Monday, July 4, 2016

6 Months! Nihon Week 17

Happy 4th of July
Although the underlying message of missionary work is the same as it as been from the beginning, the methods and terminology has changed somewhat from when I was a missionary or even from the beginnings of the church.  So I asked Alyssa to clarify what it means to teach a lesson.  This is the response that I received:
This week was good! We decided to break a personal record of Edwards Shimai and teach more than 49 we did 51 and it was CRAZY and exhausting and we worked our butts off, but it was such a blast. It was cool getting to share the gospel with that many new people. A lesson as defined in PMG is one or more principles taught with a commitment given at the end...sometimes it can be kind of hard because we will teach this whole lesson but if we don't get a commitment off technically it doesn't count in our numbers....but we know it counts to the Lord because every single one of His children are numbered as precious, so all is well here.
Well I was impressed before, but now I am even more so with an understanding of what that means.  Wow, the work is definitely rolling forth.
Group Letter:
Minasan, Konnichiwa!
First of all, HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! So crazy that it is that holiday already over there in the feels like I just barely left and that was less than a week after New Years! I hit my six month mark in two days from now, and so that is basically pretty insane. Time is just flying! But I would also like to let you know that we celebrated this holiday in style. Edwards Shimai and I both wore our red, white, and blue, we ate our only American food (Nutella and Pringles and Delta Airplane Cookies) and then we played futsal with our district in arguably the hottest temperature I have ever been outside in. Gotta love the summer in Japan! Tonight we are going over to have a 4th of July dinner with this couple in my ward who served their mission in Salt Lake for 5 years, and so we are pretty excited for that! This Ward is the best!
This week was another AMAZING one! We saw so many tender mercies and miracles and it overall just continues to reaffirm my faith that the Lord is so involved in this work. The week started off normal with Eikaiwa and teaching and all that fun life, but then Wednesday we had the chance to go on exchanges with the Higashi Osaka sisters! My temporary companion was none other than Larsen Shimai, my MTC senpai, and it was SO much fun! As two super young missionaries we just decided to try our best and teach literally everybody we could, and we found so many people willing to listen and meet again. It was such a solid day and such a great reminder to me that the Lord is always willing to bless us in abundance for our valiant efforts to fulfill His work. We also had the chance to go contact a referral we received from this brother in our ward...this brother is a recent convert of about three years and he has been wanting to introduce his little brother to the gospel but has been so nervous but he thought that Edwards Shimai and I would be the ones to teach him. We were so humbled and blessed, but the day we went to go and meet him, Edwards Shimai was in Osaka! Needless to say I was praying SO hardcore that I would be able to deliver a lesson in the way that the Spirit would be present and teach to Him, and the Lord delivered as He always does. This brother now wants to meet with us weekly and take chanto lessons, and we are so excited! Just one more confirmation to meet that the true teacher in any lesson we have is the Spirit...cuz there is no way that my Japanese could have done anything to convince him to listen to us again!
Another wonderful thing we have had part in lately is the deactivation of this sister in the ward. She went less active some years ago for a number of reasons ranging from testimony issues to friend peer pressure to the fact that the guy she was in love with for years ended up marrying someone else and staying in the ward...needless to say it has been super hard for her to want to come. We have been working super hard with Ejima Shimai our RS president to try and help this sister come back and meet with her often, and we have been so blessed to see her faith and desires increase as she is returning to full activity. SUCH A BLESSING! This sister is so sweet and I just feel so blessed to be able to work with and love her during this important time in her life. 
We also had sort of a crazy miracle this week...once upon a time we went to go visit this recent convert that lives ages away (the same one Kenney Shimai and I visited and then ended up running for four miles), and this time we left way earlier in an attempt to get home way before we needed to be. Well we walked there and it took a while and then we taught and it was great but took a while and then as we were walking home my companion had the impression to check the phone schedule for trains....she saw that we had ten minutes to make the next train or we would get to the station at 9:29. It suffices me to say that this amuses us, so once again we found ourselves sprinting our guts out to get to the eki (I probably looked so stupid in my church stuff again running like a maniac, hit me up in the next life to see that experience when we are all chilling after judgment and what not). We got about five minutes away from the eki and realized that we missed the train...and we were devastated. We checked the schedule again and we were most definitely gonna be late, and we were frustrated because we tried SO hard to be obedient. Feeling defeated we got onto the next train and rode it to the next station where we needed to transfer...we got on the next train and I realize it is only 9:05 and we are ten minutes away from our home eki...I tell my companion to check the schedule again and she does and somehow, MIRACULOUSLY, the train was scheduled to arrive at the eki at 9:13, 16 minutes earlier than scheduled. So if you don't know, in Japan, that is like a miracle of all miracles because their train schedule is INSANE and such a fine system. We were so happy! We had been praying for a miracle that would allow us to be home on time, and the Lord somehow miraculously pulled through for us again as we had tried our best. We ended up getting home with time to spare and I am still in awe of how it all happened...God is so so so good. 
And then of course, Ayaka Chan was confirmed yesterday and it was beautiful. She told us all about the happy feeling she felt in her heart afterwards, and her testimony is just amazing to me. I feel so very blessed to know and love and serve her!
Just really quickly, I have really been pondering CHARITY this week. As I was thinking about how I can become a better missionary, charity is the thing which came to mind, which was interesting because I pridefully always thought loving people was something I was good at. Well after further study I have come to realize that if you are charitable as a missionary, that is all you need to start. Literally everything else will flow from that as we show love for the Lord by being obedient, love for the Savior by using His atonement and speaking of Him, love for the people we serve as we seek to open our mouths and teach them, and love for our companions as we seek to serve them. Charity is literally the stem of all other Christlike attributes, and I think it is the secret to becoming a good missionary and an excellent friend, sister, brother, mother, father, husband, wife, anything. My challenge for you all this week is to take the advice from our good friend Moroni here....
Moroni 7:48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
I promise as you seek to do this, your life will become happier and more enriched as it overflows with love for the Lord and all those around you. Charity is truly the pure love of Christ, and in a lifelong quest for discipleship, I can't think of a better place to start.
I love you all so much and hope that you all have an amazing week. Thanks for all the prayers and the love, as always they mean the world to me! And once again, have a happy happy Fourth of July!
Sister Pickering
P.S. We just love America and futsal...sorry we have a lack of interesting photos this week, folks
Okay I am sorry, P.S. One more thing, one of my dearest friends that I serve with just pointed out that I said we have been working in the DEACTIVATION of a less active sister. Haha this is false, we like to try and REACTIVATE people as missionaries, the other way is typically frowned upon. Japanese is starting to mess with my brain a tad bit, whoops. Please resume your regularly scheduled lives. 
Sister Pickering 
Futsal Fun

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