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

Friday, April 8, 2016

Mon April 4, 2016 SAKURA ๐ŸŽŒ๐ŸŒธ

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!

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