Tuesday, December 2, 2014

E-mail 11/30/2014

My dear wonderful family,

Happy Thanksgiving! Sounds like you had fun! Was it delicious? 

This week we had several activities--including TWO Thanksgivings--so we didn't have as many teaching appointments but the activities were really good for finding! No using the ukelele just yet--still need to practice more.

Tuesday we went to Ladies' Eikaiwa [English class] and had a surprise birthday party for Sister Smith. Fun and delicious! Then we had District Meeting. The Zone Leaders came and did training on positive thinking. Then had volunteer. 

Wednesday we biked up to the honbu [mission home] area in really cold rain. Went to the honbu to dry off and then visited a potential investigator (she was too busy to talk). Came back, warmed up and had a planning meeting with the District.  Then had our lesson with Sato-san (our investigator) with Sister Yamagishi and Brother Sato there to teach with us. Taught about baptism and prayer. We actually hadn't really planned to teach a lot about baptism, we were just mentioning it from bullet point #10 from How to Begin Teaching in Chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel but she asked a lot of really good, detailed, interested questions about baptism so we ended up talking about it for a while and reading the baptismal prayer in 3 Nephi. We asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said yes. We asked her when she would like to be baptized and she said she didn't know yet but wanted to be baptized at some point. Then she said it again. I think I want to be baptized. The Spirit in that room was so powerful. Then she looked at us and said "You're shinning [shining]. Your eyes are glowing. It must be from your hearts." One of the most amazing experiences of my life. 

Then we talked about her Book of Mormon reading. She's read 1 Nephi chapter 1 and a little bit of chapter 2! And she's been highlighting it. She read to us the parts she highlighted--and several were parts about light. Amazing. 

Then we explained prayer and helped her think of things she could say in a prayer and then she said the closing prayer. (She's refused in the past, but said it that day!) So happy! She is really progressing! 

Thursday was Thanksgiving! We studied and then went to Hand Massage Volunteer with all the missionaries. At the center, a man cut fresh greens from his 8 foot square greenhouse garden and had us eat it as salad--DELICIOUS!! Then we all rode of the Honbu with the Assistants for Thanksgiving Dinner at the mission home. We helped in the kitchen to the sound of Christmas music and then ate! Cornbread stuffing, turkeys, cranberry sauce, rolls, potatoes, dessert. DELICIOUS! Did lots of dishes. Really special, really fun, really yummy! We were there with all the Nagamachi missionaries, the honbu staff, President and Sister Smith, and some of the Kamisugi missionaries. Special experiences: Talking with Shitami shimai [Sister Shitami] (senior staff missionary) and her hugging me and telling me "dai suki dai suki dai suki [I love you so much, I love you so much, I love you so much]". Drying the dishes Sister Taylor was washing and talking to her about Sato-san and her progression and Sister Taylor saying with so much heart, "Good! I hope things can start happening for you!" (meaning: finding and teaching and baptizing because we think you are just such a wonderful missionary). And then she gave me a book of conversion stories before we left. Listening to Smith kaicho [President Smith] tell Carr shimai [Sister Carr] about miracles in this mission. Felt like a heavenly family gathering. Warm, happy, light. (The only thing that could've made it better is if you could've been there!) Elder Taylor gave us 4 sisters a ride home and told us about their first mission in Chicago, searching for and rescuing less actives for the ward. So neat. 

Came back and studied. It was a wonderful day! A Thanksgiving full of wonderful, small, tender moments--blessings from a Heavenly Father full of love. So grateful to Him!

Friday I had to take a moment during personal study to write down all the blessings of the week so far. Then we went to a Japanese class at a community center. Turns out it was culture day--which was perfect for dendo [missionary work]! They had 3 activity stations (caligraphy, artwork, tea ceremony) and we were able to talk to people at each station while doing the activities and after we explained at the tea station that we don't drink green tea because of our religion lots of people asked us questions. It was really good dendo! I got to really talk to one student: Wan-san from China. She is 28, married, pregnant, so kind. I really like her. Her English is better than her Japanese so we talked in English (it was so weird not being able to translate English she didn't know into Japanese for her! I had to reexplain things in English instead. Not how it normally works here, haha!). After we finished at the tea station (and everyone kind of passed word around to all the other students and teachers that we wouldn't drink the tea) she said to me "Someone told me you are a missionary. What God do you believe in? Jesus Christ? Why?" Lots of good questions! I asked her if she believed in God. She said; No because none of my family does. We had a chance to talk about a lot of things and invited her to some church activities and Eikaiwa and exchanged contact information. She was really excited about it and said she'd try to come. 

Then we had a lesson with Obuchi shimai [Sister Obuchi] (LA [less-active member]) with Elder Yamada (member of the bishopric and a service missionary). Talked about patriarchal blessings. It went so well. Elder Yamada is so amazing. He explained things so well and gave her the form to recieve her blessing after an interview with the Bishop. Was so good!

Saturday we had the Eikaiwa Thanksgiving party! It was really just a miracle. We had a perfect amount of food. 30 people came. Everyone talked and enjoyed the food and party charades. Went so smoothly. We definately couldn't have done it on our own power. God's help. We had a lot of families come too! We shared a spiritual message at the beginning and got to talk about the church throughout the activity and afterwards with individuals as well. Super neat! 

Sunday in personal study I finished the Book of Helaman! You know what that means? Today, on the first day of December/Christmas I start reading 3 Nephi! And I only have to read 1.5 pages a day to finish reading it in the month of December! So excited!!

Sacrament Meeting was a musical chairs of callings and releasing for the priesthood leaders. All the leaders spoke. Brother Sato--the new Ward Mission Leader--talked about his mom (our investigator) hopefully getting baptized next year and how she is reading the Book of Mormon and they've started praying together every night (keeping the commitments we've given them!!). Then President Tanaka talked about enjoying our callings--they are all given us so we can progress to having eternal families. Really good! Then Carr shimai and I taught PMG [Preach My Gospel] class. Then the 3rd hour of church was combined for a dendo fireside! Went super well. They loved the visual we used. Went really well!

Today we're going electronic dictionary shopping. Hope we can find all the good stuff!

Thanksgiving sounds fun! And so does White Friday. :) I love the idea of a monthly temple trip! Remember how I used to go every week at BYU? Father, thank you for sacrificing your fashion for my Christmas package. :D Congratulations Tyler and Kelsea! Sounds like fun to have the cousins over during the holidays!

I am so grateful to get to be a missionary for 2 Christmases! I was thinking the other day about how much we think about the Savior every day as missionaries. I think we are pretty close to the mark of always remembering Him! I am so grateful to get to study and learn more about Him this Christmas. He is the first gift of Christmas. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I am so grateful for my Savior! 

My dear family you are so wonderful! Thank you for all your letters and emails and pictures and prayers!!!

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


Bellows shimai :)


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