Kobe, Japan

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Week 38 - Seiza...On Bended Knees

Can you believe it`s almost the end of April? My mind is blown. In no time it`ll be October and I will have been in Japan for a year! It`s funny that you mentioned stuff about reflecting on the first half of my mission. Every week we get an extra half hour to plan and so it gives me extra time to reflect on that past week. Every day Hall shimai and I talk about the best thing we did that day, the thing we need to improve on for the next day, and the funniest thing that happened. As a missionary I am constantly reflecting, and thinking about how to make the next day better.  

Yesterday`s most funny thing (we call it kyou no omoshiroi koto) was when all 4 of us Ootsu missionaries went to an old man`s apartment who wanted to learn more about the church. We all walked into his tiny apartment and sat seiza, or sitting on our knees for about a half an hour straight! Usually, the custom is that you sit seiza for a very, very short while (like 1 minute cuz it's tough) and then they`ll offer for you to "kuzushite kudasai" which means you can relax, and then you can sit however you want. It's all in the name of being polite. Well, he`s old and probably didn`t notice that we were all dying because not only was it super hot in there but we`re all american and never sit like that for more than 2 minutes. Jackson choro, who is from Sacramento California and he`s been out for about a year and a half, looked totally calm and just carried on. All of us are a little younger than he is. We were swaying back and forth, and poking our feet trying to get the blood circulating back in them again. The funniest part was when we left, we all pretty much crawled out of his apartment. None of us could stand, and we were trying so hard not to let it show on our faces! As we left and tried to walk back to the church, we couldn`t stop laughing about those little things we missionaries put up with!

Although that was one of the most hilarious experiences I`ve had, I also had one of the best spiritual experiences thus far on my mission. We went to visit a less active sister, but when you visit less actives it`s a whole new ball game. You can`t just waltz in and introduce a mediocre message and pray the spirit helps them understand, because less actives know about the gospel. The fact that we`re foreigners isn`t intriguing anymore, and they have already made up their minds about doctrine and so on. So Hall shimai and I were trying to plan effectively for this sister. We were having a mental tug a war between what approach might be the best, so we got down on bended knees and prayed. That`s when the tiniest thought crossed my mind that `hey, you should sing a hymn with her.` so we did! We decided to sing `I need thee every hour` and bear really simple testimony about how, regardless of our circumstances, God`s not only ready, but He is willing and He desires to help us. We knocked on her door, chatted for a second and we told her we had a special song prepared for her. She hesitatingly agreed to let us in. She had all these pictures of a man around a butsudan. We knelt at her table and began to sing. During the song she started humming along with us. After the song she told us she hadn`t heard a hymn in a long time and she had forgotten how much she liked them. We testified to her and closed with another prayer on our knees. As we were about to leave, both Hall shimai and I were prompted to ask about the pictures of the man. She said he was her husband. She walked over to the butsudan and grabbed a picture and brought it to us. She went on to explain that her husband suddenly passed away in December. We paused to look at the picture and she began to cry. I think I may have mentioned before how it`s very unlike nihonjin to show emotion, especially in front of strangers like us. But she cried. We held her hands as she went on to tell us how much she missed him and how she wanted nothing more than to see him again. I asked her if she remembers what the missionaries taught her about being with him after this life and she answered yes. We explained that if we could continue to meet, we would share with her in more detail how to be with him again. We have an appointment to meet with her again this week.

It`s amazing how when we follow the spirit, doors are opened that we didn`t even know were there! For example, if we didn`t follow the spirit and decide to sing a hymn for her, she might not have let us in her house. If we didn`t ask about the pictures when prompted, she might have never explained what happened, and it allowed us to see her as she really was. `For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost...` 1Nephi 10:19 God`s promised, if we seek, we WILL find, and mysteries shall be unfolded. This experience was evidence of that promise. God cannot lie! He keeps his side of the deal always! Following the spirit is a skill like many other skills, and we have to practice in order to get better at it. We need to get on our knees and ask for the spirit to guide us. Then when He prompts, we must act. Even the tiniest promptings will lead us to do great things! This week, try to follow every prompting you receive from the spirit. If you`re not sure it`s from the spirit, do as Pres. Uchtdorf counseled and `doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.` In other words, if it is something good, just do it!

I love you all and I pray you have a wonderful week following the promptings of the spirit! Let me know how it goes ;)

Love always,

Sister Heimuli

The man is one of our investigators. The woman is a member we love! The Elders are there too. The restaurant is famous among missionaries because you get a lot of food for cheap. Missionaries call it The Dirty because it`s dirty in there! Japanese Health laws are definitely different. But it was good.
My District
This is one of our investigators! Went to dinner with her after the baptism. Wanted to go with her husband too so we could meet him, but he ended up not being able to come.

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