|Hibiki Chan and Pickering Shimai doing street contacting in Osaka|
This has been a fabulous week. Especially on my receiving end. Alyssa was able to write so much this week and really fulfilled a "mother's need to know" about the details of her physical and emotional well being. On top of that, she was able to give me some solid advice and perspective on an issue that has really been troubling me for the past while. How she got so wise beyond her years, I just don't know. But she was an answer to my prayers.
And, I was contacted by not one but two different individuals that had the opportunity to meet and interact with Alyssa this past week. I received a surprise text with a picture and a story and also an email, also with pictures. I didn't expect that to happen with her being so far away. But it was amazing to hear from someone else's perspective about how Alyssa is doing and the type of missionary she has become. They touched my heart. I especially loved hearing about how Alyssa was an answer to someone's prayers. We often talk with her about missionary service and how so much of it can not be measured. There are hundreds of ways to act as a representative of Christ and do his work. And most of it won't translate into baptisms. But that is okay. That is not what is important. It is about the people you serve and being an instrument in the Lord's hands. She was a specific answer to someone's prayer. She was blessed for listening to the Spirit. They were blessed because she helped them. I was blessed because they then shared this experience with me. And I was reminded of what I could be doing in my own little world. Isn't it wonderful how much God is aware of each of us? It truly is amazing.
I have included the those messages from those thoughtful members here in the blog:
L M C
Kristin! I met your darling daughter tonight in Kyoto. We were meeting a family my brother taught on his mission and she is in the Ward now so came along with her new companion to help translate. Her Japanese is amazing, and she is so adorable and sweet! I told her I'd pass along this picture.
L M C
She got her new companion, Sister Fujii today. I am from Farmington, Utah and live in Shanghai right now. My parents are visiting us so we are in Kyoto. I'm sure my mom will email you when she gets home.
Sister Pickering - serving in Tokyo!
Hi Pickering family,
We have been in Tokyo for the last week on vacation and leave tomorrow. Today though we got to go to Sacrament meeting in Kyoto.
As we left the hotel for the church, my wife prayed that we might have the gift of tongues (we don't speak any Japanese except to say hello, thank you and good morning).
When we came into the church building we met Sister Pickering, her new companion, and the Elders.
We visited with the missionaries before church started. Then, as Sacrament meeting started, your wonderful daughter came and sat next to us. She translated for us throughout the meeting and was the answer to our prayers for the gift of tongues.
Translating is really hard, especially when the speaker has a strong accent or talks very quickly. It was apparent that Sister Pickering had to work real hard as she translated for us, but we could really feel the spirit AND understand.
What a wonderful gift that she gave us! We're really grateful for her service and the opportunity she gave us to understand what was going on.
What a wonderful daughter you have!!
|The Bulletin Board in the Kyoto Ward|
|The lovely couple who Alyssa met and helped with translation at church|
This week was so so so so busy..but so good! I have to shout out my
amazing companion Fujii Shimai, because she is seriously such a
trooper. I dragged her around like a crazy woman this week as we biked
all over Kyoto and tried to teach everything that moved and most of
the time ended up with dinner at like 9:30 at night, but she never
once complained or did anything other than be cute and helpful. I feel
very blessed to be serving with her at this time!
Monday after P day we had some plans fall through and so we decided to
go do some streeting on one of the busier roads (we need new
investigators so badly, it isn't even funny), and it was super great.
Didn't meet anybody who really wanted to meet again, but we added some
new students to our Eikaiwa class (which means that we are basically
going to end up baptizing them someday whether they like it or not).
Kind of a funny story happened to us like the last contact of the
night...there is this super funny poster here for governmental
elections thing and it just cracks me up and so I have always wanted
to take a picture of it. I told Fujii Shimai and she said okay, and so
we finally saw one heading home and she pointed it out to me and so I
was excited and then said "You know we are probably gonna meet someone
golden by this poster" and then lol, we actually contacted this
Vietnamese girl who really wanted to have religion and some hope in
her life, so we were able to exchange information and make a plan to
meet again! It was just funny because I know the Lord has a sense of
humor, because we see it in the work all the time.
Tuesday was great because we were able to make the rounds to some
members and really focus on receiving some referrals...people here are
super super nervous to refer their friends to the missionaries and so
we have been working super hard to overcome their fears and barriers
and get to the point where we can have some people to teach. A lot of
the members were super great and showed a lot of faith and were
willing to tell us about some of their friends and family members, and
we have some plans in the future to go and visit these people
together! So exciting!
Wednesday was another day of visiting lots of members and then finding
in any spare moment we had. We had similar results and success to the
day before, so that was super happy! At one point we were in this
apartment complex and wanted to house one apartment...Fujii Shimai and
I both had the feeling that we should go to the 7th building and house
there and we did, and were very solidly rejected...until the 6th floor
and the last door. We were able to meet this lady and teach her and
give her a Book of Mormon, and overall it was a super great contact
and I know we were led to her. Now before you get all excited and
think that we were just like super cool and the example of Elder
Uchtdorf's recent talk from Women's Conference, you should know that
we started at the top of the building and worked our way down haha.
But it was still super cool! You never know where you will find
Thursday was super happy because the promptings of the Spirit were
evident all throughout our day, whether it be random people to contact
on the street, or the order of which to visit members, or other things
like that...we were so led to be where we needed to be at the times we
needed to be there. It was so neat and I love those days where we are
able to feel His hand in the work. The best part of the day though was
where Tanaka San, our piano grandma, became a progressing
investigator! She is praying and feels good when she does and loves
the chance she has to learn from us. She is still super nervous about
coming to church and so that is our next goal, but she is doing so
well! We gave her a Book of Mormon and she is reading and likes it a
lot, and has a crush on Moroni and so has read his whole book and had
a dream about him the other night haha. She is a funny lady but has
such a good heart and is slowly making her way to conversion.
Friday was the first district meeting of the transfer, and it was so
great. As a district we received the revelation and made the goal to
hand out 100 Book of Mormons collectively this transfer....it will be
a stretch with only six of us, but we felt guided to make the goal and
so we are working hard and excited to see those miracles!
SATURDAY WAS THE BEST DAY EVER! We had the chance to go to Ibaraki in
Osaka to be a part of this activity called "Dendou Go", which was
basically a spin off for the youth and YSA of Pokemon Go, and it was
all about missionary work! All of the youth came and got badges and
then went on splits with a real missionary and did some dendo in the
city for a while. It was basically the happiest day for many reasons.
For starters, it was a day of AMAZING reunions. For the first time in
5 months I saw some sisters from the MTC, and one of them was Park
Shimai who is one of my best friends ever, and we liked screamed and
cried when we saw each other haha. Then, I saw my MOM! I was reunited
with Kenney Shimai for the first time since saying goodbye in June in
Yamatokoriyama, and that was so fun. I love her so much! Then all the
youth started coming in....and I almost fell out of my chair when I
saw that youth from my last area were coming in too! It was so so
happy to see the youth from Yamatokoriayama and to be able to work
with them again! And then tender mercy of all tender mercies, we had
companionship announcements and I was paired to work with Hibiki Chan,
a YW from the area that we had spent a lot of time working with. We
had such a great experience and taught a lot of lessons and saw a lot
of small miracles, and were able to place a Book of Mormon (place to
iu ka, I basically took away this lady's agency and made her take the
book, because the dendo dreams of this 17 year old rested on this
contact haha) the last contact of the day, because that was the one
thing Hibiki Chan really wanted to do. It was just such a special day
and I felt so much EXCITEMENT and fire abut missionary work again.
Welch Kaicho came and gave some training in the morning, and of course
that was amazing too. He told all the youth that going on a mission is
easy...but becoming a missionary is what is difficult. That really
stuck with me, and it has inspired me once again to focus on the
missionary that God needs me to be. At the end of the 2 hours we all
had to be working out in the city, they gathered us back together and
told us that in a little under 120 minutes, that 40 companionships had
had 553 gospel conversations, had given out 592 fliers, 46 Book of
Mormons, borne 306 testimonies, and found 12 new investigators. WOW.
The power of working with members in missionary work is REAL.
Sunday was insane, but so good. I ended up translating for almost all
of the 3 hours and that was always an adventure, but the Spirit was
there helping me every step of the way. I had the chance to translate
for this couple in sacrament, and they were so sweet because as they
were leaving after the meeting they thanked me so graciously and told
me that that morning they had prayed for the gift of tongues so that
they could understand the meeting...they just smiled at me and told me
that I had been the answer to their prayers that morning and I was
their gift of tongues. It touched me so much and made me super
emotional as I was once again just SO grateful to be here and to be a
vessel for His work.
Okay finally last thought (I am sorry, I type WAY too much haha, I
probably just have so much English I want to say now that I only am
speaking Japanese again!)..last night we had a broadcast devotional
with Elder Bednar, and it was fabulous. He spoke about so many things
that were so incredible, but there was one thing that impacted me a
lot that I wanted to share. He talked about how life can be hard and
complicated and we have lots of lists of things that we need to do,
and sometimes we wonder how on earth we can do it all and what even
matters...he said that if we ask ourselves ONE question, our lives
will become instantly more simple and better and more worthy...the
question was "Will this behavior, action, or attitude invite the
Spirit into my life? Or will it cause it to withdraw?" Such a simple
question, but SO profound. If we truly pondered that question before
we did anything, we would never have to wonder about gray areas or
what we should do...it is outlined so simply. He said that everything
we do in the church (i.e. Praying, reading the BOM, going to church,
etc.) is meant for the promoting of bringing the Spirit into our
lives, because as we have the Spirit, we will do things and live in a
way that will bring us home to our Father in Heaven someday. Such a
simple question, such a simple principle, but through simple things
are great things brought to pass. I know that that is so true, and it
is definitely something I am going to be applying, and I would like to
invite you all to do the same as well!
Thanks as always for all the love and the prayers...love being a
missionary! This church is true. Love being here in Japan to share it!
Have a wonderful week! Aishiteimasu!
P.S. Shoutout the Webster family for helping our apartment become all
suteki and ready to go for Halloween!
|A political advertisement for the future Prime Minister|
|Halloween decorations courtesy of the Webster Family|
|Still can't believe that Alyssa can read this stuff|
|Exchanges with the Youth|
|Reunited with her trainer.|
|Even I can read that Japanese "Finger Lickin Good"|
|These were Alyssa's words, "Oh Japan what are you doing?" Apparently you can get chocolate and pumpkin covered French fries at McDonalds.|
|Fall in Kyoto|