Sunday, March 2, 2014

My District Leader Said, `This Could Very Well Be the Most Important Two Weeks of Your Mission.'

What to do in my area?

Yes, I went there.  It`s my mission, I`ll make a bad rhyme if I want to. :)  Anyways.

That really is the question we`ve been asking ourselves all week.  Okay, it`s the question Derksen Shimai  has been asking herself for her last three transfers, but I just barely inherited this load too.  It`s a new thing for me.  I`m going to leave this place with a stomach full of ulcers and a head full of grey hair.  But it will be good.

Also, something I learned about the word `grey` this week at Eikaiwa from Donaldson Choro, one of the Elders in our area.  Is `grey` really the way English people spell the color?  I always knew that you could spell it with either an e or an a and that the a way was more common.  I`ve always liked the e way though, maybe in part because it is less common and just looks classy.  But is it really just a difference between the UK and the US? 知らなかったです。(Shiranakatta desu.  I didn`t know.)  I was criticized for my preference.  Haha.  Don`t worry.  My country loyalties haven`t changed.  Long live the USA!

Anyways.  This week.  Where do I begin?

Well, first off, I actually met all of the investigators, so they`re more than just mysterious names on a page. They`re great.  
It's beautiful here.   It`s more inaka (countryside) than Omihachiman.  There`s a lot of trees, and some of it borders on the ocean, which I have seen from afar.  We`re going sometime during this transfer. 

I love Derksen Shimai.  She`s a transfer below me, so neither of us are terribly experienced yet.  But she loves the people here with all of her heart.  She`s also an incredibly hard worker.  She`s the most fiercely efficient missionary I`ve ever met, determined not to waste a second of the Lord`s time, and dedicatedly spends every minute thinking about how to help these people she has been given.  She`s lots of fun, likes peanut butter and hot chocolate, and is probably just dying to help me with my wardrobe. (Just kidding. I think.  Haha.) We get along well, and it seems like we teach fairly well together too.  (With the direction of the Spirit of course.)  It`s going to be a great transfer.

Let`s start at the beginning!

Last Monday...
It was normal.  We emailed, bought groceries, etc.  Then we went to go have a lesson with M********** (shimai).  Unfortunately, her husband was sick, so we couldn`t teach her.  She sent us away with orange juice and chocolate bars!  The people here are gift givers.  That night we went to the A*****s house,a strong couple in our branch whose kids have grown who hold Family Home Evening every Monday night for the missionaries to invite their investigators to. We had two there investigators there.  We ate some curry, a yummy interesting oreo jello cake thing, and the Elders prepared a cool object lesson on Faith!

They have Eikaiwa on Tuesday here.  After some housing, we came to the church to set up for that and taught A***** a lesson. It was more of a discussion than a lesson. She`s had lessons with the missionaries.  She believes the stuff.  She`s super cute, she likes the Book of Mormon, comes to church almost every single Sunday.  But, she still doesn`t want to be baptized.  And we can`t figure out why!  Okay, well, we kind of know why.  She`s afraid she`ll be `too busy` for church once she gets into high school.  (High school apparently starts later here.  And you have to take an entrance examination to get in.  She just took the exam last week.)  Except we don`t think that that`s really her real problem.  We have tried everything in the book and a lot outside of it.  We`re trying to help her why it`s important to be baptized now, and to understand just how real the promises of eternal life are!  I love her; she`s like my 2nd little sister. 

We had two lessons on Tuesday, one with H***** Shimai, a lady that the missionaries had only met with once before.   We taught her `the chart.`  I think I`ve mentioned it before.  It`s a very simplified version of the gospel of Jesus Christ, focusing on Eternal Life as the goal and Jesus Christ as the way to reach it. She really enjoyed the lesson, and has a strong desire for Eternal life.  We taught K*****Shimai later that night. .  She believes in God and loves the Book of Mormon and prays every night.   She is just the sweetest lady!  She made us toast and fruit and gave us hugs, loves to throw in little English words in the middle of Japanese sentences.  She believes most of what the missionaries teach her, but has said many times referring to Jesus Christ, `That is what YOU believe.`  But our mission has a `training plan` we`re all working on now about connecting to the Savior and testifying powerfully of Him.  Because Christ is the reason we`re here!  And if they don`t understand Christ, then they don`t have anything.  This message doesn`t mean anything.  And our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. 

So this week, me and Derksen (Daakusen in Japanese) Shimai`s goal has been to connect EVERYTHING to Christ, to testify of Him, to make every possible connection we can.  We taught her prayer on Wednesday, and it went so well.  She understood why Christ is necessary when we pray.

We taught S******* Shimai, who had also only been taught once.  She wanted to know why the missionaries were so happy!  We taught the chart to her as well.  She is extremely Buddhist, but is still interested.  The lesson went quite well.

H***** Shimai is 88 and has been meeting with the missionaries for a year and a half.    She doesn`t remember the missionaries names.  She kept calling me `Kawai-san.`  `Ms. Cute.`  `Ms. Cute, it`s cold over there, are you cold?  Kawai-san, are you sure you`re not cold?`  She is the cutest thing ever.    She believes in God, but next Thursday, we`re going to make sure she knows who he is.  Probably pretty important.  She makes me laugh.

Also, we had District Meeting!  It`s just us and the elders, and the elders and shimai  the next area over.  They take a bus for 2 and a half hours in the morning to get here, poor things.  And one of the Shimai is DANIELS SHIMAI.  HIP HIP, HOORAY!  Remember when I was Sister Scheffler`s companion for a few days when I killed Walker Shimai off?  Daniels Shimai was in the same apartment.  She`s the sweetest thing ever, and I was so glad to give her a hug!  We`ll take pictures next time.


I gave a talk!  My favorite.  Since there`s only, at most, 18 people at sacrament, including missionaries and investigators if they come, apparently each missionary speaks about once a month.  Holy stress!  I worked so hard on it this week, preparing a talk on repentance, stressing and all, and then discovered that there were only  ward members there.  *Alas* next time I probably won`t stress so hard.

But then we taught K*** Shimai again!  She made us a huge, absolutely delicious lunch, with eggs, salad, tomatoes, soup, sushi, fruit, bread and honey, a yogurt drink, mugi-cha (barley herb tea--it kind of tastes like how I imagine herbal tea would if you poured cigarette ashes into it, but every one here drinks it, so you kind of just get used to it).  However, it was really yummy!  And then, we taught about the Godhead.  It went so well!  At the end, we had her read a summary of the lesson, and she made comments the entire way through it.  `God is our loving Heavenly Father---oh yes, oh yes, I know that.  ...  Jesus Christ is God`s son, and through Him --oh yes, よく分かりました.I understood that well. I believe she is beginning to obtain a testimony of Jesus Christ.  We felt  the spirit really strongly during that lessoand felt guided by the spirit, trying to listen to it and say what we needed to say to help K**** Shimai believe.  I feel like she is sooooo close.   Like Derksen Shimai says every day, `I just want to help these people!  I just want them to get baptized and have eternal life so they will be happy!  Is that too much to ask?`  We`re racking our brains, trying to follow the spirit.  You know.  The plan right now is to continue to testify of the Savior, to help her believe in Him to the point that she wants to follow Him.  

Someone`s getting baptized here this transfer.  I`m not sure who.  In fact, I have absolutely NO idea who or how or what or any sort of those question words.  But I know they are.  There`s a mission goal, a mission PROMISE that every companionship will see a baptism by March 23rd. There`s been about 20 something since that promise was made at the beginning of the year. There`s 103 to go.  It seems kind of ridiculous, a little bit unbelievable. But I believe it.  When Zinke Kaicho made that announcement, the natural man in me attacked, saying, `No way.`  But the Spirit yanked me back up again so hard that I could not deny it!  Even when I tried to, the Spirit would not let me get discouraged that day.  So it`s happening.  We are going to help one of our Sisters enter the gate to eternal life.  We don`t know how.  But we don`t need to, because there`s one who does.  That leads me to one more thing about this week I didn`t mention.

We got a new mission training plan.  It`s only lasting for two weeks, and it`s called, `Whom say ye that I am?`  And it`s all about, you`ve guessed it, the Savior.  The point of it is that in these two weeks we come to know who our Savior is.  If we are to testify of Him, to preach to Him, to introduce these people to Jesus Christ, we cannot just know about Him, we must know Him.  We must introduce our investigators to our close, personal friend, Jesus Christ.

I`m so excited for this.  I looked up on of the scriptures listed in the training plan, Isaiah 43:11, which says   ` I, even I, am the Lord; and abeside me there is no bsaviour.`  And then upon continued reading, I discovered that Isaiah 43 is one of the most fabulous chapters in all of standard words.  It is all the Savior speaking, and from it, you catch the powerful majesty of the Savior as he declares in verse 3, ` 3 For I am the Lord thy God, the aHoly One of Israel, thy bSaviour: I gave cEgypt for thy dransom, Ethiopia and eSeba for thee.` You can feel his love in verse four as he says, ` 4 Since thou wast aprecious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee:` and in verse 7 when he says, `I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.`  I thought that verse 10 captured the spirit of the training plan, about why it`s important for us to really know the Savior.  It says, ` aYe are my bwitnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have cchosen: that ye may know and dbelieve me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.`

We are His.  We are his witnesses, chosen by Him to teach His people about Him, to bring them unto Him, unto living water, milk and honey, and everlasting life.  But to do so, we must know and believe Him, really know He is who He says He is, not just to the point where we could give that answer in Sunday school, but to the point where it has really penetrated our hearts, where we believe so fiercely and so fervently that we do not fear, that we do not hesitate.   And that doesn`t just mean full time missionaries, either.  It is our duty to introduce the world to Jesus Christ, and our duty to make sure that we know Him well enough to do so.

We did once, as D&C 110: 2-5 reminded me.
 2 We asaw the Lord bstanding upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure cgold, in color like amber.
 3 His aeyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his bcountenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his cvoice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of dJehovah, saying:
 4 I am the afirst and the last; I am he who bliveth, I am he who was slain; I am your cadvocate with the Father.
 5 Behold, your sins are aforgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and brejoice.

We were very familiar with that shining countenance once, we knew His voice of rushing waters better than anything.  We knew He was our Savior and rejoiced when He was chosen as such.  We must come to know Him this well again.  My district leader said, `This could very well be the most important two weeks of your mission.  It could be two of the most important weeks of your life.`  I intend to make them so.

I know that He lives.  I know that Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother, is the Savior, the light and life of the world, the way back unto the Father after this life.  He was a perfect, sinless sacrifice who bore the burden of the world on His back that we might not have to if we would come unto Him.  I know He loves us.  I know He understands us each individually, and that He is always there, even when we don`t recognize it, even when we don`t turn to Him or don`t quite know how.  But He is always there.  This is the Savior that I want to know better.  This is the Son of God that I want to introduce my investigators, everyone I ever meet to.  This is the man that I want to recognize me one day, because I will have become like Him.

This is His church,and it`s true.
There`s a Book about Him.  It`s blue.
Have a great week, everyone.

Sister Whitney

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