This week was better and we saw some success!
Monday was sooo looooooong. Our Bishop had a big barbecue at his house (an hour away each way) from 2 until, like 8, that he wanted us to come to. It was supposed to be an opportunity to invite nonmembers, but only 1 nonmember actually came...who spoke Portuguese. So the Elders talked to her. So really, we only had time to study, email, and get groceries before a lot of hours at a party. And you know how awkward I am at parties where people speak the same language. Imagine me at a party where we don`t. Haha. We DID get to play soccer, though! I brought jeans, and played soccer with the Elders, F. Chourou and D. Chourou, who is from Brazil but is also fluent in English. It was so fun! They Elders said, `It was weird. You run as much as us!` Haha.
Also, we totally left our keys there. To make a long story short, the Morris`s picked us up at 10:30 at night to drive half an hour to meet Bishop halfway with our keys. We felt so bad! We made a lot of cookies the next night during dinner to give to everyone that helped us. We`re just glad we made it into our apartment.
On Tuesday we went to Trainer Trainee Training meeting in Kobe. It took all day. It was pretty fun, though. I got to see most of the people from my old district (Like Sister Scheffler, Sister Donnelly, Sister Colter, Elder Reagan, Elder Kotter, and Elder Duran). Good times. It was an expensive trip, though. $20 each way for each of us! Wowza.
On Thursday, we went to go visit our beloved "Katie" with S. Shimai. It was really powerful. We taught about God and prayer. She has a firm belief in God and that He loves her. When the typhoon came, she even said that she prayed that her family would be safe and knows they were safe because of that. She just doesn`t yet believe that He has a body, which is something we asked her to pray about this week. Another amazing thing she told us is that she believes that when we come teach her that we teach her exactly what she needs to hear. I shared with her that we always pray about her before and as we prepare these lessons, and that these lessons are what God has told us she does need to hear. She was really touched by that. It was a really powerful lesson, and I felt for the first time that I was really being guided by the Spirit during a lesson. We both said things we hadn`t planned on saying, but definitely furthered and enriched the purpose of the lesson and helped it mean more to her. It was awesome! At one point, it was so powerful that we almost invited her to be baptized, but then our doseki (member who comes to a lesson with you) ran away with it a little bit, and the moment was lost. Next time! But at one point, S. Shimai said `Kamisama wa anata o ai shite imasu, yo!` (God loves you, you know), and our investigator almost started crying it hit her so hard. It was really powerful.
After that, S. Shimai took us around to a lot of her friends houses `just to introduce us.` She`s so wonderful! Unfortunately, none of them were home but one. This one, though, was awesome. Her name is "Yvette." She had been given a Book of Mormon by a nonmember who had received the Book of Mormon from someone and didn`t want it. She hadn`t read it, but had a lot of interest in Joseph Smith. S.Shimai has asked multiple times if she would meet with the missionaries, to which she always said no. But when we stopped by tonight, she got really excited! She told us about what she knew and asked us to come back again this week! We`re excited for her to become a new investigator, and we really think she has been prepared to hear the message at this time. We were so pumped! She was so sweet, and also excited for a chance to practice her English. Everyone here LOVES English. Whenever people (especially teenagers) see us on the street, they always yell, `Harro! Harro!` They don`t have L`s in Japanese, so that`s the closest a lot of them can get to saying Hello.
We also got a new investigator! Walker Shimai and I have been working really hard on Setting the Table. In our mission, Zinke Kaichou has come out with a first lesson that we`re supposed to give to every new investigator and we`re supposed to have it memorized. It`s called Setting the Table. This has been really hard for me, because it`s something that I really disagree with、memorizing a lesson. But we want to be obedient, so we do it anyway! We role play it several times every day, and have it completely memorized between the two of us. We`re now working on memorizing each other`s paragraphs, too.
We went to go visit a potential investigator from the previous week who had showed interest in strengthening families and began to give Setting the Table...and it was a disaster. She was visibly a little freaked out by us going straight into God in that way and started to say she really didn`t have interest. We kind of bailed, then, and began to share personal experiences about how the Gospel had helped our families. Sister Walker felt really strongly that we should pray with her. After the prayer, she very hesitantly said she thought that maybe some of the things we shared we good and that we could come back. God really saved us on that one. Clearly she really needs to hear this message right now if she`s letting us come back! Who knows. We did have a really positive experience with setting the table, though. (see Saturday)
On Friday, we got so...much...stuff. F. Chourou is kind of ridiculous. He keeps giving us stuff! So far, he`s given us keychains and candy, and on Friday, he gave me SIX erasable highlighters, and both of us mochi ice cream. On Sunday he gave us each a McDonalds gift card. Whenever we make cookies, we make sure to give them some too. We really do have the best Elders. They also helped someone from the ward move, and he gave them all of his food! The Elders then gave us a lot of the food, including a huge jar of PEANUT BUTTER! That`s a priceless commodity in Japan.
We also went to go teach "Marianne" with the Elders. She read the ENTIRE Book of Mormon in FIVE DAYS. FIVE DAYS. She loved it. She says it`s different for her every time she reads it, because it`s always what she needs. Holy cow. Lots of members don`t even realize that as much as she does. And guess what verses stuck out to her? Out of the whole book? Moroni 10:2~5. That`s right. Moroni`s promise. When we asked if she believed if Joseph Smith was a prophet, she said very seriously with a strong testimony, `Yes.` She doesn`t yet realize that this church is the only true church yet, though. While she believes he was a prophet, she believes he was one of many in the time who was inspired by God. But she is gaining faith so quickly! And as she continues to read and follows Moroni`s promise, as she asks God with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto her by the power of the Holy Ghost. We`re inviting her to be baptized on Wednesday. (The invitation, not the baptism.) She`s been to church twice now.
We also had someone come to church! On Saturday night at 7, we were calling the previous elders` potential investigators. I was a little disappointed, because we still didn`t have anyone coming to church. ("Marianne" is technically the Elders` investigator.) But then, the very first one we called said that she would love to come to church with us, and she did! We met her, the next morning! She kept falling asleep, though, and had to go after sacrament. Hopefully she will let us meet with her again this week. We also called another potential investigator who, while he couldn`t come yesterday, is excited to come next week! YES!
On Sunday, we also went with the Elders to teach a man they met last week. (We`re still not really sure why.) We were going to go back to his house to have dinner with his family, but he said his wife was busy, so he was going to take us out to eat instead...which was a problem, being Sunday and all. We had to awkwardly explain that we couldn`t do that, so we all went to a park ~ a BEAUTIFUL park which is apparently famous for having millions of sakura, Japanese cherry blossoms, in the spring~ and taught him there instead. We taught Setting the Table with the Elders, and he`s golden. He would make connections that would lead perfectly into the next part and is so interested in learning more! And he`s such a nice guy. He works at an old folks home, and we`re going to volunteer there next week.
The Japanese is slowly coming. I still can`t understand people very well, but I`m getting a little better every day! This week, I`ve been working on the Christlike attribute of Charity, which is really, really hard. I know God is helping me, though, and especially when we teach I feel like I get to feel a little piece of the love He has for each of His children.
I`m excited for this next week and to spend every minute trying to invite others to come unto Christ! It`s hard sometimes, but so worth it! I`m trying to become like Christ and become a true disciple!
The Church is true, the Book is blue!
Love, Sister Whitney
Here's our apartment. It is pretty cute. We walk in, and there`s just stairs. We live on the 2nd floor, which is kind of a bummer, but that`s okay. It really is a good apartment. We opened the area, so we were the first ones in it. We had to put together everything inside that got sent to us in packages. (The fan, the desks, the table, everything.) We`re proud of it.
This is my bike, for the next two weeks at least. Her name is Big Blue.
This is what a Japanese keyboard looks like. If you press the wrong button, it goes into Hiragana, that will turn into Kanji and ......it's crazy.
And this is me! Right now! See what I mean about looking like a hobo? ;) (Because it is so humid in Japan, Sister Harris's straightener/curling iron doesn't do a thing to her hair. She feels hair challenged. :-) )