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, 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.