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

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