Kobe, Japan

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 48 - Sheep

Sister Scheffler and I threw a ping pong party on Saturday because it was the 4th of July in America and we had all our investigators and friends come! We didn`t have fireworks or anything but we did have watermelon so it was as close to a legit 4th of July celebration as we could get! 
Having fun getting the watermelon ready for our 4th of July celebration!

My beautiful companion with a ping-pong ringer from the neighborhood, haha!

Me with this cute gal getting ready to kill it in ping pong!

One of the very few pics of us together, with another cute girl at our July 4th ping-pong and watermelon celebration.

And the winner is...in the Ping-pong contest: Scheffler shimai.  In the Pretty contest: Gotta give that to Scheffler shimai, too!  I love her. 
It`s been another blessed week here in the Japan Kobe Mission. Friday we got to meet our new president, President Welch, and his amazing companion, Sister Welch. 

President & Sister Welch
Sister Welch came up to me and gave me a hug after the conference. She said they know Dad and that they left the U.S. around the time Dad was playing, and so in their minds BYU`s still their favorite team and Dad`s still their favorite player, I just laughed! And thought WOW they left the U.S. a looooong time ago. Jk, Dad! President and Sister Welch are AMAZING!  I`ve never laughed so hard, and cried so hard, in one meeting.  Both of their testimonies are so strong. President has a big belief in `Learning correct principles` and letting us `govern ourselves.` He believes in having little rules, and doing LOTS of work. Something interesting that he shared with us was that when he was a missionary here 40 years ago their focus was FTB…(Find, Teach, Baptize). He said that our new role as sisters in finding and reactivating the less actives is partly because of the problem he started. Back then, they baptized around 200-300 people a month! Who would have ever thought that was a problem? But we understood his deep concern. Japan actually has many members but only about 1% are active. President got emotional as he told us how he realizes it`s a blessing to be able to come back and serve here, and try to fix the problem he felt he created years ago. What a humble man. Love President and Sister Welch already. I also love their point of view on missionary work. I think this change is exactly what we need as a mission.

President told us that we won`t be having any big changes right now, but that we`ll slowly add on new things (line upon line, precept upon precept, right?) and progress a little at a time. He said the elders will slowly be focusing on less actives too. Speaking of which, we had 3 less actives at church yesterday! One brother is really close to being fully active, and one sister is making goals to become active again. This was a great reward to our long week of trying to track down a bunch of less actives` houses. 

Burned, aching feet from biking many miles and several hours in the humid heat...a small price to pay for finding sheep.
We found almost 30 houses this week but most of them were vacant, which means we turned into detectives and started asking neighbors and close-by store owners for any information.

Jeremiah 50:6 `My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.`

Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

Everything we do all day, every day, is to bring those lost sheep back to the fold. President also announced to us HOW we are going to avoid losing anymore sheep. Yes, we are focused on Finding, Teaching, Baptizing…AND R&R…Retaining & Rescuing. In order to do that, Sister Scheffler and I made goals to compliment every member whenever we see them, whether it`s on the street, in the store or wherever we may be. When you stop and think about it, we and everyone around us are just trying to Endure. It`s what we`ve been commanded to do. So how do WE keep from wandering from the fold? We endure well by loving each other, welcoming each other, and always doing our part to help the person next to us.

Next week, we plan to double the amount of houses we found this week, and try to contact at least half of them. The work we are doing is evidence of how important each and every one of God`s children are to Him. Some people we are trying to find went inactive about 50 years ago, yet we are commanded to find them. That`s been a huge testimony builder to me of everyone`s individual worth to our Father in Heaven.

I know God knows each and every one of us. None of us can wander outside of His reach. I see proof of that every day! It`s amazing to me how well God knows us, and I can`t even begin to understand how much He loves us. What a blessing it is to be a missionary at this time here in Japan. I hope you all have a great week and try to recognize those moments when God`s showing His love to you. And better yet, show your love to Him by serving someone around you! Even small acts are good! Just a knock on someone`s door and a `Hello, I was in the neighborhood and just wanted to say hello. Can I help you with anything?` We do this every time we knock on doors. I tell you there`s nothing money can buy that`s better than these few words and a little bit of action.

Love you all!

Sister H

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