Week 12‏

China kyoudai [brother]
is doing better.  Even though we told him we didn’t want to put too much pressure on him, he basically said ‘lay it on!’ (but in a more teinei [polite] way).

We told him that we still have some commandments we need to teach him, but that when he gets kakushin [confirmation] that the Church is true, he’ll be able to be baptized.
He said, ‘I already have kakushin‘.   ( ! )

Yep, China kyoudai knows the Church is true! He definitely wants to be baptized as soon as possible, but he also understands how big a commitment it is, so he wants to prepare right.

Sachiko san
is still in Nago… She said she should be back around this time, so we’re going to call her and see how she’s doing. Last time we called she said she doesn’t have time to go to church, but we’re praying that she’ll have enough desire to go that she’ll find the time.

So we’re continuing the hunt for new investigators.
We’re definitely working hard, but we haven’t found anyone yet. We probably need to find more ways to work smart.

(By the way, did I mention Egan kaichou’s [President’s] five steps to a successful missionary? If not, they’re:
1. Work hard 2. Work smart 3. Be strictly obedient 4. Have fun 5. Come home tired)

Actually, I said we haven’t found anyone new, but we have had some more people come to Eikaiwa*, including a photographer that speaks really good English and loves Mormons. He even came to Okinawa Stake Conference this week! Person raising both hands in celebration If he comes to church again, we’ll definitely have to teach him.

*Eikaiwa: Weekly English conversation classes that the Church offers to communities throughout Japan

Okinawa Stake conference
It was super fun, and really uplifting! President and Sister Egan were there, and though both of them spoke the real highlight was getting a hug from Egan kaichou.

Obon*
Obon has been really loud. In Okinawa they have something called Eisa (or Eisa bon bon, as children call it) which involves a lot of drums and shamisen [a traditional Japanese stringed instrument]. In the middle of the night, almost right outside our apartment.

Anyway, it was kind of strange experiencing obon from the outside, without doing ohaka-mairi [visiting ancestors’ grave site] or anything**…

*Obon: A Buddhist summer custom to pay respect to the spirits of one’s ancestors. Usually held in mid-August, it is a four day-long period when it is believed that the spirits of one’s ancestors return to their former homes. On Obon, families get together to clean their ancestors’ graves, and offer food and incense to their ancestors on the first and the last days of Obon in order to greet them and then see them off. The way Obon is celebrated differs from region to region in Japan. 

**Elder Houseknecht participated in Obon when he lived in Japan two years ago.  
 
I love you all!!!
Thank you so much for all your prayers!
love,
-Elder Houseknecht
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