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 :)

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