Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Savior Gave us EVERYTHING, And We Need To Give Him Everything We Have In Return.

It was a good week.  We were moving like crazy as always, and had a few good lessons.    We found a new investigator who even came to the church for her first lesson!  And she said that she read the pamphlet we`d given her.  I`ve never had anyone say that before.  She has a lot of interest though.  

Preparation day-ing, Housing and FHE at the A*****.

We taught T***** about prayer!  And she loved it and is excited to pray every day.  Then we sprinted for an hour up to N*********** where we intended to teach M*****about baptism, but we got sidetracked and discussed something else.  I guess baptism will have to wait for this week. :)

Finding and taught M******* Shimai -- a less active/ recent convert with A**** K******.

We taught S***** and did SKK.

We rode up to N**** to do some finding and go hometeaching?  (We`re not sure how, but we accidentally became the branch hometeachers) at the H********, but I forgot the phone, which had the map, so we mostly spent four hours looking for their house.  *sigh*  I just wish that weren`t so very typical of me.

Four lessons!
A new investigator one in the morning, one with N*********and S******* (who is now reading the BoM from the beginning!), and then S***** who agreed to come to church next week.

Church and some housing

I`ve been thinking about (and been a little bit frustrated about) how to make people (random people, investigators, inactives, members, all the people!) realize just how worth it this Gospel is.  It`s worth not just a prayer when you`re in trouble, or reading a verse or two from the Book of Mormon, or coming to church when it conveniences you, it`s worth giving everything you have and you are to it.

Mark 8`37 For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; or whosoever will save his life, shall be willing to lay it down for my sake; and if he is not willing to lay it down for my sake, he shall lose it.

38 But whosoever shall be willing to lose his life for my sake, and the gospel, the same shall save it.`

The Savior gave us EVERYTHING, and we need to give Him everything we have in return.  It will still never be enough, but it is all we can do.  And we will be blessed so much more in the end for it, receive so much more than we could ever have given.  Whatever we give, it is worth it, and as Elder Holland said this general conference, the alternative is to be left desolate.

Clearly I have a lot more to learn about this.  I just want to figure out what the Lord does want from me, what I can give Him to give Him everything. Hopefully I`ll be able to help our investigators and the less actives we`re going to start to work with have this desire as well.

The Church is True.
The Book is Blue!

Love, Sister Whitney

We colored Easter eggs in Sunday school yesterday.  I drew a baby dragon and a mouse!

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Believe in Jesus Christ, And That's Why I'm On A Mission!

I`m not going to lie, it was a little bit of a rough week in Maizuru.  

Mostly because we got dropped on Monday by our yakusokusha, N*****, possibly the most promising investigator I`ve ever had. She called us last Monday (we were at Gyomu super buying grocieries), told us to wait there, and came right over.  She tried to give us the Book of Mormon back, and gave us a letter about how she can`t meet anymore even though she wants to. Her family said they would completely cut off contact with her if she kept meeting. I convinced her to keep the Book of Mormon, and she says she still prays every day, but she can`t meet anymore.  All we can do is hope that one day her family`s hearts will soften.  And then that day`s appointment was cancelled, and we got a flat tire.  I think the Lord likes irony. And that`s okay.  I do too most times.


We spent a lot of time staring at maps and trying to figure out where less actives live and getting lost. 

Then we went to go teach T****** Shimai, our cute little 27 year old mom.   Her little 1 year old goes crazy during the lessons, but she is so intent on everything that it doesn`t even phase her, and she thinks that what we`re teaching is so cool and wants to believe in God.  I think she has a lot of potential.  

Then we got ANOTHER flat tire (that`s one every day for three days) and had to walk our bikes back home at the speed of light in order to make it back in time for Eikaiwa.


We had a lesson with N************, and S***** Shimai kindly doseki`d.  N************* prayed and agreed to do so every day.

We also had another lesson with S***** Shimai.


We taught S***** again with A**** Shimai and then taught S******, who now has a growing desire to know if Jesus Christ is her Savior!  And then we had weekly planning session.


District meeting and a lesson with H***** Shimai who now believes in Jesus Christ!


Which was, of course,  was AMAZING.  I was excited all week, like a kindergartener waiting for...I don`t know. Something exciting.  That started out as a really good analogy in my head.  Anyways, what I was really trying to say was that I was excited beyond reason and was not by any means disappointed. I felt like many of the speakers were speaking directly to me. 

I unfortunately left my notebook at home, but I`ll share my favorite bits next week.  (As always, Elder Holland was PHENOMENAL.)

We also taught S***** Shimai with the Elders, and since Yusa Choro is a Nihonjin, he understood her and told us everything she said!  She really wants to be baptized.


Conference and some finding.  

All in all, it was a good week.  There`s never a bad day in the Japan Kobe Mission, after all.

I just want to testify on this week before Easter that I know that our Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was resurrected over 2000 years ago for us. He died and suffered not for all of us, but for each of us.  He bore our griefs and our sins for us one by one, individually and personally, because He loves us. I believe in Christ, and that is why I`m on a mission.  I want to make the Master proud, and I want to bring others unto Him.

On my way to becoming a true disciple!

--Sister Whitney

Look at this real house with millions of statues. 
I don`t think the statues mean anything.  People just like statues here.  I think just about everyone has at least one statue on their front porch.  

Pictures of the town.

Yay for Sakura!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Want To Be HIS Servant.

It was another great week here!  We taught a lot of good lessons (good because of the Spirit obviously, not because of us).  

Preparation day stuff and FHE at the A***** .
An adventure housing in T********* after S***** Shimai couldn`t meet.
Taught A**** about fasting in order to teach her about the Word of Wisdom!
Eikaiwa - we learned everyone`s favorite ice cream flavors. 
Had a lesson with K***** Shimai (who is 82) about God.  She remembered everything from our cute little book!  And she likes God. 
Also, we found a new investigator  named T***** Shimai. She thinks Christians are cool. The best part? She`s not an obaachan!  She`s 27 and has a little family!  We`re really excited for her.
Zone training meeting.
Then, I got us lost on the trains.  We took a train from F********** (where ZTM is) to A**** to wait for a train back to M******.  Then we got on that train...and found ourselves back in F**********, with an hour to wait before the next train to A*****.  (face palm).  Luckily, N************* was able to move back her appointment to the evening, so we got to teach her as well.
Taught K***** Shimai with another little book about eternal life.  She wants it!
On Sunday
My heart broke a little bit when A**** didn`t show for church.   But it`s okay; all things are done in the wisdom of the ward! 
Our 90 year old little obaachan, S***** Shimai, wants to be baptized even more than ever!  We were worried because she didn`t quite realize that being baptized meant joining another church, and she seemed to be quite fond of the Catholic church she was already a member of.  But we taught her the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith with A**** Shimai last night, and it was incredible.  We taught it, and then said that through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ restored his perfect church, now called the Matsu Jitsu Seito Iesu Kirisuto Kyokai.  She leaned forward in her chair and said, `Where is this church?!`  And she believes it.  It was fantastic. 
I read a talk by Elder Holland this week called `The Inconvenient Messiah,` (Click to read the talk by Elder Holland) which is probably one of the best talks in the existence of ever.  My favorite part this time was actually an experience Sister Holland shared about their daughter losing a school election, and the prayer they said together when she got home.

"Heavenly Father, I promised you I’d do anything if I could win, and now I know I must show how to be a good loser.” And then she said, “I don’t want you to be my servant anymore. I just want to be yours.” `You see, it was because of her pain and disappointment that she was given to say in a twelve-year-old way, “Maybe what I wanted would not be the best thing to serve you at all.` ” 

That hit me hard.  I realized that the thing that I am more terrified of than anything is disappointing the Savior. The last thing I want is to leave my mission and to not have given everything, to have Him look at me sadly, shake His head and say, `You know, you really let me down.`  I can`t even imagine anything worse.  And so I decided this week, that I don`t want the Lord to be my `servant` anymore.  I don`t want to just make o-negai`s (requests) and beg Him that this wonderful path that I`VE planned on will work out.  I want to be HIS servant.  I want to completely align my will with His and give Him every little thing I have to give.  (And if that involves all of this less active work, then so be it.  I shall try to give my heart to this as well!)  My Mom sent me a quote from conference this week that said, `Obedience is a choice.  It is a choice between our own limited knowledge and power and God`s unlimited wisdom and omnipotence.` by Elder Perry. 
Obedience isn`t a problem with me, but sometimes Faithfulness, and that`s just another step up from obedience.  I want to really, really trust Him and really become the best servant of the Lord that I can be...forever.  I want so much to be a true disciple, so that in the last day, He will welcome me, so that He will recognize me because I am like Him. So that He will say, `Well done, thou good and faithful servant.` 
That`s what I want to be. I`ve got a little ways to go, by I`m working on it, because I love Jesus Christ! 
The church is true!
The Book is blue!
Sister Whitney
After our lesson this week, K*****  Shimai gave us this GIANT metal box thing just full of these Japanese rice cracker treats.
 We went out to sushi this week!  It`s the same type of restaurant that I went to with Walker Shimai.  
There are these little conveyor belts that run by all the tables with food on plates, each for 108 yen (about a buck and 8 cents) and you just pick up what you like.  And you can order ones specifically from a screen next to your table and they send them out on these little `shinkansen` (bullet train) like doohickeys.


Tempura shrimp. I actually really like the tempura shrimp.  Everything else I just kind of tolerate.
 I ate fish eggs, just to say I did.  They were gross.

 Our zone at zone conference.
 Me and Broadhead Shimai and Tenney Shimai, all in the same zone!
  Me and two of my Sisters!  A. Shimai and P. Shimai were both trained by Walker Shimai (together) two transfers before me.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Transfer Calls. Our Hearts Broke. We At Donuts.

So, I spent about a million years sending pictures, so this email`s going to be a little shorter than usual.

Transfer calls.  Our hearts broke.  We ate donuts.  Then went to the Amano`s house and made OKONOMIYAKI, these fantastic little pancake like things with vegetables and meat in them.  Apparently, gut okonomiyaki is pretty popular too, but luckily that wasn`t on the menu.

We had our last lesson with K*** Shimai.  She made us a beautiful lunch with salad and meat and a yummy sauce and it was just all around delicious! She`s very Buddhist.  We felt like we should teach about faith and Jesus Christ.  We turned off the lights.  This is life.  We feel like we`re in the dark sometimes.  We can`t see our way out.  We don`t know what to do, or how to be happy, or any number of things. We`re in the dark. But God knew this, so he provided a light.  We pulled out a flashlight, and shined it on Doctrine and Covenants 11:28--   `Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world.`   Through Jesus Christ, we can make it out of the darkness.  We can find happiness and peace and safety, no matter what happens.  We bore our testimonies with our whole souls, saw K*** Shimai feel what we were saying, desire the same, and then heard her say she was quitting the lessons.  I can`t say I`m surprised.  I feel like it`s been a long time coming. She knows it`s true deep down, but she refuses to let herself believe. Usually when something like that happens, and my heart breaks some, I question whether it was my fault, whether I did something wrong.  But I know that on Tuesday that was not the case.  We were led by the spirit and testified by the spirit, but she used her agency to not accept the things that were taught. It was sad, but I can`t give up hope that one day, she might just accept it.  3 Nephi 18: 32,  Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.  Even though she isn`t accepting the message right now, I know that through meeting with Derksen and Hall Shimai, and even just during the transfer with me, K*** Shimai grew closer to the Savior.  I can only hope that one day she will decide to fully come unto Him.

Then we had a lesson with N*************!  She`s a fabulously genki (healthy, energetic sort of word) 82 year old obaachan, an eternal investigator from the past who has been taught everything. We looked her up again last week. She cracks me up, and even though she`s an eternal investigator, I think that she has a lot of potential!  She likes the Book of Mormon and loves coming to church, and seems to want to know if God is really there.  We`re going to start at the beginning with her, and I think it will be good.  

We went to go visit S******* Shimai, who was very clearly taken aback by the fact that Derksen Shimai was transferring.  She started rushing around her yard cutting flowers and sprigs of things from random trees and bushes, going back again and again and finally getting us a bag that I put in the front of my basket.  This lady has so much energy.  She even LISTENS with energy. 

Then, our final Eikaiwa with the other three missionaries here.

We went to Coco`s with S***** Shimai, which was fun and delightful as always.
We had a final little visit with M********* Shimai for Derksen Shimai to bear her goodbye testimony.
We taught S******** a little lesson on God.  
We visited a couple of people, and were getting ready to go have a lesson with A**** when we got a call from the Zone Leaders saying we had to go to F********** two hours later and spend the night in order to make it to the transfer spot in time the next morning.  That was an unfortunate call. We had A****`s lesson, and Derksen Shimai wasn`t done packing, and all the things!  However, they luckily found us a train that left just before 9, so we were able to have a short little follow up with A**** and go out to ice cream before making our way to the train station.

We woke up at 3 to leave at 4 to walk to the train station by 5 to get to S******** by 9.  (I was real tired.) I got to socialize with some of my favorite missionaries, said goodbye to my little Derksen Shimai and sent her off to become senior companion  and took Broadhead Shimai back with me.  I must say, skipping the whole awkward getting to know you stage of the companionship is great!   It`s going to be a good transfer.

We went to go teach M*****, a Filipino we found last week.  We watched the Restoration DVD, and she agreed to begin reading the Book of Mormon.
We also taught N************* again.  We taught about God, and while she still says, `No sank you` to baptism, she now believes and understands that commandments are for our happiness!

Taught S******* Shimai.  Then taught S***** Shimai about the Chart.  She was just astounded by the idea of baptism. She was like, `Baptism? I`ve never heard of baptism before! And I need it to gain eternal life? Ah, I`m only on step two! Your church has a baputesumakai next month? That`s wonderful! Write it down for me so I don`t forget!` Quite an eager acceptance indeed. But then she asked if it was okay if she`s still a member of the Christian church she already goes to. ... We have a little ways to go with her. But it`s going to be good. :)

Church!  A**** and N************* came!  Did some housing and stuff.

And that was the week.  Lots of miracles, little and big, not the least of which is me so far being able to find my way around this place!

Well, I sure love you!

The church is true!
The book is blue!

Sister Whitney

Us at the A*****!  Our `3 missionaries are transferring, goodbye` photo.

We made Okonomiyaki at their house which was DELICIOUS!
The feast K*** Shimai made us for Derksen Shimai`s `farewell`.

The super adorable yochien (preschool kindergarten thing)  It`s just so cute!
Super cute pictures on the yochien.
The bag of flowers S******* Shimai gave us when we told her Derksen Shimai was leaving.
What my lunch at C***** with S***** Shimai looked like.
It`s pretty.

More perdy area! We took lots of pictures since Sister Derksen was leaving.

Us and the T******* and F*********sisters the night before transfers!  We had to have a sleepover at F********** in order to make it to the transfer spot on time the next morning.

 Plus, then there was me and Derksen Shimai at the transfer spot in S********.
Me an Daniels Shimai.

 Me, Scheffler, & Broadhead Shimai!  They were companions in the MTC, and now I`ve been companions with both of them! (Well,kind of for Sister Scheffler.  We count it.)