Dear Family and Friends,
This week, I felt like I was going crazy out of my mind! Wow, what a busy week, and yet it was full of miracles! I am not sure which ones to focus on, and which ones to leave out, and I just want to be so grateful for my companion. and for the wonderful days here in Japan.
Just today, my companion and I were walking on our way to the church, and we call out "hello" (in Japanese) to this cute old couple and they said hello back, and then the man said to his wife "Wow, their Japanese is so good!" Hahaha..
There are so many Americans here in Yokosuka, because of the military base. It has been fun to just experience that. I don't get a ton of weird stares because I'm not Japanese, at least, no until I start speaking! Then they are really confused, because they know many Americans, but there are so few who can actually speak the language. Then they ask why, and we tell them, we're church volunteers. Will you come to church to see what it's like?
I realize how kind and soft the people of Japan are. Just the other day, I was on a train, and I watched a Japanese lady give up her seat so that a man could sit with his wife. He kept saying "no, please, please," motioning for her to take her seat again, but she was kind, and he was able to sit with his wife. I am so astonished at the kindness that is so embedded in the hearts of the men and women and children in Japan.
I want to share an experience we had with an investigator this week. She has been taking lessons since January, and is slowly learning. She is so full of light. I was in Yamate on Companion Exchanges, but I told my companion to call her and tell her that I really want her to go to a baptismal service being held in Kamiooka. She called, and relayed the information, she did her best! Sister Watanabe helped out, and then the investigator asked when we should meet! Hooray! On Saturday we went with her, telling her that it was a field trip. I promised her we would teach about repentance that week, and Baptism is a great opportunity to use! The Sister who received baptism was so ready. and so amazing, that our investigator was incredibly touched. We talked after ward, and she really is happy she could go.
And I went on companion exchanges with Sister Smiley, who read my blog before coming out here. ^.^ And that was really fun. They have a few investigators themselves who are progressing. The zone is seeing a ton of progress and miracles. I am happy to be here.
In my moments of craziness and braindeadness, I reflect on what I need to do. I just go back to the basics. Oh, and this last week, a really great thing was that we had Zone Conference! Hooray! It was a wonderful one. It was very much about repentance. I love repentance now! Alma 36. Ether 12:27.
My last testimony. Wow. I had no idea what to say, so I testified of the things I learned from the bottom of my heart. I will be sad to leave the mission. Especially saying goodbye to President and Sister Wada.
Yesterday at church, President Wada came. He introduced himself as the Elders' dad! Haha!
Love you all!
Dear family and friends,
This week felt like it was really really long! But not in a bad way! I
felt like I am living, and not just surviving!
My companion Sister Bangerter is the bomb, we are so similar, and it's
crazy. She's like I was, but a year ago. Literally, since she is third
transfer, she came the MTC in May, and she will be going home almost
an exact year after me. ^.^ legacy.
So let's think... What actually happened this week. It felt so long, I
can't figure out what actually happened! Haha. Well, to start off,
last Pday, I went shopping after sending emails. And I went to Daiso.
It is a 100¥ store, and all things there are only that price (not
including tax. With tax, 108¥, which equivalent to one dollar-ish).
And it is the best place for shopping ever. So, I brought an older
version of the iPod Nano with me to the mission (it is more square.
Not the rectangle one!). But the charger cord is falling apart! I was
so sad, because it wasn't charging right, I thought, so I looked for
one at Daiso. And lo and behold. In Japan, they sell them at Daiso.
That was something I wanted to share. As expected of Japan, right? Blessings.
Talk about blessings, I was talking to my companion today during
cleaning, and I offered to let her have my purse that I've been using,
and she told me she was afraid it would fall apart on her. Then I
realized, I have had this bag since my first transfer when I bought it
at a recycle shop for 1000¥ (less than $10) and it still isn't showing
many signs of wear and tear. Wow. I felt blessed.
Ok, so what miracles happened this week? Well, let me tell you.
This week was crazy because we had sooo many meal appointments! So
much American food, which is nice, but a little strange. My companion
seems to finally be getting over the culture shock of half Japan, half
American land here in Yokosuka. On Monday, we had El Salvadorian food,
which was really delicious. And we shared a message, and we had a
commitment prepared, but the member was so focused on helping us keep
time, we didn't get the chance to extend the commitment, haha! But
they were so kind. We told them we had plans to go housing in their
area afterwards, and they helped us find an apartment building that
didn't have a sign saying that people who don't live there or have a
relation to people in the building can't go in. So that was great, and
that day, there was a thunderstorm! Which are so rare in Japan
compared to Missouri, but it was exciting. :)
We didn't have a dinner appointment on Tuesday, but there was a lesson
with our progressing investigator. She is so sweet. She is my best
friend. We are working on helping her recognize the Spirit, and we
feel it so strongly in all of our lessons. She is so prepared. She
also came to church this week! Kanae San has been taking lessons with
the missionaries for a while, but only since January. We want to
invite her to go see a baptism in Kamiōoka this Saturday! Which would
be so awesome if she could attend! We really want to help her along.
And then Wednesday we met with the Sasse (pronounced Zassa) family ,
and we successfully found their house, and we're there about fifteen
hairs past 5. But the Yokosuka Military Senior couple missionaries had
gotten lost! >.< oh no! Haha, they found it eventually, though. It's a
lot to drive in Japan, especially for Americans. Although most cars
will have GPS built into the car, it is most likely only for use in
Japanese, which would require understanding the hiragana alphabet. ^.^
hahaha.... Well. Lots of members in the Ward have trouble with it, but
they seem to make their way around.
And then, oh! Wait. We also met with a former investigator on
Wednesday. She spoke to us only in English, because her English is
just that good. We asked her if she was interested in learning more,
and she outright was straight and honest, and told us no. She was
really kind, though, and we exchanged business cards. I hope after the
mission too, when I come back, we can meet up. She's pretty cool.
So on Tuesday, there was something interesting that happened. We met a
really nice lady who also only spoke to Ius in English, and then ran
into her again at the food court we were meeting the former
investigator at! She was really kind, and said she loves to draw
Americans' faces. Haha. So she drew mine, and it ended up pretty
interesting. Remind me to send out a picture of it later. ^.^
We've been having ladies who are from Taiwan come to church. They came
twice in a row, and the one came to English class, and brought another
friend. It was a lot of fun on Thursday, because the one who brought
her friend to English class had absolutely no knowledge of English!
Wow! She was so excited to learn though. And she participated, and
learned, and spoke what she could. We were suprised by her coming to
church again yesterday. I hope hey come again. She said that she
really enjoyed English class, and wants to come again this week!
On Wednesday, we also met a really wonderful mother and her two boys.
They were so cute! We called them the next day, and she had really
thought about what we had talked to her about. She didn't want to ruin
the relationship with her husband by studying about our religion, so
she doesn't seem like she will take the missionary lessons right now.
But we became really good friends. I want to meet up again with her!
Well, I am being really all over the place today, with this email, but
on Thursday before English class, the elders told us to go visit
someone, and we did, and the person was home, and she came to the
door, asking for us to exchange numbers, so she can call us when she
has time to talk! Wow, and we also became friends.
Ended up doing weekly planning on Friday, due to a lot of busyness on
Thursday. But, another thing that happened on Thursday was Zone
Meeting. This zone is really laid back. It's a little strange. But we
enjoyed the zone meeting. My training was about the new What to Expect
pamphlet, and Sister Wright really helped me out. We did it together.
And we used a training that my cousin, Elder Blake used when he was
still out here in the mission. My trainer, Sister Padelsky told me
about how there's a cup, and a bucket of water. The cup is the
investigator, and the bucket is us, and how much gospel knowledge we
have. If we try to throw everything we know at the investigator, we
might walk away thinking, 'that was a great lesson, we taught them all
they need to know!' But really, the cup falls over, and all that's
left it not even a tiny drop of water. well, it wasn't as cool as the
original, and the cup actually didn't even fall over, but the zone
members really got the point, I think. Haha. I "bucket" people, too
much! I should learn from my own training.
Saturday and Friday were so amazing! Friday, we met up with that same
amazing family again, and the lesson was so full of the Spirit. We
watched the video of Jesus Healing the Blind Man in Japanese, and it
touched them a lot. I hope they went to church in Kamakura yesterday!
They told the Kamakura Sister Missionaries they would come to see
Sister Kaizaki (one of them) speak in church on Sunday.
Saturday, was the Rucker Family dinner, and I found out that Brother
Rucker plays the violin! I was so selfish, and I begged them just to
let me hold the violin, and they did! I then yesterday spoke with
Sister Crowther, who is over the music here, and she said we might be
able to pull something together for my last Sunday with the choir and
me and Brother Rucker playing the violin! I would be so happy if I
could do that!
Sunday yesterday was great. Set the alarm for 5:30, and woke up at
6:20 wide awake and ready to start the day.
Oh, and this last week, my bike finally made it from my last area
safely, after a lot of trouble, and calls to the mission office. They
told me it was expensive, but they were able to get ahold of a
teleportation device. The only problem is that you can only use it
once, I said, and then you have to get a new one. Well, that aside,
there's a member who drove it all the way from Hiratsuka to Yokosuka
in the middle of the night. I am so grateful for that member! >.<
Until now, I'd been using a different bike, but that person needed it
back, so it came at the right time.
I feel like I have some more humbling to do, but I realize that in my
moments of frustration, prayer and writing down my thoughts to try to
clear my mind, have been a big help. This work isn't mine alone.
Well, I love you all!
This week, I get to give my last testimony that all missionaries give
at their last Zone Conference. It's strange because it's too early in
the transfer. I still have quite a few weeks left, and it feels weird.
Dear Family and Friends,
There was a flood warning this morning. And boy, was it coming down pretty hard. Haha. it's pretty much stopped now, though. No worries.
Well, transfers, and lots of other crazy miracles happened this week. A ton of meals with members and lessons with people who were sad to see Sister Ogawa go, and then just a lot of meal appointments. the military ward is getting back into full swing.
Since the transfer, I became companions with Sister Bangerter, and she is keeping me alive. "You old grandma," she called me. We are doing a lot of finding, and getting out there. We're pretty honest with each other. It's going to be a great transfer.
Miracles: A member from the military ward invited us over, and invited their Japanese neighbors over. It was sweet! They are so nice, and so conversational. We have plans to meet with them this Friday and to talk more about Jesus Christ.
On the way home from that appointment, we met a wonderful American on the train and her daughter. They knew our Ward Mission Leader! WoW! She used to work for him, actually! Crazy!
She said she'd love to come and check out our church, and we said, yes, please do! Hurrah!
I feel the love of God so much out here. I'm still working on the whole drink water things. Who knew how hard that could be! It's harder than taking medicine, but it's the natural medicine we drink everyday, our body needs water!
Anyhow, love you! Exciting things are happening in Yokosuka, Japan. And it's gonna set on fire! (NOT LITERALLY.)
Dear Family and Friends,
This week was dead! Wow! I actually reaped the consequences for not drinking water, finally.... You know what they say about choosing the action, but not being able to choose the consequence. Ahahah.... Well, That's what I got this last week.
I have had a hard time drinking enough water my whole life, but I've never experienced anything worse than headaches, to which my dad would ask, "Are you drinking enough water?" Well, the answer was probably always no.
On Friday, I got up on time, and exercised, and did all the study, and then when we got out the door, I started to feel dizzy, and not well. We got to the church and then I felt really not well. And then I couldn't get anywhere, and I just needed to lay down and rest. On Saturday, I had a headache, stomach ache, and a lot of other stuff going on, so I had to take it easy. Didn't feel like eating much or doing much, but the Elders gave me a priesthood blessing. I am glad I could receive one. Sunday was pretty much ok. Except sometimes my stomach would hurt from time to time.
The week was a good one though. Sunday was good as well.
We are doing what we can to find Paula. We hope she gets out of the hospital soon.
Also, I have received my transfer call, and I am! Staying Hooray! So happy! MY new companion is Sister Bangerter, and she is coming straight from Kofu! I love Kofu! And I hope we will have the chance to talk about all the great things about Kofu. It is too bad she came out of Kofu right at the start of Grape Season, but I guess that's that. She has to leave in the morning to get here on time. >.< Kofu is so far away!
So, I love that I can just open the scriptures and feel peace. Lately, I have just needed that extra peace, because my brains are going all over the place. Today, I watched the Mormon Message called "You Never Know". Its a bit long (ten minutes) but it reminds me that I just never know the good that comes out of what I do.
By the way, I realize that maybe I should be less selfcentered. Writing this email every week makes everything about me, and that's hard. It gets information out to everyone, but I wonder sometimes if it makes it harder to have direct communication with a lot of people. Maybe it feels far away, just like a newspaper. Haha. Lol.
So, I found out that people actually do read the blog... Haha. Thanks Melissa for keeping it up! Some of the Sisters who come here tell me, "Yeah, I read your blog!" And then
when I show them pictures, they say, "Yeah I saw that!" Ahaha...
And so, I'm offering this simple phrase, to kids from Utah and Missouri too. Though it's been said, many times, many ways, I love you, I do!
Dear Family and Friends,
I went on exchanges with Sister Gazdik! She is awesome. She listened
to me tell my life story (well, really my whole mission story) and we
had a fun time doing missionary work together. We do missionary work a
little different. And for a bit, I felt like maybe I wish I had always
done missionary work her way. But then after the exchange, I got back
with Sister Ogawa, and felt like it was ok for each person to do it
the way they do best. That will be different for each person. That's
why we all have different callings at different times. We may be
needed for who we already are.
And it's ok when we make mistakes. But keep your eyes on Jesus Christ.
Today was a really good day. I feel once again refreshed. We got up,
and went all the way to Mt. Takao. For those of you who have read all
my emails, you may remember that I've climbed it before. Twice. But I
went once more. We climbed up a more nature way. Just a little bit
more dangerous than the way I've always gone. Didn't know that path
existed. :) but fun. Don't worry, we all made it to the top safe and
Anyhow, after that, I met up with one of my favorite people in the
world. Sister Toshie! We haven't seen each other since I moved away
from Kofu, in January. When it was decided that we would go to Mt
Takao, I got a hold of her and her son, and asked them to come out and
meet me in Takao. It took both of us two hours, but we had a happy
reunion. I'll include the picture we took.
I feel like lately I've taken he time to think about how my mission
has shaped me. (Maybe I should take the time after my mission rather
than now to get the whole picture, but I am pleased with how my growth
I look forward to the day that I can see near the end of my time in
mortalit and hopefully say the same things!
Favorite quote of the week :
But they also knew that "many of the things you can count, do not
count. Many of the things you cannot count, really do count."
- pres. Dieter F Uchtdorf
Love you all!
"You are hereby called to serve in the Japan Tokyo South Mission."