Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Just Recently Started Reading the New Testament Again, Focusing on Characteristics in Christ.

There`s not quite so much to report this week, so I`ll just update you on some general stuff.
First of all: 
Walker Shimai.

Status: 9th transfer missionary, trainer
Personality Color: White
Future: Married with a little akachan (literally `little red,` meaning baby) when I get home
She`s pretty wonderful.
But really, though, how did I get so lucky?
She wants to be healthy: We get up every morning at 6 to work out for a little longer, run 4 miles 3 times a week, and do workouts from my work out recipe book every other day.  She`s also got a goal to eat healthy, which helps motivate me as well.
She`s super fun.  We have a lot of the same tastes back from the world of Babylon, and we`ve both added a lot of stuff to our Babylon lists (books to read, songs to listen to when we get back, etc) just from being with each other.  Plus we`re really hilarious together, and like to show off our eraseable pens and incredible kanji-reading ability.  (I can probably read, you know, about 20 entire kanji now.  I`m almost fluent.  But don`t go telling everyone. ;)
She just LOVES her investigators and the people around her.  I love being in lessons with investigators with her. She is clearly listening to them and is really concerned about their lives and blessing them.  Because of how much attention she pays and how much she cares, she`s also really good at reading people.  So she understands what people mean even when she doesn`t understand their words.
She`s so patient. I`m not a patient person.  I hate not seeing success, I hate not being fluent, and I hate just not being perfect in general!  Walker Shimai is really good at helping me realize that things take time and that faith in the Lord includes faith in his timing as well.
Plus she laughs at my jokes.  Usually.  Unless they`re really bad.  But she usually laughs at those too.  That`s the mark of a REAL friend. Haha.
She also has this freaky good navigation ability.  If she`s been there once, even if it`s an hour away by bike, she can find it again.  (Which is really good, because I have yet to successfully make it from our apartment to the church without following her.)
I feel bad for her sometimes, having to deal with me and how forgetful I am.  For example, one day this week, we were going to the eki to ride to "Kristine's"  house for dinner, when I realized that I didn`t have my nametag.  I jokingly asked Walker Shimai if she had her extra nametag in her bag  so that I could wear it, but she started looking for it anyway.  As she did, though, I realized that the nametag she was wearing said: `Sister Harris.`  She had grabbed the wrong one!  `Aw man!  Now I have to give YOU my nametag, and then everyone thinks I`M the irresponsible one!`  I laughed pretty hard.  It was a sweet moment of victory to see her face as she had to pass the nametag over to me.  (Both luckily and unluckily, it didn`t really matter.  The trains had been shut down due to the typhoon, so we ended up going to that dinner a few nights later...with both of our nametags.)
We did a lot of housing this week.  Not really anything.  We just have to have faith that the Lord is preparing opportunities for us to find His senmin (elect).  Faith in the Lord includes faith in His timing too, which is far easier said than done, but important nonetheless.  It`s hard, but I know there are 9 people out there!  We just have to keep doing our best to allow the Lord to lead us to them or to lead them to us.
I also got a package from my wonderful Nana Rose!  It had PEANUT BUTTER, and oatmeal, and cake, and all sorts of wonderful bits of deliciousness that Sister Walker and I rejoiced over with all of our hearts!  Haha.  My Nana Rose really is the sweetest, most giving person, and I hope that I can continue to learn from her example of Charity.
I just recently started reading the New Testament again, focusing on characteristics in Christ.  In doing so, I`m learning a lot more about what it really means to have faith in Him as well.  In Matthew 9, there`s an account of a miracle that I just love, in verses 27-31.  Two blind men come to Christ asking him to heal them.  Jesus asks, *Believe ye that I am able to do this?` When they respond in the affirmative, He touches their eyes and said `According to your faith be it unto you,` and they were healed.
These two men were blind, a personal and physical state that they could not change by themselves.  Therefore, they sought out the One who could change it: the Savior.  Chances are, each of us is in a state that we cannot change by ourselves, even though we have probably tried. I know I am.  Being on a mission is hard in that it spits all of your faults back at you and has you constantly staring them in the face.  I am all too aware of the weaknesses I have and how impossible they seem to overcome, and I have tried.  I`m trying.  We all are. But we are too weak.  We are too selfish, too shy, or too proud to overcome those faults.  Perhaps a part of us believes that after all of this failure that we cannot change.   And  the truth of the matter is, we cannot change by ourselevs.  We are to become like God Himself, and without the help of our Savior we will fall flat on our faces over and over again.  But Christ did the impossible.  He healed these men.  He cured their blindness, bringing them out of a state of darkness into a state of light.  As incredible as this miracle was, Christ`s REAL miracle is much bigger.  He does much more than physical healing.  Christ has come to change the very hearts of men. (Alma 5;7).  Through Christ, He will `make you a new heart and a new spirit` (Ezekiel 18:31).   By ourselves, we cannot succeed, but through Christ we cannot fail!  Christ asked the blind men, `Believe ye that I am able to do this?`  Not `Believe ye that ye can change?  Believe ye in your own capacity?  Do you believe that you can work hard enough?`  He did not ask them anything about themselves only, `Believe ye that I am able to do this?`  So the real question when trying to change is do we believe in the Savior?  Do we believe in His infinite and everlasting Atonement and it`s power to change?  We cannot change by ourselves, but we do not have to.  Faith isn`t the first principle of this gospel; it`s faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
I know that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and my personal Savior.  I know that He knows ME.  I know He knows my faults and my flaws and my struggles because He has experienced them because He loves me, and I know that through Him only I can overcome each of them.  I know that whatever problems I am going through at the moment, He knows and understands better than even I do.  He knows what I need, and what I want, and who I am.  He loves me more than I can even imagine.
And He doesn`t love just me.  He loves everyone.  He loves the powerful and the mighty, the weak and the downtrodden.  He loves the kings and magistrates, the beggars and the homeless, the middle aged housewives.  And He loves them one by one.  He loves you one by one.  He is aware of you, so powerfully aware, so constantly watching over that we cannot fathom the love behind it.  He wants our happiness so much, and and He will help us do anything that we can to obtain that happiness, even change. 
More to report next week. 
I love the Savior, and I love His Gospel! I know that this is His work, and I`m so excited to have a part in it!  
The Church is true!
The Book is blue!
The Savior loves you. :)
Love, Sister Whitney
I am the worst missionary daughter this week, though...  I forgot my camera at the apartment!  Next week you `ll have lots of pictures from me.  Sleeping on a futon is actually not bad.  I`m probably a little spoiled though, because we had four futons in our apartment, so we sleep on 2 for extra padding. :)

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