Monday, March 11, 2013

11 March 2013

Hi family!
I'm glad to hear you had a fun and busy week! I remember going to ton of those BYU dance shows and enjoying them. And I'm glad you heard from that random American member that showed up in Sacrament meeting! He had a really good time talking to us about his own service in Japan, and he tried to hug me once which was awkward, but he radiated love and enthusiasm for the work and the Japanese people. I actually meet a lot of members on a regular basis who served in Japan and have kept close contact with the country their whole lives. I love seeing that kind of life-changing perspective that missionary service brings.
And yes, Sister Grosland is a LOT shorter than I am! She is the only sister in the mission (possibly the country) to ride a child's bike instead of a mountain bike like everyone else. Right now I'm listening to her "listen" to a letter from her family. When her camera SD card fills, she sends it home, and then her family scrolls through the photos together and records their commentary to send in a tape back to her. They're a tight-knit family and she always talks lovingly about them. Her mom may or may not read my blog, so I promise she only says good things about them!
Thank you for the ADORABLE photos of Benjamin in his play! No need to harp on me for not sending enough photos home. I already know that I'm terrible! BUT, on the other hand, not every family gets hand-drawn comic pages of their missionary's life either. C:
Let's for Kichijoji this week, the weather was SUPER warm which was lovely for dendo-ing at the park, then we had a crazy Chinese dust sweep over Tokyo, and it's back to being cold again. But the famous Japanese plum trees have started flowering, and the cherry blossoms will be out in a few weeks according to locals. SO looking forward to that.
As for actual missionary work, here's a snippet from my letter to the mission president:Probably the highlight of my week was a church tour with Yuka. We've been teaching her since about November and although she really likes what we teach, she has three sons all involved in sports so has never been able to make it to a Sacrament meeting. We normally teach at her home, but last week we impressed upon her the significance of Sacrament meeting, so we at least were able to schedule a church tour as our next lesson. We invited a member with similar interests and the tour went so well. Yuka expressed how smart the organization of the church programs are, and we were able to testify that's because they are of God's design and not man's. Our member joint shared sweet experiences of baptism, Relief Society, and Primary, and we felt the Spirit through hymns and primary songs. We ended in the chapel and had a great discussion about the church. Recently we've been strongly urging Yuka to get baptized, but her family is devout Buddhist and she doesn't want to rupture relations with them. We invited her to pray about getting baptized but weeks went by and she hadn't. As we sat talking in the chapel about the Holy Ghost and how we feel so much peace in God's house, Yuka confided in us that she had indeed prayed about being baptized, and she felt like her answer was that for the time being family is more important. Although it wasn't the answer we wanted to hear, we were thrilled that Yuka turned to Heavenly Father in prayer and sought personal revelation. We don't know when she will have the courage to share her desire to join the church with her family, but we will keep strengthening her and preparing her heart. She is a wonderful mother and so very receptive to truth. She clearly recognizes the presence of the Holy Ghost in her life, so we will work hard and pray for when she will be able to accept the gift of the Holy Ghost through baptism.
So the lesson I learned is Heavenly Father answers prayers! I knew that, of course, but I felt much more deeply than ever that answered prayers are not exclusive to tithing-paying members of the church. Heavenly Father loves ALL of His children and will guide them when their time is right. Anyone can have faith and seek God in prayer. That's the lesson we teach to every person who hears the story about a 14-year-old boy who went into a grove of trees to pray.
That's all I have time for this week, but I love you all and pray for you daily! 皆さん頑張りましょう!(Let's all do our best!)
Love you,
Long Shimai

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