Sunday, February 2, 2014

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.)

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