Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sister Harris!

But, it was another fantastic week!  I never want to leave this place!  More of our investigators are skyrocketing!  "L.S."  for example became a yakusokusha! We met with her three times this week and already have two lessons set up for next week.  Her date is December 8th. She is totally ready. She had a question about baptism, since she has already been baptized twice? in the Catholic church, but we taught her the Doctrine of Christ, emphasizing priesthood and baptism, and then invited her to be baptized. She said, `Yes.  I really want to.`  Yes!  She is so awesome!  When we watched the Restoration video with her this week she got chills and was looking at us with wide eyes, like `Can you feel that?` She has a strong testimony of Joseph Smith. So hopefully that can help her overcome any problems she has with the commandments.  

We tried to commit "Katie" to baptism too, but even though she wouldn`t, she still has really strong interest. We taught her about prayer the lesson before, and her prayers are already easily the best of any of our investigators, really heartfelt and sincere.  She also asked a lot of really wonderful questions including `How do you receive revelation?`  `What blessings come from following Jesus Christ?` and (my favorite, asked with a little bit of wide eyed wonder), `Is there really a Savior?`  The first two we`re saving for our next lesson with some good doseki`s, but Walker Shimai answered that last one really powerfully.  `Yes.  Jesus Christ is the Savior, and He lives.`  It was so powerful, and the Spirit just flooded the room. She might not be a yakusokusha just yet, but she will be soon.  She is definitely a senmin.

Speaking of senmin and yakusokusha, here`s a little Japanese missionary language to English:
Senmin - elect (someone who`s ready to hear the gospel right now)
Dendo - missionary work, may refer to housing, teaching lessons, etc.
Shimai - sister
Choro - elder
Kaicho - president
`Setting the Table` - the first lesson we have to teach everyone. Kaicho wrote it.
Yakusokusha - investigator with a baptismal date
Doseki - a member who comes to a lesson or a lesson that had a member in it
If I ever use more weird words you aren`t sure of, let me know.
Ganbaru - to do one`s best, used in place of good luck
Ganbarimasu - a conjugation of ganbaru

We`re having a hard time with a couple of investigators in particular though, mostly with desire to know and put forth effort, our other yakusokusha,  "Uly", in particular.    It`s really frustrating.  Their prayers aren`t sincere, even though we`ve taught them the best we could and review it every lesson, even though we always talk about their relationship with Heavenly Father, that He is really their father who loves them and wants to talk to them and help them. They`re just kind of content the way they are in their sad little lives that they really aren`t happy with.  Our dendo shunin  (ward mission leader) had a really good suggestion about "Uly", trying to invite her and go do stuff with her.  He said people like her, who just kind of stay home and watch TV and don`t do anything or have any aspirations, have a really hard time feeling the spirit, but that if we can get her out and see that there are things to do, and there is a big world out there, she might be more receptive during our lessons. Ganbarimasu!

I also had my birthday this week! It was a pretty great day!  I got out of the shower to see the apartment decorated with all sorts of colorful things that my mother and Sister Walker sneakily coordinated on and some delicious cinnamon breakfast cake!  We had district meeting, and came back to eat at the church. Little did I know the Elders were coming in with "Nathan" and a Baskin Robins ice cream cake for a surprise party!  Even thought it was a tiny cake, it probably cost upwards of about $30 bucks!  "Nathan" is seriously the nicest.  He did become a yakusokusha in the Elders lesson right after that!  I`m so excited for the power of the atonement to enter his life!  We taught "L.S." restoration lesson, which was awesome, and then went to the "Matthews"  for a delicious dinner of homemade stew and cake!  They`re so nice.  They also gave me a Japanese style apron.  And then I opened my wonderful package from my mother, which had EVERYTHING!

In the past, I`ve been struggling with loving our investigators, and I`ve been praying for charity, and I think it`s working!  I clearly still have a long way to go, but I am coming to love our investigators so much, to be able to put myself in their shoes and see how sad their lives are, how much this message can help them, and how much I want to share it with them!  I got a blessing before I left the MTC that said, `You must remember that God loves ALL of His children.`  I thought it was interesting that that was in my blessings, but it`s making sense now.  He does love all of His children:  the happy ones, the sad ones, the lazy ones, the ambitious ones, the ones I automatically love and the ones I have a hard time loving.  I have to love all of them, too, though, and that`s what I`m working on!  Luckily, the Lord has enough love to spare, and he`s helping me out!

Lastly, Japanese is okay.  I can say a lot, but I feel like I can`t testify powerfully, not because I don`t know how to say it, but just because I don`t know how to make Japanese --which is flat and relatively emotionless-- sound powerful.  In English, I know how to say, `I KNOW God lives,` where to put an emphasis, and how to really mean it, but I don`t know how to do that with `Kamisama ga irrasharu to shite imasu.`  (God lives I am knowing.) I`ve been struggling with that this week.  Also, I feel like I`m not getting any better at understanding anyone, which is hard in lessons. I wish I could listen to them and understand what they`re saying, to listen like it says to in Preach My Gospel and testify according to their needs and reason with them.  I can`t do that.  It`s really frustrating.  I know it also says that even if I don`t know what they`re saying, the Spirit does, but pray and focus and try though I might, the spirit hasn`t been giving me any clues either.  I just gotta keep working and wait for the day.

I love you all!
The Church is true!
The Book is blue!
Sister Whitney

Me opening my birthday package.

Me and the decorations my lovely Mama sent.

Me and the cinnamon breakfast cake Walker Shimai made me.
My name in Kanji on the cake.
"Nathan" chose this kanji. The first is wing, the second is the kanji for nashi (those delightful Japanese pears I love), and the third one is the same one for Shu or Lord.  And apparently, you can read it `Ha ri su`.
 F.  Choro came up with a couple for me, my favorite one meaning `Squirrel Tooth`.

My cake!

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