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, August 29, 2016

Monday Aug. 29, 2016

Okay so first of all Im not in Kawachinagano anymore...I guess I couldnt stay for 6 transfers. But now I:m in...

Abeno! (Downtown Osaka)

Secretly Ive wanted to come here my whole mission, I:ve heard really good things about this area! Very very tokai (city), and Im staying on my international streak with a Chinese companion, Zhou Shimai! So excited to work with her, also still an STL. Ive talked to her a lot at MLC, so its fun to now be comps! 

K so back to last week from Monday, stopped by and had a crepe at the cute shop by our apartment and the owner is a PI, but still busy and not super interested, but loves talking! This time I had a chocolate and mikan crepe- osusume for anyone who goes there! Then in the evening lots of not home people but at the end of the night, stopped a girl going home, in her 20s and had a really good conversation about God and prayer- she liked it all but then thought you had to come to church to pray or pay money or something, but once she understood the whole anytime, anywhere 100% free part, she was way on board and committed herself to pray night and morning! 

Tuesday we went visiting teaching with Maekawa Shimai and Soga Shimai- they are absolutely wonderful. Seriously just felt so much love. Plus then as we were eating lunch, I got the call to go to Abeno! Then had lesson with Tsuruta Shimai at the Yoshikawas, so so so good. She didnt feel good and say she thought about cancelling, but then remembered it was probably her last time seeing me adn prayed and was a little better and came! So grateful to see her progress from not interested, to interested, to going to the temple for baptisms and now prepping for Endowments. Truly a miracle. Then dinner was Kurazushi with Kosugi Shimai! Shes crazy busy and they have a big PR calling in the church which means they have to go all over, but still is as supportive of dendo here as she can, I love that. Everyone has their own best. PLus last Eikaiwa, appartenlty it was posted on the ward:s LINE that it was Pagel Choro and my last Eikaiwa because we:re transferring so they sent out a request for everyone to come to Eikaiwa (which ps weve been trying so hard lately to get more members there to then fellowship adn invite students to church, activities, etc) and quite a few came! THat was so nice to see- this ward is a really really supportive family. 

Wednesday started with Erisa chan whos 19, went to FSY had a great time and is prepping for a mission and we just got to talk, then mogi the Restoration and she wrote a list of some friends she really wants to dendo- so much fun to be a part of this process because its so rewarding. NExt dropped by another on eof my favorite mebers who has grown so much, she recently went through the temple and today when we stopped by, she had a referral ready to give and ended up talking and planning on how to help them and how to help another investigator- she has so much dendo fire! She basically has her friends baptism all planned out and its a pretty realistic plan! I felt so much love- got to see lots of people Wednesday night because we attended Mutual, plus other actvities were going on.

Thursday safely transferred 30 minutes to my next area! We waited at Tennoji for a few hours until everyones companions arrived from different places, then headed back to our apartment to plan. In the evening went to do a 30 30 English with this cute older couple who own a fruit stand (and gave us the most delicious watermelon in the world, like seriously I think even Mom and Dad would like it). This grandpa is so cute! They are the happiest couple, and he records the English portion to study during the week and also is reading the BOM and as we read through Alma 34;18-27ish together, he would explain what he read and prayed and it was really good. Reaaaaalllly good first impression of Abeno! 

Friday did a bit more weekly planning- theres a lot of people to plan for! Then met a new convert, Chin Shimai who:s originally from Taiwan and I promise I:ll tell you her story later because shes a miracle and shes so strong! Also felt like a new missionary because Zhou Shimai did most of the lesson in Chinese to help Chin Shimai understand, then we did a little Japanese that I could contribute! In the evening we were asked to attend a Sapporo Mission Reunion to translate for the old mission president and his family- lots of fun! PLus there was a member from Kawachinagano there! Then MEMBER OF THE YEAR- so earlier in the week we couldnt get my bike apart to put into the box and called Kyotani Kyoudai because hes good with bikes and he said it was too much of a pain to take apart and put back together, so instead he would just drive it to Abeno! So my bike and suitcases came safely to Abeno without having to deal with the hassle of the moving companies- defintely dont deserve all the kindness received from these wonderful people. 

Saturday stopped by a LA first and had a good time reading BOM together, then at the end just on a whim asked for a referral and got one! Seriously ask and you receive. THen later biked out to another appointment with a partmember family, they cancelled last minute and we were out aways, so looked at out map and tried to stop by some members, others we found for introudctions, etc. Cool experience- ran into a lady whos from Thailand, first not interested and was biking away not listening to us (kind of ignoring us) but then we said we:re lost and looking for a place to eat, ps not a lie we were super hungry and suddenly she turned around and was nice and directed us to a super market because its the cheapest choice with a good selection :) Then she found out we were the same ages as her daughters and seems like she defintely has English interest and asked for our number! THe girls are away on a trip right now, but she took our number, we were really afraid she would never text us (thats kind of normal) but then that night got back to the apartment and she mailed us!! 

Sunday- way scared for this ward, they are pretty big. Started out in the morning going out to an ivestigators house to take her and her daughter (recently baptized) to church, but found out she fell down the stairs last night and naturally wasnt feeling too well, so we went back to church alone :( BUT then another investigator came! She seems really cool- from Vietnam, college student whos working really hard and also has a baptismal date coming up next month! Also a girl from Kawachinagano ward was visiting because shes getting married soon and her husband is from Abeno, which is where theyll live when theyre married! Tender mercy. Sooo many people, not very many came up and talked to me- definitely have to be the first one to approach people, but that will be a good thing. Plus we and the elders got invited over to dinner and had a great time with the Ueda family- parents, married son, wife and younger sister. Turns out they have lots of dendo fire and ended up giving us 2 referrals! Plus they were super hilarious and we just laughed the whole time. 

So thats the report! New transfer with lots of hope, nice fresh start. Isnt it great that with the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can always have a fresh start- it feels so good. Have you ever thought lately about what a blessing that is? You can start over! You can be forgiven. You are infitely loved by your Father in Heaven. Remember that! Love you all so much!

Sister Wagstaff

Visiting teaching and got a snow cone! So good

Tsuruta Shimai, Yoshikawa Shimai, so much fun

After ping pong- some of the people who came!

Abeno Ward is a big famous/infamous in Kobe Mission- its one of the biggest oldest wards and right in the heart of Osaka and they see a lot of baptisms here. We have 2 shigansha (investigator with baptism date)- Beatrice from Brazil and Xuan (Swan) from Vietnam! This is really different dendo for me, I've never worked with shiganshas, recent converts, or so many people with so much interest! 

Work between members and missionaries isn't perfect- but they are all wonderful people and I know a lot of the missionaries here before and they have been trying sooo hard to please the bishop and work together. 

Sadly out of the 6ish people baptized within the last few months, only half are still coming. Some others practically fell off the face of the earth, and kind of seems like missionaries are getting the blame? But the sisters were doing their best, I've heard about all the work and lots of tears, and people have their agency. 

Anyways so with the background I had heard from this area, we are working super hard to build a good relationship with the bishop. The elders are also well on board and I think we'll see a lot of progress here. 

THeres between 150-200ish active members (Kawachinagano was 80). Very big, hard to know everyone so trying to find the members who really want to do missionary work, help out and obviously everyone is great but naturally some are super busy, scared to dendo and some are very ready and we NEED their help! 

Also cool apartment- it's 2 stories. We have the 2nd and 3rd floor. Kitchen, study and bathroom on the 2nd, bedroom and extra room (closet, storage,etc) on the 3rd. 

Zhou (Joe) Shimai is from China and not enough time to tell all about her today, but she was baptized at BYU and then shortly after, her parents converted in China. Super interesting hearing how the church works in China because yes they can hold church and there are a few members, just no dendo. Super interesting! She's wonderful, she'll go home in November. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Aug. 22, 2016

Monday- Got emails sent in right before 6, then FHE with the Nakata's plus Morishita Kyoudai (just got back from mission) super fun, plus felt the Spirit! YW daughter request was to read BOM in English together, the shared a message, then shaved ice for dessert plus
played gospel gestures! Also funny story - so Nakata Kyoudai's English
is way good, we were reading scriptures in English and he pulls out
"Mormon Doctrine" by Bruce R McConkie, opens to a page and asked me,
"do other churches believe in this?" (The page was about how because
of Noah and the flood the earth tilted and from there on we had
seasons.) Basically Kawamura Shimai and I just looked at each other,
"does our church believe in this??" Funny stuff

Tuesday- lots of plans and not enough time but got to deliver a Bday
message to Nora Shimai! Air conditioning was glorious, she gave us
some fruit juice from the Phillipines and also reading scriptures with
her is the best- she provides good commentary along the way :) Plus
met some youth and seriously FSY has been a blessings! After Eikaiwa,
Invited one of our students to Taco Rice, plus Temple Celebration
Saturday and she might come!

Wednesday- koukan with Nakayama Shimai!❤️❤️❤️ We always have so much
fun, this time it was a free Japanese class first and sadly the member
we were going with didn't show up, but stayed anyways because hey I
want to learn and te people there have met missionaries before, pretty
good finding opp. Stopped at Indo Curry for lunch, haven't eaten it in
a while! Next went to teach English and do a lesson with a members
grandson plus some neighbor friends. Note: first time for the neighbor
friends and when I called a few days earlier checking, basically the
member told me our spiritual message needed to be super simple and
short...that wasn't very comforting. So super worried we were just
going to be English teachers, not missionaries BUT the mom of the
girls came and she has home stayed in America, saw Temple Square and
talking about prayer was fine, plus after Kito Shimai asked me to
sing, sang "Be Still My Soul", they liked that they she brought
refreshments and Kito Shimai was an amazing member-missionary and led
a really natural conversation about family history that was really
good. Later in the day went after a referral given, never found her
but met some great neighbors, one interesting lady who's job is to
keep the birds away from the fish at a pond...talked about family then
she talked about birds and she said we can come back and eat lunch
together...okay? Seriously we meet some great people all the time.

Thursday after lunch we passed a potential investigator to the elders
and it went really really well! This guy is a college student studying
to be a nurse and from last Saturday when we met he actually read the
chirashi, thought about it, and remembered what we said last time
about God and then connected super well with the elders, promised to
come to their sports activity Saturday morning and then exchanged
phone numbers and he actually really cared and checked that the phone
number was correct, plus mail address...kinjin. NOBODY exchanges info
like that! So that was a good start to the day! Then biked out a ways
to see a member and practice an investigator lesson together and help
her create a dendou vision. The rest of the afternoon/evening was
weekly planning- faster than usual! Lastly, went to visit a new
investigator close to our apartment but she wasn't home, bummer. But
then Kawamura Shimai was really inspired to try housing another floor
of the apartment building- literally went up and every door was dark
except for the very last one where a mom and little kid came out and
we talked a little about family and can come back!

Friday District Meeting in Hashimoto, pretty average, then we ended
with a testimony meeting and that was really powerful. Went to a local
bakery for lunch then back to Kawachi! In the evening threw a birthday
party for Aki Chan from Eikaiwa with the elders. Lots of fun, got to
know her better, especially hear what she believes about God- she
isn't quite sure, which really is perfect to be able to learn more.
Though I wished it had gone a bit better, so I was a little
disappointed at night but I can testify that prayer is powerful and
God answers with peace which was exactly what I needed.

Saturday we dropped by a LA and normally she doesn't want to hear about the church too much, just politely listens a little bit but this time she wa a lot more open and showed us funny new pictures of her grandson! Through that she was a lot more open to family prayer, power of prayer. In the evening, before the Sapporo Temple Cultural Celebration we threw a Taco Rice party! We focused on the youth and one young woman brought her friend along- yesss! Had fun with the youth, also learned how exhausting it is sometimes to motivate them to do something- lots of appreciation for youth leaders! Then our investigator Murata San came to the Sapporo Temple Celebration, which was really cool! They did a play telling the story of the first converts in Sapporo, back in early 1900's, then the mission was closed and they had a really hard time and then the missionaries came back. I am so amazed by the faith of those first members- they truly sacrificed and it's such a blessing to them and all of Japan to have another temple. 

Tried to play games with the youth, ye refused to do anything accept cards, so we tried to play cards!

Sunday we went to the 9 am session of the Sapporo Temple Dedication. Elder Stevenson spoke completely in Japanese! He and President Nelson were the visiting general authorities. Oh, also because there were no other American sisters to go on splits with, I couldn't go to the English session, stayed in Japanese and was a little worried about that- they might speak fast, use big words since it's a dedication, but everything was understandable and even though they had translation for Pres Nelson, we could still hear the English- small miracle for me! Also some members showed up in kimonos, that was pretty cool. 
After we returned stopped by an investigator to say goodbye probably, then decided to stop by another one close by, I've taught her off and on the whole time I've been here and right now, she's really progressing again- she's reading the BOM then she brings up her smoking problem and how she wants to quit and was really open and honest and humble with us! Truly she'll be baptized soon I think. 

This week I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the temple, for eternal families and the peace and hope that we have. I'm probably leaving Kawachinagano this week, haven't heard anything yet but I've been here 7 months (5 transfers) and I love it so much, but change is probably coming. God has a perfect plan, my testimony of that has grown here- he is absolutely in charge and I see His hand open hearts and opportunities miraculously and know that there are going to be really great things happening here. But from a talk Elder Bednar gave to Japan a while ago, the change really happens mostly inside of us- I've changed the most! How have you changed recently?? How has your testimony grown?? 

Love you all so much! Eat Popsicles, use AC, don't die in the heat (unless your Australian!)

Love, Sister Wagstaff

Sent from my iPad

This transfer has been a roller coaster and so many times appointments
have been cancelled. Tonight too, dinner appointment cancelled. Big
bummer but learning to keep going, make good back up plans too.
Basically tons of people in Kawachinagano will be baptized once they
are free enough to have lessons! Kawamura Shimai works really hard to
achieve goals and I think she'll do great things here (this all based
on the assumption I leave, she stays). No idea where I'm going next.
Sad to leave, but I've seen in coming for a while so I've already
started packing, writing notes and telling some people (it's a good
push to get some people to make time to meet!)

Tons of sweat, tears, some blood in this area! (Seriously though
lately TONS of sweat) found out it was 111 degrees Sunday...that's
been a killer lately, we just can't go as fast or hard in this heat
because it is killer- have to go slower, take breaks. So we've been
pretty wiped out lately. Everyone we meet gives us advice about the
heat- of course most of it is to just stop doing anything, go
inside...sorry we're missionaries! πŸ˜€ But night time is great! I've
been getting smarter about planning plus everywhere I go I have a big
water bottle, fan, sweat towel and sunglasses- MUCH More prepared than
last year!

A lot of my prayers lately have been to see if I've learned all I
should, done all I could here, seeing what else Heavenly Father wants
for me here? Definitely not perfect, but trying. My image of
missionaries before was that they were pretty much perfect (of course
I knew that was impossible, but still thought they were pretty close)
now I can say nope BUT for sure we do have power and authority.

Also so important to have fun with your companion. Dendo is 100%
better when we are happy! Need to laugh, be happy, work with the
Spirit. The gospel is joyful! At the temple dedication when they were
doing the cornerstone part Pres Nelson was making commentary, for
example "I can see that Sister Stevenson has been practicing on
cakes!" and just peacefully being happy, making little comments that
were uplifting and fun.

We got ourselves crepes to get happier when today's dinner appt cancelled!

Love you all so much! Good luck with school, prayers! Also for dad to get genki!


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August 15, 2016 He is here!

Last Monday we went to Koya San as a district, I think I already told you about it- a lot warmer than the last time I went in February! Plus a lot more people. Ran into some American members on vacation! After we had FHE with the Suzuki's - super amazing crazy busy family, actually my first time at their house. Included daughter and grandkids (LA/ not member) and had a fun FHE! Then as we biked home a grandma fell on her bike, helped her, then discovered that the chain was broken...rule is we have to be home by 9, 9:30 if teaching a lesson...tried to help a tiny bit, then realized we didn't have enough time so we called the Suzuki's since they were the closest members and they came to the rescue!

Tuesday in the morning visited the Soga'a (member couple) who are absolutely wonderful and so strong. Some of their friends are our investigators but are having some issues right now, so we were able to council together and really create a vision for how to help them. What a good experience- for me as a missionary it's hard to look past right now, this transfer, but the members can see the future better and that perfect ice really helped us to know how to help them, particularly working together. Love is the motive, the Soga'a are full of so much love! 
Later on the way to a LA's lesson, a grandma stopped us and said she had talked to us before (unfortunately I couldn't remember her to save my life, we talk to lots of people) anyways kept talking and she was interested, so we walked over to the church and gave a tour- she loved a picture of Jesus with all the little kids in the Primary room, plus we showed the font. The Spirit was strong, great teaching opportunity, but she wouldn't commit to anything other than reading a pamphlet. She seemed a little forgetful, but recognized that the Spirit was strong and if nothing else this was definitely good prep for her to receive the gospel in the Spirit World when she can understand better. Because of this, we were late to LA lesson but thankfully she and our amazing member Yoshikawa Shimai still had time so we were still able to have a good lesson together- talked about Word of Wisdom, especially the blessings- something good to remember when we get really tired, worn out, exhausted- God has so many blessings in store!
Plus that evening stopped by to say goodbye to Miyu Chan, YW going to America for a homestay- she was the amazing girl last week that brought friends to church, bore he most amazing testimony I've ever heard. Seriously I'll miss her, she was one of the people I've been very blessed to meet here. We made her a goodbye book full of advice for America- lots of fun to make, plus shoutout to Tash and Drew for their input! 

Wednesday there was supposed to be a barbecue with a bunch of members, but then the wife hosting it who's pregnant went into labor that morning...barbecue cancelled! We had finally gotten some girls from Eikaiwa to come (after inviting a million people) and we were way excited for this chance with them, so instead went out to eat with a girl, same age as us and has been going to Eikaiwa for about a year and knows a lot of members too. Still doesn't have a lot of gospel interest, but that'll definitely increase as she sticks around because she does recognize that missionaries and members are all really nice, happy people. For reals, members have a light, they are different. 
Then in the afternoon went on splits with Wakayama sisters and I was with Taguchi Shimai! Sadly we had some bike issues that slowed us down, but still able to visit a few people. My favorite was the end of the night with Kokoro Chan (member) who is working hard to be an example, find opportunities to dendo at her work. 

Thursday still on koukan with Taguchi Shimai- she set the goal to work on teaching short, powerful lessons and miracles happened- my favorite was a sweet member couple we teach who talk forever (lots of people like that) but this time Taguchi Shimai very lovingly kept her on track with the lesson, she listened and we were in out plus ice cream in less than an hour! Plus it was the most spiritual lesson we've had thus far. Afterwards, we did some family history finding. Here's a quick update for everyone at home- right now is Obon in Japan, it's basically the biggest Busdhist holiday, think Christmas level where everyone goes home to be with their families and a bunch of shops are closed. The tradition is that your ancestors spirits come back to your house, stay with you, bless you, then leave a few days later. Sooo kind of a hard time to be a Christian missionary BUT there's still people that listen to us, and were tryouts NT to make this time effective by focusing on family history- we think ancestors are important too! Anyways, Obon is huge, even the members are busy with family and it was hard to get appointments this week, but still blessed to be busy! 

Friday was District Meeting- lots of obedience, being better at all the little things, plus studying for our investigators and then last I did a segment on language learning, especially making a plan. That was lots of fun to prep for and find out a bunch of new language learning ideas! One I liked that I haven't tried yet was practice reading with the Friend because it's pretty simple language, at least that's what they told me, no promises! After, did our weekly planning which took a while, but important time and we were still able to get out for an hour at night and talk to some people. We've been practicing an idea we heard at MLC a few weeks ago- Mogi anywhere anytime if there's no one around to talk to. So Kawamura Shimai and I have been contacting each other a lot if there's nobody. 

Nobody else on the boat, so I'm a bird. 

Ps also blessed to get the chance to follow up with sisters as an STL and found out one of my old investigators in Sakai is a shigansha- has a baptism date!! She is truly changing ❤️

Saturday we had a full schedule and first was a sweet grandma who started out trying to nicely Kekko us but then ended up willing to read Resotration pamphlet and meet again- power of the Spirit when we show love, listen to them and testify. Biked out to Tondabayashi- farthest part of our area and we could feel it after, BUT worth it to see one of our less active's smile and meet some great people. 

Sunday none of our investigators could make it to church :( but all the youth and YSA came back from FSY (EFY) this week and we heard a lot of powerful testimonies. It was an amazing sacrament and thankfully some less active's that haven't come in a long time were there. Later met a former investigator high school girl and she's super busy but still very sweet and has interest- had the chance to pray together, though too busy to set a next appt. Got a little sad about struggling this week to find new people with true interest and then towards the end of the night, felt like I needed to stop and talk to a girl walking home- needed up going the same direction for about 20 minutes and had a really good conversation. She was a little drunk (the happy kind) but really liked our message about family, seems to live pretty close to the church and weren't able to exchange contact info, but wrote her a note and lots of prayers that she'll remember talking to us because she seemed really prepared (went to a Christian college, wants to be a mom like her own mom, said she felt really happy). No matter their circumstance now, God guides us to them, them to us and we meet some amazing people. 
This week in my nightly prayers my love for people- particularly certain investigators has increased and I just want them to have the fullness of joy that comes with the gospel. 

As I was studying this week about the Atonement 2 things I wanted to share- first is that everyone should go read Helaman 5 because it's amazing. Miraculous conversion and yet at the heart of it is just like any other conversion, we have to have faith in Jesus Christ that leads us to repentance, applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I also loved a quote from True to the Faith, "Through your faith and righteousness and through His atoning sacrifice, all the inequities, injuries, and pains of this life can be fully compensated for and made right. Blessings denied in this life will be given in the eternities. And although He may not relieve all your suffering now, He will bless you with comfort and understanding and with strength to “bear up [your] burdens with ease” (Mosiah 24:15)."
- The blessings of the Atonement are endless! He lifts us up and helps us move forward every single day. 

I love you all so much! I hope you feel loved, I hope you feel the power of the Atonement this week- no matter where you are, what your circumstance. Truly it's the answer everyone is looking for whether you are worried about college starting next week or family or investigators or health or loved ones falling away. He is here. 

Wagstaff 姉妹

Friday, August 12, 2016

Aug. 8, 2016 Members, Meetings, Miracles

Little later today because we went to Koya San today- lots of Buddhism stuff, but really just a bunch of gaijin (foreigner) tourists! Ran into some members from America- one served his mission in Fukuoka! Which reminds me of the Japanese family in my family's new Ward- so excited to meet them!!! Lots of pictures, buts here's one, guess what I did-

When in Rome...

- Last Mon investigator cancelled lesson AGAIN (still haven't met her...) but I felt peaceful feeling doing my best. That's weird to explain- I want to teach her but if she's not ready, she's not ready and I am learning a lot about God's timing, patience and I've also seen that one aspect of the Atonement is increasing our abilities. Seriously as a mission we're finishing reading about the Atonement in the BOM and going back to the basics by all doing 12 Week training. In the evening we were invited to a members house who lives close by this giant fireworks show/matsuri (festival- way big in Japan, lots of little ones everywhere in the summer and a lot of girls wear kimonos). Saw an investigator family while we raced home!

Okay you can't really see anyone, but this was at the fireworks!

- Tue was MLC in Kobe! This is always one of my favorite days of the month (happens every first Tuesday)- talked a lot about 12 weeks, staying focused on Our Purpose and the different aspects with that. Lots to learn and change! I love serving in Kobe with some of the greatest people, seriously this is fun, plus of course Welch Kaicho and Shimai are amazing! Got back in time for Eikaiwa, Sakai sisters came and we started a koukan. 

- Wed koukan with Nomura Shimai, new missionary! She is really working hard to be good at finding and we got to mogi (role play) and then went out and got to use our Mogi! For reals, I'm gaining a testimony of Mogi because we got to use exactly what we practiced and ended up with a new investigator within 10 minutes. Also visited one of the sweetest grandmas in the Ward who just makes you feel so good! Then Sakai went home in the evening, we went to Ping Pong, then sadly an investigator cancelled her English plus gospel lesson, but we were finishing up some Area Book work at the church, talked with a member who's usually been too busy and got a few soft referrals from her! 

- Thu started with an investigator who isn't progressing as fast as we'd like, but is still reading the BOM- another miracle with this lesson was that she didn't havvery much time, but likes to talk and we were struggling to get her on topic and had the most amazing me,bet who boldly but nicely just stopped her random talking and asked how her BOM reading was going! Yesss, members are so necessary, as we walked back to the eki she just kept repeating how missionaries couldn't do this work alone, all of the members should get involved p, and she is very involved! For the rest of the afternoon we went after referrals and stopped people wherever we were and talked- sometimes it's more about having the courage to stop and talk, get to bear even a little bit of testimony- it still isn't easy, but I feel accomplished after. Spent the night prepping our training for ZTM and some weekly planning. 

- Fri ZTM in Wakayama! I've been in the same zone since Christmas...probably out this next transfer, but it's so fun here and we have a new addition to our zone...new senior couple in Shingu! The Kamada's- they are very sweet, we sat and got to know Kamada's Shimai better at lunch. Anyways back at ZTM we had such a good meeting- one cool thing was training from Taguchi Shimai on Buddhism and family history, particularly because Obon is coming up- this is like the biggest Japanese/Buddhist holiday where their belief is that ancestors come back to your house for a few days- so everybody has a holiday and goes back to where they're from. Learned more about it so we can be better at connecting the gospel to what most people already believe. Kawamura Shimai translated most of ZTM for the Japanese missionaries and I helped out a bit. Translation brings a new appreciation for people who speak clearly and slowly! Also in the evening back in our area, dropped by a long time investigator, we're seeing progress with Kawamura Shimai, I think she's really needed a Nihonjin to help explain things- at this lesson she connected really well with a scripture we shared! Later stopped by a PI who was home and is a little shy, but talked and seems to have a lot of good potential- recently graduated college and living on her own. 

- Sat during our 12 Weeks study time, we watched part of The District- okay so probably only a missionary could say this, buts it's so much fun! When we talked about 12 Weeks at ZTM as a zone I realized I wasn't alone as a trainee watching it and thinking- wow this would be great if I was in America but I'm in Japan and things are different here. This time watching it through, one I'm in a bigger Ward, but two I can see so many more applications to our dendo here- main thing is that members are the key! In the evening there was a random matsuri at a park by a members house, so our visit was a little interrupted but lots of people, so a good finding opp! Stopped and talked to a lady going home from a matsuri and turns out she's a former investigator- walked and talked for a while, sadly she seemed a little drunk because she wasn't fully capable of understanding, but hopefully we'll find her and her daughter again!

- Sunday. Wow so good. First sadly an investigator who we were going to invite to baptism again didn't come, BUT Miyu Chan (YW in the Ward, probably my favorite) brought friends to church with her! She just finished FSY in Hokkaido so she's full of fire and bore literally the most amazing testimony. She stood up there crying (so of course I was crying) and told us how she found out for sure that this church is true and how much more committed she wants to be now that she knows. Then her friends stayed for all 3 hours of church! I went with them to Sunday School and YW's- pretty good experience,though it was all super new. One cool thing was how little I did because of how much the YW were helping! They ended up learning about baptism, temples, importance of family and a little family history but the YW and leaders were good at checking for understanding and being simple in their teaching. In the evening the cherry on top of our day was a surprise visit from me,beds who brought us grapes- that sounds really simple until you know how expensive fruit is here!

There are plenty of struggles, but I wanted to share a bit of the example Kawamura Shimai shared with the Ward yesterday- Kawachinagano is full of hills and biking up the hills isn't very fun, and sometimes you think you're at the top and there's actually a little more to go- that's hard, but riding down is the best feeling, so even while climbing LOTS of hills (both kinds!) we know that there's going to be a great ride down.   Plus look at all the good things already happening! With that, working on humility this transfer and I've been so grateful for the power of prayer- it feels so good to truly get on your knees and pray to God at the end of the day, no matter what kind of day. Love you all- From the emails I've read there's all sorts of good, hard, exciting things happening and that just goes to show Heavenly Father's plan. Love you all! 
- Also this week last year I arrived in Japan! 

Love you all! Sister Wagstaff
Sent from my iPad

Mashiro Chan...always taking pictures together! Her request

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Monday August 1, 2016

I had a good week that showed how much God looks out for each of us!

- Monday P-Day at Osaka Jo with Sakai sisters (Nakayama, Nomura)...outnumbered by Nihonjin! Then 6 when dendo started again, the Wakayama sisters came and I switched with Manwill Shimai! First she looks like my sister and our dendo style is really similar, so it was such a good time! We even got to bring up baptism in a first contact- this lady recognized us, has heard of the church, so we just went for it and told her she would be happy if she joined- she doesn't want to BUT it was fun to try, and now keep trying!

- Tuesday was exchange with Manwill Shimai still- first had some time and decided to drop by a less active we hadn't talked to in a while- normally she doesn't really want to talk long, but for some reason this time we ping pong and she answers "IRASSHAI!" Which is a really polite way to say Come in! We ended up staying and listening to her for about an hour- she was really excited to tell us about all her granddaughters and how great they are! She was taught and baptized when her granddaughter was a missionary here a few years ago, but now has some health issues. She also knows Welch Kaicho and loves him, and then was going off how he's better than  the older mission presidents, that was interesting! Also focused that day on teaching the restoration and got to bring it up in a few contacts. Then Wakayama sisters went home, we went to Eikaiwa- kids were cute and fun again

- Wednesday Happy Birthday Mom! I had a great day- two cool things. First one is pretty simple, but a new investigator was finally home- she's a nurse with a crazy schedule and we finally got to talk to her again. Still haven't seen her face, only talks through the ping pong box, so currently figuring out different ways to get her to come to the door next time... Next was the evening, 30/30 lesson with an investigator that was truly a miracle. This involved some pretty personal details I can't share but basically she's very interested in the English part, and the
gospels just there too but tonight miraculously the Spirit touched her, she just started crying in the middle, which led us to be able to testify of eternal families, it's all written in the Book of Mormon, and while she still doesn't know it's true, she was very hopeful and eager to find out because truly the gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of hope, and she needs it.

- Thursday morning we went to Sakai for interviews with Welch Kaicho! I love Welch Kaicho and Welch Shimai- truly they are amazing and it was just what I needed. After, we returned to Kawachinangano, did weekly planning which was exciting- always fun to plan for the miracles ahead. Cool little thing- we really wanted to visit a member family this night but weren't able to schedule an appointment, so we just planned for something else, but then I'm the afternoon we got a call from this member asking us to come over for dinner that night! Yessss keiji (revelation), miracle. Talked about truly helping out family and friends and now each of them have a specific person they are going to be working on.

- Friday District Meeting in Hashimoto! We reviewed the BOM Atonement challenge we've been doing and it's been 6 months and I loved going back and reviewing because I see so much growth. One point was that through applying the Doctrine of Christ, we are using the Atonement, which was also what Welch Kaicho focused on at interviews. Plus we always Mogi (role play) and even though it's not real, the Spirit was still there and helped me learn, in order to help an investigator in a real lesson. This transfer my testimony of Mogi has been really strengthened- seriously so nice to practice and receive revelation, knowing what will best help our investigators.

Also in the evening went back to find the referral from the guy that said he doesn't believe in God but his wife loves Jesus Christ, remember him? Still didn't meet the wife but clearly we must need to talk to this guy! He was a lot more relaxed and willing to talk a little bit just at his door. We guessed already but found out this time for sure that his wife is Fillipino!! Fillipinjin=kinjin (Golden) but she just left on vacation back to see family in the Phillipines for the rest of August...ugh, BUT missionaries will meet her next transfer and seems really good because this is playing out just like a Japanese/Fillipino member couple in our ward right now! 

Saturday- so the bishop was in charge of a Ward FHE activity, but called last night cancelling because he's sick, but we had invited investigators and people from Eikaiwa and didn't want to completely cancel last minute, so we decided to just take it over with the elders...ended up just having one of their investigators show up and then a bunch of members (I LOVE the members in Kawachinagano, so supportive) and we had a good time together, a little bummed other people didn't come. The rest of the day, our finding was mah- got to talk to lots of people but no new investigators, BUT did meet 2 LA's that I seriously haven't seen in months, so that was a miracle!

Sunday Kawamura Shimai spoke in Sacrament, did a wonderful job talking about dendo, power of relying on God. After church we were driven by some members to a YSA missionary activity in Sakai! The stake mission leader put this together with the goal of inspiring more YSA/youth to get involved in missionary work. This was just a Sakai Ward activity, but they needed more missionaries, so we got to come too! I love Sakai Ward,truly strong members! We split and went out finding for a few hours with them- I was with Meika Chan who's 19 and thinking about a mission. I'll admit, my finding hasn't been so great lately, but this was such a good chance to repent and just really try to talk to EVERYONE! We were blessed with lots of people to teach, 1 new investigator (return appointment!) and a lot of people that want to come to Eikaiwa. Also double blessing to see members from back when I served in Sakai which was only 1 short transfer, and not going to lie, it was a hard one and felt like we didn't see a lot of results, but then one sister (Ward missionary) came up to me and told me an old investigator I taught was back and actually came to church this week and this sister finally met her! That was something we tried so hard to help happen when I was there and it just never worked, but now it happened. 6 months later, but seriously so happy to hear about this. Truly this work is Gods work on His time and one of the principles in PMG is that "No Effort is Wasted" and I believe that's true. I can't control people, but I can do my best to invite and help and truly God performs miracles and people are converted. 

Also really low on pictures this week...kind of forgot to take any. But I love you all, have a great week, wherever you are!

Also this is Chie Chan! 

Love, Wagstaff Shimai