But really though. I just feel soooo human.
To start off, our golden investigator, "Tracy" who was supposed to become a yakusokusha (an investigator with a baptismal date) this week dropped us because her daughter is hantai (opposed to her involvement with the church). And then "Freda" our only other investigator wouldn`t answer the door for us either time we visited. (We`ll try again this week.) It was hard to stay positive.
But then, that night, when we were discouraged after an unsuccessful day, minutes before we were going to leave back to the apartment, God led us to "Marianne". It had been rough. We had knocked on a lot of doors, received a lot of no`s, got one door slammed in my face before I got two words out. You know. The usual. But then, a couple of doors from being finished with the set of apartments, a Brazillian woman answered the door. We can`t speak Portuguese obviously, but using simple Japanese, we got across that we were from the Church of Jesus Christ and had a friend (Da Silva Chourou) who does speak Portuguese and could come back and talk to her about it. She was excited, and wanted us to come back as well!
We went back to her house with the elders twice this last week. She`s the elders` investigator, because Da Silva Chourou is the one who actually teaches, but he translates our experiences for us, and we just LOVE her. She always insists we come back. What`s remarkable though is how well she`s been prepared. She met with the missionaries seven years ago, but lost contact because she moved. Now we have found her once more, and it seems like it`s the perfect time. She`s had a lot of experiences that have softened her heart, though. She`s been struggling a lot lately and hasn`t wanted to do anything, but she said that after that first night we met her, after those couple minutes of our clumsy communication, after we left, she said she felt a huge burden lifted off of her shoulders and she was happier. She says she feels that way every time we come over with the elders. She has also never been to our church in the past, but said that before we came over on Friday she had a dream she came to church and said that she will come next week. She has let us know, though, that changing religions isn`t something she will do lightly. (She`s Catholic.) But, she said that as she reads the Book of Mormon and prays, if she gets an answer, she will be baptized. She already knows there`s something different. Her life is already better from the little exposure she`s had to the Gospel! We`re so excited, and we love her so much!
What`s more, she loves to cook. BRAZILLIAN FOOD! Brazillian food isn`t supposed to exist in Japan, but apparently in this area, where there are so many Brazillians, it can happen. We walked into her apartment for dinner on Friday and found the table laden with all sorts of delicious food. There was a cake dripping with chocolate ganache, Brazillian balls filled with an incredible chicken mixture, and perfectly flaky and delicious ham and cheese pastries I don`t even know how to describe. It`s a really good thing I didn`t go to Brazil on my mission, or I would come home FAT.
As long as we`re on the topic of food, we went to the "Nelson's" for dinner yesterday, a Brazillian family in our ward. We had chicken and spaghetti and it was wonderful! Who needs Japanese food? :)
But we`re so human. We continued to be discouraged throughout the week, especially when housing was proving to be unsuccessful. On Wednesday, though, we found two more Brazilian investigators for the Elders to teach! It was harder to get them to understand. Luckily, my limited knowledge of Spanish came in handy, and with the words `Dios` (God) and `iglesia` church, we got the point across and got their numbers to give to the Elders. Even though we can`t teach them, it is still awesome to be able to find people who will listen.
Oh, me of little faith! It took one more miracle of a day though for us to realize what God is really doing and that his timing is perfect. How many times must the Lord prove Himself to me before I finally trust Him! On Thursday, we found so many potential investigators. We had a lot of really good contacts in which the Spirit was definitely present. Only one agreed to meet again (we will see him tomorrow) (We call him Nice Man because we don`t know his name), but we know there were seeds planted in the others. (And one of them we`re determined to visit again anyway.)
The biggest miracle, though, was finding "Beth". A woman from India answered the door saying, `I don:t speak Japanese.` Walker Shimai freaked out, excited that the woman spoke English, and then we realized we had met before. `I saw you two before on your bikes at the bike shop before.` And it was true! She came in right after us a week or two ago when we went to fill our tires up. We said hello and left. Apparently, missionaries had been by a few months ago, but she was too scared to open the door. She said she opened for us, though, because she felt like she knows us. Holy cow. Is our God a God of perfect timing and miracles or what? When we told her we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ, she immediately said, *My husband believes in Christ!* They and their little girl are Sikh, but at the school she and her husband went to, they studied English and the Bible. When we told her about Church, she immediately wanted to come. (She ended up getting really sick this weekend, though. But we`ll meet with her again this week. It felt so good talking to her, and we will meet again this week. Senmin. :)
On Saturday, we rode out for a while to visit a woman, "Katie", from the area book who had been taught seven years ago whose husband was hantai. We came back this time, and she said she was so excited the missionaries had come back! She was also excited we were sisters. We meet with her on Tuesday. It really was a miracle. And I`m glad it was worth it, too. It took us two hours to ride out there on our bikes! (Only an hour and a half home once we knew the way.) I`m so excited to teach her. She just seems like the most wonderful lady!
We also have dinner with a man from the ward tonight, whose wife and mother are not members and are rather opposed to the church. We`ve been praying for guidance and hope that we can share a little something that will soften their hearts.
And Tuesday, we`re going with a member to visit "Katie", and then to visit a couple of less actives.
I am so excited for this next week! Even though our numbers from this week don`t look impressive (they`re all 0`s except for our 1 progressing investigator), the Lord has set us up with a lot of great opportunities and people this week. His hand is in every bit of this work, and I`m so excited I get to be a part of it!
Sister Walker is still wonderful; I`m slowly getting better at the language. One day I`ll know what people are saying. The usual.
There`s also a typhoon going on right now, and there was a lull in it, so we decided to hurry and make our escape to the church! We also had to coordinate with the Elders, who are coming later.
Also, a last couple of things for mom and dad.
I can only call on Mothers Day and Christmas; no skype. ;(
Nashi are this funky Japanese pear and they`re probably my favorite fruit now.
Will you google what JJH (I think it stands for Jumping Jack Hash) is? We ride by it almost every day and have no idea what it is.
Also, would you send in your next letter a story or two about how the gospel has helped your family, and about a time when you sought revelation for you family? Thanks so much! I love you!
This is what our apartment and my futon look like. The futon`s actually not that bad. :)
This is the location of the shrine we went to last Monday. Isn`t it GORGEOUS?!
Most of the rest of these pictures are just going to be from the shrine and the view we saw. We rode up the mountain in a little cable car and then hiked back down.
The top one is the warriors who guard the temple outside the shrine. And And the guy in the cage is just a cool statue. I don`t know what he`s for.
The dragon and the water. You`re supposed to wash yourself before you enter the shrine.
View from the mountain
View of the city