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, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016

Earthquake in Japan--Haha, didn't feel a thing! We didn't hear about it until after and then we were kind of sad we didn't feel anything (obviously didn't want a disaster, but a little shake would've been fun)

Having trouble remembering this week, so this will be a jumble! Totally didn't feel the earthquake, heard about it later from people, but literally had no idea. From Monday night to Wednesday morning we exchanged with the Sakai sisters and I was with Sister Miller (ps family- this is the sister Miller that knows Bro Hayes, Lehi bball) She is motivated and works really hard and we had a great day! Plans fell through, we were on back up plans but just rolled with it. One thing we did was go to this ginormous park to go finding. I wish I had pictures, but they have
these giant slides on a hill, so we went on those with these kids that were all trying to impress us- they weren't scared, etc. Then we went to meet their moms, invite to Eikaiwa and talk about what we're doing here.

Then Tuesday night was Eikaiwa, which has really been improving here! We've been having new people come every week and should be getting some new investigators from that.

Wednesday morning was interviews with Welch Kaicho in Sakai! On a sidenote, I would love to go back to Sakai, 6 weeks wasn't long enough! Interviews were great, then we came back to a RS sewing activity- we made scrunchies, then ate lunch together! I was so lost-no clue about all the sewing words they were using, always humbled by the language!

 One little miracle because of the Atonement- there were a couple days where I just had no energy, felt like I just needed more sleep, too much to do to take a break during lunch, so we just went anyways and I always had just enough energy- especially when we were teaching.

Another little miracle - we visited a potential investigator again, the husband came out and we were able to explain our message about family, etc and he kekko'd because his family is Shinto BUT He was really nice, likes English and actually listened at the beginning instead of immediately rejecting. !! So he's a no for now, but for how nice he is, I think missionaries will definitely find him again and he'll probably be ready.

Another thing from this week- we ate WAY too much food.

Friday was district meeting! Great meeting- one thing I liked was using Sister Oscarson's talk, we talked about knowing vs believing.

Also Suzuki Kyoudai just got back from his mission in Sapporo and works with us sooo well!

After, we went out to Indo Curry- too much food, but it's just so good!

Next we weeded with a member and then she fed us...kind of tried to get out of it but she wouldn't let us.

Then we went to another member's for dinner, she's an amazing cook, and I ate pretty well, really more chew and swallow than taste :). Also funny stuff- before dinner we did some finding in her neighborhood and a few kids followed us for a while and one little kid kept yelling the alphabet at us...cool kid, should've taken a video. But that's not the best part- dinner wasn't just a normal one, we finally met her friend who she referred to us a few weeks ago! She really wants to share the gospel with this friend and she's good at it! Little by little, but she can really progress!

Saturday we had our lake service project!  It's service, but seriously feels like P-Day a little bit because it's a beautiful place!

Saturday was a miracle day! We were really motivated from District Meeting- I really felt a greater sense of commitment, I don't know how to explain, just that I wanted to work harder, felt like I could do a little bit more. Visited a former investigator, we've tried a lot before, but today she was home! She was so grateful we came and things look good- she needs this gospel and wants to meet again! Next we biked to another part of the area (only not miracle part of the day was my sunburn) and went to lunch with the Fillipina that found us last week! WOW. She's ready! She needs it! I want to see her and her cute daughters baptized!

The day is still good- MIRACLES NEVER CEASE. Went looking for a LA- she moved and no one knows exactly which apartment- we searched the building they thought, nothing, went to visit somebody else, not home, decided to come back and try again, found it! Super nice neighbors helped us- LA wasn't home, but now we know where she lives! Next was a Brazillian less active who made us dinner...I. Love. Their. Meat. Amen. Also met the bishop and his wife- super good at dendo and we were all uplifted and will be praying together specifically for some people they know this week!

Sunday a new couple moved into the Ward, basically everybody already knew- young couple from BYU Hawaii- He's Japanese, she's from Taiwan and doesn't speak Japanese- Chinese and English. She's super cute and I translated for her during RS. first time officially translating- scary stuff! But guess what? Kind of an answer to prayer because at the beginning of the transfer one of my language vision/goals was to be able to translate...now it's the end of the transfer! 

It's been exciting to see all the progress here for 2 transfers and we think we're both staying for another (hopefully!) but we'll see what happens this week. There are people being prepared. The best way to find them is through members- as members of the church, we are a light! Light is no good if it doesn't shine, so this week, please shine! Pray for opportunities to share- that's been a big part of our success this week- praying specifically for that success. 

Something we've been trying to convey to members here is that we appreciate prayers for the missionaries, really we do, but the next step we'd like is that everyone prays for personal opportunities, no matter how big or small. Itadakemasuka? :)

Other cool news we found out his week- Elder Stevenson of the 12 is coming to Kobe next transfer May 22nd and the whole mission is going to Kobe! A couple cool things- meet an apostle, see everyone in the mission! Plus Elder Choi (really cool Korean from the Area Presdiency) is coming with him and will probs follow up on our progress towards the challenge he gave us to baptize weekly!

Can't believe the transfer is almost over, but looking back, I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish- we have investigators and good potential, that's new and we get along really well now. Just a lot of good things have happened.

Also even though it's gotten really warm, after my one sunburn day (it was bad) I'm trying to wear long sleeves. One for my own protection and also mainly so others (members) don't freak out. I got a lot of concern in Imabari that came with weird creams :) Love them, appreciate it, but I  don't want them to stress, we have aloe in the
apartment, and both of us were pretty red!

Lots of biking, pretty tired, but it's really cool to see how slowly stamina increases and we're always able to do what we need to do.

Wagstaff 姉妹

Sayama lake with the funny rubber ducks. Plus Steere Shimai and I got to wear our matching duck shirts to the service project!

We try and fail with these pictures so many times.

Lunch with RS on Wednesday- always good food!

So I look like a giant, should've leaned down like Steere Shimai. Person closest to me is Soga Shimai, a member. The other 3 are the Osumi's. High hopes for them! So cool thing- she saw us and had met elders before a while ago. We have this lunch and bring Soga Shimai since she's also Fillipino and they already knew each other a little from before! Seems like all the Filipinos are friends.

So I look like a giant, should've leaned down like Steere Shimai. Person closest to me is Soga Shimai, a member. The other 3 are the Osumi's. High hopes for them! So cool thing- she saw us and had met elders before a while ago. We have this lunch and bring Soga Shimai since she's also Fillipino and they already knew each other a little from before! Seems like all the Filipinos are friends.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Monday April 11, 2016 General Conference Week

Monday...after Osaka Castle, we had dinner with members and she just retired, wants to dendo a lot- said she's been very diligently praying for missionary opportunities (has given us 2 referrals!)
Plus made really good gyoza!

Tuesday...MLC. I love meetings! The Spirit was strong, really what I needed and learned a lot about the Atonement. So to summarize, yeah I cried a lot on Tuesday, and it was really good.

Wednesday...went visiting teaching together and on the way randomly met one of the LA's we wanted to visit that day- she say us and called out, not us! Because of the power of the Atonement, I feel like I can do more, focus more as a missionary. Met a way cool guy- really funny, works with handicap people and met him on his day off- good potential! Ping pong night and walked a grandma home (Bishop's wife's mom with Alzheimer's), every once in a while she slips into consciousness more and that made me think of the Resurrection, what she'll be like in heaven. She'll have a perfect body and will be able to accept the gospel because she'll remember.

(Ps this is after visiting teaching!)

Thursday...Fillipino potential calls US and sets a lunch appt...whaaa?? Plus another good PI by our former investigator...we like that area! Big news: found out Miki Chan in Sakai is a shigansha!! So so so so so insanely happy about that!

Friday...ZTM in Wakayama was great! Slept the way back and all missed our stop, rode all the way to Tennoji, next zone over in the middle of Osaka, oops.
Plus finally saw Enguchi San (new investigator) again, probably had been 3ish weeks!  

Saturday...AMAZING! 30/30 (English, gospel) with Aya and it was practically perfect. Yumi Shimai doseki (member join teaching), talked about God and she was very accepting, wants to hear more when she gets back from Australia. It was a really wonderful, spiritual environment and we think she's really been prepared!

Then of course Soutaikai (General Conference) was great! Since we had just finished that lesson talked about God and how we are his children, I loved how there were lots of talks about the importance of knowing that we are children of God and how that's our most important identity.

Sunday...more good Soutaikai and less active's came! Oh and the way we watch is they set up a second TV in the kitchen next to the main room and turn on English for the missionaries plus Filipino members. I LOVED conference! I really tried to prepare questions, search for answers, pray about it and revise my questions to prep for conference and it really paid off. One of the talks I loved was Elder Holland, We actually talked about it at MLC earlier and I love the principle that because of the Atonement, we can try and get credit for that. We are God's children- He literally loves us infinitely and eternally (Atonement shows us that) and then blesses us when we even just want to improve. Are you feeling that love? Can you see how much love that is? We don't qualify for it, we are simply his children and ask for help, then receive it. And Heaven knows I need that help! I'm in a foreign country trying to tell His children about Him and lots of them don't remember much, don't want to hear, and then I get a little frustrated/sad and He supports me, loves them, supports us all daily and lifts me higher than I thought I'd go! I feel really loved, so I'm trying to show more loved. 

He loves you too, so what are you going to do?

LOVE YOU ALL❤️愛しています!
Wagstaff Shimai

More details- MLC really is the greatest meeting because we're taughtby Welch Kaicho, Shimai plus the AP's- we have really good AP's this transfer (they're always good but these ones are super good teachers)! I feel more comfortable this transfer there- I felt super young, little out of place before, but felt more comfortable this time. It's probably good for me to feel uncomfortable because I've probably talkway too much if I was always comfortable...

In the spirt of trying-realized that I need to try harder to show love, serve- looking back at why other companionships worked so well and it is because of love. Also trying to recognize my strengths, her
strengths so that we're using those together better. Weird thing is we have fun together, not a relationship issue, just when it gets to some ways of doing missionary work, so therefore we can talk it out.

Interesting thing about conference was that I thought about you guys/life after at home. Not like bad/distracted, just that family is so central, also I thought Elder Ballard's really specific message
about family councils was interesting, so I was thinking about it...obviously I'm still part of the family even though I'm a missionary in Japan, so how does that work? Like I still have a family, that's the most important unit, but I should be 100% focused on missionary work here... That something I was thinking about.

Also seriously that lesson on Saturday was the greatest thing ever: for English Steere Shimai taught us Australian English and had fun! (Ex. Mate, breaky (breakfast) and arvo means afternoon) Then found out he went to a Catholic college, so some exposure. Prayed, talked simply about God(she kind of believes) and how He loves us SO MUCH- really one of my favorite things to testify about, then Yumi Shimai shared how she came to know God is real, her Heavenly Father, etc.
Cool story, wanted to share:

- She was born in the church and knew her mom knew, but in high school she had band on Saturday and Sunday and didn't want to be the worst one, etc and stopped coming to church, but still went to activities, just didn't know why her parents, older sister really knew it was true. In college no more club, so she started regularly attending again, but still didn't really know. Then she had a professor in
college do an activity- write 10 things most important to you, now narrow to 5, now 3. That wasn't too bad- family, friends, etc and at the end, choose one. How can you capture all of that in one?? She
looked at the bottom of her page where she had written "fukuin: gospel" and realized that it encompasses everything: our health, family, friends becuase God cares about all those things, gospel
addresses all of it. (Skip forward: she served a mission in Fukuoka and is now our Eikaiwa coordinator and such a good member missionary!)

See how it kind of looks like snow? Really cool!


Friday, April 8, 2016

Mon April 4, 2016 SAKURA 🎌🌸

Last Monday...normal P-day but pretty fun! We finally got our bikes checked (just little problems) and it was completely free!! That's always a good moment- think you have to pay and you don't :) Then some recycle store shopping and then, I know this sounds weird but it was super fun... We went grocery shopping with a LA YW in the Ward!! She's doing a home stay in America next school year and wants to hang out with us more to practice English, so we've been thinking of different situations with different, normal vocab to practice. Then went back to the apt, helped with English and talked. After 6 when we start dendo (missionary work) time, we started a promise hour- pray with a kind of challenging promise (for us- trying to talk to literally every person we passed) and praying to find the success through that. So normally we pretty much ignore the men, but we said we would try everyone and 2nd person we tried was really cool! He saw the name Jesus Christ and said, oh yeah I think I've met missionaries before and they gave me a free Bible. So naturally we went to the BOM, but as we pull it out, he said, yeah! That's the book! He said it was a really long time ago, he kind of flipped through it a bit, but always fell asleep-or something like that. Anyways, he didn't immediately become a new investigator because he's not super interested right now, but a really cool experience, and now he'll probably go looking for that BOM and try again!

Tuesday...less active is really progressing! She came in for her lesson and 1) remembered her commitment 2)DID it! 3) followed up on herself- she was really excited to tell us about a few conference talks she had read (reviewing to prepare for GC next week). That was fun! Later we were taking a train, got off at the wrong stop and met these grandmas that used to go to Eikaiwa when they were younger- I'm starting to think I've never actually gotten on a wrong train or wrong stop because I think I've always met someone cool in the process. 
Then in the evening we had our Eikaiwa Easter Party! Turned out really successful with a lot of kids! Plus one family came because we gave them a flyer earlier that day...WOW, never happens. 

Tons of kids and they were crazy, but we were super happy! Plus then the picture became a good advertisement for Eikaiwa for the rest of the week- "Look how fun this is! It's a real thing with real people that come!"

Wednesday- 2 cool experiences to share. First was that in the afternoon we stopped by an old Eikaiwa student that we found in our records. We get there and a woman comes out- turns out he Eikaiwa student was her husband who suddenly died 2 years ago. She's also interested in English, we talked a bit, she really opened up, invited us inside and told us her story- I probably shouldn't tell you everything but she's prepared to hear the gospel, just doesn't realize it. Her interest is English, but there's a great opportunity for the gospel, especially the Plan of Salvation to help and comfort her. 

After, we found out from the elders that it was a Brazillian less active's grandaughter (also LA)'s birthday. Wakaru? Does that make sense? :) Anyways, we've never met her, tried a lot before because the Ward asked us to and...WE MET HER! She's super energetic and really fun to talk to.  Normally she works a lot, but took the day off for granddaughter' birthday and we got there a little after the party ended and got some left over cake and got to talk! 

Ended the night at the YW pizza party. Pizza is a little different...ketchup is the sauce, tons of random veggies (for example eggplant) and the meat is little sausages. Plus we put mochi and cheese on top! So yeah it was really good!

Thursday- after lunch we met with a "less active" but it's really just because of health and she's starting to get better and has the goal of returning to the temple to motivate her! So we were there to teach her, but I ended up learning, receiving strength rather than giving. She had cancer and is now dealing with diabetes and even though she was less-active years before, her experience was really faith-building. Her testimony is secure! She KNOWS that prayers are answered and God doesn't always take away our challenges like she originally wanted, but He will always be with us. Plus through that time her son went to church diligently on his own and never stopped praying for his mom. I really liked that part of the story.

After her, we did some housing by a university and found a bunch of cool people that we can go visit again!
So one thing STLs do is call all the sisters in the evening each week for follow-ups. I love follow ups! Lately with our mission BOM Atonement challenge, we've talked about that, and I end up learning a lot from other's insights.

Friday was a bunch of housing and the results didn't change, most people still aren't home or not interested, but I was happier and had more fun and that made a lot of difference. We just had more fun! Then we stopped at 7-11 for wifi and a Filipina came up and talked to us for a bit- she met missionaries a year before, didn't really take lessons, but who knows now? We talked for a bit and exchanged numbers.

Saturday we had lunch with another "less active" who's one of the strongest members I've ever met- she just can't always come on Sundays because she's a helper/ hospice nurse. She shared her conversion (which was a complete turn-around story!) and I just can't believe how strong she is- her dream, and was she's planning for is to go on a mission once she retires! After being with her, I've been thinking a lot about true conversion. Lots of people were baptized around the same time as her, but most fell away, and she stayed. No time to write her whole story, but it's super interesting! I LOVE hearing people's stories, probably one of my favorite things as a missionary.
Then in the afternoon we went to Sayama Lake because they were having a big matsuri (festival) because it's sakura season! Saturday was the supposed full bloom day for Kawachinagano. We saw the flowers, did some finding and saw a random giant rubber duck in the lake. Apparently it's a famous duck that goes around the world. The duck was funny, the sakura is BEAUTIFUL! And soon it'll be raining so you only see the flowers for a little bit!

Sunday, in the afternoon we were hungry and a little down and read Alma 26- it does wonders! One cool miracle- we hadn't been in contact with one investigator for a while and we're going to drop her, but texted her as a last resort thing and in the evening she texted back and set another appointment! We were really surprised about that. 

Then today for P-Day we went to Osaka Jo (castle) and it was beautiful, lots of Sakura and lots of tourists! That was kind of weird, haven't seen very many of them. Plus since it was super touristy, all the Japanese (workers) were speaking English- whaaa?!

Also one thought to share- so with the Atonement challenge we're doing, I've found so many new insights! I mean they were there the whole time, I've read these verses before, but they mean something different now! (Also before I always thought it was annoying when missionaries shared scriptures because I just wanted to hear stories...lol) 
This was 1 Ne 21
4 Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught and in vain; surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.

5 And now, saith the Lord--that formed me from the womb that I should be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him--though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.

When I read v4 I was like, yep, definitely have felt that before! The days where we don't find progressing investigators but we tried really hard and our purpose is to bring others to Christ and they aren't coming- there are days like that! But then v5- God supports us, strengthens us through the Atonement of Christ. He's helping me, He's helping Ueda Shimai with her sicknesses, He's helping every single one of us! That's LOVE, and that's why I want to be like Him and share His gospel. 

Love you!
Sister Wagstaff

YW activity on Wednesday

District Meeting on Friday
(L to R- Streadbeck Choro, Dahl Choro, Lins Choro, Sepos Choro, Steere Shimai and I)
We can't wait for more sisters to come, but that won't really be until college is out

This is the 7-11 car, at every 7-11

Sayama Lake with the giant rubber duck

There was even a car and lots of souvenir style stuff to buy...we bought matching duck t-shirts on our dinner break!

Those are Buddhist/Shinto (not sure) prayers


It's Sakura season and it lasts like a week max so lots of pictures!