Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sakachinagano and a BEAN for Christmas: Nihon Week 41

Smith Shimai, Pickering Shimai and Manwill Shimai.

Minasan, konnichiwa!

I can't believe that Christmas is in a week! Wow time just flies by.
It still doesn't make sense in my brain although the weather is
DEFINITELY acting like December! The temperature has dropped and with
humidity and then freezing rain it is just brutal and freezes your
soul. Definitely different than a Utah Christmas, but we are surviving
over here!

But wow has this week been crazy! For starters, we had surprise
transfers! Well I guess not super surprising because we knew that
Gibson Shimai would be heading home to America, but we had NO clue
what would happen to me and to Sakai. Like 14 sisters went home this
week so there were gonna be tons of empty spots and weird threesomes
and changing around and so basically anything was up for grabs.

Tuesday evening rolls around and one of the AP's calls me and tells me
that I was receiving my pre-transfer transfer call...and that I
wouldn't be leaving Sakai! I was stoked! And then he told me that I
was going to be training a new missionary and I got even more excited!
But then he told me that my bean wasn't getting to Japan until
December 29th and so for the meantime I would have to be in a crazy
threesome haha. My hopes were a little too high there for a bit, but
it all worked out and I was assigned to work in a threesome with the
sisters in Kawachinagano named Smith Shimai and Manwill Shimai. They
are both from Utah (St. George and Ogden) and both played soccer (and
fun fact, Manwill Shimai plays goalkeeper for the BYU Women's team and
is basically a boss) and so we have enjoyed working out together in
the mornings and playing games and being competitive and it has been
so fun. We are just having the time of our lives aside from the fact
that our stress level has been through the roof as we are covering
both Sakai AND Kawachinagano around Christmas time and trying to see a
baptism in both areas before the end of the year. It is basically pure
insanity but we are rolling with it and are seeing so many tender
mercies. But for now we are known as the Sakachinagano Sisters haha.
And I will be training a brand new missionary and I couldn't be more
excited to introduce someone to Japan and missionary work. I go to the
mission home next Thursday to pick her up!

The first half of the week was super super busy as we ran around
trying to get Gibson Shimai packed and ready to go. Killing her was
super sad because we became such amazing friends and I love her to
pieces. I feel blessed to have been her last companion in the field
and boy did we work hard and see miracles until the very end.
Something cool is that we got a referral from Temple Square this week
and went and found this lady who had been taught by missionaries like
40 years earlier and just loves Jesus Christ. Haven't been able to
meet with her again since that time but I am excited to see where that
goes! We also just continued to share the Christmas video and
Christmas message with people and then said bye bye to lots of members
for my companion. Of course Sotoma Kyodai (our well off ward
member) had to be precious and take us and another YSA in the ward to
go get crab for her last meal...he literally dropped like 250 bucks on
us and it was the fanciest thing ever and SO delicious, all except for
the crab brain which I think I will pass on after that haha.

Thursday I said goodbye to Gibson Shimai and met up with my new
companions (and had an adventure where we had to comb Kobe looking for
a sister that got lost and ended up in the wrong city) and were in
Kawachinagano for the rest of the week. Japanese members are just
awesome and adopted me into the ward so fast (and made me speak in
church haha) and were so sweet. We have seen so many miracles these
past few days but boy has there been opposition in all things...Satan
really does not want us to get this baptism and he has been fighting
us tooth and nail this week. Both of our Baptismal candidates in our
areas dropped, our investigators can't or won't meet, plans have been
falling through, and scheduling lives around Christmas dendo in two
areas has been a massive headache...but we are still alive and kicking
and loving dendo and Christmas and we know the Lord has way more
blessings in store than the adversity that has popped up. With Him we
can definitely do all things.

In Kawachinagano we have this super solid investigator named Kim from
Korea that we committed to baptism when she knew it was true, and she
looked at us like we were stupid and said "Of course". She is such a
boss and loves the church and the teachings but doesn't think she has
gotten an answer yet. Please keep her in your prayers! Also in Sakai
there is this lady that was a friend of a member that came to the Open
House and wants to meet with us and start taking lessons. So excited
for that and just love dendo so much.

Well is Christmas this week! If you know me at all, you
know this is my favorite time of the year by FAR. I love everything
about Christmas and at first I was a little nervous to be away from
home at this time, but now I know there is nowhere I would rather be.
I have never felt so close to my Savior at His special season, and I
just know He is here and this is His gospel and as we seek Him like
the wise men of old, even now, we will always find Him.
He is the gift, of that I wholeheartedly testify. I am sure I sound
like a broken record, but He is our Savior and our Redeemer. He not
only suffered and died for us to live with Him again, but He lived so
that He can show us how. He means everything to me and is the light of
my world and the reason for this special season. Please keep Him in
your heart and your homes during this special season. As you do so, I
promise you will have the merriest Christmas of all :)

So much love to all of you and wishing you the happiest of holidays.
Make sure you all eat some Christmassy food for me and share the light
of the Savior and all you missionaries out there, enjoy your Skype
call. MERRY CHRISTMAS! Aishiteimasu!

Sister Pickering

P.S. Today for P day a member took us and the elders to Costco and it
was the happiest day of my life. It was so American I wanted to cry
haha. Please enjoy various photos. The dark haired one is Smith Shimai
and the taller one is Manwill Shimai. ALSO Gibson Shimai and I rock
the rain suits over our winter coats, we know haha.

They take raincoats seriously in Japan
They are full body rain suits.

Choose your crab . . .
Alyssa loves the Japanese Cuisine

Sotoma Kyodai

A piece of home.

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