Sunday, March 23, 2014

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 :)

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