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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mon. Feb. 8

We had a full week- 33 lessons and 2 meetings and lots of hills to climb! Tired, but so happy! Also Kawachinagano has some of the nicest, strongest members I've met!

Last Monday after emailing we had a bunch of short visits planned (Mostly PI's and a members birthday) and we met some really nice people on the street between visits.

Tuesday it took us about 2 hours to travel to Kobe for MLC (Mission Leadership Conference). We met at the Kobe Stake Office, which is a really big nice old Japanese house. We met in a room that was right next to a pretty Japanese garden, or at least as pretty as a dead garden can get in the winter, but it was nice! Meeting was powerful-really it was just a giant review of the past couple taikai's (conference) we've had with Elder Choi and the Missionary Broadcast from SLC. I really loved it, though I felt just a little out of place because most of the missionaries are old, almost finished and I'm pretty young! Then towards the end, Welch Kaicho stood up and just
really clearly said, "I know some of you don't feel like you belong here" (At this point I realized I wasn't the only one) "Repent. God called you." Wow. Okay, I guess that's the end of feeling not ready/too young, etc. Also another thing I loved is as he was testifying about Joseph Smith, he talked about how Joseph and Hyrum Smith were one of the greatest companionships- almost always together and different, but both important roles.

(After Eikaiwa with some girls)

Wednesday we taught a LA sister at the church- she's the only member in her family, trying to help build her testimony so that she wants to, and feels comfortable sharing the gospel with them. Gospel is about families! After on the way to totsuzen (suddenly/unplanned) visit an investigator, we were able to meet some girls on the street. So something we've been trying to do more of, is testify of Jesus Christ. President Nelson (I think) talked about that in the Missionary Broadcast. So we met a high school girl and were able to testify of Christ and give her a Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet and have a good, short spiritual moment on the street. The Spirit is strong when we testify of Christ and feeling the Spirit is the only way to be converted- I'm not converting anyone.

Thursday met a kind of eternal investigator- she's nice and we think there's real potential right now for her to really progress to baptism! As we were talking, she asked if we could explain something she doesn't understand- all the missionaries have talked about a "good feeling", "comfort" and she just doesn't understand. We were able to stop and help her recognize the Spirit for herself- that will probably be the key for her to accept a baptismal commitment - feel the Spirit personally, not just "know" the doctrine.

Later in the evening, a member couple offered to take us to a LA and then to an old investigator family. Sadly none of them were home, but we went back to the members' apartment and found out how much dendo fire they have! They have a specific prayer list of friends, neighbors they want to share the gospel with. They do so much! Also we were there at 6 and got to pray together. Can't remember if I mentioned before- as a mission and with members we all pray at 6 pm wherever we are for missionary work to hasten in our area. Also at Sakai stake conference, the stake president asked them to also pray at 6 am! Anyways, we got to pray together and it was pretty special.

Okay, gomen this is getting a little long...

Friday- ZTM! Chapman Shimai and I trained on positive thinking. Funny story with that- we were prepping for it and realized we needed to be better, so Thursday night as we were going back to our apartment from the church (uphill both ways! There's a big hill between the two). So we started positive talking to each other up the hill. So picture it now: we're kind of yelling at each other "Yeah! Hills, daisuki (favorite)! I love this hill! We'll be so strong" etc. And we're moving super slow kind of dying on our bikes and we get to the top and there's this grandpa there who was apparently watching the whole thing and he was laughing pretty hard. So, we made somebody's night!

After ZTM, Okonomiyaki with the sisters- We love this place! Yeah I got cut off a little. Not cool.

Saturday morning we met at the church with a member and a few of her friends for Chapman Shimai to teach a Tahitian dance! The member and friends love Hawaiian dance (pretty popular in Japan right now). So much fun- made me miss dance classes a little bit, but honestly those will come back sooner than I know. We shared a short message and the member was a VERY good doseki! She asked us to explain/bear testimony of why we became missionaries, then also invited friends to Eikaiwa, Family English Program, etc. She's not afraid!

Also here's a picture from the Tahitian dancing- most of it was thankfully relatively slower, though I think I did get better at hips!

We did some member visits in the afternoon/evening and had some time after. Our goal for the day was to give away a BOM and we had time, so we decided we would give it away before we got back to our apartment. So down a hill, I got stuck at a red light, Chapman Shimai was ahead of me and got through it in time. So looked around and there was a girl coming over to the crosswalk- started talking to her- walked with her and caught up to Chapman Shimai, by which time I'd gotten to testifying about the BOM and presented it to her and she accepted! No hassling, extra time explaining it's free, we want to give it- she just accepted it and seemed actually a little curious, not just being nice! So we were feeling super great and met our goal, but we had another BOM with us, and kept going past the apartment to give away this other one, which we were able to do. Little miracles.

Sunday. Akashikai (Testimony Meeting) was maybe the best one I've been in. No weird, long stories- seriously just pretty to the point, testify and a TON about dendo! Lots of members have accepted the challenges from Stake Conferecne about studying PMG and praying at 6. It was also pretty humbling because a lot of them expressed thanks for us, new missionaries that came in. I think we'll start to see a lot of success in Kawachinagano because the members are ready to work together and get going! Also I realized- they notice everything missionaries do, they talk to each other. Our example, our actions are REALLY important! We've been trying to work hard and didn't know they knew, but they did. And I'm not saying this to say that I'm amazing, just that the truth is we've been trying hard and that's important.

Sunday night, planned to visit a member family- followed the map, got lost (no surprise, almost always a little lost!). Called the brother, he told us to meet him at a close Eki (train station). So turns out there are technically 3 member families with the same name and we got the addressed, people and phone numbers a little mixed up. But they're all related. The one who met us is a young dad, RM and the other families are his brother and his parents so he asked us if we wanted to just visit all 3 in one night? So we were really sorry about the mixup, but they were all super nice, thought it was funny and were all RM's and understood. So we got 3 short member messages when we only planned for one- God works through us!

So from all the meetings lately, my commitment has been to be a PMG missionary- It's the manual to success in missionary work, so how can I expect to find success without it? We really have seen our work become more effective and successful because we're really trying to apply. Gospel learning isn't really much without applying.

I love you all!

First- question Mom had- I'm not sick anymore! It was thankfully pretty quick for both of us. Now we just get really tired, but it's the good tired!

MLC was the best meeting I've ever been to- powerful Spirit and great people. Hopefully it's not bad to say, but I just really like being a leader. Also Welch Kaicho is just really honest with us. There were a lot of changes this transfer with areas/people- particularly zone leaders and STLs- both who and where. The big plan here as we're working towards getting a baptism every week (and there's a long way to go- currently there's 1-3 baptisms a week in the whole mission) and we're going to build from the centers of strength. The strongest wards/branches are the leader areas- they have the strongest members, previously the most baptisms, etc whatever the other measurements are. The point is to put strong missionaries and members together and then those areas are the models for the rest. All exchanges have changed so that now everyone comes to the leader area to exchange- train and learn from the model areas. Pretty exciting- something I like is that Welch Kaicho is honest- nice, but very honest. I think the change says a lot about Kawachinagano- it's a new STL area because it's strong and now I'm seeing a lot of that potential! The last baptism was almost a year ago, but the members are really ready to help, especially the RS. I feel like the expectation is higher for me now, so I'm doing better. Pretty simple.

Also another random thing from this week- I don't remember when, but in a lesson I felt like Chapman Shimai and I just weren't on the same page because we're still relatively new together and very different people and was getting a little frustrated about that, but then the thought came that different is good. Welch Shimai talks about it a lot- differences are good. So immediately from the moment the thought came, it was better. I needed to change perspective- definitely not perfect, still working on it- but that was one way I saw the Atonement
working in my life this week.

Off to stores today because it's cold and I don't have enough- some stuff's gotten worn out. Sure it's hard, but Chapman Shimai loves to say " When it's hard, it's good!" She's a happy missionary and she talks to everyone and connects really well with people and no complaints! Also kind of interesting thing- same thing happened when I was with Fujiki Shimai. We were at ZTM and I realized her English isn't that great- understandable, but a little weird, but I don't notice in the apartment. Maybe it's Gift of Tongues? Works in different ways.

Love, Katya

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