November 10, 2013

Life In Akita as Missionary

Akita is COLD! Riding my bike this morning I couldn`t feel my hands because I`d forgotten my gloves. Sister Iwahashi and I have been hearing that it`s supposed to snow today! It`s just like good old Rexburg, Idaho so nothing too new. I am actually kind of excited for the snow. I hear the snow here can get up to waste heigth. There will be lots of walking, and no riding bikes the next 3 months of snow. I don`t see any yet, so we`ll just have to wait and see.

I am loving being companions with Iwahashi shimai. She is the BEST! I really admire her and love her so much for the true missionary she is. We had many great things happen this past week. During personal study one morning I read in PMG chapter 9 “Former Investigators“ and felt that sister Iwahashi and I should look at former investigators in the Area Book. We both felt strongly about a 21 year old past investigator Ikegami san, who had taken the lessons for 2 years but stopped 4 months ago. I had heard things about Ikegami san from other missionaries, that he has no interst any more and shouldn`t waste our time with him. But sister Iwahashi and I both felt we needed to try to contact him. That day we planned to visit him but found out right before we were going to go to his apartment that he was at the Sasaki family`s house tutoring Takashi kun in science, brother and sister Sasaki`s son. Brother Sasaki told us we should go over there and meet him. When we got to the Sasaki`s, sister Sasaki welcomed us in and whispered that at the moment Ikegami san has pushed away missionaries so we shouldn`t pressure but just be friends. We agreed and as we walked in to meet Ikegami san we definitely could see he put up a little bit of a wall. But as we talked and laughed and got to know him more he started to open up. He then began to ask about us and we created a friendship. We had dinner at the Sasaki`s and before leaving shared a short message. When Ikegami san gave the closing prayer he said that it had been a long time since he`d seen the missionaries and he was grateful we`d come. Sister Iwahashi asked Ikegami san after the prayer if we could meet again to share a message and he said he was so busy but maybe the next week. We don`t know if he will contact us but I know that we were supposed to meet with him that day. I believe Ikegami san is scared to start lessons again but I know he felt the Spirit that night and longed to have it back in his life. I pray he will contact us.

      We also had our second lesson with our new investigator Kana chyan! She has let us know that her parents are against her taking lessons and so we don`t know if she`ll be able to continue the lessons. We pray she can continue the lessons. We visited an less active member who left the Church many years ago last night. Her name is Hatekaya Yasuko and she`s around 70. We brought her some apples and figured she`d take the apples and we might be able to share a quick spiritual message with her. But when she saw us, she let us in her house and fed us dinner! We talked the most with her husband who was so friendly and kind. We had never met them before and they were so kind! Yasuko san explained she belongs to the Lutheran church and so she doesn`t want anything to do with the Mormon Church. We shared a short spiritual message about Heavenly Father`s love and charity and shared the scripture Moroni 7:45. I know they both felt the Spirit because I felt it strongly. I asked at that moment if we could come back again but she said no. I was surprised because the Spirit was there and we had created a special friendship. I felt even though we left with no invitation of ever coming back, we should go back just to give a gift of thanks for the meal.
Sister Iwahashi and I went to the Akita train station downtown streets to hand out flyers for Eikaiwa, free English class. We met many people who were interested in coming! I met a girl named Alina who is from Romania on an enxchange for a year. She goes to Akita University. She said she`s been a little lonely and misses family. She seemed to not have much interest in our message but I feel she needs a friend. She gave me her phone number, so I hope we can meet her again. Then 15 minutes later I met Sebastian who is the other Romanian exchange student going to Akiat University! What are the odds! I`ve met him before and so I don`t think it was just coincidence so see him again.
We had the primary progam this past Sunday and it was so cute seeing the 6 children from ages 4-11 singing and saying scriptures. There was quite a bit of laughing during parts, especially when the youngest, AJ, who`s family`s from Tonga, was waving his arms during the song like he was a music conductor.
I love Akita and I love the people here. As I ride my bike, or walk around and say “Konnichiwa“, people will bow and say hi back. I love my mission and am so grateul to serve the Lord.
Love,
Tori
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