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, March 28, 2016

Last week's hike Inaka (country)

Monday March 28, 2016 Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! So I didn't actually realize this week was Easter until...Friday or Saturday I think. No chocolate bunny reminders here! But we did still talk a lot about Easter and try to show the new video, I just thought it was a couple weeks away! 

Monday- I think I already told you about the big hike with the Ward. After P-Day ended we went out to dinner with a kid that home stayed with Steere Shimai's family. Did I already explain this? Can't remember, but this is a MIRACLE in the works!
- Nagano High School (here in Japan) and Steere Shimai's high school in Australia have a connection, so for 2 weeks every year, kids switch places. Steere Shimai came here years ago and we're working on finding her home stay family again.
- Last summer while Steere Shimai was here in Japan, a kid from Kawachinagano home stayed with her family in Australia. Her family took him with them to church on Sunday, another day he played basketball at the church with her brother and the Elders, then at the end, the family gave him a Japanese BOM with their testimony written in English. 
- NOW Steere Shimai is in Kawachinagano and her family sent us the kid's information. Turns out he and his family live about 5 minutes away from us! 
Back to Monday: we went out to eat (Okonomiyaki!) with Reita (home stay kid) and the elders. Mostly about building relationship, starting HTBT (How to Begin Teaching). He's read quite a bit of the BOM, though he has a hard time understanding. We invited him to Eikaiwa (remember he was a home stay kid in Australia, so he's learning English and really likes it! Plus he has MAJOR investigator potential! We'll see him tomorrow at our Eikaiwa Easter Party!

Tuesday was a great day! We got to a less active early, so we did a little finding in the area and met a high school girl who was excited to come talk to us in English. She home stayed in...Melbourne, Australia at Steere Shimai's high school! Miracles are still coming!! She didn't have much time then, but wanted to meet again (going ahead- Steere Shimai met her on Friday at a koukon and she is GOLDEN!). We had another less active lesson with Yoshikawa Shimai (bishop's wife) there and it went really well! Later we tried to do a BOM fast hour (give away as many BOMs as you can in an hour...that might've been really obvious, sorry) with the elders at a nearby Eki, though it was a pretty bad time so they got 1 out, we got 2 and I almost got another, but she rejected right at the end, zannen. Then 4 new girls came to Eikaiwa! Random, but really cool! 

Wednesday we went with the Yamamoto's to that really special care center we visited before. One of the men we visited last time had passed away- with his condition it really was a blessing. This time, as we came to share the Easter video and sing together, another very happy grandma wanted to come with us. She has Alzheimer's pretty bad, but she was smiling the entire time, then taught me a old Japanese kids dance at the end (she was a dance teacher when she was younger). In the evening we had Ping Pong Night and we actually had a good number of people show up! 

Thursday was a bunch of finding. We were lucky to meet with a former investigator Chapman Shimai and I dropped last transfer- totsuzen visit, but she was home! It was also apparently her only day off that week! Talked about the BOM and she seemed to accept it better than before, maybe now she'll progress? We'll see! After we did a lot of housing, especially by the universities. I've never been a housing fan- I'll do it, but I don't think it's the greatest thing, but we actually found 2-3 new investigators with 1 that has real potential! So I guess sometimes housing does work. Then in the evening we had the fastest and probably most effective SKK of my mission! So grateful that Steere Shimai is such a good planner! 

Friday after District Meeting, we koukoned with Wakayama sisters! I was with Fonua Shimai again!! She is SO MUCH FUN to dendo with (thank you!). We tried to visit an LA, wasn't home, but we turned around right as her mom was coming up to the gate! She has pretty good English and we talked with her a bit (so the notes in our Area Book about her were that she's hantai:oppossed but she didn't seem fully hantai, just not a member and not really interested). She also corrected our Japanese- almost no one does that! Then dinner with a member couple, plus the elders, a recent convert couple and a less-active! Talked about Easter and the discussion got a little too deep (missionaries didn't understand the Japanese, RC and LA's probably didn't understand the doctrine) BUT the point about Easter was good and it was a good night overall!

Saturday was the monthly community service project at Sayama Lake! This is the most beautiful place and it was so much fun! We talked to a bunch of high schoolers there, then got to eat lunch at the park after (members made us a bento: box lunch) and the Sakura: cherry blossoms were starting to come out and we got Sakura ice cream! After we did a little finding, really trying to work on following the Spirit by following every prompting. Worked out pretty well and met some cool people: 3 Jr. High girls who were waving at us but then really embarrassed when we came over, a grandma who talked about her family, a Christian couple- wife has purple streaks in her hair and the husband used to come to Eikaiwa! Next, we went to a concert that Higashino Shimai invited us to...meet her family (mostly less active and non-member) and some potential finding. It was a Jr High and High School End-of-the-Year Band Concert. At least that's what the program said, because that's not what I saw! BLOWN AWAY. I could probably tell you for hours about how amazing this concert was, but missionary...no time to write it and probs shouldn't focus on it. Point: they were AMAZING, and if Drew wants to get serious about Trombone he should come to Japan for high school :) That solves the "which high school should I go to" problem, right?! Concert ended with Amazing Grace (Christian high school) and that was nice to put my focus back on dendo. 

Sunday- Happy Easter! As we were finishing getting ready in the morning, I remembered that I was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting...sorry Mom, someday I'll learn...anyways thankfully it was only 5 minutes about Activities. They just had Youth Camp this last weekend and some youth reported, then I spoke about what I liked about activities, their importance, etc. Then the Bishop ended. So since I got it ready really fast and there aren't very many reminders here, I sat down after speaking and realized I didn't mention Easter! The bishop mentioned it a little bit at the end and we sang the 2 Easter hymns. Though Gospel Principles was about the Sacrament and that went in really nicely, and then we spent the day sharing Easter message why anyone who would listen. No big dinner, I had canned peaches and yogurt. So the most perfect, planned out Easter Sunday? No. But did we see God's love and get to reflect on that special day and all the blessings we receive Because of Him? Yes! So therefore, I had a really good Easter! 

Reflecting on Easter...we were talking to a grandma about Easter and it's real meaning, and she listened longer than most people do, but still didn't have interest. But guess what? After she shit the door, I realized that even though she didn't accept it, I believed my words a little more than before, they meant more to me. We get to see all of our family members again after we die. We get to be eternally happy because of Jesus Christ! It literally is the happiest, most joyful message in the world! One of the blessings of serving in Japan is that we have to carefully simplify everything to help people without a Christian background understand. And through simplified teaching, my testimony of the simple, most important principles of the gospel has been strengthened so much. I learning what are the simplest, most important principles of the gospel. Here's a few simple things I know:
- God is our loving Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ is our Savior and knows how to help all of us individually. Because of Jesus Christ, we can be with our families forever. Family is one of the most important things in this world.

I love you all so much! 
Wagstaff 姉妹

Haha, okay, so with Kawachinagano...we're trying to figure out how to explain that right now...

Kawachi-nagano I guess is how we say it? Slightly more emphasis on "na" Like a mountain with na at the top?

Reading...so there's Hiragana (Japanese alphabet あいうえお-a i u e o) 
Katakana (foreign words- I love Katakana! It means it's probably an English word (アイウエオ-a i u e o)
and kanji, which comes from China and is the pictures. 愛: love 姉妹:sister

Hymns are really easy- written out in Hiragana. That's how a lot of songs are written here. They generally sing with one syllable per note and all syllables have the same emphasis. We could sing from the hymn book for at least the last half of the MTC.

Scriptures: scriptures like every other written material is written with a mix of kanji and hiragana, with some Katakana (for example Nephi, Zarahemla). Thankfully, the scriptures have small Hiragana to the side of every kanji, so yes, I can read the scriptures. Do I understand it? No not most of it, unless I already know the scripture well and can think of the English in my head at the same time. 

Missionaries don't have basic materials- everyone (members and missionaries) have the same church materials. Also a lot of times at church, if I'm asked to read, I'll read in English because it's faster than Japanese- they're used to that. We have a few Phillipinos that read in English too, plus missionaries generally do their first language too since it's a little painful to hear us read. 

We're not supposed to focus our language study on reading/writing because it's not most important. But you can't help but pick up the kanji you see all the time, like the basic church ones, or Okonomiyaki, school, etc. They are really fun, I'm excited to study when I get home. Kanji's individually all have a meaning, and those are pretty interesting, so there's sometimes a little kanji analysis at church. 
For example: 神殿 (temple) but the the meaning is God's house. 

More than you wanted? Anyways, interesting stuff!

New Dance Teacher Friend! (She sent videos but they wouldn't upload :(   She was very cute, and really wants us to come back :)

Spring Break sounds like it'll be fun- Japan's schedule is a little different. The school year ends in March then starts again in April, so their spring break is longer. Their schedule seems to follow a year-long schedule with more breaks in the middle instead of a big summer.

Little time to go on about this concert last Saturday. Started with Classic Band- they were good! Played some American standards. Next was the Marching Band Show. OH MY GOODNESS. This was a full on performance
with amazing color guard, good choreography for everyone and a show choir was also involved sometimes. Color Guard...sad Springville...anyways these were pretty good dancers and really funny for the missionaries because they had English music...Whitney Houston (I Will Always Love You). Like I don't think even American Fork or
Lone Peak are on the same level as these kids. Last act was Pops- again really, really good, maybe the best? Everyone liked the Star Wars medley.

Listening to the singers was how I figured out how they are good: practice. Some of the soloists weren't great and technically I've seen better dancers, but they practiced all year for this concert. Clubs are a big deal here (actually a common problem for the young members here) because they essentially devote their life to the club, so there's definitely a price, but dang! Good concert, I was pretty happy. Also the LA family we were supporting was happy we were there

Love you guys!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday March 21, 2016

Sunday dinner with members

Eikawa advertisement

So today we went on this long walk/hike with the ward- 15 kilos (almost 10 miles)... My feet can feel it! Started as a YW activity, then evolved to a Youth and Ward activity, and then turns out that none of the YW came...mostly YM and leaders plus family. But still really fun! 

The fuinki (think Twinkie with an f, means mood) changed this week- I feel more potential to work HARDER and through working harder I know we'll start to see the success in ways I wasn't quite as ready to see before. Working on believing in PI's and helping them progress. Areas progress in stages and I don't want to look too far ahead, instead starting from the beginning week by week to focus on taking people up through the chain of progression. 

I'm learning a lot about effective goal setting and planning from Steere Shimai. One of my past goals was to write daily miracles and I've been doing pretty good! So I wanted to share some good moments from this last week. Hopefully they make sense:

3/14- Dad's emails, also some good lessons at Kongo Eki- met a Catholic missionary from Africa and he was the first person we showed the new Easter video to! Also got T and D's pkg sent off (Sent literally right before 5 when post office closes), watched Holland's Face2Face during emails- sugoku yo katta! Very intimate, personal testimony of Jesus Christ. Got to know Blomquist Shimai better in our follow up. Rain didn't last all day!

3/15- Lesson w/ Maekawa. Yoko Shimai doseki- she's so good at connecting with people and having fun! Spirit was really strong in our lesson and now the choice to act is up to her...ended with Moroni's challenge, reading the last part of the BOM intro- have you ever noticed how strong the promise is? The promise is a guarantee that if you read, ponder and pray with an
 Sincere heart, you'll KNOW. She was really surprised by the surety we had. Also met Ueda Shimai (LA with bad health, making banana bread together next week)! Aya came to Eikaiwa again. No time for dinner, but received food!! 

3/16- Member visits! Totsuzen (unplanned visit) Higashino Shimai after not feeling so good about finding time, but VERY uplifted by her! Then evening visited Yamamoto family...so crazy and fun, worked really well, had them play charades with their commitment (showing love, sharing gospel). Plus good game night with a lesson! #Hallelujah video.

3/17- Super strong members (dinner with Ogaki's and felt so much love and they are just good members who get up at 6 am to pray and are seeking to share gospel- not crazy, just very humble and also very fun!)
Also this was the day of crazy grandmas...one of the goals we set off the day was working on charity, so we were given lots of opportunities! Visited a PI who we now think has Alzheimer's or something because we ended up having the same conversation about 3 times. Then another with not many teeth yelled out to us from her driveway- she had a strong Osaka accent and kept telling us she needed a car, but we just have bikes and about 30 minutes later as we charitably tried to listen we finally just had to leave. Interesting/funny experiences, but looking back those are children of God, so I think God was happy with us.

3/18- Koukon with Nakayama Shimai! Lots of Japanese- hisashiburi (long time no see)!. Also I didn't get hit by a car and not hurt...sadly can't say the same for my boots. SO MUCH FUN, SO GOOD.
So I'll explain this a little more. STLs, so we exchange with the sisters in our zone and I was with Nakayama Shimai from Tokyo! We biked out about an hour to a far part of the area visiting different LA's, PI's, etc. It looked ready to rain the entire time, but thankfully didn't until the end as we started biking back. Nakayama Shimai isn't afraid to talk to anyone and she's really calm, and we had so much fun! Then riding back, I tried to go up on the curb with my bike (normally fine) but with the rain ended up falling, sort of fell and slid past a car, BUT I'm totally fine, like nothing hurt at all. Though sadly the slid ripped my boots (Uggs but not). Pretty sad. 
Also new PI (Potential Investigator) who owns a crepe shop near our apartment...!! This could be a very good investigator :) Then wasn't really looking and walked into the street, car was coming, and literally stopped like 2 inches in front of me. God protects missionaries, even sometimes when we're stupid. I pay attention to cars more now!

3/19- Met a PI who turned into a new investigator...really shocked. Expecting rejection at the ping pong. Followed the Spirit. Called Wakayama sisters when needed. 
We just had lots of little "I feel like we should go here/find there/go back and try again". It really feels good!

3/20- We taught YW's on the Atonement, A LESS ACTIVE GIRL WE VISITED AND INVITED CAME! I felt like it was a really good lesson. After church we visited a less active who wasn't home, but since it was a bit far out, we did a little housing in the area- 3 houses in a row had people who actually came outside to talk to us! The first two were grandmas who both said they went to Sunday School when they were young and really like it! 
Then ended the week submitting our numbers. Numbers aren't what really count, but we hit 52 lessons this week and felt really good about it because because most were pretty solid vs quick ones on the street. 

Also one thing I found this morning I wanted to share: with our Atonement challenge, I just finished reading Elder Holland's favorite chapters and am starting at the beginning. At first going back was a little hard because I wasn't seeing the Atonement as clearly, but realized I wanted to find how the Atonement was working in their daily lives, so that I can use it more in mine. So 1st Ne 4:1 And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?

He tried again! The Atonement gives us 2nd chances, with the strength and hope to try again. I'm going to use that chance this next week to try harder and dendo better. I hope everyone can find something to try again, better this week because of the Atonement. 

 I was a little sad that the Temple Celebration link didn't work, maybe it's on a time limit, or just not available outside of Utah? I don't know, but thank you for telling me about it!  Lots of people, here are getting excited for Sapporo. Though what we really want is a temple in the Kansai region (Kobe/Kyoto/Osaka).

Even though I had some close car experiences, I'm fine, don't worry! Sadly lots of missionaries here get in bike accidents, but nothing very serious, DONT WORRY! Probably shouldn't have mentioned it...

One of my goals this week is not fall asleep during morning or evening prayers...it's a struggle. New strategy is getting completely off of my futon onto the tatami (traditional straw mat flooring).

Glad the package came, though unfortunately I guess that means I paid for fast shipping :( Learning! I can do normal conversations and gospel, but not specific things with specific vocab, guess I'll be studying post office words for the next time! So I heard about the seaweed! There's a ton of really disgusting treats, thought I'd send
one you'd be more willing to try, we'll see what I can send next, who's up for dried octopus tentacles? :)

Not much else, I mean there's always a ton, but I've got to get going. Love you lots, so grateful for emails and prayers!

Love, Katya

Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14 Transfer of Miracles

So first to the good stuff- still in Kawachinagano and my new comp is Steere Shimai from Australia! Also last week I hit 9 months! Last week...Chapman Shimai's last P-day, we wanted to do something really special, and what was her request?? To dye her hair...I dyed it. Not like really crazy, just that she wanted it all to be the same

So now I have a back-up career plan :) Dinner was with a young couple and we had so much fun! We went with
the elders and both the Kyotani's are kind of recent RM's so it was just really fun.

Tuesday we ate sushi with some members- good sushi! Ate a little too much and then we had to bike a little far, but I guess that's just keeping me from getting fat! We went visiting teaching with the RS Pres for a while visiting different less-actives. At one older woman's house, we did the hula, she was very happy, even though she has
bad legs.

Then someone new came to Eikaiwa! She seems like a lot of potential, also she loves the Little Mermaid...just saying!

Wednesday lunch with an investigator- really exciting to have a real potentially progressing investigator, though we kind of starting teaching a little too much because we were so excited. Thankfully, she didn't drop because of that, she took it and still wants to meet- meeting again next week and we'll see what happens!
Next was a weekly lesson with a less-active and it's been a blessing to see her progress slowly. We talked about the temple and family history and had 2 members there who were very supportive!  Ended the night with a Tahitian Dance activity! We had a really good turnout from the members and our new friend from Eikaiwa came, plus the members really quickly befriended her and she was part of the group.

Thursday was transfer day- sad to see Chapman Shimai and her doki go home, but I have a great new companion and there are some really wonderful missionaries here. We were a little confident getting to the Eki to meet all the sisters for our zone and ended taking about 3 wrong trains...oops. Doubt I'll ever be talented with trains. Spent a good part of the day as a trio with Nakayama Shimai and Steere Shimai in Sakai waiting for Nakayama Shimai's new comp. I got to fill them in on Sakai and it was nice to be back for a little bit! Then back to Kawachinagano and visited the bishop at night- he's a really good leader, leads by example and really cares about the people. 

Friday we spent our day in a really inaka (country) part of our area. Sadly that meant not many people on the streets, but visited a few members and talked with some good people- God blesses us with people to meet no matter what. 

Look at beautiful Kawachinagano!

Saturday we quickly met a lot of members, ended up receiving a bunch of food and then met with a PI who's become kind of a real investigator- got to know her better, and shared prayer and church attendance- she can't come because of work, but definitely wasn't "kekko"ing us! Kekko is a no. 

Sunday no one (investigators) at church, but we're working on finding people who really will progress. During RS we talked about Joseph Smith- I love talking about Joseph Smith. No doubt he was called of God and fulfilled his calling. After church as we met with our Eikaiwa coordinator and talked, lots of my questions were answered as she shared different ideas and things about Eikaiwa and dendo that she had been thinking about. She is really good at magnifying her calling and has a great vision to help people come unto Christ through Eikaiwa! I've never realized how much potential Eikaiwa had. 

Then in the evening we were going to different less-actives and got to meet a YW who loves English and will be doing a home stay next year in the US and actually asked if she could spend a day dendoing with us! The point is to learn English, but still, a LA YW wants to come with the missionaries! Her dad is active, no one else in the family is, but I can see the influence that he has, because his girls are still really good! 

This week with a new transfer, in the BOM atonement challenge, I've focused a lot on miracles. This is going to be a transfer of MIRACLES. I read Mormon 9 and all of Mormon 9 is good! My theme scripture for the transfer is v21. I also loved 16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?

With that, I was following up with some sisters last night and we talked about miracles for a while- what is really a miracle? It's big and little things, and another thing we decided last night was that trials can be blessings, a miracle maybe, if we use it to grow. So anyways, I'm looking for miracles and my definition of "miracle" is expanding. Also, as I was studying this the other day, I read the definition in the Bible Dictionary and I wanted to share a part: "Christianity is founded on the greatest of all miracles, the Resurrection of our Lord. If that be admitted, other miracles cease to be improbable." 

Jesus Christ completely fulfilled the Atonement and because of that we see miracles. Also watch the new Easter video! 

Wagstaff Shimai

10 foods to eat in Japan (This was from a travel email, so we asked Katya how many she had tried.)
Soba- yes, ma
Onigokko - ? No idea
Mochi- haha, it's pounded rice and yeah I've eaten it
Tempura- yum!
Kaiseki- ? No idea
Tonkatsu- made it a couple days ago, not actually that special, it's
breaded, fried pork!
Yakitori- lots of variations
Curry rice- regular food
Okonomi...I think they mean Okonomiyaki! Of course, delicious!

That's true, always a little disappointed if I don't hear stories, (missionary homecoming talks). I'll need to remember that! (Still 9 months to go, thank goodness) A lot of thinking about when I go home since I've been with Chapman
Shimai at the end- honestly I want to/ start to cry when I think about leaving Japan. I love it here! I know I'm only here a little bit, and need to go back, but I LOVE it here.

Also I love you guys! Got to talk about family quite a bit this week, share pictures, etc and it's always so fun! (Also all the old people here comment that you are Dad are "so young!" Also tall.)

Love, Katya

We've been emailing listening to Elder Holland's Face 2 Face with YSA- really good, he's testifying right now about the BOM and family.

My new companion is REALLY good!  Also, she really wants to magnify her calling- we really read through the STL packet of our responsibilities and brainstormed for the sisters. I love it, it's really fun to plan to help others. Always
lots of revelation then.

RS was about Joseph Smith and in my mind, it always goes back to my family too. I've never had a doubt about Joseph Smith as the prophet of the restoration. My family has faith and I grew up talking about him, hearing testimonies of him at every birthday.

So essentially thank you for raising me with the importance of faith- moving to a sure knowledge of His gospel. It's so important! It means so much.

Monday March 7, 2016 End of this transfer

Happy March! It's getting warmer (probably not going to last for long) but we were really happy!

Tuesday MLC in Kobe- mainly we just discussed what we've been learning from our Aganai BOM challenge. I've been paying attention to His role and our role- so what he went through/did, what blessings we receive and what were commanded to do. So mostly I'm reading about repentance! Good time- heard Chapman Shimai's last testimony for the 10th time I think :) Basically for the whole transfer at any meeting, she's asked to give her final testimony, so I hear it a lot and it's powerful EVERY single time! She's done really hard things, like learn English
in Japan while learning Japanese and she's the happiest person I know!

Wednesday we went visiting teaching with the stake RS president and her comp to a bunch of LA's. Sadly they either weren't home or...we walk up (big traditional Japanese house) and can see her at the 2 floor airing out futons. We ping pong and she tells us that's she busy and was really vague. We walk away a little sad about that and then Maekawa Shimai (RS Pres) says basically "Oh darn it, we didn't get to take a picture together!" ...Kawachinagano and pictures...pretty funny, she was really excited about the new selfie stick that she bought (I think she's like 60 yrs old). But it's all good, we went and ate lunch together at the other member's daughter's house and she got to use her new selfie stick :)
Then in the afternoon visited a member couple- turns out they were Ward missionaries years a go and really good! We got to Mogi with them and unlike most Japanese, they gave us a lot of feedback on our Japanese and teaching. Most people will tell you your Japanese is great, but they helped is specifically with what words are understandable and helpful for investigators. Super helpful!
In the evening people weren't home, and hardly anybody came to Takkyu (ping pong) night BUT as we were biking home and stopping people we met who we think can be a golden investigator- college student that really likes English and also very happily accepted a Restoration pamphlet...we'll see how that goes tomorrow if she comes to Eikaiwa!

Thursday- member, LA (who's coming back and getting ready to go to the temple!) and then we went with the Yamamoto fuufu (Ward missionaries) who asked us to come see some LA's. Really special experience, HUGE highlight. We went to a care center because he one brother has Alzheimer's and another is blind. The Alzheimer's guy likes hymns so we sang together and the Spirit was VERY strong in there, he's really special and there's no doubt that God really loves His children. The other brother is in his 90's and won't be here for very much longer. The Yamamoto's work so hard in bringing back and loving all the less-active's, in addition to really trying to dendo their friends and neighbors as well. 
Trying not to spoil the mood, but also they are both really short with a tiny car that Chapman Shimai and I really didn't fit in- but a really good time together!

Friday we had ZTM in Wakayama- of course right when we think we have the trains here down because we've done this route a lot...we don't, got lost and and got there just in time to start! Again, a good Atonement challenge discussion, with more application to our work. 

Sad to see them going home (2 on the right)!

Saturday we ended up meeting a lot of good people on the street as we were trying to visit different LA's and PI's. Also met a JW who was very excited to try and speak English with me...interesting guy, he gave me his card, so I gave him a Mormon.org card- right as we walked away I realized I gave him one with my phone number on it! (Fast forward to Sunday and today- he called, very nice and wondered if I had any JW questions...nope! Hopefully that was all).

Sunday, Fast Sunday, really good! Lots of member visits and 2 dinners. We did it! We ate both dinners and we both able to pretend to be perfectly fine (and really really hope the members don't find out that they fed us twice!) and we were REALLY full and couldn't move so we came home for 9 pm planning and sort of fell on the floor and stayed there.

Also this was one of the visits- wife is a strong member and we were just following up with PMG with her and she invited her non-member husband in! A lot of trust! He's so close to baptism...not officially meeting with missionaries now, but he just feels so close! 

Also he was the one that wanted everyone to do their peace signs! 

Overall a great week with some people with good potential. One of the big things I've learned this week was about repentance- that's what I'm finding EVERYWHERE as I'm focusing on the Atonement. One of the interesting principles of the Atonement is Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness" - so as we're striving to come closer to Christ, we'll see more of our weaknesses, maybe more trials, which help us to repent daily and actually rely on Him more. It's interesting and I know I don't perfectly understand- why do I feel weak and find so many problems if I'm trying to hard to be good, to be obedient? Our theme for this last week and this next week has been- Who knows? He knows. Working on more trust and reliance. 

Love you all so much! It's transfer week and my companions going home, so I know I'm getting a ewn one, but no idea who or where yet! 

Wagstaff Shimai

Thursday experience with the Yamamoto's was easily once of the most spiritual moments I've had here. Lots of hymns- the really basic most powerful ones: primary. I'm a child of God, families forever, love one another.

Last MLC (February) that I never sent- this was a big fancy Japanese house that's actually the Kobe Stake office

Also last p-day we went to this crepe shop by our apartment- very cute! I got this blueberry cheesecake one...SO GOOD!  Chapman Shimai made a funny comment-said I really love food- wasn't a fat thing just apparently I get excited about food...?  (NOT a fat joke, I've checked the scale, I'm fine!)

Kind letter from Katya's companion Chapman Shimai

Bonjour , enchanté je suis Sœur Chapman , j'écrit pour vous remercier d'avoir une bonne fille qui aime travailler pour le seigneur, Soeur Wagstaff est une Soeur spéciale , parmi  toutes les Sœur missionnaire avec qui j'ai travailler  , elle est la seule avec qui j'ai ressentis un esprit spéciale , je suis reconnaissant d'avoir eut cette opportunité de travailler avec elle , j'espère qu'on pourras se rencontrer un jour , merci beaucoup pour vos prières .

Bonne chance La Famille Wagstaff,

Sœur Meherio Chapman

I'm Sister Chapman, I wrote to you thank for a good girl who likes to work for the Lord Sister Sister Wagstaff is special among all Sister missionaries with whom I work , it is the only one with whom I felt a special spirit , I am grateful to have had this opportunity to work with her, I hope we will be able to meet one day , thank you for your prayers.

Also a cool kaishuudan (conversion story) I heard yesterday:- So a member couple invited us and the elders over for dinner and said they were bringing a friend as well and we're going to give him aBOM that night. So while sharing the gospel with a friend from the dad's work we heard their story- They live close to the church so their kids went to Eikaiwa and then the mom started taking lessons. She loved the missionaries and believed, but said she wouldn't get baptized without her husband. He wasn't interested because he liked to drink. So missionaries just keep coming- he wasn't opposed, he liked them but just wasn't ready to change. Then, (sadly I didn't fully hear/understand this part) he changed and 13 years after she was ready, he was ready and they were baptized together. That was about 10 years ago. He shared that with his friend, along with Ether 12:27. COOL STUFF. Number 5:34 why I love Japan- almost everyone is a convert, so we get to hear lots of conversion stories- daisuki! (Favorite)