So. It was a good week. It was a really good week. Kind of hard to figure out, but in the end, just whoa. (That was an incredibly intelligent sound of sentence, wasn`t it. It started out well, but it just kind of...got away from me.)
We made a goal this week to teach a lesson EVERY DAY. This is kind of a big goal, seeing as the most lessons we`ve taught in a week is 5, and have been averaging 3 or 4. Walker Shimai felt really good about it, but I, being the sometimes pessimistic realist that I am, was a little less sure. However, I agreed to the goal.
Monday was easy. After cutting Sister Walker`s hair (she got bangs), we had an appointment we set up with "Tate", a man who had lost his wife a year earlier that we found tracting last week. He seemed really promising. Being sisters, we couldn`t teach him alone, so we brought the Elders with us. We taught Setting the Table, testified powerfully, and I could feel the Spirit so strongly! But he didn`t become a new investigator. He said if he were going to find out if something like this was true, he would have to do it from his heart, and he didn`t want to put in all of the effort to do that. It was kind of discouraging. For a little bit, I was (I hate to admit) feeling really down. At one point I wondered, `Why am I even here? Even when everything goes right, it goes wrong. I`m not making a difference, and I don`t want to go a year and a half without accomplishing anything.` That was relieved after a little bit, especially after Thursday, which I`ll talk about in a bit. All in the Lord`s timing. And we did, however, teach a lesson.
Tuesday, we had a bunch of plans to teach a lesson, but they all fell through. "Mary" wasn`t home. "Uly" couldn`t meet. We did get to finally meet "Carole", but she couldn`t meet then. So we decided to go back and teach the nice woman who invited us in and gave us lots of food last week! We bought her a treat and took it back. She is SOOO Bhuddist. Everyone here says they`re Bhuddist, but no one really is. She however, is WAY Bhuddist, visiting the shrines, doing their prayer-chant things. We did, however, get to teach about what we believed in God, and learn what she believed. While she didn`t become a new investigator either (there was no chance), God softened her heart enough to let us have a lesson.
On Wednesday, we went to teach "Hannah". She had been having a hard time knowing what to pray about, so we wanted to teach a follow up prayer lesson using Alma 34:17-27. So the entire language hour, I picked those verses in Japanese to pieces, looking up every word I didn`t know (over 30) and figuring out how the sentences fit together. And then, after that, we decided to teach something else instead. I was admittedly a wee bit disappointed. When we got there, however, and found out that she hadn`t prayed because she didn`t know what to pray about. It became obvious to both me and Walker Shimai that we needed to use those verses. It was gratifying to go through them, and not only be able to read a few verses, but to be able to explain them and compare them to her own life. Afterwards, she was like, `I get it. You don`t only have to pray when you want something: you can pray when you`re grateful too!` The spirit was definitely with us. We also found a promising PI housing who said she wanted to come to church with us on Sunday if there was good weather. The thing is, though, a typhoon was supposed to come on Sunday. That night, Walker Shimai and I began praying the typhoon would not come on Sunday. (Two lessons from this: be careful what you pray for, and you never know just how ready for the gospel someone is.)
Thursday, we went to Mensentsu`s in Kyoto, interviews with Zinke Kaicho. I`ve been having a bit of a hard time lately with not seeing success, especially when Zinke Kaicho says that for a true disciple, the senmin are going to line up at the door. He says that if we are all true disciples, we could see all 1460 elite baptized by Christmas, but that that probably won`t happen. So I asked him, is it my fault that we`re not seeing success? He said, `Don`t think about it! You are as important to the Lord as any of the other senmin, so in His perfect knowledge and timing, knowing that they will all be gathered, He`s willing to put them on hold for a little while to help you grow as well. That wasn`t satisfying to me. I asked, `Am I holding back these senmin from hearing the gospel?` He hesitantly said, `Well, technically, yes...' *sigh* I was a total wreck. I thought I was an absolutely crappy missionary, and that it was entirely my fault that we`re not having success. In the past few days though, I`ve come to peace with it, and realized that there are a lot more factors involved than that. Yes. I`m not perfect. Surprise! But the Lord doesn`t expect me too be. And when we`re not having success, or going through a trial, I don`t think he`s sighing and saying, `Oh, Sister Harris. That`s not good enough. I wish you were good enough so I could give these people to you to teach.` Though obviously He wants me to be better and occasionally may be disappointed with me. I think that most of the time He says, `I`m proud of you, My Daughter. You`re ready for a little something more now. I`m going to give you something that will try you and make you grow, to help you become the person that I know you can be. This will help you to become better to help my other children even better in the future. I know you can do this.` And yes, there are missionaries seeing success. But that doesn`t mean they`re more righteous than me (though many of them undoubtedly are). We`re all in different stages of our progression, between overcoming trials and learning and applying lessons, being blessed, and just beginning a new lesson. The main thing is the big picture. All of the senmin are going to be gathered. ALL of God`s children will have a chance to hear His gospel in God`s own timing. His plan is perfect, and if He wants to work on me for a while, how can I say no? (I mean, I can`t, but still.) Zinke Kaicho said I was too prideful, and I see that he`s right. I shouldn`t be thinking about other missionaries success or even thinking that this work relies solely on me and how good of a missionary I am. (See week 1 of the MTC. How many times will I have to learn this lesson?) It really is good now.
After mensetsus, we didn`t have much time, but still hadn`t taught our lesson for the day. We decided to drop in on "Uly" and see if we could teach her. By God`s good grace, she was home! We were able to teach her a follow up on prayer as well, and saw that she was really progressing, and when she prays, it feels like she is talking to the Lord.
Friday, the typhoon came. So yeah, the typhoon didn`t come on Sunday. It came earlier. On the day we planned to bike an hour and a half out to Hikone to visit "Katie"! But we were ready. Until Walker Shimai`s bike tire got a flat. So we had to go housing near our apartment. I`d learned my lesson this week though. We didn`t have anyone in mind to teach, but I knew that God would help us get a lesson! So we housed. A few doors into apartmenting, I ended my contact about families as I usually did, with an invitation to listen. She said, *Hai*. A little shocked at an answer to my prayers so quickly, Walker Shimai and I were able to do the first part of Setting the Table in the genkan. Unfortunately, with an invitation to learn more, she responded that since she`s Bhuddist, it`s forbidden. And lessons in the genkan without a prayer don`t count as lessons. When we finished the night without a lesson, my faith was a little bit shaken. After a while, though, I remembered very strongly thinking that when we began teaching that woman that it was an answer to my prayers. And I think it was. Although we couldn`t count it as a lesson, I know it was God answering my prayer in an area with no senmin. He knew it was important to me, so he softened that woman`s heart just enough to let us give half a kind of lesson.
So much success on Saturday! We visited "Uly", taught the restoration, and gave her a Book of Mormon. We went to go visit "Carole", and got to teach her! She`s a Catholic, from the Philllippines, and she seems absolutely golden. We love her so much! She says that she is VERY interestd, and already has a strong relationship with her Heavenly Father. And when she prays, she PRAYS. She talks to God She prays every day about all sorts of things, and even prays on her bike, like we do a lot of the time! I`m so excited to help her draw even closer unto Christ through the wonderful blessings of this restored gospel! We visited "Brandie", our Indian friend again, who is now better, but super busy on Sundays, going to visit places with her husband before they go back to India in December. She wants to come to the Halloween party on Wednesday though (we`re having an Eikaiwa Halloween party. It`s gonna be BIG), and wants to meet with us sometime next week! Maybe we can just expose her wonderful little family to the gospel, and refer them to missionaries in India! All in the Lord`s timing. We went to go remind "Katie" about church, and she said she`s going to come! And finally when we got home, one of our neighbors approached us, asked about Eikwaiwa, and said he wants to come! We were so blessed! The Lord really does set up wonderful opportunities.
Finally, on Sunday, both "Uly" and "Katie" came! "Katie" seems golden. She said that she believes like we told her that God is our Father who loves us and a real person. These feelings were confirmed to her in Sacrament. And then she asked, *Does God talk to us?` Yep! We`re so excited to teach her!
The Lesson this week for me was from Luke 17: 14-17. About the 10 lepers.
It says the one man turned back when he saw that he was healed. Unlike the other lepers maybe, this man was carefully looking and watching for the blessings he was promised, which came possibly in a way and time other than what he expected. We need to be looking for these blessings, and they may not come in the ways we expect them too. Like an almost lesson in a genkan, or a typhoon that came earlier than expected. God`s timing is really perfect. He sees the big picture.
I love this work and am so glad to be a part of it!
the church is true! The book is blue!
Love, Sister Whitney
Here`s a picture of us and the Elders with "Marianne" and "Wes" at "Wes" birthday party!
Me and theYoung Women and our little candied apples (the US equivalent of $3 each, and they were TINY! Ah, takai!)
Sister Walker and Me
A sweet ape mural they had.
Me and a guinea pig?
They had this huuuuge line of people waiting to hold...guinea pigs? This would NOT fly in America.