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 7, 2015

Dec. 7, 2015

Merry Christmas Time!

I forgot, but someone else mentioned- this week is 6 months for me!

I think I already told you about last Monday at Nihon Shokken- food factory that looks like a European palace...interesting. 

Tuesday we went to SGG and during gospel time EVERYBODY SPOKE! Big deal- normally they're pretty silent. We went around and shared something we were grateful for this year and why. Everyone shared and my favorite was Mori San who's this cute grandma who said nothing big has happened to her this year, but she is grateful for little things every day like talking with friends and beautiful flowers. That's exactly what we should be grateful for! Then Thanksgiving was over and we started celebrating Christmas in kodomo Eikaiwa- Scott Shimai (member, teacher) asked me to teach a Christmas song and she had a bunch on karaoke. I taught them "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" because well, it's got the easiest words! At the end, we always give them candy with a spiritual message to read- this time we asked them to go to Christmas.mormon.org and watch the video- hopefully some of them do!

Recent convert - Eguchi Kyodai's lesson was on the Priesthood. First, I wrote part of the lesson on the board, with kanji! Copied from Fujiki Shimai, but hey, it's something!  K, but really this lesson went really really well. We (members of the church) are so blessed because the Priesthood is restored. Eguchi Kyodai is engaged and can't wait to have a family and we shared how the Priesthood was a blessing in our homes. 

Wednesday we picked mikans for Eguchi Kyodai with the Watabe's and Murakami Kyodai (branch  mission leader). We were there for hours, lots of spiders (who all received names: Satan, Akuma (devil), and Lucifer) and Watabe Choro kept hitting me in the head with mikans, and we had such a good time! Watabe Choro climbed up in the tree (not actually very high) and cut the ones higher and threw them down to us- somehow no one else got hit in the head, only me...it's all good! Mikans are light and he technically apologized every time, while laughing. I LOVE serving with the Watabe's!

In the evening we had Eikaiwa and not very many people came, maybe because it was raining? But it was kind of nice to have a small group and get to answer questions better, or at least I tried!

Thursday was cake day. Fujiki Shimai and I think we might be getting fatter here with not very many hills to bike and too much food given. (DONT WORRY MOM! I'm not fat, my clothes fit) In the morning we taught a cake shop investigator who gave us cake at the end, yay! It's from our favorite cake shop and its so good. Then Yamamoto Shimai called us and we met her to take our measurements (did I mention she's the best and is making skirts for us?) and after gave us Mikan pan- Mikan sweet bread! Then we got some good exercise in because we rode out to an investigator who's really in the boonies and it was windy the whole time, like really really windy where it's hard to bike in a straight line- maybe God was trying to help us stay fit! Then for lunch we went to this bakery another member has been almost begging us to go because she said it's really good plus cheap on Thursday.
In the evening we had our other cake shop investigators. The wife always insists we each had a piece with hot milk. It was only her, her husband was sick. She is wonderful! Checked on her BOM reading and she apologized that she hadn't read very much, she was only in 2nd Nephi. !!!! She's had, I think 2 weeks, and we haven't even reminded very much about reading. Wow. We introduced the Plan of Salvation. At the end she prayed and honestly applied about everything she had learned into her prayer. Then after, she said they can't meet again until January because their shop is so busy for Christmas. Heartbreaking! We don't want her to stop progressing! But. It should be okay, they have a lot of desire and even understand that it might be different missionaries. 

Friday we went to Matsuyama for ZTM- our goals have been raised and we have lots of new ideas, especially for Christmas and it's just so fun to be together!

Saturday morning Watabe Shimai took us to a towel fair. Towels are really popular and famous in Imabari. One of Watabe Shimai's English students owns a towel company with her husband, so we went to her sale and showroom. She is the nicest person! She was excited to show us around and explain things in English. Now she just needs to get interested in the church, because we've already decided she'd be a great RS Pres.

Sunday we really thought an investigator was going to come to church...and she didn't. She lives close and Fujiki Shimai found her on a koukon (exchange) and she's come to Kodomo Eikaiwa with her son and is really interested in Christianity. Ah well, we'll keep trying. A LA girl came, though we didn't see her when Seisankai was starting, so we went out to bring her in. She's a bit moody and we tried really hard to be friends, convince, talk normally, bear testimony and she wasn't very responsive and just wanted to sit in the hall on her device, so we went back in the meeting. So it was just overall a little disappointing, but I had the thought- No one ever said this was easy. No kidding! With Christmas, and thinking about the Savior, I really like the scripture in Isaiah "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows". He knows. I was talking to our Phillipino member about transfers and said "who knows" (talking about whether I'm here for Christmas or not) and she said "He knows." That hit me. He knows- He knows that we worked really hard this week even though our lesson numbers are pretty low. He knows how it hurts when people don't progress, don't come to church, or don't want to talk to us. He knows every hurt and disappointment. And He also knows every joy- even the little ones like seeing Christmas lights on a house in Japan (really really rare)!

So please don't forget that He knows!

Wagstaff Shimai

Replies really fast from what I remember - I know a few more people read my letters, at least they told me they did...Kotters, and some random emails from friends like Stacy Aragon. Not that it really matters too much to me, but I get little random emails sometimes and that's fun. I got one this week from the Giles, and a couple weeks ago
from Sis Clark.

This week I was wondering why good things weren't happening to us when we had good plans, intentions and we're trying to work hard. Why did we have 0 lesson days? But then I need to be better at applying lessons I teach to myself. We shared Mosiah 24:15 with a LA and talked about how God sometimes strengthens us instead of changing our circumstances. So much easier to say than do. I received your package Tuesday- we like the decorations! Elsa is hanging in our bedroom and Fujiki Shimai commented that now it looks like we sleep in a kid's room. :)

Sunday I received a package from the Kotters, then today Fujiki Shimai received one from her family, so those were nice boosts this week.

Sunday, I felt like I needed to bear my testimony- and I didn't really know what to say but I got up there, and I still didn't know exactly what to say, didn't have complete thoughts in English, so my Japanese wasn't that great, plus it's hard to think like that when you're crying, which naturally I started doing. So I think it was just that I needed to get up there and feel the Spirit strongly. Unfortunately, they don't have tissues by the podium! And then I thought I put some in my bad that morning, but didn't so I had to use my sleeves, which is gross and I'm not sure why I'm telling you, but anyways, really good meeting. No one carries tissues- everyone has their personal handkerchief/towel with them, I need to be better about bringing one too!

I'm really not a fan of housing and am not that great at streeting either- neither is Fujiki Shimai. It's hard to talk to people and share the gospel quickly just on the street or wherever, so our goal is 3 people a day. Slowly progressing...I talked to 3 people, but then didn't have time to connect to the gospel. Then the next day we talked
and gave them a flyer, but not a commitment, so it wasn't a lesson. Working on getting up to lesson level! It's hard. Talking to Welch Kaicho and other missionaries, I've learned that most of the responsibility for that is on me. Not that people can't change, but Nihonjin are very reserved and very much society-oriented. If it's not polite, you don't do it. Not that talking to people is rude, but it's different and no one wants to be different. But as a foreigner, those
things don't apply to me because I'm already really different, therefore I'm the one that's supposed to talk to everyone. Kind of weird because I don't speak the language nearly as well, but if I start Fujiki Shimai always helps, but it's definitely scary to start. Working on overcoming that.

I'm sending a package off hopefully today and hopefully it's there for Christmas! I love you guys!!

Also just checking if Drew and T are alive...haven't heard :)

Love, Katya

Branch's tree! We were here at the church last night submitting numbers and had the tree on- I love Christmas tree lights in the dark!

Love you all so very much!

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