Monday, May 25, 2015

Spindly Piece of Nappy (May 25, 2015)


The photo below is what we got from Lisa in her e-mail this week. What on earth could the subject mean? Your guess is as good as mine; it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the photo. My guess is that she wrote a draft e-mail and forgot to insert it when she attached the photo, or something, maybe?

And who are the people in the photo? She must be doing an exchange with another missionary, because the other Sister isn't her companion. Who is the other woman? A church member? Someone they're teaching? Someone from their English class? I don't know. She does look kind of like one of the women in the photo Lisa sent before of them making the long sushi roll (ロングロングのり巻き), but I can't tell for sure.

The big doll thing they're standing next to is "Osatochan," the "image character" for a rest area or "roadside station" in  Ishinomaki.

Other than that... maybe she'll explain more next week?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Earthquakes and Other Stories (May 18, 2015)

Six-fifteen on a Tuesday morning, I opened my eyes against the morning light brazenly streaming through the thickest curtains in the apartment, an unusual sound drawing me out of the mist that clouded my mind. Wooden beams creaking, complaining against the movement of the earth under its foundation as the building complained against this rude awakening. I sat up straight as the movement increased, watching my companion as she too felt the movement and opened her eyes. She shot up, instantly wide awake, and something that sounded vaguely like, "getunderthetablegetunderthetablegetunderthetable," in a very dignified sleepy Japanese. ("もぐってもぐってもぐって!") My companion crawled under the little table in the corner, huddled in the corner, and I got my head under cover shortly afterwards.

First of all, I miss creative writing, in case you were wondering. It just sounds so much tackier when you're describing something that actually happened, dang it. Basically, there was a pretty good sized quake on Tuesday, the biggest one I've felt yet. Two brothers and a sister from our branch called/texted us to make sure we were okay and to let us know that there was no tsunami warning, we felt very loved.

'Twas an adventure, I love the people of Ishinomaki so much. They are quirky as heck but so, so, so sweet.

We also ran into this lady housing, here is an approximation of the rather surprising conversation we had with her:

"Hello! We're currently working as volunteers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Have you ever heard of Jesus Christ?"

(Remember this is a predominantly Buddhist culture.)

"What do you mean, have I heard of Jesus Christ?"

"Oh, do you know about Him?"

"Well, he's on TV, isn't he?"


"That was rude, well, sure, I don't know anything about Jesus Christ, it's not like the....(insert fairly lengthy rant)"

(insert lots of apologizing and trying to get said lady to not hate us)

(lady begins to calm down and compliments us for not getting angry when she started going after us)

(we thank her for her input and make a swift exit)

Well. Missions are definitely full of adventures, for sure:) I'm having do much fun, my word. Sometimes it's harder than other times, but one thing I'm learning that you can't get down about things beyond your control, and isn't that true about a whole host of things in life. Although we can't change the weather or the earth or other people, we can choose how we look at our circumstances. A prism set in a black box is only a piece of glass, but held in the light, there is much, much more to that simple piece of glass.

Life and dendo, (dendo's a really convenient Japanese word that encompasses the idea of mission/missionary work,) much like flowers or rainbows, hold part of their beauty in the fact that they don't last forever. There is so much breathtaking beauty in each moment we live,
whether it's the tragedy of the moment or the purity of joy you feel forna split second, there is so much to appreciate. I am so, so grateful for the opportunity I have to be in Ishinomaki at this time.

I truly feel that Ishinomaki is on the precipice of a series of miracles that will change the lives of many people for good, and although I don't know if it will begin while I am still in this area, my heart is full of gratitude to my God for the blessing it is to be here. I miss my family and my friends, of course, but I also feel the fragility of this time in my life, how it slips through my fingers like so much sand.

I'd like to invite each of you to take a few minutes, even just one or two, to think about where you are now, to absorb the beauty of where God has placed you at this time. I promise you there is something to appreciate that you might not have noticed.

I love people. Thank you each for the influence you've had on my life!

I'm just so happy right now. Life's not perfect, no, but that is what makes it special.


Love always, Sister Lisa Luke:)


I FORGOT THIS IS WAY IMPORTANT. The elders found that Potential Investigator two weeks ago when we were picking up trash, and he is KINJIN. (That's combinning the characters for gold and person.) He is scheduled to be baptized on June 6. May I request a few prayers for Abe san? He is so wonderful:)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Still Breathing (March 11, 2015)

Hey y'all!!! Back on the face of the planet. Last week I thought I was gonna die, truth be told, but I'm still breathing, obviously, so all is well:) Being a trainer gets easier every day and even though I'm still clueless, my sweet companion Sister O understands that I'm still learning, bless her. I also came down with a massive headache and she made me rest, which was good because I have a hard time slowing down even when I need it. (I slept 28 hours out of 48, and I'm back on my feet.)

Yesterday (today???) was/is Mother's Day, so a little shoutout to all the moms and future moms, heck, shoutout to all the ladies on this lovely day:) I am so grateful for the influence of righteous women in my life. (By the way, during Skype yesterday I was preparing little gifts for the ladies in our branch for Mother's Day, which is why I had scissors and stuff.)

So. I don't actually have a lot to say except for, things are looking up, I love my district, I love Ishinomaki, I never want to leave. I'm way grateful for the prayers and such, I know I've been receiving a lot of help. Life's not easy, but I feel so, so, so blessed.

And, yeah. I love you all:)

PS, we picked up trash as service. The elders found an investigator during this time.