Saturday, November 9, 2013

Time Flies!

Friends, citizens, countrymen, lend me your ear!
For a really, really short email.  I spent way too long sending pictures today.

Anyways. The theme today is that time flies like crazy.

Walker Shimai goes home in less than two months.  In two weeks, I`ll be a fourth of the way through my mission.  When Walker Shimai goes home, I`ll have been out for an entire 6 months.  Nooooooo, stoooooooop.  Pleeeeease.  I`m not ready for all of this to go so fast!

This week went by really quickly, too!

On Monday, we went to Kyoto with the Elders and the O. Shimai, C. Shimai (from my district in the MTC) and W. Shimai.  We went to the Kiyomizu temple.  We lit incense to make our atama`s become yoku (to get smart) and drank `pure` water to make our kokoro`s get kyoku (hearts get pure).  (Also, know that that was all REALLY bad Japanese. Poor F. Choro having to put up with us.)

While there, we (me, Walker Shimai, & F. Choro) bought rings that we had the mission theme (makoto no deshi, true disciples) engraved on in Kanji.  They`re way cool! 

On Tuesday, we went to Hikone to help Sister A. (a less active) with her English class Halloween party!  I had no idea what to do for a costume, and then minutes before we left, I remembered my spotted cardigan thing, pulled out a couple of black socks, grabbed some of Walker Shimai`s eyeliner, and Oiala!  (How do you spell it?  It sounds like wa-lah), Sister Harris become Sister Dalmation!  Walker Shimai was a gypsy.  It was way fun! We did pronunciation, some crazy jan ken po (rock paper scissors) game that got WAY competitive, and go fish.  One of the students gave us a ride back to the eki, and then gave us some shoe keychains and chocolate, saying she wished she had more, but only found out we were coming the night before.  She was so nice!  Every one there was really nice.  We only got  to talk a little about the Gospel, but hopefully one day they`ll be able to hear the message that will make all the difference for them.

On Wednesday, we invited "Katie" to be baptized, but that almost turned into a disaster. Things had been going really well with her.  She accepted The Book of Mormon excitedly and has been reading it.  But when we invited her to be baptized...we almost didn`t get invited back.  She was an investigator 9 years ago, and said that this is the point when she asked the Elders back then to not come back. We asked, `Well, it`s okay if we come back, right?` It took her a couple of minutes to decide.  Nevertheless, we have a lesson with her on Wednesday, and we feel good about teaching the Doctrine of Christ!  Her problem is that she`s fairly convinced there is more than one way to get to heaven.  ( I think the Book of Mormon is part of what saved that lesson. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation and shared Alma 34:32 `This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God`, and she said, `Wow!  This Book really does have correct things written in here to help us get back to God!` I think Spirit that helped to bring saved us in the end.)

We also had a big Halloween party for Eikaiwa on Wenesday night, which was unbelievably successful! We imagined about 30 people would come, mostly members and students, but over 60 people came!  It was awesome! The members invited so many of their friends!  We played bingo and pictionary, had a pinata that Shimauchi K. made, and lots of food.  Even "Yvette", the inactive lady we went to go try to teach that one day, came with her kid and husband.  It was a great success, and there was just BARELY enough food for everyone.

We met with "Uly", our yakusokusha, a couple of times too.  We moved her date back, but I feel like she made some progress this week.  She really wasn`t committed to the date before (she still isn`t quite, now), but I think her desire to know if this is true or not is slowly increasing. Her problem is she just really doesn`t have that strong of a desire to know! She`s lived her whole life being beaten around and is just content to settle for whatever comes her way. Our next lesson is on the Atonement, which I think is going to be the key. I`m so excited to teach it and to try to get her to see just how much meaning this has for her, just how much the Savior loves her, what He has done for her, and how much she is actually worth!

Thursday:  "Helen", who is moving veeery slowly is finally starting to have some desire develop, we think. She doesn`t seem to believe any of it yet, but it seems like, especially after we taught the chart ( a VERY simplified version of the Doctrine of Christ), that a part of her certainly wants it to be true, and that`s a big step with her!  (We taught "Uly" too.)

Friday:  Zone Training Meeting.  Descriptions of THAT are in the pictures. :)  We were going to teach "Katie" about prayer, but she had to call and cancel. :(

Saturday: WHOA.  We went to go visit a PI from the Philippines named "L.S."  (she married a Nihonjin). She couldn`t meet just then, but scheduled to meet us outside the supermarket at 6 so we could show her where the church was.  We went there at 6, and it was really, really worrisome.  She started out by saying (in English), So the not Catholic.  I am Catholic. What is the difference?`  You could tell she was really skeptical.  Luckily, Walker Shimai was listening to the spirit and recounted very simply the restoration, and testified about how God still speaks to us today.  Apparently, this woman had prayed a few days ago for God to send her to someone to help her find a church to go to and to bring her the CURRENT word of God. Well, guess what we have to offer. :]  She prayed again after we left her house to know if this was the right path for her, and she thinks it might be. (We promise that it is!)  She seems to be in LOVE with the idea of continuing revelation, and we have dinner with her tonight and a lesson on Tuesday.  She`s so wonderful!  Then, we had dinner at the "Andersons" (another Brazilian family) with the "Nelsons" Chicken and spaghetti. Bless those Brazilians who don`t eat Japanese food. :)

Sunday:  We found a PI on the street!  An old lady named "Sheila" who talked a lot. We literally didn`t understand a word of what she said except that we could come back this week and if we did, she would give us bread and eggs.  Yoshi. (pronounced Yohsh.)

The standards of excellence for this mission is, every week, 3 yakusokusha, 3 people coming to church, 6 progressing investigators, and 3 new investigators.  If we`re not up to that level (and almost no one is), we`re supposed to try to keep it at that ratio, and we`re really close to 2242, which we think we`ll meet this week. I also feel really strongly that we can meet 3363 by the end of the transfer!  We have a fairly decent line of really promising new investigators from the past few weeks who will become progressing, and a couple of them could become yakusokusha`s pretty soon. I`m so excited to continue to help them come unto Christ!

Anyways, that time thing.  I`m just going to be really cliched.  Make every day count.  If you`re going to be somewhere, be there.  Don`t be daydreaming about somewhere else; you`re going to be there soon enough. For the moment, be where you are. Lift where you stand.  That`s why missionaries have to focus so much! We don`t spend 18 months or 2 years away from our families and school to do this halfheartedly.  We do it to invite others to come unto Christ, to help them start on the path to eternal life.  We are to give ALL of our time, talents, and efforts to this work, and that`s something I`m working on too.  The same goes for everyone out there.  Just be where you are.  Enjoy the moment.  Make good choices. Work hard.  Play hard.

I love you all!
The church is true!
The Book is blue!

And this is the Savior`s work.

Love, Sister Whitney

Most of the pictures I'm sending are from the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, so I won't put a description on a lot of it.
Cool stone guardian.

                                      The Kiyomizu Temple entrance.

                                The stunning view from the top of the hill.

                                          The dragon.

        This place was PACKED!  We heard people speaking all sorts of languages.

                                     Us all in a row at the Kyoto temple.

At the temple welit incense to make us smarter and drank water from the cool three streams to make us pure.

                                           Incense!  Me and my incense stick.
                        Me getting water from the Kiyomizu springs!

                   The Outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
All of the Shimai at ZTM with M. Choro. We dressed up in Christmas colors to bug him because he hates Christmas.  In this picture we are taunting him with our Christmas spirit.
This is me & Sister Scheffler and Sister Colter at our Zone Training Meeting in Otsu on Friday.  We had a lovely little MTC district reunion.
    Us & the Elders at the church Halloween party -- huge success!
"K.K.' dressed up as Anpanman? Some sort of bean bread guy that`s pretty popular here in Japan?

                              A building with a giant CRAB on the side!
                                                  Trees.  gorgeous stuff.
                                        Awesome ancient Japanese architecture.

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