Monday, January 2, 2017

2017! Nihon Week 43

Akemashite omedetou gozaimus!! Happy New Year everyone!

Holy cow can you believe that it is 2017? I hope you all had a great
start to the year and that you have set some awesome resolutions and
are planning on achieving all your goals with the help of the Savior
:) this week I officially hit the one year mark of my mission and I
can hardly believe it. Time has just gone so fast! But I am so very
grateful for this past year I have spent in the service of the Lord
and the Japanese people. I have grown to love this gospel and this
country so much, and I will forever be changed by this experience.

This week was so great! I spent from Monday until Thursday in
Kawachinagano with Manwill Shimai and Smith Shimai and we were able to
see so many miracles together. I seriously love those two so much and
am so grateful for the chance we had to work together. It was SO crazy
stressful covering two areas and traveling so much, but they were two
weeks filled with so many tender mercies and experiences that I won't

Tuesday was super cool because we were able to meet with this less
active they have been trying to meet for ages and she was never home.
Well due to a series of events and some scheduling changes, we showed
up at her house and she was miraculously there! We were able to have a
great visit with her and establish some good relationships with her so
that the sisters will be able to go and consistently visit her and
help her back to activity. Super cool experience, and something cooler
was that this lady has this room in her house where she keeps 226 pet
birds. And she knows them all by name haha. You better believe I will
attach some pictures below.

Tuesday evening was also special because we had one of the best
contacts of my entire mission.
We were biking home and we saw this
girl walking on the side of the road, so we stopped and talked to her.
At first we got talking about Eikaiwa and some regular things, and
then she ended up asking why we as Christian churches use the cross.
We got to explain about Christ and His resurrection and what that
means for all of us. I felt the Spirit very strongly lead me in the
direction of asking her some questions about her family and people
that had passed away, and what it would mean to her if she could be
with those family members again...she was silent for a minute and the
Spirit was tangible and then she just broke down in tears and said
that she would love that and wants to learn about how she can have an
eternal family someday because of Jesus Christ. It was SO COOL. Her
name is Kano and she is 15 and is now an investigator for the
Kawachinagano Sisters. She is absolutely golden, and so I am excited
to see what happens with her! Such an amazing experience and those
special moments with the Spirit and Heavenly Father's children just
make the mission so worth it.

Friday rolled around and it was time for me to head to Kobe! Saying
goodbye to my companions was way hard because we had such a great two
weeks filled with miracles and laughter and early morning runs for
exercise to McDonalds for breakfast, but I am so glad we will continue
to have the chance to work with them in the coming weeks. But being in
Kobe was a blast! I was reunited with all of the sisters that I came
to Japan with, and it was so happy to be all together for the first
time in 7 months. President Welch gave some AMAZING training for all
of us becoming trainers, and it was seriously such a special moment of
sacred trust and responsibility from him and our Heavenly Father.
loved it! Then they pulled in all the trainees and announced them off
sorting hat style, and then I met my new companion! Her name is Sister
Epperson and she is from Heber City, Utah (shoutout to you, Amber a
Ellis!) and is just darling. She like swimming and martial arts and
just barely turned 19, and I am excited to be working with her! I have
been pushing her a fair amount these past few days in contacts and
lessons and whatnot, and she has stepped up and performed willingly.
Every time she opens her mouth, we see so many miracles as she is
showing her faith and love for this work. She is going to be a great
missionary and I am so proud of her!

It is such a good feeling to finally be back in Sakai. Being at church
on Sunday was just like coming home, and it was great to be able to
start making appointments and get dendo going in the area going again!
I don't have too much to report on investigators this week as we
haven't been able to meet any, but now we are back and working again,
so stay tuned for next week!

Something kind of neat is that we are in Shogatsu season here, which
is the biggest holiday in Japan! It doesn't mean a TON for us other
than the members feed us a mind boggling amount of food and dress us
in kimonos, and then people get mad at us when we try and visit them
and knock on their door haha, but I am confident that the Lord has
great miracles in store for us as we try our hardest to continue to
find His prepared children. Goodness I love being a missionary.

Something I have been really pondering comes from 1 Nephi
7:17-18...Nephi has just been tied up by his brothers and is about to
die, so in his faith he calls on the Lord and asks him to burst the
bands by which he is bound. In the next verse it says that his bands
are LOOSED so he is able to be free. At first I didn't really think a
ton about this, but then it made me realize that when we pray to the
Lord...we may not always get what we are expecting, but it will always
be what we need and want.
We may expect our bands to be burst, but
instead we find our bands loosed...originally it might seem weird or
frustrating that it wasn't what we asked, but sometimes immediately
and sometimes overtime, we realize that the Lord has already answered
our prayers and usually in ways better than we could have expected. I
challenge you to look for this all in your own lives! Sometimes we
might be tempted to think the Lord isn't there or that He isn't
listening to our pleas that may feel like they are going silent, but I
testify that our answers are already in the making. He knows each and
every one of us personally, and He loves us more than we know. He
hears our prayers and He always answers us!

I testify that this gospel is true and it is the happiest and best
thing in the world. God lives and loves us, and Jesus Christ is our
Savior. The Book of Mormon is true, so make sure you read it every
single day! I love my chance to share this gospel with these wonderful
people, and I feel blessed that I will still have 2017 to do that.
Hope you all have a wonderful week! Aishiteimasu!

Sister Pickering

Pickering Shimai with her new companion Epperson Shimai

Shogatsu (New Years) with the Izumi family and my cute new companion!!

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