Yay! That was the most descriptive email I`ve ever gotten from Heels...LOVED IT! Got an awesome email from Norms whom I love! I was so happy to get an update on her and Hema. I think about them a lot. My prayers are never shorter than 15 minutes cuz there are SO many people to pray for. Will you have Houst email me on his email or something? I need an email for him so I can write to him. I`m too busy to write hand written letters and any down time we have I`d rather be studying so the only time I can communicate is on P-day on the computer and I would really love an email from Houst so I can write to him about some stuff. I need him to read D&C 93. It’s an awesome chapter that I`ve been studying every night before I go to bed. It`s about how everything is a process....so he should read it! And write to me about it. I loved my email from my baby, too! He`s so cute. I miss him every day! Oh yes I did get my package from Daddy so THANK YOU! Hayashi Shimai absolutely DIED when she got the Doritos! it`s all she’s been eating for the past week. We also ate up those chocolate-covered macadamia nuts faster than anything. There are 4 girls in our apartment and I feel like we`re always eating! Thank you so much, I loved it. I loved Daddy’s letter. It made me cry. It makes me kind of feel bad about teasing him all the time about his English...but then again, not really. LOL
I kind of hate emailing home because it makes me reflect on my week and I see how fast time really does go by! This week has been busy as usual. Not as many lessons as we wish we could teach but we`re building kankei (relationships) with our potential and progressing investigators. For example, on Tuesdays we teach an English class here at the church. I met the 2 cutest nihonjin women. I love Eikaiwa (English class) because you can only speak English there....YAY! I can totally do that!
We were running a little late so we were half-running down the hall and saw these two cute little ladies. They turned and my first reaction was to speak nihongo, so I said `Konnichiwa! Watashi wa Heimuli desu. Onamae wa nandesu ka?`
They started answering me in English and their English was AWESOME! I soon realized I was supposed to speak English and we chatted a little in the hall. They were so excited that they came to the class the shimaitachi (sister missionaries) teach, which is for beginners. But they were too advanced so they had to move to the class the chorotachi (elders) teach, which is for really good English speakers. They made it very clear that they wanted to talk afterwards though! So we met them outside their class and hugged and laughed – shimaitachi power! We exchanged numbers and we`re making an appointment to meet with them ! Missionary work doesn`t have to be teaching only, we can also teach through our actions, through smiles and hugs. I know that`s a very girly thing to say, but I promise, here in Nihon where people don`t even smile at strangers, a smile and hug go a long way! If I could just stand outside the street and hug every single person that walks by every day, I would be so happy! Sometimes that`s all people need is just a little bit of love, you know?
Halloween isn`t celebrated here like it is back at home. No trick-or-treaters. We had family home evening at the church like we do every . It was really cool though because we had a Halloween feast that I didn`t even know about! The food was amazing. Our ward is so giving and so fun! Hayashi Shimai and I taught the lesson about Alma 32 growing our faith. That`s one thing about the church here, it`s still pretty young, so everyone can always use lessons about faith. Shoot, I`m a missionary and I STILL need to study and use my faith every day!
My first Halloween was great, but not as good as my first Fast . A sister in the ward just got home from her mission to Sendai so she bore her testimony first. As a new missionary sitting there listening to this returned missionary, I thought about all the great and hard times she had, and all the great and hard times I have yet to have. She bore testimony about lessons she learned on her mission and I wished I could write down (and understand!) every word she said because she has amazing insight as a newly returned missionary. There are 8 missionaries in our tiny ward of maybe 50 people. Three of us bore our testimonies, including me! It was scary, but at the same time, I needed the practice. Everyone really appreciates hearing testimonies here no matter how simple they are. Every chance you get, bear your testimony! The world has lots of religions people argue about but you can never argue with a testimony.
Later that night the Orito and Yoshida Kazoku invited us all over for dinner. We had fun! At their house, we met a new family that just moved into our ward. Oritos are ward missionaries and they remind me so much of Grams & Gramps Murray. Soooooo cute. Dinner was absolutely delicious and their daughter`s family, the Yoshidas, are so funny! Yoshida Shimai went to BYUH and learned to hula so she danced for us last night...I felt like I was home! I was so excited! Their families are amazing and you can really see the true joy people have in their lives when they have the gospel.
I want everyone to experience this joy, too! When I teach people I always think about their ancestors and the generations to follow. I think about how happy both sides are when they accept baptism. We taught a lady yesterday before heading to the Oritos. She thinks we`re nice girls with a nice message but she doesn`t think she needs it. She says, `I`m happy, I`m healthy, I don`t think I need your religion.` She doesn`t realize how happy this gospel makes us and how much MORE happiness she could feel in the gospel. That`s been the biggest challenge and the biggest blessing I`ve seen this week. It`s a challenge because people don`t see it, they struggle to understand what happiness we`re talking about. They are content with today and they don`t worry about the next day until it`s the next day. I know the gospel brings happiness forever but it is hard for the people I love to comprehend that. This concept of happiness is a blessing as well because...well, it`s happiness!
I hope you feel the joy this gospel brings to your life. We can get tired as we serve, we can get down when we feel inadequate, but regardless of what happens in this life, we always know that happiness will follow as we continue to PROGRESS. I wish I could implant this fact into everyone`s minds...but I can`t. It is a choice. I love this work. I love this gospel. I love seeing how happy this gospel makes people. That`s what brings me the most joy in my day!
How are you mommy? You never update me on you and dad. I love the fam but they can all write to me about themselves. How’s work? How’s dad’s work? Do you both still have jobs? Are you both happy? I think you two should get away somewhere for a couple days and just be you and dad for a while. Relax and have fun, but put the Lord first in everything and it will all work out.
Tell Pua and Sifa I love them!!! Thanks for their awesome letters. The last letter literally changed how I`m approaching my mission. And tell Pua I send my condolences? What are they called...my sorry? Sorry she’s gonna be stuck with him for eternity! Haha. I gotta run! We`re playing volleyball tonight from 1-5...which we`re late for, of course. Everyone`s bringing potential investigators and less actives so I’m excited!!!! I`ll take more pics this week I promise! Love you mama. Oh, tell Sif I’m wearing one of the shirts he made to v-ball tonight....whoo!
Continue to be happy people. If something goes wrong this week just laugh it off and keep going! Have a blessed week. ‘Til ....
PICS! Sorry mom, this is all I have! When we were getting on our bikes I said, “Hey, my mom will kill me if I don`t take a pic!” So here you go....you can`t even see Hayashi Shimai....and these are our super ugly helmets!
Hayashi Shimai took this. We had dinner with 2 college girls we met at a train station - another kankei building activity. We did a lot of dinner and lunch dates last week just getting to know people and laughing and talking and stuff...if only they would just be baptized! We met them at the Kobe daigaku. I LOVE COLLEGE KIDS! They`re both 21…older than me...weird, right? Cuz everyone looks like babies here...