Monday, March 31, 2014

E-mail 3/30/2014

My dear wonderful wonderful family!!!

It is beautiful here! Sunny and windy and the cherry blossoms are budding, SO close to blooming! We are so excited. It is beautiful. It is wonderful. I love it here! I love Japan! The people and the country and the work are beautiful.

Tuesday, we took the subway down to Kamisugi again for Training with President and Sister Rasmussen (just the Izumi and Kamisugi Districts). It was so good! It was all about helping people feel the Holy Ghost in your first five minutes with them. My favorite part was when President Rasmussen said "When you've prayerfully planned your day and everything falls through, lift up your head and look for the miracle. God knows where the ready people are." Loved that! Loved seeing the Rasmussens, Orgill shimai [Sister Orgill], Smith shimai and all my Kamisugi people! Then we came back to Izumi and had a dinner appointment with the Sasaki couple--who are actually Hosoi shimai (from Kamisugi)'s parents so they loved hearing me tell them all about their grandchildren have been up to recently. From there we had DCS with Hinode kyodai [Brother Hinode] (Ward Mission Leader) and Chapman kyodai (ward missionary) and it was super fun because we all took turns translating for Chapman kyodai so I could understand everything! :D It was very comradic.

Wednesday we went to Seminary and then came back and I slept for a few hours to try and get over a bad cold (we were afraid people wouldn't talk to us because my voice sounded awful, haha) and then we visited Ami chan and had chirashi kubari [flyer distribution] and then taught Beginner's class at Eikaiwa [English class]. Oh, and Yamada choro [Elder Yamada] brought me a better bike!!!! Yatta!!

Thursday, we had Ladies' Eikaiwa in the morning and people came so we actually had a real class--my first time! Since it's not official Eikaiwa we share a spiritual message at the end--it was really interesting. Then we had Izumi Meeting (all business) and then went to drop a picture frame with D&C 18:10 Din it off at an LA's [less-active's] house and then starting housing a couple blocks away when--miracle--she called our cell phone and said "Are you still close? Can you come back and visit with me?" It was awesome! I'd never met her before and she was so warm and friendly to us and gave us cold juice to drink (since it was hot outside) and hugged us goodbye. She was super cute.

Friday, we ran in the morning at this park around a lake. Lost of mist, perfect weather, quiet, it was awesome! Then we started weekly. Then around 5pm we visited a PI [potential investigator] (mother of a family of 5) and--miracle--she let us teach a lesson and pray with her (twice) at her door. She was a little confused because she doesn't even know anything about God but she said we could come back. AMAZING.

Saturday, we had a 30-30 (English-Gospel) lesson with Ami-chan (LA)--miracle! We've been trying this whole transfer to start the 30-30 program with her and she loved it. It was amazing. Then we visited 2 LAs but they weren't home so we left notes for them and housed and then came back and finished weekly.

Sunday, we had church and one of the LAs we tried to visit Saturday came! (She said she felt so bad she wasn't come when we came that she had to come to church--and she stayed for all of sacrament meeting). In Gospel Principles we talked about how in Moses 4:4-9 after Adam and Eve left the Garden, God gave them commandments and then there were many days between that and their receiving the Holy Ghost (verse 6). So it sounds like they had a temporary time of separation from the Holy Ghost and probably felt alone. Maybe that's the same whenever we transgress. But a we change, as we repent, the Holy Ghost rushes back into our lives. He returns immediately when we choose the right.

This week a former investigator we'd visited the other week texted us and said he felt like he couldn't meet with the missionaries because he's made so many mistakes in his life. We told him, that's what the gospel is for! It is the Plan of Happiness for everyone because we all make mistakes and through the gospel all can be made right!

After church we visited former investigators and one of them said she loved the lessons she had with the missionaries and that we could come back any time.

In other words, it's been a wonderful week! So many miracles! The Lord's hand is in this work! He blesses his missionaries and he truly works miracles through small and simple things that we don't even realize are inspiration until the miracle happens. I know He lives! He is my joy and my song and I feel His love every day. How great is the calling of missionary work!

Baptisms--wonderful! Zach--nice pictures from Student Government! We're hoping to be able to see the Women's broadcast this week--and then General Conference the week after that. Have so much fun at General Conference this weekend! It sounds like we have a very full front flower bed. Zach o kiotsukete kudasai [Zach, please take care?]! Girl's camp! That will be so fun! Wow, new car. O-sha-re [fashionable?]! Tyler: What are your grad school plans? 

Congratulations Candice!!!! Oxford!! The weather has become beautiful this week! Monday, we got my tire fixed from the bike shop that is well acquainted with the missionaries so they gave us a discount. :) Sister's bikes don't transfer with them (unless you are six feet tall like Johnson shimai and need a bigger bike) but Elders' do. Oh basketball woes. Yay spring break is back! That's awesome news! I can't believe school is almost out for BYU. Good luck with finals! Hey, maybe that will mean we'll have more people coming into the Sendai Mission--tanoshii [fun]!

My dear family, I love you so much! It's wonderful to hear how you all are doing. Your emails fill me with love and I feel better able to dendo [proselyte] with all that love from you. Thank you thank you! You are doing so many wonderful things!!

I love love love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your missionary,
Bellows shimai :)

[Katie didn't send any pictures this week. Sorry!]

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 21 Pictures

E-mail 3/24/2014

Hello my dear wonderful family!

Miracle of the week: Johnson shimai [Sister Johnson] and I got to go to Oikawa shimai's baptism--it was wonderful! 

Tuesday as we started Companion Study at the church we heard the voices of the APs [assistants to the mission president] in the hall and then Rasmussen Kaicho [President Rasmussen] popped into our room and said "Ohaio gozaimasu [Good morning]! How are things?" Shook our hands and popped back out. Apparently he had a meeting with the APs, ZLs [zone leaders], and STLs [sister training leaders?] in Izumi that morning which got over just in time for the ZLs to sit in on our District Meeting. I did the English training. The ZLs did stress management training. It reminded me a lot of the Asics advertising campaign slogan "Sound Mind. Sound Body. Running cleanses the mind and the body" and spiritual self-reliance--where we personally, by ourselves, can rely on the Lord. After DM [district meeting] we had a mogi [roleplay] with Yanase shimai (around 60 with blue hair--she's so cute and way good at English!) and then visited the Akatsuka family and shared a message about prayer and Akatsuka shimai told us all about Japanese Sign Language--which was super fun!

Wednesday, Tsuba-san (PI [potential investigator]) and Ami-chan (LA [less active]) weren't home but Aoyagi-san (PI--49 years old) was. It was an awesome experience! We'd been about to drop him because we'd visited his apartment a ton and no one was ever there, but we decided to visit one last time to see if we could at least meet him (he was a PI from previous missionaries) and we knocked on his door and he opened it and we said "Hi, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Do you know our church?" and he said "Yes." Apparently he's an investigator from 10 years ago and LOVES the church and the missionaries, recognizes the feeling of the Holy Ghost, still remembers how to pray, and has been to both church and Eikaiwa [English class] a ton. But, the missionaries who taught him both transferred and he never heard from the church again, so of course he didn't keep coming. But he was so knowledgeable about the church and open to hearing the message again and has super hilarious English. So we had a great lesson conversation with him and he said he didn't know when he could meet again, but he would text us when he knew. It was amazing! After that, since somehow I'd gotten a flat tire, we walked to chirashi kubari [flyer distribution] and then Eikaiwa and taught the kid's class.

Thursday, we were supposed to have Ladies' Eikaiwa in the morning, but since only Yamaguchi shimai showed up and her English is really good, Anderson choro [Elder Anderson] asked her to tell us (8 missionaries) her conversion story in English. It i[s] incredible. She was living in Spain and didn't have any friends when one day two of her roommates said they were going to a party and so she said "Can I come?" They said, "Well, it's going to be kind of religious." She said, "I don't care. I just want friends. Can I come?" They said, "Is it okay if the missionaries are there?" so she went and heard about Eikaiwa and all the other church activities and all of a sudden she was going to EVERYTHING, including a Spanish Ward and an English Ward (thereby going to 6 hours of church on Sundays). But when the missionaries asked her if she would get baptized she said "Impossible!" (When she was a kid her parents where [were] protestant and so she made a decision to be neutral on religion.) When someone told her "I thought you were already a member!" She said "Never!" But one day as she was sitting in church she realized that going to 6 hours of church a week isn't neutral. So she said a prayer and said "God, today I am going to stop going to church because I want to be neutral and I don't believe in you. But if you are real, please, let me know." And she said "I felt a warm feeling like He was real and that He heard all my prayers and all of a sudden I was crying." So she called the missionaries and said "I am getting baptized." They said: "What? Why??" They were shocked. They thought she would never get baptized. She told them she was but, "I will never dendo [proselyte] with you!" A week after her baptism the missionaries called her and said "We're going streeting [contacting people on the street]. Will you come?" And she said yes.
And then she said to us, the 8 missionaries listening to her incredible conversion, "So people can change."

It was so powerful. It gave me so much hope for all of our investigators--and for me too. That too can change.

Then we had DM and then went on splits with the STLs--I was with Hamano shimai. And we housed and did visits and then visited the Omori family with the other shimai [sisters] and shared a message about dendo joys to strengthen their faith to dendo. They were so kind! It was really snowy so they took our coats and bags and hung them in front of their heater and gave us dry socks. It was so kind! On our way back, Hamano shimai asked me "What are your healing songs?" I thought that was such an interesting question!

Friday, we finished our split and then got everything ready for the missionary-run ward FHE [family home evening] which was super fun! We had about 40 people there and had a paper airplane contest and played minute to win it games and then shared a message about appreciating the small moment as blessings from Heavenly Father and invited people to share the Mormon Message "Small Moments" with their friends. It made me think of small spiritual moments I've had on my mission: Hearing Oikawa shimai pray, singing "Sweet Hour of Prayer" in a member's geinkan and seeing her eyes fill with tears, biking on the backroads by fields of rice in the rain and singing "Make me more worthy of thy grace", singing "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" as we were biking home the day after we recorded it and my voice catching on "and my poor name he named". Gifts. God gives us such wonderful gifts. He loves us.

But Friday night we still didn't have anyone to take to Oikawa shimai's baptism. So as far as we knew that meant we wouldn't be able to go. So Saturday we were at the church cleaning up with the District when it occurred to me that Orgill shimai would probably need a heads up that she would be doing a solo for the musical number, so Paxton choro gave us permission to call the Zone Leaders. They picked up and we explained the situation and they said "Well, actually, since you're singing, you can come." !!! But the baptism started in 60 minutes and we had no bikes and needed to change into Sunday Best for the baptism. So we literally ran to the train station, ran to the apartment, changed, ran to the train station, and ran from the Kamisugi station to the Kamisugi church and arrived at 10:00 a.m. on the dot, in time to take a red-faced pre-baptism picture with Oikawa shimai and then it down in the chapel to sing "Joy to the World" as the opening hymn. It was a day of joy! Oikawa shimai was sitting on the stand in her white dress and she looked angelic. I couldn't stop smiling. Orgill shimai bore her testimony and Date shimai gave a talk and then Orgill shimai and I sang Come Unto Jesus in English and Japanese.

Come unto Jesus, ye heavy laden,

Careworn and fainting, by sin oppressed.
He'll safely guide you unto that haven
Where all who trust him may rest.

And then we all went into the primary room to watch. McClellen choro got in the water first and then Orgill shimai called out to him (for Oikawa shimai's benefit) "Is it warm?" "Yes, it's warm," he promised. And then she was baptized! And after she dried off she bore her testimony and it filled me with joy. :)

After the service we took another picture and Oikawa shimai asked me "Where are you living now? Where are you living now?" Apparently she asks the same thing whenever Orgill shimai and Smith shimai and Hiyashi shimai come over and I'm not there. I was so happy for her--I could feel of God's love for her and the wonderful joy of the Holy Ghost. And afterward Ishizaki kyodai [Brother Ishizaki] asked me "It's wonderful, isn't it?" Yes it is! Pure joy!

And if it so be that ye should labor all your days and bring save one soul unto me how great will be your joy with her in the Kingdom of my Father.

Then we came back to Izumi and had dinner with the Konno family and shared a message about preparing for General Conference--who's excited??

Yesterday we had church and in Relief Society we talked about Agency and the Atonement and using those to become better. I really liked the quote Taketomi shimai shared; "You were chosen not for your bodily characteristics but for your spiritual attributes, such as bravery, courage, integrity of heart, a thirst for truth, a hunger for wisdom, and a desire to serve others." Through Agency and the Atonement we can gain more gifts.

Then after church we visited the Chapman family for dinner and shared a message about meaningful prayer. They are wonderful! You can tell they love the gospel and missionary work and are teaching their children wonderfully. They are incredible! They have such faith! They really believe God had a purpose for them in Japan and that part of that purpose is missionary work. They were so kind.

Today, we had District Meeting and Smith shimai shared a spiritual thought and said "Look for those who are searching for the road that will take them from where they are now to the happier, better person they want to be. That road is through Jesus Christ. Through it, they can become the people they don't know they have the potential to be."  And then Paxton choro gave wonderful training about meaningful study. And then we went and had a birthday party with the residents at the retirement home where we volunteer each week and sang Happy Birthday about 10 times. :)

Congrats to Jordan, Mary Kathryn, Shelby and Andrew! That's so awesome!! Zach--Prom looks like it was super fun!!

I'm so sorry we don't have more time to email because our volunteer service went long, but I will print your emails and read them when we get back to the apartment. I love you! Thank you for all your prayers and love! I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!

Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

E-mail 3/19/2014

Hello my wonderful family!
Hello, hello! Are you surprised to hear from me today? I am also surprised to be emailing you today, haha. When I emailed you Monday the computer deleted it so the Zone Leaders gave me special permission to email you today. Don't you feel special? :)
Speaking of special, Happy Birthday Grandmother!

It's been a crazy busy week!
Monday we taught Ishihara-san--a former kyudosha [investigator] from a couple years ago who said we could come by when we called her. She's an adorable 60 year old who loves traveling--she has a wall of scrapbook from her travels and showed us one of her at Niagara Falls. She loves the Bible and likes the Book of Mormon but thinks it's hard to understand and says she can't get baptized because she got baptized in a different church. :) So, she's interested, but a busy person so our return appointment with her is in April.
Tuesday we had an appointment to meet Ota-san (our new investigator from last week) at the Church for a tour but he called 30 minutes late and said he couldn't make it, so we went and visited a PI [potential investigator] named Ishii-san who is the funne[s]t, chattiest, genkiest [most energetic?] 50-year-old, but doesn't have a whole ton of interest or time. So we went over to the Retirement home and housed around there and met a lady named Wako-san who told us all about what happened to her when the 2011 Earthquake hit (Tuesday was 3 years from the day the 2011 Earthquake happened so we were able to talk to a lot of people this week about their experiences then)--her gas line exploded and her house caught on fire--and about old Japanese traditions for good luck. She said she's heard of Jesus Christ and said we could come visit her again. From there we did service at the Lodging home and the residents sang "Ame ame fure fure" (a children's song about rain; put on your boots, put up your umbrella, it's raining) to us so we sang "Nearer My God to Thee" to them. Then one of the residents tried to convince another to do a solo but they both have memory problems so they had the exact same conversation about 5 times. They are so cute and happy and love it when the gaijin [foreigners] come and talk to them while they're eating their afternoon snack. :) From there we met up with Kaneko shimai [Sister Kaneko] (in her 30's, single, talks to us in English, is sooo funny, I knew her in Kamisugi) and she told us all about her dendo [proselyting] plan. 

Wednesday, we were able to have a lesson with Ueno Junko shimai [Sister Ueno Junko] (an LA [less active] who came to church on Sunday) on her porch in the rain. It was so good! She has a strong testimony, just coming to church is hard for her. From that lesson we went to District Chirashi kubari [flyer distribution] in the bus pool. This District does it by everyone spreading out and trying to hand out as many flyers as we can in an hour. It was my first time doing it this way, so it was super hard at first to stop people and tell them to come to Eikaiwa [English class] because people hate salesmen and that's what it felt like, so I prayed for help and courage and set a goal to give away all my chirashi [flyers] and then went for it--and I was able to give away all but 2 of my chirashi! God helped me! Then we went to Eikaiwa and taught the Intermediate class--they are so good!--and had a blast.
Thursday was Zone Training! It was incredible. It strengthened my testimony and faith so much and increased my love for my fellow missionaries and my desire to dendo and be a good senkyoshi [missionary]. It was wonderful! I felt an outpouring of God's love and the Spirit.
  • Why should I get baptized?
    • It is a necessary ordinance to return to live with God
    • For remission of sins
    • To receive the Holy Ghost
    • To take upon us the name of Christ
    • It is a commandment
    • To follow the example of Jesus Christ
    • To show you are willing to keep God's commandments
    • To join the Church
  • If we always have the Spirit to be with us we will always be able to have joy and not too many worries
  • From the small promptings of the Spirit miracles can happen
For part of the training we split into groups for discussion by mission-age and so Elder Berkley, Elder Patterson, Elder Canepari, Smith shimai and I were all in the same group. It was so fun! It was like a taste of the Alma 17 moment when Alma and the Sons of Mosiah all reunite and see each other and how much they've grown and are just filled with joy. That's what it was like. I could just see how hard my doki [MTC training group] family has worked and could tell how much they love dendo and are excited to do it and it filled me with joy and love for the marvelous work we are a part of. I love dendo! I am so grateful for it! 

I also, of course, got to see all my Kamisugi buddies, including ORGILL SHIMAI [Sister Orgill, her former companion], and we and Shakira Johnson shimai (not my companion) did a recording of our song. 

Friday I finally got to meet Ami-chan (about 14-ish)! Her family all investigated the church but she was the only one to be baptized so it's hard for her to go to church and we haven't been able to get a hold of her. But Friday we did and we taught her a lesson about the Book of Mormon and gave her a copy and a blessing box and she was [s]o excited and prayed for the strength to go to church. :)

Saturday we had a Relief Society activity and got to ask Browne shimai what her family's experience was when they were here during the 2011 Earthquake. Immediately after it happened her husband got put in charge of coordinating all the safety measures between the U.S. and Japanese and she got sent back to the U.S. with her kid for safety and she had no idea when she'd see her husband again or if it would ever be safe for them to come back to Japan. And one of her kids was super sick and it was a 48 hour trip on only 45 minutes of sleep (for her). The miracles were incredible. She is so strong! Then we visited Wako-san and she showed us her son's wedding photos and said we could come back to cut up daikon [radishes?] with her.

Sunday was so good! We had an LA come to church and I introduced myself in Sacrament Meeting. My Sacrament Meeting thought:

(after introducing myself) I came to Japan 3 months ago but through dendo I've already been hugely blessed. I have seen miracle. I want to talk about one of those miracles. I came to Japan in December right when everyone was super busy. So we had NO appointments. Everyday we would go housing and everyone rejected us. It was like this for 5 week. I worried! I dendoed every day with all my might. Then my 7th week we suddenly found a new investigator. My 9th week that investigator came to Sacrament Meeting. My 11th week she had a testimony and wanted to be baptized. God gave us a miracle. As members and missionaries our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. When we invite we show our faith and then God gives us miracles. So please, invite your friends! I am so grateful for the Izumi Ward. You have strong testimonies and lots of faith. I think together we will see lots of miracles. We are God's children. I know He loves us. Through that love He will perform miracles.

Apparently, during my thought Kaneko shimai looked at Johnson shimai and said "What? She's improved so much!" and then she hugged me when I sat down. 

So, in other words it's been a wonderful week! We haven't found an investigator or PI to go to Oikawa shimai's baptism yet though so I am praying for a miracle. :)

Mom, I love your Lamb of God quest! Stake conference sounds like it was awesome! Thank you for your prayers! No snow but no cherry blossoms yet. Congrats to Chris on Peru! How was All-County Choir? No spring break?? Wow, a new BYU president! Prom. :) Oikawa is 70, haha. I love the pictures! Zach, do they throw you in the air for rugby??

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


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

Week 20 Pictures

E-mail 3/10/2014

My dear wonderful family,

Hello from IZUMI land of the hills and wind!!!! Izumi District and Ward are amazing! It is incredible!! It's like a hybrid of Greensboro and Dubuque with fewer places to shop and more people. It is so cool!! I miss Kamisugi but will be back in town next week for Zone Training and the next for Oikawa shimai's [Sister Oikawa's] baptism (if we can find someone to go--please pray for us!). And I've been out five months as of yesterday? Wow. Cool. :) My companion is Johnson shimai [Sister Johnson] from California/Oregon. She is 6'1" and went to BYU-I and is very quiet but super kind and the members love her. We are excited to dendo [proselyte] in Izumi! She is also crazy athletic--I cannot keep up with her!

Tuesday was my first day of non-bean [non-greenie] study! (i.e. only 1 hour of doryo gakshu [language study?] instead of 2) Momentous occasion, I know. :) We biked up the mountain for our appointment with Ishibashi and had a really good lesson about the Word of Wisdom. She agreed to live it and to talk to her fiancee about it! As we finished the lesson we were talking about how Orgill shimai [Sister Orgill] will be getting 2 new companions and thatthey look forward to their first appointment with Ishibashi-san and she said something like "Yeah... if I like them." Haha. :) She loves Orgill shimai and I but I know Smith shimai [Sister Smith] and Hiyashi shimai [Sister Hiyashi] will win her over. Then she said "I have a suprise for you" and whipped out socks and nail polish that she picked out for us. It was so cute! Then we biked over to Oikawa shimai's. We knew we needed to help her find the cord for her DVD player so she could listen to the Book fo Mormon so Orgill shimai asked her to pray for God's help. She did and we found the cord! Oikawa shimai's mind was blown! :) We explained more about repentence and then taught the 10 commandments with visuals and she committed to livethem and to keep the Sabbath day holy. It was a really good lesson. Then as we were biking back, another biker pulled up next to us and Orgill shimai said "Cool bike" and turns out his Mom is Mormon and he:s interested and we were able to get his phone number. What?? Then we ate dinner (i.e. I packed) and went to DCS. Ishizaki kyodai [Brother Ishizaki] makes bracelets and gives them to the transfering missionaries so Nation choro [Elder Nation] (finished his mission) and I each got one of the legendary Ishizaki kyodai bracelets. So sad! Then Ishizaki kyodai talked about how mission life is so focused on the gospel that it is reachign toward the Celestial. But when you go home you go back to a terrestial world. It is impossible to keep things the same way they were on your mission because you have to be a part of the world again. Things won't be perfect and won't come as fast. But that's okay. Just continually apply the things you've learned on your mission so that you can keep them. Find that new balance. And then he reiterated: Find out why you're with your new companions quickly. Then we gave Nation choro going away cards and pictures and booked it home, and Sugawara shimai [Sister Sugawara] left us jello on our doorstep. :) So cute! And I got a letter from Maria!!!

Wednesday was TRANSFER DAY!!!! After studying (and not wanting to leave Orgill shimai and Kamisugi) we biked over to Oikawa shimai's and taught her a quick lesson about President Monson (gave her a picture) and church callings. During DG we'd made her new baptism date and chie no kotoba [Word of Wisdom] posters so we taped those up on her wall for her. It was so sad to be leaving her! From there we hurried back to the apartment and grabbed ALL my stuff (which miraculously all fit into my suitcases plus a plastic bag) and rolled it to the subway station and started to carry them down the 1,000 stairs but thankfully a kind young gentleman saw me struggling and carried my biggest suitcase down for me. I was so grateful! (My suitcases were very full.) Then we got to the Sendai S[t]ation and met up Johnson shimai and said "See you next week" to Orgill shimai (for Zone Training) and Johnson shimai and I boarded the subway for Izumi! On the subway, somehow I was able to talk enough Japanese to the girl next to me that she gave me her meishi [business card]. And then we arrived in Izumi! We got off the subway and thankfully there were escalators all the way up to the street (so I didn't have to carry all my suitcases up the stairs) and pushed my suitcases a couple of blocks to the Izumi shimai [Izumi sisters'] apartment.

The apartment is so clean and nice! It's a new apartment, about a year old, with laminate wood floors and a nice tatami [Japanese straw floor covering] sleeping room. It has 1 study room (for the STLs [Sister Training Leaders]) and another study area that's open to the kitchen (our study room) and then the usual shower room, toilet closet, and tatami bedroom. There's not a lot of storage space (nowhere to hang clothes) but it's clean!

So we pushed my suitcases inside and sat down and Johnson shimai gave me a little introduction to the area. Our companionship has 2 investigators and 2 referrals. Our Ward Mission Leader is Hindoe kyodai [Brother Hindoe] and our District Leader is Paxton choro [Elder Paxton]--whose new companion is Patterson choro [Elder Patterson] from my doki [MTC training group]!!

After our planning session we had dinner and then attempted to biek to the church but I was supposed to ride Hamano shimai's [Sister Hamano's] bike and her key didn't work so we walked quickly and got there pretty fast. We walked inside and there were a bunch of choro [elders] (including Patterson choro) and we said "hi" and ran off to prep our class. This district rotates what class they teach every week, so this week we were teaching the kids' class.

Sister Chapman (from America, her family just recently moved here, she talks and looks exactly like Sister Denekie) is the Eikaiwa [English class] coordinator and she got class started and came and sat in on kids' class. There were 6 kids around 3-5 years old with 1 eight-year-old and 3 moms. It was way fun! The kids are super good at memorizing. One of the games we played was with card pairs. One card would have a picture and it's match would have the word on it. So we would put the pictures on the floor and pick up the word card and say "Where's the ambulence?" and they would race to grab it. It was super cute. Then the other American mom read them a picture book.

In the end there were 10 choro there! (staying in Izumi as a half-way point for transfers; all in a snug 4 man apartment) And one of them was Fox choro [Elder Fox]! It was so fun to see him. He's going back up to his bean [greenie] area but was bringing down his doryo and picking up his new companion. Fun!

Then we hurried back to our apartment (6 people for transfers) and planned and crashed. :)

Thursday, we taught our first lesson with Takada shimai [Sister Takada] (Bishop's wife; our joint) to our new investigator named Ota-san at his friends' apartment. He actually had 2 friends over so we were teaching 3 people. They were very cute and super chatty and so funny! They asked us if we wanted coffee and then tea and then just gave up and gave us mikans [tangerines]. One of the friends just wanted to talk about politics, and the other was nervous because his daughter wants him to joint a different religion, but Ota-san was actually interested and wanted his friends to be interested too, so it ended up being a, Johnson shimai-teaching-Ota-san, Bellows-shimai teaching Wada-san, and Takada-shimai rescuing Bellows shimai and keeping 3rd friend on track. :D It was awesome. Eventually we were able to explain the Book of Mormon and invite them to read it and Ota-san agreed to take a church tour. Then we biked back to the apartment and had lunch and finished our morning study. I was reading in PMG [Preach My Gospel] Chapter 11 and in the intro to that chapter it said: "As a missionary you desire the salvation of souls. You know that people can come unto Christ and be saved only on conditions of repentence [and baptism]." I love that! It is so true! That is the desire of my heart because I can see how much joy it has brought to people like Oikawa shimai. :)

Then we visited the Akatuska family. They have 2 super cute twin daughters about Lauren's age. Akatsuka shimai [Sister Akatsuka] really wants us to help them dendo [proselyte] and to strengthen them in the gospel, so we shared a message about the Book of Mormon and asked them waht their favorite scripture is. They both immediately said Jacob 5 because their names are in it (one's name means "tie" and the other means "harvest"). So that was way cool! Them we gave them a blessing box (a box with candy and little pieces of paper with questions/scriptures on it and you read one everyday and then get a piece of candy) and they loved it. As we left Yui gave us oragami tops and put "thank you" papers in our pockets. So cute!

From there we tried to visit 2 LAs [less actives] that live on Harry Potter Lane (the nickname for it because that's what it looks like) but neither were home so we came back and had Taco Rice for dinner and housed.

Friday, we visted a new mom in our ward and her adarable smiley baby and shared *Our Light in Darkness* from the 2014 February Liahona and talked about how Jesus Christ is our light and our guide and our comfort. It was super fun to get to know her. She is so kind.

From there we came back and did weekly and then went housing.

Saturday, we housed and tried to visit a bunch of people but only 1 person listened. But that was fine. God will guide us as we try to find new investigators.

We also volunteered at a retirement home with Hamano and Smith shimaitachi [Sister Hamano and Sister Smith]. I talked to this cute Obachan [aunt] who couldn't sit still and loved kabuki [Japanese classical drama] and butai [stage? theater?]. She decided she liked me after I retried [retied] the shoe she kept wiggling off and told her that being 86 was awesome. :)

Sunday, (Dad's birthday!!! I hope it was fun and not too crazy with all the things you had to do!) was way fun! Patterson choro [Elder Patterson] introduced himself this week in Sacrament meeting and all the members gasped when he said he was 18. :) Then Brother Chapman taught Gospel Principles (in English and an RM [returned missionary] translated) and then Johnson shimai and I went to Beehives [class for 12- and 13-year-old young women] and Johnson shimai translated for the 2 Americans. It was so fun! I love the new teaching program they have! Makes me want to be in Young Womens again!

Church Highlights:

Jacob 4:10 If you want the wisest counsel, ask God
Christ offers us happiness for eternity. Satan offers us misery for eternity. Isn't the choice obvious? All Christ requires of us is to change. To apply the Atonement. To keep our 2nd Estate.
Our first estate was our spirits. Our second estate is our bodies. Are you keeping your second estate?
God's commandments direct us away form [from] danger toward eternal life. By choosing wisely we will gain exaltation, progress eternally, and enjoy perfect happiness.
Our correct choices give us spiritual power as a shield of protection (think: the armor of God)
(from YW) Set a goal for one way you can increase your faith

After church we had lunch and housed and found 2 PIs [potential investigators]. Hopefully they will turn into investigators!

The weather adventures in Carolina seem to be continuing... Good luck with spring break! The weather is super nice today. Good luck with All-County Choir Lauren! Zach--rugby, prom, senior year, you are busy! Happy Birthday to Ashlee and Jessica! Can't wait to hear about Mary Kathryn's call! I haven't seen Smith shimai yet. Nation Choro [Elder Nation] is from Texas. Candice, sounds like an awesome week! Dad, I'm glad you're regulating the weather with your flight and I hope you're not too tired from all your traveling. Happy birthday!!!! Good luck to Aaron Hilton and Nathan Hamilton!

I love you all so much!!! I love hearing all that you are up to! Thank you for all your emails and your prayers for our investigators! Please continue praying for them and that I will be able to go to Oikawa shimai's baptism and that Johnson shimai and I can find new investigators.

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


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

Week 19 Pictures

E-mail 3/2/2014

My dear wonderful family!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I wish I could be there but I will be celebrating in Japan for you! I love you bunches and bunches and hope your birthday isn't too busy and you get to spend some time with the family and enjoy some tennis and the outdoors. :) Hopefully the weather will be nice! I love you!!!!! Thank you so much for all that you do for our family!!! I love you!!!
This week was incredible! Our investigators are making such progress! So happy for them! But, alas, I'm transfering! :( But only 20 minutes up the road so I'll pray I'll be able to come back for Oikawa shimai's [Sister Oikawa's] baptism. :) And Orgill shimai's [Sister Orgill's] new companions will be Hayashi shimai [Sister Hayashi] (5th transfer Nihongin [Japanese]) and Smith shimai [Sister Smith] (from my doki [MTC training group])!
Wednesday, we had a Nihongo [Japanese] lesson with Nagaoka shimai [Sister Nagaoka] and some of her non-member friends, but the funny part was when it turned into a Orgill shimai jam session. Another one of those Orgill shimai's an iPod things. It was super funny! Then we had lunch at a Sushiya with Sugawara shimai [Sister Sugawara] (Eikaiwa [English class] coordinator) and then Eikaiwa--but in the chapel because the carpet in the hall by the Relief Society room was getting redone. We had a new student in our class too so that was fun. She was super cute.
Thursday after study we bused over to "Stamina" an all-you-can eat place for Nation choro's [Elder Nation's] last District Lunch. It was super fun! Orgill shimai told the Story of Bellows shimai and I told the story of Orgill shimai. :) Then we went to Oikawa shimai's and watched the Testaments with her and afterwards she said "Oh, the Book of Mormon is definately true." :) We made a Book of Mormon reading plan with her and a prayer idea poster and Orgill shimai said "Oh, do you want to write on there 'please help me prepare for my baptism?'" And Oikawa shimai said "Oh, definately!" and wrote it down. :) Then we went over to the church for our trio practice for Zone Conference and Johnson shimai and Luk shimai [Sister Johnson and Sister Luk] stayed at our apartment that night, so Orgill shimai said to Luk shimai "Watashitachi no kasa wa anatatachi no kasa." ["My umbrella is your umbrella."] "Kasa" in Japanese is "umbrella." :D Heehee.
Friday, we went over to the church early for Orgill shimai's interview with Aoyagi choro [Elder Aoyagi of the Seventy] and ran through a couple parts in our piece. When Aoyagi choro arrive he shook hands with everyone in the hallway and then went straight into his interviews. At10:30 the converence began! Highlights:
President Rasmussen:
  • "I don't know a abetter way to put it but I love sacrificing for the Lord because it doesn't feel like a sacrifice anymore."
  • There is not one type of den[d]o [proselyting] that leads to baptisms; only faith and effort
  • This year's world-wide church theme is spiritual self-reliance
  • This is just the beginning of your service for the rest of your life. So do it well so that you'll be prepared for the rest of your life.
  • Why did God send you here?
  • (quote from the First Presidency) "The most important part of your service will be your own daily spiritual preparation, including prayer, scripture study, and obedience to the commandments. We encourage you to dedicate yourself to living the gospel with greater purpose than ever before. The Holy Ghost will help you know what to do. Your own testimony will grow, your conversion will be deepened, and you will be strengthened to meet the challenges of life."
Aoyagi Choro:
  • How does the Spirit work?
  • Have you ever experienced revelation through a dream?
  • When we feel the Holy Ghost we'll feel peace
  • This is the power of the Atonement
  • To achieve this state we must keep our covenants
  • Priesthood = powers of heaven
  • Powers of Heaven = Holy Ghost
  • The first of the 10 commandments is no other Gods before me. Why? Because we need to rely on God
  • The natural man is very good at loving himself
  • If we dont' love we can't dendo
  • We can work with anyone and do anything through repentence
Rasmussen Shimai [Sister Rasmussen, the mission president's wife]:
  • People pray for us every day--the Temple workers, our families, the General Authorities
  • We cannot fail with that kind of support behind us
  • We took a survey in prep for Zone Conference and that servey asked 2 types of questions: How obedient are you to the White Handbook? How well do you follow Preach My Gospel?
  • This was so they could see the mission's strengths and weaknesses as a whole
  • Obedience builds us an armour of protection
Aoyagi Shimai [Sister Aoyagi, the Seventy's wife]:
  • Even though you're young you can develop the skills you need to be a senpai [senior companion? leader?]
  • You are called and will be qualified
  • Fundamentals: Smile, Don't stop at 'hello', Work a lot
Aoyagi Choro:
  • We are to spread the love of Christ
  • We must be overflowing with it
  • When they feel it their hearts will be softened
  • Moroni 8:16
  • Hope is trust in the Atonement
  • It is our responsibility to gather the House of Israel and build up Zion
  • Find out from God how many people are ready to be taught and baptized in your area
President Rasmussen:
  • Heavenly Father loves us so he gave us the Holy Ghost to be our companion for our entire lives, and the Atonement to allow us to return to and become like Him
The Spirit was powerful. I felt the reality of Aoyagi Choro's calling. We sang right before Aoyagi Choro spoke the 2nd time. When we sang, God blessed us to be able to sing beautifully and the Spirit filled the room. It was incredible. It was what I'd prayed for. I felt so grateful. Aoyagi Choro was humble, kind, greeted and talked to everyone, expressed love, and used incredibly difficult Japanese. He was a wonderful example.
Oh, and Orgill shimai translated into English during the Conference. Casually being amazing. You know. :D
After the Conference we had DCS. Ishizaki kyodai [Brother Ishizaki] encouraged us to do as Aoyagi choro counseled and promised blessings. He also said he dendoed all the way home from his mission--and went streeting when he had a layover in Tokyo! :)
And that night I got letters from Mom and Paige!!! It was an incredible day!
Saturday was AWESOME! After lunch we had a mogi [roleplay] with Watanabe shimai [Sister Watanabe] about the Word of Wisdom (practice for Ishibashi-san) and she had some really great suggestions. Then we started weekly and Orgill shimai translated an entire Mormon Message video about Falconry into Japanese for our lesson. Then we had a lesson with Kanae shimai [Sister Kanae] (LA [less-active]). We started off with everyone writing down their #3 most important thigns to them down. Mine were: Family, Relationship with God, Becoming Better. Kanae shimai's were: Family, Money, and Sleep. Then we talked about the Atonement (she didn't remember what it was) and how through ti we can become better peopel and then watched the "Saved by Christ" Mormon Message (with Orgill shimai translating). Miracle: the room we needed to use for the video had previously been occupied with 3 little kids playing nintendo but when we went in there to watch the video it was empty and quiet--amazing! Kanae shimai seemed to like the video and told us she'd read Mosiah 4 (ketsui [assignment?] from last time) and said she'd read Henry B. Eyring's April 2013 Talk "Come Unto Me" and 3 Nephi 17. It was pretty good--and a miracle it came together since we'd been struggling with what to teach her.
Then we biked to Oikawa shimai's, bought her corn soup and elevatored up to the 9th floor. We ran the doorbell. She opened the door, saw the corn soup, and let us in. :D We prayed to open the lesson and she sat there after the prayer looking all sad so we said "What's wrong?" and she said "I didn't read [the commitment we'd given her]." She felt so bad--which is good, she's changing! So we encouraged her and told her we wanted to talk about baptism and she got super focused. We asked her all the interview questions and she has a super strong testimony! She needed to learn more about prophets, and a couple commandments we hadn't explained yet, but she was fine on everything else. She was so excited about her baptism; she kept on asking "What do I need to bring?" and "What should I wear?" and all these other questions. It was soooo cute. :) Then, since she's been struggling with reading the Book fo Mormon we gave her the audio CDs and popped one in her player and turned it on...
11 minutes of her reading hte first chapter of 3 Nephi in silence along with the audio.
It was AWESOME!!!
I have never seen her so focused!! It was exactly what she needed. It was so cute!
Then she said the closing prayer and she asked Heaven Father to help her prepare for baptism and to be able to draw closer to Him.
Sunday we went to Church with Oikawa shimai. And it was super cool because during Sunday School I was able to explain things to her in Japanese. Miracle! So cool! Then after church we had a joint lesson (for Oikawa shimai) with Furukawa Bishop [Bishop Furukawa] and Muto shimai [Sister Muto] and taught about prophets and tithing. It was amazing! She was so focused and loved the way Bishop explained things to her. She really liked him.
Then we came back and finished 12 weeks (my training is over!) and did weekly and then had hokoku (reporting our numbers to the District Leader--I don't know what it's called in English). Then we had the yabai [dangerous] Furukawa feast. :) Kirby shimaitachi's investigator Donna and her husband Tom (who was Furukawa shimai's high school English teacher) came. They were super interesting and interested in missionaries and what we do and asked lots of questions. They raised their family in Japan (even though they're from Illinois and Pennsylvania) and talked about how hared [hard] it was to raise bilingual kids (for some of their kids their first langauge was Japanes, not English even though they're 100% American). Then we came back to the apartment and transfer calls came!!!!!!!!
I am transfering to Izumi. Orgill shimai gets 2 new companions. Nation choro is done and will be going home. McC[l]ellen choro [Elder McClellan] will have a new companion. Crazy!
I don't want to leave, but I am choosing to be happy about it. I'm so grateful for the time I've been able to have in Kamisugi with Orgill shimai as my trainer! I've been SO blessed and learned SO much! I will always be grateful!
Thank you so much for your awesome emails and letter!!!! I love you all so much and I love hearing about all you are doing!!! How did you hear about my singing? Thank you for doing my taxes. Cool temple story! I wish I could see the new temple videos! Another vehicle to the Bellows family caravaan. Haha, you'll have to send pictures! Good luck with Vegas and Stake Conference! I want to see pictures of your creations Mom! Love the rugby pictures! Persim[m]ons! Mom, thank you for your spiritual insights! Lauren, you will be a great middle schooler! You are a super good friend and super kind and wise and that's what's most important. :) All County Choir--I loved that too! It's so fun! I'm so glad Sister Shepherd is healing! Glad Zach is staying safe during ru[g]by! I hope Nathan recovers quickly. :( Good luck with your tests and research Tyler! I'll be praying for you! Your Stake Conference sounds like it was super good! Candice, the tutoring sounds like it's keeping you busy! What's your observations/fieldwork paper on? Good luck! The ski trip sound like it was awesome! Coach Thomas--of course! I didn't know him as anything but Coach Thomas, haha. Hope school is going well Zach!
Thank you thank you thank you!! I am so blessed by my amazing family!! Happy birthday Dad!!
I'm excited to get to know my new area. Time to start packing for Izumi!
I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your missionary,
Bellows shimai :)

Week 18 Pictures

E-mail 2/24/2014

Hello my wonderful wonderful family!

I've been informed that the last 2 or 3 weeks of a transfer are the busiest and boy are things busy! It's been wonderful! So many amazing things happening I can hardly remember them all but I'll try my best!

Because the church wants to be able to start having times available to people to be able to take tours of the church buildings, the Kamisugi area is test-running having missionaries do their studying at the church in the mornings--thus being available to give tours--to see if it's effective. Therefore, Tuesday morning we had our first study block at the church. We [put] these giant shopping bags full of books into our bike baskets and bike/skated to teh [the] church (boy wa[s] it icy!). We settled into the Primary room for personal study while Kirby shimaitachi [Sister Kirby] set up the "Visitors Welcome"/tour sign up out front. (About 30 minutes into study time Kirby shimaitachi came into our room holding the sign and said "It blew off and ten cars ran over it, but it's okay we washed it off but we think we'll wait until we get a better sign before putting it up again." XD) After that we totsu-zen [totally?] visited one of our investigators who's been too busy to meet with us lately (Shibata-san) and she actually let us in! My first real chance to talk with her! She's a practicing Buddhist so she told us lots of cools tudy about that and we were able to share a message about prayer with her. She said her heart was touched by the missionaries and she needs their words because of her marriage problems. She just wants to be happy and have a lasting marriage. We think if she can see that how we can help is through the gospel message she will progress. You can tell she's a really good mom and has a wonderful relationship with her 7-year-old daughter. I learned a ton about them. It was a super good first meeting (for me).

From there we hurried over to Muto shimai's [Sister Muto's] house for our mogi [roleplay] and she fed us this GIANT delicious dinner. From there we biked over to the church for DCS during which Ishizaki kyodai [Brother Ishizaki] shared a message about teaching to people's needs. He said: Take really good care of your (new) investigators. You coudl be their first and last missionaries. What are they looking for? What are they searching for? What are THEIR needs? What are they hungry for? They won't feast when they're not hungry. How can you relate the gospel to them? Find out what they like, waht they want and apply the gospel principles they're hungry for to them. What if this is their last chance ot meet missionaries? Calling out and talking to every person is very important. Have faith and talk to everyone.

Wednesday, we mogied The Gospel of Jesus Christ with Aizawa shimai [Sister Aizawa] and she gave us some really helpful advice and then asked us "So are you excited for Aoyagi chorro [Elder Aoyagi] (the 70) to come?" Of course! "I'm nervous!" And then she told us stories about times when Seventies have come with great power and the Spirit of Prophecy. Let's you know that these people really are the judges of Israel. :) Then we went over to Oikawa shimai's house and talked about which teas are and aren't dame [bad] and she wrote them down on a piece of paper and taped it on her wall. :) Then we had district practice for our dist[r]ict musical number (for Sacrament Meeting). Then we had Eikaiwa [English class]!

Thursday as I was flipping through D&C during personal study the pages fell open to Section 31--one of my most favorite sections. What I love most about that section is that the voice with which the Lord speaks in that section is FULL of love. God's love is perfect. He is full of love. He wants to bless us. He is not a harsh God. He is a loving God. And if we truly want to become like Him, we must also be filled with love.

After study that morning we had District Meeting and talked about 1 Cor. 12:9-10 and John 15:16 and how you don't need to fear defeat when you're engaged in a good cause. We also read the conversion stories of people in our stake and talked about how most converst [converts] in Japan were exposed to Eikaiwa, and through feeling love from tehmissionareis [the missionaries] they pursued our message.

After District Meeting we all decided to get Indian food, so we went on this crazy path down tot he Eki adn [to the station and] then took a bike elevator all the way up to park on the roof ot his [of this] 9 floor building. It was beautiful! Fluffly blue sky, shinning sun, I insisted on taking pictures. :) And then, of course, we had Indian curry for lunch.

Then we went to visit Oikawa shimai but she wasn't home so we housed her apartment building (9 floors) and found 2 PIs [potential investigators] and then went back to see if she was home and she was! So we watched the Restoration video with her... and she said she'd be baptizedon March 14th if she knows it's true!

Friday we studied at the church again and then visited a bunch of PIs and LAs [less-actives] but none of them were home so we started weekly and Tomita-san called us and said she could meet so we met her at the church and talked a long time (teaching/listening). She has a lot of doubts about baptism. She said "In Japan you belong to your family and accept whatever beliefs they have." So when she married into the Tomita family she adopted their religion of shinto and departing from that would mean leaving her family. She thinks all Christian religions teach the same doctrines and that there are good things written in the Book of Mormon, but she's "a Tomita and Tomitas aren't Christian." :/ We invited her to church but she says she's busy until she moves to Tokyo next month. It seems like culturally Japanese people are uncomfortable with being happy or different and because of that they struggle with accepting the gospel because that's what the gospel is all about.

After that we had a Fireside Planning Meeting with the ward Missionaries and Ishizaki kyodai [Brother Ishizaki] shared a spiritual message about how we need God's power to do HIs work. He said: Ke[e]p your spiritual ears open. With all your own power you cannot succeed. It is HIs work. You need His power. You get it through finding out what he wants you to do. There is success in the work when you have God's power. Pray to know how you are supposed to help these people and to find out why you're supposed to be here with your companion. God put you two together for a reason--find it out! It was way good.

Then we had song practiced, planned, prayed. :)

As a result of District Meeting on Thursday we set a goal to achieve the mission Standards of Excellence by having 1 new baptismal date and 6 LA rescue points. We'd been trying super hard to get into contact with our LAs all week but none of them had returned our calls. So Saturday we decided to try a different tactic. We found scriptures for each othem, copied them at the church and taped them to cute notes, and took the notes and Ishiiya [a bakery they like] goodies to each of their doorsteps. It was super good dendo [proselyting]! They loved it!

Sunday morning we went over to pick up Oikawa-san for church but she said she was sick so we went to the chruch and practiced the District Musical Number (Be Still My Soul) with everyone, which we then performed in Sacrament Meeting. :) After church we had a potluck/fireside about our ward goal of making our ward friendly to new people who come. Then we tried visiting Oikawa shimai and calling some other people but none of them answered. (Turns out Oikawa shimai tried to come to church but got lost again!)

Yesterday we biked up the mountain and taught Ishibashi-san about prophets and gave her a General Conference talk. She wasn't super interested in the idea of modern prophets but says she wants to learn about the Word of Wisdom again so we took that as a good sign. Then we subwayed to the Eki [station] for district Chirashi kubari [flyer distribution] and then biked to the church and carpooled over to Oikawa shimai's and picked her up for Honbu FHE [mission home family home evening], had FHE at the honbu (Oikawa shimai fell asleep during the spiritual message but loved the des[s]ert and afterward told me all about how she loves William Faulkner and his book "Absolam, Absolam"--she's classy :D).

So, yeah, been a little busy lately. :D

I'm glad things went so well with Tyler getting back to Utah! Keeping busy as usual. ;) Dad, that meeting with Elder Parker sounds amazing! That's crazy that you ran into Taylor! Candice that ski trip sounds like a blast! I am keeping nice and warm in my boots and coat. :) I love my coat! I was the leader for everything this week (for my 12 week training) but I managed not to get us lost once even biking, bussing, and subwaying. :) Zone conference is Friday. The trio won't be accompanied. (Pray our voices all stay healthy so we can sing well!) Nation chorro [Elder Nation] can sing but doesn't really--but improvises really well on the piano. Aoyagi chorro [Elder Aoyagi of the Seventy] will be coming. :) Our appointment with Shizuka-can (the 20 year old NQ babysitter) fell through (we knocked but no one answered). So we haven't been able to contact her yet but hopefully soon. I'll have to ask if people celebrate greenery day here. Woah, I've been out for 5 months? Wow! Getting your wisdom teeth out will be fun Zach! :D My talent-show little sister--way to go! Shelby's putting her papers in??? That's awesome!!

Thank you so much for all your letters and email and love and support and prayers and sending me the music and FHE pictures! Thank you thank you! I love hearing about all you are up to and how the ward is and the missionary work--I love it! I hope you are all doing well. :) I'm so happy about all that you are doing. :)

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


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. Got a letter from Justine yesterday! Sounds like she's doing great. :)

P.P.P.S. Candice I was thinking about the Colors book the other day and how it works with companions. So far I've had a Yellow-white and a Red-yellow. What do you think?

P.P.P.P.S. Paige (Winegar) is becoming a Sister Training Leader. Crazy!

P.P.P.P.P.S. I love you!!!!

P.....S. We will be coming back to email again later today, probably at 3pm our time, so don't worry if you haven't had a chance to email yet or had any questions about anything because I will be back later so check again if you have any of those things. :) Love you!!!!!!!

Week 17 Pictures

Feast with Mexican food from Sister Orgill's mom

 Pizza party with a member family

E-mail 2/16/2014

Hello hello my dear wonderful family!
Thank you for the package!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it!! I've been thoroughly enjoying my oatmeal, peanut butter, delicious goodies, English hymnbook, my rocking red slippers, and all my favorite things. It made my day!! It's fun to think that Dad was somewhere in Japan when he mailed it to me. :D
It's been snowing for 2 weeks straight here! It's crazy! I'm told it's NOT normal for Sendai, but the weather seems determined to snow snow snow. Thankfully it's wet and slushy so there's only a little ice so we can walk just fine and then we put our boots by the heater when we eat so they're warm before we go out again. It's been so fun!
Tuesday we taught Ishibashi-san (took the bus because the roads are still bad). It was a really cool lesson! We had planned to teach about the sacrametn but she really wanted to talk about forgiveness. She uses really intellectual Japanese so I didn't understand a whole ton and Orgill shimai [Sister Orgill] did most of the talking, but I was able to understand enough to pull out all these random scriptures to help. It was way cool! Then we went back to the church and had a mogi [roleplay] with Sugawara shimai [Sister Sugawara] (Stake President's wife) on the Plan of Salvation--it was super good--and DCS. It was super good!
Wednesday we had lunch with Kikkawa shimai [Sister Kikkawa] (she's SUPER cute--has 3 kids, in her 40's). She went on a mission somewhere in Japan. she's super kind. We also had Eikaiwa [English class] and we taught about holidays. Does anyone have any clue when Arbor Day is? I had no idea and everyone seemed to think it was a super cool holiday. All I remembered about it is that people plant trees. Why it started, when it is, what you're really supposed to do--I have no idea! I'm losing my Ameri[c]an!
Thursday, Orgill shimai's mom sent her chips, salsa, cheese, and torti[ll]as so we had a fabulous Mexican feast. It was awesome! Then Moon shimai (from Utah--from Orgill shimai's MTC district) and Morita shimai (from somewhere in Japan) arrived for our Sister Training Leader split. Moon shimai and I went straight to Niiyama shimai (the 83-year-old, dendo [proselyting] fire, served more than 2 missions, awesome, a little intimidating 5'1" one)'s house for our scheduled mogi. It went really well! I was magically able to speak and understand Japanese well enough to have a fantastic time and she loved us so much she gave us persim[m]ons, french toast, and 3 cups of steaming mugi-cha [a kind of tea that's approved for Japanese members] each! It was way fun. :) Then we streeted and tried to visit a PI [potential investigator] and talked to some cool people. A couple had interest in and Eikaiwa so that was fun. Then we went over and meet up with the Takakos and the rest of the shimai [sisters] for a pizza party. Takako kyodai [Brother Takako] is an awesome cook! It was delicious. We'd invited a bunch of less actives but they all called and said they couldn't come, so we shared a spiritual thought with the Takakos and they even had a referral for the Kirby shimaitachi so that was super awesome! Then we returned and did a Mogi for the STLs before planning and sleep. :) I also got your letter that day Mom! So fun! Loved it!! :) AND MORITA SHIMAI AND ORGILL SHIMAI FOUND A NEW INVESTIGATOR! They were housing Oikawa-san's 10 floor apartment and found this cute 20-year-old was home babysitting her sister and they taught her how to pray and talked about God and she said we could come again on Thursday! So exciting!!!!!!
Friday, we had another trio practice for Zone Training (to which there's going to be an Area 70 coming--way cool!) and since we were still on our split the STLs came and studied at the church with Luk shimai (from Hong Kong) (Johnson shimai's companion) while we practiced. We're so excited! It's such a cool song! Then we had lunch and did split feedback and then the Moon shimai and Morita shimai switched over and started splits with Kirby shimai and Isogai shimai. Then Orgill shimai and I did our studying and gengo [language study?] and went and rode with Oikawa-san and Seza kaicho to the church for the Nagaoka family's 8-year-old son's baptism. It was a miracle we were able to get Oikawa-san there because it was snowing like crazy and we almost weren't able to find a ride for her! She loved it. She said she realized that the water isn't cold and that she probably has as much faith as the boy that got baptized and she talks about it all the time now. :)
Saturday, the 4 choro [elders] called us and asked if we could come to lunch with them and a PI. They found her information on the wall in the International Center and it said she is really good at English and wants to meet lots of gaijin [foreigners]. So we subwayed down to the Eki [station] and went to Indian food with ehr [her]. She was super cool and cute and kind and had AWESOME English. She actually did a 8 month home stay in America and has interest in Eikaiwai and church and she's studying Japanese law. Way cool. Then we came back and tried to visit Oikawa-san but she wasn't home so we left her a message and then we went back to do weekly and she called and said we could come so we ran over there, had a miracle lesson--taught God is our Loving Heavenly Father, Gospel Blesses Families, all of Plan of Salvation, and the Word of Wisdom. She seemed to think it all was interesting, but she was worried about quitting tea--but thinks if she can drink Mugi-cha and the other okay teas that she'll be fine. :)
Sunday, we'd set up for Oikawa shimai (we're starting to call her shimai now!) to come to church with Date shimai but when Date shimai called her Oikawa shimai said she couldn't come because she was too busy! Everyone else's kyudoshas [investigators] also bailed on church too (maybe everyone was afraid of going out in the snow) but we were able to joint with Kriby shimai and Isogai shimai's new Nepaljin [Nepalese?] kyudosha and--oh my goodness--he is amazing! He was so sincere, so earnest, such a kinjin [golden investigator]! He REALLY wants to know the message of the gospel. And they'd only given him a Book of Mormon the night before but he'd already read all the introductionary pages and the first 20 pages plus a ton of other stuff in his Hindi Book of Mormon. Amazing! And he isn't even fluent in Japanese but he wants them to teach him in Japanese/English. So cool. And Isogai shimai did this really cool visual representation of the gospel blesses families; she had little pictures of different people in a family and then a big one of Jesus Christ with all these little threads attached to it and said "Because life is so busy, sometimes we can get all spread out will [with] all we have to do, but when we are all working in the gospel and unified by it," (here she took the threads attached to the big picture and taped them to the pictures of the family members) "...we are connected by the gospel and as we progress in the gospel, and come to Christ..." (she pulled the strings) "... our family comes closer together." (And all the pictures were all together.) It was way cool!
Then we had church (at 11 so people could drive safe on the roads) and lunch afterward with some of the Relief Society. Then we had a District Meeting about planning our church tour/open-house schedule and our sacrament musical number. Then we did weekly and numbers. :)
Random fact: Apparently in Japanese non-human things can't be personified. WHAT?? I'm so upset! I adore personification!
This morning our Ishibashi [Sister Ishibashi?] called to say she's sick so we can't visit her today, but we'll try and visit her later this week.
So, in other words this week has been an adventure! Crazy awesome!! We're super excited. :) Thank you so much for all your letters and emails and updates!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE hearing from you every week. :) Sorry to surprise you with the earlier email time!
I'm glad the snow is also causing many adventures in Carolina :) and that Tyler is having fun in Wisconsin. Glad to hear Spiderman has redemptive superpowers. :) Niiyama shimai gave us Valentines when we came over to mogi with her. :) Jeremy's papers are in???? That's awesome!!!! When will his call come? Good for Jordan!! Candice, is Mr. Thomas an English or History teacher? That's exciting about the tutoring schedule! Did you watch the chick flic[k] with the YW or with the family? Rooster booster... oh my goodness. Adventures on the way home from Japan... Poor Dad! Saiyaku [disaster]!!! (Orgill shimai finishes up in December so that could happen to her!) Everyone has been very excited about the Olympics here recently--now I know why! I love love love hearing about all the Bellows Family adventures. :)
I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your missionary,
Bellows shimai :)
P.S. Our next P-day will be Tuesday Feb. 25 instead of Monday the 24 (our district is switching it so we can do a district trip to an art musem). So that will be our email day!
P.P.S. Can you send me via email my BYU FHE family pictures? I know they're on facebook but I didn't bring any and there are a lot of missionaries here from BYU who might know them. :)
P.P.P.S. I've been wanting to sing the songs (I think they're by Kenneth Cope) His Name (what have I done with his name... talks about his Grandpa's name and Christ's name) and What will you do with the time that's left. Do you have a copy you could e/mail me? Thank you so much!
P.P.P.P.S. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!