Dear Family and Friends,
What a new experience. Haha.
Well, sometimes, I feel like there's a wall between me and the people of Japan. It's not physical, or in anyway strong, but sometimes, it just feels like it's there. I just need to break it down! Go!
Nevertheless, it has been a spectacular week. Despite being a little sick with a cold, we successfully had our appointment with the Arai Family. They arranged for us to come sing hymns at their house for their friends, but last minute, their friends couldn't come, so it was three couples of members, and us the Sister Missionaries. Well, with one couple who lived in the apartment, and one couple who had great musical talent, and one couple who are in need of missionary love, we had a wonderful time and a really profound spiritual message at the end. We hadn't planned a message to go with it, but at the end, we all pulled out our scriptures and read Doctrine and Covenants 25:12.
12 "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads."
And we also discussed the same talk about the music of the gospel. I really really enjoyed this lesson. But seriously, my throat was gone the rest of the day. I couldn't speak very well. Had to whisper.. *coughcough*The brother who played the piano for us is from New Zealand, and that's where he found the church. I heard him playing "Be that Friend" on the piano after church one day, and asked if he could play it again and he did, and I sang it! He said that that was one of the first songs he ever heard from lads church music, back when he was learning about the gospel, and they helped him a lot. When he asked where I got my talent for music, I responded that my mom would play the piano while we all gathered around to sing. And we did that growing up, and I love that memory.
Well, as you know, then we had the Temple last week, and that was amazing. On Wednesday, we had English Class. There's a wonderful Less Active woman that sends her children to learn English with us, and then comes into the church afterwards to pick them up. When I saw her, I called out and asked if she knew about the Ward Barbecue coming up that Saturday, and she immediately got out her calendar, and put it in. Hooray! We also invited her to the Spanish Sacrament Meeting that the Stake has started to hold on every first and Third Sundays for the Spanish Members, but she hasn't been able to come to that one yet. Kibou!( Hope!)
On Thursday, we had weekly planning. But we also made other plans that day. We got 2/3 way through the weekly planning session, but we weren't able to finish it all, but decided, we need to go out and follow the rest of our plan, and we did, and it was good. We visited a less Active Member who has lived in America, Philippines, somewhere in South America, and now Japan. She came to General Conference! And it was so good to finally meet her. We decided when we planned for Thursday that we would go visit her. We went to the address we had in the records, but she wasn't home. We decided to house the whole floor of apartments (8-9 apartmensts wee there) before we went home. We met a man who wasn't completely interested, but listened to what we said and said that if the Elders came and he was home, he would listen to a message. Then we continued. And on the last door, a woman called through the door, "だれ！" (who?!) 「教会のボランティアです。」"we're church volunteers" we answered. 「ちょっと待って」"Hold on" she called. She came to the door, and when she saw us, and we saw her, we ere both surprised! It was the Less Active woman we had gone to visit! What is she doing in this apartment? I thought, but apparently she's always been in that apartment. Haha! Wow, I was surprised. I'm glad we chose not to leave a note for the other apartment. That would have been awkward, huh. Haha. I am also very glad we were able to find her, too! We had a great lesson with her.
On Friday, we worked very hard. Up until this point in our week, we had only been able to invite nine people to come to church, and we really wanted to work hard and invite more people to come and see what church is like. So we decided to go housing. There is an apartment complex north from the church here quite a ways, but it has over 40 building, each having 24 apartments. It's is the place that a brother in the Ward directed us to go to for finding, because many foreigners live there, and because Sister Lambert speaks great Spanish, we thought it would definitely be worth it. That day, we found a family that are Christian! They go to another church, but the daughter, who is about our age, had been searching for a free English class! Wow! Guess what we have, an English Class! I really hope she comes! She is so full of potential, I know it! We also visited some other people, but they were busy, and asked us to come back some other time. So we went to a Panya (bakery! they are everywhere in Japan, and so good!) and bought some bread, and decided to eat dinner at the park, there at Sōgō Kōen. And then it became a little chilly. From there, we went home and finished weekly planning!
But that day, we invited seven people! It felt so good!
On Saturday, there was the Ward barbecue. I learned a lot about how important Ward members are for the work to go forward. When at the activity two girls who had never been to church came, they weren't sure of what to expect and were unsure of what they were supposed to do, Ward members continued to go about preparing the activity. But the girls were with us the whole time. It was fun, and I hope they had fun, but I wasn't able to fulfill my purpose as well as I would've hoped. But there was hope, because the Relief Society President made a constant effort to be their friend. She continued to talk to them, about school, club, because her daughter was their same age. Even though her daughter wasn't at the activity.
I remember once, at a Halloween Party, I tried to talk to an investigator who came, but since she didn't know what to say, or may have been a bit embarrassed, I just figured it was because she didn't want to talk to me, so I walked away. That was before my mission, before I knew why we do missionary work. Before I knew that she was a daughter of God, who came to church, seeking light and truth.
That night, we continued, and had a beautiful lesson with a wonderful lady that the Elders had found while housing. She was very kind, and let us in. We taught most of the Restoration, and invited her to read the Book of Mormon, and to pray to know if our message is true. She also set up another appointment with us for this Wednesday! I am excited to see her again!
On Sunday, we had a great meeting, and one thing that Sister Tatebayashi spoke about in her talk was about prayer. She mentioned the lesson from the Teachings of the Living Prophets, Ezra Taft Benson, about prayer, and how he would usually only say prayers of thanks, and ask for very little. When I heard that, I wanted to try it.
Before in my prayers, I would plead with the Lord for all the things I desired to happen. We are asked to cry unto him over everything we have, at all times, but also to be grateful. As I have made an effort to be more grateful in my prayers, I say the things that I want, but then I thank Him that it's possible, and that it may happen, according to His will.
Wow. Love gratitude.
Sincerely. Sister Blake
"You are hereby called to serve in the Japan Tokyo South Mission."