Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I am thankful for... November 24, 2014


Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Here in Japan, we don't celebrate
Thanksgiving obviously because it is just about Columbus coming to
America...or something like that. So I figured the way I would
celebrate thanksgiving the best with you this year is to tell you all
of the things I am thankful for from this week. Here goes...
I am thankful for...
Akiko san. She is the one we found who was walking her dog that speaks
English. We actually didn't end up getting her number right, and so we
couldn't call her. But we knew where her house was, and so we went to
visit her this past week. She said that she even thought about coming
to church this last week! It was incredible to find out that she has a
lot of our same beliefs. For her first lesson, we ended up teaching
her the word of wisdom and the law of chastity because she is takes
her body as being very important. I have to say that is the first time
I have ever taught that for a first lesson. She told us that she would
love to learn and talk with us and go to church, but she said she
probably won't get baptized and wanted to know if that was okay. I
told her, the reason that I came to Japan was not just to make friends.
I came to help people get closer to Christ. As we teach you, the
purpose will be to help you be baptized. She seemed okay with it. I am
so thankful that I feel so strongly about just telling people how it
is. There is no sense in beating around the bush with God's work. We
are going to meet with her tomorrow and I'm really excited. She is
super cute. I'll have to send you pictures next week.
Ko san. Picture 1.
She met the missionaries about a year ago and we
called her up to see if she would be willing to meet with us. She said
that was okay. She said she would bring her son as well. As it turned
out, Ko san just wanted to talk, but not about the gospel. However,
her son was very nice and interested in what we have to say. I know
that The Lord blessed us so much because even though she wasn't
interested, she was prompted by god to bring a family member that
would be. 
Hasegawa san. Picture 2 and 3. 
If you put Hasegawa san and Nakajima shimai together you've got yourself 
a wonderful video, all you need is popcorn. I love these two so much. 
Hasegawa sans mother is 97 and in the hospital right now, so she spends 
quite a bit of time taking care of her mother.
However, if she is home, we are able to visit with her.
We had two lunch appointments with her at Nakajima Shimai's house this
week. You know how sometimes when you plan a church activity and you
know you have to have food in order to get lots of people there. Well,
in missionary work, we do that a lot too. :) I asked her this week
that if if she knew the message we taught was true, would she be
baptized? She looked at me for a few seconds and then said, yeah I
will. Then she said, I just can't say "no" to Sister Yamauchi. In my
heart I was thinking, "oh, yeah!!" :) 
Hasegawa Mari san. She is Hasegawa sans daughter. She is one of my
best friends. So sweet, super stylish, and has a way smart head on her
shoulders. She came to eikaiwa with us this past week and had a blast.
She is like my long lost twin. We are both perfectionists and we both
know it. 
Ayabe family. Picture 4 and 5.
We went with Horie shimai this week. It
was a really good experience. They learned about the temple. Shoma kun
finished reading the children's Book of Mormon. Amazing!! Also, isn't
saki chan the cutest thing you have ever seen in your life?! 
Your prayers and the Lords allowing a huge miracle to happen this
week. I am also grateful for fasting. So we go this past Tuesday to
see Okada shimai with Nakajima shimai prepared to share with her the
lesson about tithing. We get there and I can just feel that something
was wrong. I asked if there was, and she said there was, but it was
private. But she said she couldn't be baptized. I felt like it was dei
ja vu with ueda shimai. So, in order to open up her heart, we allowed
for a little silence and questions just a little at a time. She ended
up saying that her husband and her aren't getting along too well,
money is a little hard, she doesn't know how she is going to live in
the future, her husband had been in the hospital for so long that his
employment was in jeopardy. We just talked it out and she felt better
by the end and we commited her again to baptism and told her she would
need to talk to her husband. So we set the date she could talk to her
husband. The plan was for on Friday, so we were all going to fast for
her that day. But then on exchanges on Thursday, me and Sister Chander
and Nakajima shimai go to her house and she said she met with her
husband today and told her her desires in her heart and the husband
didn't understand it too well and kind of thought she was crazy, but
was okay with it and said that when he gets out of the hospital, he
wants to hear what we teach!! I am so excited!! I am so thankful for
everyone's prayers in her behalf. You made a huge difference. I know
it. She came to stake conference with members. Mom, I remember when
you always had a baby bag for us at church. I made one for toma kun.
Picture 6 and 7.

Cute, right!? Had her interview Sunday night and she
is all good!! Pray for her to safely receive baptism and confirmation
this next week. I am so excited!!! 
Service opportunities. Fun times with the relief society and Okada san
this week. We made cute Christmas tree ornaments for the senior
citizens. Way fun. Picture 8
Friends who are so sweet. I have had so many people tell me this week so many wonderfully nice things that have really helped me to feel good. Lots of people telling me I am their best friend or that they want to be more like me or that I am able to see right into peoples souls for what they need. People know my love language :) Sister Howe. Picture 9.
This is Sister Miyaki's companion. I am so grateful to live in the same apartment as her. She is such a sweetheart. We can feel each other's love without saying anything at all. Exchanges. I feel so fortunate to be able to go on so many exchanges with the responsibilities that I have held during my mission. I learn so much from every single sister. This week, I went on exchanges with Sister Chandler. I love her so much. She is adorable and so good at using the Book of Mormon in missionary work. Second chances. Picture 10 and 11.
So me and Sister Chandler rode the
train to Kiryu for our zone conference, I sat next to this girl and after we started talking for a while, she said that she things she knows my friends. She pulled out a picture from a few months ago of Sister Jack and Sister Edwards. Wow! People who have a brain still. Me and Sister Chandler also talked to a girl who was amazingly smart. I think Japan school is the way to go maybe. She was studying science in English. She asked us a few questions about chromosomes or Mieosis or something like that, then I would turn to Sister Chandler and she would help...yeah, I have no idea. I forgot everything except how to do missionary work. ;) The train application on our phone and google maps. I can't tell you how many screen shots I have taken of google maps and train schedules. I feel like The Lord has really blessed me with the ability to get places fast by giving me a talent with directions. If you give me a map, I can go anywhere. So thankful for the scriptures too, which have been huge guides for me. I have come to cherish the Book of Mormon even more this week. I know that we can go to the scripture with any questions and receive an answer from God. I have learned that it is not always what we read that gives us the answer. I think if we really want an answer and believe he will give us one, we can just read and revelation will come, in text or out of text. Zone conferences. For zone conference, I was asked to translate, do a training, sing a special musical number for our Christmas concert, and give my final testimony to everyone (because it's my last zone conference). I was crazy busy, and I love it. Translating is just so much fun. I wish that all of our meetings were in Japanese, but they are in English, so I always translate for the Japanese missionaries. Picture 12.
Final Testimony. Here are some of the things I said in my final testimony. The Lord makes the impossible, possible. Miracles happen every single day. Before your mission, if someone said it was a miracle, it was a pretty big deal. Now when I say something is a miracle, it's normal. When you are on Gods team, miracles happen every step you take. You just have to take a step. I love obedience. It unlocks all blessings. I have learned the meaning of Charity. True charity is hard to find, but When you find it, there is nothing better. The importance of parenting/skills of motherhood. Testimony of the savior. It's all about an act of faith. You just have to keep acting for good and things will work out. The much success The Lord has allowed me to be a part of. I went to the Saturday session of Stake Conference with a member and a bunch of recent converts. I sat in hue he back seat and got to see all of them as they joyfully talked as we went on our way to Kiryu for stake conference. My heart was so touched. As I saw the sunset that we saw on our way, I thought about how the sun is a big ball of fire. And...Koga is on fire!! Yeaaahhhhh!! Picture 13 and 14.
The gift of tongues. I got asked without warning at the stake conference to translate from Japanese to English for all those who were listening in English. It was quite the deal. I had on this big headphone set. I know The Lord helped me so much. I love translating and am so thankful the gift of languages. P.S. I am a little better at translating from English to Japanese than I am for Japanese to English. So we wanted to pass off Ken Son to Elder Killpack and Elder Higbee so I set up an appointment for this past Sunday night. On the way there, we ran into Tsukahara Hiroshi san, the deaf man. He ended up coming to the church and me and Nakajima shimai taught him while the others taught Ken Son. And...we had the best lesson yet with Tsukahara san. He actually understood a lot. We even got a baptism date with him!! In April. A ways away, but he will need a little time to absorb things I think. Picture 15.
Everyone keeps telling me that I can't leave, so I guess I better be obedient to them. I don't know when I will be home, but I'll see you someday ;) Love ya all, 山内姉妹

Monday, November 17, 2014

This week's reflections -November 17, 2014


I can't remember if I told you this last Monday or not, so I'll tell
it again. Sorry, if I told you last week. Nakajima shimai called us up
on Monday and told us her son and family were coming over and she
wanted us to meet them. Cute, right?! Love this steki family. Got to
share about the plan of salvation and Book of Mormon a little bit.
Wonderful testimony builder. Oh, how I long to be as good as Nakajima
shimai. 
 
District meeting. Always great. I taught everyone how to make
baptismal calendars for our investigators with baptismal dates. That
was great. I love training!! Also, I think I might have told you this,
but Koga is known for getting flat tires. It is such a big area and we
use our bikes everywhere we go, so we get flats super easy. So, the
elders helped us learn how to fix it on our own. That was great too.
Itou san. This is Nishi Shimai (mother of Usui shimai, Usui kyoudais
wife). Love her so much.
She is adorable. She helped us with Itou sans lesson. Itou san is kind of 
an eternal investigator.Found him in the area book. First time meeting him
this week. It is so important to always teach with a purpose. I feel like most 
eternal investigators that I have run into have been taught by previous
missionaries just for a knowledge, and not with a purpose of baptism
in mind. You are never pushing someone when you are inviting them to
come unto Christ and be saved. 
We went to visit one of our investigators this one day totsuzen. It
took us about one hour to find the place. Well, the it turned out she
wasn't home. I told sister Owens we were going to find someone I this
area because wherever we go, we are on the lords errand.  Mounted our
bikes and I saw a lady with a cute dog and said, she is the one. Went
up to her. Turns out she speaks pretty good english and is very open
to learning about religion. Showed us her house, gave us her number.
She doesn't have a job and we can visit whenever! Wow! Cool, right?!
The gospel is true! Her name is Akiko san by the way. 
So we found out last monday that we missed Okada Shimai's bday by a
few days, so we threw a little party/lesson on Wednesday. So much fun!
Weekly planning. I have become quite the fan of planning. I remember
at the start of my mission I just wanted to go out and do, do, do.
Although that is still my desire, I have learned the value of
planning. It helps everything go along so smoothly. I don't know how I
survived without a planner before my mission. I love my missionary
planner. That and my iPad. If I have those two things, I pretty much
have everything.
I think you will all enjoy this next story. So I called the office
couple that are at the honbu to get my card number for money that I
wanted. Elder Evans checked on it for me and replied in a shocked
voice, you have tons of money on your card! Some missionaries have
quite a bit, but that is the most money I have ever seen left on a
card. I had to just giggle and say, yeah, my family wouldn't be
surprised. :) 
Went to Toma kuns Undoukai (sports day) and Nakajima shimai came too
to support him. Just spent a little bit of our lunch hour there and
left. Japan school is just too fun looking!!
So the same Filipinos we met last weekend that I told you about, well, we met them again is week on the same day at pretty much the same place and time.
Guuzen janaiya!! Way cool. And the best thing about it is that we couldn't find their Facebook names that they gave us, so we got to again swap information so we can be friends with them and help them come closer to Christ!!
Ayabe family. Shoma kun could not keep his eyes out from the children's Book of Mormon. It was awesome. Even when we started the English lesson, he was still reading like crazy. So thankful for children's examples. We had family night and me and Sister Owens were in charge of music. We had ueda shimai and Nakajima shimai sing a famous Japanese song. Love these two so much.
After family night (Saturday night), I got together with Sora san (on the right of this picture) and ueda shimai(on the left side) and taught about god. Sora san isn't sure if god is there or not and it was awesome to hear ueda shimai testify about how she knows god is there. Ah, please pray for ueda Shimai. Thanks :) I am amazed at how many people don't know how to cook. My companion said she was going to make everyone pancakes on Sunday morning, but we all ate our own food for breakfast. Then she was making pancakes for herself and all of the sudden our house gets super smoky and my pan that I bought about a month ago for cooking was completely burnt! That was the first time I have seen her cook. Pretty sure that might be the last. I always cook for her. At the start of my mission, I preferred just doing separate meals because I can make and eat super fast. But over the last little while, I find it very fulfilling and service oriented to cook for my companion. So thankful that my mission has helped me develop skills that I will need going forward in life. This Sunday we had our Primary program (interesting that you had yours this last weekend as well). We have about 9 kids in our primary. Crazy, right?! Very small. Hopefully soon we will be able to get 10 because of Okada Shimai's son, toma kun. :) They did so good. I love learning from the children. They teach such simple truths so well and their hearts are so pure.
Okada shimai came to church again! So excited for her progress. She has slowly been climbing out of her shell and talks really well with all the members. Oh, how I love her. This week she is going to ask for permission from her husband to be baptized. If there is one things could have you pray for this week in every prayer possible, it would be that she can get permission. This is so important. We are doing all that we can to help her prepare to ask. She goes to visit her husband once a week in the hospital. He got into an accident a little while and is still nyuuinchuu (sorry, forgot the word in English). Dad, help me out if you remember. We are still aiming for November 30. Everyone, let's unite in this great case. Okada shimai needs your help!! We had a lesson and dinner at the Nakamura family's house. Oh, how I love that family. I always forget to take a picture with them. I will try to remember next time. When they come to America for General Conference in the future, I am going to go with them!! We had a lesson with Ken Son again. I still can't figure him out. He believes this church is true, but isn't willing to act on what he believes.
Your weekly dose of Nakajima Shimai and me :) we went to visit a new investigator right before shopping, but she wasn't home. Well, that happens. But you have to learn to make the most of what comes, so we took a funny picture together. :) we spent pretty much all three ours of our dendou time with her visiting people. Got to love it!! :) This week I am looking forward to Zone Conference (Friday) and Stake Conference (Saturday and Sunday). All three of those will be in Kiryuu, which is a LONG way a way from here. It will be interesting to go three days in a row. Excited to learn lots from our church leaders. Heavy black heart️Lots of lovesHeavy black heart️ 山内姉妹

Introspection - November 10, 2014


Welcome to the "Highlights of this week" Email. Enjoy! 
MONDAY 
So while I sent you my mail last Monday night (we have to go to seven
eleven where there is wifi) this lady came up to me and said, hey, are
you the Mormon missionaries. Now maybe in America, that is common, I
don't know, but it just about shocked me. Wow, huge miracle! After
talking to this lady for a little while, come to find out that she
lives close to the church and has come to our church before. Another
shocker. And then,  bout 10 minutes into our conversation, she pulls
out a picture of the Salt Lake City temple from her bag and says how
bad she wants to go into the temple, but can't because she isn't a
member. She said she always keeps it in her bag with her! Woooo, crazy
miracle, right?! Her name is Satou san and she is quite the character.
We will see where things go with her. It reminded me of our mission
song, oh may it spread from pole to pole till all shall know His name.
Satou san and Me
TUESDAY 
We have been talking with Jiao's (received baptism last week) wife a
little this week. She thinks it is amazing that we believe families
are so important and hold them close to our heart. She is studying in
Nara right now, so we are going to continue to try to talk with her
over Facebook and the phone and hopefully she gets baptized soon. 
Guess who is getting married?! Two of our recent converts. Kakuhata
Kyoudai and Okada Shimai. I am way pumped up. They told us, but said
to keep it a secret for now. They were going to get married in
January, but I told them they have to do it before I go home. They
didn't know about me going home and quickly rearranged. They are going
to get married before I go home and I am so pumped. Love those two to
death. I call them my mom and dad and they love it. Pretty much I call
everyone my mom and dad. Because, really, everyone is. I just feel
instant family contact with everyone I meet. So thankful for that gift
from God. 
WEDNESDAY 
Last eikaiwa picture of the transfer 
THURSDAY 
I had a really cool experience with Nakajima Shimai this week. So
everyone was asleep in our apartment (this is about 4:30 am) and then
I hear our phone vibrating so I look to see who it is. I missed the
call but then I see that we have three missed calls, voicemails, and a
cmail (texting) all from her. She had a bad migrine and she called us
to ask to come over and help her. I prayed about what to do, thinking
that we couldn't do to much for her. The thought came to my mind, she
helps you with missionary work all the time, you can help her by
getting out of bed. I called her back and asked what we could do to
help. She said she didn't know, but she needed us. I woke up Sister
Cortés and we went over to her house. We talked to her for a little
while, or rather she talked to us. She couldn't go to sleep. She was
worried about her family. The idea popped into my mind to sing hymns
to her. So me and Sister Cortés softly sang one hymn after the next.
After about 15 minutes she was saying that she felt so much better.
The last words before she went to bed was 「神�に感�します。」In English, that
would be, I'm thankful for God. After a few minutes we snuck out of
the house and let her sleep. That experience touched my heart in so
many ways. One thing that I learned was that she was healed on faith.
She just knew we as sister missionaries could help heal her. Also, she
remembered to thank God. 

The move of Sister Requilman and Sister Cortes.
My new companion came in for the Niigata zone (her last area was an
island). It's the only island we have our mission. It's called Sado.
The bus came into the mission home really late, which is unusual. So I
did missionary work with Miyaki shimai pretty well all day while we
waited for our two new companions to arrive. 
We "randomly" met Hiroshi san on the street (the deaf investigator).
My Japanese sign language has improved a little and I am developing a
little more confidence in it, but I still had to write most of it and
we discussed through writing. He is slowly progressing. It might be a
slow process. He still hasn't been able to meet our members that are
fluent in sign language. I think when we start getting appointments
with them, the process will start speeding up. 
By the time our new companions got to the area, it was planing time (9
pm). Sisters Owens was amazed at how busy we were. I told her there is
no way we won't be busy. This work is too important, time is too precious, 
so many things to do and so many people to baptize. I love missionary work!! 
FRIDAY 
Ueda Shimai is doing real great. She still really needs our constant
care and encouragement, but she is still continuing to change and
improve. For example, in the mornings, instead of watching tv before
going to work, she reads the Book of Mormon. What a wonderful example
to us all. 
We had our zone meeting this week. It was so wonderful. I love doing
trainings. It just fits my personality. Also, once again, I translated
for our two Japanese missionaries in our zone, Sister Yasui and Elder
Hibino. Love Japanese people! Love translating! I feel like our zone
has been empowered to do our part in helping the Christmas miracle
come to pass. 
Went to Japanese class with our two recent converts and also had
lessons with two of he he Japanese students. Shibuya and Shiela. They
are super cute. Talked about the restoration and they loved it. In
talking with them, it made me remember that I can't tell anyone to do
anything. That is the spirit's job. What a miracle it is when someone
keeps a commitment. The spirit is so real! 
SATURDAY 
We met Tashiro Shimai! It had been a while. So thankful for that
opportunity. She is doing good and not in the hospital like we thought
she was. 
When we were riding our bikes back to the apartment, we found 5
Filipinos walking to the grocery store. I love Filipinos. I want to go
to the Phillipeans some day. Gave out 6 Book of Mormons!! Woot! 
SUNDAY 
Tashiro san was still feeling really insecure about her decision to be
baptized next week. We moved her date to December 7. She does want to
be baptized, she just feels like it was a little too fast for her. Her
body is really struggling with different challenges right now. Pray
for her to be baptized on December 7 for me please. :) 
This week we are working on getting permission for Okada Shimai's
baptism from her husband. Everything is looking pretty good for the
30th of this month. Pray for her for me too...onegai shimasu. Oh, ps,
when I talk about this Okada shimai, I'm talking about he
investigator, not the recent convert. ;) In all my areas on my
mission, I have come to learn that if you have the name Okada, you are
a golden person. ;) 
We have been working with a few Filipino families. I am still trying
to figure out Filipinos. They love God so much and want to follow him,
but are sometimes so stubborn with becoming a member of our church. 
Hasegawa san, another one of Nakajima Shimai's numerous referrals, was
another miracle for us on Sunday night. She is reading the Book of
Mormon and Nakajima shimai invited her herself to go to church with
her. So excited for next Sunday. She is the cutest lady ever. 
LAST THOUGHTS 
Lastly, I just wanted to take about the word "introspection." I love
this quote given in General Conference many years ago...「Each of us
might well ask, “In what ways am I shrinking or holding back?” Meek
introspection may yield some bold insights! For example, we can tell
much by what we have already willingly discarded along the pathway of
discipleship. It is the only pathway where littering is permissible,
even encouraged. In the early stages, the debris left behind includes
the grosser sins of commission. Later debris differs; things begin to
be discarded which have caused the misuse or under use of our time and
talent. 
Isn't that wonderful. You know that you are walking the path of
discipleship when you are constantly changing. I am so thankful for
the change that has taken place in my life, especially from the time
that I started my missionary service. I know that God loves me. He
loves each and every one of us individually. What a blessing!! 
Loves,
山内�妹

Monday, November 3, 2014

Onward! - November 3, 2014


Happy November Everyone! My how time flies. I can hardly believe  I am
now on the first day of transfer 12! Kowaii. Grinning face with smiling eyes
Hopefully this letter finds all well and dandy. I have had a wonderful
week (though I don't need to tell you in order for you to know that
about me because every week is wonderful).
For this letter, I think I'll tell you about everything day by day,
though I won't include everything that happened in the day because I
don't have the time for that. I'll try to mention the highlights of
each day.
Monday:
I want so badly for you to meet Nakajima Shimai. Every member of our
church ought to. My wish is that every single member can become like
her. She is the best member missionary I have every met and probably
will ever meet in my entire life. We literally do missionary work with
her every single day. Also, even if she is not with us, she is doing
missionary work. She calls her family and friend and tells them about
our message, delivers the missionary pamphlets and book of Mormons for
her friends, visits our investigators for us without having us there
just to create good relationships, she does it all right. I hope to
become like her. On Monday (the rest of what I haven't told you from
last week), we had an appointment we Ueda san and Nakajima shimai to
do family home evening, but. Ueda Simai ended up having to help her
kind of mom figure (Matsumoto san) because she was kind of sick. So,
we ended up doing it with just Nakajima shimai. She had just had her
visiting teachers come that day and talk about the atonement and she
was sooo incredibly touched by it. She asked, why did Christ do that?
We told her he did it for each one of us, individually to return to
Gods presence. It was one of those times where I just looked and her
and my heart pounded with love. The atonement is really everything.
See picture 1.
Also ran into a girl that I had seen last week. The first time we met,
it was for just a second and I never could get her number. But the
second time, I got it. There are no coincidences in the lords work!
See picture 2
Tuesday:
I can't remember if I told you in last weeks email or not, but
Nakajima shimai gave us a referral. His name is Hiroshi san. It is one
of her friends that she sees when she is walking her dog sometimes
(have I told you that Nakajima Shimai's dog name is "love...cute
right)! Anyway, we went to visit him at his house because he didn't
come to church like he said he would last week. It is really hard
because we can't call him or anything because he can't hear. We went
together with Nakajima shimai. He wasn't home, but one of his family
members was and we got to kind of share our message with him. And then
we asked him to give this to Hiroshi san. He said he would (now the
rest of the miracle story will continue when I talk about Tuesday).
We visited Tashiro san. Japanese people are so persistent to feed you
something if you come into their house. Her legs aren't very good
right now and she was trying to go up and down her three story house
(very narrow house) in order to prepare tea for us. We told her we
don't drink tea and she said, okay, what about coffee. We have to
giggle. Even when we told her we didn't drink it she was persistent
about giving some to us. She is just too kind, humble, and full of love
for people. As luck would have it, the lesson we prepared for that day
was about keeping our bodies pure. We talked to her about the word of
wisdom and the law of chastity. She soaked everything right up and is
resisting all caffeine in drinks. What an incredible example!
Wednesday:
Nakajima shimai and us went early to Ueda Shimai's before she had work
at 8 in the morning. She is doing super well and we are so happy for
her.
Had our last district meeting of the transfer along with a district
lunch. Tonkatsu is soooo yummy. I ate wayyy to much. See picture 3 and
4.

Then afterwards we heart attacked the Ayabe families door for
Halloween! See picture 5 and 6.

We went to visit Okada san. When we got there, we found Nakajima
shimai at her doorstep talking to her. Wow, she is seriously the best
example ever. We had no idea that she had gone over there. We had a
great talk and set up a lunch appointment to all eat together for
Saturday.
Okay, so back to the Hiroshi san story. I know a little bit of
Japanese sign language. He loves Jesus Christ. He pointed to a picture
of Christ on our church wall and made the sign that means "nice." It
is amazing how humble he is.
Thursday:
Mission Leadership Council was marvelous this week. We got to go to a
Shinto shrine in Harajuku called Meiji Jijingu. It is so important for
us as missionaries to know about what most Japanese people believe in
so we can teach accordingly. I could not believe how many similarities
there were to our religion. I wanted so badly to tell Itou san (our
Shinto priest guide) at the end, "oh, you are so close!" I have really
been able to adjust my teaching to meet their needs better knowing
what I know now. I am thankful we took the trip there. What a
wonderful learning experience and wonderful love and appreciation I
gained for this culture. P.S. I took tons of pictures, but it is all
on my camera, which I can't send pictures to you from my camera. But
you will see them sooner or later.
Friday:
I went on splits with Sister Skablelund this week. We dendoued in
Oyama. See pictures 7 and 8. I learned a lot about patience.
 
Saturday:
The Ayabe family has moved their baptismal date. It's quite far into
the future (March). That is when their boy turns 8 and they can be
baptized together as a family. They still have a few doubts as to
whether or not they can be "nesshin" church people.
We met with Okada san. She finally kept an appointment for lunch!!
Before this last week. Okada san was just really struggling to keep
commitments. She says she will come to church, but always cancels
about two hours beforehand, which is really fuben for us.
Sunday:
But Okada shimai came to church today Smiling face with smiling eyes She even came with her little
boy (toma kun). Here's another way cool miracle. So, A huge thanks
goes to Nakajima shimai for following up with her and just being a
good friend that Okada san needed so badly. See pictures 9 and 10.
 
Ueda Shimai received the gift of her Holy Ghost today and we were also
able to do her conversion story by video. I can't send you it because
it is too long, so you will have to watch it when you see me next.
What a testimony she is to me of the power of change. See picture 11.
Jaio san got baptized!! Hurray!! He and his wife are literally the
cutest couple in the whole entire world. His wife is actually going to
school in Nara right now to become a doctor (she is super smart and
super Bijin). He he still has another two years to go, but hopefully
she can get baptized here soon. See pictures 12 and 13
 
Tashiro san is having a wonderful conversion process. We meet with her
about once every other day this week. She is still looking good for
her baptismal date coming up in another couple of weeks. Pray for her
to get baptized on the 16th. She is one of the cutest ladies ever. I
love her so much. See picture 14.
Ken Son is progressing well. Still won't accept a baptismal
commitment, but believes what we are saying and just wants to take a
little bit more time to make sure it is really truth. He loves Moroni,
the word charity, and Joseph Smith. Right now he is reading "our
heritage." Pretty cool guy. Hopefully we can get him to break through
this week. Pray for that!
We visited the Nakamura family totsuzen (in English that would be like
without an appointment) on Sunday night. When me and Sister Cortés
first started working with them when I first came to Koga, it wasn't
all too successful, but we kept working with them because we felt
something. They have warmed up so much. Even though we didn't have an
appointment, they welcomed us in so gladly this time. Every single
time we see them it just gets better. I can't remember who told us,
but it was something like, if the father is happy, the family is
happy. If he isn't happy, the family isn't very happy either. The dad
has changed so much. He is now coming back to church. He used to be a
bishop, but got too caught up with work after his calling ended. They
have four kids...I think. All of them are less active right now. Ayumi
chan (the youngest one) is changing so much. She is the 18 year old. I
asked her if she wanted to go on a mission. She said when she was
little that she did, but now she doesn't really know. It got me so
excited to think that I could help her change her life by getting her
on a mission. I love talking about going on missions. By the end, she
was pretty excited and maybe me and her are going to work on mission
papers together. Really pray for this family please.
It is so cool to be in sacrament with so many investigators. You just
look at everyone and know that God is so happy because each one of
them is where they are supposed to be. Nothing beats missionary work.
I will be a missionary forever and ever. A missionaries reward for her
efforts is very hard to explain in words. It is almost something that
must be experienced rather than shared. And even some who are
missionaries don't quite seem to capture the joy. To be joyful is a
personal choice. I love being a missionary. My heart will always be
here in Japan with my people. I love to see people change. I love to
feel like I am part of a family...a family of Gods, doing my part to
help us go back together to his presence, hand in hand. I love
meeting new people and knowing that whether they know it or not, the
best way that I can help them is by sharing the gospel. I love feeling
the spirit. I love cooking food for other people because it puts a
smile on their face. I love helping people. I love and cherish every
moment. Who can put a price on a mission. One one.
Love to all,
山内姉妹
 
I will miss making food for my sweet Sister Cortés, especially our
tradition of eating gyoza together on pday.