every single day if we but open our hearts to see them. This has been a really really tough week. This language is really hard and not being able to express yourself is truly a monumental challenge. When I sat in church on Sunday, in a small little group of 20 or so people, the church became true to me in a whole new dimension. I really need your prayers and support, more than ever in my life I am having to rely on my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ. I know he lives, I know that he will be on my right hand and on my left. Something that Marissa pointed out to me in one of my letters has become so true to me here, this gospel doesn't make life easy by any means, but it sure does make it easier. I testify that that is true. I love you all so much and think of and pray for you every day. Marissa, A letter is on its way so we will see how long it takes to get there! :) Thanks for all the bike stuff and money mom and dad, hopefully when I get my own bike I won't wipe out on it! Just a little funny note here before I wrap it up, I am already trademark here as the missionary that waves at everybody. :) Waving is not a Japanese thing for sure, so I always just smile super big and give everybody a nice white boy wave. You should imagine the faces of the little Japanese people when a tall Gaijin(foreiner) just smiles and waves at them and says hello. :) Thank you all for being such a joy and support in my life. I truly do love you so much and I hope I make you proud! If I need anything I will let you know, but for now, I really just need your prayers and faith please!

I love you!
Elder Zachary Taylor Page...Z-Train ;)

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