Kobe, Japan

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 17 - I Don't Believe In Coincidences

What? It`s been a week already?! I am exhausted enough to where, for once, it actually does feel like it`s been a week…but at the same time I feel like it was Preparation day only yesterday...omoshiroi ne! What an exciting week we`ve had. We taught more lessons this week than Ellefsen Shimai (4th transfer) and I have ever taught in our short missionary lives. We haven`t had time for dinner…we`re always rushing from appointment to appointment and planning and practicing. The harder you work, the faster the time flies...maybe we shouldn`t work so hard, haha. D&C 112:28 ``But purify your hearts before me; and then go ye into all the world, and preach my gospel unto every creature who has not received it.``

I know I’m doing something right when I wake up on junbi no hi (prep day) and feel exhausted from the week. But junbi no hi`s are way more busy than normal days! We had appointments this morning, did some shopping in between, and went to lunch with our Stake President`s wife. I have to say the Akashi ward is hands down the best ward in the mission! She took us to Costco where we ate Costco pizza and drank Mountain Dew (thought of you, Dad!). I thought we time-warped back to the US or something. She was so sweet do drive us all the way over there and buy us a huge, delicious lunch. She said she and her husband were talking about us the other night and said how bad they felt that we don`t have a real Thanksgiving or Christmas. I assured her that there`s no where else we`d rather be than walking the streets of Akashi, or struggling through a lesson in Japanese, on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We love what we do and if it weren`t for awesome members like her we wouldn`t be able to fulfill our purpose.

Lately there`s been a lot of talk about members and missionaries working together...I would just like to add my testimony to the testimonies of our prophet and his counselors that there really is no other effective way to dendo than through our wards and their members. I have seen so many blessings as we combine our efforts to bring more of God`s children to the knowledge of His gospel. Saturday, we had an `outreach` activity and our yakusokusha taught everyone how to make gyoza. After we made it we all ate yummy gyoza together, laughed, took pics, sang songs, it was great! If we missionaries didn`t have the ward members` help in organizing and inviting we could never have pulled off such a fun event. I promise that as you work with missionaries in your wards or stakes you will see miracles, too. As a missionary that always loves the help of kaiin, I promise that we missionaries really appreciate it too!

I want to share a miracle that happened this week. About 6 months ago a lady came across some sister missionaries and exchanged numbers. She`s been super busy for the past few months and could never meet with them. She`s an english teacher for elementary students. Out of the blue, she all of a sudden texted us the first week of transfers. She said, `November 29th is my only day off. I really would like to meet at your church. I will be there at 1, can you come?`

I replied so fast! YES in all caps. So we planned for her and met up with her at our church on Friday. We brought her inside and talked a little bit and really got to know her. We`ve never met before but she just kept saying, `I feel like I`ve known you two for years. Why do I feel like this?`

I asked her why she decided to finally meet with the missionaries. She told me that she had stopped by once before and there was a couple here at the church. She walked in and felt immediate peace and relief. She said she just wanted to feel that way again so she texted us and came. I said a quick prayer of gratitude that members were here at that time. If they weren`t, she wouldn`t have come in and felt that peace that we all can feel. So we grabbed lunch and went back to the church. I gave my first church tour. We talked about families and how we believe families are the most important thing in life. She has a family of her own and she said not many people believe in families as strongly as we do. Our church building has 3 levels; the 3rd is classrooms, the 2nd is the chapel, and the 1st is where you enter. When we were on our way to the 2nd level, I invited her to church that following Sunday before we entered the chapel. She said that Sundays were her only days off so it was really hard for her to get her kids ready and come to church so early (church is at 10 a.m.). I told her we understood, then we walked into the chapel. We explained to her that this is where we worship, and that members come here to church one day out of the week to rest from their busy lives. We lingered in the chapel for a bit. She described how peaceful and how comfortable she felt there. We walked back down to the first level and she asked to hear a message. We taught her a little lesson and she wanted to make another appointment! She`s not Christian…she doesn`t know much about Christ…but she does believe there`s something more out there. Ellefsen Shimai and I just couldn`t stop smiling for the whole 2 hours we were with her because we know she was lead to us, even if she doesn`t know it! She`s now a new investigator and we`re excited to begin meeting with her and helping her become acquainted with her Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

I told her I don`t believe in coincidences. I don`t believe we meet other people by accident. I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe prophets keep telling us to work together with members for a reason. God has revealed that working together can hasten His work so we just need to put our faith in Him, move forward and do it! I am so grateful for our members here in Akashi. They give us loads of food every week. They help us out in lessons. They call us and check up on us. They really are Christ-like examples and I am so blessed to be able to learn from them. I know we`ve all got jobs, school, football, music, friends, and life gets busy with the little things. Working with missionaries might be scary or seem like a hassle but it`ll bless so many investigators` and missionaries` lives as we work together. First Nephi 14:3 says, ``For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought.``

Let`s not make this mistake. Yes, sometimes we are asked to do hard things, but I promise you it`s worth it.  ときどきたいへんあことがあるでもできますよ! Love you all! Inquire of the Lord. Be patient with your area`s missionaries. And help us missionaries out!

Heimuli Shimai

At the Eki with my favorite...person?  lion?  flower?

One of our awesome PI's. We like to play volleyball together -- she kills it on the court.

Gyoza party with our amazing yakusokusha

Facials last night...we were just ready for some spa treatment, LOL (scary!)

Akashi ward members at our gyoza party!

Zone Taikai (Heimuli shimai is sitting next to President Zinke)

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