Overall, we had a really good week because we're working on just progressing- being better than we were even if it's different than other people around us or even where we think we should be, and yeah we didn't reach 20 lessons or have an investigator come to church and we want that, but we felt pretty good where we were because it was better than before.
So last Monday, the nicest older member in the Ward, Izumi Shimai, invited us over and gave us kimonos! We were trying not to freak out, it was pretty cool! She told us she had given some to sisters before, and we asked her why she did it (kimonos are NOT cheap) and she just kind of shrugged it off and said that the sisters were just always so happy to receive one. She likes doing it because we feel joy! THAT is charity I think!
Here's what the back looks like- this is a fast fold, not one of the super complex pretty ones. Also this thing is tight (not like not fit, but how it's supposed to fit)! They really bind you in, and as Americans we were feeling a little fat in it, also of course the sleeves aren't long enough for me, but no complaints, really pretty! I'll send it home eventually.
Then after we were invited to dinner by her son's family who are members. It was their family, another Brazilian family, Edison (recent convert- MOST AMAZING KID) and a friend they brought. So the younger Izumi Shimai is Brazilian and cooked a giant Brazilian dinner. So so so so so good! They split us up- young people at one table and adults and little kids at the other. Whole point was so that we and Edison and the girls (all in high school) could fellowship their friend that came. After dinner we played Jenga with them (after finally getting them off their phones...) and then shared a short message with everyone! Such a good night!
Tuesday was a lot of iPad/phone time because there's a bunch of training videos you have to watch. But we got out in the evening and brought mochi for a less-active family. They have a daughter who just turned 10, so we said Happy birthday- hoped to teach a quick message, only the 10 yr old stayed at the genkon to listen, but she was really sweet and no effort is wasted! Maybe through her the rest of the family will eventually come back.
Wednesday we had a doseki lesson (member came with us) and it was amazing! We visited this lady who was found housing a while ago and was busy through New Years. We weren't sure how interested she would be, but learned to never give up hope for people! She was given a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and BOM before...she looked up every single scripture in the pamphlet and had questions for us! She was pretty hard to understand, thank goodness for Tanaka Shimai, the member who came with! They talked together really fast for a while (kind of seemed like forever) but both Salisbury Shimai and I got to talk and take charge of the lesson. She has a lot of potential, we're excited!
Also tender mercy- a member came to Eikaiwa that night and was able to help take control of the eternal Eikaiwa students (people who have come forever but have absolutely no interest in the church). There are some hard people there- learning patience and charity!
Thursday as a district we tried music dendo- went to a bigger Eki to sing as a way to find people. There weren't very many people and we didn't get to find/talk to anyone...but we tried and we felt good, so someone else had to have felt the Spirit! After got to go teach a LA and set a date for her to go back to the temple! The thing getting in the way is attending church regularly. Trying to focus on that and help her come.
Friday ZTM in Wakayama- Salisbury Shimai started talking to a high school girl on the train and we ended up talking/teaching for most of the ride (30 ish minutes)! Plus found out the girl lives super close to the Sakai church.
ZTM was great- I just always feel more uplifted and motivated after those meetings. Plus Fonua Shimai is in my zone! The sisters went out for Okonomiyaki after. We each ordered a different kind and shared. SO GOOD. SO FULL.
On Saturday visited a referral and a PI (potential investigator) and took the train and walked and ended up talking to a lot of people! We're going to try doing that a little more- getting off our bikes a little because we end up going too fast to talk to anyone. Then a couple members came to game night- working on getting more people to come because lately it's just been the missionaries and Edison and then 1 or 2 other people...who then don't come again.
Sunday- I don't remember what was so good about Sacrament Meeting, but it was really good- not anything that anyone said, just that it's really peaceful. I look forward to Sunday's like I never have before.
Kind of funny moment in the evening- we were trying to find this less-active. We get to the right area according to the map, then asked a lady who was nearby and she pointed us to the right house. We're feeling really great-locking our bikes, reviewing the message, pray, then realize we can't find the door! Seriously no front door. So we tried to check the back- little hard in Japan because houses are literally right next to each other- finally found a way to get to the back, but then there was this creepy dog that we thought was going to jump over the fence and attack us, so we went back to the front. Maybe it was in the garage-looking place...so we try and slide past the car but there's no space and that seemed really weird and it was dark so we might look like stalkers or something, so since we also finally at this point noticed there weren't any lights on in the upstairs windows, decided to try again in the light. Still don't know where the door is.
So we didn't get 20 lessons in a week like would like, but we taught more than we did last week and we followed through on all of our plans- we tried! We sang in an Eki even though at first it seemed potentially awkward and weird. That didn't turn into a giant miracle, but we tried. Don't remember who said it, but I really believe that God cares about the direction we're heading and that we're trying. He magnifies our efforts. I don't fully understand it, but God works with weak things like us and even lets us fall sometimes, but we're here to succeed. We're here to have joy! We just like to laugh, and hope that eventually we'll find that woman's front door or figure out another way to meet her!
Love, Wagstaff Shimai
Also first Sakura (Japanese cherry blossom) tree we've seen!
Now all of our leaders think we need lots of help- it's nice but kind of a little much maybe? Zone leaders called yesterday for a follow-up and at the end told us we're doing amazing! they're so proud of our work! etc. Hung up and laughed a little-they were a little too enthusiastic. We're the babies of the zone and feel a little babied, but we figure we'll just go with it and enjoy for a while because honestly sometimes we do need that help maybe! We're only young once!
Love you guys so much!