Kobe, Japan

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Letter 8 - Waiting, Weeping

Wonderful, awesome baptism of Chizuru san
This wonderful week was busy! We did exchanges with the sisters in Matsuyama.
On exchanges with Bevan shimai from California. She is going home at the end of the transfer. She is such a great missionary!
Did my first french braid! Are you proud, mama? Bowman shimai taught me and let me try it out on her. Bowman is the bomb. She is from California and is probably the coolest sister I've met out here!
We were in charge of a service project where I learned the awesome technique of tree trimming here in Japan. I can cut bushes into perfect round ball shapes now (Yes!), although I already know daddy will not be thrilled if I do that to his beloved trees back at home! 

Then we prepared like crazy for our investigator`s baptism.
Elders taking care of the font for us...they are the best! Yup, this is how we do it here in Niihama.
Sister Kamada Chizuru was baptized yesterday and it was a day I can never forget. Of course the ordinance in and of itself was beautiful. 
With Chizuru san and my beautiful companion
But one of my favorite parts of the whole day was when her mother was wheeled into the church building. That moment is one I can`t wait to watch over and over again when I get to Heaven.
Crofts shimai and I were so happy to witness this special moment for mother and daughter!
It was the first time she`d stepped foot in a church building for about 20 years. Chizuru`s mom was baptized over 30 years ago but due to physical incapability she is not allowed to leave her hospital for long amounts of time so she`s not able to attend church. So the fact that we got permission to bring her to the baptism was a miracle and a blessing because she was finally able to see her answer to her prayers. She told me she had been praying for 20 years that her daughter would accept the gospel, and now she was getting baptized! The doctor wheeled her in and she just started to bawl. Crofts shimai and I ran to her and gave her hugs and told her how happy we were to see her, but she was so overcome with emotion she couldn`t speak. She just rubbed her eyes and tried to catch her breath. She just kept saying `Thank you, thank you, thank you`. I was brought to tears as I watched her weep for joy. 
It was an emotional day for this sweet lady as she was able to witness her prayers being answered. 
Weeping happens in every phase of emotion. From the darkness of sadness, to the brightness of happiness, we weep. At times, we are like Christ was in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 17:20-21)

20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.

21 And when he had said these words, he wept...

What a beautiful sight that must`ve been to see the Man we all love and look to, weeping because His joy was full. I am sure Chizuru`s mom`s joy was at its fullest yesterday! She couldn`t stop crying. Through every single phase of the baptism, her cheeks were always glistening with her tears.

I`ve thought a lot about how much patience our Heavenly Father has. I know He was able to bless Chizuru san`s mom with her answer to her prayers, but for Chizuru san`s sake He made her mother wait for 20 years and, in the process, a mother developed patience and increased love for her daughter, which made this ordinance all the more sweet.

I`m always moved by Christ`s patience when I read the Bible. When Lazarus died, Christ didn`t raise him from the dead right from the get go. Instead, He took time to weep with the family, as it says in John 11:33-35 

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

35 Jesus wept.

Those two words show us evidence once again of the mortal and immortal characteristics of Christ; He was human enough to mourn with the family of Lazarus, but a few verses later we see evidence of His true divinity and power when He raised Lazarus from the dead.

I know He can immediately stretch forth His hand and make everything better for us at any moment, but for reasons we don`t always or immediately understand our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ allow us to experience the full range of emotion as we wait on Them. As you know, up until now I`ve never had a baptism. The Lord has made me wait almost 70 weeks. Throughout this process I`ve been able to perfect my skills as a teacher and learn more skills that I will use in the future. I am so very thankful for all of this!
There will always be a special place in my heart for Chizuru san!
We wait on the Lord. And when those special moments come, we weep with joy.

I know this gospel is Christ`s purest teachings. How could it not be? I will continue to wait on the Lord this week and see what blessings He will lovingly send my way. I hope you can all be patient as well! With your daily dealings, with your family and friends. Be kind, have charity, be patient. That`s all we need to do as we continue in this life. I love this gospel and I love the Lord`s work here in Japan. I love you all, too :)

Sister Heimuli

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