Monday, February 10, 2014

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!!

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