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.
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 :)