Monday, May 29, 2017

Hot Outside but the Spirit is Cool: Nihon Week 64

Minasan, konnichiwa!

Hope this email finds you all happy and well wherever you might be! It
sounds like my family and others are all spread around the world right
now being engaged in the work of the Lord, and it is just cool to be
so United with so many of my brothers and sisters, wherever we might

I'm going to be honest, I don't remember a ton of what happened this
week! I must be getting old or maybe the heat is just starting to melt
my brain...regardless that is where we are at, at this point, haha
gomen ne. However I can do a highlight list, so we can start with

So on Wednesday we had the awesome chance to head over to Sakai to
have an exchange with the sisters over there! I worked with Sister
Rees who is a fourth transfer, and it was a lot of fun to spend an
awesome day in my past area super focused on finding. Sister Rees is a
great missionary and we had a good time together, and saw some neat
miracles. Highlights include meeting so many of my beloved members
from Sakai (one of my favorite members brought me another huge bag of
100+ full size Snickers, it is super yabaii), meeting some wonderful
PI's, and then getting kidnapped by a former Eikaiwa student and the
elders to get taken to get sushi for dinner. I will literally never
understand Japanese people, they are crazy but I love them haha.
Needless to say it was an awesome koukan!

So the next day I started getting dang nasty cold came back
and had me out basically the entire day because I hadn't been sleeping
well up to that point and I was exhausted beyond belief. I rested for
a lot of it (I hate being inside, it makes me crazy) and then that
night we went to go teach the children's Eikaiwa class. The member who
was in charge of it thought it would be a good idea for us to teach
the children (who are like 2 year old, mind you) how to make American
cookies like we were Rachel Ray or something and so we tried but then
it turns out that Japanese measurements are a slight bit different, so
it actually sort of completely failed, but it was fun anyways. We were
able to share a great spiritual message about overcoming failure
through faith in Jesus Christ haha.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low key because I was honestly dead
to the world...shoutout to my amazing companion though, she was an
angel and took care of me like a champ. There were some nights I would
be up coughing at like 3 AM and she was already up and making me
oatmeal and herbal tea. I don't deserve Larsen Shimai, she is such a
great example to me of patience and charity. It has been a blessing to
work with her over the past two transfers here in Kawachinagano!
One blessing of being sick and dying (I like to try and look for the
positive in things these days haha) is that I have been able to spend
lots of quality time in the Book of Mormon! I know I say this like all
the time, but I LOVE the Book of Mormon. I get so excited every time I
get to read it and am just learning so much all throughout. A huge
theme I have been noticing lately is the responsibility that we have
to help BRING our brothers and sisters to repentance. I think the
phrasing of "bring" is interesting, because it implies that we have to
already be there ourselves. The central purpose of our life is to
bring our lives and wills in line with God through repentance, and
embracing that brings us joy in our own progression, and joy in the
progression and change in others. I know I have seen that so much as a
missionary, and I am so grateful for the chance to have been here to
see and witness it firsthand. I am honestly excited to keep repenting
for the rest of my life haha.

Something kind of fun was that Saturday evening we had a family home
evening activity at the church, and so many investigators and members
came! It was seriously so much fun, we just shared a short message and
played some fun games and ate some treats and it was just way
successful for our investigators to get fellowshipped by the members
here. We also had this less active family we were working with come,
and that in and of itself was so satisfying. I just love this work so

Sunday we were also blessed to have two investigators there at church!
It is always a little nerve wracking to have people at church because
you are always a little nervous that someone is going to give some
crazy talk or like testify of something apostate haha, but thankfully
all went smoothly and the second hour lesson was planned perfectly to
be about baptism. I will never stop being amazed at how perfectly God
plans out His work.

So for my spiritual thought this week I need to take you all back to
Friday morning, when we were sitting there in the Kawachinagano church
having another lovely district meeting. We were discussing something
missionaryish (I don't exactly remember specifics at this point haha)
but it ended up turning into this super passionate sermon by our
beloved district leader Elder Wride where my companion and I got
chastised for being too hard on ourselves. I had made some offhandedly
comment about how I hoped I would make it to the celestial kingdom if
I died like tomorrow, and then Elder Wride just let us have it haha.
He asked us how we could possibly go out and preach repentance to
others if we don't believe that it applies to ourselves (as
missionaries who preach the gospel and repent DAILY) and it was
actually super enlightening. It was interesting because as he was
talking p, in my brain I was sort of being sassy and I was like "Well
of course they would think that about me and my work being sufficient,
only I am inside of my head and so nobody really knows what is going
on in here except for me and so of course I am gonna be hard on myself
because I know what is up" and basically I was just in this super
negative spiraling train of thought about myself and my mission and
efforts here in Japan. It was in that moment where the Spirit came to
me so strongly and clearly and simply said "Sister Pickering, there IS
someone who knows you better than you and He loves you and is proud of
your work and knows your potential and efforts and His name is Jesus
Christ. He knows all your weaknesses and loves you BECAUSE of them."
When I heard/felt that, I couldn't help but be overcome with gratitude
and love for my Savior. No matter what we pretend, no matter what
ridiculous self pity parties we like to throw about how nobody
understands us and or would love us if they did, we simply cannot deny
the fact that it isn't the truth. We have a Savior, someone who knows
us better than we do, someone who loves us infinitely, and I know He
is rooting us on every single day. I have never been more aware of
that then I am now, and I have never been more grateful for His hand
that is always extended to us. We simply need to reach out and take

I love Jesus Christ and I love serving here as His representative to
the Japanese people! I can think of no place I would rather be or
nothing I would rather be doing. So so blessed.
He lives and loves you and so do I! Hope that you all remember that
and have a wonderful week! Aishiteimasu minasan!

Sister Pickering


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