Thursday, March 6, 2014

Week 36--A Week of Miracles

WE LOVE ORI SHIMAI. She is so prepared. The gospel is lighting her eyes and changing her and it's such a blessing to get to see!! We're planning to have her baptism next week.
Nothing in particular stood out to me this week as far as why my testimony was so deepened; but just like sometimes how God tests our faith; sometimes he gives us more knowledge for showing our faith:) I went from believing that Christ love me to knowing it. I feel like I know Him so much better. I could have never anticipated how much the Lord would bless me for serving Him. I love this gospel. I had an experience very sacred to me that I shared with Aoyagi choro (Elder Aoyagi of the seventy visited her mission) this week.  Through giving of myself and desisting in mentally counting the cost of my mission and just trying to forget about all but the Lord, He has blessed me in innumerable ways. I love being a part of the building of Zion! I look forward to working with Sister H and Sister S shimai (her two new companions. B shimai was transferred to Izumi)!

from B shimai!!!!!!!!!!!!! (B shimai is more detailed than Natalie, so she just copied and pasted some of  B's email from this week)
Incredible week! Our investigators are making such progress!
Wednesday, we had a Nihongo Japanese lesson with Sister N shimai and some of her non-member friends, but the funny part was when it turned into a Orgill-shimai-turns-into-an-iPod session and she sings whatever anyone requests session. Then we had lunch at a Sushiya Sushi shop with Sister S shimai (Eikaiwa English classes coordinator) and then Eikaiwa--but in the chapel because the carpet in the hall by the Relief Society room was getting redone. We had a new student in our class too so that was fun. She was super cute.
Thursday after study we bused over to "Stamina" an all-you-can eat place for N choro's last District Lunch. It was super fun! Orgill shimai told the story of B shimai and B told the story of Orgill shimai. :) Then we went to Ori shimai's and watched the Testaments with her and afterwards she said "Oh, the Book of Mormon is definitely true." :) We made a Book of Mormon reading plan with her and a prayer idea poster and Orgill shimai said "Oh, do you want to write on there 'please help me prepare for my baptism?'" And Ori shimai said "Oh, definitely!" and wrote it down. :) Then we went over to the church for our trio practice for Zone Conference and J shimai and L shimai stayed at our apartment that night, so Orgill shimai said to L shimai "Watashitachi no casa wa anatatachi no casa." My casa is your casa, Spanish casa is house, but..."Kasa" in Japanese is "umbrella." Soooo mixing Spanish and Japanese is not very recommendable....
B and Orgill Shimai!
Friday, we went over to the church early for Orgill shimai's interview with Aoyagi choro and ran through a couple parts in our piece. When Aoyagi choro arrived he shook hands with everyone in the hallway and then went straight into his interviews.

Orgill Shimai insert- My intervies was supposed to be 10 minutes...I'm told it was 20. Oops! We had a great time, I felt very lucky to have an interview with him. He asked me if there was anything I was having a hard time with. I said "Nothing; but I do sometimes feel like I'm not doing enough or giving enough or being enough." He smiled and said, "I think we all feel a lot like that sometimes. What I learned about a year out on my mission is that just through exactly being obedient to the Lord and my mission president, the Atonement granted me power. Seek that power." That I shall, Elder.

Back to the B shimai email:
 At 10:30 the conference began! Highlights:
President R:
  • "I don't know a a better way to put it but I love sacrificing for the Lord because it doesn't feel like a sacrifice anymore."
  • There is not one type of dendo that leads to baptisms; only faith and effort
  • This year's world-wide church theme is spiritual self-reliance
  • This is just the beginning of your service for the rest of your life. So do it well so that you'll be prepared for the rest of your life.
  • Why did God send you here?
  • (quote from the First Presidency) "The most important part of your service will be your own daily spiritual preparation, including prayer, scripture study, and obedience to the commandments. We encourage you to dedicate yourself to living the gospel with greater purpose than ever before. The Holy Ghost will help you know what to do. Your own testimony will grow, your conversion will be deepened, and you will be strengthened to meet the challenges of life."
Aoyagi Choro:
  • How does the Spirit work?
  • Have you ever experienced revelation through a dream?
  • When we feel the Holy Ghost we'll feel peace
  • This is the power of the Atonement
  • To achieve this state we must keep our covenants
  • Priesthood = powers of heaven
  • Powers of Heaven = Holy Ghost
  • The first of the 10 commandments is no other Gods before me. Why? Because we need to rely on God
  • The natural man is very good at loving himself
  • If we don't love we can't dendo
  • We can work with anyone and do anything through repentence
The mission!

Sister R (President's wife):
  • People pray for us every day--the Temple workers, our families, the General Authorities
  • We cannot fail with that kind of support behind us
  • We took a survey in prep for Zone Conference and that servey asked 2 types of questions: How obedient are you to the White Handbook? How well do you follow Preach My Gospel?
  • This was so they could see the mission's strengths and weaknesses as a whole
  • Obedience builds us an armour of protection
Sister Aoyagi (Elder Aoyagi's wife):
  • Even though you're young you can develop the skills you need to be a senpai
  • You are called and will be qualified
  • Fundamentals: Smile, Don't stop at 'hello', Work a lot
Elder Aoyagi again:
  • We are to spread the love of Christ
  • We must be overflowing with it
  • When they feel it their hearts will be softened
  • Moroni 8:16
  • Hope is trust in the Atonement
  • It is our responsibility to gather the House of Israel and build up Zion
  • Find out from God how many people are ready to be taught and baptized in your area
President R:
  • Heavenly Father loves us so he gave us the Holy Ghost to be our companion for our entire lives, and the Atonement to allow us to return to and become like Him
The Spirit was powerful. I felt the reality of Aoyagi Choro's calling. We sang right before Aoyagi Choro spoke the 2nd time. When we sang, God blessed us to be able to sing beautifully and the Spirit filled the room. It was incredible. It was what I'd prayed for. I felt so grateful. Aoyagi Choro was humble, kind, greeted and talked to everyone, expressed love, and used incredibly difficult Japanese. He was a wonderful example.
Oh, and Orgill shimai translated into English during the Conference. Casually being amazing. You know. :D
After the Conference we had DCS. Brother I encouraged us to do as Aoyagi choro counseled and promised blessings. He also said he dendoed contacted all the way home from his mission--and went streeting when he had a layover in Tokyo! :)
Saturday was AWESOME! After lunch we had a mogi practice lesson with W shimai about the Word of Wisdom (practice for Isha-san) and she had some really great suggestions. Then we started weekly and Orgill shimai translated an entire Mormon Message video about Falconry into Japanese for our lesson. Then we had a lesson with K shimai (LA). We started off with everyone writing down their #3 most important down. Mine were: Family, Relationship with God, Becoming Better. K shimai's were: Family, Money, and Sleep. Then we talked about the Atonement (she didn't remember what it was) and how through ti we can become better peopel and then watched the "Saved by Christ" Mormon Message (with Orgill shimai translating). Miracle: the room we needed to use for the video had previously been occupied with 3 little kids playing nintendo but when we went in there to watch the video it was empty and quiet--amazing! K shimai seemed to like the video and told us she'd read Mosiah 4 (ketsui more determined than last time) and said she'd read Henry B. Eyring's April 2013 Talk "Come Unto Me" and 3 Nephi 17. It was pretty good--and a miracle it came together since we'd been struggling with what to teach her.
Then we biked to Ori shimai's, bought her corn soup and elevatored up to the 9th floor. We ran the doorbell. She opened the door, saw the corn soup, and let us in. :D We prayed to open the lesson and she sat there after the prayer looking all sad so we said "What's wrong?" and she said "I didn't read [the commitment we'd given her]." She felt so bad--which is good, she's changing! So we encouraged her and told her we wanted to talk about baptism and she got super focused. We asked her all the interview questions and she has a super strong testimony! She needed to learn more about prophets, and a couple commandments we hadn't explained yet, but she was fine on everything else. She was so excited about her baptism; she kept on asking "What do I need to bring?" and "What should I wear?" and all these other questions. It was soooo cute. :) Then, since she's been struggling with reading the Book of Mormon we gave her the audio CDs and popped one in her player and turned it on...
11 and a half minutes of her reading the first chapter of 3 Nephi in DEAD SILENCE along with the audio.
It was AWESOME!!!
I have never seen her so focused!! It was exactly what she needed. It was so cute!
Then she said the closing prayer and she asked Heaven Father to help her prepare for baptism and to be able to draw closer to Him.
Sunday we went to Church with Ori shimai. And it was super cool because during Sunday School I was able to explain things to her in Japanese. Miracle! So cool! Then after church we had a joint lesson (for Ori shimai) with F Bishop and M shimai and taught about prophets and tithing. It was amazing! She was so focused and loved the way Bishop explained things to her. She really liked him.

The Feast

Then we came back and finished 12 weeks (my training is over!) and did weekly and then had hokoku (reporting our numbers to the District Leader--I don't know what it's called in English). Then we had the yabai dangerous (because they feed them lots of food) F feast. :) K shimaitachi's investigator D and her husband T (who was F shimai's high school English teacher) came. They were super interesting and interested in missionaries and what we do and asked lots of questions. They raised their family in Japan (even though they're American, from Illinois and Pennsylvania) and talked about how hard it was to raise bilingual kids (for some of their kids their first langauge was Japanese, not English even though they're 100% American). Then we came back to the apartment and transfer calls came!!!!!!!!

B shimai is transferring to Izumi. I get 2 new companions. N choro is done and will be going home. MC choro will have a new companion. Crazy!
B shimai doesn't want to leave, but she's choosing to be happy about it.
B shimai, " I'm so grateful for the time I've been able to have in Kamisugi with Orgill shimai as my trainer! I've been SO blessed and learned SO much! I will always be grateful!"
I'm trying to take her outlook and be positive too. 
I also wanted to share my own personal conversion that has taken place this week!

Through a couple of events and prayer, I have come to not just believe that Christ loves me, but I KNOW it. I've never been so sure of anything. I testify that He loves you and He is there for anyone who wants him. Through His Atonement we don't just receive a remission of our sins; we can become TRANSFORMED and PERFECTED. I know the central cause for which we were sent to this Earth is change, and I KNOW that it is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Call on Him; He will never abandon you nor forget you; and through His sacrifice you can feel true peace!

I love you all!!

Orgill Shimai

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