Thursday, June 5, 2014

It Was A Clear Message To Me From Heavenly Father, Reminding Me That These Were Still His Children.

Nothing much.  We emailed.  We lettered.  We attempted to visit some less actives.  And we had Yakisoba at the A****`s house for FHE. 

We taught T***** Shimai again, and it went really well.  First off, she told us she had been reading from the Book of Mormon by herself in a place that talked about what happens to people who don`t believe in Christ.  We were a little bit nervous upon hearing this, but what she said next immediately absolved all our concerns:  `Many people don`t believe in Christianity because they don`t know Him, you begin to learn about Christianity, you will want to be a part of it.  かなあ (I thiiink.)`  She said this bit a little bit hesitantly, but it was wonderful, like she is beginning to recognize that desire in herself, that desire to become a part of it.  Then we taught from 2 Nephi 31--you know, the Gospel of Christ chapter.  And her desire is strengthening, slowly but surely.  She said she understood Jesus Christ better as well as why baptism is so important.

And we had Eikaiwa.  There`s a single mom who comes to our Eikaiwa class with her little baby sometimes, but has a hard time coming because she`s so busy with work and stuff.  Her baby is named K**** and is probably the smartest thing ever.  She`s a year and a half old, and often says the English words after us, sings the ABC`S, knows lots of words in both English and Japanese, and is probably the most behaved little kiddo you`ve ever seen. A couple of weeks ago, it came up that she had a saxophone but didn`t know how to play it.  Knowing that Broadhead Shimai DOES know how to play the saxophone, I immediately volunteered her to teach this lady how to play the saxophone after Eikaiwa if she ever decided to bring her instrument.  She did this week, and they had a great little lesson while I kept the baby entertained.  (I can`t play an instrument to save my life, but I`m pretty good at giving a baby a white board marker and letting her have at the whiteboard.) Through this, I think she was able to feel our love and tell that we really care about her. We invited her to church, but she said it was too early and she liked to sleep in on Sundays.  And yet...stay tuned for Sunday.

We had a really long lesson with a couple of missionaries from another religion.  Obviously, it didn`t turn into much, but we were fulfilling our purpose in giving everyone a chance to hear this Gospel message and at least the opportunity to accept it for themselves.  They tried to convince us that God`s name is Jehovah (for which the only scriptural evidence they could find was only in their special translation of the Bible...hmmm.).and said they didn`t want to hear about Joseph Smith.  HOWEVER, through responding to all of their questions and bringing up points of our own, the discussion gradually and naturally took the form of lesson 1 (the Restoration), beginning with God is our Loving Heavenly Father and leading up to the Joseph Smith experience, which I was able to share (I LOVE sharing the Joseph Smith experience, but don`t often have an opportunity to do so, seeing as Lesson 1 is usually NOT the first...or even one of the first....lesson in Japan.).  And I got them to read some verses from the Book of Mormon.   And I saw that it was good.  When we`d done our part of witness and it was time to leave, we asked if we could pray with them.  They looked at each other and said no.  In that moment, I had an intense, sharp feeling of deep pain and sadness, beyond any that I have ever felt before.  It was just for a very brief moment, but had it continued even a second longer I probably would have burst into tears. I think it was a clear message from Heavenly Father, reminding me that these were still His children and my sisters, and that His pain is such for all of His children suffering in unbelief, as they.   Even just thinking about that sadness again hurts. But one day, there will be a day to rejoice over another child of the Father, who does choose to believe and to follow.  I hope.  In the meantime, it`s just a matter of seeking them out.

Lunch with S****** Shimai was followed by visiting LA T******* Shimai who had her friend over. They love English and T******* Shimai is practically fluent, so we spoke in English most of the time. Then they said we could speak in Japanese to practice for a little while, and they were surprised! The best thing of all was they said my pronunciation was beautiful, and that my ありがとうございます (arigatou gozaimasu) sounded like a Nihonjin! It made my heart happy.  And we went to M*****`s son`s birthday party.  

District meeting, some less active visiting, the works.  One less active wasn`t there, so we taught Setting the Table to his mom and her little dachshund. Not a whole lot of interest there, but we can came back.  And she gave us juice boxes and told us not to get heatstroke.  

We had a lesson with N********* san and  S***** Shimai, and finally answered her question about why bad things happen to good people and vice versa, by reading about the tree of life.   In the end, all that is unfair shall be made right through the love of God.  And her question was answered!  But she said that all she was going to remember is that the fruit is the love of God.  *sigh*  I guess that`s the important thing though.  And then we had a lesson with S*********** about faith in Jesus Christ, which went so much better than I imagined!  Last week when we started talking about faith, she kind of freaked out and we didn`t get very far.  But this week, we talked about the blessings that Jesus Christ brings us, about how he saves us from sin and death, and she said that it was wonderful, and that she believes.  Wow.  She said that death used to be very scary to her, but while she still doesn`t want to die, knowing that we`ll be able to meet all of our loved ones again after this life has brought her hope and peace, and it`s a lot less scary to her now.  I pointed out to her that this is what she said she wanted when she started meeting with us, that the very thing she envied and desired was that hope that we have, and now she is beginning to have it too!  It`s still a little bit of a slow road with her, and she still does NOT want to come to church, but hey, some must be invited to come unto Christ just a little bit at a time.  Plus, she told us that she prays for everything to be happy.  Not just everyone, but everything.  She says she doesn`t just pray for her family, not just for Nihonjin, not even just for all people, but for all of the living things!  For all of the plants and the flowers and the animals and everything in the entire world to be happy and get along.  And she says she wants to love everyone, to be their friends, because wouldn`t that be fun?  Wouldn`t the world just be a better place then?  Why yes, S******* Shimai, yes it would.  She was a great person before, but this is a new thing for her.  It`s wonderful to see the changes that the Gospel can work on a person, little by little.  We`re helping her realize what a big difference this is making on her, and one day she`s going to decide to follow this all the way.

So imagine our surprise when guess who comes walking in with her baby yesterday--Y*********** and K****! It turns out she woke up at 5:30 that morning. YES. She seemed to be a little bit stressed out at first because of the new atmosphere,  but the branch did a wonderful job of fellow-shipping her afterwards and fawning over the baby.  What proud mom doesn`t love that? She said she had a good time and really did seem to leave happy and in high spirits. 

And then after some less active work, we called it a week!

And it became June yesterday.  How did that happen?  Well, that`s the way the story goes. 

The Church is true.
The Book is blue!

Sister Whitney

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