Wednesday, February 5, 2014

One of the best testimony meetings I have ever been to . . .


So the biggest thing that happened in the mission this week is that we had 396 non members at church this past sunday.  Previously the numbers were around 130 ish.  It more than doubled! Zinke Kaicho last month announced a mission goal to have 400 non members at church on Sunday.  Everyone in the mission worked their butts off and prayed for long hours.  And through the Lord's blessings He blessed us with that number!  

On the more microscopic level, we had a previous investigator come to church this past Sunday.  She dropped when Tojo Shimai and I were teaching her. She was a really good friend of a member.  The member didn't know she was coming to church and was so happy that she had come!  

That morning we were also planning on meeting someone at the train station and then walking together to church.  Except we missed each other and got lost... of course.  So the 40 minutes before and during church were spent running around trying to find our investigator.  Through God's help we found her.  We missed the sacrament but we made in time for the testimony meeting.  The members had brought a ton of less active members (family) that day.  I was so proud of them.  Our investigator loved church. She loved how everyone else was just as imperfect as she was.  She was impressed how people told of their struggles but overcame them through Christ (She has a Christian background).  One of the best testimony meetings I've been to.  Members were lining up to bear their testimonies.  And nobody went off tangents or thankimonies. They were simple, pure, and true. 

In the Shimogamo ward, there are 4 elders and us sisters.  One companionship are the Zone Leaders and the other are just 3rd transfers but they're doing well.  They love their electronic dictionary.  We don't get referalls so there's no need to split them :) (the Japanese are deathly afraid of sharing the gospel with friends and even then, most of them only have friends in the church).  As for dendo (proselyting) we just go out wherever the Lord takes us.  Granted, we have actually been to the same places, so sometimes it's funny when people tell us they've seen us.  But sometimes in the same place that's been dendo'ed the elders will find an investigator and not us and vice versa. Actually, recently we've been sending the elders a ton of referrals because we keep finding men who are interested. :P

I've been telling you a lot about finding because we haven't been able to meet with a lot of our investigators the past couple of weeks due to finals, family vacations, and so on.  So not a lot to report on in the progressing factor.  Granted, they all still keep their commitments so they are still progressing we just haven't been able to meet as often as we'd like.  

But now I do have something to share:

We are currently teaching a woman who has studied various religions and has never commited to any one religion and still identifies herself as Bhuddist.  She loves the church though. She has made some really good friends. She loves coming to church, the members, our beliefs, everything but doesn't believe she can ever believe in God. It has come to the point where she feels like she is wasting our time because she doesn't think she will ever be able to believe.  We just found this out recently.  We knew she has some difficulty imaging God and Eternal life and we have been trying to help her. Obviously this breaks our hearts. We are going to do our best. Please keep her in your prayers.  She is so strong and we feel she can be baptized once she gets over this obstacle. We have a couple of ideas but we'll see.  

Then we are teaching an older couple. Definitely your traditional bukkyo older couple. I sit seiza for their whole lesson.  (I can't feel my legs at the end)  Yet, through the lessons (we teach God.. a lot and prayer.. a lot and eternal life.. a lot) they believe in God (among other diety) and are praying every night (they use a paper, they still haven't gotten to the point where they pray from their heart yet, we're working on it).  They are progressing, now we are just trying to help them readjust their schedule so that they can come to church.  We'll see.  

Thanks so much for your love and kindness and letters. Good to hear about the work in America.  Sometimes we like to joke at American missionaries or the thought of being fed dinners (never happens here, the Japanese are embarassed of their homes.  So we get fruit baskets!) and getting referrals and baptisms every transfer, but we love Japan.  We wouldn't have it any other way.

Love, Bevan Shimai