22 April, 2013 We hit up a community center fundraiser because the food looked delicious. Met a great friend from Srilnaka. The food was incredible,and I felt like I was at one of Mom's PTA school carnivals :)
My heart is so full right now. We are seeing so many miracles and
working so hard together. I can't help but think of President
Uchtdorf's conference talk about being in a state of gratitude. That
because we have the knowledge of our Savior's Atonement, we should
never lose hope. I never need to feel despair because I know that as I
maintain an eternal perspective, I will always feel the perfect joy
that comes along with living the gospel of Jesus Christ. That as I
prioritize my life to follow my Savior Jesus Christ, everything will
fall into place. And if something doesn't fall into place, then I
guess there isn't really a need for it in my life.
We have a new investigator named Aya. We met her 2 weeks ago at a
stoplight, and she came with us to the Stevenson family's house for
dinner last Monday. She had such a great experience and she kept
saying that she wants a Christian family like the Stevensons. We had a
lesson with her yesterday. She has already been reading the Book of
Mormon and she said that she feels warm in her heart when she reads
it. She cried during the lesson, and she felt the Spirit so strongly.
We set a baptismal date with her for May 31, and she was so excited to
be baptized. I really do believe that she is someone who has been
prepared by God. She emailed us late last night and said that she
talked to her Mom who asked her to focus more on her university
studies. She also said that she has already been going to a church
before she met with us and that she thinks she will be baptized into
that church. The lesson that we had with her was so good and she is so
amazing! My heart is aching right now to see the opposition that she
is facing and to realize the confusion that she must be feeling right
now. We are praying that we will be led by the Spirit while working
with her, and are constantly reminding ourselves that God's timing is
perfect, and we are not.
Oikawa Shimai is doing really well. The members are meeting with her
and studying with her. She is looking up Mormon videos and music on
youtube. When we talk about baptism with her, it's not really a matter
of if she will get baptized, but when she will get baptized. She talks
about the light that she sees in Mormons' faces and how they really do
just shine and seem so happy. Today we met with her and had a really
incredible lesson. We talked about why she feels that she can't be
baptized (she's been coming to church for 5 years) and were really
able to get to know her better. She still won't set a date for
baptism, but we're as stubborn about her remembering its importance as
she is about being certain before making any commitments.
Suwa San is doing well. We are meeting with her this Friday, and are
excited for it. We are going to review conference, then talk about her
relationship with God. She really is amazing and ready to learn.
Pinko San had a really great experience at church on Sunday. The stake
relief society presidency was there and each of them made an effort to
welcome her. A member of the ward who speaks Chinese offered to study
with us, so we will be studying with her this Friday. It's incredible
how the attention and genuine affection from friends at church can
influence the desire of a person to learn. As we care for others as
Christ cares for them, it will not only change their lives, but it
will change us.
We have many other people we are working with, who we are trying to
help cultivate and create defining moments for. I realize that as long
as I am obedient, and try to work as The Lord would have me work, then
I will see success in His vineyard. I honestly do feel that we are
seeing so many miracles, and that there are a lot of incredible things
happening here in Japan.
Okay, but that's not all. This past week was incredible!!! We had so
many great events that really did change me and are helping shape my
thoughts on life and how I want to help others. One thought that has
been coming to me this week is what kind of culture I want in my
future home. In zone conference we learned about Japanese culture, and
how as we adapt parts of the culture, we can better show our love for
others. I realized that this doesn't simply apply to table manners, it
can also apply to love languages. Each of us express and receive love
differently, which can make communication really challenging. Just as
I'm working to understand culture a little better, I've decided to
also understand how people receive love a little better. That way, I
can show love for them the way they recognize it best.
President Wada had a fireside for our investigators where he compared
clips from the "Dead Poets Society" to the teachings of Christ. One
thing that really occurred to me during the discussion time is how
important each of our own personalities and talents are. God has given
us these gifts, and He wants us to understand them and share them with
others. He works with us individually to develop them and He teaches
us in the way that will change us most eternally. God teaches us
perfectly through the Spirit. He loves us. He knows our eternal
potential, and if we were able to even understand it a little, we
would never settle for anything less than stellar. We are infinite
beings with infinite possibilities. Never forget your worth in the
eyes of God!!
Sister Burton of the general society presidency and Sister Oscarson of
the general young women's presidency came and spoke in Kichijoji on
Easter Sunday!! We went with a less active in our ward, and it was
incredible to see how a reminder of the importance of keeping her
covenants had such a significant impact upon her. One thing that
really impacted me from these talks was the fact that as a member of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have taken upon
myself the name of Christ, and promised to always remember Him and
become like Him. These covenants ought to effect my every moment. My
every thought, word and deed. As I am striving to become like my
Savior, others should know Him by knowing me. As a missionary I am an
official representative of Jesus Christ, but I intend to be follow Him
and change every day to become a little more like Him, for the rest of
Just fun facts about this week: We went on splits this week and they
forced me to ride a bike. I wiped out. Yay for bloody hands!! I also
tried gyudon for the first time. Definition: meat and rice. Soooo
delicious. We also made our own okonomiyaki with Aya yesterday and ate
Endo curry with Oikawa Shimai today. Yeah, I'm eating some delicious
foods these days. I love Japan. Watch out family, you will be subject
to my bizarre Japanese cooking next year!! :) We were stopped by some
people at the train station and asked if we were models. Kind of
embarrassing, but incredibly flattering. In the past week we have been
stopped twice by police officers to show our legal Japanese id. Which
is way unusual considering that most missionaries can go their whole
mission without being stopped! But apparently President Obama is
coming to Japan this week, so everyone is turning up the safety for
Things are fun and weird here in Japan. I am loving every minute of it
and I love my companion Sister Reeves. She teaches me so much, and I
really do enjoy our time together. This transfer is incredible, I
can't believe that time is flying by so quickly!!!
Long letter, lots of feelings, lots of things I want to improve :)
I love this gospel and this work. I am happy.
I wanted to write an insightful poem comparing flowers and gratitude,
but I'm sorry I'm really not quite poetic enough. My heart is so full
right now, as I consider this once in a lifetime opportunity that I am
participating in right now. But you know what? Every single day is a
once in a lifetime opportunity. Because of the Atonement of our Savior
Jesus Christ, we can make every single day the new best day of our
lives. With that perspective, we can't help but be excited about
life!! I'm grateful for this gospel and that I never have reason to be
sad because of it. With an eternal perspective, we can always have
hope in our lives. And as we have that hope, it will shine in our
countenances and invite others to come unto Christ. Don't be afraid to
share that light!! Thank you for your work and your influence in my
life! Happy Easter!!
14 April, 2014 Greetings from your favorite Japanese speaking Negro Spirituals singing sister missionary!
To those I love,
This week has been so busy and so incredible. We are seeing so many
miracles, and striving to be 100% obedient every day. We know that it
is through our obedience that we will be strengthened and it is our
way of telling the Savior that we are in this for Him, and we want to
do it His way. As this is His work, and we are simply tools in His
hands, doing the work His way is simply being the most effective we
I LOVE being a missionary. This past week I realized that I have been
in Japan for over 6 months. What the what?! I feel like it was only
yesterday that I decided to serve a mission! This is literally the
best decision I have ever made with my life. I love where I am at
right now, and I know that things will literally only get better from
here. Serving The Lord full time right now is the perfect opportunity
for me prepare myself for serving Him for the rest of my life. I am a
disciple of Christ. I am learning to be more like Him everyday. He is
my perfect example, and I am humbled by this opportunity I have to
wear His name and bare His name as a part of my identity. I love that
I know I am the best I have ever been in my entire life, but because
of eternal progression, I am the worst that I will ever be. Every day
I have a chance to be a new version of myself. SisterFeist2.0. How
stellar is that?
The people we are working with right are all such interesting
characters. All completely different in age, personality, interests
and needs. Yet they all have such distinct need for the gospel of
Jesus Christ in their lives. I see in their hearts and lives how this
gospel can help them, and we are working so hard for them to be able
to recognize that need and cultivate the desire for them to follow
Jesus Christ. It's amazing to work with these children of God and to
feel His love for them. This week we met for the first time a woman
who has met with missionaries before, but has stubbornly refused to
really learn about Christ. She has cancer, and has lived an extremely
lonely life.Throughout the whole lesson we just continued to tell her
that we loved her and wanted to help her. Then when we taught her
about prayer, we told her that she could pray about any questions she
had in her life. She proceeded to ask, "Will He tell me why you two
creepy love me so much?" We laughed but told her that He will
definitely tell her the reason why. I had never considered how strange
it must be for someone who has never understood love before to
suddenly be overdosed on it from the missionaries. But it's what she
needed! By the end of the lesson she confessed that the church is a
place of relief for her, and she really does want to learn more how
she can improve her life.
I love that this mission experience is giving me so many diverse
opportunities to serve others. As missionaries, we participate in a
ton of activities that are really fun! We get to teach English class,
host a sports night, and Sister Wells and I are even members of an
interfaith gospel choir! But these activities are designed so that us
missionaries can have a good time and maybe make some friends.
Everything we do is to help others to come unto Christ. At these
activities each week, I go with the goal to help others feel
incredible about themselves. Whether it's passing the ball in
basketball for others to score, praising people for understanding
difficult English, or singing softer so others can be heard (and
because I'm terribly pitchy), others can feel a little bit of their
divine potential. I love that! I love that it's not about me being the
best, but helping others realize that they really are the best. That
they are important to me, but more importantly, they are important to
their Heavenly Father.
This past Sunday our choir performed at a charity concert in Shibuya.
While there we sang our Negro Spirituals (I had a solo, NBD, I mean I
was voted "Most soul/rhythm/most likely to become an African princess"
in high school), took photos with a bunch of people and were able to
explain our purpose. Every person we were with could feel the Savior's
light, and I pray that they felt their own light as well. I love
people, and I hope that as children of an Eternal Being, we realize
our own eternal potential.
I was able to watch Saturday's session of conference and it was an
incredible experience. I am so grateful that we have modern prophets
who are receiving revelation from God TODAY! This is Christ's restored
church, and He is at the head of it. We speak of Christ, we rejoice in
Him, He is the motivation for our every action. As I watched
conference, I had a few questions written down. As I listened to the
talks, I realized that all my problems exist because I simply think
too much about myself. Problems communicating my feelings? Maybe I
should strive to understand others better. Trouble with
self-confidence? Try building up another's spirits. Worried that
people don't like me enough? Love them! Life is a lot easier when we
decide that love is our motive in everything we do.
I wish I was more interesting, but that's about it! I love you all and
I love this gospel. Keep working hard to improve a little every day,
and remember that thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we never
have reason to not be happy.
This week has been so busy but in such a fun challenging way! We have
met with so many people, seen so many miracles, and been blessed in so
many ways. Working here in Kichijoji is an incredible experience and I
feel so blessed to be here with Sister Reeves.
We have a new investigator, Moeka Chan. She is 16 and we actually met
her while dendoing with the new missionaries. She did a homestay in
Montana with an LDS family who gave her a CTR ring. She loves Mormons,
and the church, even though she didn't really understand the teachings
when she was in America. She loves hanging out with me and Sister
Reeves. We gave her an introduction lesson and taught her lesson 1.
When we extended the baptismal commitment she said yes, but that she
doesn't think that she can join our church because her dad doesn't
really like religion. We're continuing to try to meet with her, and
are striving to be sure that we leave a good impression on her
We had a lesson with Youko San and it actually went really well. She
said she's been trying to read the Book of Mormon but that it is
really difficult for her to understand. We read with her 1 Nephi 8
about the tree of life and applied it to her family. She has been
praying a lot, and I think that it will be really good if she receives
the lessons in order again and is recommitted to study with the intent
to make covenants. Her husband doesn't really like religion though, so
we need to find a way to help build up her faith and desire so that
she will find the courage to talk to him about church.
Our lesson with Amy San went really well. It was before Eikaiwa, and
we went over time and rushed the end which I kind of regret doing. In
our next lesson we will read the Book of Mormon together and recommit
her to baptism. Itou Shimai was the douseki at the lesson which really
had a great effect. They really hit it off, and it helped her see that
she could really have a need for this gospel in her life just like her
new friend does.
We taught Matsuoka San which was quite the interesting experience. She
has been meeting with missionaries for a long time, but hasn't
progressed at all. She doesn't really have a desire to change her
life. She has plenty of money, health, and a happy family. Having Ruri
Takanezawa Shimai there as a douseki was vital. She really helped
direct the lesson and keep things on topic. We think that her next
defining moment is to have an activity with ward members and see how
the gospel has really influenced their lives.
We taught a half English and half gospel lesson to one of our Eikaiwa
students Kobayashi San. She was very respectful, and seemed to have a
lot of interest in the questions of the soul. She said the prayer at
the end of the lesson, and was really nervous to do it. But she said
it and said that she would continue to try to pray. We have a douseki
for her next lesson, and I think that it will be a great defining
moment for her as we help her see the need for the gospel and the
application it has for everyone's life.
We had a lesson with Pinkou San yesterday. We learned that she has
been meeting with missionaries for the past 10 years! She is from
Malaysia and speaks very poor Japanese and English which makes
teaching her really difficult. She has a sincere desire to follow
Christ, but has already received baptism from another church and
believes that it is something you only receive once. We taught her
about the Priesthood and that this is the only church that has it. She
said that she would join once she was better able to understand the
Book of Mormon. She explained her feelings when she read the Book of
Mormon and she really does seem to be feeling the Spirit but doesn't
seem to be able to recognize it. Ishizuka Shimai dousekied and it was
a really great experience. Because of the language barrier and simply
maybe Pinkou's casual feelings about her meetings with the
missionaries, I think that her progression will continue to be slow
but steady. For now, we want to help her understand the Book of Mormon
and how to recognize the answers to her prayers.
Finally, Sayaka San!! Our golden investigator from the North mission!
She is incredible! We were able to get in contact with the Nakana
sisters and they better explained how the switch was going to happen.
She has been receiving all of her lessons in the Budge's home and she
really loves being in that family setting. She is willing to start
attending this ward and is excited to start meeting with us. We will
be meeting with her this week on Friday, and from what it sounds like,
she just needs to learn a few more commandments and be interviewed
before she can be baptized. She is incredible, and I am so grateful
that she came to church today and that we were able to meet her. Her
coming to Kichijoji is such a blessing and it really is just one of
the miracles that the mission is receiving because of everyone's hard
We also had a brownie making activity with some investigators. I
forgot how delicious American brownies are!!!! Wow, Japanese food is
incredible, but I LOVE American desserts still.
Being in a new area is so much fun!! I love meeting all of these new
people, and I love trying to find ways to help them come closer to
Christ. It's incredible, because everyone is so different, and yet
they all need this gospel of Jesus Christ. I love this magnificent
work and the opportunity I have to learn more about myself while
serving others. Every single day I am being humbled and realizing how
imperfect I am. But every day I have the chance to become a little bit
more like Jesus Christ. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and that
because of His infinite Atonement, He understands me perfectly. I am
blessed beyond measure, and am comforted everyday from the knowledge
this Gospel has given me.
I am so grateful for the members of the church and their excitement to
hasten the work of salvation. The willingness the members here have to
serve and work with the missionaries is simply incredible.
I am so grateful for my family and the wonderful example they are to
me. I am grateful that they have influenced my life so fully and for
the kindness they show to me. I know that as we strive to keep our
commandments and become as Christ, we will learn how to partake of
pure joy. Sister Reeves shared with me Mosiah 2:41, "And moreover, I
would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of
those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed
in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out
faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they
may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember,
remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."
(Mosiah 2:41) I add my testimony that as we strive to be 100% obedient
and become as Jesus Christ, we will be blessed in all aspects of our
lives, and know never-ending happiness.
I hope I ended this letter on a sappy enough note, I'm pretty satisfied by it :)
To my fabulous family (and friends, and the general population of the internet?)
What a week!!!!! So many miracles, so much learning, and being humbled
every single day. Honestly, I'm incredibly grateful for this
opportunity I have to serve The Lord. I am grateful for the patience
He has to work with me, an imperfect being, striving to help Him in
this perfect work. And even though I am making mistakes every single
day, He is still sending me more miracles than I can even comprehend.
I love my Savior, and I love this sacred time I have in my life to
The new missionaries came on Wednesday, so we had the opportunity to
work with them and introduce them to working in the field. It was
reminiscent to be streeting with them and remember the first time that
I approached someone on the street in Japan. To remember feeling
completely inadequate, and wanting so badly to understand what is
being said, yet being completely lost. It was exciting to see how far
I've come, yet humbling to realize that they were depending upon me to
speak the Japanese and to do the understanding, when in all honesty I
am far from fluent!! The Lord is pretty sneaky, humbling and
strengthening us at the same time.
English class was so fun!! One of the people we met while streeting
with the new missionaries came, and she is so amazing!! She actually
stayed with an LDS host family in Montana and really wants to learn
English. Then she came to sports night the next night, and we met up
with her today to go shopping and we got tapioca drinks. We introduced
the Book of Mormon to her, and she seems to be pretty interested. We
will start studying together later this week probably!!
We met the kindest woman in the world. She's from Poland, speaks
fluent English, and is working on some post doctorate work at the
college which is right down the street from our apartment. She was so
kind and thoughtful, and I seriously loved her! It's just so nice to
meet people who are so genuinely kind. We ran into her again at the
grocery store and will be meeting up again in the next few weeks!
I ate croissant taiyaki. Literally one of the best foods I have ever
eaten. It is just killer delicious.
This area. We have so many people who we are working with and so many
people who we are meeting and helping. It's crazy, because Fujisawa
and Kichijoji Sisters B were relatively young areas, but this area is
old. It's almost overwhelming how many past investigators, potential
investigators, and current investigators we have right now. But it's
so much fun! We literally do not have time to think about ourselves.
We don't have time to become tired, because we are constantly moving.
I mean, it's way weird to juggle appointments instead of finding ways
to fill time, but I love that!! It's so much fun!! Sister Reeves is
incredible and already such a good friend to me, and she is exactly
who I need to be working with on my mission right now. The Lord is
inspired in sending us those we most need at the right times. I am so
happy right now, and really enjoying my life as a missionary. I love
it so much!!
Sunday was so interesting. First of all, the young men gave a musical
number. It was hilarious. There are only two young men in the ward,
they couldn't sing, and the pianist didn't really know how to properly
play Called to Serve. It was so bad, the bishopric was dying on the
stand which just made the congregation laugh even harder. But they all
laughed it off so we had a good time. We were going to have a picnic
with Mari Shimai, but it was raining so hard that we just ate in the
church building. She is going on a cruise around the world!!! So cool
right? I am friends with the coolest people in the world!!
Today was Pday and it was a blast!! Real Italian pizza for lunch with
an English class student. Shopping with our friend who stayed in
Montana. Sewing lessons with a different English class student!! She
is so funny. She is a professional designer. Her dream is to become a
monk in India. She loves American horror movies. Her favorite American
food is cherry pie. She fixed my skirts that are too big and she made
me and Sister Reeves matching dresses!! Pictures will come soon!!! :)
In closing. Life is incredible. I am blessed to see the Lord's hand in
my life every single day. Love is my motive for serving, but Christ is
the reason. His perfect love has changed my life, and I pray that I
can become an effective tool in His hands to help others feel His
perfect love. I am so happy right now.
I love you all!!
The wow phase, cuz that's where I'm at. Just thinking, "Wow. I am blessed."
My beloved brethren.
One perk about reading the Book of Mormon everyday in Japanese: My
Japanese improves so much from it!! The bad things, I learn how to say
things like, my beloved brethren. Let's be honest, people just don't
say that conversationally! But I love it nonetheless. I love the
Japanese people, I love the Book of Mormon, and these days I am just
Time to follow up on my emergency transfer to Fujisawa!! It was
incredible! I returned back to Kichijoji on Sunday, but time just flew
by! I feel so blessed to have seen the miracles that I have seen, and
I honestly love the people of Fujisawa. I was able to attend music
night and guess who got roped into singing a musical number? Yeah,
that's me. For a girl who really doesn't sing, it seems like that's
all I've been doing lately! I sang "A Whole New World," from Aladdin
with Tsuchida Shimai. We all know that's a favorite of mine and it was
really nostalgic to be singing it. I would have felt right at home,
except for the fact that I sang it in Japanese. Yeah, that was weird.
It was exciting though to totally understand it in Japanese!! The next
day was sports night and it was a blast! Like, I'm still the clumsiest
sister in the mission and completely uncoordinated, but it was so fun
to talk with old friends and to make sure that others felt appreciated
and needed. I love it so much!! I get so embarrassed when I tell
people there was a time in my life that I was athletic. Yeahhhhhh I
have to emphasize that it was a long time ago :D
Then was Hiro's baptism!! Hiro is so incredible! He lives in Odawara,
and I've known him since my first transfer. He is brilliant, and so
kind, and it has been amazing to see how the gospel has influenced his
life. If I hadn't been in Fujisawa last week, I wouldn't have been
able to go, and I was so grateful for that chance I had! I got to sing
at the service with all the missionaries who have taught Hiro and it
was such an amazing experience. Before the service began him and I
were talking and he was looking at all the missionaries and people who
were there for him and he just said, "I am so happy." It summed it up
perfectly. As we follow our Savior Jesus Christ, we will simply become
so happy. It doesn't ever have to end. We will always feel that love,
and will always be able to progress. I love this gospel. I love my
Savior Jesus Christ. He is my Redeemer. Without Him, I am nothing.
Because of Him, I can become just like Him! I'm far from perfect, but
I am loving this game of trial and error to learn how to become like
Christ. I am so grateful that I don't have to simply go at it blind
though. I have great examples in my life to follow, an the Book of
Mormon teaches us how to change. I promise, that if you are facing any
challenge in your life, the Book of Mormon has the answers. All we
must do is look with a sincere heart.
Sunday was incredible. To see the ward members, to reunite with old
friends, and to have that familiar setting was incredible. I was so
grateful for that opportunity to thank the members who helped me get
through the first parts of my mission. They helped so much, and were
so good to me, and I was so grateful to see them again to thank them
for their love and support. the members of our church are really
incredible, no matter where we go.
It was so fun to work with Sister Tsuchida again. She helped me with
my Japanese, and was so patient with all of my questions. I was
incredibly impressed by how she is still the same missionary she was
when I worked with her. She has gone through so much and worked so
hard for this year and a half, and yet she is still working hard until
the end. She really wasn't trunky at all. I feel really blessed that I
was able to be with her this past week and I really hope that she had
a good time too.
After returning to Fujisawa, I think it would be really easy for me to
get caught up in seeing the fruits of my labors. I'm not going to lie
to you, it felt pretty amazing for everyone to notice how much I've
changed and to compliment me. Like, I'm feeling pretty good about
myself :) But right now, I am simply humbled to remember that it was
not on my own that I have done this. It is by the strength I receive
through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that I am blessed. It is through
His power that I am strengthened. And I know that He strengthens me
not to improve my own life, but so that I can be a tool in His hands
and help others. I loved being able to see my old investigators and to
be able to try to figure out how to help them. I loved to be able to
help investigators, pis, and members feel welcome at sports night and
Eikaiwa. I am so happy, and I just feel so incredibly blessed.
Today for Pday, we climbed Mount Takao!! It was incredible!! First
off, guys, I climbed a mountain!! Before the mission, I never would
have done something like that! It's so fun to be able to push myself
and find new things that I enjoy! I had a blast, and it was way hard,
but we killed it!! We talked to so many people, and it was such a
productive way to spend our time. I am so happy, and the weather was
Oh, we got our transfer calls today!!
I am transferring... To Kichijoji Sisters A! I will be with Sister
Reeves!! So excited to be with someone who is already my friend!!
Sister Wells is,.. Staying in Kichijoji and training!!! So we'll still
be seeing the miracles and having a blast in Kichijoji together. We
are so blessed!!
I love where I'm at right now in my life, and am so grateful for this
opportunity to improve. I was talking with an elder on the hike and he
was saying that he had no self confidence before his mission, but now
he's encountering the problem where he might be becoming a little
cocky. I laughed because I have the exact opposite problem!! I thought
I was just incredible premission, but now I realize how much I need to
improve!! Like, I really am nothing without my Savior. It's funny how
The Lord helps us change in just the ways that we need.
Love you all!! I'm praying for you always!!