Monday, May 2, 2016

Love is the Essence of the Gospel: Nihon Week 8

The Yamatokoriyama Ward showing the missionaries love by buying them their favorite cereal

This week I have just felt such a profound appreciation for the wonderful Members in Japan that are taking care of my daughter.  I am just so grateful that the church and Gospel is the same no matter where you are and that serving the children of God is a universal theme.  I wonder what more I can do here in our own little vineyard to help the work progress and bless the lives of those around me.  What goes around, comes around I guess.  I hope to someday be able to thank those wonderful Japanese people for loving my daughter.

Alyssa has been in Japan now for almost 2 months and I included an excerpt from her letter about the language.  It goes to show that even with the Lord's help it is hard and takes a lot of work.  Thank goodness the people are patient and when it truly matters the gift of tongues is manifested.

It has been another great week of work here in Yamatokoriyama!  I seriously love these people and this ward so much...transfers aren't for like four weeks still and I am already scared that I am gonna be out of here because I just love this place so much and don't want to leave when I am just barely starting to figure out life!  The language is still super hard but it is coming. Kenney Shimai and I have started to make up language games that we can do together throughout the day, and it is seriously helping so much. We are having fun and learning a lot, and so it has been great! I am starting to feel a little more hope that someday I might actually be able to speak this language haha. The reading though is still way hard. I am struggling through the Book of Mormon, but I am determined to read it at least once on my mission and then continue through my life so I can keep up my has taken way too much effort to learn to be forgotten when I get home!  No way Jose! Anyways whenever I read the Book of Mormon out loud in appointments, it is sooooo stressful haha. Last night I was actually at a dinner appointment with this cute family in the ward, and after I basically massacred this super long verse, they all clapped for me and congratulated me and I thought it was hilarious, but the best part was that they were serious! They are just that nice of people here!  Ahh I love the Nihongin, they are so great. 

Group Email:

Minasan, Konnichiwa!
I can't believe it is already another P day here in guys
time is seriously going so fast and I don't even know how to
comprehend it! We get so much accomplished in a single day that it can
feel like a lifetime, but then you blink and another week has gone by!
I am really trying to focus on making every single day of my mission
count, because I am really scared if I blink I am gonna miss it...this
is seriously such an amazing opportunity and I am so happy to be here!
It was another amazing week here in Yamatokoriyama! Every single day I
am here I fall in love with this place and this people more and more.
Coming on a mission to Japan was never something I would have picked
out for myself...but I am so glad that Heavenly Father knows better
than I do! He knew exactly where I needed to come and for that I am so
grateful that we have living prophets that assigned my call to Kobe
through divine inspiration!
Some events that happened this week was the announcement of a big
taikai we have coming up this month!  In three weeks we have Elder
Stevenson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles coming to speak to the
mission here in Kobe, and we are stoked! In preparation for the
meeting, President Welch has asked every companionship to see a
baptism before he is an intimidating challenge but Kenney
Shimai and I have the faith that if we continue to work hard, we will
see some miracles come to pass and we will see another baptism! We
were promised by the Lord that the field is white ready to harvest,
now we just need to listen to the Lord and figure out the best place
to thrust in the sickle!
This week we also had the chance to go and heart attack a recent
convert/less active member, and it was such a
great experience. Getting to his house was kind of a debacle because
we had to go by train and it started to downpour on us and we were
lost, but we ended up getting it done and it ended up really touching
this brother...he was so grateful and expressed so much love and
appreciation and has been making efforts to try and fix his work
schedule and whatnot so he can come back to church! It just goes to
show you that a little love and a little service can go a looooong
way. For some reason since I have come here, I have developed a very
special spot for less active members, and so I love getting to work
with them. Every single person is a sheep in the Lord's fold, and I
feel so blessed to be able to work for this short time to be able to
try and help some come home!
Another kind of funny thing that happened
this week was that our ward mission leader put it on some social media
thing that Kenney Shimai and I like some certain kind of cereal...we
showed up on Sunday and our basket had been COMPLETELY filled with
this super expensive granola cereal, all from the ward members. We
felt so much love from them and it was almost comical how much
everyone had brought in an effort to try and step up and help out the
"poor" missionaries. I cannot even tell you how much I love these
people and their kind and generous hearts. I can most definitely tell
you that they are all changing my life and who I want to become. I
cannot get over how blessed I am to be here.

So all in all, it was another great and busy and productive week. We
are working hard and having a blast and seeing tons of little miracles
daily, and I really couldn't ask for more. We are also excited because
this week we get to go to Kobe for TTT, Abeno for an exchange, and
then we have Zone Meeting on Friday. It is going to be a crazy busy
week but I am excited to learn a lot from all the mission leaders!
Anyways just one final thought I would like to share is found in
Mosiah 2:17. It quite simply talks about how we are in the service of
our fellow beings, we are only in the service of God. I have come to
know that scripture is so true here. I have come so much closer to God
not only because I am a missionary or because I am studying the gospel
for three hours a day, but because I am serving His children. When you
serve someone, you truly can't help but love them, and as we serve
God's children, our love for Him increases as well. It is truly just
one big beautiful cycle in this gospel, and I would like to encourage
all of you this week to look for someone to doesn't have to
be a big deal at all, something small will be perfect, and as you do
so, I promise you will feel more love for God and for those around
Also, happy Mother's Day this week to all the mothers out there! I
especially want to shout out my own Mom, who is one of the most
amazing women on the face of the earth. I know I for sure wouldn't be
where I am today without her love and her example.
Well everyone, that about sums up this week!  Thank you for all the
love and prayers as always! This gospel is so true and I am so blessed
to be sharing it!

Sister Pickering

Giving a member a "heart attack"
You got to love the candid shot of the missionaries taking pictures of cereal

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