Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 16 Pictures

E-mail 2/9/2014

Hello my dear family!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello from a winter wonderland! We've had 7 or 8 earthquakes this week (little wiggly ones, nothing over a 3) and got almost 2 feet of snow on Saturday and the roads and sidewalks are still covered--it's been so fun!! Church was delayed 30 minutes and Orgill shimai [Sister Orgill] and I got called 30 minutes before and were asked to sing in Sacrament Meeting and everyone came out to help shovel the parking lot and the oldest and shortest woman in the ward (Tota-obachan: 84 and 5 foot 5) walked to church by herself and was the first one there! The Japanese people are amazing!!

We have been so blessed this week!

Tuesday we biked up the mountain for an AMAZING lesson with Ishibashi-san. It was so cool!! She said she's been praying a lot recently and she read 3 Nephi 13 and really liked it. her favorite verse was verse 22 (about being filled with light). We discussed Ether 12:26 and Moroni 7:5-7 and talked about faith. Wer [We] asked her [her] if she thinks the Book of Mormon is true and she said "I still see it as history." Orgill shimai said, "Then it's true, right?" Ishibashi-san beat around the bush but we think she really does know it's true. Then Orgill shimai said "And if it's true then Christ is our Savior and he came to the American continent, right?" Ishibashi-san said, "Why didn't he visit Japan?" We talked about Church--and she wants to go!! We said "Please come!" but it will be a big challenge for her because she hates groups of people, but she thinks if she comes with her friends and fiance it will be okay. We're trying! Pray she will come! We sang a hymn for her and she said she felt "warm and spirit-y" when we sang. She said she doesn't want Eternal Life if she's the same person. We talked about how through the Atonement we can be different people, get over addictions, and change. That seemed to give her hope. She said "This is really hard! But little by little, step by step." She's been through LOTS of missionaries but she seems to finally be progressing! She is so SOLID on her knowledge of the doctrine--it's incredible. She asks really hard questions. But faith is hard for her. We're praying for her!!

Then we biked back to our apartment so Yamada choro [Elder Yamada] could pick up a lot of random garbage that's collected in the apartment from transfered missionaries and he also fixed one of our heaters! Woohoo! It's been the best to dry our wet coats and gloves. :) He also told us that one side of futons is for the summer and one is for winter--who knew! Then we had DCS and Ishizaki kyodai [Brother Ishizaki] talked about how God chooses your companions so it's important to be friends with them. It was really good. And I got Mom's letter!! Thank you! I loved it!!

Wednesday we had a 3 hour class with Nagaoka shimai [Sister Nagaoka] and her nonmember friend--they were practicing how to teach Japanese to gaijin [foreigners] for their volunteer job. Then we practiced the trio Nation choro [Elder Nation] wrote for Zone Conference (Orgill shimai, me and Sister Johnson from another area will sing together. We're excited!!).

Thursday we had Zone Training! Orgill shimai did the English training--SUPER funny; she taught phrases like "that's a no-go bro," "yikes," "sick," and "now that's just nasty." So that was fun. :) Highlights:

·  Have faith that you can help people recieve baptism and that whoe[v]er is called to work with your investigators after you can also help them recieve baptism.
·  Love the people, love your companion, love your mission president, love the Lord. If we love people, we'll know whether or not we're helping them come closer to Christ. Express desire to serve, ask for guidence, speak highly of them, say "I know what they said is true," express gratitude, trust them.
·  When our investigators follow commitments they are changing. Every commitment is an oppor[t]unity for them to exercise and develop faith.
·  Tale of 3 Trees
·  Be the missionary the members say of "Oh, please don't transfer! Please stay!"
·  "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

It was really good. :) After Zone Training Orgill shimai, Johnson shimai, and I rehe[a]rsed with Nation choro his INCREDIBLE trio arrangment of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief." So cool and challenging! Loved it!!!!

Friday we went up to Miagi-dai to visit memebers and Pis [potential investigators]. A lot of people weren't home, but one of the people we were able to visti was Suzuki shimai--I'd never gotten to know her before because she's really busy. Turns out she's in a 10 year psyc[h]ology program to become a counselor because she's seen so many people who need help and she wants to be able to. So cool! And she want to joint [go teaching] with us!

When we came back I got the cutest package from Kelsea English! She'd heard it's been cold so she sent me fleece-lined tights and said she's been reading my emails! So cute!! Thank you thank you!!! Made me so happy. :)

Saturday we decided to visit Oikawa-san because we couldn't get ahold of her. We got up and got ready and it was snowing like crazy! So we decided to walk instead of bike, got lot, helped an obachan [elderly woman] back to her apartment so she didn't slip and break a hip (she was SOOO cute, she was walking and saw us and said to us "I think it's safer with 3" and grabbed Orgill shimai's arm and kept right on walking, haha), and eventually found Oikawa's apartment. She let us in but she was so cold and hungry and sad because the agency she was going to use to find work is out of business that we went right back down to the vending machine outside of her apartment and brought her back corn soup and hot coco[a]. She was SO grateful and excited. She is just the kindest, humblest person. Before we got to her apartment, Orgill shimai and I planned to teach her the doctrine of Christ but as we were in teh elevator Orgill shimai and I were like "That's not right, let's teach her about prayer and how the Holy Ghost can guide and comfort us." So we went back up adn talked about how God loves us no matter our status and Jesus Christ suffered for our sins so that he'd know how to comfort us (3 Nephi 12:3-6, Alma 7:12) and the Holy Ghost can be our guide to help us. It was super good. And she said she'd come to church!

I mentioned it snowed, right? Cause it did. A LOT! Over a foot and a half, so Sunday morning when we were planning our lesson for Oikawa-san we get a call from Furukawa Bishop and he said "So-and-so can't come can you sing in church?" So we picked a song in the 5 minutes before we had to leave to go to Oikawa-san's house and then we set out to get her to church (Orgill shimai carrying a 20 pound bag of rice for her) while the rest of the senkyoshi [missionaries] went to the church to start shoveling out the parking lot. We get to Oikawa's and put her rice in teh fridge and then walk down to the corner to the Kikkawa's van (we'd called the night before to see if they could drive Oikawa-san so she wouldn't break a hip in the snow) and we rode together to the chruch. We arrive and the missionaries are making snowmen in the parking lot (per Furukawa Bishop's orders because the shovel shed was locked and the person with the key wasn't there yet, hahaha) and so we walked Oikawa-san inside and sat her down with Tota-obachan and Kikkawa shimai (to fellowship her). Someone arrives with the key and we had a big old party of yuki kaki (snow shoveling). The stake Patriarch and the Hiyasakas pulled right in all the snow like the[y] didn't care if they got out till spring. And all the old ladies kept on taking our snow shovels from us and trying to shovel even when we're definately stronger and at least 50 years younger than most of them. It was so funny! They were so determined to have church--it was amazing. They even had a 2nd blessing of the sacrament after church for those who didn't make it in time. Such love and respect for the sacrament! Amazing, amazing people!

Church was super good for Oikawa-san. Her face just lit up. In Gospel Principles she said "I think if I can live with God, I think I really want to" and then her face just beamed. So amazing! After church we had a joint lesson with her and Muto shimai (they're both 70 and Muto shimai is a convert and super patient so we'd thought they'd be perfect friends). It was amazing! It went so well they stayed and talked to each other for an extra hour and a half!! It was scary awesome. We're so excited! Oikawa-san doesn't understand the need to pray to know things are true but she likes praying and likes everything we teach her. She's SO cute. :) She's the one in the pictures with us and our joint (Muto shimai--also a convert) is in the other picture. LOVE THEM :) We think we may try and set a baptism date with her this week--we'll see! Many prayers!

Today we're printing pictures and have district meeting and practicing our song for Zone Conference. The snow's making it a challenge to get places, haha. But it makes everyone very happy to talk to us on the street. Someone saw Orgill shimai and I "biking" past and starting laughing and yelled after us in English "Be careful!" It was so cute and funny! :)

The Lord is blessing our investigators! We're so happy and excited for them and the progress they are making!! Thank you for all your prayers and letters and love and advice! It's incredible to see them grow!!!!!!!!

Mom, I had no idea you had a fig tree. I'm excited it's growing! The things you're learning sound so cool! Makes the farm girl in me smile. :) Wish I could be there to eat your bread and soup! The na[a]n was super good--it had cheese in it and it was delicious. Kirby shimai bought the mix from Seiyu (our walmart). I'd love to run in the mornings but so far no one's been game. Guess I'll just have to wait. :) The biking's been interesting in the 2 feet of snow! An exercise in balance and caution. ;D Who was Elder Parker training? That sounds so cool!! All the missionaries in our district are in our ward. The last baptism in our ward was in 2012--but our district has 1 baptismal date and we're praying for Oikawa-san to be able to have one soon! I got your letter Mom! That's so cool that your cousin spoke!! I love the scriptures!! I finished the Book of Mormon again the other day and started it again. :) Oh dear, Dad, I hope you can bring more than one pair of clothes! Tyler, have fun in Door County! What a win for the Summerfield basketball team!

I'm so proud of my family!! God blesses those who seek him!!! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.P.S. Yesterday we were housing and a man opened the door and I said the whole "Hi we're missionaries" thing and then I said "Kamisama ga irashaimasu ka?" which basically means "Is God home?" It was so funny!!! The man looked very confused and Orgill shimai stepped in quickly.

P.P.P.S. I've been reading the gospel principles manual and I love Chapter 34--it's about talents. Zach, Candice, Lauren, Mom, Dad, Tyler you should read it!

P.P.P.P.S. Welcome back to Japan father!!

An Update on the Mission from President Rasmussen, 2/9/2014

The Japan Sendai Mission is being so blessed right now with baptisms. 

We had four baptisms in December, four in January, and have already had four in February with two more scheduled. 

We had three baptisms on Saturday (two days ago)--one in Miyako and two in Misawa.
We are getting closer to our monthly goal of 8 or 9 baptisms. 

We are on track to more than double 2013 baptisms.

It is happening throughout the mission. 

Members and missionaries are linking arms to hasten the Lord's work. 

Thank you for your faith, sacrifice, obedience and the love you have for the people of Tohoku and for the Lord.

This weekend we were also blessed with much snow. 

The Sendai missionaries learned first-hand what other missionaries already knew--that through yukikaki [snow shoveling], we can serve and naturally talk with many people.

The Japan Sendai Mission is a great place to serve.
It is an honor to serve with you.
President and Sister Rasmussen

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 15 Pictures

E-mail 2/2/2014

My dear amazing family!!

Hello from a land of adventure and miracles! The adventures of Bellows and Orgill have continued! This week has been amazing!

Adventure Number 1: After we emailed last week we did kaimono (shopping) and came home and... the apartment door wouldn't unlock. It's a digital combination lock. We'd type in the code, and it'd beep but then it'd start flashing and wouldn't unlock. So we called District Leader Captain McClellen Choro [Elder McClellen]. He had no idea. So we called the Honbu [mission home]. Orgill shimai [Sister Orgill] talked to a very su[r]prised Kakura shimai [Sister Kakura] who handed the phone to a very suprised Kobayashi choro [Elder Kobayashi] who connected us with a likewise—su[r]prised--Yamada choro [Elder Yamada]. We called other suprised Nihongin [Japanese people] who called US back, calling themselves the Kagi Kyukyusha--literally: The Key/Lock Ambulence. Then we went downstairs to wait for the Key/Lock Ambulence and sat in the flowerbed--eating bread, writing letters and possibly looking very lost. Then up pulls a little white car 3 little Japanese men in blue jackets pop out (calling themselves the Kagi Kyukyusha) and annou[n]ced they were there to rescue us--which they did and fixed our door for no charge. It was so funny!!

Tuesday morning during scripture study as I was reading the account of Jesus Christ appearing to the Nephites (3 Ne. 9:19-20, 3 Ne. 11:8-12, 18-19) I thought about what about it would've been liek to be there as someone who KNEW and LOVED and WORSHIPPED Christ--to see him Descend out of HEaven, proclaim his identity and divinity and then to have him minister unto you. And then to have him call you--friend--to his side, as he did the 12 apostles. The idea overwhlemed me. It made me so happy.

I think the way we'll recognize Christ when we see him is by becoming like him. That's how Moroni says we'll see Him as He is (Mornoi [Moroni] 7:48) and be his children (3 Ne. 12:44-45). The more we strive to become like Christ and to come to know him, how great will be our joy when we meet him in the kingdom of our father.

It made me think of the song "His Love" by Jake Rau.

Every word that he said
Every tear that he shed
Stays within my mind and reminds me of the life he led
A man who taught the dumbe to speak
Who strengthened legs that on[c]e were weak
And who was betrayed with a simple kiss upon his cheek
Although his followers were few
They all knew his words were true
And there's nothing he won't do
To find a way and show you
His love

Arms that children knew so well
A smile that caused their hearts to swell
And hands that lifted up every time one of his small ones fell
A voice that called men from the dead
And eyes that saw so far ahead
Never turned away from a crown of thornes fit for His head
He knows your heart
He knows your name
And when you're hurt he's felt the pain
Forever he will sustain until you find in his arms again
His love

Jesus loved the man who could not see or understand
Just as he loves me and you
And he taught that we should love as he did
When he pleaded "Father,
Forgive them for they know not what they do"

Every precious drop of blood
And every ounce of perfect love
He so freely gave to show me to my home above
And every time he calls my name
He takes my sorrow and my shame
Doubt and fear are gone
Replaced by His holy nmae
He loves us
And His wounds will only heal
If we let them
Our open hearts would surely feel
His love.

I love being a missionary--feeling the Spirit tell me where to go and what to say, seeing people's eyes light up with the Holy Ghost, trying hard to learn the language so that I can teach and help them feel our Savior's love and find people, being filled up with light as I read the scriptures--I love it.

That night we had DCS with the assistant ward mission leader which was really good and I understood quite a bit. But the funny part was our evening prayer that night; I was saying it (in Japanese, of course) and I messed up so bad! It was really funny. Normally Orgill shimai is very good at keeping a straight face but not that time! Orgill shimai has been having trouble sleeping and she'd finally been able to get a new pillow so I was trying to say "We thank thee for new makura (pillow)" but instead I said "We're greatful for new maguro (tuna)." Then I tried to say "Please help us recieve genki (health)" but instead I said "Please help us recieve ginko (banks)." Orgill shimai couldn't help it--she busted up laughing. Whoops. Teehee...

Wednesday, Orgill shimai was sick so while she slept I worked on our new Area Map. I was reading the account of the Savior healing the multitude in personal study. I learned so much and felt so much love for the Savior. And I realized that the multitude was also filled with the Savior's pure love; when they asked Him to tarry (3 Ne. 17:5) he commanded them to bring forth their afflicted (v. 7-8) and they did WITH ONE ACCORD bring forth all those afflicted in any manner (v. 9)--and He did heal them, EVERY SINGLE ONE--and then the entire multitude, healed and whole, bowed down at His feet and worshipped Him--because THEY were filled with HIS love and HIS mercy and HIS compassion for every person there. THAT is world peace--THAT is compassion--that if someone healed the stranger next to you whom you had never before met, you would be filled with so much gratitude that you would kiss the healer's feet (v.10).

So far on my mission, I've seen people with so many diverse afflictions, and like the Nephites my heart cries out Jesus, please heal them! But until their day of healing comes I know our Savior feels their wounds. And one day he will come to them with healing in his wings and together they will fly. And every wrong will be made right. And until then I know he will provide a way and means for them to feel His love.

It also had so much more meaning to read that when Orgill shimai was sick. Hopefully she will start being able to sleep soon!

Then in companion study that day we read the stop smoking lesson the mission gave us as a resource for us to possibly teach people--it was so inspiring. I know Christ can heal that addiction too! I want to help others do that.

Thursday, we got our new top futons from Yamada choro! (like duvets essentially). We were very excited. We also had dinner with a lady from our ward (Kikkawa shimai). She's super cute and it was a wonderful experience. I felt able to communicate because of her kindness and patience and the spiritual thought we'd prepared--that we'd intended mostly for her twin sons--seemed to actually be for her. The Spirit was so strong. We shared Helaman 5:22-23, 28, 40-42 and 47. We talked about how we all have times in our lives when we are overshadowed with clouds of darkness--doubt, fear, trials, lack of faith, or hard things. The story in these scriptures is about how those clouds can be dispersed and we can recieve light and knowledge and peace. Lehi and Nephi were preaching adn then were thrown into prison (v. 22-23). When that heppened, there were other people in the prison. This is what happened to them (v.28). When they were overshadowed by that darkness they talked to each other and one of them told them how to get rid of the darkness (v.40-42). We're given faith and light and knowledcge and peace after we have prayed for them sincerly. Think about a worry you have. Will you pray to God until you feel peaceful about it? If we will this is God's promise (v.47).

Friday, we had interviews with President and Sister Rasmussen! While we were waiting for them at the church we called Oikawa-san to see if we could set up an appointment. She picks up and she says (in English) "I can't work or go to church because my legs are bad. So I am poor." So we asked her if we could bring her anything and she said "Yes, I want bread." So we got an appointment! The interviews were awesome! President Rasmussen is so kind.

Then we had district meeting and then our appointment with Oikawa. :)

Saturday, Oikawa-san forgot our appointment and wasn't home. :(

Sunday, was awesome!!

Actually, things started out poorly for Orgill shimai; she woke up in the middle of the night really sick and wasn't sure if she could make it to church--and Oikawa-san had promised to come. But we were able to go and bike to the church and paced and paced--where was Oikawa-san?? She said she'd come! We'd even called her at 8 to remind her! Chruch started. No Oikawa. The bearing of testimonies started. No Oikawa. So we went and called her--she'd left at 8 and had gotten lost! "I lost my way many times," she said in English. "And now I'm very hungry." So we biked to the rescue!, parked our bikes at her apartment and walked back to the church with her in time for the last half of gospel principles and all of combined 3rd hour--and she loved it!! She loved the hymns and the 3rd hour was about the Book of Mormon--the commitment she's been struggling with--so it was awesome! We walked back to her apartment and talked for a bit and then she prayed--an aweomse prayer!--and said seh'd been practicing praying! And while we were talking I felt like I should tell her why reading the BOM was important--even thought I couldn't understand what was being said and I was able to say it without many mistakes--miracle of the Spirit!

In other words, this week has been awesome!! Thank you for all your love and letter and great examples and support!!!!!!!!!!

It sounds like it's finally getting cold in Summerfield! Please s[t]ay warm and safe! Sounds like the Bellows home is continuing to celebrate--sounds fun!! Sounds like the Summerfield missionaries are doing great! Candice, I hope your wrist feels better soon! Glad to know that Garren is still consistently falling in the woods behind our house. ;) Yay for sister missionaries! Our ward is thinking of starting a PMG class for the Youth/YSA with the missionaries--I wonder how that would work in Carolina... Speaking of slipping escapades I fell off my bike this week! Whoops! No injuries--just very su[r]prised! :D Glad you are liking your classes Candice! Octopus is good but I'm not yet a fan of dried squid. It's very salty. Yay for the Johnsons! Happy birthday to Jared! Lucky kids--too cool for school I guess. ;)

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Week 14 Pictures

E-mail 1/27/2014

My dear wonderful family!!

Hello from one very happy missionary! I love it here! This week we saw so many miracles for our investigators! It was incredible!

Tuesday, we biked over to a PI's [potential investigator’s] house that we'd visited a couple weeks ago and pinged the door and knocked and heard the dogs and people inside but no one answered. So we went backto our bikes to leave when I noticed this house with a watering can out front and I thought "I bet the people who live there are really nice people" so I said to Orgill shimai [Sister Orgill] "Can we house this one?" And she said "sure," so I rang the doorbell and she said "be ready cause you're doing it," and the door opened and this lady looked out so I held out an Eikaiwa [English class] pamphlet and said "We teach English" with a horrendous accent. She should've closed the door. But she didn't. Miracle--she starting chuckling and took the pamplet and came outside to talk to us and we talked for a[b]out 20 minutes. Her name is Goto-san and her father is law is Christian. (And during that conversation the PI who ignored our knocking starting walking her dogs in the neighboorhood and looked very guilty when she saw us. Haha.) After that we biked over to a LA's [less-active member’s] house (the Tota couple). (They'd come to church Sunday so we stopped by to see how they liked it) and they said--before we'd even asked them about church--"Hey, did you see us at Church yesterday? We're going next week too!" They've been less active for over 20 years. Miracle! They were so proud of themselves too. They're so adorable! Then we went to a former investigator's house (Oikawa-san) for our appointment (she hasn't met with missionaries since 2007 so we called and asked if we could meet). It was amazing! A miracle! She was sooo cute! She was talking all about how she loves sumo and baseball and thens he [then she] bought herself corn soup and us hot chocolate and told us the Book of Mormon was like Sherlock Holmes and that Joseph Smith was handsome. But as we starting teaching and reading the Book of Mormon together she settled down and even said the closing prayer. It was so amazing! Miracles!

Tuesday, we had an apointment with another former that fell through (Noguchi-san) but she still wants to be our friend and meet us so we'll see how that works out. We also had DCS--which was awesome as usual. :) Ishizaki kyodai [Brother Ishizaki] told allt he [all the] missionaries who were transfering that "There are people you are supposed to meet in whatever area you are called to serve. Please, go and find them! Work with the members. Kamisugi is no. 1 for working with members. Take that to other areas." Then, to all of us, he asked "Do you think it's posslbe to be perfect in this life?" (Most of us said no.) I think it is, he said. No 100% perfect, not all the time, but in little small moments and certain commandments or situations, we can. To become perfect:

1.     Come unto Christ. (Believe in him.)
2.     Cultivate God's heart. (By not doing by [bad?] things.)
3.     Turn your thoughts and feelings toward God. (By doing all that you can do.)
4.     Accept God's grace.
We can't be 100% perfect in this life but there are things and moments in which we can be perfect. Don't compare yourself to other people or yourself yesterday. Just focus on what you need to do right now. If you do all this and you don't feel joy it's okay. Don't focus on your w[e]ak points. Focus on the Lord. Each morning and night ask yourself: What do I want to do better? Focus on the things you can do. You're in training to become perfect. It takes time. Nourish the talents you have. For your weaknesses, set goals, step by step, to improve. Do what you can with what you have. Your percent of doing all you can is always different. Some days are super spiritual and some aren't. What was all you could do 2 months ago won't be the same as right now. It might be higher or lower. It just depends. Just focus on what you can do now. Failure is giving up. Success is to just keep trying.

It was so good!

So, we were biking back from that meeting and I was turning this corner and I went skidding so I stopped and looked back at Orgill shimai in shock and confusion. She starts laughing at me as she rounds the corner, thinking "haha, now we're even!" when she completely biffs it and goes down. We both busted up laughing. Falling off the bike score: Me: 0. Orgill shimai: 2. :)

Wednesday was transfer day! Since we're staying in Sendai, Orgill shimai and I got to be companions with Hyodo shimai [Sister Hyodo] that day until we dropped her off at the Honbu [mission home] because she's finished her mission! So, after morning study we took Nishikawa shimai and Hamano shimai and their luggage down to the Eki [station] on the subway (love the subway!) and met up with their new companions at the stained glass (Where everyone meets). We said our goodbyes and greeted Hyodo shimai and dropped her luggage off at the lockers in the Eki and then subwayed ourselves back up to our apartment for lunch and then went and visited old investigators she'd taught (she'd served in Sendai for 3 transfers)--which was awesome because we finally got to meet some of them who we'd been unable to contact before! Then we walked to teh [the] Eki and bussed it to the mission home to drop off Hyodo shimai. The mission office was way cool! It was my first time inside. It was clean and new with big desks and computers and a wall of pictures of all the missionaries organized by area--so I got to see where everyone from my doki [MTC training group] is now! We said bye to Hyodo shimai and shook hands with President Rasmussen and then bussed it back to Sendai and subwayed it back to our apartment so we wouldn't be late for Eikaiwa and grabbed Ishiiya dinner and hurried off to class. Class was way fun! We only had Abe-san and Cindy-chan (Chinese LA, SUPER good at English) so Orgill shimai taught Abe and I taught Cindy and she asked really good questions and it was so fun to teach her!

Thursday, we mogied [roleplayed] with this incredible 82-year-old dendo [proselyting] fireball (she's served 2 missions herself). It was so funny and awesome! We told her what lesson we wanted to teach and she taught it all to us, haha so we only had 15 minutes to teach her ourselves and even then she kept on inturrupting me asking me what I meant when I hadn't even finished my sentences. (She's generally very rough on missionaries, haha). But by the end she actually seemed to like us and even gave us chocolate. What?? It was so awesome. From there we went housing and foudn 2 PIs. We're thrilled! Mistake of the day: This lady opened up her door and I said "We're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Can we meet you?" and she said "Uh, nai [absent]" and quickly closed the door. Whoops! Haha. (I meant to say 'have you ever met missionaries before. :D)

Friday, Oikawa-san stood up our lesson and our joint told us to drop Oikawa because she's too forgetful. We housed. No success. We were feeling a little sad. But then we went to dinner with the other shimai and Cindy-chan and then played zoo. I loved the scripture they shared with her: Alma 26:37.

 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

No matter what country you're in, no matter what your situation, God is watching over you and loves you and will help you if you turn to him.

I love it.

Saturday we read this awesome book of ideas for destressing for missionaries "Adjusting to Missionary Life." It's so awesome!

Sunday we had a dendo fireside/potluck lunch after church and we shared ideas of simple ways for the members to dendo so every companionship did a funny skit and our WML [ward mission leader] explained inbetween each one. We suggested inviting people to Eikaiwa, putting a picture of the temple on your desk, inviting people to church activities, and inviting people to play basketball with the missionaries. It was way fun. My Japanese is still very clumsy. I practiced and practiced and I got all of my lines right except for the last one and afterward Orgill shimai said (about that last line) "I don't know what you were speaking but it wasn't Japanese and it wasn't English." Whoops. :) Thankfully my last line was just "my lunch break is over soon so see you later!"

New talent I discovered at the potluck: I can cut and eat Jello with chop[s]ticks with one hand. Who's impressed??

This week as I've been reading the war chapters in the BOM I've just really been struck at how the Nephites have these years and years and years of war with the [with the] Lamanites, but they never lose hope or give up. They have faith and just keep trying and keep fighting to protect their families and their religion and freedom. And despite the bad circumstances, they grow stronger in the faith (Hel. 3:35) and they chose leaders who are men of God (3 Ne. 3:19) and their religion is not separate from their everyday lives and decision making (3 Ne. 5:3-4). It's something they use and lvoe and depend on. Such good examples!

Everyone here tells me that I'm "cute". (BIG compliment here). They also call me "Bellows-chan" (the suffix they use for adorable things). Sooo yeah... Haha.

The new missionary is awesome! Her name is Isogai and she's from around the Kobe mission area. She also is an excellent cook and seems to be doing great! Yatta! :) She's 23. She's so cute. Our apartment is now just the four of us--Kirby shimai, Isogai shimai, Orgill shimai, and I. It's quieter! But it's way fun. :)

The weather has been way good this week--we even had a day where we didn't wear jackets. Yay! It snows regularly but it hasn't stuck yet so that's good!

This morning we went to go visit an investigator we dropped my 3rd week in the field. We biked up this mountain to get there, even though we weren't sure if she'd even talk to us. Miracle: She not only talks to us, she lets us in and lets us teach her a 40 minute lesson. It was a miracle! I could tell she really does have faith--no matter how much she's afraid of it. It was amazing!

Thank you so much for all your letters and emails!! Mom, I got another letter from you this week--I love it! Thank you thank you!! I'm so proud of my amazing missionary family!

Mom! I love your stories about visiting teaching! You are an amazing missionary! June for Oxford! Yay! Dad your pit crew adventures sound so fun! Happy birthday to Uncle Peter! I hope you guys get to do the Lamb of God program! That would be so amazing! Tyler, Tyler, you future graduate student. Sounds like you are doing awesome things! I'm proud of our basketball and rugby stars! I'm sorry I don't have more pictures! I will try to send more next week! Thank you so much for the recipies! I feel so blessed by my amazing family and so proud of all you are doing!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. Dad, when we teach the Plan of Salvation here we use a lot of visuals and emphasize how our personalities stay the same throughout--despite the veil and death. (To show how we can't just not accept the gospel in this life because we don't want to live it now because we'll have the same desires when we die.)