Wednesday, November 26, 2014

E-mail 11/24/2014

My dear wonderful family!!

Hello from Nagamachi! How are you? How is the weather? The weather here is cold at morning and night but not bad in the afternoon. This week was Eikaiwa [English class] flyer hand out week (chirashi kubari [flyer distribution]) so we went to the train station and handed out flyers every day and tried different ways of doing it to see what worked best to have people take the flyers. Fun! Busy!

Tuesday was so busy! We had chirashi kubari, Ladies' Eikaiwa, a joint lesson with Sato-san (our investigator) and Yamagishi shimai [Sister Yamagishi], studied, went to pocket house volunteer, and had a Christmas season planning meeting with Elder Yamada. Crazy! Our lesson with Sato-san went really well. I feel like Sato-san got really excited to read the Book of Mormon and she asked about baptism and after we explained it and said she could be baptized too if she wanted she seemed really open to it and said she thought it looked so clean and sacred and we almost committed her to be baptized right then but then the member with us started talking about the priesthood so we'll have to bring it up next time. We'll see! I think she has so much potential! Pray for her! We're thinking about baptismal dates.

Wednesday we had a mogi [roleplay] with Sister Nishimura and with Sister Kaoru. Then Eikaiwa. We played vocabulary bingo and taught them "Row, row, row your boat". Very fun. Afterwards two of the students (one in his 40s and the other is about to turn 19) asked me about what missionaries are and what we do and we were able to have a really good discussion and they asked a lot of good questions. Hoping they will decide to start doing the 30-30 (English/gospel lesson) program or come to church!

Thursday was Sister Carr's 20th birthday! We had splits with the Sister Training leaders, District Meeting, a Relief Society Activity with a less active, a less active [member] lesson (We taught Obuchi shimai [Sister Obuchi] about families and the temple and invited her to attend church with her family and she agreed and opened up a lot about her family), a mogi with the Sister Training Leaders, visited 2 potential investigators, an ice-cream party with the seminary and eikaiwa students where we had a cake and sang Happy Birthday for Sister Carr and then seminary. So a very busy day! 

Friday morning Sister Kaneko (my good friend from Izumi Ward!) picked up us 6 missionaries and we helped out her family (who are not members, but now love the missionaries!) harvest 1/2 of one of their 10 fields of daikon (huge green and white yummy radishes). We picked 6 truckloads full and sang Christmas songs as we unloaded the daikon at their barn. Her mom (who isn't a member and used to not trust missionaries) said to us as we were leaving "Please come back soon!" Good seeds being planted! (no farming puns intended). (If you check Kaneko shimai's [Sister Kaneko's] facebook she said she posted pictures and a video of us singing on there.) We came back and helped out with YSA FHE [young single adult family home evening].

Saturday we sang Christmas songs while doing chirashi kubari. I was the designated harmonizer. It was so fun! Then we went with a member (Sister Nukui) to visit her Mom in a nursing home and we sang Silent Night, the Star Spangled Banner, and Amazing Grace for them and they were both so excited about it. As we were driving I asked Nukui shimai [Sister Nukui] why she likes her job (she's a nurse at [a] heart and gastrointestinal surgery hospital) and she poured her heart [out] about how much she loves it (she studies at home for fun--that's how much she loves it) and how she really feels like she is saving peoples lives, and she told me about how she wants to go to America to work at hospitals for people who can't afford healthcare. So amazing. It was so inspiring to hear her talk about her work. It was so enjoyable. Her grandmother also seemed really excited about us visiting her. Miracles. I think we may be making a difference here!

After that, we went to Stake Conference in Kamisugi with Nukui shimai. It was so good! All the talks were on missionary work! And they were all so inspiring. One message I really liked was by our Stake President Sugawara kaicho [President Sugawara]. He held up a ball that was yellow on one side and green on the other. One said was the members and one side was the missionaries. He said some people look at this ball and see only one side of it and think missionary work is just the members or just the missionaries or they see it and think missionary is 80% the missionaries and 20% the members, but it's really the same ball. Members and missionaries. Only through becoming one can we see miracles. Loved that!

Our investigator Sato-san went to Stake Conference that night and loved it. She loved the video about Jesus Christ and had lots of questions about Him after that and was really impacted by President Sugawara's talk. Really good for her! She was just glowing afterwards and her member friend went around and introduced her to everyone, including the Stake President!

Sunday, we had Stake Conference again and there was again a lot of focus on missionary work. President and Sister Smith [the mission president and his wife] also spoke. Really good! Recent converts, returned missionaries, the mission president and the stake presidency all spoke. Really really cool. President Smith talked about how men are that they might have joy. Wickedness never was happiness so we have to be righteous to be happy. That's why we're preaching the gospel because there is no other way for everyone to be fully happy without living the gospel. He also told about his experience in taking in medical exams after accepting 8 callings in his stake (thereby being rendered to having only 2 weeks of cram time to study before his exams). He remembered everything he had studied by the power of the Holy Ghost. He knew the answer to every question. Why? Because he was worthy to receive it by accepting every calling he was given. I really felt the Spirit speaking as he spoke. It was very inspiring. 

After Stake Conference I found Oikawa shimai [Sister Oikawa] (my convert in Kamisugi)! So good to see her again! She remembered me! So happy to see her! 

Also after Stake Conference, I was also able to talk to the Kamisugi Bishop, Ward Mission Leader, and Ward Missionary about our Investigator Anazawa-san who is going to move into their ward in a few months. They are ready to receive her when she gets there!

Since Anazawa-san is currently in the hospital in Kamisugi, we obtained permission from the Assistants to go visit her. Luckily I had served in Kamisugi before and we had the Spirit's help to be able to go and visit her and teach her a lesson without getting lost or having any problems! And she was so happy and receptive to us and to the Spirit as we taught her there. It was just amazing! I have been praying since the time I met her that her heart would be softened so that she would be willing to recieve the message of the gospel and yesterday her heart was the softest I have ever seen it! It was amazing! Sister Carr did a beautiful job of teaching and testifying about God's love and her own conversion. Anazawa-san really liked it.

Then we came back to Nagamachi and got a musical number ready for FHE tonight! Excited! 

Setting goals with people sounds fun!
I like the idea of recording how she saw the hand of the Lord in her life everyday. We watched a video about that in YSA FHE this week.
White Friday is so cool!
 
That's awesome that you will have an orchestra for Lamb of God!

I am still practicing the ukelele and haven't played it in public yet but we're thinking of playing and singing Christmas songs outside near the train station when we hand out Eikaiwa flyers next month. 

Thank you for sending pictures! I love seeing you guys!!
 
Still biking! Not too cold yet!

During street contacting this week we talked to some people on the train. Sister Carr had a really cool experience. She went up to this college kid and asked him what he was reading and started talking to him and he asked her why she was in Japan and she said "I'm a missionary!" and he said "Woah, really??" and had a really good reaction. Sad thing is we had to get off the train right then but if we'd been able to stay things might have been really good. Planting seeds!

Training is great. I like it. It's nice to feel like I can help someone get off to a good start on their mission in Japan. Sometimes I feel like I'm really bad at it but I guess those are just my opportunities to learn and improve. Like learning how to lead without feeling bossy because I hate it when things feel like we're on different levels. We're all the same, we're all on the same level. No one is above or below the other and we need to treat each other like we're on the same level, but sometimes that can be hard to do when you have to correct things.

Carr shimai [Sister Carr] is great. She has a lot of dendo [missionary work] fire and desire to preach the gospel so her priorities are all in the right place. She is very capable and learns very quickly. I just need to remember all the things I'm supposed to teach!

We have a Thanksgiving Day appointment and have a Thanksgiving party this week for the ward as a part of Eikaiwa with soup and sandwiches. I remember Thanksgiving in the MTC [Missionary Training Center]! So fun!

How is Logan doing?

love Alma and Amulek.

Smoke detectors sound like a good idea.

Funny Japanese mistakes; I was trying to say Because his feelings are deep "Fukai node"/"because it's deep" and instead I said because his feelings are unpleasant "fukai na node"/"because it's unpleasant". ;D Another one; Carr shimai was trying to say what kind of "aji"/"taste" is it? but instead said said what kind of "haji"/shame is it? Funny!

Thanks for the copy of your PMG [Preach My Gospel] lesson! That is so good! So helpful for me too!
Wow! 39 missionaries serving from our Stake!

I was thinking this week about covenants and wanted to make a list of "My Covenants" to put somewhere where I can see them often. What would you put on your list?

My dear wonderful family I am so grateful for this gospel and for the lifting influence it is on our lives. I have felt the blessings of us with me this week as I have sought to share it and to improve myself to become more like Christ. My prayers have been answered, I have seen God's hand in my life, I have felt the guiding, comforting influence of the Holy Ghost, and I am surrounded my wonderful, incredible amazing people who are blessing my life in ways that send me to my knees in gratitude. This week I looked through my journal to find my goals from last year and reread over those and the promises of my setting apart blessing and was able to see how much the Lord has blessed me this year. He loves us so much more than we can comprehend. I love the Book of Mormon and resources the church has for us. We are showered with daily blessings more than we can imagine, we just have to close our umbrellas and lift our head heavenward to receive them. I have been lifting and strengthened this week because of the Holy Ghost and the wonderful people around me and the truths of the gospel. I am so grateful!

Your letters and emails and prayers nourish and strengthen me! You are so wonderful! I pray for you daily!

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

Love,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. My black shoes are wearing out.... yeah, the ones you just sent me.... They're perfect! But I guess we've been busy lately or something...

P.P.S. I LOVE YOU!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

E-mail 11/17/2014

My dear wonderful family,

Hello hello! How are you? Emailing you from 5 degrees Celsius [41 degrees Fahrenheit] in the morning and at night but warmer in the afternoons--Nagamachi. No snow yet but if it gets colder we might!

We saw so many miracles this week!!

Tuesday we had a really good lesson with the less active Abukawa family (the oldest daughter and her mom) which was super cool because before we even started the lesson the daughter asked us what our favorite scriptures are--which is exactly what we were planning to ask them at the start of our lesson. Inspired questions!! 

Wednesday, Brother Sato's mom started taking the missionary lessons with us! We met at the church before Eikaiwa [English class] with her, her son, and Sister Yamagishi and taught her about Jesus Christ, God, Families, and protection that comes from keeping the commandments. The Spirit was really strong and Brother Sato and Sister Yamagishi were so wonderful to teach with. Really amazing. Also, Brother Sato had to leave the room for a few minutes and while he was gone Sato-san told us how she's noticed how the church has made him such a good person and that that is part of the reason why she is so impressed with the church. She also said that everyone at the church is "bright"/"brilliant"/"glowing". So cool! The power of the gospel. 

Thursday we a great District Meeting on love and talking with everyone and then had 2 mogi [roleplay] lessons with members. We asked them if they are reading their scriptures daily and both said no so we committed them to read from their scriptures daily and they said they wanted to and they would.

Friday we went to a free Japanese class at a community center. The coolest thing! It was like a YMCA kind of a feel and I could speak to them in Japanese and understand them AND they were teaching entirely in Japanese but I understood them AND I learned from what they were teaching. So cool!! I could totally see myself attending those classes if I lived/worked in Japan. I would love it!! So fun. We were able to talk to the work[er]s and our classmates about the church and missionaries so pretty cool!

Saturday we had a planning meeting for the dendo [missionary work] fireside, Christmas, and Thanksgiving with our district. We visited a referral but it looks like they moved so we streeted [did street contacting?] on the way back home and talked with some people. Then we had dinner at the Imano family house and did a message on sharing the gospel (we can know how through PMG [Preach My Gospel]). Invited them to invite friends to the Christmas party.

Sunday my companionship got lots of assignments from the Ward in coordination meeting (good! they trust us!) and then Obuchi shimai [Sister Obuchi] (LA [less-active member]) came to sacrament meeting and Brother Sato's sister came to Sacrament Meeting and gospel principles so we sat with her as well and she enjoyed meeting the people there and seemed to enjoy the primary program in sacrament meeting and the lesson on obedience during Sunday School. 

That's our wonderful week! Super busy as always, but always joyful!

Random fact of the week: Sister Carr and I had the same Mission prep teacher, President Jackson. And remember how I made a scripture plaque of Moses 1:39 for him at the end of the year because he always would write it on the board at the start of class? I asked Carr shimai [Sister Carr] if he still wrote that scripture on the board and she said, "No, he uses a plaque." AHH!! Makes me so happy! He uses it!

Candice, sounds like you're getting geared up to take your licensing test. That's cool that you want to learn the cello! And you're getting crafty. Can you forward Jessica's mission emails to me? You always ask how I am; I really love dendo. I really feel so lucky. I'm working so hard and it makes me want to work hard for the rest of my life. The blessings are so worth it. So amazing. Time is so short. I hope you record some of your Lamb of God practices/performances so I can hear it! You sound really busy Mom! Congrats on your Master Gardener graduation! Thank you for calling missionary medical for me! I think the Andersons can be found at andersonsmission.blogspot.com I thought but I'll double check. There is also a "Sendai Mission Moms" facebook page. (I might have already told you about that). Thanks for the ukelele music! That's cool that Grandma Sandberg got to meet the man who produced the Bible videos! I'd love to hear what he has to say about them! So cool! Lauren, you asked my opinion about contacts. I like both! They're both nice. So, either way. :) Glad you've been writing recently. Sounds like middle school is fun! I'm excited for Christmas too! No snow yet. Keeping warm. Hope Stake Conference is good! We have ours this upcoming week! I'm glad Zach wants to go to BYU with me. :) Yeah! Let's all learn Japanese! Congratulations to Ashley and Odessa Rose! 

Well, my dear family I'm so grateful for you. I am so blessed to be yours. Thank you for all your emails and all that you are doing. I am so proud of you. I am so grateful to be serving the Lord. I am just enjoying. I am learning so much about how God loves us. He doesn't look down at us from Heaven and see a huge blue and green planet. He knows each of us individually and personally. He is aware of the happenings in each of our daily lives and cares about us so much that he blesses us daily and is cheering us on to choose the right so He can bless us even more richly. He delights to love and bless his children and to help them prepare to return to live with Him again. 

I love you dearly! I love you soooooo much!! You are so wonderful! Thank you for all that you do!

I love you!!!!!

Love,

Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. Dad, you asked about emergency prep in Sendai; recently leaders gave our ward member a basic list of what a 4 person family should have in their food storage. We also had an activity where they taught members how to prepare emergency meals (the activity included putting them together and cooking and eating them to see how they tasted). I think they also say to have a list of emergency contact information/plans, etc. That's what they've been doing recently here in Sendai Stake.

[We couldn't download the pictures from this week. Sorry!]

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

E-mail 11/9/2014

My dear wonderful family!!

How are you? How was your week? Are you enjoying school and the fall weather? Anything new and exciting? Thanks for all your extra prayers this week! I have felt them! I feel really blessed. :)

This week has been really busy!! My week was so busy I haven't written in my journal since Tuesday so my brain is having to work a lot to remember what to write you. :) Of course what you're probably wondering most about is how my new companion is. :D Her name is Sister Carr. She is from LA. She is 19. She joined the church 4 or 5 years ago. She has an older half sister and two younger sisters. Her Mom and two younger sisters are also converts, but Sister Carr is the only active one. Her Mom is Japanese and her Dad is American. She actually lived in Japan until she was five but then her family moved to America and only spoke English so she and her siblings all forgot Japanese. But she went to BYU and studied Japanese for a year and her pronunciation sounds like a native speaker. Her goal is to become a translator and she picks up Japanese so fast. She so full of energy and genki [peppiness] and faith. It's funny because she was in the MTC [Missionary Training Center] for September and October and I was in the MTC for October and November. So she basically went to the MTC a little less than a year after me. Crazy! Thanksgiving in the MTC (remember how they took our picture and put it on Deseret News or something?) Fun times! I'm already learning so much as a trainer. I'm glad I thought about what I would like to be as a trainer when I was a new missionary so I had a little bit of mental preparation. Learning so much! Really fun. I feel kind of like a mom; I forgot how many basic things I had to be taught when I was a new missionary, like how to throw garbage away or do daily planning or bike (she ran into a wall on her first time biking to the church) or how to report to our ward leaders. Those things are so natural to me now! Crazy to remember that I had to learn them back when I was a new missionary. :D

So, about how I got my new missionary. :)

Tuesday I went on splits with 2 different missionaries and traveled to Kamisugi to pick up the other missionary who was becoming a trainer. Then we went up to the mission home together to drop off our bags (since [we] slept at the mission home that night) and then went housing nearby until the New Trainers' meeting. 3 Elders, us 2 sisters, sitting around the mission home kitchen table. :D Highlights:
·  President Smith talked about being a Christ-like person. He explained: Your companion is your most important investigator (remember that in your rush to share the gospel). It's more important what you do than what you say. Show them that you love being a missionary. There will come times when they need correction so correct clearly in a timely fashion (privately, constructively, lovingly). Then the 
·  Assistants [to the mission president] said: Explain what you are doing. Ask for their revelation. Help them learn the language. 
·  President Smith said: You have been called so that you can communicate with your companion. 
·  Sister Smith talked about the Adjusting to Missionary Life pamphlet and then read the scripture in the New Testament that says "Wilt thou leave also? Where else would we go? There is no place better than this?" And then said; we don't always feel great. That's okay. That's life. There are many ways to fix it. Joyful service.
Then all the trainers and all the office missionaries and President and Sister Smith and us all drove to the airport and picked up our missionaries!!! Came back and ate dinner and then went to bed. :)

Woke up Wednesday and had the new missionary orientation meeting. President Smith talked about spiritual power. The Assistants talked [about] working together as companions, talking with everyone, faith to find, introduced the details of our mission, and showed a music video about the Savior. Then Sister Smith talked about the Spirit. Then the office missionaries helped the new missionaries withdraw money from their missionary accounts and then we came back to the mission home and learned about bike safety. After that we got a ride back to our apartment with the Taylors (including all of Carr shimai's [Sister Carr’s] bags) and went to an Eikaiwa [English class] meeting and had Eikaiwa. Busy day!!

Thursday we got flu shots (apparently they gave it to us in the tendon in our elbow--itchy!) and had 2 lessons with members and then a dendo [missionary work] fireside meeting and then ate dinner and went to seminary.

Friday we had a mogi [roleplay] with 2 members and lunch with a member and went housing and when to YSA FHE [young single adult family home evening]. 

Saturday we went to lunch with a less active family and then did weekly.

Yesterday we had church and weekly planning.

Busy!!

You were studying the adjusting to missionary life pamphlet? That's awesome! I love that pamphlet. I think it's such a good resource.
Wow, Zach got to watch 7 cataract surgeries! That's crazy!
Who is our family is participating in Lamb of God?
I'd love to hear from the Williams how picking up Logan goes!
We'll have a Zone Conference in December.
I got your package today! I haven't opened it yet.
Congrats to Zach and Lauren on their report cards!
We exercise 30 minutes every morning after we wake up except for Sundays. Sit ups, lunges, etc.
Dad asked me about landscaping... it's been a while since I've seen our yard so I'm sure the people who have seen it more than me will have better advice than I. :D
Congrats on master gardener graduation!
That's cool that Dad will be able to visit Tyler and Kelsea in 6 months when he travels for work! Do they have a plan for where they're going to live yet?
Yeah, Christmas phone chat! Be thinking about what you want to talk about. :)

Sister Carr's Japanese is really good. Her faith is really really strong. She wants to proselyte all the time--not plan, haha. She doesn't seem to have jet lag. She doesn't know how to ride a bike so we can't go very far places yet. It's a good thing the sister's apartment is only a 3 minute bike ride from the church! When I told her about the people we were teaching she said "Okay. We're going to up those numbers." Her life has been really hard so she is super determined. She's definitely going to see miracles. Really obedient. Knows the gospel really well. We actually had the same mission prep teacher at BYU so it's really funny to hear her use his terminology for missionary work because I learned the same things from him!

We taught a ton of mogi lessons with members this week. Sister Carr told me when she got here that she has the first vision memorized in Japanese so I had her recite it in one of our mogis. It really impressed the member. And me too! So cool!

We have an appointment to teach a referral on Wednesday before Eikaiwa with a member. Praying so much that it will go well! The referral is such a kind person and would love the gospel so much if she gives it a chance!!

Learning so much! Sister Carr and I are both healthy and happy. :) I'm so grateful for her--I'm already learning so much from her!!

Well, family, I just want you to know I am so grateful for this gospel. I am so grateful to know who God is and to know so much about Jesus Christ. I was thinking about the lyrics to "I know that my Redeemer Lives" this week;

He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

I used to think: How is that true? The Savoir [Savior] has much more important things to be doing. That can't be His life's purpose. But I realized this week that the reason he came to Earth was to perform the Atonement so that he could help us with everything we need to be able to return to live with God again. He lives to help us. He lives to do those things for us. I can't fathom the love that motivates that. It is incredible to me how much love Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father have for us. It makes me so happy! I want everyone to feel the joy of our message. I hope you feel that joy as you pray, as you read your scriptures, and as you go to church. This is a gospel of joy. I love it!

I love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love,

Your missionary,

Bellows Shimai :)

And I found a ukelele in the apartment here so I am wondering if you can send me some c[h]ords for songs you think it might be good for me to learn how to play. :) Songs people here might know, that I could use to start conversations, etc. Whatever you think! 

Thank you so much!! I love you!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

E-mail 11/2/2014

My dear wonderful family,

Hello, hello! How are you? It sounds like things are starting to get more fall-like in Carolina. 

This week:

Funny story; Monday night I dreamed we were at Eikaiwa [English class] but we didn't have a lesson prepared so when we went to Ladies' Eikaiwa and the Taylors were late Nishikawa shimai [Sister Nishikawa] winked at me and said "You better prepare a lesson." Haha. But thankfully they were just late due to a phone call and did a great job teaching Ladies' Eikaiwa and then afterward we had a bento (lunch) party with Sato-san (referral), Uchiyama shimai [Sister Uchiyama] and Hanzawa shimai [Sister Hanzawa]. Nishikawa shimai made soup and I made a boiled sweet potato/fruit salad. Yummy! Sato-san made fruit bread and Uchiyama shimai made the coolest bentos (Japanese people go all out). Yummy. Sato-san ope[ne]d up and talked a lot to the sisters and Nishikawa shimai was able to give her the Relief Society newsletter and a card explaining prayer. Then we went to the Missionary Leadership Conference (the thing all the leadership goes to; generally the APs [assistants to the mission president] need some help with the activities they want to do for the training so the Nagamachi missionaries come and help out, so that's what we did!). The training was on member dendo [missionary work]; specifically doing mogis (role-play lessons) with the members to become better teachers and generate discussion on missionary work. The activity was having all the leaders teach 3, 15 minute mogis. Nagamachi district all split up and led a room where a set of missionaries and a volunteer (from the ward or Eikaiwa or an investigator) would do a mogi and then give feedback. So it was kind of like we (each individual Nagamachi missionary) were running a mogi both, haha. It was really good! My first "customers" (I don't know what to call them, haha) had to do a mogi with me as the investigator because one of our volunteers called in sick. But then the next volunteers showed up in time for the next 2 lessons so the next 2 STLs [sister training leaders] were able to do a mogi with 2 Young Women from Nagamachi ward. The mogis were really good and the YW really enjoyed it. They both have older sisters currently serving missions and both want to serve missions too so the mogis were so good for them! They asked where they could get PMGs [copies of Preach My Gospel] to start studying them. Pretty cool! I learned so much from watching all those mogis! One thing I learned is that the most important thing is not the lesson; it's the people there; the investigator, your companion, the spirit, everyone there. And in order to show that you really need to listen to everything and everyone the entire time--not just during the lesson. From the moment you come in to the moment you leave. Listen! 

Wednesday we went to seminary and then rode the train with a pikachu pinyata [Pikachu pi├▒ata] the missionaries made for a member (everyone stared at me, haha) to volunteer with a member. She wants us to share the gospel with the two people she volunteers with so that was really good. Then we had a lesson with a lady from our ward whose daughter just got divorced so she has been feeling really sad and has been wanting to hear the missionary lessons again (she was less active for a long time so she's worried she doesn't remember the gospel). We were able to testify and share scriptures and she said she got genki [energetic, peppy]!! She was even smiling and laughing by the end. The power of the Spirit! It strengthened my testimony of the Atonement too. Then we had Eikaiwa.

Thursday we had lunch with a member and then a lesson with a less active [member] and then went to visit a PI [potential investigator] (Abe-san) to invite her to Yokoyama-san's baptism. The lights were on and her husbands' car was home (she told us if her husband was home she couldn't talk to us) so we were worried she wouldn't talk to us but we decided to try anyway and ran their doorbell more than once but no one answered. We went back to our bikes and deliberated, trying to figure out what to do, praying, trying to figure out why we felt we should come when her front door opened, her husband came out, got into his car, and drove off. MIRACLE. That was a very clear answer sign and assistance from God. So we went up, rang the doorbell and Abe-san came out immediately and we were able to talk with her! We gave her a Relief Society Calendar and mentioned the baptism and gave her a relief society craft activity sample and talked a lot but she didn't take interest in the baptism and we had to get going so we went back to our bikes to leave but I decided to try bringing up the baptism one more time. I brought it back up and explained it and said I thought she'd be interesting in it and she remember[ed] what baptism is and said she really wanted to see one! She turned out to be too busy the day of the baptism to come but she said "thank you for inviting me!" And then she checked the time and said "Oh, you're lucky. I was about to leave for a meeting in a few minutes too so you almost missed me." Not lucky. The power of the spirit!!!!! So cool!!

Friday we had Zone Training Meeting down in Yamagata. The Zone Leaders talked about obedience and then talked about different rules and then promised blessings. One of the rules they talked about really stuck out to me. They emphasized having all 3 hours of our allotted study time a day. (Usually when missionaries get busy they drop language study and really busy missionaries sometimes don't study at all). It made me realize how short our dendo [missionary work] time is and how we really need to try our best to use that short amount of time as effectively as we can and not waste it. Then we came back and had a lesson with a member.

Saturday we biked an hour and a half up a mountain--so cool!! Through tunnels and everything! Biking up for 30 minutes straight! What a workout! We went to the Abukawa family (LA [less-active members]) house for what we thought would be a few minute greeting with their 20 year old daughter but MIRACLE it turned into a lesson with said daughter, her younger sister, and their mom about testimony and prayer. They were all only home because their grandparents were coming--and they showed up just as we were leaving. CRAZY! MIRACLES. Then we had the baptism for one of the Elders' investigators; Brother Yokoyama. The missionaries did a musical number (Savior, Redeemer of my soul), Sister Morgan and I introduced and testified about Jesus Christ and the Atonement and showed Mormon Messages about these topics while they changed clothes and then Brother Yokoyama bore his testimony and Elder Yamada spoke. Everything went perfectly and investigators and less actives came! So cool. We came back and did our daily planning and then transfer calls came. 

Sunday we had a super good fast and testimony meeting and then taught PMG [Preach My Gospel] class and then the Relief Society was on Charity (using the Gospel Principles book). Loved it! Had a dinner appointment with the Furusawa family and they invited a non-member friend over. So good!

Mom has probably told you about the results of transfer calls. Let's just say I had a hard time sleeping since then! Excited and nervous. Just so grateful to me [be] a missionary in this wonderful place, preaching the wonderful message of the gospel which is change. Through Jesus Christ's Atonement we can become extraordinary people and see miracles and know for reality for ourselves that God lives and he loves us and knows us. I'm so thankful to be a missionary! I love this work!

Our colors haven't peaked yet but have started showing! Staying warm. Don't need anything right now. Maybe a resistance band for working out.

Zach is applying to BYU!! Tyler is working really really hard. Zach, what are you doing to prepare for your mission? When do you plan to submit your papers? what are your plans for a major at byu?

Thanks for looking at kanji books! I currently have kanji book by James W. Heisig on the meaning and writing of the characters. But inside that book it says he has another book on the reading of the characters (their pronunciation-ish). I wanted to get the book on the reading of the kanji to use in addition to the one I already have.

Yep we've been safe on our bikes! It doesn't really get dangerous to ride until it snows and no snow yet so full speed ahead. :)

The members feed us probably 3 times a month but they give us food so we can cool [cook for] ourselves every fast Sunday.

Actually, if you could print the recipes and mail them that would be great! Could you print them with 4 pages on 1 piece of paper? (2 on the front and 2 on the back) That way I can cut them up and put them in an A5 size binder.

Lauren looks so cute in her costume! I think I have the lamb of God soundtrack. I will check. 

I love you all so much!! Thank you for all that you do!!

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

Love,

Your missionary,


Bellows shimai :)