Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Are you church volunteers?"

This week has been better :)

I say that because we had interviews.  I love interviews so much because I can get more personal revelation and it just seems to be more specific to my zone and not just to the whole mission.  Also, it's always good to see Zinke kaicho and Zinke shimai.  I cannot believe they are going home in less than 3 months.  That's weird.  So weird.  So this was probably my last interview with zinke kaicho :( .  

From Zinke Kaicho, he asked us to be sweetly bold.  To love a person enough to invite them to come closer to Christ.  Not only through baptism.  Just to make baptism a simple step, because it is, but to help them desire eternal life and to become clean through our savior Jesus Christ.  I have been recently trying to be more bold. Trying to help people recognize the spirit and to help them realize that our message is true! Like Elder Oaks says, "It's not just a better way to live. It is the only way back to our Heavenly Father and to Eternal Life"

Something that I learned though, from my interview, is about sign seekers.  I never thought I was one.  I always thought of them being like Korihor in the Book of Mormon who says to Alma, "I will believe in God if you show me a sign".  I believe in God, I don't need a sign, so I never thought that I was a sign seeker.  However, I told Zinke Kaicho that i didn't feel as if I was a true disciple of Christ because I wasn't seeing miracles.  Because I wasn't seeing the results of my work.  I felt useless and un-disciplely... to iu koto desu.  And then I realized that I was seeking signs.  I feel as if one thing I struggle with, is the fact that I can understand something to be true but I don't always live my life in accordance to my beliefs.  For instance, I know that God is a god of miracles.  However, I go about my life doubting that God will perform miracles for me.  It's difficult to explain. All I know is that I'm going to strengthen my faith in Christ, repent, and move on.  I am striving to have faith that Heavenly Father will provide for me as needed when needed.  All I have to do is just work. I can do that.

On the way back, Beane shimai and I are riding the train and we're sitting on the fold out seats in the door way area when we see this asian sister squatting (flat feet, close to the floor but not sitting) with her head hanging low.  All the other seats were taken and so we offered her our seat. She takes it but she still looks like she's in pain... So Beane shimai just sits next to her and starts to talk to her. If anything, just to distract her from whatever she's going through.  And we get a conversation started and she seems to really like us.  (hey, who doesn't like foreigners who are voluntarily talking to them in their own language?)  And when we arrive back in Akou, we give her our phone number and invite her to ping pong the next day.  Granted, she didn't come but at least, I hope, we made someone's day better. 

This week we have also been visiting a number of less actives.  We've contacted a family and they said they wouldn't mind if we came by again.  But then another sister whom when we tried to contact slammed the door in our face and said "I'm busy!" いそがし!Yeah, not a fan.  We tried again a couple of days later and she was about to do the same thing when we held the door as she was closing it and said, "Do you honestly have any interest in church?" She said no. Now, it may not have been the most tactful but we needed a straight answer.  I was tired of the whole Japanese politeness thing.  I don't care if you're rude, just be straight up.  But it made me SO sad.  Because she KNOWS.  She has been baptized.  She has felt her Heavenly Father's love and the Holy Ghost and denies that gift.  Ugh!  It made me and Beane shimai so upset. I'll just pray for her instead, to soften her heart so that she can receive the blessings God is so willingly ready to give. 

Then sunday.  Sunday was awesome.  On Sunday, we go to the station to meet a recent convert who has recently moved to the area and became slightly less active. As we're waiting this old obachan walks up to us and asks us "are you church volunteers?"  "yes...?"  We start talking and talking, soon enough ten minutes goes by and our recent convert friend (who is philipino and english speaking) doesn't seem to be coming.  So beane shimai asks her 
             "are you busy?"
             "would you like to come to church?"
She agrees and so we're just walking over to the church with this obachan and she's saying stuff that I have no idea what she's saying.  (Old people here honestly speak a different language) and we just ask questions and get to know her.  We walk into the church and I just feel this wave of good feelings.  I love church.  I love the Holy Ghost.  When we walk into relief society, all of the relief society sisters are just overjoyed to see her.  I have never seen a warmer welcome in my life. And our friend turns to us during the lesson and just says "everyone is so genki"  It made my heart feel so full. Everyone just looked happy and radiant.  Apparently, I found out from my zone leaders that no one has come to church with the sisters before, since the area opened to sisters in July.  I feel so blessed and grateful.  I love my Heavenly Father and His tender mercies.  

But the story isn't over.  After Relief Society, she walks out into the front way and when Furukawa choro (our nihonjin (japanese) elder) sees her, he is shocked.  And they start talking and they set up an appointment.  Apparently, this woman was a potential investigator of the chorotachi.  However, when the chorotachi tried to meet again, she was never at home.  But then they see her at church! Of all places. Church!  She's from the next town over. 

Then during relief society our less active recent convert friend walks in!  I was so happy!  He came!!!!  And he understands a good bit of japanese but doesn't quite understand all of the church gengo... (language)  He loved church.  Everyone was so welcoming and inviting and talked with him and introduced themselves.  Awesome.  I love this branch.  

Thanks so much for everything.  Ganbatene! がんばろ!
God is real.  He loves you. He loves you.  I love you too!

Bevan Shimai

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Year of the Horse

Buddhist Shrine in home where Sarah is living 

Map of Ako

Kitchen where Sarah is living

Living area of home where Sarah is living

Japanese mailbox!