Monday, August 22, 2016

After the Trial of their Faith: Nihon Week 24

Alyssa's sweet reunion with her Ayaka Chan
 Since Alyssa transferred to her new area about a month ago, she admittedly confirms that the work has been challenging.  There have been many struggles and so called "lack of success".  (Of course anyone that has served a mission knows this is all relative and often can't be measured).  Anyway, this past week, things have changed.  Not that the circumstances did, but Alyssa's heart did.  She expressed to me that she was trying to do everything the way she thought she should and wanted to do.  Finally, after much struggle and prayer she turned her will over to God's will and that made all the difference.  Once she started accepting that whatever happened was the Lord's way, the miracles started to come.  Doesn't that make sense though?  God knows each of us individually and what we need.  He knows those people in Japan and clearly knows what needs to happen with each person.  Alyssa is just there to be His mouthpiece and hands.   Once she submits and lets Him be in control, then the work can progress.  What a challenging but valuable lesson she has been learning this past month.

On the bright side, her dear friend and convert, Ayaka, took a train from Yamatokoriyama to Kyoto to have a reunion with Alyssa.  I think it was a beautiful and necessary meeting for both of them.  I hoped it helped strengthen Ayaka, because I know it buoyed up Alyssa and gave her a renewed determination to keep working hard.  Such a sweet blessing.

Group Letter:

Minasan, Konnichiwa!

Well here I am writing you on my last P day of my fourth
transfer....crazy, right? This week we will be getting transfer calls
(I am assuming Uchida Shimai and I will both be safe here in Shimogamo
and I will kill her when she goes home in October), but then we start
all over again and are ready to see some more miracles! Also speaking
of things starting all over again, good luck to all my family and
friends that will be going back to school this week and next! Also
shout out Kylee Hazard who heads to the mission field in Spain this
week! Ganbatte kudasai!

This week started off strong after a great P day (I took a nap and it
was the best ever) where we went housing and finding and taught some
super solid lessons. We decided to really try and focus on getting
referrals this week and so I mustered up the courage and asked some
random people like it instructs us in PMG, and lo and behold, the
Quorum of the 12 knew what they were doing when they wrote that book.
We received some referrals to go and visit in this one neighborhood,
and it was fabulous! Definitely such a great lesson for me to remember
to always try and follow Preach My Gospel as exactly as possible.

Tuesday my companion was down and out for a little bit, so I had the
chance to study the gospel for about 8 hours straight that day and it
was so cool. I learned so much and received so much personal
revelation about how I can become a better missionary, and I felt the
guiding hand of the Lord so much and it was great. I HAVE SO MUCH
IMPROVING TO DO. But it is okay because I have learned when the Lord
gives us a correction, He always provides us a way to accomplish it.
That night we had the chance to meet with a member and an investigator
and go to this fire mountain festival for this big holiday they
celebrate in Japan. They light this fire on mountains in a way to send
all their dead relatives back to the Spirit world that came to chill
for a few days apparently, and we went and we were excited but then it
ended up being TORRENTIAL downpour and so the fire couldn't be lit! It
was kind of funny, and I have never been so wet in my entire life, but
I just loved it. I love all the adventures we find ourselves in as

Wednesday was also good, we visited some members and had a great
lesson with this less active we have been working with, and then we
had Eikaiwa (English lessons), which is always somewhat of an adventure, but hey, we
have fun with it.

Thursday we were FINALLY able to meet with this referral that we got
from the elders! We had a great lesson about Jesus Christ and built
some good kankei, and then had a good time trying to explain the
restoration and why Jesus AND Buddah AND Mohammed AND other various
people all can't be 100% correct...boy let me tell you am I grateful
for our knowledge of the restoration! After that we had another solid
lesson with a less active about tender mercies and gratitude (everyone
just be grateful please, life is so good and the Lord is so merciful
and then that night we had the chance to visit this older lady in the
ward who is recently widowed and her and her husband served five
missions together and her faith is just rock solid. I enjoyed the
chance to learn from her that night! Also! The JW's in Shimogamo found
us that day! Haha why they keep wanting to meet and bible bash with a
19 year old is so beyond me, but it is okay because we just have
another opportunity to share some of God's love with His children.

Friday was great because we had district meeting which I love as
always, and we had the chance to learn together about teaching with
the Spirit and why it is essential in missionary work. Basically the
moral of the story is without the just can't. This is
God's work and the Spirit we have is the only connection to knowing of
His specific will for each of His individual children, and so we NEED
that Spirit and guidance. When we have it in our work, it is the
neatest thing. Love it so much.
After that we visited some less
actives and it was WONDERFUL! Uchida Shimai and I really just had a
great day of teaching in unity and the Spirit was so present and we
saw some small miracles and progress in each of the people. We also
got to teach an AB lesson to a sister and it was the Restoration, and
I have to say that the Restoration is my favorite lesson to teach here
on the mission. The Spirit will, without fail, ALWAYS testify of the
Joseph Smith experience. Every time we discuss the sacredness of the
First Vision, the spirit in the room is so tangible and so sweet, and
this day was no different. I once again received an answer that day
from God that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, that this church is
true, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. So grateful for
the chance to have my testimony strengthened everyday!

Saturday we did SKK (our dang long planning session for the next
week), and then we went finding in hopes of MAYBE being able to
finally find a new investigator...this week we worked so hard and went
finding in every spare moment and we're trying to show God in every
way that we wanted someone to teach, and at long last, the last week
of the transfer, He delivered. The last door we knocked that day was
opened by a 21 year old girl named Haruna, and when she smiled at us,
the Spirit just told me we had found our girl. The relief and
happiness we felt was overwhelming as we taught her and set up a
return appointment. GOD REALLY DOES ANSWER PRAYERS! He is so willing
to bless us and lead us to those who are prepared, we just need to be
willing to keep trying our best and working hard to find them. Such a
miracle, so so needed.....ahhh if was just so great.
We finished off the night by going to the church and watching the cultural celebration
for the dedication of the Sapporo temple the next day! I fell in love
with Japan and the culture and the people and my mission all over
again, and seeing their joy of the temple just brought me to tears and
made me want to work even harder so that the faithful saints in the
Kobe mission can have their own someday.

Well okay I guess technically it wasn't the actual temple itself, but
the church was dedicated as an extension that day for the dedication,
and the Spirit that I felt during the dedication was just as sweet and
familiar as if I was back home in Mt. Timpanogos. We had the chance to
hear from Elder Gary E. Stevenson, the Asia North area president, the
temple president and his wife, and President Russell M. Nelson, and it
was such a wonderful experience and I learned so much and was just
once again reminded of the importance of the temple and the saving
ordinances inside! I have really come to realize that missionary work
and temple work are one and the same, just for different sides of the
veil, and as we all engage in this work together, we are all engaged
in the work of salvation for the human family!
I feel so very blessed
to have been able to witness the dedication of such a beautiful temple
for such a wonderful people. The work is truly progressing here in
Japan and it is so exciting to see!

Sunday we also had the chance to FINALLY meet with some of our
investigators from the last sisters, and they were amazing! One of
them is married to a member and she wants to have the same religion as
her husband and so she is taking the lessons to see what she can
learn, and she has such amazing faith in Christ and real intent to
learn the truth, and it is so refreshing. The other is a 20 year old
college student who lately has felt distanced from God and wants to
learn from us because her best friend is serving a mission up at
temple square! She is so amazing and also wants to learn, and we are
just so excited to progress with both of these two and see what
wonderful things happen this upcoming transfer.

This week was honestly so wonderful and filled with tons of tender
mercies. Honestly there were a LOT of obstacles we had to face this
transfer with fresh starting an area, and sometimes it felt like we
were just running into wall after wall after wall. However, this past
week was just another reminder that the Lord will ALWAYS keep His
promises, because it went a little something like this:
Ether 12:12 For if there be no faith among the children of men God can
do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after
their faith.

My faith was DEFINITELY tried this transfer, but I am grateful that
the Lord allowed me to experience that and become a little stronger
and maybe a little more like the missionary He wants me to become. I
am grateful for all the miracles He is also so willing to shower down
upon us, as we simply just TRY our very best.

I know God lives and I know that this is His church! It has been
restored in its fullness on the earth today by Joseph Smith, and we
still have a living prophet today in Thomas S. Monson. The Book of
Mormon is true! It is changing my life every single day and I am so
grateful for that!

Well everyone, hope you all have a great week wherever you may be.
Lots of love being sent from Japan! Aishiteimasu!

Sister Pickering

P.S. The weird face things are these cleansing masks that Uchida
Shimai's home ward sent her and they requested that we take and send a
picture...they are meant to look like these Kabuki actor things, and
they might be the most unflattering thing on the face of the earth,
but hey, we have fun together

No comments:

Post a Comment