I am so excited to share with you all that has happened this past week. I cannot express enough the many tender mercies the Lord is blessing with me each moment of my mission. I’ll start off by talking about the beginning of this past week. This past Sunday, June 23rd was the World Wide Broadcast “Hastening The Work of Salvation”. It was such a blessing being able to sing in the choir with all the missionaries from the MTC who will be serving all around the world. I was right! Sister Morrison and I were caught on the camera! haha! I had a feeling, and it wasn’t until after that a lot of our friends in the MTC were saying, “Hey we saw you on the screen!”. That broadcast was such a special meeting. As the eleven Apostles walked in the BYU Marriot Center, the whole 20,000 of us sitting in there instantly went still and stood in reverence. I felt such a powerful feeling of love and joy as elder Nelson turned to all us missionaries and waved with a kind smile. I knew in that moment they truly are Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. I wrote down many of the words they said and felt a stronger motivation to prepare all I can for the people of Japan. I already love the Japanese people and yearn to share my love with them and tell them of Jesus Christ. I am looking forward to meeting the Japanese members in the wards I’ll be in. I have realized the great importance of serving the ward members and helping to unify the ward. I know that us missionaries have an important role in teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but the Church members have an even more important role with sharing that message to their friends and family so that the missionaries have people to teach.
This whole week has been super hot and I love it! I imagine riding a bike up the rolling hills of Japan in even hotter, humid weather and get excited. Yes, I know I will be sweating more than a rainy day in Eugene, but I’ve come to terms with this fact. I’m not sure how riding a bike wearing a skirt will work, but if the last 50 years of sister missionaries could do it, I CAN! Sister Morrison and I go outside a lot to play during gym time out in the field with other missionaries, and we go outside a lot to study the Scriptures. We have language study every day for an hour and this past week was awesome! We decided this week we’d focus on bearing our testimony. So each evening at 8pm, we’d go outside to share our testimony with random missionaries in Japanese. It really has strengthened our confidence and I’m continually amazed at how fast we are learning Japanese. The Lord is truly with us.
Our progressing investigators “Onaga san” (our teacher Workman sensei), and “Christina” (our other teacher Watanabe sensei) are doing really well. Sister Morrison and I have tried to really focus on teaching by the Spirit, and never by paper. We spend time planning out our lessons, looking up Scriptures and how we’ll say things in Japanese, and then we unexpectedly feel impressed to not even talk about what we planned just right before going in to teach. This has happened every time, and it’s been a great blessing knowing the Spirit is with us to teach us the needs of Onaga san and Christina san. One miracle of the week was teaching Onaga san. I felt like sister Morrison and I should make the goal to commit Onaga san to be baptized. Sister Morrison felt good about it too and so, not knowing what to expect, we went into the lesson with Onaga san prepared for whatever promptings came. Towards the end of the Lesson, I asked Onaga san, “You know that good feeling that you said you have with us when we teach, how would you feel if you could have that feeling even more?”. He smiled and said softly, “I want that feeling more”. I then testified to Onaga san that through coming unto Christ by being baptized, he will be given the Gift of the Holy Ghost and he can have that good feeling; the Spirit, with him always. It then was quiet for a few moments and I looked Onaga san in the eyes and said, “Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized Onaga san?”. He looked down for a few moments, and I felt impress to say, “We have a date July 13. If you’re not ready by then that’s okay, but as you pray for strength to Heavenly Father, you will be ready”. He said he would be baptized! The Spirit was truly in the room. I know that this isn’t a real situation, and more roleplaying, but the Spirit is real and we feel it each time we teach a lesson.
It’s interesting how the hardest days, are the best days. When Sister Morrison and I taught Christina on Thursday, it was the total opposite. We would try and explain things and she would look at us confused and we would struggle explaining in the limited Japanese we know. I went away from that lesson feeling sad that I tried to bear testimony from my heart and she still looked confused. After the lesson I wanted to just cry, but I was trying to stay positive. Then Watanabe sensei (who plays Christina), came up to us and said in Japanese, “How do you feel it went”. Then the tears just came pouring out haha. It was the first time I felt a lot of sincerity and care from Watanabe sensei. I understood she was teaching Sister Morrison and I that we need to prepare for the times out in Japan when people won’t understand. I know that as long as I have sincere love for them, and see them for all their great worth, the Spirit will guide me with what I can say.
Seeing familiar faces is such a joy! Sister Morrison and I were outside studying Preach My Gospel when all of the sudden Peter Barnes walked by from our home Ward. I stumbled over my words, “elder..no uh…brother…Ah Peter Barnes!” At the MTC you call everyone elder, sister or brother so that explains my struggle. It was good running into him and I had no clue he teaches at the MTC. Then I saw Elyse Barnes later that day! I love seeing Elyse, she is so nice and fun to be around! I’ve seen Anna, Sister McArthur a few times too and she looks very happy each time.
I love my District so much!!! We just keep getting closer and closer. The times we get to hear each others testimonies, laugh together, and study are all times when we grow closer. Oh Kickball out in the field makes us close too haha.
Today was my last day being able to go to the Temple for the next 17 months. The Provo Temple is being closed for renovation for 6 weeks. There are only two Temples in Japan, Tokyo and Fukuoka. Sapporo is on it’s way of building a Temple. I pray Sendai will soon be blessed with one. But Today in the Temple I felt so much peace and can’t wait to share with the people of Japan that families can be together forever through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Tuesday Devotional was so amazing! I am amazed by the wonderful speakers us missionaries get to hear each week. Janice Kapp Perry spoke to us! She composed the Church’s children hymns, “Sisters of Zion”, “Army of Helaman”, and many other musicals and Church songs. I learned so much from her. She showed all of us missionaries her own family song that she wrote and had each of her family member sing in. It was so FUN! Her husband, this cute old little man, was up there dancing away to the beat of the song haha! She said after the song, “I can read my husband like a book, but today I don’t know what page he’s on”. We all laughed. She inspired me! Someday I want to record my own family song! Dad, get ready to sing a line. Now I have the best part to share with you…
When I was 14 years old, I went to EFY and grew so close to the Lord going to that Church camp. While I was there, it’s tradition for all the young men and women to stand and sing “Sisters of Zion” and “Army of Helaman”. I’ll never forget that day when I felt the closer to God than I ever had before as all of us young, 14 to 18 year olds stood and sang that song. I’ll never forget tears running down my cheeks and thinking, “One day I will serve a mission”.
Well, four days ago, during that Devotional, all of missionaries stood together and sang those exact song in unison, but this time I am a missionary. Even thinking about it now I feel so strongly that the Lord prepares us in more ways than we can comprehend. I love the Lord, and will always follow Him. He is my light and my strength. Through His Atonement, we can all repent, have peace, and one day return to His presence. I know that I willl see the Lord some day, and we all will stand before Him to be judged of our time on this earth. This knowledge gives me greater strength to forget myself and serve others.
Thank you for all your prayers and love. I love my family so very much!
Until next week,