I'm off to serve an LDS mission in Kobe, Japan from June 2015 to December 2016. My mom will be keeping this blog updated with my latest letters, photos, adventures, etc.! Also I would LOVE to hear from everyone - katya.wagstaff@myldsmail.net

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday Dec. 12, 2016 Light the Japan!

I really want to think that this is just a normal week, but this is my last email and this has truly been a week of tender mercies from Heavenly Father. I love my mission. I love these people and experiences and I cry anytime anyone mentions that I'm going home but that's just because I am so grateful, not to mention the wonderful family and loved ones at home. I absolutely love being a missionary,there's nothing better.

Last Monday we went to Joyo illumination with a member- not a lot of people there, but so grateful that she came and dendo'd with us! She's finishing up college finals right now and still makes time to work with us, love her so much!

Tuesday was such a blessing- lunch and lesson with a member- busy working RM but she also wants to make time to dendo on Sunday's! Then we did a Christmas kubari (handing out flyers) at eki and it was really successful- lots of people stopped to actually talk with us, not just take the paper and leave- some good PI's. Then we've really been praying and working hard for new investigators that have potential to really progress and housed an apartment building close to a member's house that we felt prompted to visit and of course after no one answering, found someone at one of the last doors- he's a college student who doesn't know what's true but said if there was one true religion he would want that...we had the opportunity to teach the whole Resotration, give BOM, set appt for later in the week- what a miracle! 

Wednesday was our recent converts- everyone's doing great, Masaki Kyoudai and Yamanaka Shimai are done with AB lesson! In the evening again prompting to visit some apartments and met the most adorable 12 year old girl who we showed the new Christmas video, she loved it and wants to learn more (needs parent permission) so asked her to get that, then we were moving on and talked to other people and as we were going back to our bikes she comes running out and had written us Merry Christmas cards- she melts my heart. It doesn't matter what age, Heavenly Father is preparing his children to hear the gospel. 

Thursday I koukaned in a Fushimi with Luczak and Kenney Shimai- 3people was a blast! We had to adjust a little but lots of miracles, worked hard, came home exhausted (which is the best feeling)Friday ZTM in Shimogamo- the Spirit was strong, we were able to apply various things we learned immediately to get new investigators later in the week! Plus Kanako Chan (member)'S work schedule was changed and she was able to come with us to visit golden kid from earlier in the week- turned out really well, talked about BOM and Heavenly Father. 

Saturday evening went to Kanako's house, Komatsu 'S had a dinner party partially for me going home and also her friend (referral!) who just passed some big college test. I love watching the Spirit work through people. Towards the end she basically said, I just feel so soft right now and started crying and talking about guilt she felt for not being better, wants to be better- that's exactly the help the gospel brings! She's really busy now until end of the year but basically she's ready to be baptized- she's been friends with this member for a long time, met missionaries a little before, preparing her to receive the full blessings! 

Sunday spoke, also sang with Larsen Shimai! Then YW Christmas Party, watched Christmas Devotional, went out for some more finding and evening was dinner party at the Nagashima family and lots of people! It was just one big happy family- food was simple and that's the best, just having a good time together. Miracles are happening here because this is Heavenly Fathers work for us, the children that he loves so much. 

I've just been a small part of the picture and I've learned how hard this is. We cannot do this work on our own and there are plenty of discouraging, rainy long cold days and yet we have the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We know that all things will work together for our good. If you want to be happy, look to the Light of the World. If you want to be even happier, follow His example and share the light.
I love you all, see you soon!
Wagstaff Shimai

See you soon! Love you all! Sent off my suitcases today, praying
everything gets there in one piece :)

This week I was with a lot of member families and they are the same
all over to world. The gospel blesses families, truly we have joy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dec. 5, 2016 Light the World!

This has been the biggest adventure- not done yet, and reminds me of a quote except I can't perfectly quote it but something along the lines of "the road is narrow, the way is rough, the companions are few, theGuide is reliable" especially that part about the Guide. Truly this week saw in little ways that this is Heavenly Father's work.

Also this will be short, not a lot of time... Monday after adventuring around Kyoto we went after a bunch of PI's
and were able to invite people to our Christmas Party! Christmas dendo  is the greatest thing ever, even in Japan- non Christian country, they know Christmas and it softens/opens hearts like nothing else!

Tuesday found City Hall and went looking after service opportunities. Then passed out fliers by a college with the elders in Santa hats and forgot to take pictures :( At first we tried singing Christmas songs (hymns) and passing out but that definitely didn't work but once we just had a good time, everyone was way more interested! Then an
investigator who we haven't seen in a long time mailed us and we were able to meet her! Plus top off the night with my companion making tacos plus homemade salsa !

Wednesday with recent converts and it's so much fun to literally see their testimonies grow. 81 yr old grandma is really starting to understand and retain, plus a less active finally did her BOM reading this week- that's a big deal!! Then Fujii Shimai, another recent convert read from 2nd Nephi clear to the middle of Mosiah this week,

Thursday was service day and tried to visit lots of lonely people then did a garbage pick-up project along a street by the church - lots of people smiled at us, so I'd say it was pretty successful.

Friday we had District Meeting in Fushimi- good stuff as always, with of course Indo Curry after. Even bettter that night was a recent convert who's been struggling a lot lately was smiling and even laughed a little tonight! Laughter is the best medicine- big testimony of that!

Saturday we had a really productive DCS which always feels good. Then Fujii Shimai took the next step in BOM and we were able to help her start to apply what she reads to herself, find answers, because it is more than just an interesting story. My love for the BOM grew as she's been going through for the first time and pointing out things like- Noah was a horrible guy wasn't he?!? But WOW Alma's so amazing- I can't wait to starting reading Book of Alma, it's long so it has to be good, right?? :) She just makes me so happy! Cool miracle seeing how
Heavenly Father guides us without us knowing. We wanted to stop by a\ former investigator who lives by a recent convert, Takeda Shimai, so we dropped by her first and found that her granddaughters were there. They come with her to church sometimes and we were able to teach a Christmas, Jesus Christ message and their grandma gave them the calendar the church made in Japan for the 25 days of service. They
love it!

Sunday  was a good fast Sunday after church received a kimono from some members- adorable grandma's! And then it was a big of a long day being out in the rain (we planned a day with lots of biking and finding, not realizing it would rain) so that was pretty cold, but made coming back at the end of the night feel better!

That's a really short version, plus didn't take any pictures this week, but truly so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ. I love Christmas! Relief Society president bore her testimony about how following the church's service Christmas thing has helped her remember Christ throughout the day in simple ways, I realized what a tremendous
blessing it is to be a missionary- a representative of Jesus Christ 24/7 for 18 months. The feeling is unreal. I have never been alone, I can always feel Heavenly Father's love come in various ways- sometimes it's that He gives challenges to help us grow but those are also just evidence of His love! I know He loves each and every one of you- please check out the video and campaign on mormon.org because it truly makes a diffference- first in you then in those around you!

Love, Wagstaff 姉妹

This week has been really interesting- somehow in my mind I had this image that there are tons of blessings at the end of your mission and it was smooth sailing. A lot of big miracles because you've worked so hard and that's how Heavenly Father shows he loves you.

Now what I'm saying isn't that Heavenly Father isn't constantly in this work and that I'm not seeing blessings- not that, just that the end is just like the rest, ups and downs. I think I like that. For some reason, all of our investigators dropped us and during finding time we've been getting a lot of no's. But that's okay, because we
still know God has a plan. He has perfect timing. One blessing is that we are focusing really hard on how to improve- constantly after reach lesson, how can he next be better. Something I liked about mom and dad's emails this week was that they are still constantly improving as well- that's what we're all doing.

Plus we had a big fiasco in Sunday Schooly that honestly I don't. Understand
all the details- recent converts mom is an investigator and everyone in the ward has a different opinion about how to help her and we taught her with a member couple during  Sunday school but then after church got interrogated by a member of the bishopric and Ward mission leader and still don't know why but it's okay because we can go back, apologize even though we don't know why and get more clarification. Really it's an opportunity to really be Christ-like. He asks us to love enemies as well as friends (and the members definitely aren't
enemies!!) but it takes work to become true friends.

Through every experience we can laugh and have a good time. We got wet then it got super cold and we were so cold but it's okay because came back to the church at the end of he Night to submit our numbers for the week and elders were there too and we could all laugh about how rough it is sometimes! Truly truly truly joyful. Plus I know that there are always prepare people out there. It's unlikely that I'll see a baptism in the next week, so I'll finish my mission without having physically seen an investigator baptized and that's okay because it's not the end- my work is just part of Heavenly Father's great plan.

Drew and Tash- I hope that you are preparing to become a missionary. I hope that you are solidifying your base in the gospel of Jesus Christ now because it will always be a blessing to you. I hope you come to love the Book of Mormon, I LOVE the Book of Mormon, I think more than any possession I'm going to take home with me, the copy that has been carried around with me this past year and is a little worn, very marked up is likely my favorite thing. I hope that you love Jesus Christ and through following His example come to know more of Him. I hope you aren't afraid to share His lights with the people around you- we are asked to invite and be an example. Others have their agency, but a missionary's purpose is to invite and help others to come unto Christ. I know that investigators I have taught will be baptized. I also know that someday, hopefully soon, a temple will be announced in the Kansai area and that's going to be a great day.

Love you guy! Katya

Monday, November 28, 2016

Nov. 28, 2016

Monday after P-Day ended we went out to Kutsukawa and saw Tai for a little bit- such a blessing that my companion speaks Spanish! I picked up a few words (the ones that are like English πŸ˜Š) but she was busy and less interested than before, but still hope! Did some finding, trying to focus on Book of Mormon which worked out pretty well! 

Tuesday we biked over to a college and had some pretty successful finding- one girl turns out doesn't live in our area, but pretty interested and swapped numbers. Then not even sure how it happened, we were just talking to everyone and met this 97 he old grandpa, still walking around and genki with a walker. Anyways a little hard to understand him but he was Christian and he mentioned he wasn't baptized so of course we started talking about baptism, then he asked if he could show us a book he wrote, so we walked a little back to his house , he ended up giving us his book, no clue what it's about but he probably lives with family and hopefully they see the pamphlets we gave! Funny guy. Later met with a member and I was surprised that she had more dendo desire than I expected (don't judge) and we helped her think about people to help especially inviting to Christmas, which is a really big push in Japan this year. Lastly visited a less active from a list the Relief Society president gave us a bit ago and this lady hasn't been visited in a long time according to records but she came out and talked to us and we also met her daughter (non-member!) and she said we can come back and talk! image2.JPG
(Also Yamanaka Shimai gave us flowers)

Wednesday was recent convert day, always good. So proud of Fujii Shimai this week who basically just finished all of 2nd Nephi in a week! The Book of Mormon is powerful and the promise is true for anyone who reads, ponders and prays. 

Thursday we got a flu shot in the morning, then went over to Uji in the evening for Thanksgiving dinner at the Takara's with elders, Masaki Kyoudai and Hirao Shimai. Dinner was Pizza Hut and KFC :) :) It was just the funniest group, we were laughing all night. The gospel is so joyful- this was a group that of course like everyone has challenges, some big ones and yet can be happy...that's kind of been a theme this week, "None but saints can be happy under every circumstance "image1.JPG

Friday was Zone Conference and the Spirit was so strong, Welch Kaicho and Shimai are truly amazing. Sadly my last zone conference but it's so good and the missions going in a great direction focusing on Faith and Repentance. I gave my final testimony, then after had final interview, so lots of tears but it was so good. Came back to Joyo and had a lesson with Naho plus a member was able to come, so that was good. Also the Christmas video came out- seriously ζ„Ÿε‹•γ—γΎγ—γŸ,very moved! Everyone needs to see it, it helped our investigator feel the Spirit as well. image3.JPG

Saturday we had a meeting with Ward mission leader then ate out and cool experience showing the difference we can make. While waiting we started talking to people and elders were talking to a family with a young kid who really liked English- just being nice and then left. Then we we were sitting by a lady who was pretty cool, and she finished and left a little before we did. Once she left the mom the elders talked to approached us and said we seemed really nice and he had mentioned we teach English, so she asked about it, we ended up teaching her about what we're doing and importance of family and she just couldn't believe we taught English for free. Anyways, hopefully they come this week! Lots of miracles this day, another cool experience was in the evening in Uji (biked out pretty far) and we were looking for this less active and the address was a little wrong but then this high school kid was coming home to the house that the map said, so we asked if he knew this person, he immediately ran in to check with his mom who grabbed a map of the area, invited us in and we checked the map together, she found it then walked us over to the less active. Turns out his less active didn't live there anymore but we were definitely guided to meet this mom and her family, she was so incredibly nice! 

Sunday Elder Aoba came to Joyo Ward!! He's a member of the 70 (potter mentioned in General Conference last October) and he's from Ehime my first area and I knew him there! That was really fun- he shared a story about challenges he had to overcome as a new member and the effect we can then have on others in strengthening their faith. Then during Sunday school a member couple asked us to come with them and we went to a classroom with Fujii Shimai's mom who was an investigator before but then kept saying she was too tired to listen to us so we dropped her but she still comes to church every week with her daughter and had a great time at Stake Conference last week. The members invited her to listen to us and she said no but kept talking, testifying about eternal families- through the teaching of Jesus Christ we really can see and be with our family forever. So then asked again and she agreed to take lessons during Sunday school! Truly a miracle and we couldn't have done it on our own. Later we did some housing in a new neighborhood the bishop just moved into and even though it was cold and raining, lots of people answered and talked to us- lots of good potential investigators, including a family that all immediately came to the door, like all of them (rare!). Had dinner with the Bishop and his wife and talked about their dendo, plus for the Ward and there were lots of ideas- so exciting to see great things going forward. Dendo really does work best with members. 
I'm so grateful for the little part I get to play in Heavenly Father's grand plan everyday. There are so many precious children here and God knows each and every one. That includes each of you! You are each known and loved and make a difference. Very excited to start the Christmas service thing this week and hear how everyone is daily serving! Love you all!

Sister Wagstaff

Love the new Christmas campaign! Dad asked what I want to do this
holiday season, first don't really know but for sure everyday the
service thing!

What a week- investigators falling like crazy, we were basically down
to no one solid so lots of finding and we were working hard, talking
to tons of people and just no one with interests, no new
investigators. Don't worry not a pity party because we knew we were
doing our part, fasted one day as well. Then the most amazing Zone
Conference. I was just tears basically the whole day it was so good
and a very nice sort of wrap up and lots of looking back. The asked us
to do a 5 minute last testimony at the end and obviously I knew it was
coming and have for a long time up there and basically could hardly
speak at first but special thing is just the day before I finished the
Atonement challenge and read the entire BOM again. It is absolutely
true and the Atonement is for all of us and even though it's just the
paper missionary copy it's priceless because it's what I have learned,
experiences, felt since February. I have dates and names written in
for special experiences, particular verses that are tied to people.
Truly this is the most amazing experience. Plus we all stood and sang
our mission theme song- I'll never be able to sing Armies of Helaman
the same again either.

Also went to Kyoto again today- little exploring because we didn't
know exactly what we were looking for but heard suggestions about a
cool area of the city. Ended up seeing a manga museum (not worth it,
still don't care!) but cute little shop with paintings, then ended up
close to the imperial palace and ginormous gardens, only saw a little
bit but that's a beautiful place, wish I'd found that earlier!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mon. Nov. 21, 2016 Stake Conference in Kyoto!

Transfers week and Stoneman Shimai went off to the opposite end of the mission in Izumo and my new companion is Larsen Shimai! 

Monday was Nanzenji with the most beautiful fall colors. At night we went hard, sadly one of our new investigators that we thought had a lot of potential gave the BOM back, said her husband said no but she was really sorry. So she'll have another chance later, just not right now, but then to make up for that we found around the church and met a jr high girl who's pretty interested! Plus gave away a few BOMs to our neighbors. 

Tuesday a member took us out to Okonomiyaki for lunch so I was very very happy! Later finally met one of our investigators plus she showed us some fun Japanese kid candy- really strange but fun! In the evening met a member and overall felt he Spirit and found out how she's really trying to figure out how to dendo right now and was very open! 
Wednesday was regular recent converts who were all sad to hear about transfers, but Spirit was strong, and everyone's continuing faithfully. Also putting bikes in a box to transfer is just the biggest nightmare, that was fun. And more people came to Eikaiwa than usual, yay! 
Thursday we got up super early for transfers and everything went pretty smoothly! Came back and planned with Larsen Shimai, did some finding around the church, then went to dinner at a member's and they had sushi! So good and fun- mom and 2 daughters, one an RM and the other in college and they are just so funny! Made plans to help some of their friends! 

Friday our neighbor had a chanto appointment with us! She doesn't have as much interest in the gospel as we thought, but grateful that we were able to help her as much as we can and besides, she still lives across the street from the church and next door to the sisters, she defiantly has other chances. Later did some finding around the eki and talked to some really cool people- 2 high school girls were going back the same direction we were, stayed with us and we're going to McDonalds close to the church so we asked if they wanted a tour and they came over to the church with us! Another crazy thing with that was that this girl asked if she could have our number before we asked for hers (turned out to be more English interest, but hey we're happy if she comes to Eikaiwa). Later Game Night and although investigators didn't show up, there were some les active kids that I met for the for the first time! 
Saturday we started in the morning teaching a recent convert Masaki Kyoudai with the elders and the bishop- kind of interesting trying to teach with 5 people but it worked out! Then in the afternoon Fujii Shimai had invited us to some singing service thing at a senior center- we weren't a lot of help since it was all old Japanese songs we didn't know, but we had fun! From there off to Shimogamo for Stake Conference! One little miracle- left my backpack on a train, talked to a conductor, waited 10 minutes ish then got my backpack back, no problems at all- wow. All Ward Council members and missionaries were invited to priesthood meeting and Welch Kaicho did a really cool training on member missionary work and had us all mogi together- especially to help members talk to people more in uncomfortable places: work and the train. Good training, then hurried back and stayed with Fushimi for the night. 

Sunday up early for Stake Conference round2! The Spirit was really strong (aka I was crying through the whole thing) and so much of it was about the Area Plan (Finding joy in the gospel) and dendo. After the normal session they had a special meeting for missionaries, new members and "friends"...not sure why they didn't just say investigators. Anyways- Joyo looked really good! All of our recent converts plus Fujii Shimai's mom- shared testimonies, had questions, and Yamanaka Shimai said the closing prayer, which was the cutest thing ever- she summarized her conversion story and gave a lot of thanks for it. Plus it's pretty cool to have Welch Kaicho Shimai meeting, teaching our people! Came back by train with members- miraculously found an interested lady and then a member's non-member husband recognized us and stopped to say hi! Came back and went to get some new investigators, meet some less actives. Not a lot of people, but the ones we did talk to were pretty quality. Then there was a less active we hadn't planned on visiting but felt like we needed to, so we stopped by and had a really nice lesson with her. Still don't know exactly why, but seemed like that was where we were needed. 
Also I've been thinking a lot about the message we share with her and also a theme that popped up at Stake Conference- there is so much we "need" to do and that can get overwhelming and then we're doing too much on our own, but that's not the best way. Heavenly Father has a perfect plan and he guides us through the Holy Ghost, little bit at a time. Our role is to courageously follow the promptings we receive. We have the Atonement of Jesus Christ to rely on and we can improve! If we're following the Spirit, we're doing what's right and Heavenly Father is happy with us. This was a message I really needed and maybe there's someone else out there that needed a reminder! Love you all so very much!

Sister Wagstaff

Also today we went to this giant shrine and there was supposed to be a giant flea market but we were there late and everything was being packed up, so enjoy the view from outside! 

Displaying image3.JPG

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mon. Nov. 14, 2016

This week I regretted leaving my rain boots in my last area- they were getting sad and I thought the rain was mostly done...zannen but it's okay work moves on! 

Last Monday night we did a lot of finding, found a bunch of college and high school students- not quite new investigators but it's always nice to start of the week really busy teaching like that. 
Tuesday was a rainy day and Stoneman Shimai still isn't 100% but okay to dendo so we decided to take trains and walk so that we could use umbrellas instead of riding in the rain. We were going after less actives- got some not-so-happy-to-see-us people but then of course also nicer people, plus had fun trying to find this girl baptized a few years ago but went less active and a few weeks ago some members saw her working at Sushiro so we tried to meet her there plus get some good food! 

Wednesday normal new member lessons and every week we read the BOM with this less active and this time another member and new member joined and we talked about the Atonement with 1 Ne 19- cute Yamanaka Shimai, new member may get distracted and tell funny stories but she also has a testimony centered on Christ and overall it was just a really spiritual lesson- I love those powerful reminders that Jesus Christ is our Savior and there are so many blessings in store for us! That night at Eikaiwa a mom and her daughter came and she's pretty determined to start a kid's class here- nothing makes me more exhausted but at the same time it's so much fun, plus she's going to bring friends which means hello new investigators! 

Thursday met Yamanaka Shimai again talked about the Atonement, becoming more Christ-like and she continues to amaze me with what she understands- there's so much she doesn't really understand and can't say baptism but she gets the important stuff-shows how simple the gospel is. In the evening, brought an investigator, Naho Chan over for dinner and lesson with YW pres, turned out really well plus thenmember asked what we wanted to eat and I told her I just want completely Japanese food, what they normally eat, so she had tofu and an octopus salad and a miso soup and fish and along with a lot of other ways I've changed, this food is DELICIOUS, like if I could I would eat that stuff all the time and those are all things I pretty much hated before! 
Friday before District Meeting took the train over and taught people along the way like usual and Stoneman Shimai talked to this lady who legitimately has interest AND lives close to the church- answer to prays, pretty excited about her plus her family, lots of hope for them! Had a good District Meeting, Chinese for lunch and headed back to an appt with a member, along the way found some another girl with potential, plus this member was amazing. She's very in tune with the Spirit- doing a great job planting seeds everywhere, sharing the gospel plus then at the end I swear it had no connection to what we were talking about earlier but she started talking about another sister years earlier and gave advice that was perfect for me- I don't know if she knew it or not but she was for sure an instrument in Heavenly Father's hands. Evening was Game Night plus joint lesson with the elders for a recent convert who's super quiet but the time between asking a question and him answering was a lot shorter than usual! Progress! Then end of the nging after planning, our cute next door neighbor rang out doorbell and just wanted to talk (long story with her but she's adorable and NEEDS the gospel)- we were able to share a scripture from BOM that we had found earlier that day in companion study that we thought would be nice to share with her sometime- God is looking out for His children and we've been especially trying to be in tune with the Spirit to know how we can help her.
(ps 11/11 Pocky Day)

Saturday the Ward had a big church clean-up then a barbeque! We organized the library and it was so nice to throw away all the papers and junk that have been building up for waaay too long and now the church just looks and smells and feels so much nicer! Plus the BBQ was so good and we had really good weather and fun people! Later Tai San cancelled her lesson :( but was really grateful sorry and were trying to reschedule now. Evening had dinner with a member family- daughter is less active but still nice and talks to us- made the lesson a little awkward but the Spirit came and she has to choose for herself and has zero interest now but hopefully someday soon. 
Sunday was the Primary Program with 2 girls- they were so impressive! The Primary program is always amazing and normally I remember all the funny things that happen but these girls were pretty normal which just probably helped us all focus more on their message. Something that amazed me was that very simply and powerfully they essentially taught all of the missionary lessons- Primary kids can be missionaries and it was the coolest experience. Then during a Sunday School, an investigator (Naho Chan) unexpectedly showed up and said she wanted to talk to us...so we're freaking out thinking she'll drop us and then she says- I talked to my boss and now I can come to church all month. Djfnoecmdm whaaa?? So that was cool, YW are super welcoming- all one of them and 2 leaders :) After church had a Christmas Party planning meeting- this is going to be so good! In the evening we visited the Kiyotani family- parents and daughters youngest is our age and not very active so we had everyone write down favorite scripture then we mixed them up, read them and guessed who's it was then the person had to explain why they liked it- coolest thing was that Megumi did it along with everyone and can't explain how happy her parents seemed, her mom exclaimed "See!! You do have a testimony!" and that was just really really cool.  

Today is rainy and we're going to some really old shrine (Nanzenji )that members recommended and holy cow like the fall colors here are definitely comparable with New England- promise it's all real- way pretty place! Transfers this week. Way too fast. Million different thoughts I could share but one scripture that sticks out has been Sther 6:8 that the winds never cease to blow towards the promised land. The winds of trial are always there and yet God is in charge and when we're doing our best, He's leading us in the right direction. 
Love you all! 

Wagstaff 姉妹

On to lighter things- I still hate heights and the giant shrine thing we climbed into today was so scary, granted pictures might have been worth it, but this was when we were coming down...

Here was our barbecue, look how warm it looks and it's November- weathers been crazy. 

Sent from my iPad

Friday, November 11, 2016

Monday Nov. 7 2016

Hey love you all, not a lot to report this week- Stoneman Shimai was sick :( so we were in the apartment a bit and I got lots of study done! Plus she's fine now and so far I've been safe and haven't got sick. No time to be sick now. 
Thought I'd tell you a little more about some of the wonderful people I'm with now! We work with quite a few recent converts like...

FUJII Shimai! I don't remember what I've told you before but she lives really close to the church and came to Eikaiwa (English Class) years ago. In her words, she's always felt a pull to come towards the church. Earlier this year she was searching for more in her life and decided to visit the church- in the middle of the day walked over and the sisters were sitting inside! From there took lessons got baptized a few months ago! She wants to do her best and strives to do everything right! Also lately has been very interested in our schedule as missionary's and couldn't believe we were so busy! Also she remembers everything you tell her which is really sweet! Right now she's stressing out a little because they asked her to bear testimony in Stake Conference coming up. 
Also she lives with and takes care of her mom who is one of the funniest grandmas I've ever met. 

Masaki Kyoudai- sisters stopped him on the side of the road on a rainy night and then he actually came to church! (PS- this is a little rare, most people need a little more help to attend church) Turns out he believed in God and had been searching for a church. He's one of the quietest people I've ever met- he's a deep thinker (studied philosophy!) and takes a while to answer questions but answers are really good. His family was extremely hantai (opposed) to church and him being baptized but he's gone ahead with it (also lives apart from his family) but that's continued to be a challenge for him but he's continued to be faithful and there will definitely be blessings coming for him! Also Friday night we had a fun night with him and the elders playing games, eating pancakes and then talking-short lesson. He opened up a lot, is dang good at cards and LIKES PEANUT BUTTER! (Like everybody here hates it! Also root beer- have I mentioned that before? They think it tastes like medicine)

Yamanaka Shimai- she's 81, reminds us that all the time and I've never laughed so much in my life as when we're with her! She lives alone and close to the church, so we check up on her pretty frequently and promised to come for a full lesson on Saturday- schedule was all delayed so we showed up a little later than planned and she was really "mad" at us but she's incapable of that and gave us a cake she bought for us ❤and said that since we were late she wanted to just give us half, but couldn't and just gave us the full thing. She's adorable and truly Jesus Christ is the center of her testimony. She was found by the elders earlier this year just housing! She had been feeling very lonely and through the church, relying on Christ she has found many friends and is very happy. She loves to tell us stories and so many of them end in blessings and she turns to us , that's because of/thanks to Christ isn't it? Also she really struggles with our names so she just calls us "onesama" (probably translates to young ladies) all the time! 

Takeda Shimai- we don't meet her as often because her AB lessons are over but she's working really hard at dendo! She's also a really genki grandma but busier because her husband recently had a stroke. But she brings her granddaughter's to church a lot and they love Primary- trying to work with her to get the girls parents to be okay with the girls taking lessons and eventually being baptized. She is full of charity- constantly giving- for example when it was warmer she had grown grapes and had a lot and decided to just give them away to all of her neighbors (ps grapes are insanely expensive). Also she uses her whole body to tell stories which is so much fun! 

Also Saturday had our appt with Tai San (from Peru)- this week she had opened up the BOM a little and read but not much and didn't understand so we read together and got to know her a lot better and she's pretty open to learning more- has many questions about the true nature of God, why bad things happen and Stoneman Shimai was great at immediately using the BOM to help answer her questions! Had a great lesson and feel really good about her future! She has some Mormon relatives in Peru and said that she wasn't sure if she wanted to know if this was true, but talking more found out that she is a little unsure about what that would mean for her- her life would change nevertheless shes going to keep learning and reading, which is definitely acting in faith! It was an interesting experience for us, teaching someone with a different cultural background because she was much more upfront and clearly saying what she thought- Japanese culture is very polite and they are the most wonderful people and you need the Gift of Discernment to help them :)

Other things this week, went on a Koukan in a Fushimi with the STLs! That was a blast- I was with Luczak a Shimai and the area is really city- a lot like dendoing in Osaka so it was like being back for a while and I loved it! I love Koukan S but also very happy with where I am now- a little more country and having a great time with current comp- companions are definitely inspired by God. 

Friday was ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) in Shimogamo and I translated part of the meeting for the Japanese missionaries...when did this happen?!? I've translated before but it's still always something that scares me a little but I can also testify that god loves His children, wants those missionaries to receive the same message, feel the Spirit and so He helps the translators too.
On Sunday our new bishop held Hyougi Kai (Ward Council) and it was amazing- like we could've been in a church training video :) So we have Stake Conference coming up and the Stake President has given everyone a challenge: pray for, invite and bring someone with you to Stake Conference (LA, investigator, friend) and so as a council they made a list and coordinated with everyone, everyone filling their role plus using home teachers and visiting teachers to get as many people from Joyo as we could to come to Shimogamo for Stake Conference. So cool. This is how dendo effectively moves forward. The Bishop also had specific directions for the missionaries! We love receiving direction! Right now we're asked to visit lots of members- build trusting relationships and help them invite and take this challenge!  Truly exciting and had Gods help because we were able to make appts with tons of membersa nd normally these are crazy busy people and our schedules never line up. 

Also lastly wanted to share a scripture I've read and thought about a lot this past week- 1 Ne 4:6-7 "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. 7 Nevertheless I went forth." 
Truly I've been experiencing this a lot lately, as in sure we all are! Heavenly Father leads us along by the Spirit and most of the time we don't realize but we can constantly strive to live worthy of the Spirit and courageously follow the promptings, any good promptings we receive. I am so excited to see all of the miracles and work that Heavenly Father has in store, especially with our year-end baptism promise. As long as we are following the Spirit and putting forth best effort like Nephi did, Gods work will move forward with us happily getting to play a little part. I can't think of anything better to do. This is happiness you can't just read about this is something you have to feel for yourself. On my Koukan with Luczak Shimai, we couldn't help ourselves, we were walking around the city and kept saying , we LOVE δΌι“ (missionary work)! 

Also I love all of you and hope and pray that you too follow the Spirit and are a happy little missionary in your own sphere of influence! 
The sun was bright