Thursday, January 29, 2015

E-mail, 1/26/2015

My dear wonderful family,

My week was fantastic!!

Monday we had District Training Meeting and Elder Hill gave a fantastic training on why our missions are important and it was sooo good! I learned so much!! He is so prepared and spiritually knowledgable! Amazing! Felt the spirit so strong. 

Tuesday we biked 2 1/2 hours through 3 inches of snow. So glad we could bike safely! So much warmer than walking through snow! We went to a sign language club--but it was just games, not a class so we probably won't go back. Then we visited an LA [less-active member] (not home) and then went to chirashi kubari [flyer distribution] with the District. It was soooo cold!! But one of the Elders' investigators came to support us and brought a guitar, a drum, and a ukelele! He kept encouraging us, saying "You can do it! 5 more minutes! For dendo [missionary work]! Dendo fire!!" It was so cool! 

Wednesday we biked through the snow to Miyaji-san's (investigator and Eikaiwa [English class] student) house for our first lesson with her (she was the other companionship's investigator before this area went down to only 2 sets of sisters). It was so awesome!! She kept her last commitment and remembered a ton and asked really good questions. (If I died right now where would I go--paradise or prison? Where did Satan come from?). So cool! Really good Spirit! She has real interest. She's a really good mom too (her 3 year old was there). And she fed us delicious rice casserole that she melted the topping with with a flame thrower right in front of us and gave us delicious daikon [radish] soup--yum! Her husband is in the Japanese navy so they move every two years. Then we had shu wa [sign language] class at church. Then we visited Matsuda shimai [Sister Matsuda] (LA, grandma). Five people visited her that day! She was so pleased! :) She's starting to recover from her cold. We sang a hymn with her and read a scripture together and she was so happy. Such faith and ganbaru [working hard]! She said missionaries are special and that we make her happy. :) Eikaiwa!

Thursday we went to the church and had Family English Program with Yamashita-san. Taught her about prayer and the Holy Ghost. Went really well. She said she still prays sometimes! At 2:30 we got on our train for Hirosaki for splits! On the train we finished all of our weekly planning and started brainstorming/studying together for MLC [mission leadership council]. Way productive! 6:16 we arrived in Hirosaki and ate dinner and then Gallacher shimai [Sister Gallacher] and Isogai shimai [Sister Isogai] picked us up from the eki [station] and showed us the way to their apartment where they did a mogi [roleplay] for us--they are really good teachers! Their mogi was way good! Then we planned together for splits and slept in Hirosaki.

Friday during personal study I found the coolest scripture!! Alma 43:1. It's after Alma has finished giving council to his 3 sons individually (usually the ti[m]e when a prophet is about to die), and then it says: "And now it came to pass that the sons of Alma did go forth among the people, to declare the word unto them. And Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth." Isn't that the coolest thing?!! I LOVED THAT! Alma was old and tired and just finished a mission (Alma 35:14) but HE KEPT DENDOING! HE COULDN'T STOP. I love that example so much!! Really touched my heart. Don't ever give up! 

Then I did companion study with Gallacher shimai and we planned for our lessons. Then language study and lunch and Gallacher shimai and I left at 11:20 to catch our train to Hachinohe. 2 hours and 20 minutes later we go to Hachinohe. We dropped our things off at the church and then biked to visit an LA (45 minutes of hills, but perfect weather, no snow) but she wasn't home so we did some housing nearby. Lots of kekkos [rejections] but at the last house on the street a very bright, well-read, 60 year-old man listened to us!!! He asked "Why are there so many questions?" Gallacher shimai said "If you give us 5 minutes we can answer that question." We prayed together, taught him Lesson 1 (up through the Restoration, including reciting the first vision) and then prayed together at the end and he said we can come back. Miracle!! Also, after I recited the first vision and explained that Joseph Smith met Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ he said "Oh, that means they are two different people, right? And that Joseph Smith became a prophet, right?" Amazing! 

Then we biked back and picked up dinner at McDonalds (introduced ourselves to a gaijin [foreigner] airforce family from the Quad Cities who know a missionary in Misawa), ate at the church and then had a lesson with Kato shimai [Sister Kato] (RC [recent convert]) on Holy Ghost and Endure to the End. She understood really well. Then we had our Fun Friday activity (basically FHE [family home evening]) and 1 PI [potential investigator], 1 Family English Program student, and 1 investigator came. After that we came back home, did split review and planning. Gallacher shimai is a way good missionary. So strong. Way hard working and diligent. Learned a lot from her. Oh, and she went to college in Ellis shimai's [Sister Ellis’s] (MTC [Missionary Training Center] companion) hometown--so she knows Ellis shimai!!

Saturday we left at 8 am and caught our train to Aomori. Met Iwahashi shimai [Sister Iwahashi] and Isogai shimai there and said bye and then I came back to Hachinohe with Iwahashi shimai. I love her. :) Then Weekly Coordination Meeting. Then a lesson with Sugiura shimai [Sister Sugiura] (baptism and confirmation commandment, went really well). Studied. Then Family English Program with the Ishita family. Yuina-chan (the 5 year old daughter) said the opening prayer and even listened a little bit to the lesson! (she normally plays while her mom listens to the gospel lesson). Prophets. Ishita-san thought the idea was really interesting and she said they'd try to say family prayer. Then Eikaiwa. Brother Kurizaki Kohe (RC [recent convert]) came! He just moved back from Chiba! Cool to meet him! He was baptized about a year ago and works for the Japanese Navy (a lot of people in Hachinohe work for the navy--especially our Eikaiwa students). 


After study we went to church and Moe-chan (15 year-old investigator) came! (Miracle 1) The first time I've met her!! Miracle 2: I stayed awake during the talks in sacrament meeting! I've fallen asleep 4 times here in Hachinohe. I have been praying so much to be able to stay awake and Heavenly Father helped me!! And there were so many blessings because of it! I've been trying lately to prepare for the sacrament to make the sacrament a really spiritually uplifting experience and so after the sacrament prayer I closed my eyes and tried to picture talking with the Savior. I don't know properly how to describe how I felt but my heart felt like it was shinning and my whole body felt full of light and I just felt so happy and I was trying not to let the people around me see me crying. I felt revelation from my spirit older brother and Heavenly Parents for me that I needed and wanted and have been searching for for so long. It was one of the most spiritually powerful experiences of my life. So sacred. Incredible. After that I learned so much from the talks in Sacrament Meeting:

·  God's letters and advice to us are the scriptures. 
·  Going to the temple is like visiting the home of our Heavenly Parents to learn with and from them.
·  God knows our needs. We can pray, read the scriptures, or have FHE in only a few minutes if it's meaningful (from the heart).
·  FHE is more important than Christmas (she said New Years but I'm an American :) )

Another interesting thing is that right after that, one of the branch councilors came up to me and asked me to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting about the Sacrament. Inspired or what? Pretty amazing.

Then (miracle 3) we had 4 people we have been working with come to Young Womens. Moe-chan (investigator), Sae-chan (potential investigator), Shion-chan (recent convert), and Ono Akiho-chan (Less Active). IT WAS SO HAPPY!!!

Then (miracle 4) after Young Womens we had a lesson with Moe-chan (my first lesson with her) and Yamanaka shimai [Sister Yamanaka] came too and jointed--and we talked about baptism with her and testified of God's love for her and she was just beaming and responded so well. And then Iwahashi shimai asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said "Yes." Why? "I want to be free from the bad things that I've had in my life and I know baptism can do that." Can we set a date as a goal to work towards for you to be baptized. "Yes." March 22!!!!!!! She has a concern about her family, but otherwise seemed so excited!!!

Then soup/sandwhich potluck. 

Then (miracle 5) visited Koizumi shimai [Sister Koizumi] (LA)--and she was on her driveway shoveling dirt! And we were able to talk/BRT [?] with her for 30 minutes! Total miracle!!

Then as we were biking home we felt from the Spirit and realized it would be better if we visited some Less Actives instead of preparing for MLC (1 reason: we could do MLC prep on Monday, reason #2: because of MLC/ZTM [zone training meeting] next week we won't have much time to dendo [do missionary work] in our area, #3: we were really close to meeting the Standard of Excellence for Sendai Mission). So even though we were way hungry and tied we turned around and visited Manami shimai [Sister Manami] (miracle 6: she was home! And we met her husband for the first time!) and Matsuda shimai [Sister Matsuda] (miracle 7: she was awake! We sang a hymn together, she is getting better and so happy to have visitors), and then went to our apartment and looked up the addresses of 2 other LAs and went and visited. The Sakagawa couple were home but didn't answer, but (miracle 8) Brother Osaka answered his door and we were able to meet him for the first time! I have never had so many people home in one night before!!

Then we came home and made gyoza [wonton wrappers stuffed with pork and cabbage] and tacos for dinner--delicious! 

SO HAPPY!! We worked so hard and saw so many miracles! Feels so good! So happy!!!

Had a long prayer of gratitude before going to sleep. So grateful. Strength beyond our own. The power of divine grace and a loving heavenly family.

Today we studied, bought groceries and had District P-day [preparation day] (Indian curry and the game of Life). 

Staying warm! Sunny in the afternoons, cold at night, but staying warm. I feel my Savior's love in all the world around me!

Way to go Candice on your Praxis! Sasuga [as expected]! Good luck with your next ones!

Japanese sign language class was way fun. We do it at the church and one of the Deaf members teaches and all the members who want to can come. She reminds me of my first sign language teacher! Eikaiwa is also at the church. 

Sae-chan is great! She came to church again! She is 18. No news on permission yet--keep praying!

Yeah, I think that's the right one toothpaste, maybe? Sensitive whitening, pink label. 

Thank you for the shopping list and food list!

"Here am I, send me" is our mission scripture. 

Thank you for the email Zach!!!!!!! Sounds like life is good! :) Good luck with Japanese! Have fun! Learn hiragana. :) Enjoy those dates!

Lauren thank you for the email too! I will teach you flute if you teach me how to crochet. :)

Ishokenmei hataraite imasu yo! Takusan no hitotachi to hanashi suru o ganbate imasu yo! Nandemo tenki demo dendo shite imasu yo! Ima eigo wa chou heta desu! 
[I have been working so hard! It is good to talk to a lot of people! You have to work through anything, even weather! My English is super bad now!]

I love Iwahashi shimai! She is such a hard worker and we are meshing so well!

We teach the Restoration all the time. It usually takes multiple lessons for people to understand it but it's one of our foundational lessons.

I met a physics researcher from China in Nagamachi. They must have some good places to research science in Japan if Sister Tanner came here too! Did Sister Tanner research in Tokyo?

The dances with games and activities sounds fun.

Can't wait to taste all your delicious cooking Candice!

This week we have Mission Leadership Council in Nagamachi and Zone Training Meeting in Aomori. So lots of traveling, one 14 minute training, and one 35 minute training to prepare. Wish us luck and pray lots!

Thank you for all your emails, prayers, and love. You are such a wonderful support and I love you so much! I experienced the Atonement and Grace of Jesus Christ in a powerful way this week to be able to serve with my whole heart, mind and strength beyond my own capacity and it really strengthen my testimony. I know God lives. I know Jesus Christ is his son who loved us so much he took upon himself our sins and weaknesses and died to rise again from the grave so that we can also, through becoming one with him, rise from our sins and our weaknesses to become like him and receive strength beyond our own.

I love being a missionary!

And I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Sister Bellows :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

E-mail, 1/19/2015

My dear wonderful family,

We had a great and busy week! 

I'm a little short on time, so I'll be very quick this week. :)

This week:

Monday, I did a 30 minute training by myself in District Meeting on working with recent converts and less actives and Iwahashi shimai [Sister Iwahashi] said to me afterward that she really wants to visit more less actives now so I think it went okay! Elder Moo asked if he could have the pictures I used too so maybe it went well.

Tuesday we visited 2 LAs [less-active members] who were both sick so we went housing and then went to Eikaiwa chirashi kubari [English-class flyer distribution]. Then we visited another LA for the first time. She lives pretty far so it was dark by the time we got there but she was very nice and talked to us for a little bit and said we can come back.

Wednesday we had a lesson with Sugiura shimai [Sister Sugiura] (RC [recent convert]) about prophets and then we to Japanese sign language class together. (First time for all of us!) So fun! Learned names and self-introductions. Then we did Zone Training Meeting prep. Then visited another less active but she wasn't home. Then we went to the church for our lesson with RC Shion-chan (high school student) and she had invited Sae-chan (her friend from high school, and our Eikaiwa [English class] student/PI [potential investigator])!! We did a lesson about Eternal Marriage and FHE [family home evening] and it was so fun! They loved it. It was right up their alley. It was perfect for them. Then we had Eikaiwa.

Thursday we got up at 5 and left the apartment at 6:20 for our train to Aomori. Got to Aomori around 9 and walked a long way through the snow to get to the church. Piles at least one-story tall--probably taller. And the locals said most of the snow had melted! Then we had Zone Training Meeting at Aomori Church.
·  Our Training: Obedience. Motivation: Love. 4 obedient people in the Book of Mormon (Abinadai [Abinadi], Lehi, Nephi, Stripling Warriors). Their common characteristics. All had different levels of numberical [numerical] results but that's not how their success is measured. Video: Mormon Message-The Will of God (Hugh B. Brown and the currant bush). We asked Elder Ito to share an experience and he talked about when he was a new missionary they really struggled to see numerical success and that was really hard for him but he learned to see success in different ways and that has helped his whole mission and helped his numerical success to increase as well. Successful missionaries are obedient and do their best. Commitment: Report to the Lord your day's work and obedience in your evening prayer
·  Zone Leader's Training: Conversion Triangle and Gathering Israel. Planning/Goals/Using our experiences. Commitment: Set goals first, plan with Recent Converts first, connect doctrine to daily life.
From the meeting, one impression I had was to ask myself: Am I, personally, receiving revelation through church, prayer, Book of Mormon (not just my investigators)?

After that we had a feedback meeting with the Zone Leaders and District Leaders. Lots of good ideas. I learned so much. One thing we learned: We (us and the Zone Leaders) weren't sure if we should have the training in both languages or just in Japanese so Iwahashi shimai and I decided to do all our training in Japanese and just have a translator (into English) for the missionaries who needed it. The Zone Leaders decided to do one person speaking English and one speaking Japanese. After the meeting finished we felt like it was better to do Zone Training Meeting all in Japanese or to reduce the amount of material we train about (the ZLs [zone leaders] had to take out one of the breaks because it was taking too long to say everything in both languages). I also learned a lot from the discussion the Zone Leaders had about helping people become progressing investigators and come to church. Lots of good ideas! Discussions are a great way to learn I think. I learn so much by talking about things.

Then we had lunch and study and then went to the Aomori Sister's apartment and listened to their mogi [roleplay] and planned for our splits.

Friday Sister Hayashi (12th transfer) and I dendoed [did missionary work] in Aomori and Iwahashi shimai and Hyodo shimai [Sister Hyodo] (new missionary) dendoed in Hachinohe. We started with personal study and then met a member and her friend at her friend's house for a mogi lesson. I had a neat experience during personal study. I was really nervous about the split so I just prayed and prayed and prayed about it--and during the whole split I just felt so much love for Hayashi shimai [Sister Hayashi] and saw so many of her good qualities and felt the Spirit and such a good relationship of her where she trusted me with her thoughts and feelings. Really amazing. Anyway, we the mogi appointment was challenging because they were both speaking the Aomori dialect so it was incredibly hard for me to follow the line of the conversation (it seemed so jumpy to me because I was only getting 4% of what was being said). But we did manage to pray with them, explain God, and read from the Book of Mormon together. The friend wasn't very interested but did open up more and then we ate lunch together. Then Hayashi shimai and I went back to the apartment and studied and then went and visited a RC and her investigator mom and did a lesson on repentance in their genkan [entryway]. They are so awesome!!!!! Manase-chan is so cute and strong in the gospel (ex: I learned this thing the other day about repentance and I think I want to do this better and I just realized I probably should've done family history before I go to the temple to do baptisms tomorrow!) and has such a good relationship with her mom and testified so much during our lesson to her mom. So cool! She is such a good example to her mom. I learned so much about repentance from that lesson--from what they said and from what Hayashi shimai taught. Repentance is so positive and happy! Changing all our mistakes from weighing us down to being lifted up by the help and merits of Christ in our full-partnership with him. I love it! Then we came back and did our split review. Wonderful experience! I love Hayashi shimai and Hyodo shimai!

Saturday we got ready and walked 30 minutes in the falling snow to the eki [station] and took the train to Misawa to meet and trade back companions. Almost didn't make it because the ticket I had was for a different train than Hayashi shimai's and the ticket-man didn't want to let me go, but then Hayashi shimai couldn't meet up with Iwahashi shimai and Hyodo shimai because they already on the train! But we finally were able to persuade him and by running we made it in time for them to catch their train back to Aomori! Small miracles to help missionaries stay together!! Then we (Iwahashi shimai and I) came back to Hachinohe and had a lesson with Kato shimai [Sister Kato] (RC) about repentance, baptism, and proxy baptisms. Asked her if she wanted to have a temple recommend interview and she said not yet--too soon (she's not confident). Then we had Family English Program with the Ishita family about Eternal families--so cute! Then Eikaiwa!

Sunday President and Sister Smith came to church in Hachinohe so I translated for Sister Smith for sacrament meeting (translated President Smith's talk for her--pretty fun!). Then Iwahashi shimai and I taught gospel principles (about Pre-Earth Life) and an Eikaiwa student came!!! Then we went to Young Womens with Sae-chan (she came to church!!) and so I translated again for Sister Smith. Then we went to Shu wa [sign language] with her and Sae-chan (again, I translated--way hard to learn new things and translate at the same time!). Then we had our interviews after church. 

We gave Sae-chan the parental permission from to take the lessons. Please pray that we can get permission to teach her!!!!!

Good luck with your tests Candice!

How much water should someone drink every day?

It sounds like you are doing well! So glad to hear it!

There is no happier work than to be busy in doing the work of the Lord!!

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


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

[No pictures this week. Sorry!]

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

E-mail, 1/12/2015

Dear wonderful family,

It was a great week!

Tuesday we went to the Honbu [mission home] (in Nagamachi) for Mission Leadership Council (MLC). So at 8am we caught our five hour bus to Sendai. Miracle--there were so many people on there for us to dendo [do missionary work] to! The woman I sat next to was actually drinking sake [rice wine] so I was a little concerned about bringing up the gospel but she was very kind. We didn't talk a whole lot about the gospel, but I gave her my meishi [business card] and some chirashi [flyers] and she said she would read it and seemed very pleased. Then we got to Sendai and did a little dendo there (saw Elder Reynolds and Elder Berkley from the MTC!) and then took a train to Nagamachi and went to drop off a letter in that apartment but the Sisters were home so I got to see Carr shimai [Sister Carr]! Then we stopped by an old PI [potential investigator] and she gave us rum chocolate, haha. Then we took a bus up to the honbu and ate okonomiyaki [pancakes] next door. Then went to the honbu for MLC. 

·  President Smith: Get all information from MLC to your missionaries and come here with questions.
·  Assistants: Purpose of MLC is to relay information, council together, and stay on the same page so all zones are the same. 2014 results. Baton pass when you transfer.
·  Then we all shared our experiences of people we talked to on the way to MLC. 
·  President Smith: Stand as witnesses wherever you go and be happy because of it.
·  Assistants: Everyone has felt the Holy Ghost before we just need to teach in terms they understand--use experiences they can relate to. (The feelings people have for the important things in their lives, family history.)

Then got ready for bed and slept at the honbu. I got to see Sister Stice, Sister Smith, and Sister Nishikawa!!!

Wednesday we had breakfast at the honbu and then more MLC. This MLC was a review of the past 2 MLCs so all of the STLs [sister training leaders]/ZLs [zone leaders] did a 14 minute training on a topic that was discussed at one of the previous MLCs. (7 minutes Japanese, 7 minutes English, 6 minutes for questions/commentary by President Smith

1.     Why are we obedient? We are given rules because Heavenly Father and our leaders love us and want to protect us. Look through their viewpoint and say "I love you, I'll obey you." John 14:15. Obedience is a principle of power. When we choose to obey Heavenly Father blesses us with power. But to get this power our obedience has to be from our heart. Use every act as a way to show God your love for Him.
2.     Mission Dress Code. We express who/what we represent through our clothes. So express Jesus Christ. Express yourself the way He would. It is not about us. It is a way of showing respect. (Sister Smith: And please smell good.) We cannot write enough rules to cover every situation--that's why we need a personal filter. And the rules might change. But the question of obedience will always be there. So LEARN IT NOW. Learn it here. Learn here how to control yourself. Self-discipline. If now [not] now, when? Now is better.
3.     Conversion Triangle. We are also investigators. And so are our children. Revelation = success.
4.     Setting Goals for things we can't control. Doctrine: God knows everything. Principle: We need to seek revelation from God in order to see success. Application: Pray, follow the Spirit, focus on people and key indicators. A perhaps/maybe goal is a good goal! Set this goal but then realize you can only control how hard you work. Our goal is for ALL to receive the gospel. But even if only SOME come our joy will be full. Just do your best and so long as your heart and actions are right, don't be discouraged. Don't feel guilty about not meeting goals. If you wanted the goal and worked hard, smile.
5.     Successful Missionary. Ammon and Abinidah [Abinadi] were successful because they yielded their hearts unto God and gave their lives over to Him. Because of this their authority became power, they were able to receive revelation for the people in their stewardship, and their Gift of the Holy Ghost became the companionship of the Holy Ghost. We can know through these indicators know if we've become God's instrument. INDICATORS: The Spirit, can pray to the Lord and say you've done your best. Not obedient = not successful. Obedient with heart = success.
6.     Gathering of Israel. This was our topic. I've attached my notes on what we said and the handout we gave out.
7.     Daily Planning. Pray for people by name, pray for specific blessings. Set goals FIRST. Focus of goals: People and their faith. First priority is Recent converts, then normal order. We can help them progress even if we don't have an appointment. What are we going to do? What specific time? RC board in genkan [entryway]. Ammon: What can I do to help the king so I can earn his trust? Go from people to activities, not the other way around. The PERSON is the focus.
8.     Fasting. Little brother didn't know to pray--our investigators are the same; don't know why or how so we need to explain. Don't write down names. It's okay to have a group fast but don't write down names. Fasting not on Fast Sunday should be a rare occasion. Sacrament is for members to renew their covenants. If you want to partake, let's set a baptismal date so you can partake after you're baptized.
9.     Lehi and Nephi. Power and Authority. Knew perfectly God's will. Exactly obedient with unwearingness. Did not fear man. Gave up things of lesser importance. Prayed for the people. Followed the prophet. Application: Personal conversion to the Lord, obedience, become unified with God.
·  Assistants: Interview information, okay to talk about the church at Eikaiwa [English class]. 
·  President Smith: To have power in teaching the gospel we must live it. I have been richly fed and learned so much today. Good job. Thank you.

Then we ate lunch and planned a little for Zone Training Meeting and then took a 15 minute bus to Sendai and a 5 hour bus to Hachinohe in time for Eikaiwa.

We spent all day Thursday preparing our 40 minute training for Zone Training Meeting. 

Friday we got up at 5am and left and caught our first train to go to Aomori for Zone Training Meeting. But the train to Aomori was stuck in Aomori because of snow. So after waiting for an hour Zone Training Meeting was post-poned to next week. We came back to Hachinohe and got our ticket refunded and came back and did our study time at the church. Then had a lesson with a recent convert on keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. She forgot we're not supposed to shop on Sundays so it was a good lesson to remind her. Then we did weekly planning and then we had Fun Friday and gave the spiritual message. We were able to talk to an Eikaiwa student (Sae-chan) after about the church but because she's not legally an adult yet she can't become an investigator until we get parental permission to teach her.

Saturday we did chirashi kubari [flyer distribution] (SO COLD) and then had a FFEP [Free Family English Program] (30 min. English, 30 minute gospel) lesson with the Ishita family. Then Eikaiwa. 

Sunday we had church and Sae-chan came and stayed for all 3 hours! All the lessons were perfect level for her (God, Joseph Smith). Then we taught her a little more about God after church and went to the Japanese sign language class together and it was all Book of Mormon words so we gave her a Book of Mormon and she was way excited and said she'll read it! After that we had study and then went to visit an LA [less-active member] but she wasn't home (or maybe asleep?) and didn't answer.

So that was our week! Busy as always. So happy we got to teach more lessons and hear so much wisdom from President Smith! Today I am giving a training in District Meeting about working with Less Actives and Recent Converts. o_O Thursday we will train at ZTM [zone training meeting] and have splits. I will be staying in Aomori and Iwahashi shimai [Sister Iwahashi] will work in Hachinohe. Pray for that and for us to be able to receive parental permission to teach Sae-chan!! 

I love the goals and the happy list you sent me! The kids in kids Eikaiwa are having fun but Ishita-san wants me to teach harder things (she says right now it's too easy) so I'm going to try to come up with some phonics and more difficult vocabulary for them. We'll see how it goes! Hopefully they will still enjoy it even if it's rough at first! I got to go to my first Japanese sign language class this week--so fun! Brings back memories of BYU. :)

The branch here has about 5 active youth. Our Branch President is very young and friendly. He is happy to help with whatever the missionaries need, he just needs us to tell him what it is that we need. 

The weather has been the same snow, ice, melt, kind of a deal. I'm thinking maybe that's how it will stay. On warm days it's probably in the 30s. Cold days are obviously colder than that. Today was good weather. It snowed a little in the morning but then it all melted. They say our funny weather is from the strong winds from the ocean. It's supposedly so windy that it blows almost all the snow to Aomori so we get only a little and then everything melts really fast. So I'm sure once we head up there the amount of snow will be very surprising. :) Iwahashi shimai caught a cold which she passed to me and we thought might be strep so we went to the doctor and they took a blood test and a strep test (don't know why they need blood for that, but I guess it's a Japanese thing. You know how they love their blood types. :) ) but it wasn't step so they gave us normal cold medicine. My symptoms are all gone away except for a cough. Hopefully that will go away soon as well.

Glad everyone is having fun with the sports! Maybe I can convince Iwahashi shimai to go running with me in the morning. :)

I'm excited to hear all about how Lamb of God goes. I hope you're able to video-record some of it!

Well, my dear family, I'm happy with all the wonderful things you are doing! I'm so glad to be a missionary and I'm so grateful for all your support! I know this gospel is true and I want to share it the best I can and follow the Savior with all of my heart. 

Hope you have a great week!

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


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

E-mail, 1/5/2015

My dear wonderful family,

Happy 2015!

Oshogatsu [Japanese New Year] was great! No seeing sunrises or pounding mochi [rice cakes] just sleeping at regular hours, eating mochi and going to a very simple jinja [shrine] with a few Eikaiwa [English class] students. Very simple and wonderful.

Last Monday I got an awesome Christmas package from the Walsmans in the mail!! It had self-made CDs and messages. It was awesome!!

Tuesday we got up early and went to another early morning market with Kon-san. This time Sae-chan (another Eikaiwa student) came and it was so yummy! Favorites: Gyoza stuffed bread, bean donuts. Delicious! Then we had a lesson with Sugiura shimai [Sister Sugiura] (recent convert) and did some housing.

Wednesday we did New Years Cleaning!!!! All day! SO NICE!! 

Thursday--2015!!!!!!!--it was snowing A TON so we walked to the church (about a 40 minute walk) and met everyone to go visit a jinja (shrine). Kon-san, Shogo-san, Sae-chan (Eikaiwa students), and Yoshiyuki-kun (member's cousin, Phillipino, investigator, learning Japanese) came. We went to a small closeby jinja and then came back to the church and played games with them. They all really seem to love the atmosphere at the church. When we were walking back to the church Kon-san asked me about a few mission rules (curfew, contact with family) and was just astounded by them and then said "I just really respect you missionaries so much and want so much to help you. Is there anything I can do to help you?" Looking back at that now, I totally should've asked him for a referral right them but I didn't, I don't remember what I said. But I was really touched by that. He can tell that we're trying to do good things! That afternoon all the missionaries had lunch at President Kanazawa's home. We ate lots of mochi. Then we went home and read all of 3rd Nephi. I love 3rd Nephi. The Savior really taught the Nephites so much. So amazing. 

Then I set New Years Goals!!!!!

My goals:

·  Finish the Book of Mormon in Japanese
·  Think: What would Jesus do?
·  Create and follow a Spiritual well-being plan
·  Create and follow a physical well-being plan
·  Read the Book of Mormon everyday
·  Study and improve my prayers
·  Repent better
·  Talk with as many people as possible each day
·  Be bold with love and unafraid
·  Recieve and recognize revelation
·  Faith, hope, and charity, with an eye single to the glory of God
·  Voluntary, whole-hearted obedience
·  See one more baptism
·  Journal daily

(for after mission, not all necessarily in 2015:)
·  Create and finish 2 mission memory books before going back to BYU
·  Go to the temple once a month (NC) and once a week (BYU)
·  Work May through August
·  Develop my talents and hobbies
·  Become a ward missionary
·  Become a temple worker
·  Run daily
·  Sign up for a 10k
·  Serve
·  Keep in contact with people from Japan
·  Learn excellent cooking and make a recipe book--give or send it to missionaries
·  Manage my time
·  Pursue a major and career
·  Prepare to go back to college by studying
·  Declutter

I didn't do goals for the family yet--sorry!

I don't know if mine are really good but I tried to ponder really deeply about them and receive help and revelation. I want to and hope I can achieve them!

Friday we had District Training Meeting with training on 'baton passing' from the Zone Leaders. I translated for Hansen choro [Elder Hansen]. So fun! Then we walked to a less active grandmas house and did a lesson in her genkan [entryway]. She loved it.

Saturday we had a District mogi taikai [roleplay tournament] at the church with some ward members--did several mogis [roleplays] and a lesson with a recent convert. Really good! Then Eikaiwa--no kids came so I helped out in beginners.

Saturday was Fast Sunday. Translated 3rd hour (combined Relief Society and Priesthood) for Yoshiyuki-kun. Fun! Then we did weekly planning.

Sounds like it was a fun week with the cousins! 
Happy birthday to Grandfather and Grandmother!
Sorry to hear about Uncle Wes.
The reindeer at the party are the Elders.
Thank you so much for the Christmas presents! I love them!
Yeah, it's the year of the sheep here in Japan...
We didn't really say much to the Buddhist missionary, she did the talking. Just said "Wow, that's interesting. Thanks!" kind of a deal, haha.

We will be traveling a lot this week; Tuesday and Wednesday are Mission Leadership Training Meeting in Nagamachi. Friday is Zone Training Meeting in Aomori. We have to prepare a 14 minute training to present tomorrow and a separate 30 minute training to give on Friday. We're going to be really busy!!!

Well, my hope for this year is for it to be filled with happiness!!!! I love happiness!! I just always want to be happy. And I know that keeping the commandments of God and building a relationship with him and receiving the guidance of the Holy Ghost is the way to true happiness in this life. This gospel and Christ's teachings give me the perspective I need to have true happiness and to have joy. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and so grateful I can share this message with everyone!

I love you!!!!! Looking forward to hearing all the goals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great week!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your missionary,

Bellows shimai :)

P.S. Sorry if the pictures are weird! I am having trouble with the camera. I think it might be dying.