Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sotaikai - General Conference

Hope everyone is doing well.  So this week we got to combine both Ohata Shimai and Gomez Shimai's investigators with ours.  Yeah!  That means we have about 15 investigators now :)  So we have a lot of visits planned this week. 
Sotaikai (General conference) was awesome!  The English Sotaikai was upstairs while the Japanese dubbed conference was down in the chapel+hall.  Loved it!  I don't think I've ever absorbed so much in my life or have listened so intently ever.  All the elders fell asleep but I was constantly at the edge of my seat.  We had 4 investigators over all come between the 4 sessions.  We had the Otsu area sisters come and stay at our apartment for the weekend.  That means Womack shimai (from my MTC district) and her trainee Sister Colter... who happened to have already graduated from MIT with a Bachelors in Computer Engineering in 3 and 1/2 years... woa... She is going back post mission for her masters degree.  You could say I was slightly intimidated.  Atama ga ii (as they say here)  Anyway, it was fun to see Womack Shimai again.  She's doing well and she says it's easy to eat most of the food here (she has celiac's). 
Something that I kept hearing over and over again in the conference was to have patience. Things will work out.  Keep going.  Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that.  I have never felt so inadequate in my entire life.  I have never felt so weak and useless in my entire life.  But I keep going, hoping to be made strong through the strength of the Lord.   I'm not an amazing teacher, I'm an imperfect missionary who is often awkward and unsure, I don't give amazing and powerful lessons.  I definitely have a lot of shortcomings so that it's hard to see that everything will be ok.  I am having a hard time seeing how in the world I can help my investigators out if I can't even help myself - lol. 
But I guess that's where the Atonement comes in.  Because I have no power over someone's heart.  I have no power over whether or not my message means something to them.  I just keep praying that my investigator's hearts may be softened.  That they may feel the spirit.  They they may desire to hear our message and to read the book of Mormon.  There is power in that book.  I don't understand it.  It chases away doubts, fears and replaces them with strength and faith.  Read it.  Just do it.  The Lord blesses you if you place him first and show him that your entertainment, work, money are not your priorities. 

Btw - leading is hard.  I don't think I was ever mean to lead because, as most of you know, I can't make any decision easily.  Planning takes me forever!  I take hours to plan lessons and I have decided I really don't want to ever be a trainer or a senior companion!  I know I will cause damage psychological and otherwise, to any junior companion :)  

The other week when we went back to Kobe for TTT (trainer trainee training :) It was a lot of fun and Zinke Kaicho stressed to us the importance of teaching about the sacrament to our investigators.  He told us that if our investigators truly understand the importance of the sacrament they will want to come to church every week.  After I left, I felt inspired to talk to one of my investigators about the sacrament.  This is a woman who had a baptismal date about 3 years ago.  So Friday, Tojo Shimai and I plan a lesson, we practice it, and then we bike to her apartment.  I'm super nervous.  It's my first day "leading". I prayed for inspiration and for guidance as to how to touch her heart and bear testimony to her of the power of the sacrament.  Our goal was to try and get her to come to church.  We want for her to have more spiritual experiences to help build her testimony. However, at the end of the lesson she flat out rejected our invitation!  At least she said she was sorry :)  So, although I felt so strongly that we were supposed to talk to her about the sacrament, she refused my message.  This is the part where I sometimes struggle with agency!  But then I figure that's where God's will enters, it is His timing and I know that our investigator has her own agency and that the Spirit cannot be forced, I just hope that someday she will be more receptive to learning more about the gospel.  

I am so grateful for my companion, Tojo shimai, she is an amazing trainer!  I have learned so much Japanese from her and I am understanding so much more conversation.  I can actually somewhat understand what people are talking about.  Tojo shimai has taught me that the key to having a good relationship with members is to remember their names!  It's so hard!!  All the names here sound the same - lol, and many are the same! 

I am praying that I do not have to train next transfer. I don't think I will have to, but one never knows!  There are not as many new missionaries coming in to our mission as there have been the last few transfers.  I want to be a junior companion for as long as possible!  I only have 9 more transfers to go!  lol :))  I'm going to use the time to work to the best of my ability.  Time is flying, I can't believe I have been on my mission for 5 months!

One last thing that is super exciting is that we invited someone to be baptized this week and they accepted!  They're going to be baptized in November.  The only problem is that she lives on the fence between two different areas and she's met the other missionaries in the other area.  So now she has to choose who she wants to take lessons from.  Crossing my fingers for me and my companion, but we'll see. She was the sister last week who walked into Relief Society and then bore her testimony.  She came to one of the sessions on Saturday too. 

But the Book is blue, the church is true.  Do your best, the Lord will do the rest.  Anymore cliched rhymes - lol?

Love you all,

Bevan Shimai

Sarah and Tojo shimai at the golden shrine
One last pancake breakfast together before transfers!