I hope everyone enjoys pictures of many many Sakura Blossoms (Cherry Blossoms). It is such a beautiful time of year in Japan and Alyssa seems to be appreciating every moment of it. Because she is blessed to be a STL she has the opportunity to visit different areas and experience the culture and beauty unique to each area. She has loved having the opportunity to help her fellow Sister Missionaries and learn from them. I do know though that she misses being able to teach her own investigators more regularly and she worries about them. Thankfully Heavenly Father watches out for each of his children and hopefully soon Alyssa can focus on them and do what she loves best; to teach the Gospel of Christ and to see the changes in the people as they come to recognize His hand in their lives.
Can't believe we are already here writing another email, but that is
how time just seems to go out here...but it is okay because we had
another super busy and insane week as per the norm here, but we all
survived and are alive and well :)
So like I briefly mentioned last week, for P day some sweet members
took us to Kyoto to see cherry blossoms (which hadn't come out yet so
that was awkward haha) but it was a warm day and super fun to go see
my past area and relive my three transfers in Shimogamo. Good times,
amazing members, and that night we had the chance to spend some more
time with awesome members and get everyone pumped for General
Conference that weekend! Woohoo!
Tuesday was a beautiful early morning where we had the chance to go to
MLC in Kobe! I seriously love MLC so much. It is just such a boss
spiritual meeting with so many missionaries that I love and respect,
and getting the direction and revelation from President Welch is so
amazing. I love how much he always teaches with the Spirit, because I
always walk out of those meetings just feeling so uplifted and WANTING
to repent...haha yeah missions make you weird like that. It was a
meeting very focused on helping to correct missionaries with love
(shoutout my parents who were always way good at this haha), as well
as teaching the doctrine of Christ! At the end of the meeting, all the
returning missionaries give their "dying" testimonies and so I heard
from two of my former companions Sister Fuji and Sister Manwill, and
the tears were so real. I love them both to death and am so grateful
for how they impacted my mission and will be some of my dearest
friends for life.
Wednesday we had the chance to koukan with the Sennan Sisters, which
meant I was blessed to work with one of my favorite people EVER,
Sister McGuire. We had some solid lessons, met a new investigator, and
did a lot of frolicking and dendo through the Sakura trees. Such a
good time and I am always way impressed with what a boss Sister
McGuire is, even though she just got here. The Lord is seriously
hastening the work and sending His most boss missionaries here to
Thursday we got up bright and early to go and head over to the Sennan
area to do a blitz of the area! Since they just opened and haven't had
a ton of investigators, we pulled all the sisters in for a zone blitz
and it was SO fun. All the sisters in the Sakai zone are just awesome,
so it was basically like a small party really revolved around dendo. I
went out and worked with Sister Polatis, and since neither one of us
work in that area we basically just picked a direction and ended up
just finding for about 8 hours, having companion Study at a random
beach, and waking for a grand total of like 11 miles. It was seriously
so much fun and we were able to teach some super spiritual messages
about the Savior that day, and help find some new people for the area.
Hopefully they progress and are able to start meeting regularly!
Friday we went HOME from Sennan (literally have never ridden so many
trains in my entire life haha) to a district meeting and unfortunately
after that I crashed...fun fact when I get stressed my emotions are
fine but my body sort of rejects the situation so I was actually super
sick all week but was in denial and worked anyways, but Friday I got
out under house arrest and went home and slept until like 9 at night
and then I woke up and did follow-ups and then I slept again haha. The
moral of the story is that my companion is way sweet to take care of
me like she did, and the elders in our area were way nice too and kept
finding me all this random cold medicine and bringing us treats so I
could feel better. Missions do wonders for young men haha.
Saturday was the start of something beautiful known as GENERAL
CONFERENCE. I honestly went into Conference pretty troubled about some
circumstances involving investigators and some of our sisters, but
through going prayerfully and with questions, the answers just came in
such abundance. The second the conference started I was just overcome
with this warm feeling of the Spirit that just said "This is home". I
know that the feelings we felt this past weekend are feelings that can
carry us to desire to be worthy of the Spirit, and they are feelings
that will be immediately recognizable to us when we return to our
Heavenly Father again. There were too many talks that I loved that I
could never pick a favorite-between Elder Sabin and Elder Renlund and
Elder Rasband and of course the words of our beloved prophet,
President Monson. I can't get over how blessed we are to have a God
that loves us enough to give us living prophets, apostles, and seers.
I am also so grateful for the answers I received and the peace I felt,
because it has set me so on course for how I need to proceed with this
area and the situations in the zone. It was sort of a super melancholy
feeling to realize that this was my last Conference as a missionary
and during the closing hymn I was feeling pretty sad about it, but
even that was immediately remedied with just this feeling of peace and
knowledge that my relationship with God will not be determined by
whether or not I have this badge on my chest everyday. He will still
be there, revelation will still be real, and the church will still
always be true. All is well.
One of my very favorite talks had to be by Elder Choi though. I
absolutely love that man, I have actually met him a few times out here
in the mission because he is in this area presidency, but he is
awesome and his testimony is so boss. I especially loved the theme of
his talk about looking up...how often do we get caught up in the hard
and negative around us, and then get stuck in this rut of uncertainty
and doubt and sorrow, and all we have to do is look up to solve that.
Something I have truly learned out here and was especially reaffirmed
for me this week is the notion that true peace comes when we look up
to our SAVIOR. When we have a tendency to be distressed if we simply
focus on Him and His perfect atonement and indescribable love for us,
the rest of it seems to melt away. I can't adequately express my
feelings of love for my Savior, and for the peace that He brings me
daily. I know He knows me just like He knows every single person I am
blessed to meet everyday, and what a miracle that is.
This beautiful Easter week, please don't forget to look up to the
Savior. As you do, I promise you will find nothing but love and mercy
and arms ever outstretched. He truly is the Prince of Peace.
Love you all so much and am so grateful for all the prayers and love
and support. Hope you all have a great week and a wonderful Easter,
and that you all eat some Starburst Jelly Beans for me (or buy me a
bag and give it to me in July, because it is for reals my favorite
candy haha)! Aishiteimasu!
Photos: Various adventures in Kyoto, MLC, koukans, Cherry blossom
madness, views of Japan, etc. Also I hit 15 months this past week so
that is insane.