Monday, July 25, 2016

Pokemon Go? Nihon Week 20

The companionship visited Shimogamo Jinja, a famous shrine that is right across the street from the LDS church

In my letter,  it was evident that this past week was a little rough for Alyssa.  With a new area, new ward and new style of finding and teaching, it proved to be somewhat challenging.  But I was proud of Alyssa's attitude and her willingness to keep pressing forward.  She has learned that she can do hard things and who is the source of her strength.  How wonderful
 As a small reward for her perseverance, she received this piece of good news near the end of her p-day:

"Just found out that someone I found and taught on a first contact in
Yamatokoriyama committed to be baptized this week! Hurray for

What a pay off at the end of a faith building week. 

Minasan, Konnichiwa!

Can't believe we are already here on another P day writing again, time
just seriously blurs so much here!

This week was another busy one here for us. We have been trying
desperately to find some new investigators and make contact with the
other ones from the last sisters, but unfortunately we have not been
so lucky this week. It has definitely been a test of my faith and
patience, because I KNOW that there are prepared people waiting for
the gospel in Japan, because I have seen it time and time again.
Sometimes it can be a little discouraging though as we work super hard
and don't always get that instant gratification from our efforts, but
I know that this is all in the Lord's timing and so that things will
work out the way they need to
. All is well here on our end!

I am still loving having Uchida Shimai as a companion, she is
seriously so great. First of all she is just an adorable human being
and is so kind and uplifting, and so I cannot be grateful enough for
her. She is always there to encourage me at any given moment, and we
just have fun together as well! I have been so blessed with my
companions so far in the mission, it has been great. I also have come
to realize that gaijin (foreigner) powers are a real thing, and that
was not something I appreciated until I was with a Japanese person
24/7! I can get away with so many more dendo shenanigans (always in a
good way, of course) and can very use the "take pity on the gaijin who
is totally lost and help her" approach to make contacts, and it has
been fun. When they see Uchida Shimai all on top of the world and
handling everything fine we don't always see the same result, and so
lately I have just been trying to put myself out there and see what we
can make happen. Something we really have focused on this week is
improving our first contact to always include Jesus Christ and if
possible, baptism and the Book of Mormon. At first it was kind of hard
to always do so, but we have improved so much and our teaching has
altogether improved as well. It has been super fun to see, and I am so
grateful for the many opportunities that we have to teach each day!

Kind of a funny dendo story from the week....the other day, Uchida
Shimai and I were looking at our iPads totally lost because we had no
idea where we were when we were trying to go and visit this person.
Some little old grandpa looks at us and laughs and then asks us if we
are Pokemon masters.  We were super confused and just laughed along
with him but had no idea what that was all about. The next day, we see
like everybody walking around with their eyes glued to their
phones...we were so confused on what was happening! That night at
ping-pong night (by the way, I am totally honing my ping-pong skills,
just in case anyone was wondering) we talked to the elders and they
informed us that some game called Pokemon Go (perhaps you folks have
heard of it) had just been released in Japan, and people were going
CRAZY over it. Literally every single person here is obsessed with it!
And better yet, our church is some like training gym or battle place
or something (I really have no ideas on the logistics of it all), and
so random people have just been showing up at the church to play
Pokemon and it has actually been GREAT for dendo. We just super easily
talk to them about their game and then somehow find ways to connect it
to the gospel and then we invite people to come to the church and
battle and learn more about us. It is seriously so hilarious but hey,
sometimes the Lord moves His work in mysterious ways. I never thought
I would have used Pokemon as a way to talk to people and get new
investigators, but whatever works works I guess!

We also had district meeting this week, and that was super awesome. We
put a lot of emphasis on using the Book of Mormon in our dendo, and we
have a friendly competition going between us and the elders to see who
can hand out the most Book of Mormons this transfer, and it has been
so fun. I know that book truly has the power to change lives as I know
it has changed mine, and I love having the chance hear to see it
change the lives of others as well. Seriously so many blessings!
We finally met some of our investigators, and we have a lot of
promising people we are working with. One lady is in her early
twenties and she is married to a member, and she took the lessons at
BYU before she got married but the missionaries were super pushy and
freaked her out and so she wasn't baptized...we are slowly having the
chance to meet with her and teach her again, and it is just going to
be so cool as we help this family to become eternal. I love how the
end goal of every focus we have as missionaries is the temple, and
that has become especially prevalent lately as the Sapporo temple is
being dedicated in August! We have the chance to participate in the
broadcast, and we are super excited and are having a great motivation
to help less actives become temple worthy again so they can attend the
broadcast. The temple is just the best, and even though I can't attend
in my mission, I am grateful for all of the blessings it is bringing
to those I am serving!

One final thought really quick before I end. As I said earlier, this
week was kind of challenging in some ways. I had some super low
moments of frustration and discouragement and didn't know why nothing
was working out. But the interesting thing is that every time I cry to
the Lord in sorrow or self pity, He ALWAYS turns me around and has me
learn about His son, Jesus Christ.
As I come to learn more of the
Savior and His atonement, my love and appreciation for Him grows. I am
so very grateful for His sacrifice and because of what He did, I am
grateful for the knowledge that I can cheerfully say that it will all
work out.

Jesus Christ really is our Savior and our Redeemer, and I will sing
praises to Him forever. I am so blessed to be laboring now as His
representative, and I will gladly take any discouragement that comes
my way as I seek to worthily fulfill this work and bring my brothers
and sisters unto Him.
I love this work so much, and I am so happy to be a part of it. I love
this gospel, and I love the Japanese people.

Thank you all for the prayers and love and support, I really couldn't
do this without all of you. Have an amazing week and I will talk to
you all soon!

Sister Pickering

Shimogamo Jinja
The view from Alyssa's new apartment

Disney is a big deal in Japan

A piece of home
A sushi restaurant where the sushi goes by you on a conveyor belt

A map from part of her area

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