Tuesday, September 23, 2014

 Maryandra can see Mount Fuji from her new apartment in Fussa!  It is that mountain way in the back!

 Here is Maryandra with a bunch after a sports activity.  Maryandra is in the back, and her new companion, Sister Horrocks (not Jorrocks like I accidentally put 2 blogs ago) next to the elder in the red shirt!

Maryandra stumbled upon her new favorite restaurant while doing splits last week!  For those of you who don't know, Maryandra is an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes!  She really enjoyed the lunch they ate there!
Here are a few of her e-mail entries:
I like it here fine, but I don't feel like I'm doing anything. I felt
like I at least had a job in Sagamihara, even though I didn't actually
get anything done. Here, I loooove my companion, and the area is
pretty and quiet, but there is noooothing to do here! No people to
street, the area is HUGE, so if we want to go somewhere untouched, we
have to reside the train for an hour, and our priorities are so
different, none of our investigators are progressing, but we teach
them all the time. How can I help my area grow?... I think I found a
solution! I knew we needed to do finding, and we had the perfect
opportunity today, and got five real good, solid contacts! Way cool!
Our original plans had been slightly foiled when we decided to help a
member with cleaning the chapel by putting away and re-setting chairs
while she vacuumed. So, we had one hour of dendo time before dinner
and planning for a lesson. And we just decided to wing it, like we had
done all the time back in transfer four, in Sagamihara. And do you know
what? The old wing it magic worked! We talked to an old lady who owns
a really cool shop full of American and Japanese model planes and old
ships and Japanese traditional things that looked amazing, and a guy
randomly asked to take our pictures (that has happened to me before
too, if you remember. It was quite interesting, almost nostalgic.
After that, another old lady pruning her garden, and two ladies with
dogs (separately). It felt sooooooooooooooooooo gooooooooood!!!!

Maryandra issued a challenge to our family, so we'll put it in the blog
for everyone!
I want to challenge you all to so something for me on the
next few weeks. I want you to read the talks from last session of
general conference, before this next coming one. It's something I've
been doing for the last couple of weeks, and I've found it immensely
useful. I know it can help you all, in some way or other. Maybe a good
idea would be to do this for family home evening? Just take time to
read a few talks, and ask everyone before hand to write down a
question they have, about anything, and see if they get their answer
in the next couple of weeks. It worked for me to write down questions
before the last conference, and it will help everyone else, too! I had
so many last conference, and I'm thinking of plenty right now. I want
everyone to do this for me, okay?

Well, I am waiting for the waitress at the CHILI's on BASE that we
JUST ATE AT!!! I figured I would tell you what else we've done so far.
We came to the base with the elders and a few investigator and member
friends, and we played beach volleyball for an hour or so, which was
actually really fun. You would be proud of me. I played a sport! After
that, yes, we went to chili's and ate there. It was delicious, but
soooooo hard for me to digest American portions!
Oooooooowwwwwww!!!!!!! But it was good! Don't let me overeat when I
get home! Oh, and by the way, I'm just gonna send this now, 
because we will have to do
only part of our emailing today, in order to get to our lesson on
time.  But I will tell you I'm sooooooo stoked for zone conference
tomorrow!!!! Did you know they're piloting new pamphlets in our
mission? They pilot everything ever. Why is that? Not that I'm
complaining. They're pretty cool!
Anyway, gotta dash, because I have
to send more emails today! So many people deduced to email me last
week, it was weird! Well, see ya later!.....

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Maryandra got to celebrate her birthday one day early at Eikaiwa,
(English conversation class), with a lot of her favorite people in
Sagamihara! She wrote in her e-mail:
We are going to celebrate my birthday today
instead of tomorrow, because of transfers....
eikaiwa was pretty fun. The after party was kind of sad. 
Everybody was so sad that I was leaving,
which I find very interesting, because they'd never said much to me,
so many other people that I can't
remember all of them, came up to me to offer their goodbyes.
But the coolest part of the day was that, for the first obvious time
in a while, The Lord showed His ability to time things perfectly,
because, when Tachibana Shimai asked to leave early because she wasn't
feeling well again, we left a few minutes later, only to run into
a dear investigator, as she tried to catch us, having just send and read the
letter I'd put on her post box earlier today. It made me so happy to
be able to give her a few good hugs and say a proper goodbye, and so
she could be properly introduced to Tachibana Shimai. It was a perfect
handoff! I'm so happy The Lord was merciful enough to His very
imperfect servant, to give me that good memory! Now, I can leave this
area in peace, having tried to fix all the things I messed up well
enough to give the next sister missionaries a chance to see some real
miracles! You're welcome, future sisters!

Maryandra enjoyed her birthday morning, opening cards from her family, etc.
Soon, though, she was on her way to her new area, Fussa!
Here are her thoughts about her birthday from her e-mail:
Well, hey,
guess what? I'm all by myself, on a train going to a station, 40
minutes away. Never done this before. Kind of nervous. So far, today
has not felt remotely like a birthday, though I enjoyed the things
you'd sent me this morning. It's felt... Well, weird. The fact that
I've left Sagamihara for entirely new territory, ( new stake, new
climate, new companion, new ken, new atmosphere, everything) hasn't
really hit me yet. Yikes. Oh well. I just don't really know what to do
for the next 40 minutes, as I try to balance my bags on my lap and
type with one hand.... Well,that went better than I expected. I was a
little confused when I got off at higashi-Fussa, where I was told to
go, because it looked like nothing more than a small platform with a
bridge, which is pretty much what it was, but the other three sisters
quickly found me and we walked the short distance to the apartment,
which has many similarities to my home, Sagamihara, and it made me
happy and sad at the same time when I looked at my new desk, they had
decorated it for my birthday! It made me so happy that they
I'm so glad that
at least the other sisters are nice! They said we're going to go out
to dinner soon! Cool! It makes it easier for me to deal with not being
in Sagamihara. I hope that I can survive being without a nihonjin (Japanese),
in such a large group. And having so many Americans in the area.... I can
remember wanting to go to one of the "base" areas earlier in my
mission, but that was only because I couldn't speak Japanese. But when
I got better at it, I became okay with not doing it after all, and
what do I get but the unpleasant transfer call that I will be leaving
my beloved hometown and coming to another new, totally foreign area.
Oh yeah, I forgot to talk about the district. There are four sisters,
and four elders.  But the thought of
associating with Americans the way I have to with Japanese is really
scary! I didn't sign up for this! What am I doing? So, yeah, I guess
my birthday was kind of weird. But it could have been worse, I guess.
A lot worse, I'm sure. I could have gotten lost, or mixed up on the
train, or something. But now, basically I'm just tired. Well, I'll see
you all tomorrow, okay? Love you! Bye!.....
I'm still not over my culture shock. In fact it's gotten worse. In
fact, it got so much worse that for a few minutes, I was on the verge
of having a panic attack. This does not bode well for me when I return
home at the end of my mission. I just discovered that the reason I've
been shy my whole life is because I find Americans terrifying. What a
weird thought. I'm terrified of my own race. The only exception are
missionaries. I'm not joking. I literally wanted to run away and hide
my self somewhere, and I nearly passed out as we were crossing the
train tracks to come to the station. This area is really nice. I like
it, but where did this sudden fear come from? It keeps me from
focusing, and I need to try really hard to even open my mouth and
talk. To anybody. Not just the Americans. It's been a most unusual
trial. So unexpected.

So, we don't have church till 1:00 here in fussa, which means we get
to do a lot of things in the morning. It's so nice! We just had a
lesson/family eikaiwa with this cute mom and her one year old boy.
He is so cute!
A couple of random facts. 
One, you can see MOUNT FUJI from our apartment!!!!!!!!
AAAAAAAHHH!!!!! And you can see it really well on a clear day! It
makes me so excited! I can see Fuji San! And the other one is
something that sister horrocks told me today. She said that, when we
go to the temple from here, we get to pass through main city TOKYO!!!
I'm soooooo excited! I can't wait! Also, did you know that in our
mission, the area known as Yokohama is the first ever area in Japan to
welcome missionaries, and see success!!!! Whoa! My mission may be the
"newest" but technically, it's the oldest, and most historic! That's
way cool! Whooooooaaaaa!!!!! Anyway, I can't remember anything else,
so I need to go for now.
Hopefully Maryandra will keep adjusting better each day to Fussa!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Maryandra had a pretty full week, and just loves her current area, Sagamihara.  
Too bad she won't be there much longer!  Here are some excerpts:

So, we had a RECORD of contacts today, and all
because we deduced to do absolutely everything mission related. You got
that right. We went to the park with the intention if doing some park
dendo, and finding no one there, decided to go explore the surrounding
area. We went into a cheap mini drug store (no, not that kind of drug
store! Though they do have those too:(...) and talked to two young
mothers with adorable children! Then, at the top, we found a ¥100
(hyaku yen) shop, and on a whim bought some touchable bubbles,
badminton rackets and recorders (yes, in Japan, you can buy all sorts
of amazing things like that that are high quality and durable for the
equivalent of a dollar! It's amazing!) We also talked to an old lady who was on her way
to a swimming sports club, of all things. She was really cute! We went
back to the park after trying to check out the area and do some
housing, and in the process talking to a cute old couple who own their
own vegetable shop in what looks oddly like a garage. (You counting?
Keep going)

Anyway, we arrive at the park, and go to the swing set. I ate my ice
cream I bought, and play my recorder with tachibana Shimai. We talked
to the mom and her son sitting on the neighboring swing set in the
process (or tachibana Shimai did, anyway. I was kind of far away) then
I scored high points with five elementary school boys when I started
playing with the touchable bubbles. They seemed to come out of
nowhere, and they tried to kill the bubbles, and all that, and as they
flocked around me, one of them read my name tag, and I said "yep, that's
right! I'm a church volunteer! [have some more bubbles]!" And went on
again for another five minutes. Still counting? 

Well, after that, we
went and played with our badminton rackets at the top of the park, and
these two random old men walking with their dog came up and talked to
us. One of them could sort of speak English. Kind of funny. One had
the face of a turtle mixed with a raisin, and the other had hair that
was bald on the top but long on the sides, like one of those crazy
would-be inventors/mad scientists. After that,  I talked to a lady who
exchanged my eikaiwa flier for a random pack of tissues before
hurrying off to catch her train. What the? And I also talked to a
little girl who spoke amazing English because she is going to an
English speaking school, and her mom, who came out of the cafe where
the girl was waiting. Tachibana Shimai talked to one other person. As
we go back to our bikes, we talk to another lady who was holding an 
adorable pet poodle with a random doggy shirt that had whales on it.
After that, we had three new people show up at eikaiwa! Whoa! And
then, as we came back to the apartment, we talked to another lady as
she came home from her shopping! Whaaaaaaat!!!!! The best part about
today's whole finding thing was that it wasn't just one specific set
of finding; it was some of all, and something completely different
from all of them! 

Okay, is it just me, or is time trying to kill me? Am I really going
to be twenty in one week? O.oFearful faceFace screaming in fear What?! Ooooooohhhhh boy, that's
scary. But... Ummmmm... Yeah. Anyway, just had to freak out for a
second. I'll see you later today!
I'll tell you something that just cheered me right up! Nishimura
Shimai came up to me and gave me certificates to baskin Robbins,
because she remembered my birthday is coming up soon. She asked if I
was doing anything on that day, and I said I didn't know, but it's
transfer day, so I may or may not be very busy. She said "ooh, I
really hope you don't transfer, but if you did, I would miss you!" It
almost made me cry! But I feel so happy to know her and her amazing
family! I love them so much!...

If I had to stay the rest of my mission here, I would be okay with
that, really I would! Or, if I could somehow only go to areas where I
would cross oaths with people like the Nishimura family, or someone
that dad knew, I would be okay. In fact, that would be really really
fun! But I'm just not ready to leave yet! Ooooooohhhhh........

Oh my gosh, guess what? I'm crying so hard right now, because I'm transferring to Fussa. My new companion will be Sister Jorrocks. She will be becoming sister training leader, and we were admonished to go and talk to absolutely everyone! I'm trying to be happy, and I'm sure it will be fun, but I'm just trying to get used to the idea of not being in Sagamihara anymore. Yikes! But I am sure it will be great. Once again, completely surprised. Maaaaan!!!!!??!?!?!?!??! But I've only ever heard good about her, so this should be good. But my insides are totally deflated. Ooooooh, ooooooouuuuuuuuch!!!!!!!!! Loudly crying faceLoudly crying faceDisappointed but relieved faceFace with open mouth and cold sweatWeary faceTired faceFearful faceFace screaming in fearFearful faceTired faceTired faceWeary face I'll be okay someday..... Fussa is on a base, so that should be pretty interesting.
The next post will be all about Maryandra's new area and new companion. 
She will also be 20 years old by then!  She'd been afraid she'd have a busy birthday, 
and you can't get much busier than a transfer! She will really miss Sagamihara!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Maryandra had some fun eating watermelon this past week, apparently!!!
She and Sister Tachibana had many adventures this week, and an opportunity 
for service when they were in a threesome:
Wow. Well, we just had one of the most interesting and
amazing experiences ever. It truly shows The Lord has perfect timing.
We were having a rough time with housing and so we decided to save
that for Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and street instead. While we
were making our way back to try and street on our way to the eki, so
we could make it in plenty of time to machida, we saw a lady fall
sideways while riding her bike. We hurried over to her as fast as we
could. We helped her move her things over to the side of the road, and
get comfortable and call someone to come and pick her up. Her shoulder
was really painful, she said. She kept saying "it's okay, I'm sorry,
I'm so sorry!" But we refused to leave her. How could we, in such a
situation? Shoulder broken or dislocated, raining, no one else
stopping to help her. We waited with her for almost twenty minutes
before the emergency aid ladies came, and we helped them take her to
the car, and then get in, and brought her bike with us to the aid
vehicle. She was in pain and almost crying, but she was so thankful
that we stayed with her. We felt really bad that we couldn't help her
more. She was worrying about how she would be able to take care of her
small child and go to work at the same time with her shoulder so bad,
and no one to help her, and I felt so bad! We couldn't do anything
more for her than sit and wait with her until help came, hold an
umbrella over her head to keep her out of the rain, bring her bike to
the big van, and make sure she was safely situated before handing over
her bike and other things and leaving. It was quite the experience.
But it taught me a lesson. Even though we didn't say we were church
volunteers or try to tell her about the gospel, she knows what kind of
people we are, because we cared enough to help her, out of the other
people who just walked on by without looking down at her. She and the
people who came to help her are always going to remember this, and
know that at least three young women, complete strangers, cared,
enough to see what she needed, and to help her not feel lonely as she
sat there in pain and wondering what to do. At least she didn't have
to do it alone. Yes, that was a very big personal defining moment for
me. I'm gonna remember it for a long time. We were a sober group that
went to the station. Not sad, exactly, just humbled.

Maryandra is also learning a lot about herself and her relationship
with her current companion:
I am trying to feel better. I think the reason why there was so much 
unspoken conflict and disagreement before is because
we were both trying to do what we are best at. Mine is streeting and
housing and those other means of finding, while hers is building
relationships with the ward and teaching lessons. Soooo... Yeah, of
course those things are both good, but we are struggling to find a
balance with it, because that's all either of us wants to do, is our
strong point. I don't know. It's not exactly contentious, but it
definitely isn't perfect, either. I'm just not openly disagreeing
right now, because there have been many times this transfer where I've
had to eat a slice of humble pie myself. I need her in order to teach
lessons, and she needs me if we are gonna find people on our own. It's
funny, because I used to hate finding, in any shape or form, but now
it's my favorite, maybe because I can actually understand and speak
some semi okay Japanese now, and talking to people has become a lot of
fun, rather than my biggest, lifelong fear.

Here are some other deep thoughts from Maryandra's e-mail.

I realized that my real mission has ended up being helping people,
helping them be okay, with whatever they need. I've done that in some
way with many of my companions. So, anyway, I will do what I realize I
have been called here to do. My purpose as a missionary is to help
others (and that means any and everyone of my friends) to come into
Christ, in anyway I can.  The missionary purpose states it as such,
and every missionary is best at helping a certain kind of people. Some
are great at baptisms. Some are great at finding. Some are great at
bringing back less actives. Some help their companions. Some are good
at making friends, and paving a path for future missionaries to come
in and do what they, in turn, are best at. I'm finding lately that I'm
a good companion. Not to quote myself, but others. I definitely don't
feel it myself, but what I want is for others to feel happy when they
are around me, because I want them to relax and find peace. Even
though on the inside I'm far from peaceful, the knowledge that others
have felt peaceful through me is a comfort. So, basically what I'm
trying to say is, I don't feel like I'll get to see a person go
through the entire process of finding, teaching, baptizing, and fellow
shipping and eternal progression. But what I will see is others
strengthened, so that they can do those things. Not like I won't try,
or I don't hope for a baptism, don't get me wrong. I feel like that
could happen, but I just feel like I was called here for a different
reason than one might think. And that is, not so much to bring others
into the fold, but to bring them back to the fold, or to strengthen
others so they can fulfill their personal callings from The Lord.
These are my thoughts. I'm not disappointed about it. Just more of an
okay, show me who, and show me how. Now that I'm coming to terms with
it, I think it should all be uphill from here. I'm gonna work, and do
my best in the other areas of missionary work, of course, but I need
to focus on the people The Lord guides me to, and brings to my life.
And right now, that person is my companion.
Maryandra was able to pick up her birthday package from the Mission Home
and open it on Saturday!!!  There is one thing that was wrapped, that she will 
wait to open until September 11, her birthday, but the rest she enjoyed seeing, 
like the Nutella and Swedish fish!!!

On Sunday several of their investigators made it to Church, so Maryandra's e-mail
ended quite happy!!!  But they are anxious about the fact that transfers will be 
announced by next week.  We shall see!!!