Monday, May 23, 2016

Time Flies: Nihon Week 11

Embracing the Culture

Serving a mission is a fantastic growing opportunity.  Not only spiritually but emotionally, mentally and physically as well.  To fully appreciate the experience, you have to embrace it all; the good, the bad, the crazy, the culture, the living conditions, and the people.  Although,  the main purpose of this blog is to share the spiritual experiences of Alyssa, I also want it to be informative, well rounded and fun.  So this week I am including some of the crazy things about Alyssa's mission that just comes as part of her over all experience.

-This week was great! We worked super hard and it went by way fast and was so much fun. We taught a lot of lessons and ran around in the heat and then overall just wanted to die, but it is just a day in the life so it is all good. From what I hear it is only going to get hotter and more miserable in that regard, and then next month monsoon season really hits, so I am in for an adventure. The bugs are also crazy...our apartment is so old and kind of gross and we have a new pet named Herman that we found this week (and then lost) and he is a cockroach. Yep. Haha all sorts of good fun, but I guess it is okay to be in the worst sisters apartment because I am getting to work in the best area. 
After the taikai last night we went and slept over in Abeno with the STL's so we could go to an aquarium in Osaka with our zone today and it was so much fun! It was fun to be a tourist and just enjoy the quirks of Japan. Osaka is crazy town but was way fun. I have a video of our district leader doing this show with some street performer, so it was just a blast. I also saw the ocean and that made me happy.
-We went to this barbecue with an investigator and she invited friends
and we actually got to teach them a lesson and it was super great! But
then they started getting a little drunk but it was kind of hilarious
because Japanese people are so uptight and to see them let loose a
little bit was crazy. The one lady kept going on about
all these American celebrities that she thought were attractive and
every time I didn't know who one of them was, she would smack me and
then laugh hysterically. Don't drink, people! Although it was so funny
I cried
-We have this old grandma investigator who is basically a hippie and
she likes to try and challenge my companion and I but we handle it
like a boss with the Book of Mormon. She has also given us a bunch of
referrals so we have more people to meet which is great, but she is
also one of the millions of people trying to set us up with some
random Japanese dude. Everybody wants to marry the American girls! It
is the weirdest thing.
-We had a service opportunity this week to go and try and return a
lost dog to its owner! We were unsuccessful and wanted to take it home
to replace Herman, but sadly the white handbook says no.
-The rain here is crazy and unpredictable sometimes...hence the
garbage bag raincoats in some of the photos.
And the next thing isn't anything crazy but is definitely a perk of being a missionary:
The taikai with the apostle was also so wonderful, I learned so many things. He wanted to greet every single one of us and so I got to go up and shake his hand and it was just so neat. They have such a light about them and I know that they are truly men called of God. There is so much revelation in this church and I am so very grateful for that! It was a neat experience and I learned so much.
And the group letter:
Minasan, Konnichiwa!!
I cannot believe that I am staring down my last full week as a trainee
missionary...I am a mixture of excited and also slightly nervous at
the prospect of being expected to be able to actually speak Japanese
now haha. But it will all be great and I am just loving every single
day that I am having here in this area with my wonderful companion. We
are working so hard and having such a fun time, and being a missionary
is honestly the BEST!

I don't have a ton of time today and so this might be a little bit
scattered so please forgive me in advance. For P day today we had the
chance to go to Osaka with some members of our zone and go to an
aquarium there and see a whole bunch of cool things and really just
enjoy this wonderful place that we are serving in. I love Japan so

Some highlights of things that happened this week included that we
were led by the spirit to a brand new investigator who seems super
promising! One night during planning Kenney Shimai and I were both
prompted that we should go and visit this one random lady the next day
who really hasn't been progressing at all...but we felt strongly that
we needed to go visit her and so the next day we did. As we got to her
apartment complex, we saw a young girl standing there and once again
the Spirit let us know pretty clearly that we needed to go and talk to
her. Well we did and she was super sweet and cute and now we have a
new investigator with a lot of sincere interest! I was so glad for
this experience because it was such a reminder to me that the Lord is
so involved in all of the small details of this work. It is truly such
a miracle!

Another miracle that we had this week was that one of our
investigators, this 76 year old man named Teru San, is FINALLY so
close to baptism and is progressing a ton! He is so sweet but has this
shop he runs on Sunday and so has been very hesitant on showing any
faith and acting...he also has had some struggles with the Word of
Wisdom and doesn't like prayer...but these past few visits something
had changed with him. He committed to keep the Word of Wisdom and has
a desire to be baptized and loves praying! And his prayers are so cute
and funny! He loves talking to my companion and I about our lives back
home and when he found out that I had a boyfriend on a mission, he
immediately prayed and said "Please bless Sister Pickering that she
can finish her work here really quickly so that she can go back to
America and get married and then be happy." We were trying not to
laugh but he was just so sweet and sincere. We were trying to figure
out why all of the sudden has been progressing so much, and we
realized it has been because we have been using the scriptures with
him more lately. He has a great ability to learn from the scriptures
and the spirit, and we love getting to watch him learn and grow. We
can't wait for him to get baptized, hopefully very soon! He is the
last member of his family to join the church and so we are excited for

Another cool thing we had was district meeting. We got to go to Nabari
and have the meeting at this place where travelers through Japan stay
and it was super traditional and cool and we just had an awesome
meeting where we talked about the similarities in Buddhism and our
religion and how we can solve all the misunderstandings through the
teachings of pure doctrine in the Book of Mormon. So cool and so

Of course the highlight of the week was yesterday when we went to Kobe
and had the wonderful privilege to meet and learn from Elder Stevenson
of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. That man is truly called of God, and
the testimony he bore of the Savior at the end of the meeting was so
powerful. I have no doubt that the leaders of this church are led by
Jesus Christ, and that everything is run through pure inspiration from
our Heavenly Father.
It is truly an amazing privilege to be apart of
such a great work! Elder Stevenson also talked a lot about the power
of promising blessings as missionaries, and how that is how we
exercise faith and open the doorway for miracles. It really opened my
eyes to what the Lord is willing to do to bring His children home, and
I only get to see a small glimpse of that
. Ahh being a missionary is
just so neat, and I could honestly go on for hours about all I learned
yesterday. The church is just so true and I am so happy to be
preaching it here in the wonderful country of Japan.

Well everyone that about sums up my always I just want
everyone to know that this gospel is so true. It will change your life
and make you happier and a better person if only you allow it too,
because I know it happens to me every single day. I love my Savior and
my Heavenly Father and although I am so far from perfect, I just want
to be the kind of missionary that does everything out of love and
gratitude for them.

I hope you all have a great week wherever you are! The church is true!
Lots of love!

Sister Pickering

Street performer in Osaka
Traveling to Kobe to meet with Elder Stevenson
The missionaries were able to visit an aquarium on p-day.  Alyssa now believes that Narwhal are real
I love this picture because it captures many elements of Alyssa's life.  She is taking a picture of Osaka, Japan.  You can see her reflection in the window.  And if you look closely, you can also see a reflection of our family in a picture.  Photographically speaking, it is very artistic and was probably a happy accident.

Ward strawberry picking party

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love this! I hear her voice through her letters. I sure miss her cute face!