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 piñata] 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!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

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