Monday, May 1, 2017

My name is Russell and I am a Wilderness Explorer Scout: Nihon Week 60

Minasan, konnichiwa!
I hope that this email finds you happy and well wherever you are!
Can't believe it is May already, but hope you are enjoying the nice
weather wherever you might be, because I know we certainly are over

Okay so first of all...transfer news! I am officially an 11th transfer
now, but here is the crazy part that I wasn't expecting...I am going
to be staying in Kawachinagano as an STL with Sister Larsen! And this
time it is for sure real haha, I am not getting pranked this time.
This is the first time I will have a companion for more than one
Transfer outside of training, and I am excited to see what miracles we
will continue to have in this awesome area. Such blessings!
This week was good and busy and somewhat normal, so it was awesome!
Weeks we get to work in our own area every single day are seriously
the best.

Monday after P day we hit the road and went to try and go visit tons
of less actives and some potential investigators and nobody was home
which was super unfortunate, but it was okay because we just got to go
out and plant some seeds which is something I have just come to love
lots out here.

Tuesday in the morning after some great studies we went out again for
some other less actives and potential investigators and had some great
contacts too! We met this super cute mom and daughter from China who
want to start coming to our English class which was a total blessing,
and we are way excited about it. It was kind of funny because we had
this goal on this day that we were going to look for unplanned service
opportunities but I don't know how much you guys know about Japanese
people, but they DO NOT LIKE being served and helped, especially by
strangers. We probably asked like 50 people that day if we could help
them do things from weed to carry groceries and whatever and they all
said no. My companion was laughing at me and said I was like Russel
from the movie Up where he was all "Can I help you cross the street?
The lawn? The porch?" It was good though, someday we will achieve that
goal haha. That afternoon (after my companion crashed her bike into a
fence, super gracefully of course) we had a mogi Lesson with a way
sweet member and then Eikaiwa. Super good and fun as usual!

Wednesday we went and had a lesson with a Less Active and read from
the BOM together which was way good (I just love the Book of Mormon a
lot so it was great) and then that afternoon we went to go and have a
dendo powwow with this member in the ward named Fujiko Shimai. She is
a young mom and is super cute but the funniest part is that she is the
older sister of my former companion, Uchida Shimai! We had some good
talks about dendo and how to help each other be better member
missionaries as well as maintaining the Spirit through our studies.
She is an awesome example to me and I hope to someday be like her!
That night we had some solid ping Pong where I ALMOST won but
didn't...but someday friends, someday.

Thursday we had exchanges with the Sakai sisters! I was blessed to
work with Polatis Shimai and we had an awesome day. We had a lot of
finding time which can usually be a little killer, but we both just
decided to go out and have some fun with it and see what we could make
happen. One thing that we tried was to go out with a ukulele...keep in
mind, neither one  of us play the ukulele but we figured YOLO, so we
just walked around strumming it and it was actually SUPER effective.
Tons of people came and contacted US and we ended up with a bunch of
solid potential investigators, some new Eikaiwa students, a traffic
jam (after some people stopped their cars to stare at us, foreigners
are sort of rare around here haha), and one marriage proposal from a
catholic missionary from the Dominican Republic named Julien (which of
course we ran away from in incredible haste haha). One thing sort of
cool though is that we had this goal that we REALLY wanted to find a
kinjin that day and so we were working way hard and praying super
hard...and the last contact of the night were these two cute girls
that are 13 and 15...but the thing was that they were like super nice
because we were gaijin, but when they found out we were missionaries
for Christ, they got STOKED! They told us they had always wanted to
learn about Christ and so this was like a total miracle. I was blown
away by the mercy of the Lord, and so excited that we have some more
youth to work with. They are super sweet and are going to be trying to
meet with them this week!

Friday was the last DM of the transfer which is also fun and a little
sad, but tons of good learning to go around for everyone. After our
weekly planning session, we had our two Eikaiwa lessons with the
Oonishi family and our little kinjin kids of the less active parents.
We taught both about agency and making good choices and the Spirit was
way strong. I love teaching the gospel to children so much, they just
GET it. They are so pure and innocent and the light of Christ radiates
from them, I really understand why we are told to become as children!

Saturday was one of the weirdest days of my entire mission, but it was
also super effective. We started off going with these members to the
mountains to go and chop out bamboo from the forest with pick axes and
then do these wilderness activities as a source of finding, and it was
WAY awesome! We found a new family to teach the English and gospel
program to, and this way legit 25 year old PI that came and spent P
day with us today! The Lord has been blessing us and our teaching pool
so much, it has been awesome. Not only that, I can say I have now
gallivanted through a bamboo forest with a pick axe haha. After that
we rushed to our meeting with our girls Nanami and Yurika from last
week and had a good meeting with them, and they introduced us to
ANOTHER friend and we will teach all three of them this week. Then the
rest of the day we were finding/volunteering at this festival at this
big pond to kick off golden week...which basically meant that we
walked around for four hours interviewing people and accidentally got
turned into the stars of this documentary for this festival, but it
was legit because basically they just filmed us sharing the gospel
with people haha. I am sure we will be a big hit on Netflix coming

Sunday was awesome as usual, because it was the Sabbath. Church was
awesome, the weather was beautiful, and we got to do some more work
with awesome members. That night we had dinner with the Ogaki family,
and they are wonderful. Have I talked about how much I love this
Kawachinagano Ward?

So we are continuing to chug along ahead with the BOM challenge, and
it is awesome. Reading at this fast pace can be kind of crazy when we
have to study for investigators and stuff as well, but there is always
revelation to be had, which is awesome. Ahh I love the Book of Mormon!
One thing that really struck me was the notion of small and simple
things...I was pondering that this week and of course got thinking
about that in relation to faith. I was thinking about my mission and
how I felt for a moment like my mission hasn't had tons of CRAZY huge
miracles like finding families of 27 prepared people or whatever, and
I was stressed for a second because I thought I was maybe doing
something wrong. But then it hit me, that my mission has been a
mission of small and simple things and that doesn't make my
experiences or my testimony less. I have never been more converted,
and I am so grateful. I think so often we talk about how much faith we
need to summon those big miracles, but sometimes I think we just need
just as much faith if not more to recognize all the small and simple
ones that are all over our lives every single day.

I know this gospel is true and it is a gospel of small and simple and
yet incredibly miraculous things. I love Jesus Christ and Heavenly
Father and I love serving them here!

I hope you all have a wonderful week wherever you are! Remember God
loves you! Aishiteimasu minasan!

Lots of love,
Sister Pickering


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