Monday, June 22, 2015

Do You Like English? (June 22, 2015)

One time, my district and I were passing out English Conversation Class flyers, and Sister O and I were standing on the corner by the train station. A friendly taxi driver old man was talking to us and he was very nice. A group of punk high school kids walked past, and high school kids are prime targets to get English flyers to, so I used my best American accent and said, "Free English! Do you like English?" and mostly got ignored. The last kid who passed was riding a bicycle, so Sister O threw a flyer into his bike basket as hard as she could, startling the kid into slamming on his breaks and almost falling over right there in front of us. He recovered quickly and in was so shocked I started laughing, as did the friendly taxi driver. The boy kind of nodded and moved on. He rode by later with his friends, and he threw a crumpled-up flyer at our feet.

It was so funny, I just about died. Sister O thought he was a jerk and although I admit it was a pretty jerky move, except for also hilarious. :)

This week was also good in other more spiritual ways as well... :)

I'm going to describe some music stuff I did this week, it is bracketed off, so if you are not interested, feel free to skip it because it is long. But I want to remember it:)

[This week, we had Elder Ringwood of the Seventy come speak to us, and it was really excellent (he's the guy who talked about Shiblon last General Conference, if that's any help). I was blessed with the privilege to play violin for a musical number for that meeting, and it was AWESOME. The Legendary Poff Choro was actually asked to perform, and he invited me to join him, so I was very grateful, indeed. We played a medley of Be Still My Soul and If You Could Hie to Kolob in the key of F, in case you were wondering (I know you were, who're you kidding). It began with a piano intro that was really soft and twinkly, and then I came in up high and we played a verse of Be Still and it was very reverent and peaceful. I dropped an octave on the second verse, and the piano switched to Kolob and I played a modified Be Still (so that the chords worked with the piano and also so that the hymns lined up in length since Kolob is two phrases shorter than Be Still). And then there was a crazy interlude section where he played a lead in for Be Still on piano and I played a melody I made up, and then the last verse was the BEST PART. I break into a slightly adorned Kolob and Elder Poff starts going at Be Still and it's a grand time, and but right where Kolob ends is right before the peak of Be Still, and it's a step away from the chord. Translation: it sounds super intense. And then I join him on "BE STILL MY SOUL," and he throws out a crazy arpeggio that covers a million octaves, basically, and then--a breath--and all that tension is released all at once and we relax into "The wind and waves still know/His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below."

I can't really describe it, obviously, but it was a really good arrangement, if I do say so myself, and the best part for me was that last little bit. When we practiced, it was still just me playing music, and whatever, but with the Spirit that was at the Elder Ringwood Conference and all the people there who have devoted so much and given so much to spread the word of God in this part of the world--that last bit, I closed my eyes, and it was the purest worship I have ever felt in my life. Up until now, when I've played for various meetings or occasions, it was worship,but there was also always a degree of performance still in the mix, me trying to say something to the people I was playing for. But on Thursday it was different. On Thursday, it wasn't me, and it was't Elder P playing piano. I lost myself in the music for a moment and the music is what carried my adoration and gratitude for my Lord and Savior to a higher plane than I have access to by any other means. ]

The song of the heart is truly a prayer unto the Lord. I'm not great with words and I'm not great with people, and sometimes I'm not great with anything at all, but I have been blessed with a little gift of music that I felt the Lord magnify within me. I'm so grateful to my parents for letting me indulge in that. Although I am small and there is much I am incapable of, I know that through the Lord, I am enough.

And you are, too. I don't know if anyone ever feels as weak and small as I do, but I do know that being small and weak and human is acceptable; in fact, it's pretty hard to avoid. So, chin up!

Everything will be okay:)

Love you all!


Here's our half of the mission! Where's Waldo? (This Waldo's in the top right corner.)

Bonus photos:

Statues like this are ALL over Ishinomaki. I'm a tough cookie.

Note: The mask says "I ♥ Miyagi," where Miyagi-ken is the name of the prefecture that includes Sendai and Ishinomaki. (It's also the name of the sensei in "The Karate Kid," for you 80s movie buffs.)

Food from Yumi:)

Food from Usui S:)

Note: That's "melon pan," bread flavored like Japanese melons (kind of like a cross between honeydew and cantaloupe).

My beloved district. I love then so much:)

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