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 :)

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