Tuesday, January 27, 2015

This is a fun photo from the holidays, and is what Maryandra fondly calls her and her companions' "barrel kimono" photo!  They were wrapped rather quickly by this kind Japanese sister!
Anyway, Maryandra just had one of the best weeks of her entire life!!!  Within that week was the best day of her life!!!  In her own words:
I can safely say, for
reasons you will find out in a bit, that today, at least the evening part, was probably the best day I've ever had in the field. And now for the explanation. So, at around 3:00, Funakura Shimai and I went on splits to GO TO HACHIOJI TO SEE BROTHER ________ GET BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh, that was a moment I've been waiting for for almost a year!
So, we ride the train over there, and when we step off onto the platform at the eki(station), both of us just felt like we were coming home. And as we walked through the large station and out into our first home in Japan, it was like a breath of fresh air! I felt like I belonged there! It was the most amazing feeling in the world! Walking down the street to the church felt as normal as you please, if a little surreal.

I got to see so many people I can't even list them all, or remember each of them, but every single one of the, recognized me, knew my name, and said "okairinasai!" (Welcome home)! And they asked us to come back for good! The baptism itself was amazing! It brought back all my memories of when a dear sister was baptized, which was almost a year ago, February 15th. And I just felt like I was home the whole time! And to make it better, or to put the icing on the cake, another dear friend showed up with her husband and little daughter, now three years old and becoming quite a big girl! I had messaged her the day before on Facebook to see if she could make it, and she did! For just a few minutes before the baptismal service began, they came to the church! It had been over seven months since I had last seen her, and it just perfected my happiness! I can't remember the last time I felt so happy! Hachioji is and always will be my second home. My most favorite area. Of course I love all my areas, but there is something special about Hachioji.
And we took a picture of the whole group that was gathered
there. I smiled so widely that I'm pretty sure I never looked happier in a picture. Same as with the ones of me and my friend and her daughter! Oooooh, it was just perfect! It was too bad we had to hurry to get home on time, otherwise I would have stayed there all night! I felt really sad to leave again.

Hachioji City. Sigh. But the memories are ones that I am going to
cherish forever! I'm so glad I got to see this experience! That was my real baptism, the one I was meant to be here for! Oooooh, I'm so happy! I can't wait to tell you all about it! In other words, I can't wait until you have read it and are reading this sentence and thinking
"what the heck? She's weird" as you read it, like I told your fortune. Just kidding, that was weird. Anyway, I, still just giddy with excitement! Aaah! This was the best day of my life!.......

Monday, January 19, 2015

Maryandra is doing so well, despite us not being able to do her blog last week!  We were experiencing computer difficulties!  In the meantime, Maryandra got a hair cut!  She wrote all about it in her e-mail this week, even though it happened last week!  Here are some quotes from her experience at the hair salon!

We went to a place called Morris hair salon, where a
man met us at the counter, and we told him what we wanted.
After a few minutes, a different man came up and asked who wanted to go first. I stood up, and he sat me down in one chair, facing a mirror, and he asked me how much I wanted cut off. I indicated just past my shoulder, and he said okay, and led me to this corner to another, different kind of chair, located in front of a sink, and had me sit down. He put this soft blanket on me, and then something else that was like a cloth of some kind, around my shoulders. Then, a rubber bib-like thing came next, to catch the water I suppose. Then, after gathering all my hair behind me, and lowering me down in the chair all the way so that I was basically lying on a bed, or so it seemed, with my head over the sink, he put this cotton cover thing over my eyes, mouth and nose. It felt soft, like a lotion tissue. I'm guessing it was to keep water from splashing in my eyes, though it could have also been to make it less awkward for me, so I wouldn't feel like I'm at the dentist or something, and having some one stare at my face and always be making eye contact at weird moments. So, I just laid there as my hair was thoroughly rinsed, shampooed, scrubbed clean, and conditioned, with a little bit of a head massage thrown into the bunch. If I had been a cat, I would have purred. Except cats done like water. Never mind. Anyway, after that was done, I was raised back up, the tissue cover was removed, as well as all the other many coverings and the soft blanket, and I was led to yet another chair, that was cushiony and round. This was to be the final chair, the chair where my hair was lostCrying face
Gradually, I just watched the hair fall away, and it... It didn't really feel real. When it was finally all cut and stuff, the barber dude blow dried my hair, styled the ends a bit to make it look more natural, and then said I was done. It was weird. I wasn't sad, but kind of yes I was as I went to habitually take my hair and throw it behind my shoulder....only to not touch anything but air, and then to try and put it behind my ear and feeling the ends tickling my neck. It was a really weird feeling, and there, that's my story of the barbershop.

Her companion at the time, Sister Horrocks, also got her hair cut!  Here are the four of them before transfers, modeling their "new dresses" which were just their skirts pulled up way high!  Now Maryandra has a new companion, and the Sister in the red sweater transferred out, sadly.  But things are going well so far with the new companion, Sister Smith. Hopefully we will have photos of the new companion next week!

The day has been taken up
with unpacking, talking, dinner, going to Daiso to pick up some art supplies, and then coming back and doing weekly planning. But we have a fun day planned for tomorrow. I think I'm finally starting to feel comfortable with being a missionary. It's a nice feeling. And it's kind of sad, because you know what? As of today I'm TRANSFER NINE!!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwww!!!!!! It's so scary, because I only have twenty four weeks left in the mission, as of today. And after this transfer, I only have three more left. Yikes! It's so scary to think that I'm actually, for real, an old missionary. My time is ticking. 168 days left, or so. It's so weird! Eeeeeeeek!!!!!!!! Well, I'm determined to work extra hard to the end, and to keep going strong through to the end! I can do this! Yeah! Whoo! Well, I need to go now and get ready for bed. I'll see you later! Love you all! Goodnight!....
We enjoyed church pretty
well.  And then, we had to sit through ward council, which lasted from 1:30 until about..... Well, I think a little after three. But it was good to learn about what the ward wants, and how we can all help each other, so we will gladly use that advice. We have some good goals for baptisms and reactivations of ward members for this coming year that we will try our very best to achieve! Yeah! I love this ward, they're so dendo Fire! It's great! I really hope I get to finish out the rest of my mission here. Wouldn't that be great? Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

As you can see, Maryandra is in a fun missionary setting, with several other fun-loving sisters in her house!  Here are some excerpts from this week's e-mail, which came a day late because on Monday they had Temple P-day!

Well, the morning started out great with me busting my companion's bike. Yep, you heard me. I basically killed it.

We were riding early this morning to kichijoji for zone conference, and this guy suddenly pulled in front of my companion, and she had to stop suddenly, and I didn't realize soon enough, so I couldn't come to a stop, and I hit her rear tire at nearly full speed with my bike, which loosened the tire and snapped two of the spokes. Yeah. Of course, my companion wasn't happy, but she was kind enough not to yell at me, though I would have felt less guilty if she had. I will pay for all needed repairs, of course. Shoot, right? We were able to ride slowly the rest of the way to kichijoji, after semi securing the spokes to other, stable ones, with a bobby pin and a hair tie. I can't tell you how bad I feel! But, as you'll find out later, it turned out not so bad after all.  
As for zone conference, it was great! It was focused on helping us get ourselves better and in the right condition to where we can be effective tools in the hands of the Lord, rather than just a bunch of trainings on things we already know how to do. But that means that we got to talk about physical health and disease prevention, and guess who came to give that presentation?! The elder and sister who came to see me at the hospital so often! It was so great to see both of them again, and I think it was a relief for them to see me looking normal, and it made me feel happy just to see them. They're so great! Even though they live in the north mission boundaries, I think they come to our things more frequently, hehe. Anyway, it was great!  

Well, in I believe six weeks from today, I will have been in Japan for exactly one year! How time flies, am I right? Holy cow! And, it's the last day of 2014! Yikes! I can remember thinking back in the mtc to what it would be like a year from then, and thinking things like "wow! It's going to be so weird to have been away from home for more than a year!" Among other things.  .  .  .
After coming back, we made our way to the church, re-attached my companion's tire to her bike, partly, at least, and then walked our bikes home. It could have been better, but hey, I can't complain. It's my fault that it happened, anyway.
We didn't do much after that, besides go and get something to go from the bakery. Then, we talked and enjoyed ourselves on the way home, to do weekly planning. Or try to. It didn't end up happening, because we talked too much, and had a blast, like we hadn't had in a really long time. I think it was good, though. Aaah, it was so nice! We talked about our MTC districts, and how much fun the MTC was, etc. and it was incredibly refreshing. For some reason, it alleviated some unknown pressure that had been on my shoulders, and I'm sure on my companion's as well. It felt soooo nice!
So, despite the change of plans, today ended up being pretty good after all! Happy new year!

Wow! Today was coooold!!!! But I k ow it's only going to get colder for, here. But do you want to know what indicated just how cold it was? For about half an hour, teeny tiny snow flakes fell from the sky, so small you could barely see them. It was craaazy! But it was at least really pretty, and thankfully nothing stayed long. Phew!

We wanted to take a district picture, so we asked a random guy to take one of us I front of the steak house. But as it turns out, the lighting wasn't very good, so the man told us to move across the street instead, which put us right in front of a gigantic pachinko (gambling hall). Whoops. So we all tried to grin and bear it as the man took a photo that made us look like we were endorsing gambling. To make it worse, we just happened to be standing in front of a large picture of scantily clad women. Double whoops. Not something we are remotely proud of. It was an accident, so we can't really claim any kind of guilt or fault, can we? Still, perhaps we should have used some logic. Oh well....

Maryandra hasn't sent us a copy of that photo yet, but we'll look forward to it for next week!