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

Thursday, July 7, 2016

July 4, 2016 HAPPY 4th + Police, Magic and Church!

I'm celebrating the 4th of July in Japan with an Aussie! We bought watermelon to celebrate! Okay it's like 5 bucks for a 4th of the melon, no joke, but hey it's a holiday! Interesting week...

Last Monday after P-day nobody home, one lady cancelled on us because of rain...at least we think so because she didn't show up at the church and haven't had any contact since then. BUT we finished SKK (weekly planning)...yeah last week was crazy so it went a little late. 

Tuesday a member was able to come to our less-active lesson- seriously little miracle because nobody was answering, but then we call and she had been ready to do it! Then other finding and LOTS of plans for the day, but instead...we got stopped by the police. I've hardly seen them at all in Japan. Apparently it's normal that they just do random gaijin (foreigner) checks- he was super nice, telling us how he went to church when he was little, which was cool! He also checked our bikes and that's where the problem, came...I own my bike which was fine, but before when Steere Shimai came to the mission, the mission owned the bikes, so she still rides a church bike but they wanted to know WHO owned the bike...the church isn't a person, a person? Welch Kaicho? We don't know. Anyways that was pretty crazy with lots of calls to the Mission Office and getting missionaries who could help, some were confused, then also got our Ward Mission Leader in Kawachinagano involved, and he was stressing a lot, and the elders were in Wakayama on an exchange, so then we weren't sure when they would let us go and if we could get to Eikaiwa on time...also every once in a while a new police officer would come- I think we ended up meeting 6? Plus a giant van because they were thinking about taking the bike (they thought it was stolen a while ago and missionaries have just been passing it down...) BUT in the middle of this we got a call that someone found Steere Shimai's lost Book of Mormon from last week! Also we didn't really know what was going on, but after 1 1/2hr to 2 hrs ish the police let us go with the direction that we have to get the missing identification sticker for the bike...wow, stressful, BUT we did get to introduce who we are lots of times and teach a basic lesson to the police officers- really they were pretty nice people. But I didn't get a picture :( Actually because scared out of my mind to try.

Wednesday- the rainiest day ever, seriously haven't felt rain like that before! But we have kappa's so it was all good! The elders passed us one of their investigators, we all went and visited together and she is seriously SO CLOSE to baptism! She's an English teacher and has always been interested in religion and heard a lot but has continued to learn about our church because as she put it, she's amazed that so many missionaries so young sacrifice all of their time for this message, so therefore it must be important- YES! YES IT IS THAT IMPORTANT! Really really cool. She wants to find out for herself. After, started a koukan with Sakai sisters and I went with Nakayama Shimai! It rained but we worked as hard as we could and she's absolutely so fun to work with! Found some cool people, talked with a member, some kekko's and ended the night by going to a former investigator's gospel choir concert. Another moment where I should've just gotten my iPad out because I wish I had videos of this, but didn't want to be disrespectful. It's just a that, well imagine this: a group of Japanese are trying so so so hard to be black and sang in all English and just so you know, there are lots of "L"'s in gospel music (Lord, light, hallelujah) and if you know anything about Japanese it's that L's turn into R's. Priceless. Fun, this investigator was really really happy we came and hopefully now she'll start taking lessons again- working on building a relationship again. Also on a different note, I learned how important having the Spirit is- they were singing songs like "Amazing Grace" and "The Lord is my Light" and they were trying really hard to have a good performance but there was so heart, no Spirit in their work- we have to be careful to not be like that. Is it coming from your heart? Or are you focused on the outside performance? 

More HARERUYA at the gospel choir concert.  There was this one guy in the middle doing all
the "Mmm, AMEN" and the hands up to heaven and everything, wow.

Thursday at the end of the exchange, Nakayama Shimai and I met a guy who said he likes church- got excited! Actually he likes churches because their pretty but doesn't care about religionWouldn't commit to when, but said he'll come to our church sometime! Later back with Steere Shimai we brought My Family booklets to a less active and she committed herself to do family history and seemed pretty excited about it- she's an old grandma who did stuff before, but a tsunami ruined/took all the records. That evening we taught kids English, but the member was late, but that actually turned out to be a little miracle because then another Mom said we could come to her house- she trusts us! 

Friday we had District Meeting at our church- talked a lot about the Spirit in our work and it was cool to see all the various topics line up, as we learned what we needed. 

Steere Shimai's last DM...stole the picture idea from Sister Marshall a few weeks ago, thank you! 
The rest of the day was a little hard, but it gave me a beautiful chance to repent at the end and find out exactly how I can improve myself and circumstances. 

Saturday we went to another District Meeting- for Sakai, changed their day so a member could come. Learned lots at theirs about consecration, including humility, obedience, and diligence. The Spirit was strong, plus went out for sushi after!

In the evening we went over to the Kito's- a member couple and taught their grandson English plus gospel- he's 7 and his family isn't members but because of health problems, mom and kids are temporarily living with grandparents, plus got a call that their dad was going to be there this weekend from Hokkaido! We were nervous about this- no idea what the dad thought about he church, how open would he be? Turned out really well! He's a really cool, super funny guy and works for a non-profit. Kito Shimai made us her famous Okonomiyaki- STUFFED us, I ate 2 1/2, elders ate more and she kept asking us if we wanted more? Good experience and basically the son-in-law's first introduction to the church. The elders shared a message about service and he seemed impressed, later heard from the members that they all thought it was really fun! 

Dendo is SO. MUCH. FUN. 

Sunday was a great Fast Sunday- right after Sacrament Meeting started, a former investigator walked in and sat by me! We helped her carry some groceries when we randomly saw her the other day, then left a note saying she was always welcome to come to church- really didn't think anything of it, but then she came! Maybe we can start lessons again? 
Later visited a less active who has lots of struggles, but loves music- used to be a ballerina when she was young and also a piano teacher and had me play- music is powerful! Also I definitely received some divine help because I haven't played in a long time and it turned out pretty well (of course it was Savior Redeemer). 
In the evening we were invited over to the Shino's for dinner- got there and they said we had to hurry because Shino Kyoudai was putting on a magic show for us! Haha, so cute! He really is a magician and it was good! 

Me helping with magic :)

I get to meet some of the most wonderful people and as you can see life is anything but normal- between all the crazy we're trying to find, teach and baptize to the best of our ability, then miracles happen because this is God's work. 

Love you all so much! 
Wagstaff 姉妹

Failed attempt because we all died laughing

Better version! Who are we...??

Answer is...Abinadi and King Noah :) 

Cool holiday coming up- more about this next week but 7/7 is Tanabata: the old story is that on this day, 2 stars in the Milky Way meet (Prince and the Princess) and they only get to meet once a year, so everyone writes wishes and hands them on the bamboo and then if it doesn't rain that night and the stars see your wish, it's granted! This was a cute display at a member's apartment building- she also taught us a song that goes with! We wrote big church ones (Ex. Wish for everyone to feel the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ) for everyone who passes by to hopefully see!

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