Sunday, January 5, 2014

E-mail 1/5/2014

Hello my amazing, wonderful family!


The weather has been warmer and I'm bundling up with the s[c]arves and gloves you sent me--thank you thank you! Orgill shimai [Sister Orgill] and I also love the pita chips. I'll send you a great picture of that, haha. :)

Oshogatsu [New Year’s] was fun! We went whipped our apartment into shape and went to a shrine with 2 potential investigators so it was fun! But the dendo [proselyting] was really really slow. :( But now that the holiday is over hopefully that will pick up!!

Tuesday was O-soji [Cleaning]! Japan's tradition is to DEEP ULTRA clean their apartments on New Year's Eve before the celebrations so that's what we did! It was awesome! I think our apartment is the oldest in the mission and therefore it was in need of some love and lots of trashbags (to throw out all the random stuff past missionaries left there.) It was so great. The kitchen was overflowing with garbage bags. I think I've finally adjusted to how small everything is in Japan though because after all the garbage bags were gone our kitchen seemed so spacious, haha. It's probably only 10 feet by 6 feet.

Wednesday was New Years! Woohoo! Our special schedule was to go to a jinja [shrine] with a non-member or less active and to read all of 3rd Nephi and set goals. So that's what we did! We had our normal morning schedule and go ready, and then in personal study I started on 3rd Nephi, in companionship study we read several chapters aloud together, and then we kept on reading at our own pace. I kept reading until about 2pm when I finished! Woohoo! I loved it. 3 Nephi and the Savior coming and the 3 Nephites--I love that book of scripture. Then I set goals for the New Year. Well, some of them are more like aspirations, but they're what I hope for this new year!

1. Write in my journal everyday
2. LOVE the people
3. LOVE my companions
4. LOVE Japan
5. Christ-like attributes--work on and study one a month. (Faith, Hope, Charity, Knowledge, Patience, Humility, Diligence, Obedience)
6. Make my bed everyday
7. Clear off my desk every night
8. SINCE [sincere?] prayer--every single one
9. By March, be comfortable understanding Japanese
10. By June, be comfortable speaking Japanese
11. Keep in good contact with family and friends
12. Start a conversation with a Nihongin [Japanese person] everyday
13. Once a transfer, write my testimony in my journal
14. Look up all the scriptures in PMG [Preach My Gospel]

That's them! Do you have any more for me?

After that we prepped and left for the church to meet up Kaneko shimai [Sister Kaneko] and some of her friends and we all walked/bussed to the shrine together. It was so huge! So pretty! It was kind of raining but not very dark out so it wasn't too cold and paper lanterns lit the path of lots and lots of stairs lined with little market-type stands of food up to the shrine. There were lots of people! Kaneko shimai said that people believe a God lives in the godhouse of the shrine and people come to pray for a good new year from him. Shizuka-chan said she was going to pray for true love and happiness this year. I said I was going to pray for help with Japanese. (Not sure what that says about me...)

When you get up to the actual shrine/godhouse there's a row of bells with colorful ropes in front of this kind of trough (for the coins I think). When it was your turn you'd throw your coin in, ring the bell twice, bow twic[e], cap [clap?] twice, pray, and bow again. Then, if you want, you can go buy a fortune. If it's good you keep it, if not you tie it to a tree so it doesn't come true. We all did the prayer (I don't know who everybody else prayed to but I just prayed to Heavenly Father :D) and I'm pretty sure I messed up the whole bowing/belling/clapping thing. Whoops! I'm a gaigin [foreigner]! :) Then we went back to the church for dinner and Kaneko and her friends left and we had district meeting. Kim chorro [Elder Kim] talked about Unity and told this story about a bland [blind] man and a lame man who travel together in safety because they were each other's eyes and feet. Then we came home and I got a card from the Greensboro Activity Girls and from Mom! Loved it! The card was adorable! Thank you! Mom, I LOVED your letter. Thank you for the photocopies from your journal--that was so special. But what a cliff hanger! What happened with the Book of Mormon? You'll have to keep updating me. :)

Thursday, we tried doing area book dendo but no one answered our calls! (That was actually pretty funny because Orgill shimai and I had done all this prep so I could try and do some of the calls but then no one even answered, haha). So we baked cookies and dropped them off at our Q and member's houses. I also got the package from you guys that day!!! SO nice!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I have felt the strength of your prayers and the warmth from my new socks and mittens. :) Thank you!!! Tyler, I've been reading the book you sent me and I love it. Thank you! In scripture study that day, (Mosiah 23:21-22, 24:10-17) I really felt like God was speaking to me. I knew that he'd heard my prayers and will helkp me so that I can stand as a witness of him hearafter, and know of a surety, that God DOES visit his people in their affliction. I just need to trust him with faith, patience, and hope, and he will bless me. :)

Friday we went to this Indian restaurant to try and visit a PI [potential investigator]. It was so yummy! The actual restaurant was really cool, with Indian music playing, and the food was delicious and the server was from India and spoke like 7 different languages.

Our ward is made up of a few young couples, a good number of families kind of like ours, and a number of middle-aged/older couples and lots of grandmas. They're hilarious. Geographically our area is really small, but it seems HUGE to me. There's a TON of people. Since we have so many missionaries in our ward (9 to be exact) we split our ward into 6 groups and rotate every week. We try to visit everyone in our group (they're divided geographically) to strengthen their testimonies and to help them do dendo. District meeting is every week and it's really great. It's all in Japanese. We have an English lesson, a Japanese lesson, a spiritual thought, and district updates/announcements and training from Kim chorro (the district leader). It's really great. Since I'm in training, we have 2 hours of companion study every morning and we follow the 12 week training booklet. We mogi [roleplay] certain lessons, watch certain clips from the district [The District, a video series used to train missionaries], and read certain sections in PMG. It's a great program. It's really nice.

Saturday had dinner with the Hiyashi couple. It was really awsome. He's not a member, but their daughter is on a mission and he has a really good image of the church and they've been reading the Book of Mormon together. During the spiritual thought I could tell he felt the Spirit. And he loved me and Orgill shimai, haha. Oh, and we also randomly got Christmas cards from the First Presidency that day. Cool. :)

Sunday was fast Sunday! I fasted for Orgill shimai and I to have a great companionship, the gift of tounges, strength, for our kyudoshas [investigators] and LAs [less-actives] and to be able to get one new kyudosha this transfer--which ends in a couple weeks--can you believe it?

As we were riding back from visiting investigators on Sunday I looked down the hill out at the city of Sendai and I was filled with love and gratitude for Sendai and Japan. It was beautiful.

Funny stories from the week:

Orgill shimai was in Kirby shimai's [Sister Kirby’s] room and I was coming back from the kitchen to our room and I get to Kirby shimai's door, about to go through it, when Orgill shimai turns around and says "Hey, let's plan!" all excited--and shuts the door. Then, realizing this might've been confusing, she opens back up the door, points to the futon room, says "you go that way" and closes the door again. So I busted up laughing, and she realized that what she did totally made no sense and started cracking up too. Hilarious.

Also, my bike bell is broken, so whenever I hit a bump (which is about, you know, every 2 or 3 seconds) it rings and so everyone stares at this blonde gaigin, bouncing down the street on her orange bicycle, her bike bell ringing to announce her prescence as she rolls along. I'm sure my sanity is regularly questioned.

Candice have you joined the ranks of the benders and discovered your element yet? Lauren, way to go you basketball star! Uncle Peter's family sent me a Christmas package with American food and peanut butter! Loved it! Mom's going to be a fancy gardener.

Thank you all so much for the emails and letters and packages and prayers!!! I am so grateful for you and love you all so much!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Have a wonderful week. :)



Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. Sister Rasmussen said on Sunday: "If you are worthy of a temple recommend, then you are celestial kingdom material." Loved that. :)

P.P.S. Also for new missionaries to learn: How to give and recieve compliments, and how to thank people. Could you forward those two lists from my last email to Bishop Williams?

No comments:

Post a Comment