Megumi and Minami Chan
Janae's new companion, Sister Horito
Janae feeding birds on boat ride
Thanks for the emails! I can't believe it is September already... So crazy! It blows my mind how fast time goes.
Well, let me tell you about my two day trip to Sado! On Wednesday morning, I said goodbye to sister Ahn and traveled to the Honbu with Sister Crandall, my temporary traveling companion. Megumi and Minami Chan wanted to come and say goodbye to me at the Honbu, and so they travelled with us to Higashi Nagasaki. It was so sweet of them to come and say goodbye to me, and to travel so far to do it. I love them so much! Saying goodbye to everyone was really difficult in Koiwa as you could probably imagine, but my last day there, we saw so many miracles! It was amazing! I think I will always remember Koiwa as an area full of miracles. There are so many prepared people there, and I feel like I really saw God's hand in the work there everyday. From the Honbu, I said goodbye to Megumi and Minami Chan and pair up with sister Borchert who had been transferred to the Niigata area. We were companions for the rest of the day traveling. It was fun to visit with her! I feel like we are really similar. She was homeschooled for most of her life and has 6 siblings and is the second oldest, and oldest daughter! Maybe someday we will be companions. :) She's awesome. Anyway, the bus ride was a good 5-6 hours long and so we didn't arrive in Niigata until later that night. It was a good trip though! When we arrived in Niigata as a group of missionaries, and after eating dinner, we visited the Niigata missionaries Eikaiwa class and the people in the church.
Sister Borchert and I then met our new companions at the church and we stayed the night in the Niigata Sisters apartment. My new companion is so awesome! I love her a lot. We have a lot of fun together and work really hard here in Sado. Anyway, back to my traveling story! The next morning, Sister Horito and I hopped on another bus to the boat dock where we would board the ferry for our little island of Sado! The boat ride was about 2 and a half hours long, but it was really fun! We met some neat people on the boat and were able to do some missionary work too, which was really fun on the boat! I will send you some pictures and a few videos I took. On the ferry, we had a lot of fun feeding the seagulls, haha. It was kinda scary at first, but super fun. As our journey continued, we slowly began to see the island in the distance and it made me really excited.
Sado is so nature filled and beautiful! The only place I could begin to compare it to is Alaska and the beautiful nature we saw there on our hiking trip. So beautiful! The ocean in really close to our apartment- probably 5 minutes away- and we talk to people on the beach sometimes. I never thought I would be dendouing on a beach, that's for sure! Right now it's a little too cold for swimming, but there are a lot of fishermen and people on the beach. The waves are so beautiful, and I feel like I'm somewhere off the planet sometimes, haha. What's better than being on a beach with beautiful waves and Sister Horito? Well, let me tell you! Being a missionary doing missionary work, on a pretty beach, with Sister Horito, is a hundred times better! Haha. It's really exciting. Yesterday, there was a huge triathlon that happened here and there were so many people on the island to talk to! The triathlon started at 4 in the morning and finished close to 9pm at night. Pretty cool! Obviously, we didn't see a whole lot of it, but a lot of people thought that we were there for the triathlon because there are not a lot of foreigners on Sado. People are always so surprised when sister Horito and I tell them we live in Sado. Some people here have never seen a Caucasian before and its been fun to talk with people. Most people here are very Buddhist and have never heard of Jesus Christ or God before. The past week has been difficult to find people who are interested in our message. We've talked to a lot of people, but the church is still really new in this area and so not many people know what it even is. I am the 11th sister missionary to ever serve on this island, which is pretty neat. My last area was huge and we had 300ish members in the ward. Here, we have a small branch of 13 members. I love everyone so much though! They are wonderful. As a ward, we talked about how we can invite more people to church and share the gospel. Everyone is pretty 'dendou fired' so to speak, so I'm really grateful for that! We don't have very many investigators and so we have a lot of time for finding. It's okay though, because I love finding! Lately, as we have been knocking on people's doors- well, actually I shouldn't say that... Here in Sado, we open people's doors and yell, "gomen kudasai!" Haha. Anyway, as we have been finding, most people say that they are Buddhist and not interested. Other people say that they have no idea what we are taking about and that they don't understand what God or Jesus Christ is. Its been a pretty different experience for me. Missionaries have told me that this is a really hard area because everyone is so Buddhist and they're probably right, but if it's God's will, we can change that! As I've been thinking about the area and what needs to happen, I've felt rally strongly that family History is going to be a huge part of the changing process. This week in district meeting, we are going to talk about it all and put a game plan together. I'm excited for this area and I feel like I'm going to see a lot of miracles happen here. I'm really happy to be here serving here.
Today, we went with the elders to an old folks home and sang Karaoke for them and played bowling with them. It was so fun! It reminded me a little bit of the diamond willow home back in little old Magrath that we always did activities at with the seniors. So fun! It was a great service experience. I've learned that everyone knows us as "the Christians with white helmets" around Sado. It makes me laugh so hard when people say they have seen us before around the island on our bikes and wearing our white helmets, haha. I'm starting to wonder if the helmets we have to wear while biking are more for identification purposes instead of for safety? Haha, I'm not sure anymore, but it's really funny. We will probably go back to do service again because they really enjoyed everything and asked us to come again.
The weather here is a lot different than it was in Tokyo. It's been really windy and rainy lately, bu it's also been warm and sunny sometimes- kinda like southern Alberta, haha. The weather is always changing! It rained yesterday, and You know that smell that is so fresh and perfect when it rains? It smells so good here because of all the nature and the climate is very natural, Haha.
So, I've learned some really cool things about this area in the last week! So, apparently there was a time in history when it was really dangerous for Christians in Japan. They would send all of the Christians who refused to deny Christ to Sado for execution. Crazy right?! I'm sure I will hear more about it all as I am here longer, but that really amazed me! I've hear all kinds of stories about people who were sent here and killed because of their Christian beliefs. Sometime for p-day, we are going to go and check out the ruins and the historical site where all of this happened. I'm really excited! I feel a strong inner connection to this area, and for some reason it is already so dear to my heart. The area is definitely different and missionary work is hard here, but I love it here so much. I'm excited for what is ahead of me. :)
Well, I have so much more to say, but I'll have to leave it at that. I love you all so much and am so grateful for all of you. This church is true, and I'm so grateful to be a missionary. I know God lives and that He loves us. He loves us individually, and personally. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and for what He has done for me. This Gospel is so wonderful.