Thursday, October 31, 2013

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?

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 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!

Here's more pictures from our trip to the zoo a few weeks ago.

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.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Snail Mail Received October 21, 2013

I'm in the car driving back from the zoo, so I don't have your letter with me right now.  I will answer some of your questions from before.

Shower, get ready, eat and go to the church by 8:30 AM.  We have mission coordination meeting (or something like that.) with ward mission leader T.K. and maybe some members of the bishopric.  We talk about our investigators and what help we need from the ward for them. 10:00 is sacrament meeting.  Because there are so many Brazilian members, they do the sacrament prayers in Japanese and Portuguese.  The N. Family is always in the back translating the meeting into Portuguese.   At 11:00 is Sunday School, where they speak in really complicated Japanese about pioneers. 12:00 is Relief Society.  Including the president there's usually three or four women in there with us.  If there's five women, it's a party. :-)   The president also makes sure we have the talks of the manuals in English, so we can actually participate. :-)   We usually stay for a little while at church after talking to members and the like.  Then we go home, have lunch and study the rest of the day since we don't get to in the morning.  When I'm done training and don't have and extra hour of study though, I'll have an hour for dendo on Sundays!

Preparation Days!
Because we have five hours of study nomally, Kaicho has ruled that Monday study is halved.  When we finish study, we clean for an hour, go to email and buy groceries and do various things.  We might go visit a local shrine or something of the like, hike up a mountain.  It's really diffferent every p-day.  Oh, and it ends at 6.  But Zinke Kaicho has said we can move those three hours of dendo time elsewhere in the day.  Night time dendo isn't very effective.

Love you all!
Sister Whitney

Monday, October 21, 2013

Shimauma. This is My Favorite Word From This week. It means ZEBRA.

This is my favorite word from this week.
It means ZEBRA.
And it`s funny, because the verb `shimau` is to regrettably or accidentally do something, so the zebra is like a mistake animal or an animal you regret.  Maybe.  Poor zebra.  Probably those words are just unrelated

Anyways, we went to the zoo in Kyoto on Monday with the  two Young Women, the YW President, Nana and  her younger sisters.  The zoo was pretty small, but we got to see lions (raion), tigers (tora), elephants (zou), monkeys (saru), a hippo (kaba), and the like.    It was fun.

Whenever we stand up, everyone goes WHOOOA.  TAKAI!  (Tall)  Sister Walker is an inch taller than I am.

On Tuesday, we went to go visit "Helen" and she is definitely developing a stronger interest.  We taught her to pray, asked her to pray with us, and she did so without hesitating!  She had a little bit of a hard time accepting to pray again before we came back, and is still uncertain about what to pray for, but it was pretty cool still.

Our yakusokusa, "Uly" however was considerably less willing.  We taught her about prayer too, and she was very resistant.  It was hard for her to pray and she only said one sentence.  She keeps saying that she doesn't know if she even beleives in God yet, and we keep trying to tell her that prayer is the only way she CAN know!  She just doesn't seem to get it.   *sigh*  We taught her on Wednesday and on Sunday with M. Shimai as a doseki.

On Tuesday, we went to visit, "Michelle', but she was busy prepping for the typhoon and couldn't meet.  So we had a lot of time for housing in the rain.  Luckily, I think we hit every nice person in the city in one night.  Even though no one said yes, several people invited us in and talked to us for a little bit.  One lady got out this big jar of funny packaged little Japanese treats.  She not only kept feeding them to us, but gave us each a bag to take home.  It really was a tender mercy, because since we kept getting invited in, we didn't have to spend much time in the rain.

Wednesday, as well as teaching "Uly", we biked an hour and a half up to Konan to visit a PI the investigators told us about.  Her name is "Yvette" and she is from Peru, but speaks Japanese.  She didn't want to meet again, so we were kind of discouraged, but she gave us each a couple of oranges, so our journey through hills and crazy wind wasn't completely fruitless.  The elder's went back to visit her again, and found out that she's actually an inactive member, baptized twenty years ago when the church was in Konan, but hasn't been active since.  It's so sad!  She couldn't even remember the church's whole name when we went to visit her.

Thursday, we went to volunteer at the day service again.  One helper has read the entire BIBLE, so we left her a Book of Mormon.  We're going to try to make her a new investigator last week.

Friday was just zone training meeting, but I saw Sister Scheffler and Sister Colter!

Saturday, we found a PI we're going to visit today with the Elders!

Love you all!
The Church is true!
The Book is blue!
Sister Whitney


 A Beautiful Japanese Sunset