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 :)

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