Happy November Everyone! My how time flies. I can hardly believe I am
now on the first day of transfer 12! Kowaii. 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 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.