Monday, April 24, 2017

Sunshine in my Soul Today: Nihon Week 59

This week Alyssa shared a very visual yet spiritual lesson with me.  I loved it so I will share it all with you.

"So every Thursday night we go over to this member's house and teach English to her daughter and her small friends and then share a spiritual message with the mothers. We were there setting up and were trying to pull out this table and the little girl Mashiro (she is three) wanted to help us, so we let her. She was "carrying" this tiny corner of the table and because she was there it took like 500x as long and was hard but she was so proud and happy that we let her do it. In that moment I was so filled with love as I realized that is how God is with us. He can do everything on His own if He wanted, and He could do this missionary work thing so fast and efficiently on His own...but because He loves us He lets us grab this little corner of the table and walk alongside Him. We the whole time feel way proud and think we are so strong and can do things, but really we are just blessed that God loves us and lets us help Him in this amazing work, because He knows it will bless us and make us happy. He is so good to us."

Isn't that story amazing and simple and yet so powerful?  And it definitely applies to all of us as we serve and work in our small corner of the world.  We just need to remember who is carrying the majority of the load.

Minasan, konnichiwa!

First and foremost, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to my wonderful
mother who has a birthday this Thursday! I seriously am so blessed to
have been raised by someone so amazing and I am so grateful for her
every single day. For all of you that know her and would like to
either send her some love or go and give her a big hug for me, I would
appreciate it tons :)

We had a super good week here in Kawachinagano! Nothing super terribly
extraordinary happened but the fact that we were just able to be home
and get out and work in our own area with our own investigators and
members was seriously such a blessing. The weather has been warm, the
people are great, and we really have nothing to complain about life
here! I am always just so hit with how happy and blessed I am to be
here. Life is good, people.

Tuesday was pretty calm but fun, as we got to go out and do visiting
teaching with some sisters in the ward. I really love these people so
much, their love for the gospel and excitement to be about their
Father's business is infectious. We spent the morning together
visiting a lot of less active sisters and everyone was uplifted by the
situation. In the evening we spent time getting ready because we
spontaneously decided to throw a late Easter Party for Eikaiwa. It was
a lot of fun; we had some ridiculous games and culture things that the
Japanese people were way confused by but it was fun to teach them and
then teach about our Savior and the reason why we have the season. Our
Eikaiwa program here is way cute, it ranges from fluent people to
little old grandmas who know absolutely nothing, so it is always
entertaining to say the least. That night we had our last lesson with
Kana for a while because she is moving to Australia indefinitely. It
was sort of soul crushing but we trust she is going where she needs to
be and you better believe we will continue to haunt her and send the
missionaries her way so she can continue learning and progressing
towards baptism.

Wednesday we were back on the road, this time to Sennan to have a
koukan with the sisters there. I was blessed to work with the one and
only Sister McGuire, and we had one of the funniest and coolest days of
work my entire mission. First of all I love this sister with my whole
heart, it took us like two seconds and we became amazing friends, and
we just tell everyone we are EXACTLY the same...but a little different
and it is so true haha. Because we have so much love and so much fun
in our companionship, we were able to teach a lot in unity and see a
lot of miracles. We had a super boss companion Study where we both
felt prompted to specifically pray to find specific investigators and
the Spirit was way strong and guided us all day. We ended up finding a
super solid new investigator for Sennan, and it was awesome. I have
really come to know that our relationship with God can be as specific
as we want it to be, and the more we pray to Him about our specific
challenges and desires, the more personally He can reach out to help

Thursday we had a lesson with Kim. She still isn't doing amazing, but
came to the lesson and was definitely softened as she has started
praying again. Prayer works, people! It changes people and their
countenances and I have seen it time and time again. We talked a lot
about the resurrection and plan of Salvation and I think were able to
help her a bit. Please keep her in your prayers. That day we also met
with some less actives that we are helping through the 12 Step
Recovery program so we can get them clear of addictions and get them
to the temple. It is honestly one of my favorite times of the week.

Friday we had district meeting in Hashimoto which was great as always,
and then that night we had some appointments with some families to
teach them the 30/30 Program of English and the gospel. The first one
went great, but then the second one fell through but thanks to our
amazing angel couple the Minamimoto's, we were able to spend the
evening visiting less actives instead. I seriously want to be like those
people, I love them with my whole heart.

Saturday was wonderful (and it was warm and I got a sunburn, so that
is also a plus)! We started out bright and early to go and do this
service cleaning thing at this pond we do with the ward on a monthly
basis. Usually we just do random stuff like pick up trash or gather
sticks or whatever, but this time was fun because tons of youth were
there volunteering for school clubs. I wanted to talk to them but was
overwhelmed by the sheer number, but eventually felt drawn to these
two girls named Nanami and Yurika. They were way cute and we had a
great time talking about life and whatever, but then Yurika saw my
name tag and she got SO excited as she told me all about how she has
ALWAYS wanted to learn about Christ. She is basically this kinjin and
we had a great talk and exchanged contact information and set up an
appointment to meet with and talk with them BOTH this week. They are
so cute and prepared and I can't wait to see where things go with
them! That afternoon we had a ward party which was great, and we
basically got to go build a lot of Kaneki with the members and random
less actives and investigators that filtered in throughout. I love the
Kawachinagano Ward with my whole heart!

Sunday was amazing because we got to be back in our own area for Ward
conference. The talks were amazing and the Spirit was real and
basically the Sabbath day is just the best day ever.
So this week we were blessed to start the "Doctrine of Christ" Book of
Mormon challenge as a mission! It is kind of crazy because we are
reading in unity about four chapters a day so that we can finish
before President and Sister Welch return home, but it has been so
awesome. Basically all our spare time is dedicated to reading, and I
already just feel myself and my testimony changing so much throughout
this process. One thing that has really stuck out to me during these
first few chapters of Nephi is how ACTIVE faith needs to be, and in
order for it to be strong and driving we need both belief and desire.
So often we have this image of faith being passive, but it is truly
just the opposite. In order for miracles and for our faith to truly
grow, it takes patience and dedication and desire...but it is
beautiful because the outcome is always amazing as we inevitably
become closer to our loving Heavenly Father, and our Savior, Jesus

I love this gospel so much-it is everything to me! I feel so blessed
to be here sharing it with these amazing people that I love so much in
Japan. They have my heart so completely and I can't wait to keep
working to find those prepared to receive this message and have their
lives changed.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember to look for the hand
of the Lord every single day! Love you all so much! Aishiteimasu,

Sister Pickering

Photos: Some members heart attacked us, Kids Eikaiwa and Easter, Kana
and I, exchanges with my homegirl Sister McGuire, District Meeting in
Hashimoto, Yurika and Nanami, and some squirrels at the park where we
had the ward party

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