Kobe, Japan

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Letter 7 - I Am Grateful For...

Love these cute kids!

I  can only sum up my week with this scripture: 3 Nephi 21:9-10

9 For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.

10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

`My wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.` Sometimes we doubt or underestimate God`s power. When big, huge, miraculous things happen we have NO problem saying it was God`s power. However, when it comes to tiny, simple, every day things we begin to doubt God`s power by thinking `Oh, there`s no way.` or `Is that really possible?`

We had an investigator who FINALLY met with us after a whole transfer. Now, if she would`ve emailed us out of the blue and said `I want to be baptized tomorrow!` we would totally take that as God`s power. But when she simply said she would finally meet with us, we treated it really lightly, as if it was some sort of coincidence. You would think I would know better.

The night we met with her it just happened to be movie night at our church. We were watching The Testaments. So we taught her a lesson about prayer, had dinner with the whole branch, then headed down to the first floor to watch the movie. For me, the best part was always at the end of the movie. Remember, Helam. I love watching The Testaments with other people because watching everyone else`s reaction is absolutely the best. However, this time all the members and investigators around me seemed like they weren`t phased at all. Hmm. Then I reached behind me and asked our investigator how she was doing. She burst into tears. I was SHOCKED. She had told us over and over again that she was Buddhist, but now between sobs she was telling me how grateful she was for Jesus Christ. That is the power of our God. I`ve said it many times and I will say it again: only God has the power to change hearts. If you want yours changed, He is who you should go to.

But the best of all was Sunday morning when we were getting ready to start DCS (a morning meeting before church where missionaries and members coordinate missionary efforts by talking about needs of investigators and less actives), when right before it started Brother Ashitani walked in!

With Brother Ashitani
He`s the brother that hadn`t stepped foot in a church for more than 20 years but finally came with his whole family to our music fireside. And now he was at church! All of us -- 6 missionaries and 3 members just gasped as we jumped out of our seats and ran over to welcome him. It was one of the happiest moments of my mission. To see someone you`ve come to love because you`ve been praying for them, worrying about them and studying for them, walk into the church, it melts your heart. Like the scripture says, you feel spiritually healed. Brother Ashitani didn't give is any reason as to why he came but I think Sister Crofts leaving played a big part in it.

She`s returning home but the work she did here in Niihama is
eternal. Sister Crofts will be missed here in Niihama!
The hand of the Lord was definitely seen this week. His work is working. I can`t say that Brother Ashitani will fully return to activity, or that our other investigator will choose to be baptized; but I do testify that God`s power is being made manifest in my life through our less actives and investigators.

Since it was Thanksgiving, I have a list of 10 things I`m grateful for:

There is no beauty like Japan's beauty.
1. I am grateful for Niihama skies.  Niihama is not nearly as cold as Kobe right now, so these skies are the best! It also doesn`t snow very often. Yay.

2. I am grateful for the Niihama branch.  It is so full of amazing people! Yes we`re a tiny branch but we`re strong. If we don`t feel like we can do something by ourselves, we all lean on each other and help each other out.

3. I am grateful for rain boots.  Although it doesn`t snow here in Niihama, it has been raining A LOT lately. Without my boots I can`t even begin to imagine the trouble I`d be in!

4. I am grateful for convenience stores. We`ve had absolutely no time this week. Most of our meals, if we had any time to eat, were all purchased at convenience stores, which are so conveniently placed on literally every street corner here.

5. I am grateful for my Branch President`s guitar.  He`s lending me his guitar until I go home. We`ve been using it to go from house to house and sing songs to people. I love being able to use our God-given talents to spread the gospel.

6. I am grateful for Family.  Even though I`m not related by blood to the people here, we have a special connection. I love every single person I have had the honor of working with since coming to Niihama. I know without a doubt this is where the Lord needs me.

7. I am grateful for our senior couple missionaries, Elder and Sister Nakanishi.  The Nakanishis are my Japanese grandma and grandpa. They do so much for us missionaries. Instead of having to bike 2 hours to visit people, they give us rides, pack us treats, and help us with our Japanese. They also bring a special light into this branch. Without them, Niihama would be a darker place.

Another yummy dinner at the Nakanishi home.
8. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon.  I`ve come to really love this book! As we`ve been studying these sacred writings as a mission I`ve felt my love for them deepen, and my relationship with my Father in Heaven become stronger. I know these words aren`t just written to look nice on paper, but if pondered, they can be a powerful source of strength for us during those times when we don`t think we can make it.

9. I am grateful for Japanese hospitality.  I don`t think there is anything like it. I would invite everyone to go on a mission, and go to Japan! If your call says any place else, send it back and tell them you only want to go to Japan! Hahaha JUST JOKING! Don`t do that (Houston). I can`t put into words how polite Japanese people really are. You`ll just have to experience it for yourself!

10. I am grateful for my phone.  I know you think I sound like the old Hevynn but seriously, without it I wouldn`t be able to talk to my lovely sisters here in Shikoku, or contact our awesome investigators. I use a phone way more than I ever thought I would as a missionary. But I`ve been blessed to have had some very uplifting conversations thanks to this old phone! I am so grateful for technology because it`s helped us hasten the Lord`s work here in our little corner of the world.

....Last but not least, of course, I am so grateful for my own family and friends. I am especially grateful for everyone`s prayers on my behalf. I feel them. Thank you so so much. Last but not least, I am so grateful for this gospel. I`m so grateful for the choice that I made, and the privilege that I have, to serve a mission.
These feet have taken me many places, but Niihama, Japan, is the best place yet!
I`ve learned so many things that I just couldn`t have learned anywhere else. I`ve had lots of ups and downs that just wouldn`t have been the same if I had experienced them somewhere else. This short year-and-a-half has turned into a spiritual source of tremendous experiences that I will draw on for the rest of my life. I love my mission, I love those I serve, and those I serve with...and I love YOU!

Sister Heimuli

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