I'm sure it's a little late, but I really do want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day! Here in Japan, we received almost a foot of snow on Valentine's Day. It hasn't snowed like this in Tokyo for the past twenty years!! It's a really nice casual way to start conversations with people though.
"Wow, is this a normal amount of snow for Japan?" "No, this is very unusual." "Oh wow, I am very surprised! I came here to be a church missionary, would you like to learn more about church?"
Throw in a little more small talk and that really is just about how much I say in real life. But as a missionary, you really do just have to try your best to make the most out of rough situations. And streeting in the snow, that's pretty rough.
Valentine's Day is surprisingly uneventful. In Japan, girls give gifts to guys on Valentine's and then in March they have White Day where guys give gifts to girls. It's brilliant, because then the guys can always make sure that their gift is more expensive and extravagant!! Japan is always thinking up great ideas.
Back in Kichijoji with Sister Wells!! Well, it's a new transfer which means a new district, and once again, I feel almost guilty for how incredible our district is. We are having a blast, and all the elders and sisters are so much fun. Not to mention, everyone is working SO HARD and we are being blessed with seeing so many miracles!!
One of our miracles is Iizawa San. She is a self-referral from Mormon.org and she is incredible!! She asked in the first lesson when she could get baptized. Her baptismal date is for March 3rd, and she is so excited! She went to church with her friends while she lived in Utah for 8 years and fell in love with the way that members of the church lived their lives. There are so many people here in Japan who are prepared to receive the gospel, we just have to be working hard enough for God to trust us to work with them.
Another amazing new investigator we are working with is Yuki San. The elders actually met her at a train station and referred her to us. We were talking in our first lesson at the beginning with her and it turns out that she is actually a full time volunteer missionary for HER church. Like, she proselytes for them and sleeps at the church. But as we were teaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, her eyes lit up, and she said that she now better understands the scriptures. When we explained about baptism she said that she'd read about it in the Bible, but had never really considered it's significance for her personally, but now after this lesson, she thinks that it really is something that she needs. At the end of the lesson we asked that as the Lord answers her prayers and she feels that this message is true, if she will follow that example of Jesus Christ and be baptized and she said yes! She said she doesn't know yet, but she said that she really wants to know if this church is true and will continue to pray and study the Book of Mormon. She really is someone looking for the truth, and has a sincere heart and real intent. I promise that as we read the Book of Mormon, with the intent to know if it really is true, and then pray and ask God, then He will answer our prayers. I can promise this because I have done it, and I have received a witness of its truthfulness.
In Relief Society this Sunday, we studied from the life of Joseph Fielding Smith. This week's lesson was about family and how we can live to bring to just to our family. I was impressed by President Smith's true devotion and selflessness when it came to his relationships with his family. His main purpose was to bring joy to others, and he looked to do it in ways that were best for them. He taught them with love, and he made sure that whenever anyone was with him, they felt like the most important person in the room. What an incredible Christ-like attribute to develop. I know that as we forget how others feel about us, and simply strive to care about them, they will feel our Savior's love. I really do believe that now is the time to love others, and to help them realize their importance in Christ's eyes. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I am so grateful that He has given me the chance to change my life everyday, and become a little better.
Life is good. God is good. And I know that He lives. He wants us to be happy, He wants us to succeed, and as we keep an eye single to His glory, He will allow us to see miracles. I am nothing, but with God's help, I can do GREAT things.
Japanese Word of the Week: Dendo Suru: To do missionary work.
This week I have been privelaged to do British dendo! We had a temporary emergency transfer which resulted in me getting to work with Sister Harper in Fuchu! She is from England, and we all know that everything is more fun when you add a British accent. She's incredible. She's working so hard and is actually almost halfway done with her mission now! But she was like a new missionary when I got here which is insane. So by association I am getting close to being done! I reached my 6 month point which just seems unreal! Where did all the time go??
In other news, transfer calls came!! Drum roll please... Sister Wells and I are still in Kichijoji!! Time to see even more miracles and work even harder!!
Sister Wells and I learned how to make spring rolls last PDay. Let me just tell you, they are delicious and I am all about that life. We just love finding new ways to eat our vegetables! Speaking of food, I went and ate something called Shabu Shabu. It's where there is just this boiling pot of water and you put veggies in it and kind of eat as you go. I love boiled pumpkin so much. It's so delish.
We're seeing miracles everyday, and the people we work with are just so amazing. We met a lady at the train station the other day and she said she's been looking for friends to practice her English with, and then when we brought up church she said that she went when she was younger and is interested in talking about church. The Lord sends people who need the gospel, we just have to be ready to teach it!
This week, I've been thinking about spirital gifts a lot. I'm sure a lot of you have heard that I consider myself a relatively talentless person. I'm not an incredible cook, I'm not super athletic, you do NOT want to hear me sing, and my stick figures make a 5 year old laugh. So that's what I have been working with all my life. Mediocrity. But this week I read the conference talk "Decisions for Eternity" by Russell M. Nelson, and I decided that it was time for me to give up that attitude of mediocrity. As a daughter of God, I have been given the gift to make my own decisions. I am able to choose who I can become, and I do not need to be satisfied with simply doing things that are average. I am now working on self-mastery, which is probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Like learning Japanese, that's rough, but you know what's harder? Knowing you have a box of Tim Tams in the pantry and not eating one. Which is embarrassing! Those kinds of things should not be the kind of distractions that they are to me! But I keep thinking about it, and I just feel so incredibly blessed to realize that this is a gift that will be with me for the eternities. That as I develop this self-mastery, I will have more time and energy to focus on more important and spiritual things in life. I am so grateful that this is a gospel of change, and that through the Atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ, I can change to become the person I want to become.
I love you all, and I am so grateful for this gospel and it's influence in my life. God hears our prayers, and answers them. All we have to do is listen,
Sorry, this is kind of a weird letter, but this has kind of been a weird week. Love you :)
Our theme for the week, and it has turned out more true than we could have ever imagined.
I think the first exciting new development of this week is that we now have new ipads!! Whoo! Technology! Efficiency! Hastening the work of Salvation! We had a 3 hour seminar on how to use them and it just made me realize how incredibly inspired the Lord's work is. It is moving forward, and we can either catch the wave, or miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime. This new technology is fun to have, and I will be honest in saying that a lot more selfies are now happening, but the misisonary work is still the same. We are still teaching lessons, extending commitments, and seeing miracles. Our new device just makes it a little easier for all of that to happen. There were no confetti canons or sparklers when we received the ipads though which was a bit of a disappointment.
Our new investigator: Nakamura San!! She is incredible. She has been friends with the missionaries for a long time and has come to church before but has not progressed in the gospel before and kind of didn't want to learn about church for a long time. Sister Wells and I have been teaching her and really just focusing on how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of love and through it, we will develop Charity and have a greater capacity for feeling God's love. She is pretty receptive, and her daughter is now investigating! She told us that Novelia Chan probably wouldn't have any interest, but when Novelia came how from school early she sat in on the lesson and was so interested. We asked if she would also like to learn, and she said Yes! Our next appointment will be with the both of them, and we are so excited to teach them this gospel and help strengthen their family!
Gospel Choir in the hiz house! I'm the worst at singing, and I don't think I am getting any better, but I am learning to just enjoy myself now. I'm less stressed about what people think of me and what I should do. Instead I just kind of laugh at myself and roll with it. Miyuki and Mari Shimai came and we had a blast! They are so cute and fun, and after choir we were able to give Miyuki a church tour. We were able to teach her so much and give her a Book of Mormon! She said she's interested in learning more about the church, but she is moving to Australia on the 15th for a year! I will be back in America by the time she gets back! :( It's sad to realize how short your time is on a mission, but it's also incredible to realize that the church isn't going anywhere, and she will still be able to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ (maybe even in Australia!).
I would like to explain a little thing that is called Weekly Planning. Every Thursday afternoon we take 3 hours and plan the rest of the week's meetings, lessons, ways to proselye, and ways we can improve. And most missionaries stop there. But Sister Wells and I, we just are big believers in planning. So during the time alotted to discussing companionship strength, we plan our meals for the rest of the week, our goal weights, and what we can do to level up our missionary work. Let me tell you, it is a productive use of time. We are learning how to cook, getting excited about stepping on the scale every morning, and really looking to improve ourselves. I would have to say that we are getting along excellently and that everyday is a party. We also have evening tea time (herbal naturally) since we don't eat any food after seven. We are getting healthy and changing ourselves for the better!!
Alma 24 talks about how the Lamanites converted and literally buried their weapons in the ground to commit to God that they will never return. That is true repentance. It's finding your weakness, putting it away, replacing it with a good habit, and never turning back. We're doing it right now as we change our lifestyles. As we are learning to love ourselves, and be happy with what we are doing, we are better equipped to love and serve others. I love the Japanese people, I love my companion, and I love Kichijoji. I think this is the transfer that everyone talks about. You know, the one where your whole mindset changes and you realize your divine potential better than you ever had before? Yeah, this is that one for me. And it's changing my entire outlook on the rest of my life. The future looks bright everyone! I like the person I am becoming, and I am excited to continually progress.
I love you all! Thank you for all your support and your help. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I know that it is through His sacrifice for me that I can change.