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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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...


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