Kobe, Japan

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 50 - Aroha!


Of the 60 or so people that showed up for the Luau, 22 were nonmembers and less actives! Speaking of less actives, this week we were able to contact 34 less actives. There`s nothing more rewarding than finding and helping less actives. Even with how fun the Luau was, nothing tops working with our less active brothers and sisters.

I know you`re dying to hear all the details...here`s a little run down of the craziness we`ve had the past couple of weeks:

-We were in charge of the main course (Teriyaki chicken), entertainment (hula, singing, teaching hula), and spreading the word (PR)
Sister Scheffler became a teriyaki chicken preparing pro. She can do it all, I tell you!
-Sister Scheffler had to learn how to play the uke, hula, and learn all the words to the songs we sang in just 2 weeks
Teaching the Hukilau, along with some basic hula terms
-I had to teach a bunch of ladies how to hula in Japanese
Hula practice...thank you, PCC!
-Bishop gave us 40 dollars to buy all the things we needed for the party (food, decorations, etc)
-I was preparing a talk for the Sunday, the day after the Luau
-We were in charge of a section of District Meeting the day before the Luau
Shiga District...in a rare serious moment
-Doing all this while finding the Lord`s elect and visiting his less active children

It was a crazy busy week...which is why it was so amazingly fun! So in order to work with the ward, we decided to delegate some of our responsibility, we took a whole day to hand out flyers with the YSA and YM/YW, our neighbors helped us go to the store and buy all the things we needed while staying in budget (we spent 38.97...yes!), and my dear companion and I ate small meals so that we had more time at meal times to practice.
Everyone else at District Meeting ate big meals, but we had sandwiches so we could squeeze in some luau practice time
All the hard work and cramming for time paid off! The Luau was a success! Sister Scheffler and I made over 50 leis to give to everyone at the party, fake paper ones for people that came, and 3 real ones, one for bishop. 
Sister Scheffler made her first leis. She's turning into a real Hawaiian!
 When we handed out the leis everyone was so excited!
Human lei stands haha
The kids loved wearing them and saying `Aroha!` (because they don`t pronounce L`s in japanese). Of the 10 women I taught the hula to, half of them were non members. They did so great! They not only danced well, but they learned all the english words to Hukilau and sang it while I played for them during the performance.
The now-famous Ootsu Ward Hula Troupe
Sister Scheffler and I sang 2 songs and played the uke.

Sister Scheffler killed it! The elders did a haka, everyone loved it. It brought everyone lots of happiness and a good laugh. Some YSA sang and played the piano, there was lots of music and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun! 
Bishop Hayashi in front, Elders & Bro Yoshizawa (YM Pres, RM, fluent English, awesome guy)
I danced 2 numbers and we took lots of pictures after the performance. We had a big feast afterward and everyone LOVED the teriyaki chicken! (Way to go mom and dad, I used your secret recipe.)
Traditional Japanese style Nagai Somen, you eat it as it slides down this rain gutter thingy...super good!
But while this was all going on, something that really impressed me was how well the members fellowshipped our investigators. 
Cute daughter of one of our investigators
We didn`t have to assign anyone, or tell them who to fellowship. When a person walked in that no one knew, 3 or 4 members walked up to them and introduced themselves. Sister Scheffler and I were running around like crazy trying to cover our missionary duties and our luau duties. It made it so much easier with the ward being so willing to fellowship our investigators. That`s the way it`s supposed to be!
This one is for Dad. I was so happy to see Bro Yoshizawa rockin' this Tongan Pride t-shirt!
Our purpose for doing the Luau was to help our ward have fun and be excited about missionary work. Also, it was to give our less actives and investigators an enviornment that wasn`t too intimidating, and give everyone an opportunity to get to know each other on a more personal level.
In addition to sharing island food, song and dance, I taught Bro Izumo important island culture. That is, if an island queen gets uncomfortably warm, things could go really bad, so he needed to start fanning. Ahhhh!
I know we achieved our purpose because the love from that party carried over to church the next day. When we greeted members they just seemed happier. They still had a light in their eyes from the night before. We had a few sisters come up to us and give us referrals, members were asking when the next activity was, and how they could help. People were asking us to spend time with their less active sons and daughters and teach them to hula or play the ukulele. Many members were humming the hukilau as we walked passed them, and a couple of the brethren were still wearing their paper leis around the church building. At church there was such a good environment because everyone was able to find Joy in being a member of this church.

Honestly, none of this would`ve been possible without the support of my awesome companion and the help of our Lord. We practiced hard, we did everything we needed to do, and we prayed just as hard for the Lord`s help. When you`re united with your companion, it`s easier to be united with the Lord, and you get stuff done. 
People asked if Sis Scheffler was Hawaiian, too (must be her beautiful blonde hair and green eyes!)
Also, thanks to you, family, for the packages! The night after the party we were getting ready for bed and our doorbell rang...and there were your packages! They didn`t come in time for the party, but it was a nice little after-party for me and Scheffler shimai! 
Care packages with leis and grass skirts arrived just a few hours too late, but Tasha was happy to get Almond Joy and Heath bars, and Hevynn got her Sour Patch candies and Skittles!
You guys rock. You always pull through, thanks for being so supportive and helping your sisters out here in Japan!

The luau was great, but you always ask me what was the BEST part of my week. The best part of my week was yesterday when one of the less active brethren finally met all the requirements for reactivation. He`s now a newly reactivated member of our ward!

``And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy in the kingdom of my Father!`` (D&C18:15)

I got a tiny tiny taste of that joy this weekend. And how great it truly is. Even with the crazy planning, the practicing, the laughing, the luau, the people`s smiles -- even with all of that, nothing brought me more joy than seeing this brother become active. I know our joy can be great, not just joy for the things in this life, but true joy -- joy after this life.

Love you and pray you all can experience this kind of joy this week too.

Sister Hawaiian-party, a.k.a Sister Heimuli

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