Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Week 19-- Aomori, Japan

I so wish I could send pictures! I made a pigeon friend today that hopped right into my lap. We went to the ocean as a district and took some splendid pictures. I'm glad you saw M’s pimpin’ pictures of us! Our district is awesome, are we not?! Unfortunately, with this next transfer there is much that will probably be changed in the district and many of us will have to leave. But change is the reason we have come to this Earth; to change our lives, to align them to the will of God, and to allow Him to change our hearts. I've been working on that a lot recently. As much as I have been humbled, I still have this punk barrier of pride. Allow me to testify to you that there is a reason the Lord gives his commandments INCLUDING preaching the gospel two-by-two. And when I ignored that reason, I could not have the spirit. I was so exhausted. And it was all because I was trying to do His work without Him. Insanely stupid, I know. I just feel ashamed for wasting ANY of the precious time the Lord has given me in these 18 months to share the Gospel with His children. It has been a changing week indeed.  And not just a week; but a process of getting out of the way and letting the Spirit work on people's hearts. We both have weaknesses for sure, but it is only together with the Spirit that we can teach.
So as you know, General Conference was the BOMB. I listened to it for the first time yesterday because they had to translate it into Japanese (but I got to listen in English :) and I LOVED IT. So many amazing talks where I felt the Spirit and felt motivated to change. At the MTC, I didn't understand the Atonement as well as I am learning to now. I once asked R Shimai, "Do you ever feel confused about what to repent for because we're not really doing anything wrong?" The atonement is not about avoiding punishment for breaking God's commandments; it enables us to develop a saintly character. When we stop doing wrong we are not done; there's more we should be doing right. The Atonement changes our CHARACTER. It doesn't matter how long we've had these habits or how defeated we feel; it can change us. I feel it changing me.
  We taught a genkan doorway lesson to a less active this week who hasn’t been to church (nor her family) in about 20 years. We asked her to pray that night to feel a renewal that God was there and loved her. She said "Yeah, I'll pray, but we can't just start coming to church. We're so busy and blah blah excuses." I finally said, "Our purpose as missionaries isn't to just get you and your family to come back to church. You're not a number to us. Our purpose is to help you come closer to the Savior and to God and feel their love. We want to help you, and that is why we're here." I don't know why I felt so prompted to say it to her- but I did and so I said it. She looked a little surprised. She agreed to pray. But I was just reminded of our true purpose as missionaries- it is just to help people have the happiness that we have by knowing that we are children of a living God and that this life has a specific purpose and there is a specific plan set up for all of us to return to Him. It's not about number of baptisms or people at church; it is helping people towards happiness they didn't know was available.
So investigators. They're difficult. K-san is great (He came to General Conference!!!) But he just really likes learning about THINGS; we're trying to help him grow his FAITH.
O-san is a bit of a punk;) His poor wife was hit by a 4 ton truck 4 years ago and now her brain is tilted, which causes serious problems for her. We try to help in every way we can. She feels no need for God; she is at peace with her suffering. And he chewed me out for calling him at 8 pm (my companion asked me to against my better judgment...) and he's so busy being so smart it's hard for him to find time to find faith. But we pray for all of our kyudosha investigators and their progress. The hardest things about Nihonjins Japanese is that they're SO BUSY. They can't find time to meet with us; every minute of every day is already scheduled. So our appointments are soooo barabara scattered- it requires a lot of patience. I wish I had stories for you- But this week was just a whole lot more hilarious comments on our gaijin-ness foreign-ness and how tall and blonde and pretty and white and......we are. Some funny reactions though;) Including near- traffic accidents at intersections especially! But life is classy, I LOVE it in Aomori, the weather is PERFECT, and the countryside is amazing (and so is my biking stamina through hills baha). I love the work and I'm always reminding myself whose it is. Never forget that your Heavenly Father loves you, and can make something better of yourself than you can.
Love ya much!

Orgill Shimai

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