Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Don't you love the holiday season?

So this week has been a great week.  We now have 6 progressing investigators and that is a huge blessing.  Also, we invited our young and eager Chinese investigator to baptism last Friday and she said "YES."   I am so excited!

When she first came into the room, she was literally bouncing off the walls.  She was so excited to show us her "homework" assignment that we gave her last time.  She had written notes and even said that the Book of Mormon was easier for her to understand (the Chinese Book of Mormon is a difficult translation)  Even our member present was impressed with her. We were so proud :) We taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ, about how we can return to live with our Heavenly Father and be eternally happy.  When we pointed to baptism she asked "what's that?"  We happily told her what baptism was simply.  She then quietly replies "I want that..."...:DDDDD   We then finished discussing the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end and invited her to be baptized. She immediately says yes!  We found out then that she has been to church in Hong Kong and really liked it.

This week we wanted to go visit a gentleman who had previously told the missionaries that he was interested in going to church.   He has not yet come to church . . . So this week I felt like I needed to go visit him again. However, Tojo Shimai and I had last visited him 6 weeks ago and I wasn't sure if I could remember where he lived.  So first I prayed that I would be able to find his apartment and not waste time being lost.  We left our apartment and started to ride in the general direction of where this gentleman lived.   As I was riding I was checking down each block to see if I could remember the right neighborhood.   When we arrived at a busy intersection, I felt like the area was familiar so we turned down that street, and then I stopped at a smaller street entrance and looked down it.  I immediately felt that I recognized the area.   I was soooo happy.  I was so excited that I found his address again through the Lord's help.  But after all that, the guy wasn't home  :P

That same evening while returning home, Pettit shimai got a flat tire.   We called the chorotachi and they came and fixed it.   But while we were waiting for them,  Pettit Shimai and I got up on the brick wall and started caroling.  We needed a laugh and we were sick of failing at streeting and housing.   While we were singing at the top of our lungs, Van trap family style, all 2 people who passed by us purposefully looked away, even the woman on her bike went out in the street and then back onto the sidewalk after she passed the church.  It provided a well needed laugh.  

Then we found out that Pettit Shimai had 3 punctured holes in her tire, so we're going to go buy new tires today.  Yeah for tire shopping on p-day! 

Then that same evening, we called all of our investigators and invited them to church.  But all of them were busy with tests, work, or out of town.  Don't you love the holiday season?  So nobody came to church Sunday, despite our best efforts.  However on Sunday when we walked into church we saw two American young women sitting in the pews. So we took them and accompanied them to Sunday School and Relief Society. I was impressed that these two sisters know more Japanese than Sister Pettit or I.   Since the Chorotachi invited them to church, they wanted to teach them... And their teaching pool is rather small so we "gave" them to the chorotachi... :(  But I'm hoping for the best.

Then this week, we taught our lovely old traditional Japanese couple.  They are awesome. We found out this week that they've been researching different religions for a while.   They wanted to know which church is best for them and their ancestors....:DDDDD   Our member friend told them that if that's what they wanted then this church is perfect for them.  We were grateful he didn't bring up temples because right now they don't even believe in God.  We like to take things slower with those who don't have a Christian background.  Because once they believe in God and desire eternal life, the rest is history.   We're planning on teaching all the commandments in one lesson with our Chinese investigator because: 1. She believes God is her loving Heavenly Father and 2. She desires eternal life and 3.  She wants rules in her life. 

Fun fact about Pettit Shimai, she studied horticulture at BYU Idaho before coming on her mission.  She also went to China and taught English there before her mission as well.  She is very kind and humble and soft hearted.  We are learning to balance our different abilities.  I am area sempai and she is dory sempai.  Members here were surprised to find out that Pettit Shimai was the sempai or senior companion.  They thought that I would be training this transfer :)  I worry that the ward may view us as two incompetent foreigners, but we are working hard, putting our hearts into the work.  We may not be able to speak Japanese fluently, but we can scrape by.  We've just got to shovel our pride away and focus on helping our investigators, and let the Lord take care of the rest.

However, I nearly cried when they asked about Tojo Shimai.  I still miss her so much and it brought tears to my eyes to have to tell all the ward members and our investigators that Tojo shimai had been transferred.  The upside is that I have become more independent since Tojo Shimai left, I now have to make all the phone calls, texts and emails.  Pettit Shimai and I are trying hard to speak Japanese only.  My goal this transfer is to learn to be more independent an able to do anything as a missionary here in Japan.  I know Heavenly Father will help me.  Boy, do I still have a lot to learn!

My birthday is this week, I'm not too excited, I'm feeling kind of unenthusiastic! I really just want to focus on missionary work, I don't really care about myself - kind of weird, I know!  But I'm still going to make that cake, I'm going to use the rice cooker and see how it goes.  I've had rice cooker cakes before and they were good, they just didn't have frosting and that's where your awesomeness mom comes in :)

Grammy mentioned how wonderful it was for me to have investigators and potential investigators.  I just think that you can baptize anywhere, if you believe and pray for it.  It doesn't matter if I'm in Japan or not.  If one uses their time effectively by spending time with people who actually want to learn instead of having to beg, plead or push those who are less inclined, you will have success!  The Lord's elect are everywhere, His sheep that are waiting for their Shepherd, they are the ones who know they want to be baptized NOW. I'm so excited to be here on a mission finding and searching for the Lord's sheep.  There seems to be this "universal sin" of overthinking in our mission.  Everyone seems to think that because they are not successful by baptizing someone every month that something is wrong.  I've figured out for myself that if I put 100% then I am doing my best and I am successful, and I know that my efforts will reap their own rewards.  I know that baptisms can and will happen in Japan - right now the Japan Kobe mission is the only mission where baptisms are going up.  Every other mission in this area, including Korea, the number of baptisms are going down.  This is the Lord's work. I am depending on Him!  

I can't wait to talk to you - mom and dad - in about 16 days!  I'm sorry it's going to be a normal phone call.  We're not technologically advanced in the Kobe mission.  I know Tokyo gets to Skype.  But that's ok, I'm still looking forward to talking to you anyway.  I am grateful for my brick cell phone, it has fallen into the baptismal font twice, and it is still working! Thus it is our holy phone :)

This week we are spending a lot of time planning.  As a foreigner, we have to actually know what we're saying in Japanese.  Things are so much easier with a Nihonjin!  Life is less of a headache.  But I can somewhat make phone calls and make appointments, I am still working on making calls from the area book!

Please read the Book of Mormon - I want to share with you my study program, It is really helping me understand the scriptures better!

1. Pray
2. Read the scriptures with a question in mind
3. Write down your thoughts, feelings, impressions
4. Pray for understanding
5. Re-read the same passages
6. Write down any new ideas and thoughts
7. Pray to confirm revelation and truth

This has really been amazing for me, it has helped my investigators and me to receive necessary revelation.  Please keep reading your scriptures, they never become trite or boring, there is so much to discover!

Our Christmas tree made from a green sheet, my birthday streamers and assorted ornaments!

Thanks so much for all your help,  I really appreciate it.   

Lovin' the work. Thanks for your support

Bevan shimai