Monday, January 19, 2015

Another Week Already?

This is as close as a photo of my son as I get this week. It's a drawing of him that an investigator gave him. He did give a lot of information about what he's been up to this week after I told him that he wasn't telling us what he's been up to. It's always so good to hear from him.

I can't believe how quick the weeks are going already! The time just flies so quickly when you have so much to do!

I am going to try something a bit different starting next week. I am going to write from my journal to you all, so that you can get more of a day by day feel for how things are for me. I can't promise I'll type up everything, but a synopsis (is that the right word?) or at least a summary, will be included.

This week, I went to a place called Hard-Off right after emailing. It is a recycle shop, but it isn't like anything back home really. The closest it gets is a thrift shop, but that stuff usually isn't as good a quality. I looked for an electronic dictionary to buy, but there wasn't any I could find that were the right kind. I did find out that they have really good deals on musical instruments (and decent quality too), so I will need to take advantage of that if I ever live in Japan after my Mission. We kept running into a guy we met on the bus, and we're fairly certain that he wants to avoid us now, but it was really funny how often we kept seeing him on the streets. A cool experience I had in the evening when we did missionary work was that I guessed where an old investigator's apartment was when we were walking down the road (we were a bit lost).

The next day we had a lesson with an investigator that we see at least once a week, but usually more. He is getting ever closer to baptism, and I am really hoping that he is doing his part to get the witness he needs of the truth of our message. We then got to go to a members house for dinner with the other two missionaries. She made some really good food, including soup with mochi in it (a rice foodstuffs), which I really liked. One of her daughters I found out is a really good artist, and draws really cool anime/manga style stuff.

Wednesday, we met with the same investigator again, then went to visit a less active member with another member. We visited him at his work (he owns a hair salon), and he was busy at the moment, and said to come back the next day. So, instead we went and signed up for a service project to do some snow shoveling. We heard about it from a potential investigator that we met with last week, and we'll probably be doing the service together, so that will be fun. After that we went and visited a different less active member, and found out that he likes basketball, so we'll probably be playing that with him soon. We then got back to the church and taught English class. There were more people that came this week than any other time since I got here, and since there weren't any kids to teach (we usually have an adult and kids class), we split up the class into two groups, an advanced and a beginners. I got to teach the advanced class with my companion. It was a lot of fun, and the lesson was basically made by the seat of our pants.

The next day, we went and visited a woman we met on the street when we were going to a different appointment before new years even happened. She was really happy to hear that we could both play piano, since she's a piano teacher, and so we played some for her. We also had lunch and talked a bit about the main message of our Church (which we described as a focus on families and the fact that God is our Loving Heavenly Father). We aren't sure if she is too interested, but we don't think that she's not. We then went and taught the same investigator from the past two days again (it was his decision to meet with us that often); it was the most we had seen him in a row since he became an investigator. After that we went to visit the less active member that we couldn't visit the previous day. He was a bit busy again, but we managed to talk to him for at least 20 minutes. My companion shared a cool experience that he had the same day, that I want to share with you now. After English class, one of the students gave my companion, Elder O., a letter to give one of the previous missionaries from the area. Not long afterwards, he accidentally lost it in front of the curch, and didn't realize until we got back to the apartment. He said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to keep it there and keep it safe until we could go by and find it. The next day the other two missionaries were passing the church on the way to the train station, and found the card sitting on top of the snow, completely untouched. It was a miracle and a tender mercy. Another example of how the Lord answers prayers.
 
After visiting the less active, we then went to a members house, and played in the snow with one of their kids. We dug out a snow tunnel in their yard, and it was really fun. We then went inside and had a quick meal in the genkan (google should have the answer for you ;) ).

The next day we had district meeting with the zone leaders. It was lots of fun, and I learned a lot from them. we went to a ramen restaurant afterwards, and then went to visit a different investigator. While there, he finally was able to understand prayer, and was able to say a sincere prayer in his own words. He is making slow progress, but progress nonetheless. We then had a lesson with an investigator from the other two missionaries, because they had another appointment at the same time. We watched the parable the President Packer told about a boy and the creditor. It was a really good lesson.

Saturday was fun, because we were able to go to a members house and have a lesson with them. One of them is an active member, but her husband is less active. The lesson was really good for them at the time, I felt, and we committed them to pray and read the scriptures more earnestly. We went to see if an old investigator was home, but she wasn't, and it was getting late, so we went home.

Sunday was interesting, because we went to a different town for church. The town is called Fukushima. The ward there is really awesome, and I had a fun time getting to know them. On the way there, our train was going to be an hour late, and then got stuck, so they allowed everyone that was going to be going on that train to ride the shinkansen (the crazy fast trains they have here in Japan). It didn't go fast while we were on it, but riding it was really fun anyway. After church, I explained heads up 7 up and red rover to one of the members who wanted to know some American games to play with her elementary students. After that, we caught a train back to our home town, and tried to visit two people. One of them wasn't home, and the other didn't remember to read a pamphlet that we gave them, so we'll be checking with them again soon.

That is my week love you all!

Love,
Elder_______
 
2015 is the Year of the Ram so someone made this snow ram on New Year's
 
 
 In my letter to Alex, I asked him how he has seen or felt our Heavenly Father's love this week and how he has been able to show that love to those around him. Here is his response:

The question of how I've seen my Heavenly Father's love is a tough one to answer, because I feel of His love every day. I have not gotten seriously injured, I stay warm in the snow, I have been led by the spirit down paths that have lead to those who are prepared, and countless other small and simple things. I have done everything I can to try to show my love to others in my example, by smiling at all times, and by simply saying hi to everyone I meet. I try my best to show sincere interest in what they have to say. I have a similar goal to you with prayer, in addition to praying more sincerely and from my heart. I can't say that I post anything to a blog, but I have noticed how an hour of scripture study a day has really blessed my life and faith and testimony. I too have been able to feel the spirit as I do them with real intent. I am glad that you are feeling His love, and are recognizing the gifts he gives you. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony with me!

Something I just thought of while typing is that in the Preach My Gospel, it says something very interesting about prayer. It suggests that as we pray we listen to the spirit for what we should say in the prayer, because God knows what we need before we ask Him. I thought that was very interesting and have been trying to do all I can to do just that. 

I know without a doubt that my Father in Heaven has blessed me and loves me. I know this partially because of the love I feel for those that I have come to meet while on my mission, for I know it to be a piece of God's love.
 
Elder E., one of the missionaries in the other companionship who shares the apartment, and Elder O., his companion. I was glad to see them acting like boys and that there were clean dishes there. I'm such a momma. 

Alex said this was a really good meal he had at a Chinese restaurant. They don't get invited to eat at member's homes often so it's either restaurants or cooking and I imagine they don't have lots of time to cook. It's funny to me that they serve French fries with the Chinese food.
 

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