Sunday, February 17, 2013
The first week of this transfer was GREAT. We've been seeing so many miracles with our investigators, and proselyting has been fun (but very cold still). This week has reaffirmed my theory that two friends are much more effective than two missionaries. Our mission president is all about that too---he calls it "synergy," the extra energy that comes from companions being united. For related theories, see 1+1=3 and Mum's two horses=10 horse power. But yeah, Grosland Shimai is on transfer 5 and her previous companion was a little slack too, so she's willing to work hard and loves the people. Plus she has a TON of faith. My job is to teach her a ton of Japanese (I didn't realize how good I'd gotten until I had someone to compare myself to) and help her learn the area fast because it's likely she'll be training next month when 13 new sisters come into the mission (our current total is 20). And we're helping each other learn how to do effective missionary work. Being the older of two missionaries for the first time is a little scary because there's pressure for me to do everything right, but I learn a ton from mistakes too. And I'm doing all the cooking again, which is much more comfortable for me (see this week's comics).
Follow-up from last week: did you take a look at that church magazine article about media standards in the home? What else are you learning in your study recently? Any cool service projects? How are your prayers being answered lately? It's fun hearing about chickens and bagpipes and tv shows, but one of my favourite things is hearing about your spiritual experiences and insights. It gi es me an extra boost for the week! Dad, I remember you talking about that Japanese woman at the temple even before I left for the MTC. That's so awesome that she's still coming every week! I look forward to meeting her. Thank you for spending that time at the temple every week! And thanks Mum for taking care of everyone at home!
This week we didn't plan it, but we spent a lot of time with investigators focusing on answers to prayer and recognizing the Holy Ghost. We talked about it in Relief Society yesterday too. Being a missionary and having to rely on the Spirit has taught me a lot about what the Spirit feels like and what I can learn. More often than not, answers come quietly and unexpectedly---not when I'm looking for them, just when I'm waiting and going about doing good.
Today I wasn't doing anything special---just hanging up my laundry and listening to one of my companion's EFY cds. There was a song about having a spiritual conversation with a stranger on a plane. A man admitted he might be an aethist, except that there were so many gorgeous things about earth that it couldn't have been an accident. The hearer told the man what she believed about Heavenly Father, our Creator, and how He designed everything from the rings on Saturn to a newborn baby's ear. While I was listening to the song, suddenly my eyes filled up with tears and I felt a gripping in my chest. In an instant I knew that the quaint song lyrics were true, that God lives and that all things are in His care. I didn't hear a voice or anything, but the feeling was an intense warmth that filled my whole being for just a few seconds. The moment passed, and as suddenly as it came the feeling was gone and I went back to hanging up my laundry with a quiet prayer in my heart of gratitude for feeling a manifestation of truth I'd needed recently.
The Holy Ghost acts as a teacher, but one of the Spirit's roles is to help us remember truths we've already learned. Jesus taught His disciples, "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). The Holy Ghost brings to our mind and heart things we've learned at times we need them. After baptism, when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, we're promised we can have that comforting teacher's presence at all times, not just every now and then, as long as we are worthy. I'm so grateful for the gift of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, because I couldn't get through my days without Him. I know that the only way we can get that special gift is through the Priesthood of God held by faithful members of this church and none other. This is Heavenly Father's living church and He knows what He's doing.
I love you family and hope you have a great week! You're in my prayers and I appreciate yours!
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
First of all, there had BETTER be a good reason why Bridgette and Lacey haven't emailed me at all this year! Tyler emails every single week. Kick it up a notch, ladies! I want to hear about your liiiiiiiiiives!
Thank you for all the updates, family! It sounds like there's crazy stuff going on in the world right now. I'm just glad I don't have to worry about it yet. Life is so much simpler when all you have to think about is the closest four trains stations to your apartment and whether Matsunaga-San will actually pray on her own this week and we'd better drop a thank-you card off at the Bishop's house and should I wear two pairs of socks today or three? When I'm tempted to complain about things not going right I have to remember how blessed I am to work in one of the best countries in the world in a fabulous area with great people. It's been another slow week for missionary work in Kichijoji, but I've learned a lot. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real, family, and Heavenly Father wants you to be happy but He wants you to work for it.
Thank you for the banana bread recipe! Something we also have a lot of is frosted flakes. The members keep giving them to us because they're always on sale at Seiyu (Wal-Mart) and they must figure missionaries want them. We were thinking of making rice krispy treats with them to give out, but marshmallows are kind of expensive here. Any ideas? All the elder make fun of "shimai dendo" (sister missionary-style work), but people really are happy when you deliver handmade goodies, not just show up and demand if they're reading the Book of Mormon or not. Principle for life, folks, sugar helps medicine go down.
Hmm...I don't have much to say so I'll give a plug for mormon.org. Has everyone checked out that website? The church is doing a great job creating and publishing videos of cool people who belong to the church. They're really well done and worth a +like on Facebook or whatever.
Have a great week, family! I love you and am glad we get to be together forever!
Stay strong Longs,