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, January 25, 2016

Jan. 25, 2016 I am a child of God

Welch Kaicho called a little bit ago and I'm an STL. !!! Feeling waaay too young for this, and we're opening a new sister area in Kawachinagano (kind of close to Sakai) and I'm with Chapman Shimai! She's Tahitian and the STL I koukoned with this transfer, I love her! Really excited to work with Chapman Shimai because I like her dendo style- she works really hard and obedient but seems to have a lot of fun.

So still in shock, but that's what's going on.

K I'll get right to the point- so today is transfer announcements, but they said we're doing it different now and you'll get calls from zone leaders instead of the email with everybody on it. So with that they said we probably wouldn't get a call until Tuesday. So about an hour ago we were doing our grocery shopping and Pres Welch called... I'm
transferring to Kawachinagano new sister area as an STL. ...DIDN'T EXPECT THAT.

So anyways this week...Monday right after we finished emailing, Edison (half Phillipino recent convert who's the MOST AMAZING PERSON YOULL EVER MEET) came to the church because he left his jacket here and ended up staying a while telling us his conversion story. I would write the whole thing because it's so good, but that would take forever but the simple reason he joined? He came to church and everyone was smiling and welcoming and he noticed that he was happier here. That simple! So with that, don't forget to smile and love people at church, it goes a long ways!

Tuesday we went to Kobe for TTT( Trainer Trainee Trainer Meeting)-successfully took the trains! Of course the meeting was great! My favorite was seeing Fujiki, Rees and Sands Shimai- so happy!

They are also really emphasizing Preach My Gospel because there was a mission survey a while ago and they found that overall we haven't been using PMG very much, so we're focusing on that. Here's a crazy thought, you'll be more successful at missionary work if you read and apply the manual the prophet and apostles wrote about missionary work...good reminder! 

Wednesday was a normal day- lots of biking trying to visit lots of people, most weren't home, got a little lost, it's the usual! Plus Eikaiwa- I really need to write down the questions they ask me because there's some weird stuff and I have to try and stay serious because they are asking these questions seriously... Example: One of the vocab was "weeping" and this guy asks "So I say 'the weeping pig?' not the 'crying pig' right?" I tell him I honestly don't know if there's a rule about that. Then someone else asks "what about horses?" There's my challenge English people! Do horses cry or weep? 

On Thursday we watched a Broadcast from the Missionary Executive Committee. The focus was on the principles from PMG. Good timing with our mission's focus! 
Also on a side note- we found this soup/salad/sandwich place like the ones Mom and I like. First one I've seen in Japan! We were SO HAPPY

Also we had a lesson with Miki Chan - followed up on prayer and she said she did pray everyday last week! This may sound pretty simple, but it's a huge deal! She said she prayed at work and had a good feeling. !!! Before she didn't really understand prayer and the Holy Ghost and we focused on simplifying our teaching and helping her understand. Little miracle for her! Also she brought a friend and that means another really good potential investigator! 

Friday we had Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Choi (but you say it chay). They're Korean and really funny and POWERFUL. That was most of the day and we learned so much, I wanted to share some things that stuck out to me:

- Elevate our thoughts! (Thoughts lead to action, habit, character, destiny) and with that they are elevating the mission vision again. Welch Kaicho recently changed it to aiming for 1 baptism a month per companionship. We still haven't reached that, but they are changing to 1 baptism a week per companionship! In order to achieve that, we have to work with the members better.

- LOVED Sis Choi, felt the Spirit so strongly when she spoke. She talked a lot about how Heavenly Father trusts us because of our faithfulness in premortality. We are the front line for Him and we shouldn't be afraid of anything!

Hurried back for an LA (less active) lesson with Kitada Kyodai (our dendo shunin- Ward mission leader) doseki-ing (member present at a lesson...something like that). So good! We asked her to read the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet and she told us before she thought repentance was just fixing bad things you do, but we need to repent of anything that separates us from God, even our thoughts. Yes! HUGE PROGRESS! We've talked about repentance with her all transfer and now she's really starting to get it! 

Saturday night was Stake TaiKai (conference)! Elder Choi was there, plus the Welch's! Sakai's a big stake, not quite American size, but still pretty big with some of the greatest members! Pres Welch and Elder Choi both talked about missionary work- one challenge was for every member to read PMG everyday and then tell the missionaries what you learn. We're excited to follow up with all the members. Also with hastening the work here, they've asked all missionaries and members wherever they are to pray for the work in their area at 6 pm everyday. The promise is that we'll all become more united as we are all doing this. They also told everyone that as we actively share the gospel, we will feel more of the joy. 

Saturday night the Wakayama sisters slept over with us (Arnold and FONUA SHIMAI!) Fun in our little apartment- Fonua Shimai was sort of sleeping in the kitchen and Salisbury Shimai was in the doorway! 

Then Sunday was more Stake TaiKai- sorry this email is getting super long because I learned a lot this week and want to share! The music really stood out to me this time. There was a special youth session and they sang the EFY medley. I'll never be able to explain how special this was- so many Japanese youth together, singing. Can you imagine being a church member in a non-Christian country where church is generally regarded as bad or weird? I think Heavenly Father sent some of his strongest children to be Japanese members. 

After Elder Choi had the missionaries come up and sing our mission theme song (Armies of Helaman with our words). Lots about missionaries again, and then a huge theme was that we are children of God. We are glorious with an eternal destiny. In the regular session, they had us sing "I am a Child of God"- first they sang in Korean, then had English speakers stand and sing in English and then everyone in Japanese. That's a moment I'll never forget. Music is powerful!

After conference we went out delivering banana bread to LA's. I don't think I've ever been so cold. EVER. And no one was home and we couldn't really feel fingers and toes by the end, but we went out and we tried!

I wish I could send you all the Spirit that I felt in meetings this week. One of the simplest messages we have in our church, one of the first things you learn in one of the most powerful and profound, we are children of God! 

Love you all!
Wagstaff Shimai

Before the more spiritual part- we're doing District P-Day today and we're going to COSTCO!!! Literally we're all so excited! One of the elders has a membership. It's a good district!

All in all this transfer has been a little hard because a lot of the time it was slow, and now I know I never want to work that slow again, EVER. Still really shocked about the STL thing. So far nothing "normal" has happened, and I guess that's good because it goes to show that God is in charge and I have to keep exercising faith.

Some other notes from this week. Seriously Elder and Sister Choi are so great- they speak basically fluent English (he was the Mission President in Seattle a while ago) and are SUPER funny but he's also very bold (one of those pound the pulpit types). I sang for Mission Tour- AP's called and requested Savior Redeemer. Good because that's
about all I've got without practicing! :) Anyways then Elder Choi talked about using talents in missionary work, and a interesting point was that if we really use our talents in this work, we'll be more productive. Interesting. Also at Stake Conference with the youth he told them not to use our mind and talents focusing on other purposes, He gave us our talents, so we should use them for God's work. Anyways, just interesting things I'm still thinking about. Also not sure if I've told you about it before, but our Mission Theme Song. Not that it's that hard to do, but brings me to tears every time:

ニーファイのように           Nifai no youni
よい父母より                        Yoi chichi haha yori
福音学び                          Fukuin manabi
戒 め守る                              Imashime mamoru
ヒラマンの勇志のように.     Hiraman no yuushi no youni
子供のときから.                 Kodomo no toki kara
教え受け御言葉                     Oshie uke mikotoba
宣のべ伝える                         Nobetsutaeru

We have been called to Kobe, Japan
To work with members in teaching God's plan
Walk with the Lord, and raise up the light
Establish Zion with all our might

We are as the army of Helaman
We have been taught in our youth
And we are now the Lord’s missionaries
To bring the world his truth.

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