Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I am writing this during a typhoon, most of the city is being evacuated to higher ground, but I will not mention anything about this to my parents . . .

mina san, konnichiwa!

Ok, so this week has definitely had a lot of blessings.

So last week, after Preparation day was over, we went out streeting.  And we're walking down the street, and I actually ended up having a conversation with somebody!  Granted, they couldn't talk too long as they had to go into their apartment, but I actually talked to them and they talked back to me - yay :D  Then, we continued walking along and we met this woman.  When we stop to talk to her she gives us the wide eyed-deer-in-the-headlights look (I've seen that one a lot) but then relaxed when we talked with her to find out more about her interests.  And . . . we got an appointment for the next day.... That never happens to me! I was so stoked.

So we meet with her the next day and have the introductory "Setting the Table" lesson.  This lesson plan was created by our mission president to introduce our investigators to the church. It goes over the basics of gospel doctrine along with the blessings that can be received by obedience to God's commandments.  Afterwards, we all went out for mochi (which was AMAZING) and I am excited that she wants to meet with us again this week.  Turns out she is an illustrator and she does anime - her work is really cool.  She showed us some of her work,  she's really good!

In my last letter I wrote about the family from Mongolia.   We had a return appointment with this family last Thursday.  Since the sister just moved to Japan a couple of months ago to be closer to her family, she is still learning Japanese. So we have a translator, a family member, along with a ward member :) at every lesson.  It's crazy to see how our Japanese is turned into Mongolian.  Because quite frankly, I don't understand anything that's going on!!   But that's ok, the Spirit is there. So we also gave her the "setting the table lesson" and we talked about how later she might have the desire to be baptized to show that she is willing to follow Christ.  And then she asks us, "Can I be baptized now?"  Of course, it was in Mongolian, and then it was translated so fast that I had no idea of what had just happened!  It wasn't until after the lesson was over that Tojo Shimai told me that the sister wanted to be baptized now.  But Tojo Shimai informed her that "We still have to teach you." Or something along those lines.  So yesterday, we met with her again and gave her the baptismal invitation... And she accepted!!!! Her baptismal date is set for October 20th.  I am so excited! I feel so blessed and happy for this sister!

Hardly anybody ever sets a baptismal date a week after their first meeting.  Unless, of course, they have been prepared by God and are willing to hear our message.   I am so happy!!!!   I am so grateful to be a part of the teaching process.  God has definitely blessed us.

This weekend, the two sets of elders each had a baptism.  One was on Saturday and one was on Sunday.  The baptism Saturday was definitely interesting because the poor guy had to be baptized 5 times!   He was very stiff, and he didn't know how to be dunked.  He continued to stick his feet up out of the water.  And it didn't help that the water only went up to his mid-thigh...  But still, everyone clapped once the baptism was good.

The second baptism was awesome too.  Only 1 dunk and it was finished.  I love this church!  I love seeing baptisms and the light that the converts have in their eyes. I love the Spirit.

One more note before I leave.  In the mission field, I feel sometimes a lot of pressure to receive personal and specific revelation from God.   I understand the importance of this - especially for meeting the needs of one's investigators and for finding new investigators.

However, it can be frustrating to hear all these stories of blessings and revelation, and then feel like you are not receiving similar results.  Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with my ability to receive revelation.  This week as I was reading in the Liahona, I found a helpful quote by Elder Scott.  (Elder Scott is definitely the Apostle to go to for personal revelation).  He said:  "sometimes when we feel we aren't getting an answer from God, it may be because Heavenly Father trusts us to make the right decision".   I really like that.  In other words, I need to just stop over-thinking the work and just go to work!  I can work, I like to work.  I have faith that Heavenly Father will guide me to where I need to go and help me with what I need to say.

Anyway, I'm going to send some photos of a shrine we pass through everyday to go to church. (We do our scripture studying at the chapel every morning)  I love this shrine!  It's so pretty.

Good luck with everything, I love you all.

Bevan Shimai

Shokoku-ji Temple in Kyoto located in northern Kyoto built in 1382

Editor's note!  Below is a link to the LATimes story on the typhoon that hit Japan this week as well as links to today's update from a Japanese news source. The eye of the storm was centered over the city of Kyoto which received over 30 inches of rain in less than 72 hrs.  The beautiful rivers running through Kyoto rose several feet flooding homes and businesses along the low lying areas of the city.  268,000 people were evacuated to higher ground on Sunday and Monday. The total population of Kyoto is 1.5 million.  (As a comparison the entire Salt Lake Valley has a population of 1.1 million)

I received an email from the mission home Monday evening letting Bruce and I know that all the missionaries were safe and that none of them had to be evacuated.

http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-77427381/ - Typhoon Man-yi

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-09/17/c_132728555.htm - storm aftermath


This is the same river that Sarah took a picture of on her previous blog post