Our theme for the week provided by our obsession with Deseret Summer Playlist. Plus the fact that Sister Wells and I simply love love. And we have been seeing an outpooring of it this week from our Heavenly Father!
I guess the biggest miracle of this week would have to be Aki's Baptism!!! It went perfectly!! On Monday night she had her interview and she was absolutely perfect. Her faith is incredible and her dilligence in studying the gospel is so inspiring. Before her interview we taught her Tithing, but she had been so excited to learn about it that she looked it up on the internet and taught it to us! How am I so lucky to get to work with someone of so much faith!! She is my inspiration and I love her so much. I want to develop the kind of faith she has and am so grateful for the example she is to me. Her baptism was on Sunday and it was amazing! It was right after church and there were so many ward members there! She was simply glowing and her face when she got out of the font was priceless. You could just see the happiness that she had received from following the example of Jesus Christ. When she bore her testimony, she did it in Japanese and spoke about how she doesn't know everything, but she knows that part of being a member of this church is to constantly grow and progress. Her insights are amazing. After the service, a few of the YSA's in the ward practically asked her on dates right there on the spot. She's perfect. Oh, did I mention that she also brought a friend who wants to take lessons from the missionaries in Chiba. Aki has already become a missionary!!
Another miracle: Mari Shimai. I think I mentioned her last week but she is just incredible! She has been helping us so much in furthering the work, and has been super willing to introduce us to her friends. We're actually meeting with her friend next week to go to Gospel Choir with Jett Edwards. Yes, I am now a member of a gospel choir. No, my singing skills have not suddenly improved since I've come to Japan. But I am in a gospel choir. We are singing Go Down Moses, the Louis Armstrong arrangement. My favorite part is the instrumental.
So I've gotta be honest with you all for a minute. This week has actually been a little rough. I'm working so hard on improving myself, but I kind of felt like I was at a standstill this week and was worried that I wasn't making a difference. Which is silly because of course I am making a difference working for the Lord, and those kind of negative thoughts are for losers not winners. But, alas, it happened for a little. I can't help but admit I was a little more than pleased when I heard from an elder in my district that his cousin is reading my blog. Thank you so much Tiffany Blake for your kind words! They were inspired, and they really did help. Can't wait to see you out here in the field in May!!
Guys. I love life. Being the Lord's missionary is the single most amazing decision I ever made in my entire life. I am grateful for His Atonement, and that through it I can become the person who I want to become. It's kind of hard, but with an Eternal perspective it is completely manageable. The Lord strengthens us in all we do and He loves us so much. I am so grateful that every day I have the chance to understand my divine identity just a little bit better. I love my Savior and I love you all! The Church is True, the Book is Blue. But seriously, the Book of Mormon is incredible.
Love you all!
Pumping it up: our casual theme for this week. Which is really interesting if you knew how pumped up myself and Sister Wells normally are. But we decided that this week we kind of allowed ourselves to get into a rut. We just kind of did the same things, and had a really rough time getting out and getting excited about life. Which is ridiculous since her and I have the same understanding that life is meant to be enjoyed! How incredible is it that God has given us this time on Earth to live and to grow, and to begin to realize our potential to become like him!
We had zone conference, and it was incredible! One thing we talked about that's really stuck in my mind is recognizing Christlike attributes in others. As a missionary we are representatives of Christ, and as His representatives, we strive to develop His attributes. But one of His attributes was that He helped others realize their divine potential. What an incredible opportunity we have to not only compliment others, but to help them realize that these attributes are similar to our Savior's! It's incredible to look at strangers with that idea and to see attributes of Christ in their faces. I've made it a goal of mine to not only look for Christlike attributes in others, but to help them recognize that they have those attributes.
Aki San is doing incredibly!! We finished teaching her all the lessons a week earlier than we had planned, and she asked if she could be baptized a week earlier. Her baptism will now be on the 26ht, so this next Sunday! It's incredible to see a daughter of God begin to realize her potential and see her grow! She is so excited for her baptism and her faith and intelligence is simply amazing. She is definitely one of the Lord's prepared people, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to work with her and be a small part of her journey to returning to God. She gets excited when we give her new reading materials and everytime she learns something new she can't wait to learn more.
This Sunday was our miracle Sunday! A member who usually goes to the English speaking ward came to church with her boyfriend who isn't a member. She asked us if we could start teaching him and was excited to exchange numbers. New investigators usually don't just show up to church on Sundays, but she was incredible and we can't wait to start working with him and help him learn more about the church! The Lord blesses us with miracles when we really are simply striving to be obedient and serve him with all our hearts.
This Sunday our relief society lesson was about our Savior Jesus Christ. The teacher asked each of us to bare our testimony of our Savior, and it really was simply inspirational to hear the testimonys of all the members. I love this church, and I know that it really does contain the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for the atonement, and that through it, I change to be a little better everyday.
Life is great! Don't forget to tell others how much you care about them. Never suppress a kind thought!
With our new resolutions to become healthy, we decided that our word of the week would be dainty. We want to get fit, and eat normal portion sizes. We don't want the largest slice of cake. We like taking runs in the morning and it's okay to walk sometimes to walk because we don't want to sweat. Dainty women are respected and their presence is quiet but powerful. We wanted to become dainty.
It's funny how when you make goals like: become dainty, the Lord throws things into your path that make you realize how useless that really is. This week we played volleyball at sport's night. Being dainty while playing volleyball is the worst. I felt like an idiot. Then we had a mochi making party today. To make mochi, it's just wet rice that you hit with a hammer until it's all mushed together (it's pretty delicious). I went crazy. I pounded that rice like crazy. I didn't realize how hard I was hitting it until the I started hearing the Elders make comments about how they don't want to make me mad. Which isn't exactly a dainty thing, is it? But I'm not too hung up on not coming across as dainty. I love hitting rice with a giant hammer! It's such a healthy way of releasing stress. I highly reccomend it to everyone :)
This week we went to Sister Skinner's house for dinner. If you've been reading closely, you'll realize that name is distinctly not Japanese. She married a guy from Portland but has a lot of friends who live in Boise. We were looking at her pictures on her walls and there was one in front of Roaring Springs Waterpark!! I was dying! It was crazy to see a place I had spent so many of my summers at in the home of a Japanese woman in Tokyo Japan! It made me a little homesick, but not in a bad way. Just in a fun way :)
The sweet potato truck. We were a little lost trying to find a member's house, when we hear this really creepy music. It starts getting louder, and we distinguished that it was coming from a truck. We had heard legends of the mysterious sweet potato truck that drives through neighborhoods, but neither of us had seen one before. We stopped and asked the man what he was selling and our suspicions were confirmed! So we bought one, and it was literally the best sweet potato I have ever eaten! They cook it a special way I guess, but I was just so incredibly happy! It was so good!
Sister Wells and I aren't exactly shy people, so we really have tried to be obedient in talking to literally everyone. We all know that obedience brings miracles. But what I think, is that effort and amounts of miracles are directly correlated. As we increase our efforts, we see an increase in miracles. But what we don't consider, is that as we are increasing our efforts, the devil increases his. Rejection and effort are also directly correlated. I have never been rejected more times than I have these past few weeks. Which has definitely kind of been a bummer. But you know what the constant in this equation is? Our attitude and gratitude. No matter what's happening, I am always so thankful to the Lord, and happy to be serving Him! I know that as I increase my efforts in being able to speak Japanese, in knowing the scriptures, and really working to speak with the Spirit, great, amazing, fun things are going to happen! This week, we received a lot of flat out rejections, but we saw so many miracles! The key is to not get discouraged.
Aki San is progressing like crazy!! She is so excited for her baptism on February 1st and loves the gospel. When we teach her lessons, she asks these incredible, sincere questions and really wants to progress. She is incredible. She came to church for the first time yesterday. She loved it!!! She loves the ward, and came to the mochi making party today. It's such a blessing to work with someone who the Lord has so well prepared to receive the gospel.
I am loving life! Japanese is coming along alright. I'm not going to say I'm that great at it because that would be a straightup lie, but I do feel like I'm progressing! How great is this life, that we have the abilitiy to progress? I'm so grateful for the Atonement and that I can change, and constantly become a better version of myself.
Life is great! Don't forget to enjoy the journey!
Sister Feist :)
Okay, a lot has happened this week so we are just going to have to go day by day.
Tuesday: We had lunch with some members and brought our friend Mami Chan who is an Eikaiwa student. Even though the members were just two grandparents in the ward, she really connected with them well and we were able to teach her about the Book of Mormon and give her a Book of Mormon. She was so excited and she really wanted to learn more. Then after the lesson we were all just having so much fun that she asked if we could go rollerblading. Okay, I'm just in a skirt but Duh! Of course! So we hit up the skating rink in a beach town that we didn't even know existed and just had a blast!! After we went to the beach town, we went to an arcade and took puricura. It's like a photobooth that does photoshop. It makes our eyes huge and our skin super white. Sometimes I look like an alien and sometimes I look like a movie star. This time it was movie star thank goodness. And of course, Mami Chan looked so beautiful. Classic Japanese. The Fujisawa sisters have a lesson with her next week so we'll see how that goes!
Wednesday: Happy New Year's everyone!! New Year's is a huge deal in Japan and it is literally so much fun!! :) On New Year's day we went to Katase Enoshima which is the cool beach down I was talking about. We went at like six in the morming and watched the sun rise over the ocean. It was incredible because when we turned around, we saw Mount Fuji in the distance. The new year's sun rise is a huge deal here in Japan and it was incredible. We went with some ward members and the elders in our area. Later that day we had a lunch appointment and then went to ice cream with a member who I had helped prep for her mission. She is so cute!! After ice cream we went straight to an all you can eat sushi restaraunt. I only had 3 plates but everyone else had an average of 15. I'm just really not that into sushi. But the Japanese can eat!!
Thursday: Transfer day!! It went really well actually!! I love Kichijoji!! We are living the good life!! There is so much shopping and good food here! Like, we are dying! There is also a giant park where there are so many people to talk to! Sister Wells is too funny. We get along so well, and really are just enjoying ourselves. We almost feel guilty for having so much fun. We are in the same area as the Mission President so we are really trying to be on our best behavior :) Only a few times have we broken into song and dance while shopping. Everyone else just kind of looks at us like we're crazy and our companionship really is a mystery to all the other missionaries. We try to cool down the fun just so that the other missionaries don't think we're not working. We really are working so hard but we are just having fun while doing it.
Friday: We visited members and totally found their houses. Houses are really hard to find in Japan and the names are always written in Kanji, but we are trying our best! We ate tomato ramen which is like a watery tomato soup with ramen noodles. it's delicious. I love it. We also got boba drinks which were super tastey!
Saturday: More working hard!! Seeing lots of miracles and having a great time! We are planning on diong a ton of hard work!
Sunday: We proselyted at the park and brought bread with us to feed the ducks we ended up giving it to a little boy so that he could play with us and it was so much fun!! Then we had a lesson with Aki San and committed her to baptism. She said yes and her baptismal service will be February 1st. It's fast, but she is so prepared for the gospel!! She is from Mongolia and is so smart, kind, and beautiful. It is such a miracle that we even met her and now we get to see her entire conversion process!
Today: PDay!! We got to write letters, go shopping, and eat a crepe. We bought matching American flag earmuffs that are just too cute for words. We look ridiculously American and it is the best.
Also: I started running today. I hated it, but we are planning on running every day for the rest of the transfer. It's time to want to get into shape! Time to make exercise a habit!
Long email, but I really have been happy and this week has been so full of so many fun miracles! I love life, and I know that life is meant to be loved. This is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We are God's children, and we are with a purpose. I feel so blessed for this knowledge! I feel so blessed to be able to share this knowledge with the people of Japan! Christ lives, and through His atonement we too will live again.
I love you all and know that God loves you!