Tuesday went to Kobe for MLC! Still my favorite meeting ever and I thought for sure last month was my lasts O I was extra grateful to go. Felt like the Spirit was especially strong in that meeting and walked away with a ton of new ideas for our sisters,zone, area and myself. I want to more effectively work with members, make sure my actions are fulfilling my prayers. Our homework was to watch the Teach Repentance, Baptize Converts broadcast again and talked about that and once again PMG is such a great tool- probs learned more this time than the first
time watching it. In the evening we had kodomo Eikaiwa and talked about the weather (it was raining) and it almost all little girls so we used Frozen a lot!
Wednesday went on a koukan with Higashi Osaka sisters and they live so close that they just biked over to our apartment! I went with Dayley Shimai who is new (1sttransfer) and was sooo much fun to work with- the language is hard but she works hard and that night we went to their Eikaiwa and she set up an appt with a student to come teach her the gospel all by herself! (Big deal!) Also visited Beatrice again in the hospital- had surgery on her arm, doctors messes up and had to do it twice, scary stuff, her cast is huge and heavy but getting a smaller next week and still so excited to get baptized and not happy about all the opposition, but that's just a testimony of what an important step this is.
- Thursday we had weekly planning and ZTM training to plan and thankfully were able to focus and work faster than ever before, definitely a miracle. Another Skype lesson with shigansha, last commandment to teach, tithing. Holy cow stressful. She wasn't understanding it- we explained multiple times is both languages, plus she didn't have much time to talk and also is a super poor college student but then at the end, she asked "Do all the members pay it?" Yes! "okay so I get money every month and just give tenth to church?" Yes "Okay, I understand" and she committed and had to go. Lesson here: my prayers are very urgent and heartfelt when there's only 5 minutes to try and help someone understand and commit to a commandment. God is here and people are converted through the Spirit, not us. That becomes even more apparent that the Spirit is the teacher when there are some language barriers- we didn't help her understand, she felt it. Then later visited a less active and RS Pres came with us! Small miracle this time with this sister was that she brought her BOM with her to the door! In the evening we go to a free Japanese class and Taiwan kid from last week was there again, we were able to invite him to come to some of our activities, and there he can meet the elders and be passed to them.
- Friday ZTM in Yamatokoriyama! Overall it was really fun! Lots of laughs but it was all good and Spieit was there- the gospel is fun! Definitely something we are trying to help a lot of members here see, and in little ways we have seen the culture change. We trained on "forget yourself and go to work" with a skit- Zhou Shimai opening her mission call! Everything went wel, then came back to Abeno and off to a members who gave us a ton of fruit!! That stuff is way expensive here, so we were super happy and she is very willing to doseki when she can! Next was crazy, so an hour before Xuan (Swan)- investigator from Vietnam, had her baptismal interview she called and she was really worried and wanted to cancel. Th sinfully Zhou Shimai was able to calm her down a little and get her to at least still meet us at the church. We hurried over and also got a member just baptized a few years ago to come and she was so helpful. Basically Xuan just realized how big this covenant is and got super scared, doesn't think she's ready, which then just opened to more and more concerns and one of the most intense lessons I've ever been in- that's a whole new level of prayer- Please don't leave. Please feel recognize Spirit. We all did our best and calmed some concerns, but still no interview and she wants time-space to think. Zhou Shimai very strongly committed her to pray about this decision (was able to share through personal experience because when she was an investigator she was very similar). So she walked away, we were really sad but there's still hope! Went and visited a member close to coordinate a cooking class she does targeted for LA's and investigators. Seishi Shimai is an angel- tiny grandma with a really high-pitched voice, her home is like a temple inside and she is the most amazing member. Definitely uplifted.
Saturday took train out to a LA who met us on the street in the middle of walking her dog, but stayed and talked to us. Able to share the First Vision and it was powerful like always. There's a special spirt there, particularly reciting in Joseph Smith's words. PS encourage all of you if you haven't,to memorize it! Check PMG! Then she gave us another referral (gave us another one a few weeks ago, turned out really well!). That evening we went to a matsuri (festival) that a member asked us to go to because his LA wife would be dancing there. These matsuri's are everywhere in the summer and really fun! So she's a dance teacher and its these traditional dances and everyone joins in, so we learned too and had a great time with her!
Sunday no investigators showed up...that was disappointing, but good testimony meeting (today was Fast Sunday because we had Stake Conference last week). And then there was food in our fruit basket!! (Generally don't get much in his Ward) but that just shows that slowly the relationship with members is getting better. After church visited a sister who's husband died last month. We weren't sure what to expect, how to help but found out that she really just needed someone to talk to, because she's pretty lonely. She's crazy strong- so excited and sure that her husband is now taking lessons in the Spirit World and working really hard to be a Priesthood holder! She has a rock-solid testimony. Later we were able to stop by Beatrice who's out of the hospital! Had a lesson with her and her daughter which went really well. She's just worried that the cast won't fit in the baptism jumper thing!
This week was crazy busy, little stressful but that's so exciting because we really are on God's errand and He has a lot of work for us to do. From our training this week my testimony has definitely been strengthened that forgetting ourselves, diligently following God's will is the way to be truly happy. Work hard! What else can you give up to be more dedicated to Him? It might be little and it might be really really hard to give up, but pray for strength. More time to study scriptures? Keep the Sabbath Day more holy? Give up some media or time-waster? It could be anything, but that sacrifice is going to be so worth it. Be like Xuan! She sacrificed to keep the Word of Wisdom and has already told us about blessings she is receiving. God wants to bless us. I love you, more importantly, He loves you.
Love, Wagstaff Shimai
Here's another photo from the matsuri Saturday! Basically the dance is walking around in a circle and it's mostly just arms because they traditionally wear a kimono and those things are really constricting! (Good arm workout!)
Then 1st transfer opened up and ended up crying for an hour telling me their struggles. She's a really great missionary, her companion is pretty nice but...probably stressed and tired? Doesn't really want to work and has lost a lot of hope which is hard for a new missionary so full of fire. They can solve their problems and do great- probably going to see lots of miracles this transfer and work on changing the image of their area!
Busy but it's really nice to be needed and involved. There's a difference in our work I think because we've both been here a while because it feels really urgent, not sure how to explain, but lots that we need to do now because it can't be done later! Love you all! Grateful for your emails, hearing all about everything. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD THIS WEEK...sent letter too late, sorry!