Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Lots of Little Lessons: Nihon Week 6

Well many of you know that two huge earthquakes hit Japan this last week.  Fortunately for Alyssa,  the epicenter was in the mission just south of Alyssa.  It did extensive damage, there was loss of life, and it left at least 70,000 people homeless.  My heart and prayers goes out to all those people that Alyssa has grown to love so much.  I am also grateful for all of your concern and prayers on her behalf.  The work is progressing and I know the Lord is watching over his missionaries.

The last couple of weeks have been somewhat rough for Pickering Shimai and she has learned that Satan's influence is all too real and he desperately attempts to thwart the Lord's work and the missionary.  It is hard as a parent to feel helpless to reach out and pick her up and comfort her in those times.  But I am so proud of her dedication and willingness to keep pushing forward.  I know that she is growing in so many ways and becoming such a strong person.  She is a wonderful example to me. 

Here are a few random thoughts she shared this week:

-We got invited to dinner by this dude who is a brother of one of our
investigators. We thought he wanted to learn the lessons too, but it
turns out he was just interested in us because we are American girls
and him and his mom wanted one of us to end up with him...#creepy so
we didn't end up going to that dinner appointment

-Our ward is organizing a big food donation for all the affected
people in Fukkuoka. It is seriously so neat to see these people
stepping up to serve their brothers and sisters. Honestly the Japanese
people are so dang Christ like, and most of them don't even know kills me!  Why won't they just get baptized and officially
follow Jesus already??

-I just got a call from the mission office asking if my bike box had
been sent to me I am freaking out that I might get
transferred...and that would so not be okay. I love this ward and
these people too much and I am just barely starting to get the hang of
things here! Ahh why can't the Zone Leaders just call us already, the
suspense is killing me!

-The Word of Wisdom is the biggest killer here for people in Japan.
They love their tea so dang much and it kills me. If that wasn't such
a cultural thing here, our jobs would be so much easier. I would say
that is arguably the number one thing that stops people from being

-I have been going to lots of different Indo Curry places and I am
starting to make a list and rate them so that when you guys come out,
we will be able to go to the best one. Because I am a boss like that.

-I saw a wild ferret the other day

-The McDonalds here is super classy but the portions are really small
and it is hilarious. But it is also disheartening when you just want a
big fat hamburger after biking in the freezing rain all day. Their
ideas of dessert here are cute...they give you fruit. Although the
fruit here is also amazing...the strawberries and pineapple are to die
for. Yum.

-I can't wait to Skype y'all in three weeks!!  It is gonna be a party!
Praying that technology works now!

Okay I think that is about it for random things...just wanted to
remind you all that I love you so much and hope all is well. Be safe!
Praying lots for you!

Oh P.S. I already decided the first meal I want when I get home...if
it is feasible, I want to go to Cafe El Lago because I really want
Mexican food and it reminds me of the family and so that is the plan,
okay dokay?  Why can't there be Mexican food here? I just wanna make
myself a dang quesadilla!

And her group email:

Minasan, Konnichiwa!

Really quickly, there was a pretty large earthquake that hit Japan
just south of my mission this week, so if you could keep all of those
people affected in your prayers, that would mean so much to me! Thank

Well I can't believe that I am writing you all from my last P day of
my first transfer here in the mission field...holy cow where is time
going?  We are currently waiting for transfer calls; I am pretty much
guaranteed to stay here in Yamatokoriyama, but we are waiting to see
what happens to my trainer as our zone leaders and some other people
seemed to think she might be leaving...we aren't quite sure what is
up, but I will be able to let you all know next week for sure!

This week has been one full of adventures as is the usual here in
Japan! Tuesday we had the amazing chance to have interviews with
President Welch!  He traveled here to Yamatokoriyama and it was
honestly such a neat experience. That man is so inspired and is such a
spiritual giant and getting to sit with him in an interview for
fifteen minutes kind of blows me away sometimes. His opening prayer
was a perfect example of what a Spirit-guided prayer should be like,
because he prayed for some very specific things on my behalf that he
couldn't have known I needed unless the Spirit had let him know
so...such a testimony builder to me that not only is my mission
president truly called of God, but Heavenly Father knows and cares
about me enough to relay what I needed to hear! We talked a lot about
developing Christ like attributes and how they help us solve any and
all problems we may come across in life. He pointed out that too many
times we will get in a tough situation with someone and we will just
pray that they will change...not only does that take away their
agency, but it also removes the blessings from us! If we pray for them
to change, they will get to experience that repentance process and
become more like our Savior, and in the end we are just the same
person. That really changed my mindset about so many things, and it
had really inspired my prayers to become more of a "What can I do"
type of situation rather than a "Please change this" situation. It has
honestly helped so much and I feel like I am learning and growing a
ton. I am truly so grateful for this mission experience and for the
person it is helping me become.

The rest of my week was pretty busy between teaching and a district
meeting in Nabari and just the regular missionary life! It is starting
to warm up here a fair amount and the humidity horror stories I have
heard about for so long are beginning to become a reality. I am
certainly in for an adventure with that, but on the plus side, I never
have to do my hair here #curlyhairfordays

Just a couple quick last thoughts I wanted to share...we have an
investigator named Emi Chan who we have been teaching for a while and
we just absolutely love her. She is so sweet and a good person and we
know the gospel would be perfect for her, but she has had some trouble
applying it to her personally. Well these past few weeks, Kenney
Shimai and I have been praying for her so fervently to accept the
message, and then we also invited our families to help pray on her
behalf, and lo and behold, this week she has progressed exponentially
and we are so thrilled!  I just want to testify to you that Heavenly
Father truly does hear and answer our prayers not only as
missionaries, but prayers of those back home who are trying to aid in
the missionary work from afar. There are currently countless numbers
of people being taught around the world right now, and some of them
might need a little extra help...add those people (it's okay if you
don't know them) into your prayers every once in a while, and I
promise that you will make some missionaries somewhere in the world
very happy!

One final thought/experience before I stop taking all of your valuable
time. So this weekend I got super sick....hurray!  I was hating life
pretty bad as I had some pretty serious stomach pain and was running a
fever and whatnot. Sister Welch grounded me to the apartment and so we
missed two days of work and I was so frustrated. I didn't understand
why this was happening and I just wanted to be healthy and get out and
do what I needed to do!  Yesterday our ward mission leader was super
worried about me and wanted to take me to the hospital...yeah that was
not gonna happen and so I ended up convincing him to come give me a
priesthood blessing instead. He and his son came over to give me a
blessing, and it was such a tender experience. I couldn't understand
everything that was being said, and so I was able to focus on what I
felt and tried to understand with the spirit and my heart, and the
love that I felt from Heavenly Father was so strong. I knew so much
that He was aware of me and that I was going to be taken care of, and
that I would be healed. I also had this sense of belonging as I
listened to the blessing, and it was a very strong confirmation for me
once again that I am where I need to be. Lately I have had this bad
habit whenever something frustrates me of saying something along the
lines of "This would be so much easier if I was speaking English, or
was in my own country, or etc. etc.", but last night that desire to
say that faded instantly. I know I am where I need to be, and I know
that Japanese is supposed to be my mission language. As I am learning
to trust God more and more, I am realizing that everything is in His
hands, and everything is okay.

I know that God lives and that He loves us. I know that the priesthood
is His power on the earth today, and it is real, because I have seen
and felt it in my life more times than I can even express. I know that
missionary work is the most important work on earth for anyone at any
stage of life, and I feel SO blessed to be a part of it. I am truly so
sincerely grateful for my mission!

I love you all so much and am keeping you all in my prayers. Thank you
as always for all the love and support and prayers, because it means
the world to me. Have an amazing week!  Aishiteimasu!

Sister Pickering

Photos: My companion and I with some bush that looks like some
character that my companion got super excited about, and then a view
from the church in Nabari!

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