Tuesday, October 28, 2014

E-mail 10/27/2014

My dear wonderful family,

Hello from busy busy Nagamachi! The missionaries+YSA [young single adults]+Elders Quorum President+Ward threw a Halloween party on Saturday and it was a great success and so many nonmembers came--many, many Eikaiwa [English class] students and many friends of members. It was such a great way to soften many people's hearts! The next day Nishikawa shimai [Sister Nishikawa] and I and some sisters from the ward sang a musical number we set up so it was a very very busy week preparing for all those activities! Also, tonight we are singing a musical number for FHE [family home evening] at the mission home and our pianist cancelled on us about 2 hours ago so we are rapidly trying to put another musical number. And there are many activities this coming week that we have to prepare for as well... there is always work to be done for the kingdom of God! :D

My week! (the abbreviated version)

Tuesday I read a really cool article by Elder Bednar in the Liahona [a magazine published by the Church]; "Missionary, Family History, and Temple Work." Loved it! And I also read some amazing results in Alma 62 of what happens when you clean the inner vessel first. Ladies' Eikaiwa. Our referral came and the members fellowshipped her really well!

Wednesday we biked up to the honbu area to visit a referral, an LA [less-active member] and a PI [potential investigator]. RAIN!! We had to wear our rain suits and rain boots and biked up the mountain in them, haha. We visited everyone but the PI without success and then stopped by the honbu [mission home] to double check our address and the missionaries there were very helpful, so we probably were inspired to stop and ask them for better directions! :D Then we went off and we able to find the PI's house immediately AND she was home and we were able to talk to her!! We invited her to a bunch of activities and she said she'd love to come and would always love to hear about the activities and it was so cool! Halloween prep, YSA stuff. Elder Fox is here in Nagamachi for a week to get his wisdom teeth out! MTC [Missionary Training Center] district!

Thursday we had District Meet and 2 YSA sisters from the ward came and we had a testimony meeting. The members' testimonies were so strong. Kaori shimai [Sister Kaori] bore her entire testimony about how thankful she is for missionaries and cried. Love her so much!! Elder Fox used 2 Kings 6:16-17. So good. After everyone bore there testimonies I just felt so happy and so much love fore everyone in the room. It is paradise here! Went to seminary that evening and we talked about the 3 Nephites and what they requested of the Savior and it made me think about being an eternal missionary. I want to! Missionary work never ends and you will never be alone in it. No matter what the circumstances, we will be blessed as we strengthen our faith in the Lord. I want everyone to enjoy dendo [missionary work].

Friday during personal study I thought #10 on page 149 in PMG [Preach My Gospel] is really good for members to read an apply in their dendo. Try to have lots of conversations with lots of people everyday and get involved in the community. Why? Because in order to share the gospel there need to people in your life to whom you can share it. Then we had a lesson with Obuchi shimai [Sister Obuchi]--again, planned to teach about tithing but it turned into a lesson about dendo. She really wants to share the gospel with her best friend. She's progressing! So exciting! We invited her to the Halloween party and she said she might come!!

Saturday we did service at our investigator's house with a member and she was so grateful and we gave her a [copy of the] liahona as a present. Then we had the ward halloween party. It was so good. SO many people came. Lots of nonmembers and eikaiwa students, old and young. Members invited their friends, many less actives came. Really really good. Happy! So cool!! 

Sunday we sang in church with 4 sisters from the ward and Obuchi shimai came! 

So, to summarize this week was really really good! 

One more thing I learned; When we carry with us joy from the gospel people will see it and they will want it too. So in order to carry with us that joy and light we need to have fun! Enjoy the gospel. Enjoy being a Christian. Enjoy being a Mormon. Enjoy being a missionary. Joy = lasting happiness. Missionary = eternally sharing the gospel.

Tyler so good to hear from you! Thank you for your detailed email!! MTC! So lucky!! Yep been serving over a year! But I still don't have the knowledge and wisdom of my family. So lucky I have you! So happy to be a missionary! I got the package from Mrs. Alexander! So kind! Thank you so much!! I have ideas for your widows [windows?] but no time to write this week! Remind me and I'll try to send it next week! I want to see a picture of lauren's reading nook! Mom that:s awesome that you are doing stuff for the neighborhood and for others with what you:re learning from your gardening classes! What do you do in the laundry room? Sundays we report to the District leader in the evenings but do normal dendo as much as possible after church. A lot of times we have meetings/activites that make it hard to do normal dendo. We teach PMG class or go to the YW [Young Women’s]/YM [Young Men’s] sunday school class or go to gospel principles during sunday school. We go to Relief Society. And I can understand what they're saying most of the time now! Wow lots of dates for next year. You have things all figured out! Thanks for the email candice! I recognize the blonde Elder in the picture you sent me! Small world! What's his first name? Hello from Japan! I will think some more on when to come back and talk to President Smith. 

Well, my dear wonderful family. I love you. I am so grateful for you. Thank you for all that you do. I love you!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

E-mail 10/19/2014

My dear wonderful family!!

It's been a great week. No rain. Staying healthy. Dendoing [doing missionary work]! Happy. :) Got to go on splits with Sister Smith from my MTC [Missionary Training Center] district. LOVE HER! So fun. Interviews with President. Volunteer. Lessons with less actives, members, and our investigator. Service. Really really good week!


Tuesday we had district meeting. Elder Low, our district leader, gave some really great training. His district vision is that we all work with the Spirit every day. No other talent exceeds spirituality (Brue R. McConkie). Every member needs to live so that they qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost 24/7, 365 days for the rest of their lives (Elder Packer). Consecration is giving all our emotions, desires, spiritual power, thoughts, time to the Lord all the time. Goal of my daily life: Be one with God. When we receive the Holy Ghost it gives us the strength to carry on despite all trials. Really good. Working with the Holy Ghost makes it challenging to plan sometimes but thankfully God's plan is so much better than the ones we make ourselves! After District Meeting Smith shimai [Sister Smith] and Tsuchida shimai [Sister Tsuchida] came for splits and whenever we do splits we normally do a mogi [roleplay] first. So we mogied with them and Smith shimai was the investigator and we were talking to each other in Japanese!!! We could not do that a year ago!! So cool! The Spirit was so strong. Just totally excitement and joy. Look at how far we've come! Ahh! So cool! Then we went and dendo-ed together. Working/talking together helped me realize how important love is to the gospel and how God's ways are not the go-as-fast-as-you-can ways of the world. I think to the eyes of man, God's ways are slower than mans'. God's pace. Not ours. The best pace. It was sooooo wonderful to split with Smith shimai. It strengthened my faith and my testimony and my dendo fire and I felt loved. Sooo good. :) A planned blessing straight from Heavenly Father. I am so greatful! He knows me and blesses me even with little small but wonderful things to let me know he's aware of me, personally!

Wednesday, we had interviews with Smith Kaicho [President Smith, the mission president]. We talked about YSA [young single adults], FHE [family home evening] ideas, how the mission with [will] go down to 10 companionships of sisters after the December transfer, so all the sister apartments will probably go down to only 2 people. Crazy! Asked [him] about mission as marriage and family prep and he said "Well considering 'mother' is the only calling that is eternal it's not a bad thing to be thinking about." Then we talked about developing Christ-like attributes. (Something I don't really think I'm good at.) It was really good. Then we had Eikaiwa [English class] prep and Eikaiwa. Right before Eikaiwa started a member called asking for help translating something. So glad I'm able to help now! Thankful for my companion's constant language help and the gift of tounges! :)

Thursday was amazing. We had hand massage service and then had a lesson with our investigator Anazawa-san with Sister Uchiyama (from the ward). It went super well. We did a lot of testifying and were able to learn more about Anazawa-san's needs and Uchiyama shimai [Sister Uchiyama] was incredible as a joint. So skilled. During the lesson I asked Sister Uchiyama when did you most feel that God existed? And she bore her testimony about her experience in the 2011 tsunami. (She was driving her car near the ocean when the tsunami hit and her car got washed away with her in it and she survived. She was 56 years old at the time. Amazing story.) We talked about prayer and God and read some of 3 Nephi 14 together. Anazawa-san doesn't believe but she loves hearing good things (example: she listens to Catholic radio). She's had a lot of rough experiences in life and Nishikawa shimai [Sister Nishikawa] thinks she just needs healing and love and kind people.

After the lesson we were able to unexpectedly meet with some members at the church and help them and then had seminary. It was an awesome day. Felt led my [by] the Lord and by his Spirit. So cool! Real missionaries. Our life!

Friday I had a really good personal study and learned so many things. I'm so grateful for personal study! I learn so much! Then went and had a lesson with Sister Obuchi (LA [less-active member]) and talked about charity/forgiveness. (Someone once told her [that] her son was poorly raised but his behavior was because of his disability.) Really good atmosphere. Then we had a mogi with Sister Endo who might have served in Fukuoka at the same time Nishikawa shimai's Dad served. Which might also be the time time you served Dad. You served from '84 to '86 right? Did you ever know an Elder Nishikawa? 

Saturday we went with the YSAs to lunch (we invited some LAs and she came!). We met up at the church and the Assistants to the [mission] President were there too, waiting for a PI [potential investigator] to come for an appointment and said they wanted to see if he would come to lunch too. So the PI rides up to the church on his bicycle and the APS run over and start talking to him and then the YSAs go over too and start talking to the PI too, complimenting him on his bike, and introducing themselves, all excited. It was such good member support/dendo/friendshipping. SO COOL! The PI agreed to come to lunch with everybody so we all carpooled over there. From there we went with a members' Mom (her name is Sato-san, she's a nonmember and a referral) to Ishinomaki for the "Candle Mama" charity concert (8 women+pianist+violinist group). Lots of church members and missionaries there. Sato-san loved it. My favorite part was a nubmer they did with a 30-ish person choir of local ward members. It gave me chills! So powerful! I want to find it again. Also, we took a big picture with everyone holding a Book of Mormon on the stage that Elder Oba said he would put on youtube. He's one of the people who has requested to friend me on facebook, so if you friend him and look on his page you might be able to find the picture/video and see me! :)

Yesterday I was reading Captain Moroni's first letter to Pahoran (the chief governor) where Moroni condemns the Nephite government for not better supporting them and there were all these cool phrases Moroni wrote that really showed his mindset and priorities. (ex: it is my God whom I fear and it is according to his commandments that I do take my sword to defined my co[u]ntry, I am constrained according to the covenants which I have made to keep the commandments of God, I seek not for the honor of the world, but for the glory of my God.) Thought those were really cool and powerful. Sister Obuchi came to church and Nishikawa shimai spoke. We had song practice after church and a Halloween Party meeting with the word. We're going to prep a musical number for the baptism of Juno-san (the Elders' investigator). 

You asked about Volcanoes. As far as I know we don't live near any volcanoes. But I've also been told that because Japan is an island pretty much every mountain is a volcano. Nagamachi is pretty interesting in that where the church live and where the Sisters' apartment is is all fairly flat. But if you go biking for about 10 minutes in any direction you either hit a bunch of bridges, or if you start biking north you hit this MOUNTAIN where the mission home/Elders' apartment is. It's like really a mountain. Very difficult to bike up because it's like a 90 degree incline.... not really sure why they cars and buildings don't fall of it... haha. It's really awe inspiring. It takes a long time to get up it but going down it is really fast until you start hitting the stoplights. Good thing there are stoplights though because if there weren't we'd probably hit 90 miles an hour on our bikes. Just kidding. But really. It's steep. :D It's very very pretty. Even the city part where we live is pretty. Lots of trees and flowers. I don't know what is is but I really like it. I even like the parts that are only buildings. It's just nice. Cool. I don't know, I like it. :) Not really any fall leaves just yet even though it's been pretty chilly. Can't wait to see the colors!

What?? Will's home already???? That's so crazy!!!! Yeah, a mission is definitely the best way to prepare for the rest of your life.  That's crazy that he's done already!! That's awesome that Will will teach seminary for a little bit! When are the Williams going to pick up Logan? Was Will able to speak understandable English? (That's a concern a lot of the returning missionaries have here in our mission. :D) That's so cool that he's a ward missionary!! Soo cool. That's my dream. Hint hint. :D That is if they won't let me stay a full time missionary forever. :)

Bible videos on DVDs would be good if they'll work here. I guess I don't really know if there's a difference in Japanese DVDs and American ones.... I don't think so.... We don't have iPads yet. Supposedly all the Japan missions are supposed to get them "soon". My MTC companion is in Tokyo where they have iPads and she says it's such a blessing for dendo. We're kind of all hoping and praying that they'll come soon. If we do get them I probably won't need Bible video DVDs. Maybe wait on that and pray for iPads instead? :D

Sending music... let's see if it will attach to an email. If it works that might be easiest.

Thank you for the recipes you sent! I haven't been able to use them yet because I haven't been able to print them (we don't have a printer at the church). But we are hopefully going to find a printer today so I hope to be able to print them and use them. :) I made sweet potato muffins the other day and had to have my companion translate the labels on the baking soda (they call it something different here). It was fun! And yummy. :) I shredded the potato and used a carrot cake recipe and it was really good. Next time I want to try boiling the sweet potatoes and then mashing them and them mixing them in the batter. I think that might be yummy. :D

That's awesome that you went to go see Meet the Mormons with friends! I love it! Mom, I love being able to tell my companions that my mom is a missionary too. I brag about you all the time. And Dad and Tyler I love telling people about how you both served in Japan. And people are always shocked and impressed when I tell them that you worked on the new edition of the scriptures Candice. Zach, everyone thinks you are my older brother because you are so tall. Everyone loves your blonde hair Lauren. :) Just a pretty awesome family. :D

Not sure what fall traditions they have here yet. So far the only thing we've done is have a potato party and apparently that is something that is unique to Tohoku prefecture. 

The Virginia trail sounds so pretty!! I didn't realize it was an old railroad trail, that's pretty cool. I love the pictures! Glad the timing worked out perfectly. I remember going to Boone! So THAT's the football stadium picture in my family album (Appalachian State). People always ask me and I forgot so I always say "...not Utah." :D Haha. 

Thank you for the pictures! Love the helmets. ;) Very missionary like. When we ask people if they've every seen missionaries before and they say "no" we ask them if they've seen any bikers with white helmets. Then they always have seen missionaries. :D I will try and take more pictures! Not very many this week. Glad that there's no snow even though it's chilly! Wearing my pink peacoat every day! Haha, Tyler and Kelsea on the Dance Cam! That's awesome! Lamb of God will be wonderful! Preparedness is good. Glad you figured out my facebook! Sounds like the family is doing good. Midterms. Kelsea. :) So glad Lauren and Candice are having fun too. :D That's awesome that your friends are telling people that you're Mormon!

How am I feeling about my mission? I like that question. I have a wonderful companion. I am working hard. I think I'm getting enough sleep! (I have no trouble falling asleep or waking up but I sometimes have trouble staying awake in meetings! :D) I try to give my all every day. I am learning all the time. Sometimes I think I have so much time to learn that I don't have any time to apply it! Haha. Hopefully I will get more balanced at it. :) This week I learned that I want to move in the Lords' way. I've realized that I sometimes feel like I have to hurry all the time. But as I've recognized that this week and thought about it I've decided that I don't want to be rushing around everywhere all the time. I feel like the Savior never rushed anywhere. Even after Lazurus died he went to help but he didn't just run there he helped and taught and served people along as he went. There are so many people who need help and love and we'll miss them if we're always in a hurry! Going at the Lord's pace is better. Christ-like slow. I also thought about the scripture that say that all good things are from God. And as I thought about that it it seemed to me that if that is true then every good thing in my life is because of Him. Not coincidence, not "not sure if that was God or if it was just chance." If it's good, it's from him. Realizing that made me realize I have so many more blessings than I thought I did! During the sacrament yesterday I tried to think about the resurrection during the passing of the bread and forgiveness and freedom during the passing of the water (like some of the speakers said at General Conference). And as I thought that, I opened my eyes and looked around me and thought "Jesus Christ made the earth. He and Heavenly Father created Adam and Eve. Because of that, everyone in this room exists. Because of that everyone in this room will be resurrected. Because of his Atonement everyone in here can be happy eternally." It was really powerful. Just joyful. Really really amazing.

How I feel about my mission: I love it. It is the best preparation for the rest of my life. I am so grateful for this time to dedicate 100% of my time and effort and heart and mind to the work of my Savior. I want to give my all every day. I want to be consecrated to this work for the rest of my mission and I hope my mission will last for the rest of my life even after I return. I hope I can establish the church where I serve and plant seeds and help others come closer to Christ and be tied ever closer to Him, including the missionaries around me and family and myself. I hope to ever be more converted to him.

I love you! I am so grateful for your examples and your love. You are so wonderful!! Have a wonderful wonderful week. :)


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

E-mail 10/13/2014

Hello my dear wonderful family!!!

So good to hear from you!! I love your emails!

The typhoon was totally fine last week. No flooding or damage here, but it is supposed to be a big typhoon today and tomorrow so we are instructed to stay in our apartments after 6pm tonight and to wait and see if we can go anywhere tomorrow. The Japanese say they usually don't have so many typhoons in the fall [but] that there's a lot this year.

Week Summary:

Tuesday we visited 2 potential investigators and invited them to the Ward Halloween party. Then did a housing activity with the Sendai Mission Leadership Council.

Wednesday we visited a lot of people and none of them were home so we felt we should go back to the apartment earlier than we planned and on our way we ran into a member who hasn't been to church or answered our phone calls in two weeks. Miracle! She stopped and we talked ot [to] her for an hour on the sidewalk by the Spirit. Really cool. At first I didn't really feel like we were getting through to her and then these 3 scriptures came into my head  and wasn't sure which one I was supposed to share with her so I shared them with her one right after another. And then when I was talking to Nishikawa shimai [Sister Nishikawa] about it afterward she said (the member) blew off the first two scriptures but then when I shared yet again a third scripture it actually had an impact on her. What a blessing that the Lord works through my weaknesses! Eikaiwa [English class] was super fun because we started an intermediate class for the first time and me, Morgan shimai [Sister Morgan], and Elder Law taught. We also did an activity where we gave everyone American names and told them all to research their names to find out what they mean. Fun!

Thursday we had a mogi [roleplay] with a member and then went to another member[’]s house to practice the musical number we're planning for the Young Adult Women in our ward. Then we stopped by Obuchi shimai's (LA) [Sister Obuchi’s (less-active member)] house to drop off a treat for her and invited her to General Conference. Visited another LA and then had an LA that we've only met once before call us! Miracle! Yay!

Friday we went to Yamagata for Zone Training Meeting. Talked about cleaning our apartments, goals, planning, and activities with purpose. Learned a lot and got lots of really good ideas. Came back to Nagamachi. We were all in the APs [assistants to the mission presidents’] car and all the Nihonjin [Japanese] fell asleep so it was just the 3 gaijin [foreigners] talking so asked them how their missions have changed them. One said; to capitolize on being Christ-like in the small things. Another said; I'm more willing to change now. Another said; To be interested in the people around me. I loved their answers!! I thought they were all so cool! We got back to Nagamachi and had a music rehersal (our less active came too!!) and YSA FHE [young single adult family home evening].

Saturday we went to the church to watch General Conference!!!! So good!! The Nihonjin watched it in the chapel downstairs on a projector and the gaijin watched it on a nice TV upstairs in the seminary room with lots of snacks, haha. (Did anyone go see it live in our family?)

General Conference Highlights:
·  Loved Elder Christofferson's talk on change
·  Elder Robbin's talk
·  Loved people talking in their native languages!!
·  Loved Elder Callister and Elder Jorg Klebingat's talk
·  Elder Hamula and Elder Scott and Elder Godoy and President Monson's talks
One of the YSA [young single adult] girls in our ward brought a friend to the 2nd session on Saturday. So cool!! She is such a good member missionary!!

Other cool thing about Conference; Sister Morgan and Sister Arashiyama's investigator Endo-san came to the Sunday sessions of General Conference. The concern she has is about prophets; are they real? Are they good people? What was almost every talk about on Sunday? PROPHETS!! So cool!! :)

Mom thank you so much for your goal ideas!!! I love them!!  I like the idea of being confident in our ability to make decisions and being partnered with the Lord. I want to be a really good decision maker! Pure wholesome thoughts lead to confidence before God. Reflect on where we have both made mistakes and made good decisions. Good small decisions bless us too! As we get better at recognizing the Holy Ghost I think we become more confident in our decisions. I think one of the most important things we can learn early in our life is to become quick to recieve, quick to hear, and quick to act upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit and then we can really use our lives the way the Lord wants us to and in that way both meet our full potential and help so many people along the way!

I made a list of 19 questions for Conference and it's been so fun to read back through my notes looking for the answers. Some of my answers surprised me at how simple and straightforward they were, some at how LONG and EXTENSIVE they were, and others I felt like the Holy Ghost said to me ''Nope, you're going to have to search that one out more on your own a little bit first and then I'll help you'' or ''Well, you don't need to be worrying about this question right now, just focus on the fundamentals and important things.'' So that was really cool too! The Spirit gives us answers in all sorts of different ways, it's up to us to figure out the right questions to ask and to get into the right places so we can recognize our answers. The Lord has extended the invitation for us to ask and I know He answers!!

DC sounds fun! Yeah, I saw Rosa several times in the MTC. Did she go home early? Jessica's middle name is Ann. Thanks for the update! The password I gave you should work for my facebook... Temple workers make me so happy! I love temple workers! So happy for you guys! Presentations, wow! Lobster bisque, haha. I like the airbender sweatshirt! Yeah Avatar family! ;) Meet the Mormons sounds really cool! Purple tie and starwars socks are all you need! Wow, Will and Justine are almost done! Crazy!! Where is Ashley Jane going for her mission? That's awesome that the missionaries called Zach for bike help!! (You might have the same problems on your mission too Zach. Better be prepared. ;D). I also loved reading the letter you included. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family!

I'm so grateful that I got to watch conference! What a blessing. I learned so so much. I felt over and over again such a huge emphasis on families and just was reminded of you my wonderful wonderful blessing. You are such a HUGE blessing to my life and to me. I love you all so, so much. Your examples inspire me and your friendship and love encourages me all the time. I am so everlastingly grateful for all of you. When President Monson said ''Make a heaven on Earth home" in the Sunday Morning session I thought; that's the family I have! It's hard not to miss you when you are all so wonderful. :) I am so grateful for you and your examples and emails and love and wonderful, wonderful, wonderfulness!!

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


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. Anyone know what ''Renee'' means? The Eikaiwa [English class] students were asking me but I had no idea, haha.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

E-mail, 10/5/2014

My dear wonderful family,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZACH!! 17 fancy. How does it feel? Are you ready for all that awaits you as a 17 year old? I think you are wonderful and I can't wait to hang out with you when I get home! Lots of parties in our future. :) We will have so much fun! I love you! Happy birthday! 

I'm so glad you got to watch Conference! We will watch Conference this weekend.  Can't wait! Fall weather is here too but no fall leaves yet. I love it! Perfect sweater weather! Except for it's cats and dogs raining today.... Thank goodness I have a rain suit and rainboots!

Week summary....

Tuesday we did hand massage volunteer with Okumura shimai [Sister Okumura]. Came back and had lunch with a member. Went to pocket house volunteer.

Wednesday we went to seminary and Imano shimai [Sister Imano] (the teacher) talked a lot about missionaries! We were discussing 3 Nephi 12 and picked a favorite scripture to apply to ourselves. I chose 3 Nephi 13:22--eye single to the glory of God; focus on glorifying Him and forgetting myself. Treasure in Heaven. Then we talked about what rules missionaries have and Imano shimai asked the girls (everyone else had to leave early that day) what relationship does obedience have to dendo [missionary work]? She let them think about it and then asked me and Nishikawa shimai [Sister Nishikawa] to testify. Nishikawa shimai said the White Handbook [the missionary rulebook] is the White Handbook of how to receive blessings. Then Imano shimai closed the lesson with her testimony and said, "We don't have strict rules like the missionaries but the same principles still apply to us; obedience brings blessings." Maybe--hopefully!--those girls will be the next generation of sister missionaries! We should do some mogis [roleplays] with them. :) Came back and said bye to Yim shimai [Sister Yim] and then visited a refferal [referral] (who wasn't home) and an LA [less-active member] (whose husband was home so we couldn't talk with her) and ran into Ken chan (8 year old in our ward). Then had a meeting with the District to prepare for Eikaiwa [English class]. Then dinner and Eikaiwa. 20 missionaries came so we broke everyone up so all the students could do a conversation with gaijin [foreigner]. The students loved it. Fun!

Thursday we visited an LA and a PI [potential investigator] who were both busy but super nice and then had a mogi with 2 members. I was studying the war chapters of the Book of Mormon during personal study that day and learned that their prisoners of war were not quiet and submissive. They were troublemakers! 

Friday had a meeting with the District about Open House and the Halloween party. Visited a member who is so kind and has so many rough times in life, and I didn't really understand exactly what she was saying but a scripture I thought of in personal study that morning (Proverbs 3:5) came to mind and I thought "hey, maybe that's the spirit" so I shared it and it seemed to make her really happy. Went to YSA FHE [young single adult family home evening] and Tomoka shimai [Sister Tomoka] (LA) and Kaori shimai [Sister Kaori] (member we work with a lot) came! Neither of them come to YSA usually at all but we invited them and they came!! I was talking to Tomoka shimai after and she had Brisingr (the Eragon/Inheritance Series) book in her backpack and we were able to bond over that. What are the chances that I would meet someone in Japan that likes the books I do?? Amazing. Wow. Such a testament to me that God knows each of us individually and has a perfect plan to help each one of us. In personal study I was reading about the 2060 [stripling] warriors and the part where it said they believed that "if we do not doubt God will deliver us" really stuck out to me. It seems to me that that was the source of their firmness, their undauntedness, their extraordinary obedience; their faith. It reminded me of Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart." (Jessa Jackson's favorite scripture) I want to do that! I've had a lot of experiences lately where I've had a concern and then prayed about it and then just felt like I could trust God to answer my prayer and went ahead with what I felt was right. And everything has turned out beautiful. That has really strengthened my faith and my testimony and my feeling that God knows me, loves me, is aware of me, and hears and answers my prayers.

Two random recent thoughts:

Missionaries are professional farmers. Planting seed professionals in some places, harvesting professionals in others, we're all laboring in the Lord's fields and He has promised a glorious harvest!

I've thought a bit lately about working with less actives in Japan. It's so surprising to me but they LOVE missionaries here! Especially the foreign ones. It is such a blessing. Having a Japanese companion and a foreign companion work together has been the perfect combination to blend language ability and interesting foreignness. :D It is such a blessing! 

Saturday we went to a Stake Relief Society Activity (kind of like a super Saturday) with Sister Okumura, Tomoka shimai (LA) and Kaori shimai. There were crafts, lunch, dessert, a 3 act talent show, 2 testimonies and then the Women's Broadcast. It was so good for Tomoka shimai!! I saw tons of people I know--missionaries and ward members. It was so fun to call them by name. "Yui chan! Monori chan!" (from Izumi) "Goto shimai [Sister Goto]!" (from Kamisugi) "Furusawa shimai [Sister Furusawa]!" (from Nagamachi) Really, really neat. Also, there was a girl I met a few weeks ago who came to Zone Conference in Yamagata because she's getting ready to go on her mission. I saw her and knew she wasn't a missionary and was curious, so after the Conference finished I went over and introduced myself and we talked about the MTC [missionary training center]. She was [saw] me, recognized me, and said "Hey! I leave on my mission the day after tomorrow!" Pretty much made my day! The Talent Show was also really cool. The Izumi Relief Society Sisters did the hula dance Watanabe shimai [Sister Watanabe] and I practiced with them when we were in Izumi. The Ishinomaki RS [Relief Society] did handbells. President and Sister Sugawara (stake president) sang "Eidouvice" [“Eidelweiss”] as a duet while President Sugawara played the guitar. They sang half in English half in Japanese and it was so touching! Bless my homeland forever and bless Japan forever too. We watched the broadcast in Japanese. It made me think so much about the temple and want to go. I understood pretty well. I kept being surprised though while watching the video: Where are all the Japanese people? Are there no Japanese people in Utah? Tomoka shimai said everything about the activity was fun. So glad! She hasn't been to anything church related for a loooong time! 

Yesterday Obuchi shimai [Sister Obuchi] (LA) and Brother Sato's mom (PI) came to church!! So happy! I think they felt the spirit--so happy! Fast Sunday is so wonderful! Tomoka shimai didn't come :(. I think her ride fell through. We taught PMG [Preach My Gospel] class and then had a dendo [missionary work] fireside meeting after church. Lots of activities in the fall!!

No where close to 20 lessons this week, but Elder Low (our new district leader) had really good advice in our report last night that I'm excited to try! Little things I forgot that missionaries can do to find and teach more. All the missionaries in our district are really really good missionaries. I'm so glad I get to work with them and learn from their examples!

I think one reason why missionaries are so genki [vigorous, energetic] and have the energy to do all that they need to do is because of the Spirit and laughter. We have so many blessings!

You asked about Earthquakes. They happen probably once a month. They kind of come in groups, so you'll have a few days where you have a 2 or 3 and then nothing for a long time. But I've [never?] been in one w[h]ere anyone experienced any damage. Just really small. The earth shakes. Everyone looks up. Then it stops. It's kind of routine to everyone here because they have them so often. We also have Typhoons and stuff. Japan is kind of a extreme weather target. Maybe that's why the people are so peaceful. The mission is very prepared. We have a drill every month and an evacuation center and emergency food and water and supplies and phone numbers.

I think one of the pictures I sent you has a big statue memorial where the tsunami hit. The people in Japan talk about the tsunami very freely, probably the same way people in America talk about [Hurricane] Katrina. Very tragic, to be learned from, etc. There are people who feel like they experienced miracles and others who don't. But it has had some impact on most peoples' lives in this area because even if they weren't affected by the tsunami they were affected by the earthquake.

I love preparedness. Because we gave training in Zone Conference we were invited to the Leadership review meeting afterward with the Assistants and Zone Leaders and President and Sister Smith and I loved what Sister Smith said; she said I think everything went so well today not just because you prepared for this Conference but because you are prepared missionaries. You are prepared people. I want to always be a prepared person!! Prepared to friendship and teach and serve and help and with the spiritual sensitivity to quickly recognize needs and act on them. If ye are prepared ye shall not fear!

I hope you have fun biking and seeing the fall colors! I love the Millennium Falcon and Star wars Theme for homecoming! What a great Senior year theme. :D How did Taysom Hill break his leg? I'm so glad you're doing missionary work Dad! I like the Stake Intervals draft you sent me! Sounds like DC was super fun! Where does Sister Lindsay work? That's so sweet that she remembers me! :) We didn't have any responsibilities for transfers this week, just providing bedding and futons for 3 sister missionaries who finished their missions to sleep for 1 night before they went home. Kind of crazy. Sounds like it's fun to be neighbors with the Tanners! ;) I love laughing. Wow I'm so excited Candice and Mom have been asked to help in the temple!! That is so cool!! The only Americans in our current ward are the missionaries, including the office missionary couple, the Taylors. Love them! Lots of rocks in the garden we went to--totally makes sense that they represent rivers and seas! Ward Barbeque: Yes, I ate the squid and it was really good but I didn't sit on the boxes. It was too rocky. :D Yep sewing by hand, no machines in the apartments. ;) My boomerang wound did bruise, haha, but it's mostly gone now.

Wow, I've been out a year. Any ideas for goals for the next 6 months? I've met so many wonderful people, had 2 mission presidents, 6 companions, served in 3 areas, spent 2 months in the MTC, I am understanding and speaking Japanese better, know better how to dendo, my testimony has grown, and I just want to do all that I can! Cry repentance. I feel so blessed. This gospel is the ultimate blessing in life. It makes everything better--it strengthens our families, increases our joy, brings peace, and assurance. And it's all because of Jesus Christ. He is the way to lasting peace in this live and never ending happiness in the life to come. I will joyfully serve Him forever. 

My dear family, I am so grateful for you all that you do and all that you are. You are wonderful! Have a wonderful week. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. What is my facebook name/how to find me on facebook? No one seems to be able to find me... There are a lot of Japanese ward members here who want to me my friend. :D Elder Oba, Maki chan, Yuriko chan, Misaki chan (to name a few). Have any of them found and requested me?

P.P.S. News on Tyler and Kelsea and the rest of the family? How is Sister Jackson in the MTC?

P.P.P.S. Can you email me some family pictures, pictures of the house/nc, and the open house? I'd love print them off to show people. :D

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 48 Pictures

 The AP (assistant to the mission president) accidentally hit Katie in the chin with a boomerang at the park.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

E-mail, 9/29/2014

My dear wonderful family,

About the week;

Last Monday we went to this super beautiful park as a district. Flowers and fountains and cool rocks and playgrounds. Really beautiful. We found a place to sit and eat lunch and then started walking around and ran into the Chapman family from Izumi ward!! So fun too see them! We all took a picture together and talked for a little bit. They were so nice! Sounds like they had a good summer in Utah. Then we came back and went to Honbu FHE [family home evening at the mission home].

Tuesday we went with the ward for a barbecue by a river. They were grilling whole squid. So crazy! Then biked back to the church for a sewing appointment with a referral. So cool. We had a lot of time to talk as I was sewing everything by hand and we talked about church, missionaries, her family, etc. We wanted to set a next appointment but she starts a new job this week so she doesn't know her schedule yet. But she said she:d love to come to church activities if we invite her so we're hoping we:re able to use those to share the gospel with her.

Wednesday was Zone Conference! 

·  Picture
·  Hymn, prayer
·  Training from President and Sister Smith
·  Lunch break
·  Prayer, Musical number (our District; I know that my redeemer lives. Went really well)
·  Training from the Assistants, Zone Leaders, and Us (me and Nishikawa shimai [Sister Nishikawa])
·  Testimony meeting
·  Closing remarks from President Smith
·  Review meeting

I learned:
·  2nd coming will be when we establish Zion
·  2 Ne. 16:8 (our new theme)
·  Christ wants us to reflect His light--that is done only through becoming like Him
·  Ask people; do you expect to be happy when you're 40?
·  The courage to promptly and quietly obey council in all things and at all times
·  Pray more thoughtfully
·  Rejoice in the Holy Ghost
·  Help/love--the same word
·  Be prepared people
·  Revelation
Super spiritual. Our musical number went super well and so did our training. Looking out at everyone it was just like the room was full of light and the spirit and I just felt so happy and so grateful to be a missionary at this wonderful time and in this wonderful place. There is no other place on Earth where I can be engaged in the work of the Lord. Only here as a missionary! This is absolutely His church!

Went back to Nagamachi and got back just in time for Eikaiwa [English class]. 2 earthquakes as we were all getting in bed. We put our wallets and shoes with our emergency backpacks just in case and prayed together for safety and everything was okay. 

Thursday we biked to visit LAs [less-active members] and a member and as we were biking I was singing "Praise to the Man" and just felt so grateful for Joseph Smith and all he did so we could have this wonderful gospel. And then as we were visiting the LAs we got up on top of this huge hill with all these neighborhoods and you could see down to all of Nagamachi with thousands of houses and buildings all close together and the sun was setting and it was so beautiful and I was just filled with LOVE for Japan--these wonderful, peaceful, diligent millions of people all living close together so peacefully. Just amazing. Beautiful. 

Friday we had volunteer with a member for people whose homes were destroyed by the 2011 tsunami and on our way back she took us to see where their homes used to be (where the tsunami hit). It was all just fields and a couple of broken fences. It used to be neighborhoods. No sign of houses. Only a couple of abandoned schools. She said the warning system broke but people saw the tsunami coming and the Elementary School kids were safe on the 3rd floor. Scary. Came back and went with Sister Nishimura (and her 10 month old son) to Obuchi shimai's [Sister Obuchi’s] for a lesson. It was so good! Obuchi shimai just opened right up to Nishimura shimai [Sister Nishimura] and her son. Members are the best!! Then we went to YSA FHE [young single adult family home evening] and shared a spiritual message. There were only 3 YSAs there. Our ward has at least 15 but only 5 are active. And only 2-3 come to FHE. Nishikawa shimai and I want to help them come back! We need young people in the church too! 

Saturday we went to lunch with a member and her investigator son and she asked us if she would help her practice conducting hymns (she was called as the relief society chorister) so we went back to the church and helped her. She's been practicing so much, it was the coolest thing. She is the same member we are teaching the lessons to (since she is worried she forgot some of the church doctrine because she was less active for a really long time). She is working so hard and giving all her heart to the gospel! It is the coolest thing. Then we went and visited a PI [potential investigator] we found [while] housing and she said she:s reading the Book of Mormon and we could come back but couldn't talk right then. Really hoping we can teach her! She also studies the Bible and is so friendly! And lives only a block away from the church so she could very easily come! 

Sunday morning transfer calls came. Nishikawa shimai and I are safe! Sister Yim is transferring to Yamagata. Church was so good!! Sister Obuchi came and stayed for ALL of Sacrament Meeting!! We didn't even ask her to stay, she just chose to herself!! We also went to all 3 hours of church with a 21-year-old LA (Sister Abukawa) who we met that day (hasn't been to church for at least 5 months) who came to church to hear Elder Kawamura's talk. We met that day and became friends with her and the Spirit told me to invite her to YSA FHE and I think we made a good relationship and it was so cool! But she was so excited/scared to talk to me because I'm American! (She talked just fine to Nishikawa shimai.) Did visiting teaching after church with the member we're teaching and then had dinner with the Imano family.

Mom, thank you so much for the recipes! Don't ever feel bad about not emailing me! It's okay!! I'm so happy you are studying Chapter 3!! I haven't seen the womens' conference yet. Not sure when/if we will get to. I want to go to the temple with my family!! Please don't send me a crock pot! I probably won't use it! Hope Candice has fun in DC! Sounds like Lauren had a good birthday! Good luck Zach! I'm excited for General Conference! Can't believe I've almost been out a year. I need all your advice on how to be the best missionary I can be so I can finish strong! Mom, can you take a picture of where it says "Sister Bellows-full-time missionary" on your phone? 

Well, I think that's all for this week. I love you my dear family! I am so happy to be a missionary and am praying for us to be able to find the prepared people in Nagamachi! I am not ready to be a year of the way through my mission. There is so much I want to do and become and I'm not yet! Not done yet! The next 6 months will be the best 6 missionary months yet! I love you!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai

P.S. Christmas wish list ideas

P.P.S. Sorry for not being super detailed! I didn't sleep well last night so I don't feel very good! I love you! Have a great week!