Monday, March 13, 2017

Life as a Nomadic Missionary: Nihon Week 53

Minasan, konnichiwa!

Hello hello from another week here in the Japan Kobe mission! I don't
feel like I can confidently say from Kawachinagano this week because
it feels like we were literally everywhere but our area this week
haha, but it was still good and we saw lots of miracles as usual.
Mission life is exhausting and it is the best.

One of the coolest opportunities that I had this week was to go to
Kobe for my first ever MLC! It was so much fun to go into this room
and be there with tons of missionaries that I love and respect so much
(shoutout all the sisters in my douki and like all my former Zone
leaders haha), because I learned so much. We had some wonderful
training from President and Sister Welch and the AP's, and I learned
so much about what I need to do to be a better missionary and a better
leader for the missionaries in our zone. Seriously it was such a good
meeting and what was even crazier was to be back in the mission home
exactly ONE year after when I got there the first time, with the exact
same sisters. Wow how time flies! One of the coolest things we did was
pick our favorite Book of Mormon missionaries as companionships and
then make tons of lists and compare and figure out all the
characteristics of a successful missionary...learning from the Book of
Mormon is so neat and powerful as it just inspires me to be so much

So Wednesday was the ONLY day that we had to work in our own area, so
yay haha. We went out and visited some PI's and were able to make some
new appointments (God is really so good to us) with some of the
people, and we were also able to find some new investigators through
our new Eikaiwa program (shoutout the Quorum of the 12 for being
completely inspired)! Two of them in particular are young college
students named Kana and Mai, and they both have tons of interest in
the gospel! Kana in particular was super stoked about the Book of
Mormon and took it home to read it and was way pumped to get closer to
God! It was also a great day because we were able to have a lesson
with Kim and had one of the Kawachinagano members present, and it was
AWESOME. They hit it off way good, and have been meeting outside of
our lessons to get together and study the Book of Mormon. Basically
the entire day was just such a tender mercy and testimony to me that
God will most definitely take care of us as we try our very best to
work as hard as we can with the minimal time that we might have...He
really is so merciful in taking all our weaknesses and magnifying them
for the benefit of His work. It is truly just the most humbling thing
ever but I LOVE it.

Thursday was the beginning of our road trip! We got up super early and
jumped on an early morning train to have an exchange with the sisters
in Sennan! I was blessed to work with the amazing Sister Workman, and
we had such a great time. Our companions had the bikes for the day and
they just opened the area and so we had a good chance to walk and Find
for like 8 hours which was quite the adventure haha. I am just coming
to realize how spoiled I am because all of my areas have had huge
wards and lots of people to talk to...Sennan was a little bit on the
opposite of the spectrum and we technically didn't see a lot of
success in all of our work but we still had fun and were able to
practice using more questions in our contacts. Nothing super crazy
happened other than meeting a grandma who kept interrupting us every
two seconds to tell us how beautiful we are, and I saw the ocean, so
it was a happy day! Moral of the story is that I love Sister Workman
and missionary work, no matter what happens during the day.

Friday we were back on the road to head to Wakayama for a double
header of ZTM and then another exchange! ZTM was super fun, it was
great as always to get together with all the wonderful missionaries in
our zone, and this time was especially fun because we had matching
contests among the districts (Hashimoto District for the win haha) and
then a great potluck lunch afterwards. We focused a lot of the
training on accomplishing the zone plan to baptize weekly, as well as
extending commitments. Manwill Shimai and I trained on the last bit,
and if was really eye opening for me especially to take a look at how
I have been extending invitations to bring my investigators unto

After ZTM and another leadership meeting ended, we started another
exchange and I was able to this time work with the lovely Sister
Ashdown from Wakayama! She is a brand new missionary and has so much
fire to just get out and baptize everyone, and it was cool to be with
someone so young and new again, and it made me miss training a little
bit (all the love you to, Sister Epperson) but I also forgot how tired
it made me haha. We worked a lot on finding and also had the chance to
teach this couple that they are teaching about God, and it is awesome
because they are super interested and I think our sisters will be
having a family baptism soon! It was a great koukan and I learned lots
from Sister Ashdown, so it was a great experience as always!

The weekend was happy because we were finally able to come home and I
was so excited that it made me want to cry haha. All of the different
areas and sisters are so fun and wonderful, but it is always a little
bit of happiness to come home to my own area and companion haha.
Sunday was a good day where we had the chance to do a dendo fireside
for all the members, focusing on social media, and it was cool to see
the members getting so excited to share the gospel. I really love this
area so much.

Just kind of a final thought to end this email (sorry it is sort of
sporadic and everywhere haha, it is a weird thing to not work in your
area all week and then try and type a group email in a room with like
half of the zone) one of the things that has been stressing me
out lately is that I will go home from my mission unchanged. I have
had all these wonderful experiences and I feel like I have changed but
then sometimes I still feel like myself and it was a silly sort of
stress for me for a while. At MLC, President Welch got up and started
talking about the mission and change and he just looks at us and tells
us that he is looking at a room of changed people, and that there was
not a single person in that room who came to the mission the same as
they are now. He then got all teary eyed and simply said "You guys are
the miracles of the mission. You are evidence of the doctrine of
Christ working."
Seriously, how neat is that? I know that is not just
true for us as missionaries, but for all of us as members. We too have
the same access to the same beautiful doctrine of Christ and as we all
choose to live it, we can all become evidences of the reality.

I am so glad for my mission and for the changes it has brought into
the lives of not only all those I have taught, but for me as well. We
can all choose to exercise faith and to repent and to renew our
baptismal covenants and follow the Spirit and keep doing it daily to
endure to the end, and we can all change. Because of Jesus Christ and
His atonement and subsequent doctrine, none of us HAVE to be the same
person that we are today. The only question that we will need to
answer is the question that the Spirit will sometimes ask me and it is
"Are you willing to be changed the way I want you to be?"

I promise if you live the doctrine and turn yourself unto Christ, you
can and WILL change to become more like the people you want to become.
You can start now to become a better friend, parent, missionary,
teacher, spouse, whatever. All you need to do is give your heart and a
little effort to try and the Lord will do wonders among you.
I testify that this gospel is true! It works and I promise it does
because I see the results of it doing so daily. I love my Savior and I
know that He lives and I know it is through His atonement that we all
too can live again as well. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that
you WILL get closer to God as you read it! Last but certainly not
least is that I know God lives and He loves you as your perfect
father, promise promise promise.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Talk to you all again soon, okay?

Sister Pickering

Photos: MLC and friends there, exchange in Sennan, matching district
photo at ZTM, zone picture, Manwill Shimai and I, Zone P day, and some
random pictures from this Japanese festival with all these dolls we
celebrated last week!


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