Monday, September 29, 2014
Monday, September 22, 2014
Dear wonderful, beautiful, beloved family member or friend of mine reading this letter-
I don't talk like that in real life. I promise.
And that quote was said to my companion whilst housing. We met quite a character; a Protestant woman who we talked to for almost an hour, only to get flat out rejected. Well, such is dendo sometimes. But it gets made up for by all the MIRACLES!
We had an AWESOME week! O shimai and I were talking about how even though we're following all of the rules and working hard, we still come home at night with kind of a lame, disappointed-in-self feeling. We realized we weren't committing our hearts and giving our all to the Lord, so we felt discontent. We committed from that day to throw ourselves into the work with our whole hearts, withholding nothing from the Lord. And that's when the miracles started flowing. We left the house once we had finished companionship inventory, biking our hardest up through the hills to an A's house, stopping and talking to everyone we saw. We were able to gt to our appointment in much less time than we thought possible, then we had a great, spiritual lesson with Fu shimai about showing gratitude in our prayers, and how it brings us closer to God. Although she's old and it's hard for her to understand doctrine, the Spirit helped us to teach simply to her needs so that she really understood it, and began applying it in her prayers!
Hey! I realized a great Japanese Word of the Week!! And it's easy to remember! It is: KY! Yep, they just say "KY" in English. It actually stands for "kuuki ga yomenai", which directly translates to to "can't read the air", but really means just can't read the atmosphere of situations (says things at really bad times, don't realize when people are annoyed/uncomfortable, etc.). A VERY convenient word!
|Out to ramen with the District!|
After her lesson, we went down the hills into another part of Shiogama to ask people if they would hang our ECC (English Communication Class) poster in their shops. As we were descending the hills, I saw in my head a cute little shoe shop with a cute Corgi dog that always sits at the entrance of the store. I told my companion I wanted to go and talk to the owner, and so we went to her shop, and she gladly agreed to hang our poster and just talked with us for a little while. O shimai and I have started putting "explore dendo" time into our schedule; so that we don't feel restricted to just one dendo type at a certain time; just because we planned it. So we went to the 5 floors above the shoe shop, only to discover a wonderful secret library, packed with kokosei (high school students)! They took our English poster, and we were able to talk naturally to a girl outside the building as we left because she was just waiting for her mom, like all the other students! I think we just found one of the greatest streeting areas in all of Tagajo!
|After biking up a huge Izumi hill, still looking good!|
We also were able to meet two Nigerian men who are also strong Christians, and said they want to come to church sometime and check it out! We exchanged contact information and left. Lots of miracles kept coming forth as we gave our heart and avoided wasting a single minute of the Lord's time. I'm so lucky to be with O shimai, she loves the Lord and is ready to improve and give her best at all times!
We spent a day in Izumi visiting all of our members that live there (about half the ward, actually) and we borrowed the STLs' bikes because they were out of town on splits. Let me just say, you think Tagajo is bad for hills; then you've never been to Izumi. DEATH. I think I got my workout for like the rest of my mission. Holy smokes I admire those Izumi missionaries.
Other highlights of this week were that I finished reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese!! Yay! It's as true in Japanese as it is in English!
|9th floor of an investigator's apartment complex, with a great view!|
We as missionaries have been singing in church a lot recently, and it's really invited the Spirit to meetings. Through that combined with our attempts to reach out to the members through lessons, they are really coming to trust and love us! The feeling of love and Spirit that was at churchwas overwhelming. And they've begun to invite us over for dinners! We take this as a sign that they're seeing us try hard and they're beginning to really trust us! Soon we hope they'll trust us with their friends! We've really improved on the way we ask for referrals; just having the members THINK about their friends, and their needs, and how they can share their beliefs in a non-threatening way.
One more miracle from this week: we felt that we should go visit a single member, Fun shimai this week. We were going to totsuzen (surprise) visit her, but the day we were planning to go, we felt that it would be better to call her first. She didn't pick up, but later in the day, we felt prompted to just call her one more time. She picked up, telling us that she had just gotten back from the hospital; her mother had been taken in an ambulance that morning (her mother dislikes the church strongly.) and the doctor's didn't know what as wrong with her. We offered a prayer on the phone, to comfort her and protect her mother. She thanked us and we hung up. The next day, she called us, thanking us for our prayer, telling us they were able to find out what was wrong with her mother and gave her medicine, and that she was discharged from the hospital the next day. She said she knew it was because of our prayer for her mother that she was able to recover. She told us that she had actually related this experience to her mother! We hope this will soften her heart to the missionaries and the faith her daughter has! It was truly a miracle.
Have a great week!
Love you MUCHO!!
|This Elder has tiny feet, shoe swap!|
Hello hello helloooo!
I got to split with Ko shimai this week, and she introduced me to this lovely woman who we think will become an investigator soon! Yay! It was cool to be with my old companion in an area that we both know so well! She's become such an amazing missionary, I'm proud of her.
Clark shimai's 21st birthday was yesterday, and with a stroke of excellent luck, the Anderson couple had just gotten back from Tokyo temple (and Costco!!!!!) and they brught us back muffins, bagels, tortillas, cheese, horchata, oats, and it was seriously the BEST!! We made burritos, no-bake cookies, and sundaes last night, and had a party!! And we celebrated her birthday by taking the pads out of our helmets and donning moustaches all of last night. And who said sister's apartmnts are boring. OH and also I have a confession! Schmidt shimai have this wonderful habit of making sure everyone is actually exercising by. As Kawa (and now Clay shimai) have learned, if you don't manage the curfew, Schmidt shimai and I run over to your futon, grab each end, and roll you into a sleepy (Sister missionary) Shimai Taco. BOOM. Baha I'm gonna miss causing mischief with Schmidt shimai so much when she goes home in two weeks. We have SUCH a fun apartment right now, it's a party every day!
|The damage... yowch|
I guess I should probably mention this- but t's just really embarassing. It was raining really hard, and we were late for an appt at the church, so we were hauling through the hills of Shiogama to get back to the church. I tried to turn onto one of the giant (evil) curbs, and with the combination of the slippery rain and the high sidewalk, instead of getting ONTO the curb, my bike just slipped out from under me, and then just fell ON me. I have a pretty nasty-looking scratch on my leg, but it doesn't hurt! My companion screamed behnd me, but I was just annoyed that I had fallen and knew we had to get to the church, so i just hopped back on my bike and continued riding to the church in silence. Yep, SLIGHTLY damaged pride from tha one. But I'm okay!
|Bike injury selfie...|
So this week was one of the most spiritual weeks on my whole mission! We head probably the best training we have ever received from the Area 70, Elder Scott D. Whiting. And I did end up getting selected for an interview for hime, and if his training hadn't answered every single one of my prayers well enough; our interview did. He and I got to be great friends. He hopes to meet me someday again, and asked me to remind him of this day whenever we do meet again. It was so amazing. A lot of the things I heard were very personal revelation, so I won't type them out, but I will tell you what I learned this week. I learnd that God listens to us and answers our prayers; usually through the means of someone else. I learned that when we think or say we can't change from "the way we are", we are rejecting Christ and His Atonement. There was lots of other great stuff, but I left my notebook at the apartment, sorry! Suffice it to say that it was the BOMB.
Whiting Choro talked a lot about Peter from Christ's time, and when he mentioned how Peter saw Christ walking on the sea and jumps out to meet him, the Spirit touched my heart. I thought, "I want to be just like Peter when he first jumps out to walk on water to meet his master- no doubts, no fears, his eyes steadfast on the Savior." In modern days, I kind of think of Peter's experience like this: He sees Christ and he s so excited, and jumps out to meet him The he hears the rumbling of thunder and sees the tossing waves, and he thinks, "Crap! What am I doing?! This was so stupid! I can't walk on water! I'm not Jesus! I can't even swim!" And then he begins to sink into the waves, crying out. And then I realized that I was a lot like Peter.
In January 2013, I felt the prompting to go on a mission. I read my Patriarchal blessing, I studied my scriptures, I prayed, I went to my bishop and stake president and was interviewed, and then launched myself into the waters of the mission, my eyes on Jesus. But after a long while, I heard the rumbling thunder of a thousand "Kekko's" and "Bukkyo's" and "iesu kirisuto to kankei nai," and I took my eyes off of the Savior, looking around at the waves tossing around me, rocking the boat that I had just launched myself from. And, taking my eyes off of Jesus, looking at the blackening sky, I began to sink into the water. And at last about two weeks ago, I cried out in my prayers a did Peter, "Lord!" Help me! Why am I sinking? I jumped out here just so I could be like you and get closer to you! Why, when I'm trying so hard to be like you, are you letting me fall?"
And as I listened to Whiting Choro speak, the Spirit spoke to me. I saw Christ in my mind reaching down to me, and saying softly, "My child, why did you take your eyes off of me to focus on the storm?"
And it is so true, why do we sometimes get so caught up in the storms around us, and forget the Creator of everything, including the sky and the sea? What do I have to fear when my Lifeguard walks on water?
Have a wonderful week! I'm praying for you, Grandpa!
Monday, September 8, 2014
|This obaachan grandma is 90 years old!!|
The Lord is blessing O shimai and I for our efforts! Our weekly lesson count is slowly climbing towards twenty, and we are being blessed with so many miracles and inspiration for the people we are teaching through those lessons!
We had a lesson scheduled with one of our favorite members, Ochi shimai. When we were planning her lesson, we felt inspired to teach about the gifts that we all have from God. As we started asking her about what she thought her gifts were, we realized why we have felt inspired to share this lesson- she has very little self-confidence that she has ANY talents. We testified of her worth as a beloved daughter of God, and told her about all the talents that she shares with everyone and makes them so happy! She seemed so relieved to hear that she had talents. We were so surprised that such a wonderful, established woman could have such little confidence in her own talents! But I guess the Lord knows what she needs much better than we do.
|Purikura with Mi chan and friend|
We had a lesson with the L.A. Furr shimai, where we talked about the importance of prayer and how God wants to hear from us individually, and she FINALLY said the closing prayer, and has agreed to pray in our nightly prayers on the phone as well! We were so excited for her progress.
O shimai and I both got a little sick this week, but with a little rest we're both feeling much better. Being a busy, effective missionary is the best feeling in the world and so we're working our hardest to get there!
We had Zone Training Meeting this week, and I GOT TO SEE (the companion that she trained) KO!!! AND! We're going on a split in her beloved Tagajo!! I love that my green bean is an STL Sister Training Leader now!! Yay!! We have an area 70 coming this week, and Sendai south and Koriyama Zones will be coming here for the conference!! Soo excited! I'm scheduled for an interview with Elder Whiting choro, but we'll see! I actually secretly really enjoy interviews with seventies;)
|We mustache you a question...|
A pretty mentally unstable woman stopped us on the street, saying she had met with the missionaries (she named all of their full names), but we were able to get away pretty quickly and ask Sister Ko about her on the phone (she had mentioned she knew "Seiko ko shimai san") and she confirmed that yes, the woman was schizophrenic. Ah, the experiences of the mission.
Disgusting food of the week: Not a funny experience this time. Not funny at all. So our dear friend Furr shimai whips out FRIED FISH SPINES. Like hundreds of them- and made us eat them. GROSSSSS. But it wasn't NEARLY as bad as towards the end of our visit when she tried to feed us fish guts (with the spine still attached, mind you.) and we said we had to leave (we really did, but suddenly that need became quite urgent). Ahhh Furr shimai. Once she tried to feed us a smoothie that consisted of a blended banana and tomato...and nothing else. Healthy?
|Fish spines ;)|
We taught Osai san this week and found out through asking inspired questions (that was alllll my companion) that she hasn't even been praying to Heavenly Father- she's stil been praying to her husband THIS WHOLE TIME. Fail. She doesn't want to learn, and she refuses to listen; and we had to drop her. Sad day.
But at least we picked up Brother Ok san's wife as an investigator as well this week! They are so fun to teach! The sister missionaries are singing in church next week, and I have a solo the next week (All Creatures of our God and King and I'm singing Abide With Me; Tis Eventide) so we hope we'll get them to church!
We're just staying busy and working hard on this side of the world! The Lord will give us miracles if we but have faith!
Monday, September 1, 2014
A great week! O shimai and I are being so blessed for our efforts a being perfectly obedient and diligent! We were able to teach a man, Ok san last week, two times about prayer, God, and the Book of Mormon! The best part? We had a lesson this morning, and his wife joined us (so we could actually go in his house!) and now she's an investigator too as of this morning! They are such a great couple who really value their family, especially their grandchildren:) We love them already! They ask great questions and we look forward to finding out what it is that they are seeking for! Yay!
|Our friends at Family Home Evening!|
Osa san came to church this week, and stayed the whole time and we were able to teach her a lesson! We were really able to witness the power of joint lessons with her. Saki shimai jointed for us, and it was so great to have someone her own age who could explain things in a way that she respected and could relate to.
We were so excited to receive the challenge of teaching 20 lessons a week- whether it be to members, part-members, less-actives, or investigators! With faith, it is absolutely achievable! We started focusing on that goal , and we still managed to get 10 lessons this week! We're so lucky to be in an area where the members are so fantastic and supportive! We hope that it will boost their dendo talking to people fire and strengthen their own testimonies.
|Fun Art Exhibit!!|
Funny moment: Okay, not a moment. More like my whole week. So my companion is from Hawaii, right? And she is WAY GOOD at the hula. So do you know what I learned this week??! You bet I learned the hula- and I'm actually not bad! I'm teaching her the ukulele as shes teaching me the hula, before you know it these two white chick BYU students will be performing at the PCC Polynesian Cultural Center (in Hawaii) instead of washing the dishes in the back room! ;)
Word of the Week! Debatable that this is one of the most used words in Japanese. it is: Itai! Or when said in more severe forms, ITEEE!!! It means, "Ow!" When we were eating steaming takoyaki a ball-shaped snack made with batter and chopped octopus, after church as a ward , lots of "ITE!!!'s" could be heard all around. But DANG that takoyaki was good!
|Takoyaki with fish flakes on the top|
As we prayerfully seek out the Lord's will in Tagajo, O shimai and I have felt really prompted to speak to the leaders in the ward about how the missionaries can help on what or who they are focusing on. We've been so blessed to have a clearer idea of what the lord desires of us as we coordinate with them and hear their inspired ideas. During a member visit this week, the family suggested that we try streeting just up the street from their shop because there's a Catholic college and lots of young people to talk to! As we left their shop, we decided to take their advice and head out that way. As we were biking up the street, a group of middle school girls called out, "hello!" We got off our bikes and started chatting with them! All five of them came to Eikaiwa English class that night, and they want to start coming to Open Space nights as well! The members ARE inspired!
We're looking forward to a busy week! We're going to focus on showing Mi chan, the recent convert, more love so that she always feels how she did when she was baptized!
OH! I never mentioned! I'm reading the Book of Mormon right now in Japanese, and i'll have it finished before the end of my mission! I'm in 3 Nephi 18!
You're always in my prayers!! Have a great week!
|Holding a sparkler! "Orgill shimai! You can't hold that!!" "Wait, what? Why?" "The White handbook says now fireworks!" Apparently sparklers are fireworks...oops!|