Dear Family And Friends,
It's nice to hear from everyone, and how everyone is doing. I really appreciate the emails. I am really beginning to see the great importance of the words the prophets have said, especially about Family Home Evening, prayer, scripture study, and attending the temple. These things will help ensure that your family will not lose its balance.
This transfer has been really interesting. Incredibly amazing. The Lord has opened the hearts of many families that have invited us to teach their loved ones. Some families have only one member in them, and that person is striving their best.
I love Japan. Love love love Japan.
So, here is my things learned this week: if you don't obey God, you are not entitled to the promised blessings. When we obey His word, we are fulfilling our promises to Him, for which He will bless us in so many ways, that we can't imagine. And the ones that have blessed my life the most, which would bless all of your lives too, as they have already, is truly doing the things that matter most with those who matter most to you.
Read together as a family, find time to shut off the world, and let God in. Open your eyes to the eternal things, not just the small things right ahead of you. My companion last transfer once pointed out why I was so tired after bike riding, "you pedal so hard when the light is red. If you would look up, you would understand that you could have taken your time getting to the light without exhausting yourself." We then discussed that I get that way with a lot of things. I can only see what is here, in front of me now, and I don't focus on the bigger picture, and so I get exhausted. It's like if you're standing in a woods, in front of a tree. When you are face to face with this tree, it is hard to see the sky, or the way out of the forest. But if you were to take one or two steps back, you would understand that the tree is not a dead end, and that there are many ways to get around it and out of the forest. You need not stand there all day, staring at the tree. :D
This week, we met the mother of a member in Kofu Ward (who is also the grandmother of an Elder in our mission!) she lives in Otsuki, which means Big Moon. Her house is so Japanese. Really really Japanese. And 200-300 years old!
Her daughter's house, which is actually on the edge of Kofu City is also very traditional Japanese style. The kotatsu, which is a table with a heater under it, covered in blankets, was really traditional. In older homes, underneath the kotatsu is a hole, about two feet down, and square, so that people can stick their legs down and sit comfortably. At the house of the daughter, the heater is not electric--it is by actual live coals, underneath a grate. You set your feet on the grate, and that way you don't burn your feet! That was pretty interesting!
Then we visited the home of another couple in our Ward this week, who have a newer house, only 40 years old, which is half western style, and half traditional Japanese style.
So, lately, I have been getting super depressed! Frustrated, brick wall feeling. The only problem is--there are no brick walls! I realize that the adversary always tries to spoil good times for us. The Ward has never been so awesome, and the missionary work here is moving forward, and so, here I am, just wondering 'what on earth I have to frustrated about?' So, last night, I read the scriptures. There was nothing in the particular place that I was reading that jumped out to me, but just reading the scriptures was good.
Also, this morning, during study time, I decided to read the vision our mission president has for our mission. It's still slow going, but one day, it will be so amazing, this tiny mission! And all the missions in Japan. When then Elder Heber J Grant dedicated Japan for missionary work back in 1901, these are the words he spoke to the First Presidency when he had accomplished the sacred assignment,
“I have an abiding faith that this is to be one of the most successful missions of the Church. The work will be slow at first, but the harvest is to be something great and will astonish the world in the years to come. God has had His hand over this land.”
Love you all! Have a great week! I know the Lord loves us, and He will lift up our burdens. Just trust in Him!In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Wow! So, hello dear friends and family!
How's it going? I'm hearing a lot from you, and I can't wait to
receive your emails every week! So this week has been one of
unspeakable joy, for sure. God gives us many many miracles! Every
I suppose I'll quote from my journal:
November 6, 2014 Thursday
"We did service today! We worked at the Osada's Rice field!
Apparently, my skin is allergic to stalks of rice. There's a rash all
on my forearms. But thanks to my beloved Sister Clark's hydrocortisone
cream, it's all gotten better!
Today made me want to live in Fuefuki (this is the city they live in),
own an old house, and a field, and just hop into the Totoro story for
the rest of... And then my arms got rashes ^.^ Well, you know what
they say about staying focused on your missions!"
It didn't take very long for me to refocus that day, for sure. Almost
all the time, as I talk to people here in Japan, they ask me what I
think of Japan. My response is, "I love it! I have always wanted to
come here!" Then they ask me how long I've been here, and I say, six
months. No matter how long you've been here, people are always
So, I know that I haven't mentioned this yet(?)-- there are
convenience stores everywhere! And one of the best convenience stores,
and most popular, is 7-eleven! But, there are not many gas stations
around, at least definitely not so much as there are convenience
stores! And guess what they sell at these convenience stores! Onigiri,
all different sorts of bread treats, and bento. It is so nice! And
they are much healthier! (The reason I brought this up is because I
also wrote in my journal how surprised I'll be when I go back to
America, and there are no more rice balls at convenience stores)
Elder Whiting of the Seventy visited Kofu Ward yesterday! He and his
wife are so amazing! I still remember when he and his wife spoke at
the MTC while I was there. Both of them served missions in the Japan
Tokyo North Mission! So it was so nice for the ward members to be able
to hear the General Authority who came speak in their own language!
They were happy!
Ok, so for the title of this email, I suppose it deserves an
explanation. This last week, around the beginning of November, the
Stake Presidency here in the Machida Stake sent out an email, entitled
The Forty Day Fast. And that is, that we all, as a stake, are taking
turns on certain days to fast for missionary work to progress, and the
work of salvation to continue on. Ours has not come yet. But they are
collecting the miracles that each person sees as they fast, and
sending them out to everyone. And one of the wonderful counsellors in
the Stake presidency includes bits of English for the missionaries.
Recently, he collected from the missionaries all the people who have
agreed to be baptized on a specific day, so that the members could
pray for them. And up until last night, we did not have anyone. Last
night was a very special lesson, with a very special woman, at a very
special member couple's home. The Spirit was definitely there the
whole time, and we were able to talk about everything for her. Her
son, who is a member, was there, and it was very touching.
Well, I will leave you on this note. There is no better thing than to
serve the Lord, our Master.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dear Family And Friends,
I want to start of by an experience that was behind most of this week.
Well, it all began.. Well, to be honest, it began last transfer, but
that's a different part of the story. Well, now that we are eight
missionaries, we had a district meeting. Beginning of a new transfer.
It's always a great experience to see what you can learn from the
other sisters, and elders, in your area. It was announced on Tuesday
that this next week would be temple Pday (sorry for not letting you
know, I was surprised a bit myself!) and so, as the next couple of
days went on, I realized that we needed to reserve our bus tickets to
go to Shinjuku! In other parts of the mission, it's easiest to go by
train, but from Kofu, the cheapest ticket to Shinjuku is 2000¥ ($20)
one way. And that's at least a forty dollar trip! But if you go by bus
to Shinjuku and back, it's only 3000¥ ($30) roundtrip, so we go by
bus. We usually take the 5:30 bus, but that bus fills up fast. I knew
we were running out of time to buy the tickets. But it was already
Thursday, and we were heading to the Takao Sisters' apartment that
night, so we could make it to Machida church by 9:00 the next morning,
for a special conference (I'll include some details about that later
in the email!). So, we couldn't buy the tickets until Friday night!
Well, we get back from the conference, and somehow, the bus ticket
place is still open, so we went in to change the tickets for November
4th, 5:30 bus, for the Elders and us. After being connected to an
English speaker over Skype (which was pretty interesting. We would
tell him what we wanted in half Japanese, half English, and then he
would explain it in perfect Japanese to the man at the desk, who would
then answer to the man on the iPad, and then we would turn the iPad
around so he could talk to us in perfect English), we ordered the
tickets, to find out at only 6 missionaries would fit on the 5:30 bus.
The next bus would come at 6:30, but I knew that if we tried to take
that bus, we would be late. But, there was no other way to do it, so
we reserved six seats in the 5:30 bus, and two in the 6:30 bus with
the understanding that Sister Clark and I would come on the later bus,
so the Elders could ride the earlier one.
Ok, now fast forward to the day of-- today. Well, let's start from
last night at nine o'clock. We get a call from the District leader
asking, "Hey, do you have the tickets?" We totally forgot to hand them
over! So, now we needed to be at the station at 5:20 to give them the
tickets! Well, that was fun. My companion and I contemplated what that
meant for us... Now back to today. She set the alarm for 4 o'clock,
and that's what time we were up this morning. :) we made it to the bus
station in time, where only four elders were there.. Uh oh. But, they
were on their way-- running (I think they ran anyhow) from their
apartment to the station. We saw them dashing down the stairs to the
bus stop. But they made it! We gave them their tickets, and off they
So my companion and I ran home (bike rode home- it was super duper
cold this morning! My hands were freezing holding the handlebars), ate
breakfast, brushed our teeth, and took off again to the train station,
where our bus was waiting. As we got on the bus, the bus driver told
us, "the bus is going to run late today, is that ok?" "How late?" I
asked. "About an hour, I think." I thought about it.. The temple
session was at 10 o'clock. If the bus was an hour late, we would
arrive at the Shinjuku station at 9:40, and from there have to ride
trains from Shinjuku (the largest train station in the
world-literally. We could get so lost there for days, and still not
have seen all of the station) to Ebisa, and then from Ebisa to Hiroo
station, from which we could run to the temple and... I was starting
to be a little stressed. "No way! We can't make it! Noooo!" <---my
thoughts at the time.
But I told him it was ok, and he stamped our tickets, and we got on the bus. :)
I prayed so hard on that bus. I prayed, acknowledging that I should
have tried to buy the tickets sooner, that maybe there was something I
could have done better, to make this not happen, but pleading that if
there was some way, knowing that all things are indeed possible to
God, that if there was some way we could make it to the 10 o'clock
session at the temple, that He may provide the way.
My companion was a bit more hopeful than I was, and she strengthened
my faith, and I also was reminded in my mind of an experience I had
earlier on my mission, where the situation seemed hopeless, but at the
last minute, God answered our prayers. So I decided that if it was
right, that God would provide a way, but if He decided to use this
opportunity to teach me to be a better planner, well, I would accept
We arrived in Shinjuku at I don't know exactly what time- but we were
late. Terribly late, but we ran from the bus into the giant station,
and somehow quickly found our way there to the right train, just as
the doors were about to close. We breathlessly awaited for when we
would arrive in Ebisa, where we would dash from that train, up and up
stairs, and onto another train. When we got off in Ebisa, my companion
said, "it's only 40!" Meaning it was only nine forty. Only nine forty,
but we were laughing a little about it, you know, attempting what
seemed impossible, but we kept our hope. On the 3-minute train from
Ebisa to Hiroo, I almost gave up hope. You know, I would be fine doing
[the other sessions at the temple]." But then I added, "But that
doesn't mean we're not going to try our hardest!" She agreed, and we
got off the train, ran up stairs, and into the city of Hiroo, a mix of
dashing and speed walking. We were both breathing heavily when we
walked into the temple, but we explained to the desk workers our
situation, sure that there was no way to make it in to the session,
but that wonderful, kind, Christlike man who saw that we were so
desperate to make it into that session, called the workers upstairs,
told them we were coming, and asked them to wait. We didn't know what
to say, I still don't know what to say. God put that wonderful man
there and put wonderful people, in our path on the way to the temple,
so that we could make it on time. We made it to the session.
God knew I needed a lesson on time management, but instead of teaching
me the hard way, He decided to shower me with more blessings than I am
worthy of. I learned a lesson. But I know that God's way of teaching
is perfect. He taught me with love, and not punishment, and for that,
I am eternally grateful. I hope that as a leader, as a parent, a
mother, as a companion, that I can lead others to improve by love.
As promised, from here on I will also explain the special conference
we had this week, on Friday. Elder Ringwood, a special dear man of the
presidency of the Seventy, who is over the Asia North Area, and his
wife, the daughter of Russell M. Nelson, came to hold a training for
Out of all the training we received, I learned one really important
thing. It is found in the Book of Mormon, and in the book of Alma,
chapter 56, verse 17. "And they were determined to conquer in this
place or die." Well, I kind of took that to heart. What did it mean to
conquer in this place, which for me would mean Kofu, or die? Elder
Ringwood also quoted what Gary E. Stevenson said when President Boyd
K. Packer asked this question to him randomly, "what are you going to
do if everything goes wrong?" Then Mission President Stevenson
responded honestly, "President Packer, I don't know, but I won't go
home." So I thought about that, over and over. Even as I was about to
go to sleep, I pondered what the words means, to "conquer in this
place or die." So I prayed that I might understand it. As I went
through the next couple of days, I began to learn that I needed that
kind of determination. The next two days were really really hard. I
don't even know why, but they were difficult. I prayed to know why
they were hard, and then I remembered the words, and knew I was being
given a chance to learn them by experience. I would not go home.
So, after the conference, we got to talk to Wada Kaichou a little, and
he told me how Sister Imano was doing. She went home last week, after
she had an accident and injured herself. But he got a text from her
that day, saying that e doctor told her that she would be in pain for
another week, but Wada Kaichou said she was well. That made me feel a
There's a lot I learned this week. I still know that God exists, that
He answers prayers. He answered my prayer yesterday, when no one was
on the road, except for a girl that had ridden past us on her bike,
who I said hello to, who was now stopped on the side of the road
talking on her phone. I prayed a prayer that I could somehow talk to
her, and immediately, she got off her phone, and we were able to talk
with her! We walked with her all the way to the station! She is
Thank you for your prayers! I love you all! Trust in God!
"You are hereby called to serve in the Japan Tokyo South Mission."