Monday, May 8, 2017

Help Thou Mine Unbelief: Nihon Week 61


Minasan, konnichiwa!

Hope that you all had a wonderful week, it was as always a good one
for us here in Kawachinagano! The weather is warm, the people are
wonderful, and blessings are just everywhere. Life is good and I
really can't complain!

Monday night after P day we had the chance to go over and have dinner
with a wonderful family in the ward named the Suzuki family! Holy cow
I love these people so so much. They are a family where basically
everyone is a returned missionary and so we had lots of good talks
about dendo and they were able to give us a lot of advice about
working with this ward to see so many miracles. We shared some great
stories, received lots of revelation, and the Spirit was just felt in
abundance. I have said it before and I will say it again, but I work
with angels every single day here in the mission, and they are the
Japanese members! To end the evening we all knelt together in a
"family prayer" for us to be able to find new investigators, and I was
honestly just overcome with the Spirit and with so much love. I love
these people so much.

Tuesday my sweet companion unfortunately got super sick, and so not
much happened. What I did learn however, is that it is possible for
someone to literally sleep for 24 hours straight (shoutout Larsen
Shimai, she only woke up because I poked her to check if she was still
alive haha), and that I should never kill someone because I could not
handle the whole solitary confinement thing haha. I did have lots of
chances to read from the BOM though, so that was special as always. I
love the Book of Mormon.

Wednesday morning we were up bright and early and I got to fulfill one
of my mission dreams and go labor in a Hatake (field) of one of the
members of the ward, and it was just a blast. It was also service
which was fun, and it was a good time to just develop more
relationships with some members. After that my companion was still
dead so we were back in the apartment where I found a dinosaur
Area book and basically went excavating to find some former
investigators that we can go visit soon. We have some addresses now
though, and so we are excited!

Thursday was Transfer day in the Kobe Mission, and although neither my
companion and I were transferring, we had to go to Sakai and wait with
a sister whose companion was coming from Shikoku (which is the island)
which is already a far trip...basically she ended up missing her bus
and so was even later and so we spent a good portion of the day with
Sister Maiwiriwiri doing some finding around the eki until Sister Rees
came in! It was good though, we got a bunch of super cute new sisters
MTC together and I love her with my whole heart), and so koukans and
whatnot should be a blast this transfer! That evening we had our
weekly planning session and made our plans to baptize everyone and so
we are excited to get it done!

Friday after some good studies in the morning, we headed out to go to
this concert for the Oonishi girls, the daughters of this family we
are doing the English/Gospel program with. It was super cute and a fun
way to get exposure about us missionaries out in the area! There
happened to be a former Investigator that lived near the concert hall
and so we biked on over to check it out, and this super cute mom
answered the door and really wants us to come back and meet again!
Such a miracle! After that we headed over to this pond to go do some
findings, and we ended up having a way boss lesson with this 16 year
old girl named Yuka. She is CRAZY prepared and really wants to learn
more about God and Christ, and she just glowed with the Light of
Christ, it was awesome. We gave her a Book of Mormon and set up an
appointment to meet again and were just thrilled, but then were super
devastated when we heard from her that night that her mother was not
down with her meeting Christian missionaries because of the Buddhist
ties. Way heartbreaking but we know God has a plan for this special
girl, and one of these days she will be older and absolutely golden.

Saturday was another day in the apartment because poor Sister Larsen
was just not able to kick this sickness. She slept a lot and I did a
lot of studying and I will just say once again that I love the Book of
Mormon haha. That evening we went to go and study with a member who
had been having a hard time of late, and it was neat because it was
one of those special experiences where I really felt the Spirit
working through us to bless this lady. It is honestly the most
humbling experience ever to be a missionary where people seek you out
to feel the Spirit and learn and be uplifted...very humbling and cool
and very much a model for how I want to be as a friend for the rest of
my life.

Okay in order to explain the miraculous day that Sunday was, I kind of
need to go into my spiritual thought a little early. So Saturday
evening we made a specific plan for how we would see a baptism within
the next six weeks and it was super good and solid and we were excited
about it all and just ready to see miracles. However that night we
were talking and we realized that it has been about a year since
either my companion or I have had an investigator enter into the
waters of baptism, and honestly without knowing it, it has kind of
become a normal thing for both of us to not baptize. It was sort of
heartbreaking and humbling for me to realize that just like faith
without works is dead, works without faith is dead and in some ways
that it had sort of been me. Sure my faith is stronger than it ever
has been, but I realized that my faith to baptize was NOT where it
needed to be. As we were talking about what we needed to do, the story
from Mark 9 came to mind where the man with the possessed child
approaches the Savior and asks Him to heal his son. Christ asks the
man if he has faith for it to happen, and the man simply says "Lord, I
believe, help thou Mine unbelief". In that moment I realized that was
me. For so long I had been so sure of my testimony and my faith that I
hadn't felt the need to try and strengthen it beyond regular dendo
life. That night I got on my knees and had a super super heartfelt
prayer where I repented LOTS and just pleaded for the Lord to help
mine unbelief and strengthen my faith so that we could see a baptism.
The next day instead of just fasting for a baptism like I had
originally planned, I fasted for my faith to increase so that we COULD
see one.

The next day we had a super promising investigator come to church and
found four new investigators, including a FAMILY that wanted to hear
our message. Larsen Shimai and I just kept looking at each other in
complete shock and wonder at all the miracles that were happening
before us, because it was honestly a day unlike one I have ever had on
my mission. I was so blown away by the mercy that God has for us, and
I was SO struck by the fact that when we simply have a DESIRE to
change and improve, we are endowed with power from on high to see
those miracles. My faith increased so much in that one day, and I know
I still have a long way to go, but I am so grateful for a God who
blesses us as we simply seek to have more FAITH.

I know that the Lord wants to bless us, and wants our faith to
increase so that He can bless us more. All we need to do is turn to
Him and seek and ask, and more miracles than we can even imagine will
come our way.

I love God and Jesus Christ and this beautiful gospel message. I
absolutely love this work and I love being a missionary.

Hope you all have an amazing week and remember how much God loves you!
Also shoutout to all the amazing women in my life that have made a
difference in my life, and happy Mother's Day to you all! Aishiteimasu

Sister Pickering


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