My Dearest Family,
I just want to start out by testifying that I know this work is true.
I know that it is true in so many ways, I can't number them. Something
from the daily living, those little, consistent choices, something so
deep that only those little choices can drill into the very
fiber of your bones--your spiritual bones, so deep it almost hurts - but
it's good, with your whole frame you know it's true!
We had an amazing experience this week, but before that... wasn't
Conference awesome!! I was just so amazed at the glory of God
at that Conference. Missionaries get to go earlier!!!! Wow - just wow!
That truly will go down in history and change so many things! The Lord
is gathering His sheep ever faster, and because that He has saved
those who can be ready to come join the ranks, to fight for the right on
the front lines... it is incredible.
I am so excited!!! If they only knew what awaits them! Angels build us up
and walk with us, preparing the way (Alma 13:24). I've never been so
changed in my life. I have hard the hardest times on my mission and the
in all--the Lord forges our character on our missions. He knows exactly
what we need. I would echo those who have taught us that that every
worthy young man should serve a mission. I would echo and invite the
wonderful young women who desire to go. The field is white. It is prepared.
The Lord WILL gather His sheep, we get to help in preparing for the Savior.
Sweet friends and family, prepare and GO! I loved Elder Holland's guided
study of that passage--reminding us of our own priorities. I rejoiced in Elder
Eyring's talk. I am amazed at the grandeur of Conference. I loved every talk
I heard!!! Has it always been like this? Has it always been this magnificent?
I love having my eyes opened a little bit to my own unknowing-ness. This is
His Church, led by His Apostles with authority from Jesus Christ. loved seeing
the sweet apostles and prophets, and something changed even a little bit more for
me this Conference. I realized I am gaining an appreciation for living the
gospel through experiences here. Its amazing! I had been studying about
prophets and apostles right before Conference, and I received a witness
again that these are men of God with the authority on earth that binds us
to heaven. We would be lost without the Priesthood. We would be in
darkness without these men, a clear beacon asking us so intently to come
unto Christ and participate actively in His Gospel. These men are men called
and placed on the earth for the "salvation of [God's] children." Do we
know what we have? I love those sweet reminders. It is true. Those
sweet men, so humble and magnificent, are the representatives of God
chosen to be on earth to testify of Jesus Christ at this time. I
sustain President Thomas S. Monson with all of my heart. I know that
man is a prophet of God. I guess I am learning more and more what that
means for us on earth. What a man, what a legacy, what a joy that the
Gospel is restored. This truly is the greatest message every shared!
So...our amazing experience this week. We had been fasting last week
and found a woman who wanted to hear. We went to her house this week
and she wasn't home. We housed a little bit around her house, and were
preparing to go when we "decided" to ring her doorbell one more time.
She came to the door and invited us in. She is SO PREPARED. I feel so
blessed to have an investigator! We said the opening prayer and opened
our eyes, and she was crying. She said she likes to come to church and
came to two sessions of General Conference. She is the mother of 3
boys, and we got to teach her about God's love on Sunday, so much like
the love she has for her boy from whom she is separated. I began to
cry when I talked of my mom, and how much I love her and how hard it
is to be away. She cried with me. I got to tell her that Heavenly
Father's love is even greater. It is such a privilege to be a gospel
teacher in the gathering of Israel. I love the land of Japan. I love
these sweet people. I know that Jesus Christ loves these sweet people.
We felt like we could have taught her more, but we are teaching her
again on Tuesday. Thank you so much for your prayers, my family! I
know that you helped find her. I know that God hears and answers your
prayers, and mine. I know God lives and loves us. I know that nothing
we experience cannot be turned to our gain, and I'm so grateful that
things aren't always easy because it makes knowledge deep; it is the
fire that burns experience into our bones. I wouldn't trade it. I
realized that while watching conference. How incredibly grateful I am for
experience, especially the experience that makes us stretch. I would
take a gentle reminder to any within the reach of this letter that He
knows better than we do, and would cite to C.S. Lewis (as I remember it):
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house.
At first you understand what He is doing, He is fixing the roof and
getting the drains right, you knew those things needed fixing so you
are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking about the house in
a way that hurts abominably, and you wonder, what on earth is He up
to? The answer is simple. You thought you were being made into a
decent little cottage, but He is building a palace.
To all my cottage builders out there: I love you. I love you so much,
and I know God is helping you. I know our Heavenly Father knows every
weakness and strength we have, and that He is working to turn us into a
palace. For those deciding whether or not to go on a mission, I would say:
GO. "The opportunity of a lifetime is yours." (President Monson). It will be
the greatest cottage to castle renovation you've ever undergone (citing
Jana Christensen), and it is so worth it. The field is white. Every place in
the world is being prepared for the sound of your voice, for the tread of
your shoes, for the dedication of your work, for the zeal of your spirit. This
is His vineyard, the earth, and He will give you a corner of it to tend and
to learn how to become a little bit more like Him in this short time.
I promise you He knows you better than you do. He knows your strengths
and your weaknesses, and He loves you. (This is getting a little long
for the nieces and nephews, huh?) I know this work is true. God will
burn a testimony into you so deep that "earthly power cannot separate
it from you." I love you future troops!
I LOVE THIS WORK, I love my Heavenly Father, I rejoice in His
goodness, I am aware of my pavilions and my inadequacies, and I am
grateful for His patience. I know that Jesus Christ lives, that He is
"the Jehovah of the old testament and the Messiah of the new." (The
Living Christ) I love you sweet family. This gospel, authority, Church
is on earth so that we can return to God as family units, and the
Gospel is best in families. We are having miracles out here. We are
still talking with the PI family and they came to a little bit of
conference! I made a fancy bingo board but they didn't use it... ha
ha. Teaching is so great though. The mom wants her kids to know about
the Church, and I think she is still moving that direction herself. ;)
The Spirit is amazing. After knocking again on the door of the sweet
lady we started teaching (who is now a progressing investigator!!), my
wonderful companion had the impression that we should go back to a
door we'd knocked on before. As we were going, I said hi to a lady across
the road, and when she crossed and found out who we were, she said
something like, "Oh missionaries! Where is your Church? Can I come
sometime?" She then proceeded to hand us her business card with her
information and left because she was working. I know the Lords is
preparing hearts to hear in every land (go on a mission! subliminal
messaging from me to you!)... It is our privilege to share it.
Well, among other things, I zealously killed a cockroach in the
bathroom, we started Eikaiwa that has now gone all English, official
this week MORMON.ORG HAS BEEN TRANSLATED FULLY TO
JAPANESE!!! It is so awesome and we are so excited! I am just so happy
that things are starting to be translated. This country will eat that up. I love
that! I want to help my Japanese brothers and sisters so deeply. I LOVE
THEM. They are a piece of me, inside me all of the time, thinking about
how I can help them, how I can teach simply, how to help them understand...
which I felt this week is ultimately the Spirit. I love the Holy Ghost. That is
THE BEST gift we could have. We are not alone in the mission field.
This really old man in our ward showed up on Sunday with
three pictures he'd taken while I was teaching Eikaiwa - so funny!
Our sink broke and will periodically squirt our whole
outfit down well if we don't remember that it is slightly broken. I
will send you pictures of our apartment, we passed our cleaning check,
I have a white bike that gets me around. Dobson Shimai and i love working
together! I am so blessed. I love studying the scriptures and speaking
Japanese. Its all sooooooooooooo good!
I love you sweet family! This week I read the calling of Jeremiah and
was so impressed. I love that the Lord calls the "weak and simple" to
declare His message. His is the voice of thunder and the quiet voice,
He is my Lord and Master, My Redeemer and Savior. I love Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your prayers! I have really felt them. I know that you
are praying for me. I love you! Choose the right and enjoy this life of living
on the front lines, in the last days... what a mission is ours to fulfill.
I LOVE YOU! The work is true. What a joy it is to have a call to labor
in the vineyard.
Your sister, daughter, grand-daughter, aunt, niece, cousin and friend,
typical Japanese bread... we love beans here!
(funny food story... sometimes the milk will make your stomach make
noise and we were in a lesson like two weeks ago, and our stomachs
were just like... gurgling! it was like... and we know that'S true...
gurgle gurgle gurgle... families are important... gurgle gurgle...
she asked us,"did you eat breakfast?" ha ha ha. so great.
I definitely will not drink milk that often anymore.
Welcome to apartment 203!
(The front door is featured at the top of this post).
Ok, so when we transferred here, we found these gooey pink cupcakes that
look like Lisa Frank things on our fridge, which is funny because it's
been an Elder's area for ten years as far as we know...haha!
Our snuggly fold-up beds...
We were in charge of buying drapes and getting reimbursed. You would be so
proud, mom! We found these at the recycle shop, 100% polyester and...
they were 600 yen and 700 yen.... altogether around 15 bucks! woo hoo!
kitchen (with fridge minus gooey cupcakes)
At the shotengai 商店街 (a Japanese commercial district running along a certain street).
This one has a pet store....so cute!