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!!!
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. Nate...you 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 slow...so 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?
Onward and upward!
Love you forever,