Dear Family and Friends,
Well, we had transfer calls, and -drumroll- I'm staying in Kofu! "Of
course!"is what the Elder who gave me my transfer call told me. With
Sister Imano on her last transfer, of course I wasn't going to go
So now I'm here with my new companion, Sister Clark! And! There are
now 8 missionaries here in Kofu! 6 Elders, 2 Sisters! Needless to say,
the members were surprised! Actually, one of the Elders is named Elder
Clark! But they aren't even related at all! It's hilarious. Also, her
name, said with Japanese pronunciation means "dark". "Even though she
really has a bright personality!" I would tell the members. So now
they have two American Sister Missionaries, for the first time in a
few years. Kofu usually has at least one, if not both Japanese
Sisters, but this transfer, it's just me, and Sister Clark.
Our district leader, Elder Huntsman has transferred back here to Kofu.
He served here in Kofu as a first transfer missionary one whole year
ago. The ward is happy to have him back.
So, about the Halloween party. I hadn't really thought about what it
would really turn into, but it ended up being very interesting and
fun! Well, I made a stark realization that night- I was area Senpai. I
knew the most about what was going on for the Halloween Party, and I
had been in Kofu the longest our of the eight missionaries. All the
ward members were coming to me for set up, and what was going on, and
everything! And, the sister who was going to be our MC suddenly came
down with a fever, and so I had a talk with a brother in the ward, who
is over the YSA, and he told me that out of the people we had, I
should MC. WHAT! I thought, but it ended up being a three-way MC
effort between Kazuhiro Kyoudai, Takahashi Chourou, and me. But it all
worked out in the end.
SO MANY PEOPLE CAME, and we saw so many miracles, which continued into Sunday.
Many of our English class students came, including the Oda family! We
have only met them twice, but they decided to come since we invited
them! And! A sister that got baptized a year ago, who's had a harder
time coming back to church came! Her son made many great fun friends,
and then came back on Sunday, too! He didn't want to go home both
times! Another boy, who lives in the same apartment building as we do,
always comes to our pingpong night when he can, he also came! He
helped out a lot! So much! Usually his mom doesn't let him stay at our
activities, or eat dinner at our activities when there is a meal, but
this time, he went home, and came back, saying his mom gave him
permission! He stayed until later, ate a little curry, and played with
the kids after the trunk or treat.
So, the trunk or treat was super interesting! Instead of sitting in
cars, we actually stood outside with bags of candy, and if the kids
came to us and said trick or treat, we gave them candy until the candy
was all gone. One Brother sat in his car and waited and waited, but
the children never came to find him. When I noticed him sitting over
there in his car alone, in his vampire costume, I grabbed my
companion, and we stood over by him, and announced to the children
that there was still a lot of candy, and he had it! They flocked over
to him quickly, and all went well.
Probably the most eventful part of the evening was when I talked to
our investigator who came. Here in Japan, as missionaries, sometimes
we set up a six-week half English, half Gospel lesson with families.
With her, we had that kind of lesson set up, but suddenly the family
got busy, and they couldn't meet. She came to English Class, but
because I was in Takao that night, with the Takao Sisters, I wasn't
there to meet her!
So we talked with her, and I began telling her about some of the
members. She then told me that she had talked with her husband about
the church, and he's against her joining. She is very faithful, and
wants to keep learning, but it takes time. A little bit at a time. For
now, she's coming to English Class every week, and she'll continue
reading the Book of Mormon, and if she has questions, she will ask
over text messages. :) I love her! She is amazing!
Church was great too! Our ward mission leader's mother has begun
coming to church. She is so sweet, and she has a big heart. She wasn't
there his last week, and so our ward mission leader called a sudden
"strategy meeting" and we discussed how we could help her best. I can
tell you that feeling trust from the members is he best feeling in the
world as a missionary, second to feeling the love of God through the
We had two experiences yesterday that really gave me the chance to
feel that love of the members. One was the strategy meeting, and the
other was when another member invited us to come over and teach his
mother. She received lessons before, but she lives a little far away,
about 50 minutes by bike, and some other things happened, and we
weren't able to really meet with her. But we met her last night, and
she is amazing, and kind. We invited her to take the lessons one more
time, to try to do the things we ask her to, and as she does, as she
comes to know that what we teach is true, to be baptized. Elder
Bednar's talk from General Conference was so helpful. She is so strong
in what she believes, but I'm grateful that instead of feeling
hopeless, and unable to lovingly invite her to find out about truth
for herself, I was able to explain to her that we think it is so
amazing that she is such a faithful person to what she believes, and
how important we think that is. We love her, and her son loves her,
and that is why we have decided to share what we know with her. We
want her family to be eternal.
So here are some pictures to tide you over until next week, but I hope
you will see that I love my mission. That God is strengthening me, and
protecting my family, and that I know that I don't have to worry about
it. God has everything, He will take care of what we can't handle. He
knows us, and we know that He loves us. I testify that the Book of
Mormon is true. It is for us now, and we can draw closer to God by
reading and abiding by the precepts written in the Book of Mormon. Of
this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
1- Sister Clark
2- she was chosen as the "oni" (demon- basically, the person who is
"it") for our group. We won first place!
3- there we are, Sister Clark, Sister Blake, and what's that in the
background? Could it be? It's Mount Fuji!
Things I have learned.
I learned a lot. My companion is really good at noticing and
correcting my problems in missionary work. She's on her last
transfer, and goes home this week! XP what will I do without her?
Ah, well, I know that it's not too much of a worry. Transfer calls are
coming today. Not yet, though!
Hey, we had a random stranger walk into our church building today just
to look around, because he's had interest in the Mormons! He just
randomly came in!
Well, because of that, I'm out of time now to write emails, but
hopefully, we can find time later to use the rest of my email time! If
not, talk to you again next week! I have a,aging friends here in Kofu!
I love them all!
Sometimes General Conference reminds me of this song, and how I used to randomly sing it everywhere I went at college, in the snow, rain, or even in the evening! I would change the words to match the setting, but it would always be beautiful.
Dear family and friends,
First of all, I'd like to let you all know that we will be safe in our apartments tonight when the storm hits. President Wada has informed us all to be inside by six o'clock tonight, and not to leave our apartments until six in the morning tomorrow.
So, fun days in Japan. Apparently, we will have 19 typhoons this year! This is a lot of fun, though, because the rain comes, but I especially like the wind. Last time, one of the elders showed us the picture of the typhoon from satellite, and that's when I made the clear distinction that typhoons are the exact same thing as hurricanes. .. Although I knew it, I'm not sure if I had pictures the weather to look like a hurricane from satellite, I guess. Just rain and wind.. but I guess that's what typhoons are all about!
So, news for the missionary work. We, as mostly American missionaries, have been asked by our ward to plan a Halloween Party, as American as possible. Last week, on Sunday we had a meeting, and my companion ended up explaining a lot of it, since she knew what we were saying in English, and could translate it into Japanese. I learned a lot from that meeting. So, yeah, here's our plan for the activity!
We will, instead of a chili contest, be having a mabodofu contest! Mabodofu is a dish with tofu in it. It is really easy to make, and so, I'm looking forward to it. We have a costume contest, and mummy wrapping, pumpkin carving, and of course, trunk or treat. This is the first time Kofu Ward has done this kind of activity I believe, and so there's a lot going on with the planning!
Yesterday, I asked the relief society president what she needed help with, and she gave me a very clear list of things to do! I am so grateful for ward members who are so willing to help the missionaries!
Sometimes, Japanese can throw you off guard, when you don't know how to use it properly. I won't go into too much detail, but let's just say, we were at a members' home, sharing a spiritual thought, asking if they had anyone they knew that would benefit from learning the gospel. They shared their feelings about sharing the gospel, and we know this family loves missionaries. So I wanted to say that I was moved by their kindness for missionaries, but I accidentally said a vey offensive word. My companion, who was sitting next to me was trying to figure out what on earth I was trying to say, but didn't tell me until a couple days later that I had made the mistake, and that the sister we were sharing the message with was trying so hard not to laugh!
So, today's RPLA. I was thinking about fear today, while praying before personal study, and felt impressed to study the account of the Savior walking on water, as found in Matthew 14:24-33.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
This is what I studied, and wrote down. As it applies to me, so have I written. But as you ponder and apply this to your own life, you will find that scriptures can be so powerful.
The people on the boat were struggling. The wind was contrary, and they were on the sea. They saw a man walking on water, and feared. But Jesus immediately told them to be of good cheer.
Why of good cheer? Is it because Christ has the power to save them from the storm they were now facing? Be not afraid, for I have power to rescue you.
Peter, why did you go out to meet the Lord on the water?
Wanted to be like Christ. Show faith. Couldn't wait for the Lord to come all the way to the boat before he wanted to run out to meet Him?
But he went, and at first, showed much faith, and walked on water. He did what seemed impossible, and began to go toward Christ, with a strong determination to meet Him on the water.
But then he realized his surroundings. He was surrounded by a storm. And when this happened, he let fear come in, and felt unable to go forward. And, his faith overcome by fear, he lost the ability to walk on the water, and sank.
The waves high, Peter relied on the only One he knew could save him. "Lord, save me!"
Immediately, the Savior reached down, and pulled Peter up, out of the water.
And asked the question, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
They returned to the ship and the wind ceased. The sea calmed, everyone safe, they acknowledged the Savior as the Son of God.
On a mission how am I similar to Peter?
I wanted to follow Christ, and so I came on a mission. I stepped out onto the water. I was full of faith, and knew that God would help me as I searched for His children that were ready for the Gospel. I said to Heavenly Father, if this be the true church, wilt thou bid me come unto thee and baptize many?
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ said to come. And I came on my mission.
The first part was easy. At the MTC, I kept my thoughts and actions on the Savior. I wanted to become like Christ. And He strengthened me. Taught me. And I did many things through the Spirit, and had many amazing experiences.
But then I made it to Japan. I didn't speak the language well enough to understand everything people were saying. I didn't know the culture very well. My companion's personality was completely different from mine. As I began to notice these things, I began to fear.
Then, I began to sink. Slowly, but surely, I sank. My mission fire decreased significantly, and I lost confidence. Then , I've cried out, "Lord, save me!" And He has reached down many times to pull me back up. No matter how many times it takes.
At General Conference, a man spoke about facing towards the Savior.
And not toward men. "[Missionaries] do not represent the people to the [Lord] but the [Lord] to the people."
We must not seek to satisfy men. But we must look to God for what He would have us do. And then, we will know that what we are doing will bring us true happiness.
So, in Kofu, there are so many people from different countries! We have so many here! And my companion has really great power when it comes to them!
The only problem is when they don't speak any English or any Japanese.... You try talking to them in Spanish... Then you realize that your two years in Spanish class didn't teach you much vocabulary, but they taught us grammar! We met a couple going to Mt Fuji on the train two days ago, but we're so unable to talk to them! Sad day. 頑張ったのに！(even though we tried so hard!)
That's ok, though. The sisters in Takao found a really potential investigator!! They told us about her today, and I'm really excited!
Well, that's about all! Love you all!
Dear Family and Friends,
Aloooha! Jkjk. My companion right now went to BYU-Hawaii for one year,
and whenever she talks in church, she always starts this way. It's fun
to see the expressions on people's faces!
So, lots of weather phenomenons huh. Last week, a volcano. This week,
a typhoon. But through all that, God knows what exactly we need. For
example, the volcano last week filled the air with ash, and we weren't
able to see the mountains by clearly all week, but today, as soon as
the storm cleared, I couldn't believe how clearly I could see them!
So, onto other miracles!
We have a recent convert, who was baptized in March. She lives about a
half hour drive from the church, and lives up on a mountain. :> well
let me tell you. We biked all the way there. It was for a good cause!
We wanted to surprise her on her birthday! And it worked! Boy, was she
surprised. And so was her mother, when two people she's never met from
the church her daughter goes to show up at her door after dark (we got
a little lost, and left a little late) saying they have a present for
her daughter's birthday!
That was one of the longest, hardest bike rides I have done on my
mission! As my companion tells everyone, it seemed like I would die.
But the whole time, I just kept telling myself, "don't give up! You're
almost there! This isn't for you, this is for her!"
Even though it was sudden, and she didn't know us very well, the
mother insisted that we let her drive us home. We conceded. I don't
think I would have survived the bike ride home.
So, this week's Read, Ponder, Liken, and Apply! Some of you may
already know it, but I want to focus on Ether 12:27.
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I
give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is
sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they
humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make
weak things become strong unto them.
What does it mean to come unto Christ?
What do I struggle with right now?
How can becoming humble strengthen me?
Do I trust in the Lord when I can't do something?
What does it mean to have faith in Jesus Christ?
When we have frustration and hardships, we feel sometimes like we
can't go on, like there is no hope, but what if those weaknesses were
given to us so we could see how much we need Jesus Christ?
Love you all!
"You are hereby called to serve in the Japan Tokyo South Mission."