Tuesday, July 29, 2014

E-mail, 7/27/2014

My dear family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I am so happy for you!! The pictures are BEAUTIFUL. Everything looks like it was perfect. I had no idea your clothes arrived 30 minutes before the wedding. We have some excellent ironers in the family. :D I am so so so happy for you. I saw the picture of Tyler and Kelsea walking out of the temple and just burst into tears. You looked so perfect. :) I am so happy you have both found the right person for each other and are moving forward with faith toward Christ! I thought of you on Friday and Saturday--On Friday I wrote in my journal "So in America Tyler and Kelsea get married on this day! I can't wait to see pictures on Monday!" and on Saturday "Tyler and Kelsea are officially married in America!" It was fun to imagine exactly when things were happening in America while I was dendoing [proselyting] in Japan. I couldn't be happier for you. You look like what I imagine heaven will look like.

What a wonderful weekend! My wonderful wonderful family! You must all be tired! Many many congratulations. This is the culmination of a lifetime of preparation. It has paid off beautifully--and will continue to pay off for the rest of eternity! Yay! Celebrate!

Speaking of celebrations, there is going to be one party after another at the Bellows family home, isn't there. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope my card gets to you soon. What a perfect time to celebrate! So many blessings to rejoice in! And my favorite blessing is YOU!!!!!!! I love you so much!! Thank you for all you have done! Your life blesses mine every day and will bless mine for the rest of eternity! I love you so much!!! You are such a good example to me!!

With all that excitement I'm surprised I've been able to sleep this week. :) Things have been great here in Japan too!

Tuesday we went up to Morioka for splits with the Sister Training Leaders. It took a train ride and a 2 hour bus ride but we arrived to beautiful weather and Sister Butler and I went around Morioka together and (after an appointment with a member) walked around Morioka talking to people and inviting them to Eikaiwa [English class] and to learn about the gospel. Lots of miracles! For instance, we met a man from Africa who has the Bible in French on his iPod. (He asked if I could speak French. All I could remember is Sa va? [How's it going?] And then when he asked me Sa va? I said "Genki desu!" [I'm fine--in Japanese. :D] haha.) Turns out he leaves for Africa next week but gave us his address in Africa so we can mail him a French Book of Mormon and he said he would meet it. The next person we met was his friend from school who gave us her cell phone number and said we can contact her to get him a Book of Mormon before he leaves to return home. Miracles!! 

Wednesday we came back to Nagamachi and got back around 3 pm went over to give cookies to our LA [less-active member] and then had Eikaiwa chirashi kubari [flyer distribution for Eikaiwa] and then Eikaiwa--and we actually had kids come for our kids' class!! They were so cute!! A boy and two little girls and they told us about Disney the entire time. So fun! We played "Mr. Wolf, Mr. Wolf, what time is it?" with them and they loved it. Love them!!

Thursday we 2 visits with members and then District Meeting and then chirashi kubari. And I met a Swedish man! He was coming out of Ikea! 

I said: Where are you from?
Swedish man: Sweden.
I said: That makes since [sense] since you were just in Ikea!
Swedish man: *laughing* I work there.
I said: Cool! I'm a missionary, but we also teach English and we're handing out flyers.
Swedish man: Near Ikea is a good place to do it then. Good luck!
What I should have said: I am a descendant of Sweden let's be friends.
My life's mission: Go to Ikea and re-find my Swedish friend and build a Swedish empire with Ikea and Eikaiwa flyers.

After chirashi kubari we went over to McDonalds and they had this quote on their wall:

I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable, beautiful,
And afraid of nothing
As though I had wings.

So it was a great day. :)

Friday the 4 sisters took the train to meet up with Okumura shimai [Sister Okumura] to do volunteer hand massage service at a temporary housing place. That sounds sketchy. It wasn't. It was so fun! We just talked to these young grandmans [grandmas] while we gave them hand massages and Hall shimai [Sister Hall] played the piano and Okumura shimai did foot massages. Okumura shimai had these fancy essential oils and everything too so we were basically a spa. It was so fun! What a great service. Love it. Nice smell too. :) 

Then we came back and visited a less active whose house was decorated exactly like Grandma Bellows' (plus Japan). It was so cool to look around and be like "if Grandma Bellows was Japanese this is what her house would look like." Suzuki shimai [Sister Suzuki] was super nice and we talked about family history and she showed us pictures of her when she was a new member of the church. Very cool.

Yim shimai [Sister Yim] let me borrow her extra copy of "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" so I've been reading it lately. It is so good!!!!!!!!!! I learned so much! I love it! The most important thing I learned is that to receive revelation from God we must learn to ask Him questions. He will reveal many great and important things to us--provided that we keep asking him questions. He wants us to ask a lot of questions! He gives us answers when we ask questions. So figure out the right questions to ask. And find the people with questions! (especially questions about religion) Because they are the ones who are ready to learn. Amazing!

Saturday we did chirashi kubari, met with a member, and had dinner with the Imano family. Delicious. They are amazing. Dinner conversation was so fun. We laughed so much. And Hall shimai and Tsuchida shimai [Sister Tsuchida] did a great spiritual message about the worth of a crumpled up 100 dollar bill. It was awesome.

In my personal study I was magically on page 107 in PMG [Preach My Gospel] which is "The Book of Mormon Answers the Question of the Soul"--an appropriate place to be considering what I learned from "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" the day before! It's such a good section of PMG! One of the things it said in there is that "God's commandments are the guideposts to a happy abundant life." And when I read that it made this image pop into my mind; imagine you're driving down a mountain in the dark and it's really steep and where the road ends is a cliff off the side of the mountain. Aren't you glad for the guideposts? They keep you safe! They help you see where the edge of the road is and keep you safely on the right side. If you didn't have those you wouldn't be able to see where the safety is and might drive off the edge and definitely get hurt. I'm so thankful for the guideposts of the gospel!

Also, I've been praying for help to be able to really be effective during language study and it's been going a lot better. It's been really helpful. I hope Heavenly Father will help me to be able to find a study plan/pattern that will work for me and best help me learn and master the language of Japanese so I can use it to help other people. I want to be able to connect with people with Japanese and really understand what they're saying and be able to translate for others and be uplifted by the Japanese I hear and read especially at church (where it's pretty tough to understand what's being said). I will do my best and ask Heavenly Father for help!

Sunday the missionaries sang "The Spirit of God" in sacrament meeting with the ward choir. 2 college girls came for a school project and we got to talk to them. I translated a little bit for Sister Taylor (new office couple missionary). Then Sister Yim and I taught the PMG class on L4 [Lesson 4]: Scripture Study and started things off with 10000 yen bill and some pens in a paper bag and said "What is in here is really important. Do you believe me?" And then 1 by 1 let people see for themselves. It was way fun! Then we talked about how it's good to believe based on others' testimonies but it's better to gain your own testimony through personal experience. Then we read PMG pg 191 and talked about why it's important to have personal spiritual experiences. Then we pointed out the last bullet point (the commandments) and asked how can keeping the commandments strengthen personal conversion? Then we explained Lesson 4 and read page 73--Study the Scriptures and listed the blessings of Scripture Study. Then we talked about [t]he study method from "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" that we can teach investigators to help them learn how to study the scriptures and invited everyone to try the method for themselves. It was really fun. 

And I made onion rings. No recipe just tried it out. And it was yummy! Cool. :)

So it's been another great week! I LOVE all the wedding pictures. You all look so happy and smiley. It made my day. Tyler and Kelsea look radiant. Mom, you look beautiful. Candice and Lauren and Zach all look sutecki [nice]!! So did you Dad, I love the tie you wore. Otsukaresamadesu [cheers for good work?]! You must all be exhausted from so much happiness. ;) HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!! Take a good long nap my wonderful family of mine! I love you! Welcome to the Bellows Family--the best in the world. :)

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


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

E-mail, 7/21/2014

Hello my dear wonderful family!!

It's been a wonderful week!

Tuesday went to an Eikaiwa [English class] goodbye party for the leaving senior sister missionaries, Sister Kakuda and Sister Rollins. We will miss them at the office! Then we came back and had normal study at the apartment. During personal study I read so many good things (I've been studying Chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel which is all about Recognizing the Spirit): I need to recognize and record times I have been led by the Spirit so I can be led by the Spirit again. The Holy Ghost will take all evil from your heart and your whole desire will be to do good (I want that!). There are aspects of missionary work that will require the guidence of the Holy Ghost. And then I read in Acts chapter 9 about Tabitha. That story is so cool! I just think she had to have a talent for making clothes and gave them all the poor--and then that was the memorial her friends showed Peter when he came to raise her from the dead. What a wonderful wonderful memorial to have--your good works! I want to do that! She used her talents to help others and that's what people remembered about her. So cool! Then in companion study we prepared our emergency backpacks. So...yeah! Fun! Then we got to attend a session of the Mission Leadership Conference (for the STLs [sister training leaders] and ZLs [zone leaders] to be trained by the APs [assistants to the mission president] and Mission President) because we were invited to participate in a poster activity--going around Nagamachi and asking businesses to put up an Eikaiwa poster with our pictures on it. Kind of fun! President Smith also introduced 2 new pamphlets they are testing out for Japan. "Who is God?" and "What to Expect when meeting with the missionaries." This answers prayers!! Dendo [proselyting] material specially for Japan! I have been praying for this! 

Wednesday we had a mogi [roleplay] with Nishimura shimai and her 10 month old son. ;) It was such good practice. She was so kind and easy to talk to. She was a missionary in the HIroshima mission and said her favorite part of dendo was visiting the members. :) And she said "please come by anytime! It's just me and my son duirng [during] the day so I have lots of time and it gets lonely sometimes." So kind of her! Made us feel so welcome. :) For lunch I made taco soup--my first time making it in Japan. And it turned out okay! Happiness! Then we had a mogi with another sister in the ward. Sister Rollins was teaching Eikaiwa for the last time and the students asked her a little bit about things she's learned while in Japan. She said; the food in restaurants here is cheaper than the food in the grocery stores. It's cheaper to eat out than to cook for yourself! Groceries are so expensive. But the people in Japan are kind, gentle, caring people who love you to pieces.

In personal study I learned that I want to become a good personal decision maker. Our prayers and good works are a memorial before God. Cornelius was a prepared person sent TO Peter. I want a book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit through Katie Bellows.

Thursday we had a first-time lesson with an LA [less-active member] and she is amazing! I love her. I felt so much love for her. She seems like a wonderful person. We talked about Jesus Christ lifting us up from the hard times and I could just tell how much that meant for her and I got all teared up and she did too. The Spirit was really strong and really guided us to what to say. I hope she felt God's love and her testimony was strengthened. I hope she can come to church and feel more of that too. Hope hope hope.

Friday we went down to Yamagata for Sendai South Zone Training Meeting with our whole district in the AP's car. It was fun! Highlights:
  • God loves us so everyday he gives us lots of little blessings. We are like fish--always surrounded by living water (God's blessings) we just have to open our eyes to see it.
  • People need to know God's love. Think of the money in the farmer's shoes. Do we pray out loud in thanks for those who serve us? Do we serve others? (Matt. 25:31-40)
  • Memorize Alma 53:20
  • Our goal: Zion
  • Our how: Obedience
  • We invite others to baptism in order to open the doors of the Celestial Kingdom for them
  • Emergency preparedness
It was great! As I was thinking back on the emergency training we received I thought do I have a spiritual emergency preparedness kit? What is it? What is in it? What are spiritual emergencies? After study we went to the church and rehe[a]rsed our skit for the ward talent show. I was the director--it was so fun! Then we went out for sushi for Tsuchida shimai's [Sister Tsuchida's] birthday and ran into the Smiths and the office missionaries, haha. Then we made Tsuchida shimai a pumpkin cake for her birthday. Fun day!

Saturday we had the coolest miracle; we did a mogi with Kaori-chan a week or so ago and asked if she had anyone who wanted to meet with the missionaries and she said yes so we planned to go to lunch with her and her friend and teach her a lesson. Saturday we went to that lunch date and while we were eating asked the friend if she had time for a lesson and she said not really so at the end of lunch we said goodbye and went back to our apartment. Then Kaori-chan calls us. "Do you have time? Haruka-chan says she has time for a lesson. Can we meet at the church?" Of course! So we ran over to the church and taught about God and prayer and why we came on missions and explained a little about missionaries and Kaori-chan taught her friend how to rpayer [pray] and she said the closing prayer and basically it was the coolest thing ever! The gospel in action! Member missionary work in the best! Just invite invite invite! 

Yesterday church was great!

Today we went to the Zoo and then did our Star Wars skit for the Talent Show--it was so funny! Everyone said "You look so much like Princess Leia!" Haha! 

So, in other words it's been a great week. And I am so excited to hear about this upcoming week from you guys! I am so happy for you. I look forward to all the pictures! I will be with you in Spirit. As I've been reading about the Holy Ghost this week I've thought about how God sees the end from the beginning and our whole lives are unknowing training grounds for all that lies ahead of us. All of our lives so far help us learn the things we need to know for what is next for us. And when we take those opportunities to learn and grow we are blessed to be prepared for what lies ahead of us. And then we--like the 5 wise virgins--can be prepared with the testimony and skills we've prepared drop by drop throughout our lives. It is built drop by drop by our previous experiences and revelation. And as I learn how the Spirit speaks to me and hone my own revelation receptors, I will be preparing for future times that I will be in need of revelation, or strength, or testimony, and I will be able to hear when the spirit speaks to me and ready to act on the promptings and answers I receive. Then I will have the confidence when I go before the Lord to ask "Who should I marry?" or "What should I do?" in times of big decision--because I will have the preparation and confidence that I will recognize the answers I will receive and know what to do in order to receive them.

I love you all so much. You are my joy my wonderful wonderful family!!!

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


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. Any updates on friends and extended family?

P.P.S. Glad things have been uneventful in the injury department at the Bellows house. Congrats on all the work Candice! Love the pictures!! Moriah's getting married???? What?? I want to see pictures!

P.P.P.S. I also learned in personal study this week that we are on earth to become good decision makers. I'm working on that! I still want to ask mom and dad all the time! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

E-mail 7/14/2014

Hello my dear wonderful family!

How are you? 

So a lot has happened this week!

Tuesday we had chirashi kubari [flyer distribution] and miraculously got to see Ueno Junko shimai [Sister Ueno Junko] and the Akatsuka family one last time before I left! Such a tender mercy. 

Wednesday, we went to seminary and then I got my stuff all ready to leave for Sendai station with Hamano shimai [Sister Hamano]. One of our Eikaiwa [English class] students who is my same age called just before we were going to leave to say goodbye. Ahh! It was so hard on the phone and in Japanese!! She wished me good luck. Love her!! Then Hamano shimai and took the train to Sendai station and met up with all the missionaries at the stained glass. And guess who was there!! Elder Fox and Elder Canepari and Sister Smith from the MTC! So we of course had to take a picture together. It was so fun to see them! I met up with my new companion Yim shimai [Sister Yim] there and then we took the train to Nagamachi to the apartment--it is awesome!! The biggest apartment I have been in so far on my mission! And I get half a closet to myself! Wooo! Spoiled! And the apartment is a 2 minute bike ride from the church. And I get TWO futons! I feel so lucky!! Pretty excited about that. So anyway, we ate dinner and then went to the church for Eikaiwa and Elder Hill from the MTC was at Eikaiwa just for transfers! So it was fun to see him too! So, a super fun day! Oh, and I forgot to mention, but we had to walk all day because the bike I inherited had a flat tire--not to mention it would be way too small for me--so we talked to the bike people at Eikaiwa and the said they would bring we a new bike. Haha! That is the 3rd time on my mission! They are just sending me around to clean up all the bike problems! Good thing me and the bike people are friends. 

Thursday was my first full day in Nagamachi. We had a meeting part of the District--the Assistants were not there--I am in charge of figuring out the missionary act for the talent show. Our District is Elder Ito (District Leader, Japanese), Elder Low, the Assistants Elder Nepia (from New Ze[a]land) and Elder Kawamura (Japanese), Sister Tsuchida (Japanese), Sister Hall (from Utah, and new from the MTC! Greenie!), and Sister Yim, and I. Hall shimai [Sister Hall] is amazing! She took two years of Japanese (1 in high school, 1 in college) and understands basically everything people say. Crazy! So my Japanese confidence is humbled significantly.  We also had a lesson with a less active and a mogi (practice lesson) with a member. AND the bike people dropped off my new bike for me. Apparently they ran out of sisters bikes because the bike they dropped off for me is an Elders bike. And it is the coolest thing ever! Mountain biking it up! Haha! I have to wear tights everyday because the middle bar is not the most lady-like. But it is awesome! So... we will see how long I will be mountain biking here in Nagamachi.

Yim shimai is so funny! She is the oldest of 5 kids. She is 24 years old. She started pharmacy school before coming on a mission so she is super smart and good at memorizing stuff. She LOVES animals--especially horses! She is from Indiana. If you combined Candice and Maria you would get Yim shimai. Sometimes she says things and I think that is exactly would Candice/Maria would say! She is fantastic and so funny! We laugh every day. It is so fun. I love her. 

Friday we visited our Deaf investigator--guess who is going to learn Japanese sign language! Me!

Saturday we had a sports activity at a gym and played volleyball and ultimate frizbee [frisbee]! So fun!

Sunday was great! 

Today I got a haircut and we had a great lesson with an investigator and less active!

I gotta run but thank you for all your updates! I love hearing from you!! You are so wonderful wonderful! Candice congratulations!! Sounds like you had a great birthday. I am so glad! I felt like I got to spend it with you too since Sister Yim reminds me so much of you!

I love love love you!

Tell you more next week!

Hugs and kisses!

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


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai

Monday, July 7, 2014

E-mail 7/6/2014

My dear wonderful family,

First things first. 


What are your plans? What presents are you getting? Can anything top England? ;) I got your postcard! Thank you thank you! It was so fun to read your email and see pictures! I sent you a birthday card--I'm not sure if it's arrived yet but please know how much I love love love you! I can't wait to hang out when we both end up on the same continent again. You are so funny and smart and such a good example. Can't wait! I love you my favorite older sister!! LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

It's been an incredible week! We met our new mission president, President Smith, our District had a baptismal service, and transfer calls came! Guess where I'm going. 

To Nagamachi!!!!!!!! The place where the mission home is!! I'm so excited! I'm so sad to leave my beautiful wonderful Izumi--I love it here--but I'm also so excited to get to serve with the Mission Home missionaries. I know the Lord has people there that he wants me to meet, teach, serve, and help come unto Christ. I am so excited.

So, a recap on this crazy wonderful week. :)

Monday, we had district P-day [preparation day]--went to Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes) and took pictures. Super fun!

Tuesday, we practiced our song for the baptism, taught Ishihara -san.

Wednesday, during personal study I was thinking about what makes me feel really close to God. And I just keep thinking; hearing from him. Hearing words from Him. And then I had this thought come to me; if you want to hear those words from God you have to go to where those words are: conference talks, scriptures, priesthood blessings. Those are the words of Christ spoken by angels (2 Nephi 32:3) and as you search those sources for answers the Holy Ghost will show you your answer--guide you to it and help you to recognize it.

Watanabe shimai [Sister Watanabe] had an ongoing fever ever since we became companions so after we practiced our musical number for the baptism the Elders gave her a priesthood blessing (1/2 in English, 1/2 in Japanese--I thought that was so cool!). I am so grateful for the priesthood. Through priesthood blessings I can tell how much Heavenly Father--and my earthly father :)--really knows and loves me. They help me feel closer to them. They help me feel more humble, more love, more gratitude. I've been thinking about that connection to heaven a lot lately and just been thinking Revelation revelation revelation. I want to know the Spirit. I want to know God. I want to become so much better, so good at receiving and recognizing revelation.

We came back from the priesthood blessing and I reread my patriarchal blessing (I got your letter Mom that asked me if I'd read it recently so I decided to read it again!). So many things stood out to me. 

Before Elder Igawa gave Watanabe shimai the blessing he asked her what she was sick with, how high her fever was, what medicine she was taking, etc. And I thought--of course, standard procedure before giving a blessing...but then I remembered that Elder Igawa was a nursing graduate before his mission and he could actually give professional medical advice. And then her gave her a blessing--attending to both her physical and spiritual needs. Hmm.

Thursday we had our 'Meet the President' Zone Conference. It was so cool! We went to Kamisugi. President and Sister Smith talked to Sendai Zone. Izumi District did a musical number again. The Smiths interviewed everyone. We came to Izumi and did free English class with Misaki chan and Yuriko chan. Had English choir. Super good day. The Smiths are so cool! Sister Smith seems super smart, stylish and bubbly. She can bear her testimony in Japanese! She says she listens to these Japanese tapes to learn how (I want a copy). One of their daughters just got back from a mission in Korea. President Smith served in Fukuoka and was an orthepedic surgeon who did artificial hip and knee replacements. He talked about a dream he had about the tsunami of sin that will destroy us if we are not worthy to exercise our spiritual power to part the tsunami. That power is righteousness. We receive that power through obedience. Obedience is the first law in Heaven. It is the foundation of unlocking the Heavens. We cannot fake it. We either are or we aren't. If we are obedient, if we are worthy to be in the temple, we have the high ground and will have the power to part the waves of the tsunami of sin. Then we can be God's angels in Tohoku to save others from that tsunami. God calls the best that he has. This is the best mission are Earth for you. Let's work together with all our might. 

It was so powerful. I learned so much. He is full of the spirit from all his training from the General Authorities. I am so excited to learn from him.

Acting on what I learned on Wednesday, when I went into my interview with him I asked him if he would give me a blessing. (Thanks for the advice Mom!) It was one of the most powerful blessings I have recieved--with some of the most incredible promises which were the most earnest desires of my heart. Not all of my questions were answered. But the answers and blessings I was promised helped me feel grounded and closer to haven again with the strength to work ever onward and upward to more and more revelation and answers and ever closer and closer to heaven. So if you're praying and you feel like the Lord isn't answering your prayers, look again and remember that the Lord has extended the invitation for all of us to pray to Him and He will answer and bless us with the answers and blessings that will help us the most eternally. So please, take the time to really, truly, sincerely communicate with him! I know it's a challenge. But the blessings are worth every sacrifice.

Friday was the America Day! Haha, I realized it was the 4th of July when we were at the church this morning planning our lesson for Ota-san with Elder Ceasar and Elder Igawa and was about to say "Happy Fourth of July" when I realized I was the only American there. Haha. So I waited until we met up as a District that evening for song rehearsal and Elder Ceasar (Australian) said "Oh, it's America Day today?" Haha. Our lesson with Ota-san went so well! We watched the "Restoration" and he really liked it and he said he would pray and read the Book of Mormon and come to Kawase-san's baptismal service and he really liked the movie. 

Saturday was the baptismal service! It was amazing! Miracle day. Everything worked out. We were even able to have the Sports Activity because the weather was good and one of our Eikaiwa [English class] students who runs Marathons came! I gave a talk about the Holy Ghost, our musical number went really well (If the Savior Stood Beside Me), Elder Patterson (same MTC district) baptized Kawase-san, Ota-san came, Kawase-san (now Brother Kawase) bore his testimony---miracle after miracle after miracle! And Kawase-san asked the missionaries to start teaching him because someone in Sendai stake had a link to Mormon.org/Lds.org on his facebook. Two months of lessons later and he's a member of the church! Miracles! The power of the internet! Use it to do missionary work please! And after the baptism one of the PIs [potential investigators] who came asked if he could start receiving lessons. 

Church was wonderful on Sunday. We went home teaching again. 

God is so good. I feel so blessed.

And you guys sound so wonderful! Zach has a smartphone and Lauren has a cellphone?? Candice it was so fun to hear about your adventures in England! It sounds like it was a cultural experience. :) I love the pictures! Do you have any from Nottingham or Les Mis or Anthony and Cleopatra?

Thank you for all the updates! I love you all so much! Hearing from you makes my week!

Well, I got to go pack. Nagamachi here I come! Wish me luck and the Spirit and happiness!!!

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


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

[No pictures this week.]

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

E-mail 6/30/2014

My wonderful family!!

Hello hello!

Week highlights:

Monday we went to the last Honbu FHE [mission home family home evening] with President and Sister Rasmussen with the Akatsuka family, Sato family, and Sister Sato's friend Honda-san and her daughter. We (of course) loved it and it seemed like they loved it too so that was awesome!

Tuesday, I got Tyler and Kelsea's wedding announcement!!

Wednesday in seminary they talked about the last two chapters of Mosiah which I love! One is all about missionary work and the other is all about setting up the system of judges which I find fascinating. 

Thursday we went to visit Sister Fukutsu (70 or 80 years old) and she was watering her hydrangea bush from her first floor window when we biked up and she immediately saw us and said "Come in, come in! It's hot! Come in!" So we parked our bikes and went in and she fed us fresh pineapple, Calipis (drink), senbe and chocolate. It was so amazing. (She can barely walk--the members take turns picking her up for church because she lives by herself.) Then we shared a little message about faith, asked her conversion story, and then her friend came to the door so she went and talked to her for about 20 minutes--sharing the gospel with her! (How's prayer going? Come to church! Come inside and meet my friends the missionaries!) But her friend had to go. I loved it! Called being a member missionary until the end. :D We also have been given lots of fresh cherries lately--and I successfully tied a cherry stem into a knot with my mouth. I'm very proud of myself. :D

Friday we visited Nomura-san. Her husband was very clear he doesn't like us or church (very rude/forward. I didn't understand what he said--blessing of serving in Japan.) 

Saturday we had the ward BBQ. Ate lots of very Japanese things like sweet potatoes and mushrooms and soy sauce, haha. It was delicious! Then we went to Sister Fujimura's house (LA) [less active] and did service. Brother Kikkuchi weed-wacked her huge backyard and we put all the cuttings in trash bags (trash bags are completely different in Japan--clear with red or green writing depending on if it's burnable or plastic). 

Sunday was a super cool day. Since the Browne family moves to Tokyo next Sunday Brother and Sister Browne both spoke (Brother Browne translated for Sister Browne) and Brother Chapman and Elder Igawa spoke. The Sacrament Meeting theme was missionary work!! Elder Igawa spoke about an experience that helped him become converted and want to serve a mission. Brother Chapman talked about every member being a missionary by living the gospel and always being ready to share our testimonies with all who are around us. As we live the gospel missionary opportunities will present themselves. Sister Browne talked about how she used to be afraid to invite people to learn more about the gospel. She was always so scared when the missionaries asked her if there was anyone she wanted to share the gospel with--because she did but she was afraid to. And one day she felt; just bear your testimony. And she did. And the experience she had was a day to rival her wedding and having kids. Then she bore her testimony that the people living in the Izumi area are ready to hear the gospel, the missionaries are ready to teach it, and we as the members need to share it--and then the missionary work will explode in Izumi. When we share the gospel we will feel so much joy we will want to share the gospel more--the best kind of addiction there is. Then Brother Browne talked about how we can overcome the obstacles of fear and competing priorities to actively share the gospel through showing love and prioritizing missionary work in our lives. When [he] received his mission called to Japan he had no idea what impact it would have on his life--it strengthened his testimony, helped him marry in the temple, and have a family. He said "the best thing to hear your son say is 'the Lord is answering my prayers.''

It was such a good sacrament meeting. After church we went home teaching (yes, it was a first for me) with Brother Omori to the Sasaki couple and Iwasa family. I felt like the triumphant home-teaching trio as we biked up and down the Izumi hills together with my rain coat flapping behind me in the wind. :) It was an awesome way for the members and missionaries to work together. (Also Izumi's Visiting/Home Teaching percentage is only 30 percent so we were really happy he wanted to go!) On our way back home from our appointments we weren't quite sure which way to go so Sister Watanabe turned to the person next to the stoplight and said "Michi o oshite kudasai" and the guy answered back "Nihongo [Japanese] ..." and shook his head. She said "Do you speak English?" and he said "Yes." Turns out he's from Italy and wants to speak English. His name is Michael. I'm praying he comes to Eikaiwa [English class]!!! And he helped us figure out where to go. :) It was so cool! 

Thank you so much for your emails this week! I loved them. I can always feel your love so much from your emails and it makes me feel so good--like I can do anything. 

President and Sister Rasmussen finished their mission on Saturday and went back to America. We will miss them! We should be meeting President Smith soon. I'm excited to learn more about him.

I was reading a lot of Conference talks this week and just felt the Spirit so strong, like every message was for me. I am so grateful for modern day prophets and leaders who receive revelation for US. I need revelation. Every minute. Every day. 

I love you all soooo much! I can't wait to hear each week from you. I love love love you!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)