Tuesday, September 23, 2014

E-mail, 9/21/2014

My dear wonderful family,

Happy birthday Lauren!!!!!! It sounds like you had an awesome birthday! I'm so glad you got to go to the temple!! Yay! The flowers look super pretty and I'm sure it was even prettier inside. :) I'm so happy for you! 

How was the primary program? A glow in the dark party--cool! 

Well, I love you and you are beautiful and amazing. :) I'm so glad you decided to be my little sister! You're my most favorite little sister! I'm glad you are my best friend. :) I love you!!

This week was fun! We went up to Morioka for splits on Tuesday (about a 2 hour bus ride), had a Labor Day Party at Eikaiwa [English class] on Wednesday, a lesson with Sister Sato, District Meeting, musical number rehersal, and Chirashi kubari [flyer distribution] on Thursday, decorated for Halloween at an elementary school with a ward member, a lesson with Sister Obuchi, and a mogi [roleplay] lesson with Elder Oba on Friday, a taco party and chirashi kubari on Saturday, and Sister Obuchi came to church yesterday. To summarize, it's been an awesome week!!

As I'm sure that previous paragraph was confusing, let me explain. ;)

Tuesday went to Morioka for splits. That means we took a 30 minute train ride down to Kamisugi, went to a big bus stop there and rode a big bus for 2 hours to get to Morioka. When we got there there was a festival going on. Cool! This giant float going down the street and singing and drums. Very cool. Took another bus up to the Morioka sisters' apartment and met up with the STLs [sister training leaders]. I GOT TO SEE MY SISTER TSUCHIDA!!! I love her!! :D I split with Sister Hamano and we biked over to the church and had 2 lessons with members (1 of whom I taught on my LAST split to Morioka--pretty cool!) and then went to a park and talked to people and invited them to Eikaiwa/asked them about God, etc. Sister Hamano finishes her mission in 2 weeks so it was really cool to get to ask her about everything she's learned. We were actually roommates when I first came to Japan (in Kamisugi) and then again when I went to Izumi, so we know each other really well. It was awesome to get to work with her and I really felt like we had the Spirit and were inspired. So cool. It was really inspiring to see what an amazing missionary Sister Hamano has become. I'm impressed with how genki [vigorous, energetic] she is. Even though she finishes her mission in 2 weeks and is super tired she still dendos [does missionary work]. I asked her why she is doing so well and she said "Well on your mission, your heart goes UPPP!! but your body goes dooooown." She is so happy. She is nervous to finish her mission but also looking forward to it. I think that's pretty amazing. It was so cool to get to learn from her on her last transfer. 

Wednesday we studied and had lunch in Morioka with the sisters and then traveled back to Nagamachi. We got back around 5:30-ish and ate dinner and then went over to the church for Eikaiwa and afterward had a Labor Day Party, complete with ping pong, treats, and massage. :)

Thursday we taught Sister Sato Nobuko the first half of lesson 1 (she wants to hear all the lessons again because she doesn't remember all the doctrine). She really felt the spirit and just seemed so genki afterward. Amazing. Then we had District Training Meeting which were we all talked about what we learned from Elder Whiting and had a testimony meeting. Really good. Then we had chirashi kubari and practiced our district musical number for Zone Conference--we're singing "I Know that My Redeemer Lives."

Friday we did volunteer with Sister Okumura at her daughter's elementary school; putting up Halloween Decorations with two of her (non-member) friends. Fun! Ate a little lunch together, got to talk to them about prayer. Very neat. Came back and went to Sister Obuchi's and had a good lesson on the Sabbath Day. One of the reasons she is less active is because she has a special needs son who struggles to sit through sacrament meeting, and right now she and her husband feel like they can't attend church with him. But they really really want to come to church and they love the gospel and feel so bad that they don't come to church. So when we planned this lesson we were a little worried about Sister Obuchi feeling hurt. But the Spirit was in the lesson and we focused on how the Lord just asks us to do the best we can and there are many people who can help us too. I think it was okay. Then we went to the church and did a mogi lesson (outside) with Elder Oba. He's the Asia Area NOrth Public Affairs person. Was very good. 

Saturday we had a taco rice and octopus pancake ball (tacoyaki) party at the church. All the missionaries came and the Elders' investigator came and 2 members came with their non-member friends. I was talking to Sister Imano's friend Moria-san and asked her what her hobbies are and she said sewing and I said I want to learn how to make purse tissue cases (everyone has them in Japan) can you teach me? But then it was time for the Spiritual message and we couldn't set up an appointment. Then at Chirashi kubari I met an older gentleman named Tani-san. I gave him an Eikaiwa flyer and he said (in Japanese) "Oh, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." I said "Yes, how did you know?" He said, "Can I talk to you for a little bit?" I said "Of course." Turns out he knows where the church is, knows the Joseph Smith story, has read some of the Book of Mormon, has read the Bible, and doesn't believe any of it. But he was super excited to talk about everything he's studied and asked me why I like my church and why I chose to be a Mormon. I said because there's a prophet today with priesthood authority and we believe everyone can receive revelation and have a relationship with God. He said "But don't other Christian churches believe that?" I said, Nope, just us. So we had a good conversation and I invited him to come to church and he said he has our number (not sure how, maybe an old investigator?). It doesn't sound like he's interested but he was very excited to talk about religion--Nishikawa shimai [Sister Nishikawa] said "I bet that made his day! (since most people in Japan don't really talk about religion) he probably can't talk to his friends about religion and has no one to talk to about it, so getting to talk to you he finally got a chance to say everything he's been thinking about." I thought that was a good perspective, since I did a lot of listening and didn't have a chance to say more than a couple of sentences, haha. :) But it was very interesting.

Sunday, Sister Obuchi came to church with her husband and son!!! Ureshii [happy]!!!! So happy! This is the first time I've ever met her son and the first time they have all come to church together for a long time! (Since before I came to Nagamachi.) As they were sitting across from us (there wasn't room for us to sit together) trying to keep Sota-kun happy I prayed for angels to help them so they'd be able to listen and feel the Spirit and be able to come again and this idea popped into my head from Alma 13 that I read in personal study that morning for Zone Conference prep; that missionaries/people on Earth are sometimes angels too. So I thought, who can I find to be angels for them? Who can I find that will be the angels that will help them so they can attend church together? Still thinking. Not sure yet. Trying to receive more revelation on that. Still thinking. Then we went to the Youth Sunday School Class and Ieno shimai [Sister Ieno] showed with awesome Bible video about Daniel and I asked her about it afterward and she lent the DVD to us. She said it was an awesome teaching and learning tool for her on her mission. She watched the DVD in Japanese during personal study and then in English during gengo [language study]. Wow. Feeling more trust from the members. Before Relief Society I was talking to Imano shimai [Sister Imano] about Moria-san (from the Taco party) and she asked if I made an appointment with her and I said no, but I'd love to, do you have her phone number? Imano shimai said, yes but actually she's an old investigator so you probably have her number too. Do you have her record? So after church I went home and looked through our area book and found Moria-san's record and it's amazing!. The missionaries found Moria-san housing and when they taught her they invited Imano shimai to joint lessons with them. When we asked Imano shimai about it she said that that's how she and Moria-san became friends (they didn't know each other before). And they've stayed dear friends ever since and when the other missionaries invited Imano shimai to invite a friend to the taco party she chose Moria-san! So cool! After I found her record, I called her and left a message and then later she called us back and we set up an appointment for Tuesday for her to teach me how to make tissue cases! After we talked to her we called and asked Imano shimai if she thought it was okay if at that appointment we invite Moria-san to do a mogi with us and she said she thought that was a great idea. So exciting! Miracles.

So, this week turned out different than the plan I had in mind, but how it went is so much better than my plan was! God's ways are higher than mine and better than mine so I'm so grateful he guided and directed us with what we should do so we were able to see so many miracles. I just feel amazed at his mercy and willingness to work through us imperfect people and how much he will help us as we try our best and constantly strive to improve. As we've been focusing more on member dendo I've noticed that as we do what members ask us to do immediately and report back to them as soon as possible and follow up frequently, I have felt more trust from them and we've been able to see some amazing miracles from that. I'm so grateful the members are willing to work with us and that our trust has grown to the point to where they're able to refer their friends to us! I noticed as Brother and Sister Obuchi came to church this week how many members went up to them and talked to them and really made them feel welcome. I feel like the Lord can trust the Nagamachi ward and that any investigator we bring will feel welcomed. There are many more great miracles to come! 

I don't know how my less actives in Kamisugi are doing but I hear that Oikawa shimai [Sister Oikawa] is doing well. 

I have all the lesson plans memorized but I want to be better at them, especially at sharing good scriptures and finding better/more simple ones.

I met a guy who's read the scriptures but doesn't believe them--why? That was really surprising to me. How could he NOT feel the power of those words?

A weekend in washington--fun! Zach and applications and risk--risky! I love the couple missionaries--can't wait for you guys to be one too! Temple rededications! Glad you got to translate for the MTC Tyler! When will the Sapporo temple be dedicated? Sounds like Lauren had a great birthday! 

Well, my dear family, I hope you feel the love of God as you hear his representatives speak about him today. I know Heavenly Father lives and loves us. I know because of that love He sent his Son Jesus Christ who gave everything and suffered everything so that we could have the opportunity to return to live with God if we but repent and strive to follow Him. His example is perfect. If we follow Him and strive to become like him we will not only find happiness and eternal life after we die, but we will find it now, today, tomorrow, and forever and will want to share that with everyone we met. I pray daily that I will become a better representative of Him and be able to share the gospel more with every day and I pray you will be able to too. I love you so much!!!!!!

Love love love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. I measured and our futons are actually only 3 inches off the ground. Sorry for the previous inaccuracy. :D 

P.P.S. Thank you so much for the recipes Mom!!

P.P.P.S. The Obuchi family came because the missionary who taught Obuchi shimai [Sister Obuchi] was in town and came to church. How cool is that!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

E-mail 9/15/2014

My dear wonderful family!!

It's been an awesome week! And I guess I'm officially 20--yikes!

First, a funny story: we had free time last p-day [preparation day] and it felt so wrong! I didn't know what to do with myself, haha!

Week summary:

Tuesday we went to Ladies' Eikawa [English class] with a ward members' mom who isn't a member (her name is Sato-san) for the first time and it was so fun! She is so nice and cute and she loved meeting all the relief society women. I translated for her which was super fun. She loved it. She said everyone was so bright and cheery and that she'd love to come again. Then we mogied [roleplayed] with Imano shimai [Sister Imano[ and then from there went and taught Obuchi shimai [Sister Obuchi] (LA [less-active member]) the same lesson we just practiced (So it was perfect help!). Service, etc.

Wednesday we went to Indian Curry for lunch as a district and everyone gave me presents and sang to me. So cute! A sister in our ward (Hanzawa shimai [Sister Hanzawa]) left lots of juice for us at the church for my birthday. So sweet! Came back to the apartment and as we tried to leave the District threw water balloons at me! Haha! So I ran back inside and watched through the window as they threw them at each other instead, haha. Then we went to the church for a mogi with Tanaka shimai [Sister Tanaka]--only she sent her husband (who is in the stake presidency) instead because she had a sudden schedule change. So we sat in the parking lot with President Tanaka and asked him for ideas on how to help Obuchi shimai reactivate and go to the temple and he had a ton of great ideas! Then we had a mogi with Ishizuka shimai about the Sabbath day and it was so good and at the end she went out to her garden (HUGE--it's her hobby) and picked fresh carrots and vegetables for us to eat. SO COOL! At Eikaiwa everyone sang Happy Birthday to me. Came back and the sisters blindfolded me and dressed me in a paper kimono they drew. Haha! (Japanese tradition--except with real kimonos--when you turn 20--adult age in Japan). Very nice. ;D And I opened my package from you guys!! Thank you so much! The shirt is perfect I'm so excited to put the scripture stickers in my Japanese scriptures so I know what's going on! :D Yep, so I had a great birthday as a missionary in Japan! Sister Lindsay and the Honbu [mission home] emailed me to wish me a happy birthday and Sister Smith (mission president's wife) called and sang Happy Birthday to me. So nice! :D

Thursday we had an awesome mogi with Abe shimai [Sister Abe] (RM [returned missionary]). Weekly planning. Seminary. The Iwake sisters [i.e., sister missionaries who serve in Iwake] came and spent the night (so they could go to Mission Conference with us on Friday) so we had 8 sisters in our apartment. SO FUN! A party! Lots of futons! And I got to chat with my MTC [Missionary Training Center] sister Smith shimai [Sister Smith]! So fun! Hard to sleep with all the excitement of seeing friends and getting to have mission conference the next day!

Friday we had Elder Whiting (of the 70) mission conference!! We all took the train up to Kamisugi and waited in the chapel (about 80 missionaries) and then Elder and Sister Whiting and the Smiths came in and all the missionaries there went through a line and got to greet each of them. I accidentally tried to shake Sister Whitings' hand so she hugged me twice and asked me where I'm from. She's so pretty! Elder Whiting shook my hand and just seemed so happy to meet me. Amazing! I also got a hug and a Happy birthday from Orgill shimai [Sister Orgill, Katie's first companion]! Made my day! I about cried! She remembered! :) Then we sang an opening hymn and had an opening prayer and then they turned the time over to Elder Whiting. I'll just give a little summary of how things went down and then what I learned. Let's just say it was amazing. If you're curious about what they said in more detail I sent pictures of my notes.

Mission Conference Outline:
1.     Greeting, opening hymn, opening prayer
2.     Elder Whiting: Explanation of the 12, 70, why he's here (on assignment), authority, small self-introduction (which Sister Whiting interrupted and explained further :D). Then a little Q&A. Then training on becoming highly favored of the Lord via analyzing Nephi.
3.     5 minute break
4.     Elder Whiting: Training on Authority and power. You have priesthood authority. To hasten the work you must receive spiritual power, the power of the Holy Ghost, priesthood power and change yourself through the power of the Atonement.
5.     10 minutes to ponder
6.     Closing prayer
7.     Picture, lunch
8.     Opening prayer, musical number
9.     Sister Smith: Conversion and the miracle of how her great-grandparents and their family were baptized
10.  President Smith: Obedience leads to the Spirit which leads to Spiritual power.
11.  Sister Whiting: Corinthians 2:1-5. God sent you at your young age, not knowing everything so you can learn to rely on Him and turn to Him and trust Him.
12.  Elder Whiting: Training on the Character of Christ. But for the character of Jesus Christ--constantly, continually focused on others--there would be no Atonement. Ideas of how to become like that. Elder Whiting's witness and testimony.
13.  Closing hymn and prayer

What I learned:

·  Why did everyone talk about the topics they did? Because the only [way] for us to maintain our conversion (a giant task) is through the enabling power of the Atonement
·  This is how you apply the Atonement: use it to sustain your efforts to become Christ-like and to do good things
·  Whenever you're able to maintain change for the better it's because of the Atonement--I want help to be permanently changed!
·  Always have a list of questions
·  As a missionary how have I heard Christ or the Spirit say "follow me"?
·  You are expected to become extraordinary. Get about doing it.
·  What type of prescription is there to overcome defects in the heart?
·  I want to be a mother of peace, love, faith, the Holy Ghost
·  If Laman and Lemuel had been Hyrum Smith...
·  Love the people here
·  Love the Savior and testify of Him every chance you get
·  I know the Spirit helps me see more than my mortal eyes and understand more than my age
·  Focus outward
·  Companions are great marriage prep; conflicts are great! Learn how to solve them now not in 10, 20 years!
·  You love people more when you serve them
·  Bottom line/what I learned from everything in one sentence: Get power through the Atonement to become better and hasten the work and you will see miracles.

So, amazing. 

We rode back to Nagamachi with Brother and Sister Miyake (so nice!) and then went and visited an LA that went to Nishikawa shimai [Sister Nishikawa--I think there are some words missing here]. He said he might come to church again!

Then we went back home and studied. I reviewed my notes from Mission Conference and then studied the Atonement in PMG [Preach My Gospel] and Grace in the Bible Dictionary. Amazing! Reading "Grace" really helped me understand more about how to rely on the Atonement--kind of an abstract concept. By our own means there are some good works we cannot maintain. But because of the Atonement we can pray and receive strength and assistance as we use our own total effort to do those good works. It helps us develop the ability to do extraordinary things on our won to in the end actually become extraordinary people. Totally makes sense! Example I thought of is that sometimes people say: "How can you always be so nice? How is that real? You can't really be this way all the time." Answer: GRACE. Also made me think of: we can't maintain a mission by ourselves. We HAVE to rely on the Lord. That's one reason why he wants to send us on missions--to learn to rely on Him. 

All my questions for mission conference (about 12) were answered (except for the ones about the Plan of Salvation). COOL!

Saturday we had a mogi [roleplay] with Kawamura shimai [Sister Kawamura] and then met with Sato Nobuko shimai [Sister Sato Nobuko]. We were planning to do a mogi but just listened to her questions and testimony instead. But it was really good. She asked if she could have the after baptism lessons as a refresher course because she was LA for so long she doesn't know all the doctrine so we're planning to start meeting with the regularly. Then I really felt like we should go visit an LA who just got back from the hospital even though she told us it was impossible to meet (Kamata shimai [Sister Kamata]) so we bought her food and then took it over to her apartment to drop it off and when she saw the food she let us in and we were able to have a great lesson with her about the Godhead and prayer and committed her to try and pray when her legs hurt and explained the ward members who have offered to drive her to church and she said it'd be fun to see everyone at church again but not this week because of her legs. She also showed us all these letters with pictures that missionaries have sent her--super cute!--and one of the pieces of stationary said "Happiness Depends on how you enjoy yourself." and I thought That is so profound! That is inspired stationary!  And a message that I've been looking for. Little miracles. God loved me enough to send me a message through a piece of stationary. I feel special! :)

Sunday we gave Brother Nishimura (WML [ward mission leader]) cake and sang happy birthday to him during DCS [I still don't know what this means!]. Church. Sato-san came to church so we reintroduced her to Hanzawa shimai from Ladies' Eikaiwa and they sat together and Hanzawa shimai explained everything to Sato-san (so cool!). Taught PMG class on Chapter 5--The Book of Mormon. Came home after church and had personal study. I've been reading the war chapters recently and have been using a map I copied from the seminary textbook and those chapters have become so interesting to me! There is so much to learn from them that I didn't realize! Like: Because Teancum stayed strong in Bountiful (in the East where Moroni's army came) the 25th year of the reign of the judges ended with a Nephite victory adn [and] the 26th year started with a new Lamanite king who retreated but left his army and then got a second army and started attacking the Nephite cities to the west (where Helaman's army was). OR: Was Helaman so detailed about their war tactics in his letter to Captain Mornoni in order to give Captain Moroni ideas of things to try? SO interesting.

Then we had dinner with the Furusawa family and sang hymns with them and a did a mogi with them while their daughter and Yim shimai [Sister Yim] made cake. So fun!

In other words it has been a wonderful week my dear family. Wonderful to teach so much! We didn't meet our goal to teach 16 lessons but we still saw many miracles. I felt very loved on my birthday--hey I got a 70 come visit me for my birthday! I feel pretty special! And I love the birthday blocks picture!!

You asked what our apartment is like. It's the biggest sisters' apartment I've been in. We have 2 tatami [Japanese straw floor covering] sleeping rooms that can fit 5 futons in them each side-by-side (most only fit 3) and a big kitchen/study room area plus a bathroom area. Really really awesome. It's an old apartment so some things are a little funky but it is HUGE. I like that part the most, so it's probably my favorite apartment so far. We sleep on 2 futons on the floor. so about 7 inches off the floor. :D You roll off your futon and you don't fall at all since you're already on the floor, haha. Recently I s[p]lurged on 2 dollar cereal and peanut butter so I have been having peanut butter toast or cereal for breakfast, but when I don't buy cereal I have boiled eggs, or leftovers or something like that. Nothing fancy. Most of our meals aren't really fancy since we don't have time to cook anything that takes more than 30 minutes. People usually give us something to drink when we visit, sometimes some crackers or some snacky food from the grocery store. 

The only thing I really need is more food ideas/simple recipes. It's fun to live with 2 chefs and they want me to teach them how to make American food/give them American recipes. So any simple, 30 minute or less recipes from your red checkered cookbook mom, pancakes, meatloaf, anything fast or sweet that you could send me in a letter that would be cool!

Congratulations Tyler--full time engineer at John Deere Dubuque Works! Woah, I want to hear more about Elder Nelson's talk about angels. Congratulations Zach on National Honors Society! Wow, 100 inductees--crazy! Glad people are coming to the primary program and that Lamb of God rehearsals are going well! Not knowing how to make coffee is great dendo [missionary work]! Wooo Lauren, soccer team champion! Lauren, your birthday is next!! Young womens, yay! So fun and awesome! I loved it! Did you get my little package I sent? That's fun that you got a call from Saudi Arabia! Congratulations National Merit semi-finalist! Glad you are getting better Mom! Do you graduate as a gardener in October? Thanks for sending pictures! Congratulations to Brother and Sister Johnson! Glad you having miracles of quick learning Candice!

I feel so lucky to be engaged in this great cause. I'm a year older and I've almost been out on my mission for a year. I feel so lucky! I love this work. I'm so glad to be a missionary. The Lord's hand is in his work. I love Him and I love dendo!

And my dear wonderful family I love YOU! Thank you for being my wonderful favorite family! Have a wonderful week!! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

E-mail 9/7/2014

Hello my dear wonderful family!

We taught a lot of lessons this week. We have this new goal to try and teach 20 lessons a week to members, LAs [less-active members], anyone so we've been working really hard on that.

Tuesday we had a lesson with Anazawa-san and talked a little about the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she agreed to try to pray before she eats meals (because she is too tired when she wakes up or goes to bed). 

Wednesday, we had a mogi [roleplay] with Sister Shimizu at her house. (First half of the Plan of Salvation). Was very helpful and super good feeling. And she gave us homemade pita bread leftovers!! (You can't buy them in Japan). YUMMY! And because "pan" is "bread" they call pita bread "pita pan". Isn't that the cutest thing ever??!! Then we mogied with Sister Uchiyama. (Second half of the Plan of Salvation). Was very helpful. And President and Sister Smith came to Eikaiwa [English class]. Pretty cool.

Thursday we went to Sister Nishimura's house and mogied the 10 commandments with her and then ate lunch together. Then we went to Sister Obuchi's house (LA) and taught her the 10 commandments. (Super good because she didn't remember them.) Then we had a mogi with the Relief Society President (Tithing) and she gave us some great ideas of how we can help Sister Obuchi and her family attend all of church together (she had a special-needs son). So good! Getting help from the members is the best. They are so much wiser than us 19 and 20-year-olds! Then had a mogi with Sister Ishikawa while her son was at Seminary. That was so good. One of the coolest mogis I've ever had. We taught Plan of Salvation. Just did a quick recap and then asked what questions she had (what we want to do with Anazawa-san). She asked about the Spirit World and the resurrection and Sister Nishikawa answered her questions very smoothly using Alma 40 and then I testified about how the Plan of Salvation brought me peace when loved ones have died and how I look forward to the resurrection day when I will meet my Grandparents again and they will be able to walk. We read Enos 1:27 and talked about the Peace the Plan of Salvation brings to us. The Spirit was very strong. After the mogi Sister Ishikawa said "Wow. Missionaries really do have power from God." That touched my heart so much. Really felt love from her because of that. I hope I can be that kind of member for missionaries when I get back--help them to feel good, gain confidence that the Lord is with them. Really neat experience.

Friday we went to Yamagata for Zone Training Meeting. It was one of the most amazing Zone Training Meetings I've been to. The Spirit was so strong. Really really amazing. The big news from the business is that President Smith has asked all the missionaries to memorize all the words we don't know from Chapter 3 in PMG [Preach My Gospel] in Japanese (if you're not from Japan) or English (if you're from Japan). Cool! This month's goal is lesson one. I'm excited! 

Then we talked about our results from August and our goals for September and then prayed together as a Zone to be able to achieve our goals, to receive help from Heavenly Father, and for Unity. Elder Fukuchi (Zone Leader) gave the prayer and we all knelt down and he prayed for everyone in the Zone by name. It was amazing. So unifying. And you could tell by how he said everyone's names without hesitation that he prays for us all by name regularly. That was pretty amazing. I was very impressed with Elder Fukuchi and Elder Paxton (Zone Leaders). You could see them working together in unity and love and faith with the blessings of the Spirit upon them. Really increased my trust in them and my faith that I can do that as a missionary too. Amazing what the Spirit can do. 

Then they did training on inspired questions and 2 sisters did training on Finding Needs and did a really awesome mogi of a doctor not listening to the patient to demonstrate how we have to listen to find out people's needs. Then the Zone Leaders did training on Charity and we broke into small groups to talk about it and then came back and discussed and then they taught about the Motivation Ladder; the lowest motivation is doing something because you want praise. The next level is doing it because it's your duty. The next level is doing something because people love you or listen to you. But the highest motivation is doing something because you love God. I found that pretty amazing. That's why I came on a mission! I'm glad it's the best reason. Then we read a quote from Elder Yamashita's talk "Missionaries are a Treasure of the Church." (Family: Please read this! It is so good! It talks about past, current, and future missionaries. It's not long but it's so good! Please read!) Then I had the assignment to share an experience I had as a missionary with Charity. That was a really special experience. I had thought all week about what to share and I just kept on coming back to one experience but didn't really want to share it. But finally I just felt like that's really what Heavenly Father wanted me to share so I decided to obey. I wrote down what I wanted to say in simple English sentences and thought about how I would translate them into Japanese and felt like that was enough and then kind of said to Heavenly Father "well, stop me if this isn't the experience you want me to share." And then when I shared my experience I really felt the Spirit strongly and had no problem with the Japanese at all. Gift of Tounges [Tongues]. Gift of the Spirit. I don't know, something amazing. It was a really neat experience. 

Really one of the best Zone Training Meetings I have attended. Probably partially due to having a part in the program and having to specially prepare spiritually beforehand but also probably due to the great leadership in this Zone. Whatever the reason, when I woke up Saturday morning I was just so happy to be a missionary. :) I was brushing my teething in the bathroom and looked in the mirror and was just like "I'm a missionary! This is the best thing in the world!" :) Also I dreamed the night before that the grocery store was trying to steal Nishikawa shimai [Sister Nishikawa] and I's bikes. #dendodreaming [#missionaryworkdreaming] Pretty funny. Probably because we talked in Zone Training Meeting about how we need to write down our bike registration number so we can give it to the Police to find our bikes if they ever get stolen. Pretty funny.

Saturday we had a mogi with Hanzawa shimai [Sister Hanzawa] and she asked some pretty deep questions about Plan of Salvation that I have no idea the answers to! Any ideas you have, I'd love to hear! Then we visited Less Actives with a service missionary couple in our ward. Very cool. Then had another mogi with Kaori-chan (YSA [young single adult]) in our ward. Did both English and the gospel and used the "Who is God" pamphlet and she really liked it. So that was cool.

Yesterday Elder Aoyagi spoke about the Atonement and how can use that and daily reading, praying, and applying the scriptures and the Holy Ghost to overcome anything in our lives and do anything that we can't do for ourselves. Super amazing. And Obuchi shimai [Sister Obuchi] came to church and stayed for all of sacrament meeting!! YAY! So happy! We are hoping so much to help her do the 3 hour program so she can go to the temple! Happy!! After church we had another mogi. Lots and lots of teaching! It's super good for us!

Don't worry I won't be one year older until I email you next week. ;D Birthday package will probably arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday when we see the office mail couple--right on time! I haven't heard anything about the Hatachi party so we'll see. Yay for Lauren soccer, Zach work, Candice job and Stake Primary and Dance. Did Tyler and Kelsea go to the BYU game? Either that or you could do google hangout and watch the game together. :) Mom the event planner. Dad the traveler. Is it already fall in Carolina? Tyler I was thinking our mission president experiences are quite similar. It seems like President Rasmussen and President Daniels match up in personality and President Evans and President Smith match up in personality as well. How long was President Daniels your mission president for? Yeah Dad for dendoing [doing missionary work]! Thank you so much for the wedding pictures! I LOVE the one with Tyler and Kelsea sitting together in front of the temple!! They look so good! And I like the big one with all the family and friends! Mom, I remember going off to BYU too and feeling the same way. Bloom where you are planted! BYU sure was good mission prep!  Kumon sounds cool. Candice, nice screenwriting upgrade. All those beats and arcs and non-speaking characters... and look at you learning how to speak High King in your spare time. ;)

With doing lots of teaching this week it's been good practice at answering questions about the lessons. Which has made me think of a favor for my favorite family: Can you think of frequently asked/or questions people might about about the missionary lessons for me and send me a list. Answers are not required, just the questions! I want to build my foundation to prepare to be able to answer peoples' questions really well. 

I've been thinking a lot this week about how we have been commanded by God to love everyone and that includes every member in our area. I want to watch over my area and be a good steward of it and nourish it and help it to grow and leave it better than I found it. I read part of Jacob 5 and just thought about how much the Lord of the Vineyard loved his vineyard and did everything he could for it and labored with his servants and when they were faithful and kept his commandments and helped the vineyard to grow they had joy with the Lord of the Vineyard and has [had] success. That's what I want to do. I know I'm planting seeds. I also want to nourish and cherish the growing blossoms. I want to be a good steward. I know the Lord loves Nagamachi and is counting on me to do my best to help it blossom. I think of other areas I served that are now seeing blossoms and miracles and I want to do my part to help Nagamachi do that as well. I'm so glad the Lord is willing to work through me and I hope he can trust me to follow the promptings he gives me to help the people in my area. I love this gospel! I want to do all I can to establish the church and help it to grow. I'm so grateful for the priviledge of being able to serve.

Thank you for all that you do! You are amazing! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai ;D