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 :)

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