My sweet Family,
I am so sorry the last two weeks have been so short! Today, I will try to make it a little longer. So! We did stay in Niihama, and my new companion straight from the MTC is named Owens Shimai. She is really great and excited to be in the field.
We are teaching a lot of investigators, and really want to actively seek to invite them to come unto Christ. It is such a privilege. This week I really felt like this must be like motherhood. Yesterday, riding my bike, I thought of how you think it will get easier, how you are so excited to have another child coming, you do more prep, and probably some smarter prep from having the experience, but in the end--you find out you are still human, and kind of close to the same person you were --you are still mortal ha ha. It was such a realization for me as I knew I would probably feel like that with every child I have. Ha ha! Who knew what prep I would get in Japan! It is so wonderful though. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love my Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So this week, Hino Shimai read the monogatari (The Book of Mormon picture book) we gave her. She read it 6 times, and moved forward on her own to begin reading the Book of Mormon, which she told the other sisters that she couldn't do! It's so neat because it wasn't something we really did, the spirit is just working with her. She has a very depth of knowledge about the story of the Book of Mormon, probably more than most any investigator.
Jedley and Melody, our Phillipino investigators, came to church this week. It was so special. I got to speak in Sacrament meeting, and felt Heavenly Father's love for them so strongly. I felt how happy He was that everyone was there. I shared an experience about the Sacrament, and the power I felt it had in my life when I was such a new missionary, with my first Japanese companion in Akashi. I love the Sacrament. Our other investigators we haven't met a lot, except for Yuushi, who we taught about the Spirit--I had him do a pop quiz and listed feelings of the Spirit to see if he's felt them. He had. It was so neat to see his mom just testify to him and try to teach him.
We love the work. It is interesting to me to be on this last stretch of my mission, but I am feeling the excitement and the drive to go and find the elect. They are waiting here. It is such a privilege to work in the vineyard! I wish I had hours to tell you about all of those we are teaching. They are all just so special.
We were asked to do a family home evening last night at the Branch President's, to which Yuushi kun and his family and another guy and family came. We acted out Lehi's dream, and put Liahona's in their little backpacks when they stepped on the stuff that wasn't the path. They had to find their path on their own, with both forces (the great and spacious building people used the party hats and kazoos Mom sent for my birthday!), with some Japanese treats that were white at the end, where the other team was eating and cheering. It was so cute - the girl heard the voices, even though she was blindfolded, and walked almost straight to them. The other boy struggled for maybe 10 minutes, and kept getting magazines and eventually fruit in his back pack. When he finally came to the rod, we took off his backpack at Baptism... it is empty when we are baptized (we had the path as the Gospel of Christ). It was so fun. You wouldn't believe that our Branch President knows the Abraham dance that Yoshiko Shimai taught us in Akashi. One day I will show you that video. I haven't laughed that hard on my whole mission!!!
The work is rich, and we are rich because we have it. I love to share the wealth!
Whether a person is new to the gospel or filled with the Gospel light - no matter where each of us is on that Gospel path, His help is real, and we are not too far from His reach. "Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
That is the Savior's invitation to each of us. He loves us all so much.
Sending my love from this blessed land,
have to tell you about one of the most tender moments of my mission. We were going to district meeting, maybe an hour and a half away. These cute elementary kids got on the train. I always bring stickers to give out to kids on the street and start talking to families, and I had just re-stocked. I gave one away, and for the next twenty minutes there were all of these little faces with their matching yellow hats sneaking over, all peering. They are so cute. We became friends. I gave one boy two, and there were thirty little hands saying "Choudai!" They were so precious.
You wouldn't believe it, but when we came home at one pm, they came on the same train. This time, we were on the receiving end. These cute little children, under eight, came grasping seashells and leftover candy from their lunches, a few of the precious caramels that each of them had received, a pine cone or two from a boy who liked them. Tears sprung my eyes as they told us they liked karate, asked us to speak English, asked if we'd tasted this kind of candy. They were so anxious to give from what they had. They are so Christ-like. We were even sitting by a lady who they became friends with, and they gave her candy, because we said she was our friend. I want to be like them when I grow up. It impressed me so much. I have a precious bag of seashells covered in seaweed, a beautiful little shell that a little girl gathered, and they are all so precious. Do you think I could get them through customs? :)
The party hats came in handy at eikaiwa
(English conversation school)! haha!
In the mine,,,
Nothing is impossible!!!!
I found Japanese Aunt Laura in Japan! ha ha
(beautiful, sweet ward-member)
Funny story: Mom sent two packages for my birthday in December and I only got one. Sometime in February the other one was returned to Bluffdale. Mom immediately re-mailed it and now I have the rest of the presents and the party hats mentioned in this letter! haha! Thanks Mom! 333