Hey! Yo! What's up!
Sorry that I can't speak Japanese anymore. I forgot to say that in my last email or whatever... I don't know how things are going to be by the end of my mission, but uh, I guess you all can teach me again!
Had a pretty chill week this week; not too much going on at all. Our branch president fed us a couple of times (once at this like yakiniku place, where they have a grill in the middle of the table), which is always awesome. We had Christmas of course, Elder Brower finally got his Christmas package, so all is well I think.
We did manage to meet with 전준식 (the "English spaz") this week, and we did what we call "How to Begin Teaching." Basically, it's a pre-lesson before we start talking about church stuff - kind of our goals as missionaries, why we do missionary work, that kind of thing. And then we taught a little bit, but we basically spent the rest of the time on talking about God. It seems like we'll have to take things pretty slowly with him - he doesn't have a religion, and so we're trying to make sure he understands what we're talking about before we move on.
As it turns out, he seems pretty willing to learn; we have a good discussion, and I think it went well. We'll see as we keep meeting him, but so far, he's not an "English spaz with no gospel interest," so that's a relief.
He really liked this salt analogy I used. I heard another missionary say it (and I want to say I've heard this several other times before my mission, so I don't know where it comes from), so I gave it a shot. Basically, it's used to help explain why we give people commitments to keep - whether that is going to church, reading the Book of Mormon, praying, etc.
And so I asked him whether he knew what salt tastes like (of course he did). Then, I asked him to describe it to me, pretending as if I've never had salt before. Of course that's really hard to describe, other than "salty." Then, it's really easy to make a connection that as missionaries, we talk a lot about "happiness" "God" "Christ" "peace" "salvation" "Holy Ghost" - words that he doesn't really understand, and words that are hard for us to describe by speaking. The easiest way for him to understand what we're talking about is for him to taste the salt; just do what we're asking, give it a try, and see how things go.
Let's see more about him... he says he does believe in a God that watches over us, and keeps us, and things like that, so that's a good place to start. Oh, and wanted to have him read a pamphlet before we met again next time, so Elder Brower started talking about that. He got to about "Hey, so can you read some of the pamphlet..." when 전준식 said that he'll read it all by that night, so that's a really good sign. We still need to see where things go though; hopefully, he'll stay interested and willing to learn.
We couldn't meet with Mike this week though, which is too bad. We need to find more investigators; we've been trying, but it hasn't been that successful sadly. We'll keep at it though, since we don't have a ton of other options. :D
Our branch is planning on seeing the New Year's sunrise on Wednesday, and they invited us, so it looks like we're going. That's a Japanese tradition as well, right? If I take any good pictures, I'll send them your way!
So basically, just one teaching appointment and Christmas this week. Hopefully, we'll be little busier next week, but I guess only time will tell!
I hope you have a merry Christmas, and that you'll all have a sweeeet New Year's! Are you all partying with the obachaantatchi as always? Or just Mom and Dad?
"I'm sorry I can't speak Japanese": When we talked to him on the phone Christmas Eve he was having kind of a hard time speaking in straight Japanese -- he kept sticking in little Korean interjections, and his Japanese had kind of a Korean accent to it. I hope that's a good sign that he's getting to be pretty good with the Korean language.
yakiniku: Meat cooked on a grill, a.k.a. "Korean barbecue." In Japan it's usually cooked on a gas grill; in Korea, usually over charcoal.
전준식: Jeon Junsik.
obachantachi: Yumiko's Japanese friends. (Literally, "ladies about the age of my aunts.")