Lately, we've been meeting with M...zumi-kun a lot. He's been teaching us how to play mahjong, and we've been trying to get him to progress towards baptism. Mahjong is a really complicated game, but it is really fun I'm getting really good. And I bought mahjong tiles with the rest of my birthday money. And I will be sending them home unopened because President Yamashita asked us not to have games in our apartment.
Also, M...zumi is praying every day to know if he should be baptized now. He keeps saying that the timing is bad right now and that he wants to do it later. But we're trying to help him to understand that the gospel isn't just something that would be good later, but something that will help him here and now. But it's really good that he is praying every day now. That's more than we have ever been able to get him to do in a long time. I just hope we can help him keep up the steam until we can see some results.
My companion right now is an Elder T...yama. He is from Hokkaido, the island that is the northernmost part of Japan. He has been out for about a year and three months. He's also on the older side for a missionary, he just had his twenty-fifth birthday two months ago.
Now, I will explain a bit of Japanese to you. There's a word (well, it's kind of a word. Maybe it's a suffix. You tag it on the end of other words), "ppoi." Which means something like "looks like ___," and that makes it into an adjective. For example, someone that is America-ppoi would probably be kind of fat and love guns and football.
So something that I think is kind of funny is that my last companion, Elder B, was one of the most America-ppoi people I have ever met. He loved guns and football and is big and loud and eats a ton. But my companion now is the most Japan-ppoi in all of 日本. He loves anime and is small and quiet and nervous and hates to share his own opinion. The contrast is amazing.
Right now I am definitely able to see the effects of the language and cultural barriers between America and Japan. I am extremely different from my companion. And even though I'm getting a lot better at speaking Japanese, communication is still really hard. Not only do we not speak the same language, but he isn't very willing to open up how he feels about things because it's rude to share your own opinion in Japan, so I have to interpret the little sounds he makes and ask him lots of direct questions to be able to do things specific to his needs. It's really frustrating sometimes. But our relationship has gotten a lot better in the last week. And I'm finding it easier to be patient with him than how it was last transfer.
Anyway, I'm still having difficulties with companionships, but I'm trying to do my best and trying to learn everything I can.
Keepin' the faith,