Kobe, Japan

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 30 - Last Thought

HAPPY GIRL`S DAY!!! Hina sama no Hi!!! I`m not really sure what people do on Girl`s Day, but all I know is that they`re celebrating us, so I`m good with that! Konnichiwa family and friends! Can you believe it`s March already?? The weather is finally warming up. I no longer have to wear 3 layers of scarves! I`m down to just 1 and a light jacket. The weather is beautiful today, so I want to hurry and finish emailing and get out and enjoy it! Japanese is still difficult, but I`ve now managed to learn how to order food without just pointing at pictures, and I can almost carry a full conversation...with a 10 year old. By the time I come home, I`ll be speaking Japanese like a 6th grader...yay!
This week was AMAZING. Elder Whiting came and visited our mission. He did a 3 day mission tour, started in Ibaraki (which is my end of the mission) and worked his way across. There`s nothing more powerful than having someone come who is sent by the First Presidency, who has received revelation on your behalf, and can lovingly but directly give you counsel to help you and your investigators. He taught us about the book 1st Nephi and how it`s the most read book in the church because once you hit the 2 Nephi Isaiah parts, most people give up. Then a few months later, we feel a desire to read again so we start back at `I Nephi having been born of goodly parents...` He`s SO right. He also pointed out to us how the Prophets knew a lot of us would only get as far as 1st Nephi so they jam-packed it full with everything we`ll ever need. Of course we should read the WHOLE book, but we started discussing some of Nephi`s attributes and I noticed that all Nephi`s attributes are Christlike attributes. We`ve been focusing a lot on Christ as a mission lately. During the day as we`re proselyting, Hall Shimai and I play a game called `Last thought!` At any time either of us can say to the other `Last thought!` and we HAVE to tell each other what we were thinking right before that question was asked. And if it wasn`t about Christ or the mission, we have to explain to each other one way it ties back to Christ. It`s kind of silly but it helps us to keep our minds where they should be.
Tuesday night was pretty hectic and we had been riding our bikes for about 2 hours. We finally got home all sweaty and tired and we got an email as we sat down to eat dinner. It was from one of our favorite investigators who`s seventeen and she`s been meeting with us for only about 3 weeks. Her mail said she was sorry but that she couldn`t meet anymore because her parents are Buddhist and they caught her praying. They told her not to meet with us anymore and they said she couldn`t even come to Eikaiwa anymore because it`s held at the church. She told us she was so sad and she cried all day. Hall shimai and I were devastated! We could see her testimony developing so nicely and now, because of her parent`s agency (you aren`t considered an adult until you`re 20 here, and so unless you`re 20 or older, you need permission from your parents in order to be baptized), she`s no longer able to learn about her Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. We prayed and decided we needed to see her soon. A few days later we went to lunch with her and talked about everything. 
She just kept saying over and over, `I wish my parents were Christians.` She asked us if our parents were Christian and we said yes. She then said, `My parents don`t know how I feel when I pray and learn about Jesus Christ. If they were Christian, they`d understand.` Our heart goes out to her. We see her desire to learn and we are continuing to pray for her parents that their hearts may be softened towards the Church. 
I was studying `Who is Jesus Christ` by President Boyd K. Packer and I love the way he describes agency. ``How supernally precious freedom is; how consummately valuable is agency.`` He later explains how Satan knows this. Satan has clever ways of manipulating our choices and deceiving us about sin and consequences. Like Hema said, our choices, the way we use our agency really does have eternal consequences no matter how big or small. Pres. Packer then said, `...Had agency come to man without the Atonement, it would have been a fatal gift.` I can testify that agency is a fatal gift without repentance. Because of Christ`s willingness to endure the Atonement, we have the opportunity to repent. Because of repentance (a broken heart and a contrite spirit), we can be freed from guilt and suffering, and continue to progress and become like our Heavenly Father.
I wish I had more to say, but agency is what it is. If agency was a food, it would be sweet and sour pork. Because it`s really good sometimes! And really blah at other times. Like Alma says, `Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in...` we have to be willing. We have to choose.
I am so happy to hear the Heimuli Family is doing good! Everyone seems to be happy and healthy and that`s really all I could ask for. Hema and Norma are doing a great job representing our family. I am so grateful everyday for the examples my brothers and older cousins were to me because of their determination to serve the Lord. Sometimes their examples are the only things that keep me going. Give my love to the family! Tell Grandpa and Nate I said Congrats!
When you`re faced with a difficult decision sometime over the next week or so, think past that day and the next, because your choices will affect your eternity. And that's my last thought!
Love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Heimuli

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