Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm staying in Kyoto!

Ok, So this week has definitely had it's ups and downs.  However, we'll start with one of the ups and that is that I'm staying in the Shimogamo ward with Tojo Shimai!!!  Yeah!!!    I am relieved not to have to pack or move or stress.  I like this.  Now Tojo shimai and I get the whole fridge and the entire apartment to ourselves.  You could say we're going to move the furniture around a little bit and enjoy our new space;)   The downside is that Gomez and Ohata Shimai are leaving Thursday. Gomez is going to Osaka and Ohata is going out to the country.  I am sad that our good friends are leaving.  We had so many good chats together.  So now... 100% Nihongo.  Yay :P

I'm hoping and praying that my nihongo will skyrocket.  I can pretty much understand a lot of basic conversation.  But there are definitely days where I just don't understand anything anyone is saying. Like yesterday :] and Saturday.  Sometimes I wonder how in the world I can even understand my companion.  Btw I found out today that Bautner and Mizuguchi shimai from Kobe are still companions (these are the sister missionaries I shared an apartment with in Kobe).  That makes 3 transfers they have been together now!  Crazy.  But they're amazing and I hope they're still doing well.
I am crossing my fingers to see our Mongolian investigator be baptized by the end of this transfer.  We are going to change her baptism date from the 20th of October to a different day.  She currently has 3 part time jobs and we're hoping she drops the one job that requires her to work on Sundays.  She wants to come to church and really liked coming to church last Sunday (on the 29th of September).  So I am praying and crossing my fingers because we didn't have a lesson with her all last week, and I don't think we'll have a lesson together this week either.  But I believe we're going to help her change apartments next week, so I look forward to seeing her then.  We'll also be inviting her to general conference on Saturday.  I think she'll really like it.   I am so totally stoked to see and hear the prophet and apostles speak.  I love them!
This week was what some missionaries would call "difficult."  Only because we had about... 2 lessons.. maybe?  Even then, one of them was on the phone.  Tojo Shimai talked to this PI for about an hour and a half.  They even prayed over the phone.  Apparently he reads the Book of Mormon, prays but just doesn't come to church.  So now we get to hopefully meet with him and talk to him because apparently he didn't respond so well to the elders.  Hopefully, we will be able to connect with him and be able to help his testimony grow.

Yesterday, Sunday, we didn't have any investigators come to church.  So heartbreaking!  Not even our regular investigator came, and she comes every week :(   Both Tojo shimai and I were not feeling so great during sacrament meeting since the week before we had 2 investigators at church.  But that's ok.  We will keep trying.

Then during Relief Society, a woman walks in with these really tall black high heels, a denim skirt with gold suspenders with a cup of coffee in her hand.  At first I thought it was Gomez and Ohata Shimai's investigator,  but they were just as confused as I was.  So then Tojo Shimai pulls up a chair next to her and talks with her.

At the end of Relief Society, there's an opportunity for sisters to bear their testimonies.   A couple of sisters bear their testimonies then she asks if she could share hers.  Everyone is bewildered but completely impressed.  I couldn't understand her.  But it was genuine.

Afterwards we talk with her in the chapel and we find out that she's had a lot of spiritual experiences.  She told her family about them and they thought she was crazy, so they put her in a mental facility. The facility let her go because she was just fine.  But growing up she used to be bullied a lot.  One night when she was feeling really lonely and sad, she prayed.  She says that she then felt as if arms were wrapping around her and she felt so warm and safe. And I'm just thinking, "Wow, God has definitely prepared her".  I am so grateful to have met her yesterday.

Tojo Shimai then teaches her what we call the "chart" which is the steps to gain eternal life "faith, repentance, baptism, enduring to the end." but it's spread out in a visual so people can understand better.  Then we gave her a "soft" invite saying, "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized?"  She said yes.  We didn't set a date.  But we are this Wednesday when we will visit with her!!
However there's a catch... There always is.

 Unfortunately, for us, she lives in the Fushimi area.  So we are going to refer her this week, after we make her a yakusokosha ;)  We found out later that our Zone leader, who serves in the same area as us, was in the Fushimi area and she approached him and he gave her a pamphlet.  He was shocked to see her at church.
I just love seeing the Lord's hand in this work.  I love this gospel.  I love teaching it and seeing lights go off.  I am imperfect.  I probably can't teach to save my life.  My Nihongo is more basic than the 2 year old in the ward.  But I know I can do this work when I rely on the Lord.  I know I can do it when I acknowledge that I am merely nobody and that God, who is God, can take care of the holes and mistakes in my work. 
That is another thing about Ether 12:27 that Zinke Kaicho likes to emphasize.  He says the scripture says, "weakness" not "weaknesses."  It's singular.  Which means it doesn't refer to our personal list of things we need to work on.  (But I believe we can definitely interpret it that way)  It means that we are mortal.  We are imperfect.  God is perfect. We need God to do the things we cannot.  I've realized how much in our lives we DON'T have any control over.  I don't have control over the people I come across.  But I do have control as to whom I talk to.  I don't have control as to who is ready to hear my message, but I can open my mouth and try my best.  I am weak.  But I am strong through Christ and my Heavenly Father. I know that when I rely on the Lord I can accomplish all that I desire and play a part in bringing about daily miracles in the lives of those whom  serve.
Photos:  Last week we went to Fushimi inadi with an investigator of ours.  So much fun!  We went late afternoon and it got dark by 5:30pm so I got some cool night photos :)
Love you all!  Read the Book of Mormon.  It does wonders.  Just saying.
Love, Bevan Shimai
I finally made it to the Kinkaku-ji Shrine, The upper two levels of the shrine are covered in pure gold leaf!!
Kinkaku-ji Shrine (Temple of the Golden Pavilion)
The pavilion functions as a shariden, housing relics of the Buddha (Buddha's Ashes)
Fushimi Inari Shrine's many Toriis turns a gate into a hallway!
This temple is dedicated to Inari, the god of rice and prosperity.

There are more than 10,000 Torii at the Fushimi Inari Shrine!

Fushimi Inari Shrine gate at sunset.