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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Monday Nov. 7 2016

Hey love you all, not a lot to report this week- Stoneman Shimai was sick :( so we were in the apartment a bit and I got lots of study done! Plus she's fine now and so far I've been safe and haven't got sick. No time to be sick now. 
Thought I'd tell you a little more about some of the wonderful people I'm with now! We work with quite a few recent converts like...

FUJII Shimai! I don't remember what I've told you before but she lives really close to the church and came to Eikaiwa (English Class) years ago. In her words, she's always felt a pull to come towards the church. Earlier this year she was searching for more in her life and decided to visit the church- in the middle of the day walked over and the sisters were sitting inside! From there took lessons got baptized a few months ago! She wants to do her best and strives to do everything right! Also lately has been very interested in our schedule as missionary's and couldn't believe we were so busy! Also she remembers everything you tell her which is really sweet! Right now she's stressing out a little because they asked her to bear testimony in Stake Conference coming up. 
Also she lives with and takes care of her mom who is one of the funniest grandmas I've ever met. 

Masaki Kyoudai- sisters stopped him on the side of the road on a rainy night and then he actually came to church! (PS- this is a little rare, most people need a little more help to attend church) Turns out he believed in God and had been searching for a church. He's one of the quietest people I've ever met- he's a deep thinker (studied philosophy!) and takes a while to answer questions but answers are really good. His family was extremely hantai (opposed) to church and him being baptized but he's gone ahead with it (also lives apart from his family) but that's continued to be a challenge for him but he's continued to be faithful and there will definitely be blessings coming for him! Also Friday night we had a fun night with him and the elders playing games, eating pancakes and then talking-short lesson. He opened up a lot, is dang good at cards and LIKES PEANUT BUTTER! (Like everybody here hates it! Also root beer- have I mentioned that before? They think it tastes like medicine)

Yamanaka Shimai- she's 81, reminds us that all the time and I've never laughed so much in my life as when we're with her! She lives alone and close to the church, so we check up on her pretty frequently and promised to come for a full lesson on Saturday- schedule was all delayed so we showed up a little later than planned and she was really "mad" at us but she's incapable of that and gave us a cake she bought for us ❤and said that since we were late she wanted to just give us half, but couldn't and just gave us the full thing. She's adorable and truly Jesus Christ is the center of her testimony. She was found by the elders earlier this year just housing! She had been feeling very lonely and through the church, relying on Christ she has found many friends and is very happy. She loves to tell us stories and so many of them end in blessings and she turns to us , that's because of/thanks to Christ isn't it? Also she really struggles with our names so she just calls us "onesama" (probably translates to young ladies) all the time! 

Takeda Shimai- we don't meet her as often because her AB lessons are over but she's working really hard at dendo! She's also a really genki grandma but busier because her husband recently had a stroke. But she brings her granddaughter's to church a lot and they love Primary- trying to work with her to get the girls parents to be okay with the girls taking lessons and eventually being baptized. She is full of charity- constantly giving- for example when it was warmer she had grown grapes and had a lot and decided to just give them away to all of her neighbors (ps grapes are insanely expensive). Also she uses her whole body to tell stories which is so much fun! 

Also Saturday had our appt with Tai San (from Peru)- this week she had opened up the BOM a little and read but not much and didn't understand so we read together and got to know her a lot better and she's pretty open to learning more- has many questions about the true nature of God, why bad things happen and Stoneman Shimai was great at immediately using the BOM to help answer her questions! Had a great lesson and feel really good about her future! She has some Mormon relatives in Peru and said that she wasn't sure if she wanted to know if this was true, but talking more found out that she is a little unsure about what that would mean for her- her life would change nevertheless shes going to keep learning and reading, which is definitely acting in faith! It was an interesting experience for us, teaching someone with a different cultural background because she was much more upfront and clearly saying what she thought- Japanese culture is very polite and they are the most wonderful people and you need the Gift of Discernment to help them :)

Other things this week, went on a Koukan in a Fushimi with the STLs! That was a blast- I was with Luczak a Shimai and the area is really city- a lot like dendoing in Osaka so it was like being back for a while and I loved it! I love Koukan S but also very happy with where I am now- a little more country and having a great time with current comp- companions are definitely inspired by God. 

Friday was ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) in Shimogamo and I translated part of the meeting for the Japanese missionaries...when did this happen?!? I've translated before but it's still always something that scares me a little but I can also testify that god loves His children, wants those missionaries to receive the same message, feel the Spirit and so He helps the translators too.
On Sunday our new bishop held Hyougi Kai (Ward Council) and it was amazing- like we could've been in a church training video :) So we have Stake Conference coming up and the Stake President has given everyone a challenge: pray for, invite and bring someone with you to Stake Conference (LA, investigator, friend) and so as a council they made a list and coordinated with everyone, everyone filling their role plus using home teachers and visiting teachers to get as many people from Joyo as we could to come to Shimogamo for Stake Conference. So cool. This is how dendo effectively moves forward. The Bishop also had specific directions for the missionaries! We love receiving direction! Right now we're asked to visit lots of members- build trusting relationships and help them invite and take this challenge!  Truly exciting and had Gods help because we were able to make appts with tons of membersa nd normally these are crazy busy people and our schedules never line up. 

Also lastly wanted to share a scripture I've read and thought about a lot this past week- 1 Ne 4:6-7 "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. 7 Nevertheless I went forth." 
Truly I've been experiencing this a lot lately, as in sure we all are! Heavenly Father leads us along by the Spirit and most of the time we don't realize but we can constantly strive to live worthy of the Spirit and courageously follow the promptings, any good promptings we receive. I am so excited to see all of the miracles and work that Heavenly Father has in store, especially with our year-end baptism promise. As long as we are following the Spirit and putting forth best effort like Nephi did, Gods work will move forward with us happily getting to play a little part. I can't think of anything better to do. This is happiness you can't just read about this is something you have to feel for yourself. On my Koukan with Luczak Shimai, we couldn't help ourselves, we were walking around the city and kept saying , we LOVE 伝道 (missionary work)! 

Also I love all of you and hope and pray that you too follow the Spirit and are a happy little missionary in your own sphere of influence! 
The sun was bright

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