It was a great week! Every day`s a party, or as we like to say, a 霊的なぱーてい、a spiritual party!
Nothing special, really. We emailed, went to go teach O Shimai a quick lesson, grocery shopped at the speed of light, just barely making it home in time to catch a bus to Okayama! Every time we spend the night there before a big conference, it`s like a big missionary reunion! I saw Tenney Shimai, Watkins Shimai, Crofts Shimai, Donnelly and Colter Shimai...that was a party too. Bus ride and then a train ride to Okayama? 3500 yen. Fitting 16 Shimai into on apartment for a night? Priceless.
Conference! The Area president, President Ringwood and his wife (who is Elder Nelson`s daughter!) came and spoke to us! One thing that really stood out to me was about us, our responsibility to be the foundation of the testimonies of those around us. Here, we really are the first idea or impression that many people hear about God or about Jesus Christ. Even for those who aren`t the first, and even when we aren`t missionaries, we can influence how those around us view Them or think about Them by what we say and how we act, by sharing about why we LOVE them, why we are willing to follow Them, and by deepening our own personal relationships with them ourselves. I loved something He said about trusting God. He said that we must trust God so much that we should never envy another person in any other circumstances, because we trust God that we are exactly where we are meant to be. He said it`s easy to say, `For every door we knock here in Japan, someone gets baptized in Brazil` (which is quite likely true), but that wherever we are, we are here for a reason, and no matter what our circumstances, Heavenly Father has provided us with the opportunity to help those around us and to obtain for ourselves incredible amounts of joy. :)
After the conference, we rode home with the W's. They had gotten permission from Welch Kaicho to leave the mission for a little bit to go to COSTCO in Hiroshima, and after asking the Welches if they could take us with them, we too were given the same permission! So we lived the missionary dream. We broke ALL the rules! Haha. But we were given permission. We think. Basically, we`ve discovered that couple missionaries can just do whatever they want, and if we`re with them, a lot of that goes for us as well. Which we appreciate. :) So, in the magical realm of Japanese COSTCO, the parking lot is on top of the store. In order to solve these problem, there are giant conveyor belts to carry your cart up and down! We also bought tortillas, oatmeal, and ... wait for it ... COSTCO MUFFINS! Because we know delicious when we find it. The W's were also kind enough to treat us to some delicious classic CostCo pizza and some ice cream, which is actually different than the ice cream in American Costco`s. Howard Shimai flipped out for it. I think I like the American ice cream better. But still! So much happy America-like deliciousness! Then, to top it all off, we didn`t get home until 11 that night, but we`re pretty sure that was included in whatever permission was obtained for us to go with the W's. It was an adventurous day, to say the least.
We taught A Kyodai a lesson, and he`s such a champ! We used the Book of Mormon to testify of Jesus Christ. Because A Kyodai has been inactive for so long, he sometimes feels inadequate or not deserving of God`s love or blessings. We were able to testify about how none of us need to earn God`s love, but that it is always there for us. He`s really so cool, and just drinks it in when you bear testimony. He`s been gone for a while, but he knows it`s true, and he`s on his way coming back!
Then, we had children`s Eikaiwa and normal Eikaiwa.
We went to go have lunch and visit with E and a group of her friends who speak English! They were all sweet and fun, but got kind of awkward when we tried to bring up the Gospel. They made us lunch and it was really delicious! We helped put together the onigiri`s, rice balls, and everyone laughed as I struggled to make a simple triangle shape. But in the end, I got it! Mostly.
After that, we went to go visit Y san, the older lady we found last week, and she became a new investigator! She invited us right back in and proceeded to tell us about a miracle she`d had since last time she`d seen us. She had really needed the deed to her house for some reason (some of the particulars got lost in the Japanese), but couldn`t find them. Then she prayed to ask for help and was able to find them! She said she thought it was a miracle and then immediately thought, `It`s because those two girls came and talked to me! It`s because of them!` She was really happy we came back. And she gave us cute little handkerchiefs to show her appreciation.
We taught a lesson to O Shimai about Faith and Works, which went alright, and then got an unexpected call from a member who had moved to Tokyo a few years ago, saying that she was back and wanted to invite all the missionaries to dinner to meet her nonmember parents. First of all, it was just about the most delicious dinner I`ve had at a member`s house--it was all vegetables and a few meats cooked in delicious ways--and second of all, we ended up getting to share a message! The mom was so sweet, and when they realized we would get to stay a little bit later if we shared a message, they were all for it! There`s not a whole lot of interest there right now, but maybe one day.
We did service for member O Shimai, weekly planning, and a few other things
We went to go make Melon Pan with K Shimai at her apartment! We also got to talk to her about her conversion story, so it was fun and uplifting! Later that night, we had a branch family home evening at the church and another delicious meal provided for us. It was so good and the branch seemed to really strengthen their relationships with each other, which they really need!
Church, a few cancelled lessons, and finding! But still good. Yeah, still good.
Anyways, I`m about out of time, but I just want to testify to you that I know the Church is true! There are hard things that happen sometimes. There are things we don`t understand. And there are people who don`t understand us. But there is one person who always does understand us, and it`s our Savior Jesus Christ! He understands perfectly when no one else does, and I testify that this church is HIS church, and that through it and through Him, not matter what problems or concerns we have in our life, we can be healed. We can overcome. We can become who He would have us be. And that`s pretty incredible. :)
The Church is true!
The Book is blue!
MTC District reunion! Donnelly Shimai and Colter Shimai are companions right now, and Tenney Shimai and I both went there to stay on Monday night before a conference in Okayama. And we all brought the PJ`s my Mama sent us when we were in the MTC!
We got to go to COSTCO! Outside of the mission boundaries! (with permission) Is that not every missionary in Japan`s DREAM!!!
They don`t mess around at Costco in Japan. Look at these crazy conveyor belt things!
We love the W`s! And we love COSTCO!
We made Melon pan (bread) with K Shimai from the branch, to bring to branch FHE on Saturday night! It turns out, you just put cookie dough on top of roll dough and make a checkerboard pattern. And there‘s no melon in it at all! I`ve been living a lie!
Awww. Us and K Shimai and more melon pan!