Monday, June 6, 2016

Same Place, New Adventures: Nihon Week 13

 "A selfie with my favorite Japanese family in the ward, the Murae

Well Alyssa felt it was coming and she was right.  Alyssa's companion was transferred and she received Sister Edwards from Connecticut.  Alyssa was thrilled to be staying in her beloved area and to continue the work there.  I remember from my days in the mission that change often times brought new enthusiasm and ideas on how to do the work.  It sounds like they have a lot of good things happening and hopefully this new companionship will just enhance it.
Here is a short excerpt from her letter to me this week:
Thank you for also telling me about your experiences with sharing the gospel in Peru! Honestly, I didn't realized until I came here that I was like the worst, most passive member ever...I didn't do ANYTHING to help further the Lord's work in Saratoga Springs! I just did my own thing and built my own testimony and went to church and whatnot, but I was so not a member missionary except for maybe like twice or three times ever. It has really shown me what I want to change when I get home. I am going to contact the missionaries at BYU and offer to go be a doseki for their lessons, because the power that a strong ward member has on lessons is SO important. Their fellowship and testimonies really bring the Spirit so strongly!

 Also, you would be so proud of me now, because I talk on the phone to Japanese. The phone terrified me as a trainee, but I decided now that I am a "normal" missionary anymore, I wasn't going to let things scare me far so good!
Each week I see growth and insight and more maturity than before. And the greatest thing for me to see is her thinking outside of herself and what more she can do to influence the world around her.  That is priceless.
Group Letter:

Minasan, Konnichiwa!

I am so happy to say that I am writing you still from the amazing city
of Yamatokoriyama! Yay! I was SO nervous leading up to when we found
out about transfers, because I wanted to stay here so badly because I
just felt like my work here was not done, and thankfully Heavenly
Father seemed to have somewhat of a similar idea! I feel so blessed to
be here for at least another transfer! Kenney Shimai however did
transfer, and that was way hard. Some tears were definitely shed at
that, because she was such a great Mom to me and became an even better
friend. I know that she will do wonderful things in her new area!

We spent the first few days of the week packing up Kenney Shimai and
visiting some members and saying goodbye and it was great, but also
sad. I also must share a somewhat humorous story though, and that is
that I completed arguably one of my most impressive athletic
feats...Monday night we wanted to go and visit this less active/recent
convert but he lived SUPER far away, and Google Maps wasn't being
helpful and so we decided that we could channel our inner Sacajawea
and try and figure it out ourselves. We went on this train ride and
then figured out he still lived super far away and we only have a
limited time to dendo on Monday, and so we decided the only way to
make it there, teach him, and then make it back in time was to we did! We ended up RUNNING almost four miles in our skirts
and church shoes and with our bags and it was so funny because we were
actually going pretty fast and we wanted to DIE but we were just
laughing so hard the entire time because we love dendo so much and we
are fairly confident that Angels were helping strengthen us in those
moments! We got back to the apartment that night and were so gross and
exhausted, but so happy. The brother we visited was SO touched that we
went out of our way to visit him, and he offered one of the most
sincere prayers of gratitude I have ever heard in my life as he
thanked Heavenly Father for the sister missionaries, and we both
started crying and were just so happy that the ridiculous situation
was worth it because we got to share some of Heavenly Father's love
for His children. It was definitely a great last adventure for Kenney
Shimai and I to have together!

MY NEW COMPANION! Holy cow, she is amazing! Her name is Edwards
Shimai, and she is from the lovely state of Connecticut in the good
old USA. She is on her 12th transfer which is normally the last
transfer for foreign sister missionaries, but she was able to fast
track through the MTC because she is a boss, and so she will be here
until August. She is a retired STL and trainer and so she is an
incredible missionary, and I literally am just learning so much from
her all the time. I don't know how I got so lucky to have another
amazing companion, but I am taking every opportunity I can to learn
from her and try to become the best missionary that I can become!

I am seriously so excited for this transfer, because Edwards Shimai
and I have already seen so many little miracles, and I know that they
are going to equate to some big things. Because she goes home so soon,
my companion really wants to see some baptisms before she is out of
here, and so we have the goal to invite AT LEAST one person to baptism
every single day, and we are confident that if we work our hardest and
do our part, the Lord will provide us a way to find those prepared
people. We just have such a good feeling about these next six weeks,
and we are excited to see what the Lord has in store. We also have
been working super closely with our ward mission leader to come up
with some new and effective finding ideas and ways to get referrals,
and we are pretty excited to get the ball rolling. One thing they want
to do is film a commercial for our Eikaiwa class with Edwards Shimai
and I in it (Inamori Kyodai thinks that everyone would love the two
gaijin girls with super curly hair speaking Japanese) and so everyone
look for us on YouTube haha.

Our investigators are doing super well! Ayaka Chan our little miracle
girl (the one we found by the vending machines last week) is
progressing super well, and we are setting up to have her be baptized
later this month, and so we are super excited for that! She is so
great and has such a special ability to feel the Spirit, and so we are
excited! She has come to church twice now and stays the whole time and
loves it, so if this girl isn't the definition of golden in Japan, I
don't know what is! Also Teru San, our cute little grandpa decided
that he really wants to get baptized and is seriously trying to work
through some stuff to make it happen this transfer as well! His
daughter's family is all getting sealed later this month and so I
think it has really put some things in perspective for him! Super
excited to see how it all ends up!

Just one final spiritual thought of this week! Edwards Shimai and I
have been discussing miracles a lot lately and how we are going to try
and see them in this next transfer...this morning I was reading in the
Book of Mormon in Mormon 9, and it so very simply lays it out there
that God is a God of miracles, and that has not changed, and it never
will. If we aren't seeing miracles, we need to increase our trust in
God and look for them, because they are out there! We are given that
promise to see miracles if we work hard and do our best and are worthy
to receive them, and the Lord will ALWAYS keep His word! I know that
that is not only true in missionary work, but in every aspect of our
lives! Our loving Father wants to bless us with miracles every single
day, we just need to let Him and trust Him and be worthy to receive
them! God wants to bless us so much, and I KNOW that miracles have not
ceased, and especially not here in Japan!

Well everyone, have a great week! Happy Father's Day to all the
fathers out there, you are amazing! Thank you everyone for all the
love and support and prayers as always! Aishiteimasu!

Sister Pickering
"Hirakata Sisters, Hirakata Elders, and me with my new
companion (She is in the stripes and this was the first day we met"
Goodbyes are hard.  Last picture with Kenney Shimai, until they meet again.
More proof that Alyssa actually rides a bike :)
An example of the missionaries' weekly schedule
So we are very blessed that Alyssa has an IPad on her mission.  We can log into her account throughout the week and see her pictures.  Of course there are no explanations and they sometimes leave you scratching your head, like this one.  Japanese Anime maybe??

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