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Monday, January 30, 2017

Last Week of Transfer 8?:Nihon Week 47



I asked Alyssa how she approaches people on the street and starts talking to them about Christ.  I was curious how they do missionary work in such a predominantly non-Christian country.  This was her reply:

So it is really funny, but it is actually hard for me to teach Christians now. I am so used to the Buddhists or the people who don't believe in anything, and so now when somebody says they believe in Christ it kind of throws me off and I am awkward for a second haha. It is really interesting, but what is also interesting is that I am finding I like teaching the Buddhists more. They are always kind and usually open to other religions (whether or not they accept it is another story), but they are always kind to us and will at least listen. Other Christians I have come in contact with are not always the same...they are sometimes a little unkind and whatnot, so now I am team Buddhist. Most people have at least HEARD of Christ here from like history class, so we usually ask them what they have heard and build off of that. I LOVE testifying of Christ and teaching Him in the first lesson, it is always so powerful and brings miracles. We do a lot of connecting people to their ancestors and the good feelings they have in nature to God. We connect prayer to their chants at shrines and whatnot and really just try to add on to what they believe. Sometimes it is tricky, but it is really so cool. 
 

Minasan, konnichiwa!

Hello again from another great week here in Sakai! It was pretty usual
here for us in that we froze to death, had an earthquake, and saw tons
of miracles. Missionary life is seriously the best!


So Monday after we had to help the elders look up a bunch of medical
kanji (one of them got an eye infection, that was fun), we went out to
go and visit one of our progressing investigators and she opened the
door and after we talked she went back into her house and brought back
the Book of Mormon and told us that she couldn't take it anymore
because her culture was "too different" and all this stuff. We begged
with her and plead and did everything we could to try and help her see
the importance for her and her life and I was using every persuasive
tactic I had, but she wasn't having it. My heart was absolutely
crumbling the entire time and when she shut the door on us, we just
walked back to our bikes, not sure what to do....and then all of the
sudden I just started crying and couldn't stop. I kept apologizing to
my companion because I felt like I was losing my mind and I didn't
know why I was so upset, but then it just hit me how I have changed.
My love and charity for these people have grown so much, and my love
for this gospel has grown even more. For even just a second it gave me
a glimpse into what God must feel like when we choose to reject His
words and His gospel, when He knows how much they will bless us. Godly
sorrow is an interesting thing, it is a hard thing to feel, but it is
also beautiful to know how much God cares for us, and yet how much His
hope for us will never die.


Tuesday and Wednesday were busy as usual, working hard and just trying
to baptize everyone haha. We have been working hard a lot with the
members lately, and it has been fun because we have been going
together to visit LA's and then work with the young women that are
preparing for missions. I love the Japanese members so much, I know I
say it all the time, but they are honestly just the best.


Thursday we got up bright and early (4AM baby) to head to Wakayama! We
were doing a blitz of the sisters areas and so we got together with
all the sisters in the zone to go out and work! It was way fun because
I went on exchanges with my trainee and then Sister Gusman, a sister I
actually was in the MTC with. She is way cute and we saw lots of
miracles in her area while we worked! That night it was basically just
a party to be in the same apartment with all the sisters in Sakai
zone, I love all of them so much!


Also fun thing that happened while we were in Wakayama...we had the
chance to watch this world wide missionary broadcast! It was awesome
to receive training from some members of the 12 and other general
authorities as they talked about the importance of really teaching
REPENTANCE. One of my favorite things in the world that Elder Bednar
said is that when we cry Repentance as missionaries, we are really
just crying the need for a Savior
. What a beautiful message to share
with the world! It was also interesting because they released some new
changes which basically allow us to have more sleep and exercise time
and choose when we study...it was so crazy and I feel so disobedient
sometimes as I have time to actually relax now haha, but it was meant
for our productivity and I know it was inspired. I already feel so
much more energized and ready to get out and work, which is awesome
because missionary work makes me so exhausted haha. Another change we
had is that we now only send in four key indicators now! Baptisms,
church attendance, Baptismal dates, and new investigators. It was
interesting and kind of stressful to think about the implications at
first, but I also know how inspired it is. It has already changed my
entire way of how I dendo and how I approach contacts, and we have
seen miracles. We are being blessed with people to teach, and I can't
wait to see how Sakai is going to continue to flourish! God is so
good.


Something I have really been pondering lately is how much I love
bearing testimony of Christ and working here as His special witness.
We had two experiences this week, one in finding where I bore
testimony of the Savior to this lady and the Spirit was just
overwhelming and she just started to cry and she didn't know
why...another time we were working with this LA who is really
struggling with her life and her testimony and we just were able to
testify of the atonement and the Savior and the love in the room was
tangible. It is just so special to bear testimony of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ, because the Spirit will inevitably always bear
witness of that eternal truth. One of my favorite things in the world
is to bear testimony and promise blessings as a disciple of Jesus
Christ, and the idea of not being able to say that or have this name
tag anymore just breaks my heart. I might just stay here forever.

In other random events or news...our investigators are doing well.
Everyone is progressing, slowly but surely, but progressing. We are
finding new people to teach, our LA's are coming home, and the
miracles and tender mercies are everywhere. We also had another
earthquake on Friday night (it was like normal to me and I continued
on in life, but my companion freaked out and was way pumped haha), and
a well-off member took us to dinner and dropped like 300 bucks on us to
eat meat with the elders. All in a weeks work haha.


Lastly I just wanted to share my thoughts with you all on the doctrine
of Christ..as I study the BOM I just keep learning more and more and
love it more and more. I have truly come to know that the goal of our
lives should be to live the doctrine of Christ daily, and as we do, we
should strive to let it CHANGE us. As Elder Bednar beautifully put it
this week "Faith is believing in the Savior, Repentance is relying on
the Savior, Baptism is following the Savior, and enduring to the end
is walking with the Savior...all things are gathered together in
Christ."
I invite you all to read 2 Nephi 31 this week and see what
you can learn and apply for yourself!


I love the Savior more than I can even describe. More and more He
becomes everything to me, because I know that He is with me every
single step of my mission and every single step of my life! He lives!
He lives and He loves us and because He does, we can all live and be
with our loved ones as well. So so blessed to be hear wearing His name
and introducing Him to my brothers and sisters here in Japan.

Hope you all have a wonderful week and that you keep the Savior more
in your life! All the love in the world to you all! Aishiteimasu
minasan!


Love,
Sister Pickering


Photos:
Weather problems
Our investigator named Shyouko! She is precious and loves prayer
and is progressing way well
Goat dendo
Exchanges in Wakayama!
Snowy days
P Day in Namba
Wakayama
Eikaiwa class










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