Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year! I'm staying 6 more weeks in Kyoto!

(As a side note, we had a wonderful time talking to Sarah on Christmas day.  i loved hearing Sarah bare her testimony in Japanese.  She loves the Japanese people, she says that although they can be shy they are loving, kind, gracious and so humble.  She loves teaching her investigators about God as a loving Heavenly Father. She feels so grateful to be able to tell her investigators that there is a God who loves and cares for each of His children.  She feels her Japanese is good enough now to scrape by - she feels that she gets the gist of most conversations.  She is starting to think in Japanese and has had a couple of dreams where people spoke Japanese to her and she understood what they were saying!  She told us that although most Japanese learn "English" in school, they really have no idea of how to speak the language or have a conversation.  So she was very grateful for Tojo Shimai who helped her Japanese become more conversational and in return, she helped Sister Tojo's English improve! Ok, enough from me - here are Sarah's last 2 letters)

December 30, 2013

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the festive season.  Not going to lie, I think it's kind of hilarious that the Japanese people think that I'm a tourist here for New Years, when in fact, I've been here since august :D  They are always so surprised to hear that.

So, we didn't have a lot of lessons this week because everyone is busy or out of town or with family which means... finding time!!!!

We did "find" this older woman... moreover she found us.  We had to stop by the river so that we could figure out our plans and to make some calls.  This older woman with blue eyes (a nihonjin with blue eyes!)  stops and starts to talk to us.  She asks us, 'where are you from' and a conversation takes off. Turns out she's had interest in religion since as a young girl but has never taken the time to learn more or to look.  She pretty much hands us her adress and asks us to visit her sometime... Heavenly Father was very kind. So we visited her, we talked to her about God and she wanted to meet again.  Awesome!

Then we helped another woman make a goal to be baptized. It's hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago she wasn't even meeting with the missionaries at all.  Now, she has a desire to be baptized!  I'm so grateful!  

Oh, I forgot to say, I get to stay another transfer with Pettit Shimai!  We are going to perform miracles in Shimogamo.  We are going to change the world of missionary work.. just saying.  We currently have 8 progressing investigators and I think we can expand that.  I think we can do it through the strength of the Lord.  

While on my mission, one of my goals is to become a true disciple of Jesus Chirst.  I want to not only be a good missionary but to become somebody who is worthy of that title.  I want to start with being bold.  A true disciple of Christ isn't fearful of others but proclaims his message proudly.  I feel that a true disciple is fearless and is able to let everyone know about the fantastically true message of the gospel without being concerned about how they are being judged or viewed by others.  

So turns out that New Year's day is the "worst dendo day" of the year.  But that's not going to stop us.  It's nicknamed that because everyone is at home celebrating with their families and gets upset with you if you ping pong them.  And no one is interested in talking to you on the street either because they are on their way to be with family or to go to a temple or shrine for the New Year celebration.  So it's going to be an adventure!!

Wish us luck. 

Bevan Shimai

Merry Christmas everyone!  Or should I say:  メリークリスマス!

This week is definitely not my best week but interesting nonetheless.  So we have an investigator who became a yakusokosha a couple of weeks ago, then continued to cancel lessons and not show up for 2 weeks.  We were a little worried, Pettit Shimai was falling apart ;).   But she shows up to her lesson on Friday and we were more than overjoyed to see her.  She is definitely still very special to us.  She wants to follow all of the rules... perfectly.  We haven't taught her any commandments yet, but we're planning on teaching them as we teach the other lessons such as Plan of Salvation and the Restoration.  What we do with our investigators is that most of the time they:  Don't know who God or Jesus Christ is, they don't know how to pray.  This is our foundation.   If investigators don't have this solid foundation, once you start teaching commandments the house falls a part and you have a dropped investigator.  I see it over and over again from previous investigators.  

But this investigator is awesome!  She just eats everything up and we can barely keep up.  But as a side note,  she has a job that makes her work 14 hour shifts 3days a week, including Sunday.  But because of the holiday season she can come to church the next 3 weeks because of a changed work schedule!! Yeah!!! However, after those three weeks, she goes back to working on Sunday.  She's currently looking for another job so she can come to church every week. We haven't even mentioned that she needs to come to church every week. That's just what she wants to do!

Then the ward Christmas "Party".  :]  It was more of a ward talent show... Pettit Shimai and I were not happy that we had investigators at this party as there was no socialization nor any kind of inviting environment... I was not happy.   It went on for 1hour and 45 minutes until finally it ended and the food was brought out.  Thank goodness! Now we could socialize!   We had a feeling this is how they've done the christmas party for years and they keep doing the same thing.  They need an activities comittee.  

This week for Christmas is that we get to go out and dendo all day/teach lessons (not sure yet) and then hold a Christmas program in the evening.  Pettit Shimai will be on piano, I'll be on the organ.  It's going to be an evening of music and the story of Christ.  Most people in Japan do not know of Christ, let alone His birth.  So the sisters are going to be accompanists while the elders will narrate the story.  We're inviting members, investigators and people off the street to come and see.  Most people here work on Christmas and then just go out and party or spend it alone.   Most of our investigators don't have family with them so we're going to make Christmas special :)

I'm so grateful to be a part of the Lord's work.   I love teaching the gospel.   He called me to Japan for a purpose.  I want to fulfill that purpose. Heavenly Father has been so kind and gracious to me, His hand is deeply involved in the work.  And if His hand is deeply involved in the work to bring His beloved children to the truth, then how much more does He care for us and is involved in our lives to help us learn and grow.   I believe in Christ, I know my Heavenly Father hears and answers not only my prayers but your prayers.  He loves you and gives you every chance to come unto Him and to feel His love.  To quote Elder Holland, "His love is ALWAYS there."

Thanks for all your love and support.  I really appreciate it.  It is so amazing to be in the service of the Lord.  Miracles do happen.


Bevan Shimai
べベン 姉妹

My birthday cake made in a rice cooker!

Happy Happy Birthday Sarah :)

Happy New Year!