Wednesday, September 3, 2014

E-mail 9/1/2014

My dear wonderful family,

My week was awesome! Lots of getting lost with Nishikawa shimai [Sister Nishikawa] now that our bikes are fixed but lots of miracles! But not in the places I expected!

First Amazing thing: Nishikawa shimai is such a trooper!! It is tough at times to not be able to communicate but she never complains or gets mad and always helps with checking the map since neither of us really know the area and even though she was sick this week and her bike had to be fixed twice it never phased her. She's amazing!

First Miracle: Monday we had honbu [mission home] FHE [family home evening] so we went up to the mission office a little early so I could talk to one of the office missionaries (Sister Taylor) about a couple Japanese textbooks the mission home offers. She let me look at the books and awesomely let me borrow some to see if they work for me. As we were leaving the office and going over to the Mission Home to start FHE she mentioned an Eikaiwa [English class] student, Abe-san, that she and her husband teach and asked "Has anyone ever talked to her about the gospel? She always comes to FHE so I've always wondered if anyone's talked to her about it." I said I didn't think anyone had and I'd try and see. Then we had Honbu FHE and walked in and ORGILL SHIMAI [Sister Orgill, Katie's first companion] WAS THERE!!! LONG TIME NO SEE! I was so happy to see her I might've cried. Yep definately cried. So then we had a great FHE with one of the activities being a giant game of team ninja and somehow everyone on my team got out and I was up against Elder Anderson (office missionary who went to Cherzakistan or something crazy on his mission) and Date shimai [Sister Date] from Kamisugi ward (a direct descendant of Date THE SAMARAI) and they both charged me. I heroically fled and escaped death as times up was called. Otherwise I would've died. No way I'm fighting Date the samarai or Elder Anderson! Anyway, :) so we had an awesome FHE and we sang "Families can be together forever" as the closing song and I happened to be sitting next to Abe-san at that point and after the closing prayer when people started serving refreshments I asked her if she liked that song and said I like the English words and then we started talking and I asked her what she knew about our church and if she had any questions and she said "Yeah, if you're Christian why don't you have a cross?" and then we had this awesome gospel discussion and she knows SO MUCH about Jesus Christ and after we read Alma 7:11 together she said "Oh, I get it, you don't use the cross because you believe Jesus is alive again." (Better than I was planning on explaining it myself!) Then I said, "Abe-san can we talk about Jesus Christ again sometime? Like before Eikaiwa this Wednesday for like 10 minutes?" And she said yes! What a miracle!! It was one of the coolest experiences of my mission. I felt the Holy Ghost so strong leading and guiding me and it was just incredible. God has a special message for Abe-san and he really loves her.

Second Miracle: Tuesday we were planning to go some far places to visit people but the new bike Nishikawa shimai received was broken so we had to stay close-by that but led to the miracle of being able to go to a volunteer place when they called us. God breaks missionaries' bikes for very good reasons!

Wednesday it rained all day. We biked an insane mountain, got lost, and visited a less active. She let us [in] and and let [us] pray together, said we could come again and gave us onigiri to eat. Went to the church and the Elders' (third miracle) fixed Nishikawa shimai's bike and we had Eikaiwa. We were not able to teach Abe-san as she came late to class and left early before we could talk to her but we aren't giving up!

Thursday we got lost again and had district meeting. :)

Friday we had hand massage volunteer and a (miracle four) fantastic lesson with Obuchi shimai [Sister Obuchi]. SHE IS PROGRESSING SO MUCH! She read from the temple pamphlet about a woman who did the temple work for her mom and said she really wants to go to the temple and do the work for her mother. Amazing! And she was thrilled to accept the version of the Bible that the church uses. It was just a great lesson.

Saturday we went to Natori for an Eikawa student's bunka sai (school festival) and (miracle five) found the school. They were wearing summer kimonos and showed us around and I was definately the only gaijin [foreigner] there and everyone else was Japanese high schoolers so everyone was staring at me (craziest feeling) but we were able to build a great relationship with her and meet some other students to give Eikaiwa chirashi [English class flyers] to. Then we came back and did Eikaiwa chirashi kubari [English class flyer distribution] and I met 4 gaijin:

-Ireshman [Irishman] walking out of Ikea. Asked me to take a picture of him with a colendor [colander] on his head. Knows very little about Mormons. In Japan for work--9 months research at Tohoku University. Supplies stuff to companies like Samsung. Doesn't speak Japanese.
-3 girls walking into Ikea. From Wisconsin, Illinois (Bloomington!) and England. Teach English. Very friendly. Asked my name and I said "Katie". Haha! Whoops! Asked how long I've been in Japan. Didn't want to talk about religion but very friendly. Speak Japanese.
I learned: I need to learn how to dendo [proselyte] in English. It's so different than in Japanese! I need to practice so I can dendo when I get home!

Sunday (miracle six) Obuchi shimai came for sacrament meeting and the Elders invited to her and her husband (LA [less-active member]) to lunch tomorrow and they said yes. URESHIIII [HAPPYYYYY]!!!!!!!!!! So happy! Church was way good--we went to the YW [Young Women] Sunday school class. Shimizu shimai [Sister Shimizu] taught. She did this analogy with the family proclamation and cake. It was so easy to understand and delicious! She is an incredible teacher. After church we did visiting teaching with Sato Nobiko shimai [Sister 
Sato Nobiko]. Then, Nishikawa shimai slept because she was sick. Because we found out that morning in DCS [district companion study?] that we (all missionaries in Sendai) have been challenged to teach 20 lessons a week (to anyone; members, nonmembers, etc.) I called as many people as I could think of to make appointments for this week. AMAZING MIRACLE. LIKE TWENTY BILLION MIRACLES. All but 2 people answered my phone calls and all who answered said yes to doing a lesson with us!! MIRACLE! AMAZING! And I did it all in Japanese! Gift of tounges [tongues]! I couldn't have done that alone! So cool! I called 9 people and texted 1 and made 9 appointments. AMAZING! But not me. That was all Heavenly Father's work.

In weekly report Elder Ito (our district leader) asked me what I learned this week/testimony. I said: Well, we got lost a lot.... but I learned from my experience with Taylor Shimai [Sister Taylor] and Abe-san that my spiritual eyesight isn't 20-20. Sometimes I don't see the potential in people that are all around me. But other people can be my eyeglasses--they can clarify my vision because I can't see perfectly. By working with members and less actives and asking our leaders for help and asking everyone we meet whom they know that we could visit or teach, we can see more clearly and open our eyes to things we never saw before. There are potential investigators and peoples' needs all around us but we can't see them perfectly alone. But through other people we can put on our corrective lenses and see others more perfectly. So whatever comes of Abe-san--if she accepts the gospel now or later on--my experience with her has been an incredible moment of realization for me. How is your spiritual eyesight? Heavenly Father's is 20-20. Mine isn't perfect, but I'll ask Him and everyone around me for help and hopefully through that put on my corrective lenses. Are your eyes open? Good. Now put on your spiritual eyeglasses?

School school school. I guess that's going to be your entire life Candice! With all the licences you're getting you could open up your own school! Avatar, Merlin, sounds like we're having back to school escape routes. Glad to know Katessa is still appreciated! Long time no see! Glad to know watching more of our fandoms is helping things make more sense. WOAH, backup pianist for Lamb of God! Understudy workout!! Wow, Lauren, it sounds like you are pretty excited about middle school. That's awesome that you get to go on a youth temple trip! Wow! That will be so cool if everyone is there! I am glad you learning to navigate the middle school and open your locker. Glad you didn't make the mistake of watching the football during the game. ;) You were just dendoing [proselyting] the whole time, right? I don't know if I've gotten your snail mail yet, maybe we'll have to start numbering them so we can tell. I will let you know when I get it. Definitely not ready for my birthday. I like being 19! If I turn 20 I become an adult in Japan! Not ready to give up being a kid! ;) Sister Benson and Sister Williams, exciting! Omedetogozaimasu [congratulations]! Who will be teaching Zach's class? We go to seminary, we don't teach, we are students with the other students and do activities and stuff with them and get called on when the youth don't know the answers to the questions so we have to pay close attention--especially to the Japanese at 6am! :D Seminary is great mission prep--especially if you get to go as a missionary! :D I think I had 5 or 6 different teachers when I was in high school. I've read in the Liahona (the mission sends us Liahonas every month) that there are so many church resources online now. Looking forward to seeing that at some point!

President Smith has advised me to set a personal baptism goal. What do you think is good?

Mom that's so cool about your missionary moments!! I love hearing your stories! You are such a great missionary! Glad Lauren is socializing. :) Glad you gave blood Zach! You are awesome! What's your blood type? Anyone know what my blood type is? Glad you are visiting teaching! Mom, ouch! Not being able to eat! Hope you get better fast! Eat lots of Udon and ramen. ;D Glad Tyler and Kelsea are doing well, busy with the new schedule. Wow, everyone is busy with callings, and school, and work! Otsukaresamadesu [cheers for good work]! Omedetogozaimasu 
[congratulations]! Let me know who comes to the primary program! How is Jeremy doing? Mom, what Candice said to you makes 100% sense with missionary life. In mission-prep for that I would advize [advise] reading the Adjusting to Missionary Life textbook to all who plan to become missionaries before they enter the MTC [missionary training center]. Preferably, a year or more in advance. Zach, do you drive yourself to seminary? Have you been working a lot lately? Has that been working well with school and homework? That's nice that people brought you food!

Japanese is cool. Sometimes I have to say in in English first and then Japanese just simpler. Still very clumsy. Hoping to improve.

What, Tyler got called to translate for Japanese Elders in the MTC??? That's the coolest!!! Yay, soccer is starting!! That's exciting about Justine and Ashley Jane!! Let me know where she is assigned to!

Well my wonderful family, it has been an amazing week. The Lord works in amazing and small and simple ways and I'm so grateful he has chosen to work through me as simple and in-adept as I am. But I know that He can do miracles even though me and I am so grateful to be able to witness his hand and his love and his miracles in this marvelous work. Forever a missionary!!

I love you!!!!! Thank you so much for all that you do and all that you are!! You are about amazing things when you are on the Lord's errand! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. I'd love to see NC open house pictures!!

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