Monday, August 8, 2016

My Life is an STL Kokkan: Nihon Week 22

A couple of excerpts from my letter this week:

Life is super good! Just super super holy cow Mom I think this past week was the hottest I have been in my entire life. Some days you just want to die. You HAVE to take breaks or else you would die. It hit 100 degrees here with almost one hundred percent humidity...and then there is just us smiling and biking around like hooligans. Please enjoy all the glistening of my sweat in every single photo of my life.

The work...well it is going. We still haven't found any new investigators yet and so that has been hard and kind of a point of stress for us. We fasted for it on Sunday, so hopefully things will be able to start coming through soon, but if you wanted to pray for that for me, I wouldn't even be mad haha. I don't know why we are struggling so much, but I just have to have the faith that it is for a good reason, you know? And although we haven't had a lot of success with investigators, we have been able to really focus on less actives, and I love doing that a lot. Seeing them come back to church is such a rewarding experience and I just always know the Lord is so happy to see them there. When I come home that is something I really want to focus on, helping those come back to church and helping everyone realize that church is just a place where sick people go to be healed by the Savior. Simple as that.

Group Letter:
Minasan, Konnichiwa!

First of all, I just wanted to take a second and wish my parents a
very happy anniversary! 22 years on August 12th and I am so grateful
for them and their loving example. I can only hope to someday be as
lucky to have a marriage like they do. Love you Mommy and Daddy!

Can't believe it is time to write another letter, and this time I am
actually writing you from the FUSHIMI area in Kyoto! My beloved
companion Uchida Shimai was needed on the other side of the mission
this week to help another sister translate for some sort of EFY event
going on for all the youth, and so I moved to Fushimi until Saturday
night and I will be working in a threesome with the STL's, Rees Shimai
and Nielsen Shimai. They are both so great and we have already had so
much fun together. I absolutely love having a Japanese companion, but
I also forgot how nice it is to be able to speak English all the time!
The little things you take for granted haha. But we are super excited
to work super hard this week and see some miracles in this area, and
in Shimogamo on Thursday when we go back to make some appointments
there. Can't wait, it should all be super great!

This past week was another fast and good (and of course, HOT) one for
us in Shimogamo. We spent a lot of time trying to visit members and
less actives and not having much success (AreaBook isn't always our
friend here on the mission), but it was great because we were able to
meet a lot of people and have some cool experiences along the way. One
little miracle was that someone I randomly felt prompted to invite to
Eikaiwa on the street ACTUALLY came! And she brought her mom and her
younger sister and they are super cute, and we are going to try to
start teaching them soon! We were pretty excited because lately our
investigator pool has been needing a little bit of a revival, so we
can only hope for the best with them!

We have been really trying to focus on building relationships with
members this week and get a lot of mutual trust going so we can really
work together, and as always, I am just so amazed by the Japanese
members. They sacrifice so much and are so dedicated to the Savior,
and them and their testimonies are what give me hope when we sometimes
go days where it feels like nobody is ready to accept the gospel. We
just smile and keep working with the knowledge that the Lord is
definitely preparing someone for us, we just need to keep working hard
and having that faith and knowing we will find them. I really love the
members here so much. They have all influenced me and changed my life
so much, and I am so grateful for their kindness and love. We went and
had dinner with this cute family with some less active daughters on
Saturday night, and they basically adopted me as one of their
daughters and take such good care of me and brought me a ton of ice
cream (shoutout to the missionary profiles they have up at the
church), and it was just great.

I also had a kokkan last week with Rees Shimai (before I actually
moved to Fushimi), and that was super fun. As always I learned a lot,
and we had a great time. The Lord was SO involved in our work that day
as we ended up exactly where we needed to be in order to teach certain
people. It was interesting because our plans got COMPLETELY rearranged
from what we thought, but as always, the Lord knows best. This is His
work, and it is just fun to be a part of it and see what happens

We also had ZTM, which is great as always. We got some great training
from our zone leaders and the STL's and as usual, I came away and
learned a lot. One of the elders asked us to ponder what it truly
means to us to be a missionary, and so that question has been running
through my mind a lot this past week, and I have just come to the
conclusion that it is a feeling of special trust and sacredness that
the Lord trusted us enough before this life to place us in positions
where (if we chose and lived so that we were able) we could serve
missions for Him. He trusted me then to do this work in the best way
that I can, and that can give me confidence when I have the tendency
to doubt myself. If I trust the Lord and truly have faith in Him, I
can know He will help me do anything He asks of me. What an incredible
blessing it is to be a missionary, I still can't get over it

One final thought for this week....on Sunday during the sacrament I
was sitting there and pondering how things have gone for us so far
this transfer. Honestly as I was reflecting, at first I felt like we
hadn't really accomplished a ton and we hadn't had any super amazing
new investigators pop up, and I was starting to be a little sad, but
then the Spirit told me to look around and when I did, I realized
something wonderful. Sitting next to us in the meeting was 4 less
actives and 1 recent convert that we had visited that week and invited
to come to church, and the Spirit reminded me in that moment of the
importance of being a full purpose missionary. Sometimes when we think
about missionary work, we just have this image of a font and white
clothes, and while of course yes, that is central to our purpose,
working with reactivating those less actives is something just as
important. Christ loves and numbers every single sheep from His fold,
and that includes those that have wandered off temporarily after
baptism. I realized in that moment that even though I hadn't found
like ten golden people this transfer, I was able to be a part of
something wonderful as we extended love and helped some of these
members make their way back to church. It was such a sweet peaceful
feeling, and one of the best realizations of my entire mission. Please
love those less actives in every single one of your wards, because
they are just as precious to the Lord now as they were when they were
baptized. He desperately wants them to come home, and oftentimes that
is through our love and help, and so I encourage you to look for
opportunities that you can help with that, wherever you may be right

I love this work so much, and I am so blessed to be here. I know this
gospel is true, and I love it with my whole heart. I know it is the
way to happiness and blessings beyond what we can imagine, and I know
it changes lives everyday. Please let it change yours too!
Have a wonderful week! Aishiteimasu!

Sister Pickering

P.S. We went to a memorial of an unmarked solider and Kiyomizudera for
P day today...lots of frolicking today and other days of life, so
please enjoy!

"This is Japan's memorial for the tomb of the unnamed soldier from World War 2, so that is kind of cool. Instead of having a guard at the memorial all the time, they just have Buddhist monks that say prayers and chant and stuff. Sometimes the culture here really frustrates me, and then other times it is cool to step back and appreciate the wonderful culture of the people that I am serving. This country is pretty dang neat." 

"This is Kiyomizudera or the temple of pure water and it is right in super ancient Japan"
Zone Conference

No comments:

Post a Comment