So as Alyssa indicates in her letter, she has been transferred to Sakai, Osaka. Here is a little info on her new area:
Sakai (堺市, Sakai-shi?) is a city located in Osaka Prefecture, Japan on the edge of Osaka Bay at the mouth of the Yamato River. It has been one of the largest and most important seaports of Japan since the Medieval era.
Following the February 2005 annexation of the town of Mihara (from Minamikawachi District), the city has grown further and is now the fourteenth most populous city in Japan, with 833,414 residents as of May 1, 2007.
The current city was legally founded on April 1, 1889 according to the laws of Imperial Japan. Sakai became a designated city in April 2006 giving it a greater measure of self-determination in governmental affairs. It is divided into seven districts.
Sakai is known for its keyhole-shaped burial mounds, or kofun, which date from the 5th century. The largest of these, Daisen Kofun, is believed to be the grave of the Emperor Nintoku and is the largest grave in the world by area. Once known for samurai swords, Sakai is now famous for the quality of its kitchen knives; most high-quality Japanese cutlery originates in Sakai, and its production is a major industry in the city.
As of August 1, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 842,760 and a population density of 5,600 persons per km2. The total area is 149.99 km2.
This should be a whole new learning experience for Alyssa.
She also mentioned in her letter about feeling another earthquake. This is becoming a little more commonplace and I am not sure it makes me comfortable. Especially, since receiving her p-day letter, we heard on the news that yet another major quake hit Japan and brought with it Tsunami warnings. Fortunately, it was pretty far north from her and all is well in her mission. Yet my heart goes out to the people of Japan who were effected knowing how much my daughter loves them. I am having to trust in my Heavenly Father that he is protecting her and she is exactly where she needs to be right now.
With Thanksgiving this week and her birthday just a few days after that, I am missing her a little more than usual. But I know that she is being taken care of and that she is happy. This calms my heart and I know that time will pass soon enough. In the meantime, I am proud of her hard work, dedication and faithfulness to the great work for which she has been called. She is spreading joy and hope and the Love of Christ to all she encounters. What more could we want??
Somebody at the beginning of my mission once told me that if you are
born into the Osaka area, you never really get out...and that seemed
to be true for me at least! I was indeed transferred last week to an
area called Sakai in the Wakayama Zone, but it is like southern Osaka
and like a 45 minute bike ride away from Abeno. It is very different
from Yamatokoriyama and Shimogamo, but I love it so much! BUT ANYWAYS,
Monday after P day and hiking this majestic mountain, we went out
street contacting and it was super good but then it started raining
and got super cold which is always an adventure, but it was good
because it was missionary work and so we had fun as always :)
TUESDAY WAS A DAY OF SO MANY MIRACLES. We had plans to blitz a bunch
of members for stake conference, but then I received the impression
that we needed to go and visit this less active...it was a pretty
strong impression and so we biked on over and then we were pretty
disappointed to see she wasn't home...but I still just had this
feeling like we needed to be there for some reason and so we decided
to house around for a bit. I ended up being drawn to this super
sketchy apartment building next to the railroad tracks, and there were
like four rooms. We went to the top first and had no luck, and then
went to the bottom and saw one door open...the inside was like a
cluttered mess and I didn't know if I wanted to ping it or not, but
then this SUPER cute dog came out and ran up to me and I was like
"Okay yep, we need to be here". We call into the house and eventually
this older gentleman comes out. His name was Tsuda and we talked to
him for a moment, and we introduced ourselves as missionaries. I asked
him about his beliefs and then he is silent for a minute and he just
breaks into tears...we ended up talking to him for over an hour and he
told us about how he had had some struggles in his life as he was
recovering from brain hemorrhages three years back and during that
time he had been robbed and there were problems in his family that
left him lonely and sad and alone. I have never felt so much love for
anyone in my life so fast ever. The Spirit was so strong as we taught
and testified of him, and he cheered up so much as we shared a special
prayer with him at the end. He agreed to let us come back and teach
him the lessons, and I was SO grateful for the promptings that led us
to him, because I KNOW that He is golden and ready for this gospel.
Ahh I literally love him so much, he was so sweet, and this afternoon
was honestly one of the best experiences of my entire mission. I KNOW
God loves His children and that He sent us to find Tsuda that day for
a special reason when he needed us and the Savior the most!
That night we were typing lesson reports and then we get a call on the
phone from the Wakayama ZL's...and yep it was for me. I was super sad
to be leaving, but was also excited because the zone leaders are two
elders that I am very good friends with and worked together with back
in my bean area, and the zone is just filled with great missionaries I
respect and love. I knew NOTHING about Sakai, but I was excited to get
Wednesday we were so busy blitzing members about stake Conference
and teaching Eikaiwa and saying goodbye. I think that transfers just
keep getting harder and harder because my heart keeps getting torn out
over and over again haha. It is crazy how much I love these people. I
was also torn up about leaving Tsuda after we had just found him, but
I know that Fujii Shimai will take good care of him for me! Also it
was hilarious because one of our investigators wanted to say goodbye
to me but we didn't have a ton of time so we met at this nearby
hospital and then she ended up taking us inside and we ate a meal
together in the hospital cafeteria...haha life on the mission is so
Thursday I came to Sakai and met my new companion! Her name is Gibson
Shimai and she is super sweet. She is from Holiday, Utah and has about
4 weeks left in the mission before she heads home, but she is a
wonderful missionary and we have a lot of fun and get along great.
Also the area! It is weird to be back in Osaka, and I am not gonna lie
that I am struggling with the Osaka-ben again....I haven't understood
some of the words that people have said to me lately, but I know that
I will get my touch back eventually :) but this area is super good.
There are lots of people here to talk to and share the gospel with, so
I am excited!
Friday we spent a lot of time planning for this transfer and Saturday
was very much the same, but something exciting was that we had another
earthquake! We were just minding our own business making some curry
and then all of the sudden everything started shaking for like 15
seconds and we just stood there not sure of what to do haha. It was a
lot bigger than the one a few weeks ago, but as far as I know,
everyone was safe and okay! That night we had sports night with the
youth (we have so many youth here and it is great!) and the elders (I
am here with my douki Samuela Choro and his bean Booth Choro), and it
SUNDAY WAS THE BEST. These members here in Sakai have absolutely
stolen my heart. There are like 150 active members here which is crazy
for Japan, and they absolutely adore us and just trip over themselves
to help us with the work and with everything we need. I just love them
all so much already, and going to church on Sunday really just felt
like going home. I also gave a talk in Sacrament which went well, and
then we were just so busy going between meetings and everything! Our
Bishop is a boss and has a great vision and plan for this area, and
our Ward Mission leader is a gem and named Komatsu Kyodai and used to
be a mission president, so he is wonderful as well. I know that we
will all see so many miracles this transfer!
Ahh it was such a wonderful week and I just feel so very blessed to be
here in Sakai. At first it was a little hard to accept that I would be
transferring and going to kill a companion in a few weeks, but then I
just realized that it is more important to be the missionary that the
Lord needs rather than the missionary that I want to be. I think that
is true for everything in our lives...as we all seek to become what
the Lord needs and wants, we will receive so many blessings and be
able to have more peace and joy in our lives than we could ever
achieve on our own. I know these things are true with my whole heart
Hope that you all have an amazing Thanksgiving, and just know that I
am so grateful for this gospel and my mission and all of you. Have a
wonderful week and have a pie for me, okay? Aishiteimasu!
|The dog, and the help of the Spirit, led the missionaries to a special new investigator.|
|Transfer notice with train details.|
|In Japan, they ship their belongings to the new area when they transfer.|
|Goodbye notes to the people she loves.|
|Leaving Sister Fujii behind at the train station.|
|Her new District|
|New companion Gibson Shimai.|
|Her new bed (futon).|
|She has a washer!! Never a dryer but at least a washer.|
|Only in Japan.|
|Check out those slides.|
|Art museum? Picture zoo? Who knows.|