Monday, March 27, 2017

God's Plot Twists:Nihon Week 55

Something we are all taught is that one constant is change and that seems to be the story of Alyssa's mission.  I do not know why she has received a new companion for every transfer her entire mission.  But that is what has happened.  I know this one has thrown her for a loop and was very unexpected.  Things were going so well, almost too perfectly, and that always seems to be when the Lord decides we need another growing experience.  Alyssa has had a lot of opportunity for growth :).  I am sure true to her personality and determination she will face this head on and I can't wait to see the blessings that come from it.

On a positive note,  I was able to attend another one of her former companion's homecomings.  This was actually her trainer, Kenney Shimai.  It was a very spiritual meeting and I was so touched as she actually talked about my daughter and some experiences they shared.  I came to realize that Alyssa has a whole life that I am not fully part of and it is kind of surreal.  She is no longer my dependent young girl but a responsible, mature adult and is an amazing individual independent of me.  I suppose this is what we hope for as a parent and the rewards are great albeit a little heart wrenching at the same time.  Once again, I am so proud of the young lady she has become.

A little nugget of wisdom from Pickering Shimai:

"I've really just been pondering on the necessity of us having the Spirit with us always, and it is not just for us.When we have the Spirit we are allowing ourselves to be used as instruments of God's love for others, and I can think of no greater privilege and blessing than that. Oh how I love the mission."

Minasan, konnichiwa!
Hello to everyone wherever you are! Hope you all had a wonderful week
and are getting ready for the wonderful week of General Conference
that you all have ahead of you! Super jealous I still have to wait two
weeks, but all is well haha.
This past week was a crazy one for us here in Kawachinagano with lots
of ups and downs that all started on Monday night. There we were
happily doing our thing minding our own business with the basic
guarantee that Manwill Shimai and I would be staying together, when
all of the sudden we get the shocking news that Manwill Shimai would
actually be going to Okayama to train a new STL and fresh start the
area while I would stay here to train a new STL as was
something so completely unexpected and I am not gonna lie that there
were lots of tears as can only be expected after you have spent 6
weeks doing missionary work with one of your best friends. We were
still pretty thrown off when the precious Minamimoto couple came to
take us driving to a bunch of their friends and some less active
members. Moral of the story is that this couple is once again proving
to be absolutely amazing and we were able to find some new
investigators that are the children of some WAY less active people
that want to start coming to church again. It was seriously such a
miracle that always seem to come from working with church members, and
we were so grateful! We have some appointments to start teaching the
kids this week and we are so excited!
Tuesday was seriously a rollercoaster of emotion. We were still both
pretty sad about transfers and had just no peace whatsoever and then
some of our investigators started having some troubles and then other
things about life started to fall through and it was basically one of
those days where like everything that could have gone wrong
was SO hard but it was so neat because it was also full of so many
tender mercies. I received an email from my mother who felt prompted
to write me out of a prompting of the Spirit, other people stepped up
to really help us, and at the end of the day I had the chance to
receive a blessing from the elders. I am SO grateful for people like
my mother and the elders and the hundreds of others in my life that
live worthy of the Spirit, because as they did so, they were able to
bless me in ways that Heavenly Father needed to. Our necessity for the
constant companionship of the Spirit is not just for us! We are meant
to have it to bless our brothers and sisters around us and be vessels
of God's love. Also once again, priesthood blessings are literally so
amazing. How cool is it that we can receive direct words from our
loving Father in Heaven as often as we need it?
Wednesday was crazy busy running around packing and doing record
updating and basically getting ready for the transfer ahead of us. We
saw lots of sweet members and did lots of planning over the phone for
upcoming conferences, and basically just got really prepared for the
next miraculous six weeks we have ahead of us!
Thursday was the day....haha I said goodbye to Manwill Shimai on a
train (and the tears were so so real) and it was way sad. She impacted
my mission so much and I am so grateful for her love and
influence...she is one of my best friends and I can't wait to have her
in my life for forever haha. Anyways I headed to Sakai where I met my
new companion, Sister Larsen! She is one Transfer ahead of me and so I
actually knew her in the MTC a bit and she is way cute. She is from
Provo but is half Mexican so speaks Spanish which is way fun to be
around haha. We will have a great transfer ahead of us! That day we
visited our ward mission leader and it was good to start planning and
then he also drove us around to visit some referrals...yay member
missionary work! Him and his wife were also way sweet and helping take
us to the city hall to get stickers for our garbage where I was
reminded once again I don't know Japanese at all haha, help. It was a
good and busy day though filled with lots MORE planning, but we should
be all set and ready to go.
Friday we finally met with Kim again! For the lesson I had the chance
to share with her this email that my grandmother had written her about
how she joined the church without her husband, and it was so perfect
for Kim. She was so touched by the love and the Spirit and I really
saw it soften her heart so much. Please please keep her in your
prayers because things have been super tough with her husband lately!
We also met with Kana and had a good follow Up Lesson with her on the
BOM (she is reading and progressing as well, yay!) and then we watched
"Meet the Mormons" with her and the elders and some of their
investigators. Super good night and she was way touched by it. Can't
wait to see where it all keeps going with her!
Saturday was busy but the highlight was our lesson we had with these
four kids we teach English and the gospel too. They are so precious
and it was way sad because two of them are moving back to Hokkaido but
I am sure they will be baptized someday (their grandmother is a member
and was having us teach them), and we will see them again soon. Ahh
children are so precious and pure! The good news is that we will
continue to teach two of the other little kids and hopefully work with
getting their family more involved in the church together!
Sunday we had a super special miracle. Lately our church attendance
hasn't been great and so Saturday night I just poured out my heart in
prayer so that we could have someone come to church the next day,
preferably someone who could be baptized within the next transfer.
Nobody had plans to come and I wasn't sure who it would be, but I
wanted it so badly. I woke up the next morning and felt prompted to
fast for it and so did so full heartedly. We show up to church and
nobody is there and I was way sad but then last minute a member walks
in with his cute nonmember wife who we have been trying to dendo! Holy
cow when I saw them the Spirit was so strong that it moved me to
tears. I felt the love of God so strongly as He answered my prayer and
fast so quickly and specifically, and I was just so reminded I am not
alone in this work here in Kawachinagano. We have an appointment to
start teaching this sweet lady on Sunday at the home of another
member, and we are so excited! So many miracles! Fasting and prayer is
Just a final thought that has been on my mind lately, and it is really
the idea that some of the biggest blessings that God gives us are
through people. Whether it be through a good friend or a loving parent
or a stranger who shows us a random act of kindness or an investigator
that comes to church unexpectedly, God almost always blesses us
through people. I know I can think of my life and some of the biggest
showings of love from Him have been found in my family, best friends,
companions, and people I serve here....I was pondering why that was
and then I realized that God always gives us gifts in the form of
people as a symbol of the fact that the ultimate gift that He ever
gave us was His perfect son, even Jesus Christ.
I know He lives and I know that this is His church! I know that God
lives and loves us and hears us all personally, because I can testify
of that after this week like no other. He is our father and He is so
aware of us, we just need to turn to Him and He is there :)
Hope you all have a great week! Enjoy General Conference for me!! The
church is true! Aishiteimasu!
Lots of love,
Sister Pickering

Photos: Manwill Shimai and I decided to match everyday before we split
up because we love each other haha (and we have matching pajamas now
so that's cool), Ward ping pong night, Kim, the Eikaiwa kids, and the
YSA Dinner!


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