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

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