Monday, August 29, 2016

I Love Life and Dendo: Nihon Week 25

Pickering Shimai, Tomoko Shimai, and Folkman Shimai

Minasan, Konnichiwa!

Well transfers came and went and I am still here in Kyoto, but I
unfortunately had to send off my cute Nihonjin companion to finish her
mission on Shikoku for the last six new companion is named
Folkman Shimai (and we were basically prepared from the foundations of
the world to be companions), but I will talk a little bit more about
her later on!

Last Monday was one of the happiest days, because after emails, my
cute little Ayaka Chan from Yamatokoriyama came and visited me here in
Kyoto! When I saw her across the street we literally ran to each other
like it was a movie scene and just hugged and my heart was so happy in
that moment, it could have burst haha. We spent a great afternoon
together shopping and talking and eating ice cream, and it was just so
happy. That little girl has literally become the epitomization of D&C
18:10-11 for me, and every single day I am just reminded of how
blessed I am to know and love her. She was also able to tell me that
her brother is getting baptized this weekend, and that was such happy
news! What an incredible miracle I was able to have a small part in.
Ahh missions are seriously the best.

Tuesday during studies we received the call that Uchida Shimai would
be transferring out of the area. It was super sad that we only had one
transfer to work together, but I learned so much from her and was so
grateful for the chance to learn from her great example (and Japanese
haha). So glad that Heavenly Father has let me be companions with such
wonderful sisters! That day we spent some time doing service and
visiting an investigator and a recent convert, but the highlight was
when a member went to Costco and brought me back muffins. It has been
seriously way too long!

Wednesday we went and visited this cute widow in the ward (I love
visiting old people, it has become one of my very favorite hobbies)
and other less actives, and did some good finding (we taught a lady
who is apparently healed and has faith in rays of light. Oh I love
apostasy), and then had DCS with our ward mission leader and came up
with some great plans to get the members more involved in dendo. I am
so excited, there is a lot of excitement in the area right now, and as
we are seeking to teach with more members and involve them in the
work, I just know it is the gateway to miracles. The Japanese members
are amazing and their testimonies are strong, and if we could just get
them sharing them more, the work would be unstoppable here!

Thursday I had the chance to spend about 7 hours at the Kyoto Station
while sending off one companion and meeting another one. In the
meantime I met a girl from Westlake who is in this mission now, as
well as the family of one of our AP's here who talked to us for a
while and bought us ice cream and just chatted. I love seeing members
from the United States here, it just feels so home. I love that we can
have that sense of love and family no matter where we go, all thanks
to the gospel of Jesus Christ!
FINALLY I had the chance to meet
Folkman Shimai, and it only took me about three minutes before I
realized that this girl and I were meant to be companions, and it was
through the revelation from our Heavenly Father given to President
Welch! She is a 9th transfer and is from Ogden, Utah, and she is one
of the happiest and funniest and most loving people I have ever met in
my entire life. We clicked so fast and have been laughing ever since.
I feel so blessed to be working with her, and I know that I have found
a lifelong friend. We teach in great unity and work hard and yet know
how to laugh and have fun, and so I have found so much joy in the
little daily bits of dendo again. It has been such a blessing!

Friday we had the chance to visit some members and less actives and
get Folkman Shimai acquainted with the area. It was funny, because we
set an OYM goal that day that would help us talk to more people than
we ever had before, and so the night before we just randomly decided
to stop every single person we saw that was wearing purple, no matter
what. I swear that Heavenly Father has a sense of humor, because I
have never seen so many people wearing purple in my entire LIFE. Oh my
goodness literally every single person was wearing purple, I swear,
and ever since then, we haven't seen nearly as much! Haha it was such
a testimony to me that the Lord wants and NEEDS His missionaries to
open their mouths, and He will go to whatever extremes He needs to
get us to fulfill that purpose. There was one point at like 4 PM and
we had probably talked to like 25 people at that point, and I just see
this grandpa from afar and I just say "Oh that grandpa is NOT wearing
purple pants" and Folkman Shimai just laughs and goes "Oh yes...he
totally is." That was about the summary of our day, but it was great.

Getting rejected really doesn't bother me anymore, it is just funny (I
was also denied that day by some lady who told me she was too busy to
talk because she had to go make tempura), and I know I am one step
closer to finding someone that the Lord has prepared.

Saturday we had an amazing lesson with Hirokawa San, his faith is
growing so much and we are shooting to get him a date this transfer.
He is so prepared it is crazy, and his daughter is as well. Always
such a wonderful reminder that there are people waiting and ready for
this gospel!  We also had a great lesson with a recent convert who is
going to be going through the temple next month, and it was incredible
to see how her testimony has just grown so strong. She thanked us over
and over again for helping her, but it was just funny because it was
all the work of the Lord. He is so merciful. That night we met with
the Relief Society president and taught her and then planned for some
sisters in the ward, and it was great. I love working with the
members! They are the best of the best.

Sunday was hilarious because I was translating again...but this time
it was in Primary. There was a family of tourists and the Primary
President insisted that she needed help with the 4 year old son, and
so she asked us to come and translate, but really it ended up just
being a 2 hour adventure of us trying to keep this wild child under
control. Holy cow I love kids, but I haven't realized how different
Japanese and American kids are until yesterday! He was running around
everywhere and telling us the most random things and trying to escape
from class and the whole while the sweet teachers thought we were
translating what was happening in the lesson.  Haha oh the adventures
we find ourselves in. We also went out finding for a while and housed
an entire apartment complex, and the awkwardness of my English came
out for the first time after being with a Nihongin for 6 weeks
straight, because some dude opened the door and spoke to me in English
and I was in so much shock the only thing I said was "You speak
English?" And then he looked at me all weird and was like "Umm
yeah..." I was so awkward I wanted to die and my companion tried to
make a good save, but he wasn't interested haha. Shoutout all my
English speaking missionary friends, because I don't even know how you
do it!

One final thought I want to share this usual we are
continuing along with our Atonement Challenge as we read the Book of
Mormon, and it just continues to astound me how much I learn every
single day. This week I was in 2 Nephi 2, and for some reason verse 25
really stuck out to me. It simply talks about how Adam fell that men
might be, and men are that they might have joy. I have used that
scripture in the past for a lot of different reasons before (i.e. God
wants us to be happy! The purpose of life is to have joy! Huzzah!) but
this time it took on a different meaning for me. I came to realize
that as Adam fell, he provided us the first opportunity that we have
to use and rely on and partake of the blessings of the atonement...and
because of that, we are able to have joy. Truly the greatest joys we
can experience in this life are all wrought through the power of the
atonement whether it be repentance, receiving strength during a
difficult time, or even receiving temple ordinances like the endowment
or sealings, but the fact of the matter is that it all comes from the
atonement of Jesus Christ. If you want more joy in your life, find
more ways to use the atonement
. Go to the temple, rely on our Savior,
and repent and be happy about it! I testify that as we take the chance
to increase our experiences every single day with the atonement of
Jesus Christ, we will not only become cleansed from sin and become a
better person, but I know that we will be able to experience true joy
as well.

 love this work and I have absolutely loved this week. Lots of new
adjustments but lots of laughs and adventures and I just know that we
will see so many miracles this transfer. I feel so very blessed to be
working here in this area with this companion at this time, and I know
that the Lord answers our prayers, because He certainly has been
answering mine.

Hope you all have a wonderful week wherever you may be, and remember
to be use the atonement and be happy! Aishiteimasu!

Sister Pickering

Alyssa's last moments with Shimai Uchida.

Alyssa's new companion, Sister Folkman.
Tracting down a scary hall.
A cemetery??
It's a small world in the church.  Alyssa met up with another Sister from Westlake in the Kyoto train station.

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