Monday, October 10, 2016

Shimogamo Round 3, Nihonjin Round 2: Nihon Week 31

Minasan, Konnichiwa!
Well you probably could guess my current life situation based on my
cleverly titled email....I am here in Shimogamo for a third transfer,
and I am blessed to be serving with my second Japanese companion! Her
name is Fujii Shimai and she is from Hokkaido, Japan (kind of near
where the new temple was recently dedicated), and she is such a
sweetheart. Honestly she is just like a little ray of sunshine, and I
don't know if I have ever met someone with such a kind and pure heart.
She is a great missionary and I am excited for all the miracles that
we will see together in this upcoming transfer!
My last few days with Folkman Shimai were super great (and hard,
because either one of us was prone to crying anytime we thought about
the fact she was leaving haha), and we saw a lot of tender mercies as
usual. We were pretty busy between getting her packed and doing normal
dendo and then visiting some last members really quick before the
transfer, but it was cool. Kind of a funny thing that happened was on
the train on like Tuesday...I was sitting next to this lady and had no
idea how to start talking to her because she was like super into her
phone, and so I decided to compliment her bracelet. Before I even know
what is happening she is taking it offer her wrist and shoving it into
my hands and telling me I could have it despite all my insistences and
pleadings, and then suddenly she darts out the door at the next stop
like 2 seconds later. I was left there so confused and Folkman Shimai
thought it was hilarious that as I tried to dendo this lady, I instead
indeed up with this super nice rose quartz bracelet. Japanese people
are WAY too nice, they are gonna kill me, I swear haha.
Also side note, Kyoto in the fall is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The weather
is perfect and the leaves are changing and I am just feeling way too
blessed to be here. For the first time in forever I wore long sleeves
and it felt good haha. Crazy how fast time is flying!
Thursday rolled around and I had to say goodbye to my best friend at
the eki and it was so hard...but Folkman Shimai will be the greatest
STL so it will be okay. Tears were shed but it is all good because we
know we will be together again soon and up to our crazy antics as
usual. Much later that afternoon, Fujii Shimai came in and so we
headed out and started the new transfer!
Thursday night we had a special experience because this family in the
ward (the Ishida's, love them to death) called and asked us to come to
dinner with them. The parents of the missionary that baptized them
were coming to Japan, and they wanted to eat and talk together, but
neither one of them could speak the other language....and so I went
and translated! Let me tell you that the gift of tongues is real
because I got through the entire evening without a hitch...and it was
such a neat experience. The Spirit was so tender and sweet as Ishida
Shimai and Kyodai shared their love and experiences and gratitude for
this elder in helping them to find the truth nine years ago and now
their kids are able to be raised in the gospel, and this American
couple was so sweet and grateful to see the fruits of their sons
labor. It was just such a tender night all around, and such a great
reminder of the eternal perspective of missionary work. Most of the
time results are not immediate, but the lasting ones are of eternal
The next day we hit the ground running and taught some solid lessons
and did some solid finding in search of the ONE who will be success that day but we know that God is simply waiting
for us to keep showing that we are willing to work until we find this
person! That evening we got together with the elders and did some
service for this lady in the ward and I wore pants and dug a hole and
it was way more fun than it probably should have been haha.
it just so wonderful? The Spirit you feel as a missionary during and
for conference isn't really describable...once again I cried at the
conclusion of the conference just because I didn't want that Spirit to
go away...but then I was instantly uplifted as I thought that we
should be seeking to live our lives in a way that would allow us to
feel that all the time. Once again before conference I wrote down and
prayed fervently to find the answers to certain questions I had been of the questions I had asked God was "Why am I in
Japan?" Don't get me wrong, I love my mission and this country and
culture and language and people...but it can be hard sometimes and I
am imperfect and human and I struggle. I just wanted to know why the
Lord needed me HERE. You can imagine my surprise when Elder Yamashita
got up and spoke about being Ambitious for Christ, and that EXACT
question came out of his mouth at the pulpit...I immediately started
to cry as the Spirit gave me the answers that I had been desperately
seeking. Seriously, what are the odds that my exact question was to be
stated during conference about the EXACT same place from the mouth of
a Japanese general authority? I will be the first to tell you that the
chances of that being an accident are zero. I know that these men are
called of God, and that as we listen to conference and restudy what we
learned, we will receive personal revelation. God knows us and hears
us and is PERSONALLY aware of each and every one of us. I have
absolutely not qualms about testifying of that reality, because I know
it is true.
ALSO! This was so crazy! These three college students just showed up
to the church and watched conference and now want to read the Book of
Mormon and take lessons..we were so blown away! This one girl is
totally golden and really wants to learn and meet with us, and we are
so excited. The Lord is way too merciful....we haven't been finding
many people on our own, but He has seen our efforts and is blessing us
abundantly. Truly on the mission, the miracles never cease.
Sunday night we had the chance to go to dinner with the Mizoguchi
family, and there was a family visiting from NZ that we were supposed
to meet and help guide at 6:30...the time rolls around and
nothing...nothing...finally it is 7 and we have heard nothing from
them and are now going to be super late. Fujii Shimai and I, somewhat
disgruntled hop on our bikes and start to leave, but then I had the
strongest impression to go back and write a note for them. Honestly I
was annoyed haha, I didn't want to bike back to the church and then
leave a note they probably wouldn't see, and be even more late. But,
the impression wasn't ignorable so we turned around and went back. The
second we got off our bikes and started writing the note, our phone
started buzzing and we were able to make contact with the family that
had gotten terribly lost. This experience is silly and seemingly
simple, but if we hadn't followed that prompting, we would have left
them behind because I definitely would not have heard the phone. So
grateful for the promptings of the Spirit that will always lead us to
do good and be good!
One final thought before I peace out...I was pondering conference and
the very specific question came to my mind "If you aren't going to
change, what was the point of listening?" I knew in that moment that I
had changes I needed to make in my dendo to help further the work of
the Lord, and if I wasn't willing to act on what I learned, my faith
was in vain. I would just like to extend the same invitation to all of
you. If you don't change based on what you heard and learned at
conference, what was the point of listening? I know the Spirit gave
you some promptings of how you can better improve and become more like
our Savior, so now it is up to you to get out there and do it!
I know this church is true. God lives and loves us. Christ died for
us, and He knows us all personally. We have a living prophet today,
and if we heed him, we will never go astray. It's true, all of it, I
Hope you all have an amazing week! Aishiteimasu!
Sister Pickering
P.S. Shoutout to my amazing family for overwhelming me in love and
packages this week as I hit my halfway mark....y'all are the best!
Alyssa's new companion Fujii Shimai

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