Tuesday, April 29, 2014

E-mail 4/28/2014

My dear wonderful family,
Tuesday started off with District Meeting. It was so good! Ceasar choro [Elder Ceasar] gave the spiritual thought and talked about Moses 3:5 and how God created everything spiritually first and related that to planning. We need to be good planners because Satan is very cunning so we need to have a really good plan too to allow us to work more effectively and be successful. Our training was on Christ-like attributes. Everyone was assigned one to train on for about five minutes. (We did half this DM [district meeting] and will finish the rest next DM.) 
  1. Hope (Paxton choro). The Holy Ghost fills us with hope. It is the opposite of dispair [despair].
  2. Faith in Jesus Christ (Smith shimai [Sister Smith]). From the MTC [Missionary Training Center] until now how has your faith grown? (A LOT!) Why has it grown? (Because I have relied on God, I have prayed more, I have diligently studied, I have felt and recognized the Holy Ghost, and I have seen and recognized miracles.) Through faith in Jesus Christ--believing in him and following him--we can truly do all things.
  3. Charity (Johnson shimai). You develop charity by serving others and giving of yourself. How can we show love? Members: Greet them by name and remember their birthdays. Investigators: Teach to their needs, help them keep commitments, and be patient with them. Companion: Serve, listen to their testimony, and have spiritual time together.
  4. Humility (Patterson choro). Relying on God's power and abilities, and submitting yourself to His will. 3 Examples: Gordon B. Hin[c]kley--he took his father's "forget yourself and go to work" advice and applied it rather than being offended. Pahoran--received a very blunt letter from Moroni but was not angry and responded with dignity and love. Jesus Christ--the perfect example of humility. When he went to the garden he was suffering in a way we can't even comprehend and when he prayed to the Father he could've said this hurts, make it stop, and could've stopped it. But he didn't. He said "As thou wilt." The ultimate example of humility. Following God's will and not our own feelings and emotions.
It was such a good District Meeting! Then we housed and visited former investigators before DCS. At DCS Hinode kyodai [Brother Hinode] said there hasn't been a baptism in Izumi in 3 years and the ward is trying to apply (from General Conference) President Monson's teachings about love and Elder Ballard's teachings about follow up.

Also, Tuesday when we were biking past the fire station, the firemen had a net and a wire stretched between their two-story buildings and were in climbing gear spiderman-ing across the line (upside down, sloth-like, but not sloth-going--zipping across the line). It was the coolest thing! No idea why they were doing it, but it looked like fun!

Wednesday morning we went to seminary (we go to be with the youth and do the activities with them, Sato shimai and Takeda shimai are the teachers) and then did prep for Eikaiwa [English class] at the church. Then we came back and had morning study and then went to the Lodging home (which is an old folks home)--which was pretty hilarious because each of the missionaries that went were able to sit at a table by themselves with about 3-5 residents to talk to, but at my table all 3 of mine were falling asleep! It was so funny. The employees would come over and wake them up and say "Look, someone came all the way from America to talk to you. What do you want to talk about?" But they would just fall back asleep, haha. It was pretty funny. Then we visited more Potential and Former investigators and did some housing before teaching the Intermediate Eikaiwa class. 

Thursday we had Ladies' Eikaiwa and showed the "Because of Him" video as the Spiritual message and read Mosiah 16:7-9 together. Then we biked to an old investigator's neighborhood about an hour away and visited her and housed nearby. It was a super pretty area and we got to talk to a lot of people.

Friday had splits with our resident Sister Training Leaders (I can't remember if I told you or not but Smith shimai and Hamano shimai are the other shimai [sisters] in our district that we live in the same apartment with and they're the Sister Training Leaders). So Hamano shimai and I went to our appointment with our 70-year-old PI [potential investigator] Wako-san. It was a miracle. Since we were on splits, I wasn't actually sure if Wako-san would let us in and share a message (especially since she wouldn't even take our pamphlet last time), but when we rang the doorbell she yelled "Dozo!" (which means 'go ahead') and was so warm and friendly. She let us pray together and then she started talking about all the other missionaries who have visited her who she would always tell no. But she said the reason we could teach her is because we showed her so much respect and love. She said she felt cared about and like we really wanted to help her. When she told her husband and son that we were coming over they were shocked and asked "Why??" but she defended us and said "They're like my granddaughters who want to teach me what they believe." The Spirit was super strong. It was incredible. We were able to teach her about God and prayer and families and asked her to pray that night and she took our pamphlet and she said she would study it. It was incredible. I was in awe. I can see her getting baptized. 

Then we went to visit a PI (who wasn't home) and housed and found a new PI and then biked to Orange Net (volunteer place--we sit with kids while they do their homework and talk to the building owner). I was actually able to talk to the building owner and her friend who was there and they were super excited about Dad and Tyler having both been to Japan. :)

Saturday, we had weekly and visited PIs. And I got your package!!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!!!! I love the shirt and skirt and CDs! I'll let you know about shoes. I would love another plain black skirt though--like the printed one I have from Lands End (if you remember that one; it doesn't wrinkle and it's a good length so I really like it). 

Sunday in Sacrament Meeting the Youth sang the 2013 Theme Song "Come Unto Christ" and it was so good! And after church we had a meeting about Less Actives with Kikkuchi shimai--who has no calling to do it, but writes or visits the LAs [less actives] every month. She is incredible. She said the reason she cares about the LAs so much and does so much for them, is because when we [she] was less active her home teacher visited her every single week and shared a scripture about God's love for her. And that is what brought her back. She said "I am so grateful for that. And I'm not 19, I can't serve a mission, but I thought 'What talents do I have?' and she said 'I can write.'" So she writes all the LAs. She said "It doesn't take much time. Only an hour or so every week. But that doesn't mean it's easy. I don't always get the nicest replies. But I know one visit every week made a difference for me. So maybe my letters can make a difference for them." It was an incredible testimony builder for me. It made me want to be a better missionary.

After that meeting we went and visited Hamura-san (our new 80-year-old investigator from last week) and were able to teach her the rest of the Plan of Salvation. It was amazing! The Spirit was so strong. She really liked it. She loves that families can live together forever. When we asked her to pray at the end, we were giving examples of things she could pray about, and we said we could say thank you for good health, and she said "That's a good thing to pray for!" and she clapped her hands together and said "Dear Heavenly Father, I am so grateful for good health. Please bless my family." Then she turned to us and said "Is that all I have to say?" And then we taught her how to finish and she did. She was super excited about it too. It was the coolest thing.

In other words, it has been an amazing week. Many tender mercies and wonderful spiritual experiences! Thank you so much for all your letters and emails and packages and love and prayers!!!!!!!! I love love love you!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations to Shelby and Natalie! That's incredible! Welcome back to the South Tyler! Congrats to Jeremy!!!!!!!!!! Soccer sounds like it was fun! I love the story of Tyler riding Maria's bike! Tyler--otsukaresamadesu [cheers for good work?]!

I love you! Wish I had more time to write but we gotta run!

Love you!

Your missionary,
Bellows shimai :)

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