Life in Akita as a Shimai
Communication is so important. Especially with your missionary companion! The only thing is…if you two speak different languages, sometimes communication can be very hard. I am learning to be patient with myself and with my Japanese companion. We have our many struggles and frustrations with each other through out the week but when I look at the eternal perspective I just realize how much I need her. Sister Stevenson is teaching me a ton! Most of the times we see things differently, but I am learning that it`s more important to always look for the positives in one another instead of the differences. When you serve someone and see them for who they truly are, you can do nothing but love them. I love sister Stevenson and am so grateful to have her!
This past week was full of many blessings! Monday, sister Lita from the branch took all us sisters to this beautiful Japanese park and we took pictures again for her photography website. It`s so fun to be able to do this. We will probably do it every week. She takes us shopping for groceries every week. I love this Tongan Mormon! She is so fun and I just love her! I only got to see 2 of the pictures she`s taken of us but I guess it`s on the Missionary Facebook page which is excitingI
Our investigator Chiemi chyan is so ready to be baptized! She wants to be baptized and her faith is so strong. She reads the Book of Mormon and prays every day. The only thing is her mom still won`t let her be baptized until she graduates in 3 years. Recently though I heard news that one investigator who couldn`t be baptized because of their parents had fasted and prayed and her parents gave her permission. We had been praying for this girl for a while and her prayer of faith was answered. I know that Chiemi chyan can have the same experience if she prays in faith and we can pray in faith for her. We had a lesson on Saturday on the Temple. She has had all the lessons mulitple times but this was the first on the Temple. She desires to one day have an eternal family and she said she does believe that through the Temple she can have an eternal family. I am so grateful for this young 19 year old Japanese girls faith. She is our only investigator who comes to Church every Sunday. She is always so tired and studying but still daily study`s the Scriptures and prays, comes to Church and keeps all of God`s commandments. What an example!
On Thursday us four sisters (Sister Kirby and Sister Nakaima, Sister Stevenson and I) traveled by train to our Zone Conference in Morioka. We saw all of our Zone and heard from President and Sister Rasmussen. I felt the Spirit as I heard other`s testimonies and President Rasmussen invite us to keep goals. I have been praying for our investigators who aren`t progressing to be guided by the Spirit in how I can serve them and teach effectively. Lessons in Japanese has been a challenge. But I have learned that it`s not going by a rote lesson but rather teaching from my heart. If the investigator, or member can feel the Spirit then the missionary has done his job. Lately I have been wanting to do better with this and I will continue to strive to always have the Spirit in the lessons.
I had such a cool experience, well actually many! First, today sister Stevenson and I rode our bikes in the TYPHOON!!! It was so fun! Well…I was having a good time but maybe sister Stevenson wasn`t enjoying it too much haha. She has seen a few Typhoons in Tokyo where she`s from, but It was my first! The rain was pouring and wind was blowing brachnes and the streets and sidewalks were covered with what seemed a river of water! The few people I saw running down the streets had their umbrellas flipped inside out and blowing away. It was an adventure for sure and there were a few times my bike got thrown around by the wind while riding!
Traveling to Morioka by train for the Zone meeting, the train was packed with people! The missionaries gathered together and talked, but I felt like I needed to talk to people. I knew someone would be on that train ready to learn about Jesus Christ. It`s been so interesting meeting people every day who have never heard of God or Jesus Christ. I sat by a young 16 year old girl on the train and as we talked about her life and goals and dreams I was able to share the first whole lesson of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon with her. I asked her what her image was of God and she said, `I have never heard of God`. She had no idea who God was and It was so neat testifying to her that she has a Heavenly Father who knows and loves her. We talked the whole train ride and I know that the Lord placed her in my path. I had been praying someone would be placed in my path to share the Gospel with and my prayer was answered. She walked away with the Book of Mormon I gave her, pamphlets, and the flyer I made for English class every wednesday (Eikawa). I explained to her how simple prayer is and why prayer is important. She promised she would pray to know if the message is true that night, and hopefully she`ll come to Eikawa activity on Saturday. I pray she can read the Book of Mormon and come to know it`s true. Saturday`s activity this weekend we`re making SMORES and having a campfire for all the Eikawa students! It`s fun planning activities and drawing fun flyers.
My other experience on the train after the Zone meeting is my favorite moment of my mission so far! Back on the train returning to Morioka Friday night I once again had a strong desire to talk with as many people as I could. All the missionaries gathered together to talk and I sat by two young girls. We talked for a little while but seemed to not have interest in the religious aspect. So I went to talk with another girl, but she wanted to listen to her music. Meanwhile I had noticed a girl and thought I should talk to her but she had earphones in and was closing her eyes. I have noticed Japanese people are always tired on the trains and listen to music and sleep. Japanese people work so hard! They work all the time and when sister Stevenson and I have found those who are interested they say, `But I have work and I am so busy, sorry`. This girl on the train at one point took out her headphones and I began to talk with her. I learned a lot about her life as I asked her many questions. She was so friendly and kind. I learned she is sick a lot and she doesn`t have a good relationship with her family. I began to tell her about Heavenly Father`s plan of Happiness and that she is never alone. She too had a very little understanding of God. I shared the Book of Mormon with her and read a scripture, Alma 18:32. She looked deeply into my eyes and asked so sincerely, `God is real?`. She asked in such a way as if she had just been waiting to know. I then felt the Spirit so powerfully on that noisy train as I testified to her that God is real and that he knows her personally and has a great plan for her. As I taught her about prayer and how we can communicate with God, she took out a piece of paper and began to write down her phone number. As she was writing she said that she had some friends who would want to know this message too. I couldn`t believe it! She asked for the pamphlet and as I tried to give her the Book of Mormon she kept refusing because she thought it was such a special book. She finally took it. She got off the train at her stop and I sat alone pondering on what had just happened. I said a prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for placing Asami chyan on that train. I didn`t do anything other than share what I know to be true. She said she would pray that night and read what I had given her. She too is not near our area but I pray she will pray and feel God`s love for her.
The Lord will always place people in our path we can help and serve. We just have to have the courage to open our mouths and talk to them. I am striving every day to be an obedient and forget myself missionary. This is the Lord`s work and I know He is walking by my side.