Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Faith starts out really small . . .

Happy New Year Everyone!

New Years dendo was definitely interesting this week.  We ended up doing eikaiwa chirashi kabari (just filling post boxes) because we felt it to be disrespectful to be talking about a religion other than Buddhism on New Years.   

So this week because all of our investigators were with family, we had a lot of finding time.  Which means that we improved a lot on our finding skills. Because quite frankly if you approach someone and say, 'hey I'm a church volunteer' people usually try to avoid you :D  So it's going step by step. Granted, we didn't find any new investigators but we became better tools in the hand of the Lord.  And also relying on the Lord.  Our goals are to receive revelation and just go out and work.  I try not to overthink it.  That's the main thing, isn't it? Trusting in the Lord. If the Lord could bring thousands of people to repentance in just a few short days in the Book of Mormon, then I know I can find just 3 people in one week.  It's completely doable if we do everything we can - pray for the Lord's help and strength, trust in His power, and rely on the Spirit to guide you.

However, there is always room for improvement. Right now Pettit Shimai and I are focused on improving our finding skills. We've realized after a transfer here together that people don't really respond very well when you tell them "hey, I'm a church volunteer". In fact, they usually try to avoid you. So that idea is out. But Pettit shimai and I really hit it off by just being natural and following the spirit. We found 2 PIs the other night!   We can do this. The Lord will guide us to the Semin or vice versa.

Then this past Sunday, one of our investigators came to church, Miyagi san. Miyagi san has studied a lot of various different churches before. Like almost everyone. Catholism, Protestantism, toitsu kyokai, Jehovah's Witness, etc. But has walked away from each one. She hasn't told us why she walked way.  I wanted to ask why, but I didn't. But something tells me (the spirit?) that none of them satisfied her. None of the other religions seemed right. Or they were too expensive (toitsu kyokai). She says she likes the way she feels around us (thank you Heavenly Father). But a residing pattern between all the lessons is that she would always ask the doseki's how they came to believe and everyone's story is different. Then in Sunday school that day, our Sunday School teacher was always asking Nishi Shimai the questions (poor Nishi shimai, our recent convert) and Nishi Shimai just said "I don't know everything, but I believe". I was so excited ( *fist pump*) because that is what blew Miyagi san away.

We've recently been using this faith chart that was created by one of the other elders, Grossen Choro. It really helped Miyagi san. It's your typical y=x graph that demonstrates how faith starts out really small ( a tiny particle) and grows to a conviction of the gospel (an oak tree). Miyagi san really liked it because she always wandered how she could explain where she was faith wise. It helped her visualize where she was and where she wanted to go with her faith and how she could get there. Thank you Grossen Choro and thank you Heavenly Father for inspiring that. Then we also told her that we weren't always at a firm conviction that we, too, have to constantly work on our faith as well. Which helped her realize that our faith was also reachable. So the point of the lesson is that Miyagi san is at a tipping point. We were able to help her realize how seriously we take this and that baptism is on her horizon, if she so chooses without doing a pressurizing baptismal invite (which we prepared but didn't give). That there is more to this gospel than the doctrine itself. That we act on the truth that we know and our skoshi zutsu (testimonies) become better and stronger. I love this church and gospel. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and am so thankful to Him and my Heavenly Father.

On other news, it has been getting really cold lately.  We saw our breathe in the apartment this morning and we turned on the kotatsu, space heater, and aircon.  Yeah... we were cold.  But we're working hard and that's what matters.  A kotatsu is pretty much what the Kyoto people live for because everyone's homes are not insulated.  It's a table with a heated underside.  So you can lift up the table surface and put blankets underneath it.  We also have a heated floor blanket... which is really nice. We are so spoiled.  But I'm grateful :)  because in the chorotachi's apt, it gets to about 8 celcius. We gave them an extra space heater :)

Hope everyone is staying warm. I wish you all a Happy New year.

Bevan Shimai

Sarah wearing her new birthday skirt!

The magic table heater, the electric floor heater blanket and the space heater in the corner - this is how you stay warm in Kyoto!

Christmas tree and gifts