We had planned, earlier in the week, to do a Choir with our English class but they all last minute couldn`t do it, so we were surprised they still wanted a song. We opened up the hymn book, then got up and sang `Where Can I Turn for Peace?` I sang the first verse, then all 4 of us sang the last 2 verses together. Angels were helping us, because it was early in the morning, obviously none of us had warmed up, but not a single person or note cracked, so it was great!
As the meeting went on, a woman by the name of Sister Shimiller, who was visiting from Utah (but born and raised here in the Ootsu area), stood up and bore her testimony. She and her mother were converts, she was baptized at 16 years old. She said when she was baptized she realized God loved her and she felt His love, but didn`t quite understand Jesus Christ and she had no testimony of Him. After she was baptized, a Sister from Hawaii came to school here in Japan for a while and was in her ward. One fast and testimony meeting, the Hawaiian sister nudged her and said `Let`s go sing a hymn`. This Hawaiian sister couldn`t speak very good Japanese but she felt impressed to share her testimony and the only way she knew how was through a hymn. Sister Shimiller was reluctant at first but got up and they sang at the pulpit. She told us that the hymn they sang was about Christ, and that even though this Hawaiian sister couldn`t speak Japanese, her love for Christ and her testimony of Christ was borne through their song. Sister Shimiller said she just cried and cried as they sang that hymn that day. And ever since that day, Sister Shimiller has had a strong testimony of Christ.
We had our investigator sitting right next to us. She zeroed in on this sister the whole time she was bearing her testimony. After Sacrament, we taught a lesson about the gift of the Holy Ghost to our investigator. When we asked what her favorite part about Sacrament was, she said, `I like how that sister said she didn`t understand Christ even after she was baptized.` This is something our investigator has been struggling with. Christ is someone Japanese people have a hard time connecting with and understanding. I don`t fully understand Him either (do any of us?) and I`ve been learning about Christ since I was born! That`s what`s been holding her back from baptism. So we spent quite a bit of the lesson talking about how we don`t have to know everything to be baptized. Baptism is only the gate, and we have a whole lifetime to figure everything else out. She didn`t commit to baptism then, but she did say she`d like to be baptized sometime. I was so grateful for Sister Shimiller`s testimony because it helped our investigator. That`s why we have testimony meeting, to strengthen and lift each other. It`s not a thank-i-mony, it`s not story-telling time or a comedy act, it`s a sacred time to talk about our Savior, to feel His love, to be guided by the Holy Ghost, and to help lift someone who is listening.
Yesterday was sad as we said our goodbyes to the Boettcher family. Brother and Sister Boettcher drove us home and made us take huge bags of chicken and meat, and a bunch of vegetables and frozen fruits home with us! In exchange we made them a little card with a small testimony on it and some Li Hing Mui. I know, lame on our part, but it was all we had. Plus, it was something that I really love! I will miss the Boettchers, but I know I will see them again real soon. And here's what I love about this gospel -- it`s not a gospel of endings, only beginnings.
We have our lifetimes and eternity to build friendships and relationships. I`m so grateful for that as I meet more and more people that I absolutely love, and for whom I have a strong desire to serve. Like it says in Moroni 8:16 `...Perfect love casteth out all fear.` I've learned that when you love the people you serve (and serve with) there`s no need to fear.
PS. So, there aren't many Tongans to be found here on Japan, but this is one of my favorite Tongans in the WORLD! We had Zone conference a couple weeks ago and took a pic of the prettiest Tongans in the mission. Yes, those with less confidence might say we took a pic of the ONLY Tongans in the mission, but I prefer the first, haha ;) I love this lady! I don`t know where in Tonga she`s from, but she`s my sister, so she`s from Beautiful Land like me ;) And you thought Hevynn Pania Ku'ulehualani Heimuli was long??? Meet Lesieli Fatai Ki'ululua Talia'uli --
So this is a Tanuki. They are supposed to bring wealth and good health. All japanese homes have them sitting outside. We were trying to find a house and these 2 old ladies gave us one. So this is after we had gotten ready for bed (no make up...gross) and had extra time to snap some pics.