Monday, April 21, 2014

E-mail 4/20/2014

Hello my dear wonderful family!
Has it been another week already? Time is flying! I can't believe it. Happy Easter! Thank you thank you for all the emails! It sounds like you had a wonderful week. :)
Monday night on our way to our FHE [family home evening] Dinner Message with Takeda Bishop's [Bishop Takeda's] family we saw a tall, older looking gaijin [foreigner] and Johnson shimai [Sister Johnson] said to me "Ask him where he's from" so I hurried over to him and asked "Doko karakimashita ka? [Where do you come from (I think)?]" and he pointed to a store down the street and said "Seria" (the name of the store). I laughed and said "What country?" He said "United States." I said "We're from America too!" Haha, so we started talking to him and apparently he teaches a course on Christianity at the local Christian college in Japanese. His family has lives here for over 20 years so his kids are all grown and speak both Japanese and English. We told him we were LDS missionaries and that it was super cool to see another American. We asked him about his family and he said "I have four kids and one wife." Haha. It was so fun to dendo [proselyte] in English! I actually knew what to say (sometimes I [think] thinking about Japanese makes it hard to know what to say). But I should've asked him if we could come to one of his classes. :) Then we had dinner FHE with the Takeda family. It was so fun!! They are super cute, kind, intelligent, good family. We taught follow the prophet with hiding candy and asked them to study a General Conference talk together a a family before next month. Their kids are so good and well taught! Takada Bishop loves reading so he quizzed me on classic American authors. I was shocked I still remembered people like Ernest Hemingway. I think he was shocked too. :D
Tuesday was Tyler's birthday!! I hope it was fun and the last day of classes wasn't too crazy! Good luck with finals! I am praying for you!
Tuesday was also the day the cherry blossom trees bloomed (for Tyler's birthday ;D). It was beautiful! After lunch we had biked up to visit a former investigator in this big park up in Shogen (close to our apartment) that surrounds a small lake and along one side is this long road that is completely lined with cherry blossom trees--and they were all blooming! A canopy of beauty! There were so many people there to see them that we had to get off our bikes and walk them. Amazing!
Anyway, :) we went up past that park and visited people and then had dinner and DCS--at which was Igawa choro [Elder Igawa] with his new companion Ceasar choro from Australia. Then we came back and I got letters from Mom and an Easter card from Alyssa!! So fun!! Thank you thank you!
Wednesday we went to seminary and had lunch in the park and then served at Lodging home. I talked to Kawamura-san and every time I said her name she got excited about me remembering it. :D I tried to teach her tic-tac-toe but she said she wasn't smart enough, haha! Then the District surprised Paxton choro with ice-cream and cake for his birthday. Then we had Eikaiwa [English class] kids' class. Emu-chan (4 year old) was so cute. She kept showing me all her Disney Princesses and saying "Hello my name is Emu" but wouldn't pay attention to anything else we were trying to teach her. It was so funny!
Thursday we had Ladies' Eikaiwa and Izumi meeting and planned our Missionary Musical Number for Sacrament Meeting. I had the idea to combine "Abide with Me!" and "Nearer My God to Thee" so I got the assignment to transpose "Near My God to Thee" into the "Abide with Me!" key so we came back to the apartment for lunch and drew my own staff paper and transposed it really fast (Heavenly Father must've wanted us to sing it because he definitely helped me). Then we had Ohanami (cherry blossom picnic) with an old investigator, Miyazaki-san and Shoji shimai. It was way cool dendo! We got to Miyazaki-san's house so we could bike together to the park and she'd made a ton of food--and then led us up this GIANT hill while pushing her bicycle full of food--and she's this tiny 60-70 year-old woman! (Did I mention I love Japan? :D) Then we had lunch under a pavilion in the park together and she and Shoji shimai hit it off well but she had to leave quickly so we weren't able to teach a lesson but we talked about church and she was very appreciative of the missionaries who had taught her. Then we visited another Potential Investigator, Hamura-san. She was interested and said we could come back to share a message. While we were talking to Hamura-san, Kaneko shimai called us and said we could have dinner together with her and her mom (another PI [potential investigator]) so she came and picked us up and we ate pizza together and talked about church.
Friday we visited Hamura-san and she wanted to hear our message but her husband was come [home?] so we couldn't come in but she said we could come back. Then we came back and organized all the former investigator records we have and started weekly. Then we biked to the church to practice our sacrament Meeting song as a District. It was way fun! Paxton choro is way good at the piano. Here's how our song worked out (just in Japanese :D);
  • Verse 1, Nearer My God to Thee, Elders and Sisters
  • Verse 3, Nearer My God to Thee, Elders
  • Verse 1, Abide with Me!, Sisters, and Piano
  • Verse 2, Abide with Me!, All
  • Sing again: Help of the helpless, 
  • Sisters sing: oh, abide with me!
  • Elders and piano: Nearer to thee!

1. Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee
E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me.
Still all my song shall be 
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee

3. There let the way appear,
Steps unto heav'n;
All that thou sendest me,
In mercy giv'n;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee

1. Abide with me! fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens. Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!

2. Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day.
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me!

It was way fun!!
Saturday we had Ohanami with the Ward Young Women in the park and played frizbee [frisbee] and badmitton [badminton] and a gave out Eikaiwa chirashi [English class flyer] ;) and then visited Hamura-san. She invited us in and we were able to teach her a lesson about Gad [God], Families, and the beginning of the Plan of Salvation and she said she felt the Spirit like she hasn't felt it since she was a child and went to a Christian church with her mother. Then her husband came home so we had to leave but she said we could come back next week and teach her more. It was incredible! The Spirit was so strong. A miracle! Then we visited Shoji-san--a 70 year old PI who wants to come to church but hasn't come yet. We asked him if he knew how to get to the church and he went and grabbed the flyers we had given him (and a card with our phone number on it)--all rubber-banded together (he said he'd done it so he wouldn't lose or forget them--so cute!). We drew a map for him to be able to find the church and he said he'd come and meet us at the Eki (train station) so we could show him the way.
Sunday was Easter! It was wonderful! Shoji-san woke up late so he couldn't come but Johnson shimai gave an awesome talk in Sacrament Meeting and our District sang and Brother Browne spoke about about D&C 93:33 and the "Because of Him" video and how because of Jesus Christ we have every chance; 1st, 2nd, 3rd--as many as we need--a lifetime of second chances. It was wonderful. Then we tried to visit Sugawara-san (our investigator) but he wasn't home and then biked to the Sato family home to share an Easter message and have dinner. We shared our testimonies of Jesus Christ and asked them to write theirs down and share it with someone.
On Sunday I finished reading the gospels for Easter. What a wonderful testament of Jesus Christ! Reading about his life filled me with such peace. What an incredible life he lived--one of compassion and purpose and love for everyone. I will forever be grateful for the life he lived and gave and took again for me so I can have every good gift. It all comes from Him. God be thanked for the glorious gift of his Beloved Son! Because of Him, as Elder Holland said, "We have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can't quit and we can't go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before." I am so grateful for Jesus Christ!
Funny story of this week: This morning I was saying our prayer to start companion study and was praying for some of our less actives. In Japanese there is the word "saikapatsuka suru" which means to reactivate. But there is another word "fukappatsu" which means inactive. And I unfortunately got the two words mixed up and prayed for our less actives to go inactive. Whoops! Johnson shimai died laughing. :D
In other words, it's been another amazing week!
I hope both Zach and Elder Perry stay safe in their rugby match this week. :) Congrats to Andrew on Peru! Dollywood sounds like it was a ton of fun! So excited for Shelby!
I love you all so much!!! I hope you are happy and doing well! I love you!!!!!!!!!!

Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

[No pictures again this week. Sorry!]

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