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, June 22, 2016

Monday June 20, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

Going backwards this week! Seriously remembering things is getting harder. :) It's all good, that's why we write in a journal kids!

Sunday- Stake Conference in...SAKAI! So happy to see members here again- okay so I was only there for 1 transfer so only a few people remember me, but I was still really happy! We had a video broadcast from Elder Bednar. He talked about faith in Jesus Christ, sacrifice and consecration. I want to keep trying to concentrate myself and become my best self to give to God. Yeah, time is short (still not feeling it at all) but I guess it still is what it is! Then after it rained, went out and had lunch at a member's. Besides Japanese, she really is a lot like Grandma Wagstaff! Then we went back to the Eki (train station) and there were all these college students...that's like missionary jackpot- we thought we were out in the country part of he area, but there's a college over there and turns out TONS of young people live there and we just never looked at the other side of the Eki!

Saturday was hot. So freaking hot. Okay so it's always hot and I should eventually be adjusting, right? :) We handed out Eikaiwa fliers at a bigger Eki and this lady comes running back and asks about details and now we have a new investigator!! Then in the evening the RS had this insurance activity that we were definitely not going to, but then a member said she was bringing some friends, and we're not turning down referrals! Then they didn't show up...so we left, but then met another member in the parking lot and she thought it was sad they didn't show, so she immediately called a friend to come! They couldn't come BUT it was so sweet to see her immediately act!

Friday- in the morning we had District Meeting in Hashimoto and I can't explain it but the Spirit was strong and I really felt my stress taken away- doing our best with what I know how to do! Then in the evening we went to seminary for Miyu Chan- I love that because she's busy, but still wants to stay active, they have a special seminary 1/week at night for her. This week a story that's stuck out to me is Jesus Christ, the Good shepherd going out for 1 sheep.

Thursday it rained but we were lucky to have a bit of inside time- had an appt with a member and an investigator who brought a friend, met for lesson and lunch. Found out they are basically missionaries for their church and tried to get us to their church a little...that was really sad. We've lost a lot of investigators lately and every single one hurts and we thought she really had interest. But we know for sure she felt the Spirit last week and acknowledged it- this week claimed that she didn't really...BUT we ended with lunch and were able to calm down a little and end on a good note, I think. Then we made cookies at the church and planned, then delivered!

Wednesday we went to free Japanese class, learned lots of normal people vocab! A less active that we've been working with has been slipping again, but committed again this week to come to church (sadly she was sick and didn't come...a work in progress!). Then we had an English lesson with a kind of investigator...still not fully ready to learn BUT we watched Nakamura Shimai's I'm a Mormon video and it was really good for her and she had some questions about the church! Then later went finding and met a hula dance teacher who seems to be prepared- excited to go back and meet her. It's so much fun to meet so many interesting people everyday. 

Tuesday we exchanged with the Sakai sisters and I was back with Salisbury Shimai!! We had lunch with a member at this DELICIOUS French restaurant, then cake from the cake shop where she works- plus she has 4 people at work she wants to share the gospel with, very exciting! Then we tried to be more creative in finding investigators...

Lots of fun! 

Monday was in Kyoto and randomly ran into an American member on vacation there- she served her mission here years ago! That was a nice little miracle. Then FHE and dinner with the Kosugi's with other members invited- it's so nice to be surrounded by so many loving people. 

Speaking of which...happy Father's Day! I'm surrounded by great influences all around. God is so good to us. So so so good. 

Love you all!
Wagstaff 姉妹

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Monday June 13

Fam bam and the rest of you

Sorry this is quick highlights! We're going to Kyoto today, but more stuff later!

P day went to Nara and played soccer, then Indo curry and some shopping. Able to listen to Lena...sat at the park and she just talked. We were able to listen and she needs time to figure things out, but at least she knows we're here. Met Chinatsu Chan! Sweetest girl, just a nice little tender mercy to meet her at the end of the night.

6/7 MLC!
Doki!! Saw Rees Shimai, Hill Choro, Rowe Shimai- lots of fun to see everyone! Seeing talking to Rees Shimai
Felt the Spirit. Met a members friend on the train who started talking to us first.

Miyu came to mutual! Had a birthday party for her. Also a bird pooped on my head while we were housing a place member asked us to go...NOT COOL. On my head and skirt, needless to say next was... Kiwi ice cream...seriously it was so good it made the email. 7/11 is the place to go.

Yoshida San lesson with Yoshikawa Shimai (Restoration, good kanke, felt Spirit, really fun). WOWOWOWOWOW So about a month ago when we visited Yoshikawa's she told us this lady came to her house and she ended up a BOM and then of course we wanted to meet her and kept trying and just not working out, kept trying a little bit- Toshikawa got an appt! So perfect, able to explain the BOM by teaching the Restoration. That lesson is powerful. Moment when the a Spirit was strongest was telling the First Visioon, using Joseph Smith's words. It's true. It really happened. She wants to meet again, goes a different church right now, but recognized that she had a really good feeling here and wanted to meet again! Seriously Yoshikawa Shimai was amazing! She said she is always pray HG for opportunities to share the gospel, especially giving away a BOM- prayers are answered, so what are you praying for?
Lots of kids at Sayuri's Eikaiwa- we teach Eikaiwa at her house for a bunch of 2-5 ye olds. Crazy? Yes- mostly singing a bunch of English songs, lots of fun!  Dinner at Kyotani's- heard about receiving testimony especially BOM. Found new I by Kyotani's- housed around a bit and found a young mom who really wants to hear more about how her family can be strengthened.

ZTM - 
Spirit was strong, we felt go d about section we taught about sanctifying ourselves. 
Spirit was strong when Pinerio Choro took our name tags. Who's name is on my tag? We each carry the name of Jesus Christ. I never want to forget! 
Okonomiyaki lunch with sisters- Yum. 
Regular lesson Friday with investigator family- teenage daughter still doing pretty good, we have a good kanke with her! 
Successful finding, new approaches (Kaneko Chan!) We just went for it, and stayed close to a bigger eki and got ourselves pumped by setting some goals for Steere Shimai's last transfer- at first we said we just want to see people progress, but then scratched that and decided we'll see a baptism THIS TRANSFER. Then went out and found a really cute college girl who wants to meet again and we're still texting. 

1 YEAR MISSIONARY MARK! Went to the MTC a year ago.

Super amazing RS Pres (Shino Shimai)- really she's amazing, reviewed progress of less active's, sisters we've been working with. Found out one funny thing...turns out one of the LA's we were working with isn't LA, she's an old investigator! Haha, that'll change our lessons from here on...
Met Tatsuta Shimai (tried 3 times!). 
Met Uchino...busy but at least got to talk to her!
Finished SKK including iPad audit and comp inventory...hasn't happened in a while!
Got a letter from Sam, pretty happy about that! 

Met a less active sister! Seriously not a good lesson because we were just ping ponging out of habit...been trying to meet her since I first got her, like 5 months ago, and then today she answered her door! Really surprised. But cool!
Katayama fuufu's help! Went to LA, then drove us to next appt. Seriously they are the best couple! They were just so happy to help us.
Youko Shimai, so willing to doseki, but then person wasn't home and she understood was still very nice and helpful. That means a lot! Positive despite disappointments. 

RS lesson was on True Greatness this week, and we used a little bit of that in our training Friday at ZTM- in our lives it's the combination of all the little good things that make us great people. Successful missionaries are serving every day in little ways- striving to follow the example of Jesus Christ. And guess what? When we do we have the Spirit with us and it feels so good. This week I read Alma 19:6 and can't stop thinking about it- GO READ IT. The Atonement lifts the darkness and fills us with light and joy. I'm feeling it. I can testify the gospel is joyful. This is hands down the best way to live, no question. Do you believe it? 

Wagstaff Shimai

Sorry emails haven't been really full lately- last transfer for Steere Shimai so we're doing lots of fun stuff! It's nice being on the Osaka side of the mission because there's tons of cool stuff pretty close. Plus with Japan's amazing train system we can get anywhere. Serious trains, I'm a fan. Right now I'm on a train to Kyoto, pretty excited, I've never been there before! Steere Shimai spent a lot of her mission three, so we're going back today and one more time this transfer.

I'm tired, sore, exercise in the morning is hard...this last week has been more stretching and flexibility than cardio (then again everyday is cardio here!). Seriously biking took away a lot of the flexibility I kind of had, just using different muscles, so trying to improve before school. Don't worry, we really are exercising, part of our big
push lately to be exactly obedient.

At ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) our new Zone Leader, Piniero Choro took all of our name tags and put them in a bad, then handed them back out randomly. How could we dendo with that person's name and not our own?
As you can imagine, the point was that we dendo with the name of Jesus Christ everyday and it's our duty and privilege to honor His name daily by what we do, who we are, what we're trying to do. Really effective! Also it doesn't feel good to take that nametag off.

Back to MLC Tuesday- I love seeing Welch Kaicho and Welch Shimai. The Spirit was strong, I don't remember all the exacts of what they said, but the main thing is I feel like I get the spiritual boost I need to go for the next month, becoming a better more effective missionary. Overall Kobe's doing really great but there's a lot farther to go!
Still working towards a baptism per week and that's going to take a while. Side note, new AP- lately lots of new AP's because they're all dying, but now it's Takaku Choro and Griffiths Choro. Drew might be interested, he's a BYU QB- don't know details if he played before or just in on hold to play later (probs later?) Anyways, good AP too.

- funny story from last Monday, see the member in sunglasses? HILARIOUS! He's pretty good at English and thinks he's funny with this joke when he called ahead to get a reservation for lunch (Hello? Yes call back at 1-800-I Don't care; 1-800-Don't Call Me) but told this to a Japanese person who just had no idea what was going on, but HE though he was pretty funny!) okay and the rest of us were dying too.
Of course there's not a lot of space for soccer fields and stuff (except out in inaka-country), so this is on top of a mall!

Rice fields!! I love rice- I think I'm becoming a rice snob because I can tell if it's freshly cooked, and if it's regular or more expensive. Rice is good! And I don't think I've gotten rice cheeks! 

Big question for everyone?
-In your life right now, what are you doing to help God's work, to dendo? Big, small, how do you think you have been sharing the gospel?
Maybe what's something else you could try and do a little better (not overwhelming, just a little bit) ?

Love you all so much! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Monday June 6 Kawachinagano Round 4!

So we got our transfer calls this week and we were completely shocked...Steere Shimai and I are staying together in Kawachi!  Last P-day we took it slow and went out for sushi, haven't done that in a while, yummm! In the evening we had FHE with the Nakamura's with a takoyaki party! (Battered octopus in a little ball?)  and a LA young woman brought her friend from school and we practiced English with them! Super fun and so proud of her for DENDOING!

They look cute, I look crazy...

Tuesday we met with some super awesome members who are now going to be taking charge on inviting helping their friends (our investigators!) come to church- member missionary work people! Uplifted by another sweet member, then new people came to Eikaiwa! 2 cute college girls and then...2 guys we met at a conbini. So story there...we invite everyone to come unto Christ right? Even 2 loud construction worker grandpas that tried to speak English with us at a convenience store a few weeks ago. We gave them Eikaiwa flyers (which we basically do with everyone) but these guys actually came! They came right at the end and joined in our picture (Sepos Choro leaving) and were VERY drunk and super loud...I think maybe my favorite part was at the end when our cute Ward mission leader says as they are leaving, "Please come again!" He's so nice. 

Wednesday normal appts and finding, and then we ran into a Phillipino investigator we haven't seen for 2 weeks at a bread shop! After game night we both received blessings from the elders. Priesthood power is real and God really is our loving Heavenly Father. Plus after we went over to a kind of less active couple and they want us to teach their grandson (not a member) English! 

Thursday was so much fun- super awesome LA sister took us to her work for a little service- she works at a day service center for old people and we just had fun together. 

Then ended the night with an appt with our new bishop and his family- so funny! They are retry much the funniest people ever. Oh and for family- pass this on! Seiko Shino Shimai is kind of the Japanese version of Sister Fellows, love her lots! ❤️ 

Friday we did a kubari (flyer handout) in the morning and then again in the evening with the elders and KATAYAMA KYOUDAI- greatest dendoshunin (Ward mission leader) you could ask for! In the morning we went to an Eki by a big high school and college, so lots of students, and one was on crutches, so suddenly we see Katayama Jyoudai go running... 70something years old, grabs his car and comes back and gives the crutches girl a ride to school. So sweet. Lots of Japanese members have a hard time sharing the gospel because they are generally very reserved, but he just has no fear! Later we had lesson with investigator family about the Spirit and they seemed to really understand and accept, then the daughter said her first prayer...she was pretty scared but did it! Last, we went to night seminary, but student ended up not being able to come, so we did a Mogi and received dendo advice from Mana Chan, who got back from Tokyo about a year ago. 

Saturday met tons of cool people on trains, then visited some referrals with our awesome Katayama Kyoudai - another good quality, he doesn't get discouraged. They gave a referral last week and today we checked up again, but they don't actually have interest, but he just kept happily moving forward and has us stop by another one of his neighbors.
In the evening we had that English lesson with the member's grandson. Let me tell you what a miracle this is- the last transfer the RS Pres notified us that she was worried about this member and wanted us to visit sometimes, etc. Well they've been pretty busy and it's been hard, but now because of the grandson (non member) we'll be regularly visiting to do English and a little gospel lesson! Seriously an amazing opportunity, not only do we have the chance to strengthen some members, we now have the opportunity to convert their daughter and her family! This would be a good Liahona story :) Thanks to our RS president receiving and following revelation. Listen and follow the promptings you receive! 

Sunday I was the last person, but still got to bear testimony! It's been a goal of mine to testify every month ever since I heard a member talk about how much she loved hearing missionary testimonies and how uplifting it is. I'm only a full-time missionary for a little bit...this week I hit 1 YEAR! In the evening we had dinner with some members and their friend, who we were able to teach the Restoration, like the whole Restoration, because she has a bit of a Christian background. It was really special, and we especially appreciated at the end when Arimoto Shimai pointed out the warm feeling in the room, aka Holy Ghost. Very special. 

So blessed to be a missionary now. It's Steere Shimai's last transfer (as much as she doesn't want to say it) and the plan to go hard, just do all we can and show lots of faith so we can see lots of miracles. With the great members here, great things are happening. The gospel is restored and now we get to share with EVERYONE, the entire world. I'm in Japan teaching Phillipinos and add in Brazillians, our African guy, the elders are teaching a golden from Turkey...the gospel is going to all the world. It's true, it's all true- Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw and if you know it, want to know it, love it, then strengthen that testimony, share that testimony! 

I love you so much! Gotta go ❤
Wagstaff 姉妹

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Monday May 30

Baby steps!

We still don't know about transfers, which maybe means no transfer?? Didn't expect that, I jump every time one of our phones go off. So then when I wasn't looking Steere Shimai called me on her phone...dang it. Totally fell for it. But then we both freaked out the elders by calling them for no reason in the morning. :)

Last Monday we had FHE with the Nakamura's (They have an I'm a Mormon video, look it up! "I'm a Mormon, a Choir Director, and a Musical Mom")- really good and of course the food was good and we're going over again this week too!

Tuesday koukan with Sakai! I was with Miller Shimai and not all of our plans worked, but still a good day even with missing bike keys (found them) and then flat tires (but didn't have to buy new tires!!) and when we housed a few places after visiting a member met this cool guy who's a theatre actor, deep thinker but just joined another religion
so not interested but fun to talk to!

Plus we were super tired.

Wednesday back with Steere Shimai and they had bike probs on their koukan too (aka Nakayama Shimai was riding this bike that was just sent to us from another area and randomly the brakes just FELL OFF. ) Thank goodness for trains and it didn't put too much of a delay in our day as we went back to pick it up, though I rode a Mama Chati (spelling?)- which is a big heavy grandma bike- for the first time in a while, ouch. 
One little miracle was that our music producer friend who likes English showed a little interest in our actual message! Plus met with this cute young member that moved here recently for work and she's really excited to give away a BOM- such a good example! 

Thursday we finally were able to sit down and plan out what what we're teaching at Zone Conference- we started bara bara (all over the place) but it came together really smoothly and pretty fast- definitely keiji (revelation). Plus visited YW Pres who's a super star member, talked about the BOM and as we were finishing she thought of another person she wants to share the gospel with! Another keiji moment was we were starting to house by a member but not feeling it, so we stopped to pray and had a few other ideas, one to visit a slightly less-active couple, and I still don't know why we visited them, it felt pretty normal, not extraordinary, but it feels really good just to try and follow all the little promptings we get! In the evening, our old bishop and his wife came over to help install our new CO detector...we thought we were following the directions and it seemed weird but we did it anyways, turns out we were a little off, I'll let you figure it out...

Okay it's sideways. We put it in sideways- at least when we told Welch Shimai, she laughed about it with us! 

Friday we had a great District Meeting- I especially liked that we ended with a short testimony meeting and then finished quickly so we could keep that Spirit with us (suggestion from Elder Stevenson last week)- it really did make a difference! Next we went visiting teaching with RS president and her comp and for the first time, all of the LA's we visited were home! Plus we felt like we were really able to teach by the Spirit. 

Later in the evening, taught an investigator family the Restoration- baby steps, they were pretty receptive! Last of all we had seminary with Miyu Chan! She's super busy and can't do morning seminary so she does nightly seminary once a week- it was so good! Plus heard her miracle: she's doing a home stay in the US starting in August and her host family just changed to...a Mormon family!! HUGE blessing! 

Saturday was the big day, Zone Conference! We were really happy to see Kawachinagano members come, even a few we didn't know were coming! One thing I liked that Welch Kaicho did was at the beginning, asked us all what we wanted to learn/what we're seeking to know/etc and wrote them on a board, then before lunch, after we had gone through the scriptures- especially Acts 10 and the beginning of Nephi, went back to the board and showed how whether it was spoken or not, through the Spirit our questions had been answered and we weren't even done yet! One thing I learned from that was to keep seeking! My original prepared questions were answered, but that's not the end, it just led me to seek more, and now I want to keep that pattern. 

Sunday was overall a really good day! We went to the youth Sunday School and the new bishop taught! He's young and really really really good at working with the youth, he's definitely making a difference in their lives. After church we did some visits with our dendo shunin (Ward mission leader) and his wife, and even though his wife is shy about sharing the gospel, she randomly decided to stop the car and have us meet one of her friends that lived close by! Also went to a less active that hasn't come in ages and turns out we were there the day before he was going to the hospital for heart surgery! He hasn't come to church for ages but still remembers the elders that taught him and we gave him the Restoration pamphlet to remember what they taught him! 

There is so much good happening here in Kawachinagano, Japan right now! Every little step of progress counts and yes baptism is a big step, but it takes all these little steps along the way! God is proud of our baby steps, so KEEP MOVING FORWARD ❤
This work is true! God gave Joseph Smith the power to translate the Book of Mormon, which testifies of Jesus Christ and His Atonement, which is where all of our blessings come from, all of our hope and happiness and ability to change and improve! 

Love you all so much!

Wagstaff 姉妹

No news on transfers for us, but found out from other missionaries that Welch Kaicho already made his calls today, which means neither of us are training or STLing in a different area...either staying, one is becoming a normal missionary (not trainer or STL)...who knows?? I really can't focus until I know. 
I was feeling like I was out and maybe yesterday was my last Sunday and thank goodness it was a good one, but who knows! Maybe not! 

We found out at zone conference that Kobe is now the highest baptizing mission in Japan and Korea (not a race, we want everybody to succeed) but it's been a big focus and the work is really picking up and Welch Kaicho said he wants us to be an example for Asia that we really can do this, because the general attitude for Japan is its hard (ITS REALLY HARD) but also kind of impossible. But we're focusing on the Atonement and the thing is, things that are impossible for us become possible. 

Different topic- we taught at ZC about having the Spirit with us, especially through testifying and promising blessings. Went well, I love meetings! Welch Kaicho took us through the BOM and really had fun and applied- we went through the story of Nephi going back for the plates- the scriptures are so fun! And when it was fun, we had new ideas and applications for us here as missionaries. Here were some of the fun parts-
- Maybe they brought Zoram back because no one else really wanted to carry the plates that far
- No wonder Laman and Lemuel started beating Nephi with a stick, he probably gave their favorite tunics to Laban! 

Sorry there was good spiritual stuff too of course! You just need to know how cool Welch Kaicho and Shimai are, speaking of which...

Here was the introduction of new missionary changes. 

But for reals, Book of Mormon absolutely is true and can change our life everyday. We obey because we want His Spirit to be with us, and as other people feel that, see our light, their lives will change as well. I'm changing! I really want to be more obedient because I want the Spirit with me as much as possible because there absolutely is a difference in our work.  Everyone deserves to be loved immensely. Do you know how much I love you? I love you so much! Right now not very much focus because I have so much to do here, there's so much good that can happen, but the ultimate goal is eternal families with God and I know my family's doing really well, so what's our next step? How can we be better, more celestially God-like?  

Wagstaff 姉妹

Funny stuff I found today, welcome to Japan!

Soon it'll be rain pants for everyone because June is rainy season. Not to mention we've got crazy leg muscles here. (also YES! There's bike walking sometimes) On another random note, getting more comments if I've lost weight- Welch Shimai asked on Saturday- apparently it shows in my face. Checking thescale and nothing changing lately- granted its in kilos and I don't know what I was in kilos before and muscles are heavier than fat anyways, so idk? I'm happy if that's what's happening because I'm not really trying!

I read Alma 9:26 today: And not many days hence the Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity, and truth, full ofpatience, mercy, and long-suffering, quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers.

He is perfectly loving, and what if we had all of those same qualities? That'd be really nice! Working on it.