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, May 27, 2016

Monday May 23

We had a really good weekend with the whole mission going to Kobe for a conference with Elder Stevenson from the 12!

Last Tuesday I went on an exchange with Wakayama sisters, I was with Blomquist Shimai! We got to work with members a lot, starting with Visiting Teaching with some sisters! Then visited some a grandpa and another grandma that Steere Shimai had found last week- something I've learned here is that it doesn't really matter who, I just like talking to people, and that's what we get to do everyday, with the greatest message! Next, Blomquist Ahimai's bike chain fell off and got super stuck, at the bottom of a big hill. Small miracle was that I fixed it!
First time fixing one so bad...and then we were only 20 minutes latefor next appt (called ahead and norm takes like 30 minutes, so obviously there was some heavenly help). We met with a not-so less active member who just went to the temple last week!! She did baptisms for her grandma at Tokyo and had an AMAZING experience. There is absolutely no doubt that the temple is the house of God and we can feel the Spirit in abundance there- didn't get to go and still my testimony was strengthened because she had a wonderful experience. One step at a time and her family will be eternal!

Wednesday was super good! For language study/finding/building relationship with members we went to a free community Japanese class with Kerri, member from Taiwan. Learned about some Japanese mistakes I've been making a lot, then found out one of the teachers used to come to our Eikaiwa years ago! After, we brought a lunch and ate there with Kerri and 2 Chinese students- ended up using English and Japanese (Kerri doesn't speak Japanese yet, one doesn't speak English) and then the third really only knows Chinese, so they translated for her, so it was an interesting lunch and lots of fun! One can hopefully someday become an investigator, because she was expressing how she just didn't feel happy in China, and it's really great that we have happiness, but the way she talked about it was like it was unreachable for her. Happiness is NOT unreachable for her!

Later that day we added Tagalog to our language list and translated for some visiting teaching! Miracle: tried a former investigator for the 485839th time...and she answered the door!! High school student, still interested, though testing season right now is busy.

Funny moment: invited a grandma to RS sushi party and ended up talking for a while, but the same conversation 5 times (partial Alzheimer's) and she thought we were half-Japanese...she got up really close and looked at my eyes and then said, oh never mind, your eyes are the wrong color. Eye color, that's what gave me away?? :)

Thursday started really spiritually with a quick message with the bishop's wife-talked about the BOM because she just recently gave one away. The Spirit was strong, and we are so blessed to have the Book of Mormon- Do you know it's true? Do you realize how impactful it can be on your entire life? Find out! Please please please open the door for God to POUR out blessings. Ended the day challenging another member to give one away- she's
excited and ready to go!

Friday off to Hashimoto for District Meeting on...the BOM! How to use it more effectively as missionaries- lots of new ideas and more motivation to use the BOM. Then a lesson with one of my favorite investigator families about
The Plan of Salvation- ran into a lot of confusion because they've grown up Buddhist. Just so you know, not every lesson goes perfectly, some are really really hard, but the light at the end of the tunnel was that the daughter seemed pretty interested in the BOM!

Saturday a less active Brazillian took us out to eat and had so much fun with her and her granddaughter! They are each other's best friend and it was fun to be with them, they'll come back someday! Next was a lesson with an investigator we haven't seen for a while- learning English and then "Bible Study" as she calls it, but we use the BOM! She wants to read it more and help her life improve- now as long as we remind her, she'll be right on track for progression. Next was finding different old Eikaiwa people, PI's, etc in a really hilly area...so let's just say I was leading and had the map backwards and ended up going back up a giant hill and now I owe Steere Shimai new legs. :)

Ended the night with sushi party! An investigator and 2 students from Eikaiwa came!! Everyone had a great time- we were in groups making different types of sushi and then all went around and tried them all. I love sushi! One of our new Eikaiwa students that came can definitely become a new investigator (she already believes in God!) and goes to show another thing I've been learning- don't judge people by their looks- she didn't seem like someone who would really be interested in our message, but seems to have quite a bit of interest!

Sunday- greatest day! It was ward conference- sad part was that none of our investigators could make it BUT this kid came for the elders (Cool story: we got in the elevator at a close apartment building and this kid 16-19yrs ish looks at our name tags and goes on Kirisuto-Kyo? (Christian church) Then reads the full name (Matsu Jitsu Seito Iesu Kirisuto Kyoukai) and goes oh the Mormons? Whaaa??? Like nobody here knows to make that connection! So then he got off the elevator, we were stalkers and figured out approx which apartment was his and called the elders to go after him- they did, invited him to church and then he came!)

Then we got a new bishop- that was a shock! Our new bishop, Shino Bisshoppu is pretty young! We left in the middle of Sunday School to travel to Kobe! The closer we got to Kobe, the more missionaries we ran into- so much fun! Geographically our missions really big and so mission conferences aren't a thing, so this was really special! Elder Choi and his wife and Pres and Sis Whiting from the Area Presidency came with Elder Stevenson and his wife. There was a lot of good things said and learned, though one of my favorite moments was when we all got to sing our mission theme song together (Armies of Helaman) because there's one part:

- We have been called to Kobe Japan, to work with members in teaching
God's plan, Walk with the Lord and raise up the light, establish Zion
with all our might

One theme that was emphasized was the significance of where we are called and the mission president we are called to work with. I have been blessed above and beyond to get to be in Kobe Japan under Pres and Sis Welch. Right now I'm in the most wonderful ward in Kawachinagano with the most supportive, enthusiastic members. I don't know if I'll be here much longer, but I love it so much. God is in charge of this work and He knows exactly where we need to go. With that, God knows who YOU are and where you are and there's a reason! Find out! Also really helpful if you do that by reading the Book of Mormon, PS. It's a testament of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Someone quoted this scripture yesterday and I really liked it: Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

I love you all so much! I'm so happy here first and foremost because of the testimony I have and the desire to serve God and share that testimony. It's all true guys!

Wagstaff 姉妹

Saw Elder Stevenson yesterday! Really special that he was a mission president in Japan (Nagoya) but even cooler is that at that time, the Kobe mission had been closed and he was over the Osaka area, so he started listing all these areas- even the little ones and expressed how much he loved them. Also his wife spoke a little of how hard it was when the mission split while they were there to open Kobe, so they lost the Osaka area and those missionaries, but coming back, they see the growth - anyways it was an apostle, but it was really specific and special.

Already told Mom a lot of stuff, so basically lots of that left my brain already, sorry. Other things... Stevenson Choro Taikai! - I've been really trying to be better at truly being prepared, especially because I also have to teach at Zone Conference next week they are having us teach individually as STLs (that never happens!) and no theme- we seek the keiji (revelation). So with all my study this last week I started feeling like Commitments, especially Promised Blessings were important- then Elder Stevenson talked about that for just a tiny bit, but it was exactly what I needed to know that it's right. I was more specific about questions prepared, and also we had really good spiritual prep -threatened with our lives if we were late, but obviously everyone loves each other so much so NOBODY was late, but the cool thing was we were told we absolutely had to be prepping at 2:30 but everyone was sitting and completely quiet and studying at about 2:20.

Also I love Welch Kaicho and Shimai so much, and we know they love us so much, so obviously everyone wants to do their best and we want to show them how hard we've working and it was really special for them (and for us but probably more for them) to have all of their missionaries in one room.

We were challenged to see a baptism, and I didn't see a baptism, lots of people probably didn't, but at the conference, that wasn't what Welch Kaicho asked, he asked if we had seen miracles and YES we've
seen those, and that means we're on track for a baptism.

Elder Stevenson used to be the mission president over Osaka and he knows and loves this area, plus spoke a little in Japanese. That was special! He and his wife are very connected to missionary work and through the Spirit, delivered what we need to move forward. And guess what? It's the gospel. There's not something crazy and new (as much as we would like to have Facebook!) but it put me back on focus to work harder, have more self-esteem because of the importance of what I'm doing, more emphasis on teaching with the Spirit and teaching, testifying about the Restoration, regardless of the fact that this isn't a Christian country- everyone needs the Restoration and that's going to take a lot of faith and work to change the way we teach a bit to make sure that the Restoration is important (obviously always important, but we generally emphasize family and who is God and don't get to Joseph Smith very often.)

Exciting week ahead with Graduation! So happy I can wear a hat! Also starting to have more gratitude for the rain because if it's raining I can't get burned :) And if it's a billion degrees hot, at least it's not raining!

Went a shrine and were the only ones there, literally the only ones...maybe it was Buddhist P-Day too?? :)

Love you!

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