Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Language Mishaps, A New Calling and Families are Forever

I found this past week quite interesting.   I think reality is sinking in that Alyssa is going to be gone for awhile.  Combine that with January blahs and I found that these past few days were a little harder than it has been for me.  Well, wouldn't you know that Alyssa was also feeling somewhat the same.  It is kind of like E.T. (we are sharing the same emotions) :)  I am so grateful that she was able to snap out of it and so have I.  The Lord knows what we need,  and sometimes it is just  hard work and a whole lot of prayer.  Here is an excerpt from her letter to me:

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE LETTERS AND THE PACKAGE!  It made my entire day. (The majority of her package were her socks from home.  It is the little things . . .) The choros always get super pumped when I get a package because they know it means memes and candy, and they were stoked about both. I shared the brownies and they died because they were so delicious, so thank you so very much.
Life here is good, but this week was rough.  I was struggling with the language and there was one day where my motivation was zero and I didn't want to be here.  I didn't have the spirit and it was a struggle.  But through prayer and reading and pondering, I got back to where I needed to be and I recommitted.  This work was not meant to be easy, because salvation is not a cheap experience, and I know that is true.

I like what she said, "that salvation is not a cheap experience".   Isn't that the truth?  We have all felt it at times.  It takes continual work and a whole lot of faith.  Now on to her more detailed letter:

Alyssa's favorite place.  I love to see the Mickey Band-Aid on her finger because it helps me see that she is still Alyssa.
Konnichiwa Minasan!
I can't believe it is already P day!  Time here is so trippy, each day feels like a hundred years but the weeks just fly is already almost February, that is absolutely insane!
This week was super good but also super difficult.  Some random highlights include:
-Breaking the MTC record for sisters in the soccer juggle and mile run (I am not going to even tell you my time or number on either one of those because they are embarrassingly bad, but hey I was bored in gym one day.  The moral of the story kids, is don't get out of shape after high school!!!) My name is on a board and it made me happy and pretend to have a regular life for two seconds.
-My companion and I got pulled out of class one day to be in a photo shoot for a new missionary website...basically we went out by this random tree and pretended to pray in the snow, but hey, look for us on the world wide web now!
-Sister training leaders! Tupuola Shimai and I were made the sister training leaders of our branch this week which basically means we are the sister equivalent of zone leaders.  We are over all the sisters in our zone and it is a lot of fun and a great opportunity to serve, I love it a lot.  We get to train and teach and interview people and it is wonderful. I cannot wait until we get new missionaries in next week!
-Our senpai left this week to Japan, so we are now the oldest missionaries in the Japanese zones. It was really sad because they were so much fun and we loved them a lot, but it was time for them to move on to bigger and better things.
-Celebrating a birthday of one of the choros in the district.  Some moms smuggled us in cake and martinellis and we really had a party. Super good time!
Okay those were just some random happenings of my week, so now on to the good stuff: the Nihongo update and the Spiritual stuff.
As far as the is really hard. I kind of hit a wall this week and there was one day where I was just like "I do not even want to be doing this anymore."  But, through a lot of prayer and reading the Book of Mormon I was comforted and reinvigorated and I have actually learned a lot.  It is easy to get discouraged because I feel like I don't know anything, but then I just take a step back and think about where I started.  The gift of tongues is real and it manifests itself when I have the courage and the faith to actually open my mouth and attempt to speak in Nihongo.  I have learned that the Lord will ALWAYS help you with the language when you are attempting to testify and teach by the spirit.  It is such a blessing, and I know that someday I will feel confident in this language so long as I try and always have the spirit with me and rely on the Lord.  We still have plenty of humorous experiences with the language though.  Earlier this week Tupuola Shimai and I accidentally mislead our Buddhist investigator Asakura Kyodai and told him that essentially we lived as scary ghosts in the premortal life, and the entire lesson we basically just preached that we lived as monsters with God up in the clouds before this life #apostasy #falsedoctrine.  When we got out of the lesson we laughed for a solid five minutes because sometimes you can either laugh or cry, and we choose to laugh. I also accidentally testified to my district that this church doesn't receive revelation or have priesthood authority. Yeah it was an interesting one but luckily I am not the only one to make such ridiculous mistakes and we can laugh it off.  I really am learning and I really do love Nihongo, especially praying.  It is SO cool getting to pray in another language.  I love it so much. 
Okay this week was also crazy spiritual and built my testimony so much.  Last Wednesday we had the opportunity to listen to the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast and I learned SO much. We got to sing "Called to Serve" altogether and it was neat knowing that I was singing that song with my homies all over the world whether they be in Peru, El Salvador, Indiana, Lousiana, or anywhere else I can think of.  The broadcast was of the importance of teaching repentance and baptizing converts, and what really stuck out to me was the idea of reactivating less active members. Japan is really struggling with inactivity right now especially among their youth, and I am super fired up to go and love them and try and bring them home.  Every one of those individuals is a child of God and was somebody else's convert, and I want to do everything I can to bring them home. 
Another very spiritual experience I had was yesterday when I was preparing a lesson.  We were going to teach on eternal families because our new investigator Nagau Kyodai lost his wife to cancer and is feeling very lonely and sad.  We prepared this whole lesson and it came time for me to write out my testimony of families in Nihongo.  As I struggled and did it, I felt the spirit testify to me SO strongly that families really are forever, and what a blessing that is.  Through this gospel we CAN be with our loved ones again. I was struggling this week with missing my family, but as I prepared this lesson and testified of its truth, I was so filled with comfort as I was reminded that I left my family for a short season so that I may help others be with their loved ones for eternity.  
Watashi no mokuteki wa, hitobito ni Kirisuto no moto e kuru yo susumeru koto desu. Sono tame ni watashi wa Iesu Kirisuto to Kirisuto to aganai, kuiaratame, baputesuma, Seirei no tamamono o ukeru koto, saigo made taeshinobu koto o toshite, karera ga kaifuku sareta fukuin o ukeirerareuru yo tasukeru no desu. 
I love you all so much, and my prayers are with you.  This church is so so so so true, and I testify that it WILL change your life if only you allow it to.  
Sister Pickering

Westlake cross-country peeps.

Sisters from her Zone
Missionaries from her zone that are on their way to Japan.  Alyssa's group is now the "oldest" Japanese speakers in the MTC.
I never knew a planning meeting could be this much fun.
Some kind of Japanese product
Candid shot with mouth open as usual
Tupuola Shimai and Pickering Shimai
Apparently Alyssa has as phone now that she is a Sister Training Leader.  I am not sure who she actually calls with that phone though. 
The early bird captures the worm or at least the washing machines in the MTC
Pure joy that comes from receiving a package full of your own socks from back home.


  1. Sweet girl thanks for sharing glad your making strides even though they may seem difficult. Your testimony matters! Lots of love from the other side of the frozen lake!

  2. Sweet girl thanks for sharing glad your making strides even though they may seem difficult. Your testimony matters! Lots of love from the other side of the frozen lake!