Monday, August 15, 2016

And Then My Companion's Tire Melted: Nihon Week 23

First of all,  I just want to thank all of you that are not only praying for Alyssa to have success as a missionary, but also for her safety.  I don't worry much about her most of the time but honestly the thought of her being on a bike is the one thing that has always had me a little nervous.  So when I casually asked about her current biking situation I expected her to express how it has gotten easier and that it is no big deal.  Instead I got this response:
"Ahh yes the is fun. The other day it hit like 101 degrees and that wasn't including the humidity which was rocking it at 90% so that happened haha. Honestly sometimes it is kind of painful and so we really have to break up our activities so we don't end up in the sun all day and then die. I have never been so exhausted in my life because the sun just drains you and then add biking on top of it, and it is just one adventure after another. Luckily enough, I am alive though! As far as your other questions go, yes biking is terrifying. I wish I could say "Lol I remember this one time that I almost got hit by a car" but it actually is more like "Psych, that is every single day of my life here in Kyoto." The drivers are free spirits and the roads are kind of scary so I am sure that there are angels working overtime on my safety!"
Thank you Angels!
Also, another little tidbit about her area:
"My area is a LOT smaller compared to Yamatokoriyama and there are like 6 areas here in Kyoto, so that is crazy. There are just billions of people everywhere. Right now in my ward we have us and the zone leaders, but I think every other area in the Kyoto zone has a set of elders and sisters too except for maybe one. We also bike everywhere unless we need to go to another area.  However if we want to talk about appliances, they don't have garbage disposals and ovens are like not a thing in apartments. What is up with that yo??"
It has been so fun learning about life in Japan, the people and the culture.  But I personally am not sure I would want to experience a heat that can cause a bike tire to melt :)

Group Letter:

Minasan, Konnichiwa!

I can hardly believe that it is halfway through August and I am
already staring down the last full week of this does
this even happen haha? I always heard it from missionaries that time
flies by out in the field, but I never believed them until I got here
and experienced it for myself. It is crazy and I am just trying to
enjoy every moment that I can!

This week was honestly so amazing. (Also, as usual it was super hot. I
know I keep saying that every week but it just keeps getting hotter
and it's funny. This week my companion's tire melted, sooo that
happened haha)
At first I was not so sure what dendoing in a threesome
would be like, but it was seriously such a blast. Rees Shimai and
Nielsen Shimai are amazing missionaries, and we had way too much fun
together. We all decided that Heavenly Father knew that we would
become good enough friends that He would let us be companions, but
only for a week because otherwise it would just be way too much fun.
The week started off great! We went and did some shotengai (it is like
a covered street mall type deal) finding and taught some great
lessons, and we actually had really great unity which was super fun.
When you teach with your companion in unity, you are guaranteed to
have the Spirit there to witness what you are saying, and so that was
super cool.

Tuesday was interesting because I had my first lesson with some
Jehovah's is funny because when you think of Japan and
the most prominent religions you definitely think of like Buddhism or
Shintoism or whatever, and they are definitely the most prominent, but
here in Japan the Jehovah's Witnesses have a reputation for finding
and kind of harassing the Mormon missionaries. We had an appointment
set up with a former investigator who found us and asked to meet
again, but right before we went into the lesson we found out that he
was a JW who brought his friend and they were trying to dendo US. We
just made this goal to smile and not argue and just testify of Christ
before we politely found a way to not meet again. It was so
interesting to me because we get in there and this one guy was asking
us genuine questions and so we had the chance to teach a super solid
lesson on the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, but then his friend
kept trying to always argue with us and tear things down like about
our different names of Christ, or my personal favorite, as he tried to
tell us the exact date and weather of the day that Christ was born on.

It was interesting because as we tried our best to just emanate love
and testify, we all felt the Spirit super strongly and felt it protect
us in what could have otherwise been a hostile environment. At the end
of the meeting I was able to give away a Book of Mormon to the one
guy, and so we felt good about it. We definitely will not be meeting
with them again, but hey, maybe we were able to offer the one guy an
experience with the Spirit, and who knows what future seeds will be

Tuesday night was also kind of fun because there is this member in the
Fushimi Ward who is famous for feeding the joke he
literally fed us and the elders an eight course meal, and it was all
SUPER good food. I haven't been so full in ages and it was so much
food, that when he would walk out of the room we would all pull out
Tupperware and hide it away for later. Doke Kyodai was honestly so
sweet, and once again I am just so grateful for these Japanese members
that take such good care of us and are so devoted to the Lord and His

The rest of the week was just spent in teaching lessons to members and
visiting less actives and then getting ready and planning for the next
week. While Rees and Nielsen Shimai did SKK for their area, I had the
chance to just take the phone and contact literally every single
person in our Area Book. It was quite the process but I was able to get
some new appointments set up, and so I was super happy about that!
Friday we had a combined district meeting which was great, and we
focused a lot on goal setting and why it is important to us as
missionaries. Truthfully I am not super good at making daily goals
because I don't even know why, but as I was pondering I realized that
as I set a daily goal, I am merely recognizing an opportunity to rely
on the strength of the atonement each and everyday. That was a neat
revelation, and it is something that I have been trying to apply as I
repent and become better!

nother neat experience was on Friday night when we visited this like
80 something year old less active and we taught her and her daughter.
We each shared our favorite scripture from the Book of Mormon and why
it is important to us, and the Spirit in the room was so sweet. At the
end of the lesson this lady was in tears and she thanked us over and
over again for visiting and coming and helping her to feel loved and
to feel the Spirit. It is moments like that where my heart just warms
and the mission just becomes worth it one hundred times over. Numbers
and stress and homesickness and exhaustion just melt away as we take
the time to focus on and minister to the one, a Christ would have us
do, and it is just the best feeling. Experiences like that honestly
make me want to be a missionary forever.

The end of the week eventually rolled around, and I headed back to
Shimogamo where I met up with my sweet companion and we began to get
ready for this upcoming week here in our area. We have lots of goals
and things we want to accomplish, and so we can't wait to see what
miracles we have in store this week.
My testimony this week is of two things...first and foremost, it is of
the Book of Mormon. I spent a LOT of time deeply searching that book
this week, and I just know it is true. The feelings that I feel and
the revelation that I receive while reading must come from God, there
is just no other explanation. I learn so many new things every time,
and it is such a wonderful opportunity to have a daily encounter with
the Spirit. I have seen the Book of Mormon change lives out here, and
I know it is changing mine, so please, if you are not reading daily,
take the time to do so. I promise that it will only bless you!

My other testimony is of the importance of remembering. In the Book of
Mormon there are two types of people....those who remember their
experiences with God, and those who do not. The first group are the
people who remain diligent and steadfast and endure to the end while
keeping covenants and strengthening their testimonies. The second
group is people who will remain righteous for a while, but then
eventually slip back into the habits of the natural man. I was truly
pondering that this week and the impression came to me personally that
I need to be even better at recording my spiritual experiences and the
tender mercies in my life, so that I can always remember them. Of
course it is essential to strive daily to have new experiences to
build our testimony, but personally I am finding it is just as
important to reflect how God has always been here with us all along.
As we truly remember those experiences in our lives, remember how we
felt when we repented or were endowed or when we had a prayer
answered...we can never go astray. I challenge you all this week to
try and remember those times where your testimony has been
strengthened, and maybe if you have the time, jot down one or two. You
never know who might need to learn from your experiences, whether it
be a loved one or maybe just your future self.

I love this gospel and I love the chance I have to be sharing it. I
love missionary work and I feel so blessed to have this amazing chance
to be here doing this work that I love. I know God lives and that this
is His church. I know that Christ is my Savior, and I know that the
Book of Mormon is true.

I hope you all have an amazing week wherever you may be, and don't
forget to remember! Aishiteimasu!

Sister Pickering

Alyssa knows I love condensed milk.  This photo is for me!

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