Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Beginning at the End

Part of Alex's letter to me:
My week has been awesome. Something that I really realized was a protection from the Lord recently was about my old bike. The bike I used to use was pretty small. The tire had needed a replacement, and we just took the wheel off of a different bike to fix it "temporarily" (it's still on the bike). Because we had already spent money recently on it (at the time), my companion didn't want to buy new breaks for the back. After not using it for this entire transfer (we had extra bikes because we went down to two elders), I needed to use it yesterday when I discovered my tire had a flat. As we were biking I quickly realized how bad of a condition of the breaks were in, and realized that I was super protected by the hand of the Lord as I rode that bike. I fixed the other bike this morning (that's why it's taken so long to write emails), and so all is fine. I'll be buying new brakes for that bike soon though, so no one else has to deal with such a dangerous bike. 
A float in the parade.

His Letter to Everyone:
Recently, our mission president has asked us to memorize the 42
principles found in Preach My Gospel word for word. He also gave us a
tip on how to more effectively memorize them. One of the points he
said was begin at the end. Although he meant this for memorizing
purposes, I think it applies to life too; if we begin with the end in
mind--and sometimes that means the end of life--our perspective
changes, and we are more capable of overcoming the challenges at hand.
This week, I'd like all of us to try and begin with the end in mind.

The kanji of the week is: 贖い pronounced "ah-gah-nai" and means atonement.

Monday was very busy, because right after emailing we went to get my
companions hair cut. After that, we did groceries, and travel back
home took a little longer because of the festival that was going on.
In the evening, we went to go find an English class student's float,
but we didn't think we found it. It turns out we were right, but we
just couldn't find her.

A shirt that explains the festival
Tuesday we went to go visit some potential investigators, but neither
of them were home. We then went to hand out fliers for the Meet the
Mormons viewing we have this Saturday, and were able to get quite a
bit more out. We then made a few more fliers, and headed out to a
different potential investigator. We got to his apartment, but no one
was home. As we left the building we passed a man walking in, and
afterwards I realized that that was the potential investigator because
his family matched the description in his record (I had never seen him
before). So, we'll have to go back again sometime.

Wednesday was mostly handing out fliers, preparing for English class,
and English class itself. We also housed for a bit, but there wasn't
too much exciting that happened on that day.

Thursday we went housing for most of the day, and we also handed out
some fliers again (we're doing it for about an hour a day until the
event). This day felt a bit long, but we had some good moments of
talking to people, so I think it was worth it.

A cool ticket that they have for a limited time. I think
it's cool because of the 8-bit pictures, and how it looks like an old
mario game.
Friday we went up to Aomori for a zone training meeting. The meeting
itself was great, and I love hearing from the other missionaries.
After the meeting, we all stayed in Aomori through special permission
from President Smith for the Nebuta festival there. It was a great
festival, and the small group I was with the majority of the time got
to hand out three copies of the Book of Mormon (two to a member's
friends). It was lots of fun, and at the end of the night there were
some cool fireworks that they let off.

Saturday was traveling back to Hachinohe, planning and studies, a
quick lesson with our investigator who is doing good, and wants to
read the Book of Mormon from Jacob on (since he's not gotten past 2
Nephi yet), and English class. All those activities were good, but
nothing much to write home about.

Sunday was church, where I translated for our recent convert and his
friend who came for sacrament. As always taking the sacrament was a
great experience, and I hope that those of you who are back home don't
take forget how amazing the atonement in our lives and the lives
around us. We also had sign language class, and after that we gave a
blessing to one of the deaf sisters. We had a translator translate the
blessing for her. The rest of the day was studies.

I hope that you all love life and can find something amazing or
beautiful in each day this week. It's possible! I love you all!

Elder ______

Ready for several videos of the festival?

This is towards the end of the festival here in Hachinohe. It was in
the evening when the parade was almost done, so it wasn't as lively.
But that's the way they moved the floats around.
This is a dance they have in the festival. I didn't get to see it too
much, but the costumes seemed to be about the same no matter who
organized it. The floats and other things wore different costumes
depending on the group, so that's why I say that.
This float is a bit different than the floats in Hachinohe. I think
that all the festivals have their own style; no matter where you go,
it's always a new experience. I kept thinking that the people pulling
the floats looked like slaves, and the whistling people didn't help
with that. It was pretty cool though.
This music was heard just about the entire time the parade happened
(although I only was there for the last 15 minutes of the two hour
parade), and throughout the night. It's the Nebuta "festival song" I
guess. Also, I bought a bamboo flute similar to the one they have in
the video, and I am going to try and learn it the song on it. But with
a missionary schedule, it will probably take me a long time.
This was the only band that was playing a different song that I saw.
Also, note the guy with the crazy red glasses. I thought it was funny.
 Although this one didn't do it successfully, some of the other floats
did a similar thing where they turned their float 360 degrees and then
went forward again. It seems like it's a really hard maneuver to do. 
This is a chant that they had going on during the festival as well. It
sounds really cool, and I later found out that it's old Japanese for
"let's go kill them!" What a healthy thing to be chanting :P
This is a video taken on Monday on the last stretch of the last
parade. It isn't as lively, but it shows how the floats in Hachinohe
were pulled.

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