Monday, May 16, 2016

Becoming Bold and Nihonjin: Nihon Week 10

This is Fujikawa San and she is an investigator and she spoils us
ridiculously.  The kimonos took like an hour to put on and they are
super expensive and then she bought us dinner afterwards. We love her
so much! She has such a sweet spirit. Also the kimonos were way legit
and yet I could have survived being shot in that many dang
layers! So cool though!

It was a great week for Alyssa.  She and her companion seem to be really into the swing of things now and are working really hard.  They taught  31 lessons and visited a lot of less active members.  They were also able to find 3 new investigators which is always a blessing.  And to add icing on the cake,  they are enjoying the work and people so much.  I love the picture of the sweet lady who gave the missionaries the incredible experience of trying on the kimonos.  You can see pure joy on all of their faces.  I don't know these people personally but I have grown to love them too even if it is vicariously through Alyssa.

Alyssa also remarked about how much she misses going to the Temple.  But she was reminded that she is currently participating in the salvation for the living and soon enough she will be able to help with the salvation of the deceased.  But we definitely need to be doing our part here.

She also apologized for her poor English writing skills.  The Japanese language is really getting into her head and it has definitely effected her native language.  But that is wonderful because it means she is finally thinking in Japanese.  I find it amusing to read her letters since she always took pride in her English skills.  And I know it is a great blessing for her to be able to communicate with the Japanese people.

And one final thought;  "How amazing is Yamatokoriyama Ward?"  How cool that all the members went out together in the spirit of missionary work.  I imagine that would strengthen them so much as a ward.  They understand the significance of the work and the Gospel in people's lives and they are doing all that they can in that part of the Lord's vineyard.  The blessings are bound to be pouring out on them soon.  Truly a faithful people.

Here is her group letter this week:

Minasan, Konnichiwa!

This week was another AMAZING one here in Yamatokoriyama! Ahh I cannot
even express how much I love this area and these people. We have
transfers in two weeks and I am already stressing about whether or not
I will get to spend another six weeks with these amazing people...I am
so happy here and they have stolen my hearts so completely, at this
point I can't imagine being anywhere else!

This week was awesome as far as teaching goes! Kenney Shimai and I had
our best week yet as far as teaching lessons, and it was so much fun!
Our mission president has asked us to start challenging people to
baptism on our first contact...well we have been trying our best to be
obedient and it usually ends up pretty humorously, but we have gotten
some new investigators as we try our best to just be bold and say it!
Sometimes it can feel a little awkward inviting people to follow
someone they haven't even really heard about...but I know for a fact
that the Spirit can do wonders with testifying and one of these days
somebody is going to say yes!

Kind of a cool finding experience happened this week when we were
tracting one day in the pouring rain. My wonderful companion and I
both had the feeling to go towards a certain area, and then as I
offered the prayer before we began, I felt prompted to pray that we
would find someone who would listen to our message because we had been
working so hard and trying our best to be obedient. Well we set off
for work, and NOBODY wanted to listen to us. In fact this one lady
straight up told us all about how what we were doing was impossible
and so we should basically just quit...kind of discouraged we were
gonna head back to the church to meet a member for a mogi lesson but
then Kenney Shimai was all "Well we can't end on that note, let's
knock one more door!" So we did and surprise surprise, God answers
The door was opened by a woman named Angela, and she
immediately invited us into her home! She is from Ukraine but speaks
English, Russian, Spanish, and Japanese, and so we have our pick of
languages with her haha. Anyways she was super sweet and is Christian
and has an adorable family that she will be bringing to church and
investigating with...ahh Heavenly Father answers prayers and I am so
grateful! Not only that, that experience was a huge reminder of the
blessings that come from exact obedience!

Another cool thing that happened was that yesterday we had what our
ward called "Dendo no hi" or the day of missionary work. So basically,
us and all the ward members did a gospel blitz of the area with
pamphlets and fliers and tried to teach lessons and invite as many
people to church as we could! That being said, I got a new temporary
companion, this super sweet like 75 year old lady named Murakami
Shimai, and we went and did dendo together for the afternoon! At first
I was so nervous to go out and teach people without my companion, but
I prayed to Heavenly Father soooo much that I would have courage and
be able to speak the Japanese I needed to, and of course He delivered
for me once again. It was a great experience and so much fun being
able to teach and really rely on the Lord. I have been doing my best
to become a lot more bold, and that is a scary thing sometimes! It is
hard to tell people about something so important in a different
language, and so I have been praying for lots of courage and help. But
the amazing thing is that when I open my mouth, the Lord is there to
back me up every single time.
Anyways, the activity yesterday ended up
being a huge success and got a lot of the members fired up about
missionary work, which was so wonderful and needed. I love this ward
so much and I am excited to see what other miracles can come as we
work together with the members!

Just kind of one last spiritual note to end on is something I have
been thinking about lots is week. This week we have taught the
restoration lesson a bunch of times, and I just want to testify that I
know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ. I
promise that every single time you read the Joseph Smith experience or
watch the video or pray about it with sincere intent, the Spirit will
testify of its truth EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. It is truly such an amazing
miracle, and it is even more amazing that we have such a loving
Heavenly Father who is so willing to confirm such a big and miraculous
event for us. All we need to do is pray and ask Him, and He will
deliver. I have such a strong testimony that Joseph Smith is indeed a
prophet of God, and I know that through God's power, He translated the
Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon will CHANGE your life if only you
let it, and I just know that to be true with my whole heart.

I love this gospel so much, I can't even put it into words. I am truly
so happy to be here on a mission, and I know it is a joy that can only
come from living the gospel and serving the Lord and others. Everyone,
this gospel is true. I know that and I love it so so much. I hope that
everyone has an amazing week wherever you are, and know that my
prayers and my love are always with you!

Sister Pickering

P.S. Today I got to wear a kimono and become Nihonjin for a little bit
and it may have been one of the best moments of my life. No big deal.

My blonde Nihonjin at heart.
I am not sure I know what is going on here but I am glad they still have their tags on over their black plastic bags!
DIY Raincoats??  They don't look too effective.

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