Sister Jena Anderson

Sister Jena Anderson
Entered the MTC December 28th, 2011 and left for Kobe, Japan March 12th!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yes we can!!!

To My Wonderful Fam!!

Thank you for your sweet letters! I love you all soooooo much!!!

"Time flies on wings of lightening, we cannot call it back..." At times like this, sometimes I remember this line (I think President Monson quoted this poem?). It is certainly true in the mission field! I can't believe I'm on a mission. Some nights I sleep with my name tag on. I really love this work. It is like a taste of how Heavenly Father feels, and He helps us unceasingly. This is the work and Church of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. We can emblazen this on our hearts and it will change us forever.

This week we turned on a side road and saw a Gaijin (foreigner) going into an apartment complex. We stopped her and started talking. She attends a Baptist church and is from Texas (and is fluent in Japanese). She came to Church this week and we shared the Book of Mormon with her, and she got to watch the Restoration DVD. Sarah really loves Jesus Christ, and it is so fun to get to share the Book of Mormon with people that love Jesus Christ... it fills up my soul talking about Jesus Christ and how the Book of Mormon leads to having Him more in our lives! I so appreciate what Jana wrote me, that covenants bind us to Him.  What a privilege we have, to invite people to make the sacred covenant of baptism. I love this work, and know we could learn forever about the Savior and Heavenly Father, about their work and the principles of the Gospel... and it is wonderful! It fills my soul and feels like being home sometimes when we remember how close they are through the scriptures and prayer.

We had wonderful training from President Zinke this week. I love President and Sister Zinke so much! They are so incredible. It was so fun to have them visit with 6 or so of us in the zone, and to see the APs. A bunch of us took this long car ride to get back to Tokushima, and hearing the tender moments of their mission experiences filled me with appreciation for this work yet again. We learned the importance of taking the necessary time to teach the correct knowledge of God, especially as traditions are so different here in Japan. I love that we have Priesthood men called to preside over our missions! We talked with Yamamoto Miyuki about her knowledge of God and found that the President was totally right. WOW I love the work. So! We are learning more of how to do His work in His way through the Spirit and His servants!

Transfer calls came, but Uyema Shimai and I are staying in Tokushima! (which isn't that uncommon... when you first begin ..). I know we have work here to do and I love it so much. This is a wonderful place.

We went out to an all you can eat buffet with President after interviews, and they have a little grill built into the table every foot or so... You get raw meat and take it over, and grill it right there, flipping it with your chopsticks! It was great for the Elders, but as Sisters I feel like we only have so much room in our stomachs ha ha. However, the sorbet and treats were delicious... I love Japanese treats! I think it is going to shock my system when I come back to America, because things are so much less sweet here. So! Loving Japan...

Our new friend (Sarah) also has a friend she works with who is also a foreigner who... is our ward mission leader! ha ha. It was AWESOME to have him here and helping us. The Lord truly works in His own way and time, to the blessing of His children. I think of that sometimes when I only get the chance to smile at people, and I hope they see the big name on my tag... Jesus Christ. I hope they associate Him with a smiling face, with love and caring about them, with deep commitment and joy, and good works. I hope my actions, my face, my laugh, my words, reflect His--so when they see that face and that tag, they will remember (if they haven't heard of Him before), something that draws them a little closer to listening when they get that opportunity...  :)

I love the temple so much. To my nieces and nephews, I want to challenge you to set your sights on the temple! Keep a picture close and try to remember what Jesus Christ would have you do. He loves you so much. Heavenly Father is your Father in Heaven, and hears your prayers. You can talk to Him every day and ask for blessings. He wants to bless you and loves when you are happy, and knows what will make you happiest. Trust Him! Thank you for your sweet examples, you  are all getting so big. I hear about your lives and school and the things you are doing and I am so proud (the good kind of proud)!!

Ono Shimai came to church again this week, which is a sacrifice because her health isn't super. We bought her candy to help her. I wish I had time to tell you about our visit with her this week. She is so funny! We were trying to tell her that detective movies were scary and she kept saying they are just funny. I learned all sorts of words in Japanese like pickpocket, burglary, prohibited, and other things ha ha. She is such a wonderful lady though, we love her so much.

I love you sweet fam. Through the Savior's grace, we truly can receive happiness and know that our offering is sufficient as we are committed to growing a little each day, giving our heart and devotion to Him. Isn't life amazing?

With Love and Lots of Other Good Feelings :)
Sister Anderson

the bike says it best... (rental bike)

we went out to get udon (soba noodles)...have you ever seen noodles that gigantic?

Missionary apartments are famous for lost and found items. I found this towel in my apartment cleaning today and thought it was so funny.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hello to all you beautiful people!

Another week in the Incredible Land of the Rising Sun!

Thank you so much for your love and support family and friends! I sure love getting your sweet letters and emails.  Thank you!!! I so love catching up with you all!

This week... what happened? Wow time flies, I feel like I just wrote!

The exchange in Akashi was SO FUN! We got to teach a girl who had been an investigator before, and she wants to learn more. She is really fun. At Eikaiwa we got to share the Good News message. It really was so great! My Japanese is so far from perfect, but this sweet lady came up after and told me that my attitude toward God had moved her heart. It just tells me that the Spirit really works! I didn't even know half of what I was trying to say. haha! We had a slam bang finish with someone not a member getting asked to pray and reciting the Lord's Prayer... and the missionaries didn't even know he had memorized it. haha!

BTW, I know you all have been waiting to see my art work at English class...quite remarkable, no? Yes, I am quite proud of it!

So...this week definitely had some hard times and some good times. Truly the Lord is merciful unto all. I feel Him so close to me, and some of the hard times have some of the most poignant teaching moments.

We got to give Shibata San (our sweet Catholic friend) a Book of Mormon with our testimonies in it. She headed back to her shusshin (home town) this week. We met a lot of Gaijin this week. One was from Germany and didn't believe in God, we got to eat with her and gave her The Book of Mormon... it was neat. She actually left the next day for another part of Japan, so it was lucky we ran into her... I had left my bike key on the bench and we met her running back to get it! We started teaching another lady this week we met at the Eki. We met again with the Jehovah Witness ladies, but this was the grand finish! It pains my soul a lot to see people clinging so much to the truth they have that they cannot accept more. In these moments though, I truly have felt Heavenly Father with me. I love testifying of the power of the Book of Mormon - I know that it is the word of God. It is so hard to see people turn that away, but Heavenly Father's plan really is amazing. Don't worry, we all left and it wasn't super bad, just a little sad. Our job is just to invite and testify, though. I gave them homemade muffins before we left. Weird! ha ha. I know that the Spirit is with us, and my testimony is strengthened every day. The Lord loves each of His children.

There are a lot of people in life facing real problems, but I know His work is deeper. The Lord's work is more than just simply things above the surface. The Lord cares about our hearts. I love the way that the Savior ministered to people: one by one and with divine, perfect, individual love. It gives me so much courage that I can grow in the way that I minister. He did more than just smile with people when the sun shined. Ultimately, He descended below each of our darkest times and took the pain there, the pain for us so that we could return to Him through grace. Oh, how I love Him - Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. How grateful I am that He knows us perfectly. How grateful I am that He knows those we love and seek to help in Japan; and through His love, we can love them even more. Isn't the Gospel amazing?

So! There it is. We had a lesson with one of our investigators about commandments, and it is tough because when it comes down to it... you just have to act in faith and do it. The work is so good and so hard. I feel like I learn so much about Heavenly Father in these experiences. How grateful I am for Him, how often He must wait for us to turn to Him. :) I feel so blessed to be involved in His work, learning His ways. What a magnificent Father in Heaven we have! He loves each of us!! Onward and upward! (and our inactive friend came again to church this week! I got a little bag and coloring book for her sons... thank you sisters and mom for ideas! ha ha.)

You are loved!

Sister Anderson

Here is a picture of a Tokushima specialty, hot azuki beans in a pancake-y.... thing. Eating is such an enlightening experience here!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hard...but rewarding...and fun and funny! Sending love!

My fam!!

Wow, so much has happened and it's so hard to remember everything at that moment when you are looking blankly at a moniter screen... ha ha!
Today we walked in the Church and the Elders took a call on the Church phone announcing that the Church would be receiving flowers!! It was so funny. They came and I had a photo shoot while my comp was writing. I almost decided to pretend that they were from one of our investigators... It's funny because they are HUGE!!!

Also, I looked over at the kiosk that is always there with pamphlets, Morumon Sho, etc... and then I saw him. Santa was dressed in yellow, hiding behind a Book of Mormon, throwing a wink!! It was so funny, I laughed for so long. I guess he hangs out in Japan in the off-season. The other Elders and my companion were like... what??! ha ha. I will send you a picture of him. Seriously...where did this random pic come from? Santa!!
Wow how I love you all! Thank you so much for your thoughts and letters, I feel like I truly came to one of the best homes in the world. Thank you for raising me right Mom, Dad, siblings, uncles, aunts, Grandmas, Grandpas, neices, nephews, and everyone else I love so much. How much easier you make this beautiful time on Earth! I just love you all so much, I can't even take it. I know the Lord expects a lot of me because He sent me to such a wonderful crew like you. It looks like the kids are getting bigger and having fun! The pics I saw of Mook and Coy looked like they were 7 feet tall (are they?!?!?)... and also the computer may have stretched them. Ha ha! I think not. Eli, Isaac, Annie, Joseph, Spen, Hyrum, Brigham, Marissa, Derek, etc etc etc from the pic I saw - you all look so grown up!! I love you all so much. I hope that all my nieces and nephews will remember all the aunt dates, phone calls, parties, visits, letters, and memories...and take all that love I have for you, zwink it into tiny atom form, and carry it in your pocket for these 14 months. I love you!!

Having that said, missionary work is HARD but so rewarding. Wow, the Elder's investigator was baptized this week (Morishige San to iu) on Saturday. My comp was a little under the weather with a kaze (cold), so I ended up singing the Primary song, "I Like to Look for Rainbows" all by myself in Japanese at his baptism! ha ha. I was looking down at the music the whole time trying to make sure the hiragana was right... ha. Wow it was so neat to see the light that was in his eyes after he was baptized. It is so fun to see this change for him, knowing a month ago he didn't believe in God...and seeing the light that has come into his life, and his courage to follow Jesus Christ - it is so incredible. I know that Heavenly Father looks at that infinite potential in all of us, and loves every part of us. I know through Him we can do great things, through the gift of His Beloved, Incredible Son. I want to learn to follow the Savior's example a little more each day. How I love Him! In President's training plan for this month, he talked about how Satan will jump all over any negative thought we have to influence us as missionaries. I know that the antidote is Jesus Christ. His beautiful, sinless life means that I can continually grow, learn, and be imperfect now. How priceless was His ransom, how infinite His love! I love Him so much and pray to see the beautiful people of Japan more as He does, to learn to teach them as He would.

...wasn't Sotaikai (conference) AMAZING?! Wow. It felt so short, watching those talks. Like a funnel of personal revelation for myself and others! I used to feel like a talk wasn't for me at the beginning sometimes and not get as much from it... but it's amazing, no matter the content I felt like it was all gold and for me and the ones I love! I love watching Conference as a missionary. I thought of all of you and your sweet examples! Thanks to all my married siblings for raising your families and being the people you are. You deserve the biggest tribute of fanfares and pom-poms, and yet each day you just continue living your beautiful lives continually and steadily following Him. How much I admire and look up to you! What would it be like if we could share that light? I'm so proud of all of your successes, triumphs, and who you are. Each day you triumph as you teach your beautiful kids. are included in that too. I love you!

Fun stories: This week when streeting, we'd been talking to this girl for a while and it was wrapping up, and I just wanted to bear my testimony to her. I didn't know why, but I had a small feeling that I should. I asked her in broken Japanese if before she left, if I could share my feelings. (ha ha!) I started in, trusting and hoping in something good. Book of Mormon messages started popping out of my mouth. wow... My companion then taught her about prayer and we prayed with her, right there in the park. She started asking some insightful questions about Christianity and Christian churches, and we gave her the Book of Mormon. She asked if she needed to return it and we said no...It's a gift! It was so amazing to see her go from almost leaving, to accepting the Book of Mormon. I was so excited for her. At least now she had some thing to go on, and she had somewhere to turn. I told her again before she left that she could know this Church was true if she read the Book of Mormon, and prayed to know.

I had my own experience with the Book of Mormon last night. As I opened to read, I started again in 1 Nephi. As I read, I received revelation, right there in 1 Nephi 2. It is amazing that that little book has so much power. I know that it changes my life, each day I read it and heed its counsels. Friends and family, will you read from The Book of Mormon each day? I know as you do you will come closer to Him, and that is what I pray for you each day. I love you!

Another time this week, this lady we passed pulled out her ipod earbuds when she saw us. We were crossing the street and she as crossing, so I was keeping a tab on her. I'm riding she's right behind me, and sure enough I hear, "Sumimasen!", and she's asking if we have Eikaiwa (English conversation class). As we are talking, she asks a long question that ends with "...dekiru? Nandemo dekiru?" As she had been talking about Church, I nodded and said, "Dekiru. Nandemo dekiru." She looked surprised but I was answering with a lot of confidence.... only to find out she was asking if we could teach her kids private English lessons, and I'm saying,"Yes. We can do anything." ha ha ha. She asked if they could come to Church though! She got confused and thought Sotaikai (conference) was Eikaiwa this weekend, so she showed up with her daughter... ha ha. They are really excited about Eikaiwa though, and both super nice.

Dakara... mmm.... We met with some less-actives this week, one of which is THE FUNNIEST grandma named Ono Shimai. We love her! I don't know how she got us wearing her hats and glasses and taking pictures with her, and she knows some... fancy English words... but talked so much about how her heart was happy. She came to the baptism and it was SO GREAT to see her there. We were just laughing and laughing.

We got to have dinner with our other older friends this week, and at the end of the meal, they look at each other and say that they want to treat us today. It was like a six course meal with limitless bread continually brought out to us. It is so Japanese, the Japanese people are always GIVING. They are so, so good and so good to us.

Hoka ni? Sakura season is here and it is BEAUTIFUL. We got to go with a member and an investigator this week to have lunch, share a message, and see the flowers. Isn't this incredible?
The work is true! When we follow small promptings, miraculous things happen. I know that the Lord is watching over us and is aware of us. My first koukan (exchange) is tomorrow!  I'm going up to Akashi for a few days!  

Onward and upward!

Love you forever,
Andason Shimai

Monday, April 2, 2012

The work is windy...and so sweet!

My Fam,

As you can see, the members leave treats for us so we can eat them when we come to email! Yummy!!!

Another beautiful week in the land of the Rising Sun! Wow. We got to go to Takamatsu again this week for zone conference and the countryside is SO BEAUTIFUL. I tried to get a good picture but it's hard from the bus! On the bus ride, sometimes you can see the ocean... and I'm reminded again that I'm on the south island. It is breathtaking. It reminds me of New Zealand in some ways, but it's different. The streets in Tokushima remind me of Salt Lake, but like someone squished it just a little to make it... shorter. (and safer!) ...and put it into the midst of rich, green rolling mountains and beautiful Japanese people who have so much good, but many of which who do not know Jesus Christ yet. It is a beautiful land.

So! I'm living in a beautiful place. This week has been busy! I'm learning a lot about goal setting and my companion and I are learning to work even more together. I know that there are people prepared, and I really want to practice approaches... they may get more creative in the next little bit. We taught Yamamoto Shingo San, Yamamoto Miyuki San, and a new investigator named Haiyashi San. My companion met her with her last doryo, but it was really quick. We were recently able to get in touch with her again, and she wanted to meet. We met her on Saturday when she shot us a text telling us she suddenly had time, but it was pretty quick and we gave her a pamphlet. The next day (yesterday) we were on our way to visit a less-active member when she called us, and said she was in Tokushima again (she lives outside of Tokushima). We ran back and we got to teach her at the church. This sweet sister just lit up as she read James 1:5, and asked if she could make a copy of the page. We told her it was in her pamphlet, and she got a pen out and marked it. I wasn't sure how much she understood, but seeing the way she looked at the scripture just changed my outlook on everything. When we gave her the Book of Mormon, I told her that this book was full of scriptures just like that. Her eyes were all alight and she was so excited. I don't know how to write about this, but it was like seeing a starving person. This sweet, sweet woman has never had the word of God in her life. She wanted to know about families, etc, originally. I wish you could have been in that room with me. I've taken what we have for granted. To see her face, her beautiful soul just cling to that scripture, asking if she could make a copy... a scripture that said she could ask God if she had a question. I realized how privileged I've been to have the Bible and the Book of Mormon. When I wrote my letter to President, I told him it was like pouring water on dry ground. I've lived a rich life knowing the goodness of these blessings. How blessed we are to have the light we have! I realized for the first time what this must be like, never having even known about God or His words. We are here to do a a marvelous work for the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is intent on gathering His sheep in this land, sheep so willing to know them if we can but find a way to tell them about Him in a way that they will listen. We live in a privileged state. The word of God truly has power and light, and what a blessing it is to have that! I never knew my advantage because I never have known someone without it, our blessings are deep. Let us treasure the word of God!

Yesterday we were expecting someone to church who didn't come. We were sitting in when a less-active we had visited came in. I can't describe the feelings that came over me, to see her at Church for the second week, in her jeans with her kids. I love this work. I know that the Lord is so anxious to bless us. At that moment I felt the warmth of His affirmation that He knew how hard my companion and I had been working, and as hard as we had worked to get people to Church, He blessed us that we could see this beautiful woman come again to His church service. How much He must have loved to see her there!!!  I hope that we can reach out to those who, for whatever reason, have moved from the hope of the Gospel. It really is such a privilege. I hope that we can invite them back so that they, too, can be "nourished by the good word of God." (Moroni 6:4)

So, I had some fun food this week! SHRIMP SANDWICH... I must be in Japan!

Coconut cookies - I ate these almost every day with Nate and my parents when I was in Japan about seven years ago!  Sooooo yummy!
 We prayed with Yamada San, one of our sweet older friends (the one who loves dogs)... even though she has different beliefs. Mmmmmm... the work is good. I got to testify of the Book of Mormon to Yamamoto Miyuki San and give her the copy that I wrote my testimony in on the plane coming here... and I got so overwhelmed because I love it so much, I started crying! She told me later that she was worried for me, and I tried to explain that they were good tears... ha ha. The word of God is so precious! In Yamamoto Shingo San's lesson, we had a member with us who doesn't speak any English and they were going SO FAST. I tried to answer one of his questions and he told me it didn't really relate to what he was saying... oh well. Saturday was SUCH A GOOD DAY. We met two awesome girls - twice! We just laughed with them so much!! The young adults here are so fun. The first one we met on a crosswalk.  We just waited at the crosswalk to see who would cross - and she did.  And we said hello ... it went up from there haha. Super funny. We tried to find a Japanese translation for the word "sticky" for probably ten minutes for some reason (I think she asked about rice in America?)... We were late to meet with Haiyashi San so we tried to exchange numbers but it wasn't working! She has ours and I hope we will find her again.

The wind has been SO STRONG this week. When we were with our older friends (in their 60s... it's not that old mom and dad.......haha), she made this ingenious invention to save me some embarrassment on the road... string loops to put on each leg and stuff your skirt in. It has saved me quite a few times when the wind gets super strong. Sometimes my helmet gets air between head and helmet and it's only the strap that holds it on. Wahoo!  (or, it will like MOVE your bike!).  Sometimes we just bike in the wind and I just laugh and laugh. It's crazy strong but makes a great conversation starter.... "Strong wind, right?!") ha ha.

Here is the beauty! Mine...all mine!  and we are becoming quite good friends...

I hope my Japanese will continue to improve! I found out the Japanese word for "witch" (majo), which one of the funny contrary older members told me I laugh like... but he secretly likes me, ha ha. We have game night and some of the members come each week! He taught us the word for the last treat: "nokorifuku," which I'm not sure if it's used that often, but he is funny. He told me he couldn't understand my Japanese, but another funny older member told me he understands everything I say. Well! I guess the line is I just hope I'm getting better, I know that I am learning a lot. :)

Well! There's probably a lot left to say, but time is short. I was studying Mosiah 2 as a pattern for CONFERENCE this morning... I am so excited it is coming! We get it next week. It's like Christmas, and so fun knowing they've already talked and we get to hear it this week. Sotaikai!!!!! It's amazing that he says "that they might receive." It is our chance to prepare ourselves... (like Mosiah 2:9!) to receive. I love that my Daddy has taught me this and loves studying this. Thanks for your example Mom and Dad. Truly, if we prepare to receive, we can receive GREAT THINGS. We have the power to the on, off, and degree switch! I love you Fam!

I found the person that my friend Andy Neilsen baptized - she is in my ward!! So so fun - she is awesome. He is one of the few missionaries I know that went to Australia - and he was her missionary! Isn't the world super small? She is from Japan, and was there in Australia, and is back here now.  She emailed Andy to tell him she had met me. :)

I feel everyone so close, it's amazing. The Lord is helping me so much, I feel joy and FEEL your joy for me and for the work, and your closeness to me. I think the world is closer than we think it is in the grand scheme...sweet family, I feel you so close--it is such an adventure. The Lord is miraculous and I am so glad you are celebrating Conference and living and doing those great things! The Lord wants us to rejoice. This life is beautiful.

So, when all is said and done... the work is getting even BETTER. I love this. It's the best ever. Nights having hot cocoa and eatting popped rice with my companion, having our weekly meeting about our investigators, praying each day to find people, talking, teaching, getting trained, biking everywhere, living the dream. I know that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows us and what we are going through, understands perfectly, and knows how to succor and shape us. I love Him and know that He loves us!!

Love always and forever, from afar but closer than we think in the same work!!!!! (that is a long closer line, isn't it?)
Andason Shimai :)