The emails started MUCH later than normal - we got our first email just after 10:30 - because she was hiking through the snow saying goodbye to all the members of the Sado branch before her transfer which was much slower going than on the bike. I'll share some stuff about where she's going after her email.
I'm transferring!!! We had transfer calls this morning and it was definitely bittersweet because I'm leaving Sado. Sado has been my home for the past 4 months and I've really grown to love it. My new area is Kumagaya and I don't really know anything about it, but my new companion is Gorner Shimai!! She was in my MTC district and we've always wanted to be companions so this is a dream come true!!
We had so much snow this week! It snowed for four days straight without stopping and when we came back from Niigata, our poor bikes were buried in the snow. My bike even had icicles on it!! We're not allowed to bike at all since we have so much snow so we've had to do a ton of walking. Our 45 minute walks to the church got really boring really fast, but me and Boden Shimai made it fun by having snow-ball fights along the way.
We went to Niigata twice this week: once for zone meeting and a second time for interviews with President Nagano. It was a lot of traveling - it takes about 5 hours to just get there between the buses and ferry. We had a lot of time that was spent traveling this week and a lot of time outside of our area which was a little stressful because we had Yamaji Shimai's baptism at the end of the week. However, because of how much traveling we did, we really had to make sure that we planned well and worked effectively. We managed to still teach Yamaji Shimai a lesson every day and were able to call members and do some type of work for our area even when we were in Niigata. It made me realize how important time is and how much we can do with the time we have, we just can't let it go to waste. Interviews were amazing and I loved seeing and talking with the Nagano's even if it was only for 20 minutes each. It was just the reboot I needed!
Yamaji Shimai drove us to the church where we started the service. Sister Boden and I gave the introduction and basically just said how ready she was to be baptized. After a short talk by one of the members and a musical number by the Elders we drove to a nearby hotel. We went upstairs to the public baths (really popular in Japan). The bath was pretty big, but it was really shallow - about a foot deep actually. So we were all wondering how she was going to completely submerge in the water. They ended up having to have two attempts at the baptism because it was so shallow (I was actually really impressed because the first time she only went half way under because she floated up). After she got baptized she told Boden Shimai and I that she felt so clean and pure. It was so cute how happy she was. We drove back to the church and concluded the service. For the closing hymn, we sang "Angels We Have Heard on High," which we sang so much during Christmas time so it's one of the only songs Yamaji Shimai knows and just happens to be her favorite too. It was awesome though because it felt like Christmas in January. She was confirmed as a member of the church on Sunday. I've never seen her wear a skirt or dress, but for her confirmation, she wore a skirt and a blouse!! I'm so excited for what's ahead for her.
English club has been really slow at getting started (barely have 2 students for two months of doing it), but we had 2 new students show up this week!! It was a huge miracle for us!! One of the students was a friend of Reimi San's (the lady who has been coming). Then the other student is a lady we found housing!! They were both so cute and really good at English! They are all in their 20s-30s so it's a fun class. We mostly just talk and have conversations in English!
1. Domino Shimai giving me a piggy back ride :)
2. Zone p-day! I got to see my MTC companion!!
3. Sado in the winter
4. Yamaji Shimai's baptism!!
5. More baptism pics
6. The branch
7 and 8. The bath where she got baptized
9. Pointing to where I live on my island
10. We always eat good when we're in Niigata
11. Same as 10
12. Boden Shimai was bored on the ferry
Jordan's foot isn't broken in any way, it is just inflamed. Rest is the best thing but that's hard for a missionary so I told her to take ibuprofen and wrap it if needed. She had a great meeting on Thursday with President Nagano and a separate meeting with his wife. I won't go into details of what was said but I will say that both of them are VERY pleased with what Jordan is doing. I'll add that I think President Nagano was inspired when he called Jordan to Sado for her first area; Sister Nagano told me when it happened that President Nagano must see something very special in her to send her there now because it's the toughest area in the mission.
Kumagaya: Jordan's next area has a population of about 200,000. It is about 40 miles northwest of Tokyo and has a train line that goes directly to Tokyo. Eight national highways and three train lines run through the city which has a higher population during the day than at night - apparently, more people commute into the city than out of it. The average temperature in January is 28 degrees for the low and 48 degrees for the high - it was 41 degrees yesterday when I was looking up facts about Kumagaya. It is the hottest city in Japan and reached a record temperature for Japan on 8/19/2007 when it got to 105.6 degrees; it's also very humid which makes hot seem hotter and cold seem colder. I shared some pretty pictures from Kumagaya with Jordan and it looks like there will be some fun places for her to explore on her P-days. I'm looking forward to getting some great pictures from her.
As always, thanks for your support via thoughts, prayers, emails, letters and such. She LOVES them all as do we. Feel free to share any thoughts or ask questions in the comments section.