Monday, May 22, 2017

Revelation for Days: Nihon Week 63

Words of Wisdom for the week:

"I just keep thinking about how we can't ourselves be disciples of Christ and endure to the end without helping everyone we can and bringing others along the way with us. Charity should be our walk and our talk and is truly the lifeblood of how we should treat others and handle our lives, and it all stems as we live the Doctrine of Christ and by applying those simple principles like faith, repentance, etc. I know as we wholeheartedly embrace the Doctrine of Christ, we can become more charitable people and more worthy for the kingdom and more filled with joy as well."

Minasan, konnichiwa!

Wishing you all a happy week from over here in Kawachinagano! For
those of you who graduate this week...CONGRATS! Super proud of all of
you. For all of you receiving mission calls and heading out to the
field and whatnot, also super proud of you. The mission is the best
and happiest thing ever. For those of you getting married soon....haha
also congratulations but also not gonna lie the fact that I have
friends getting married weirds me out. Carrying on.

This week was a wonderful one for us in Kawachi, and I just love this
area and these people so so much. Monday after P day and some super
fun (#sarcasm) record updating and phone calls we had to do, we headed
out to go finding for a bit. Hit up this super large apartment
building and unfortunately didn't find anyone, but had a great chat
with a grandpa who sternly lectured us for 25 minutes on how dangerous
it is for us to be out at night. I love how considerate these people

Tuesday we had our monthly visiting Teaching spree with Maekawa Shimai
and Soga Shimai to go and find all the less actives. These members are
just so funny and passionate about taking a selfie and eating fruit
with the less actives, it always makes for a good time. Later the day
we had a Skype coordination meeting with the Zone leaders (I don't
like meetings anymore haha, I just want to go out and work) and then
ended the evening with Eikaiwa where we all had them play musical
chairs to teach a spiritual Message at the end. It was sort of a
stretch but we made it work and overall it was a success.

Wednesday we headed over to Sakai where I had my last interview with
President Welch before he heads home. Holy cow can I talk about
emotions. I love that man so much, I know he is so inspired and called
of God and the idea of him not being here is just too weird. We had a
good chat, he gave me my new temple recommend (and this one is in
Japanese, so it's fancy) and then ended in a prayer that moved me to
tears. He is so led by the Spirit and I am so blessed to have been
able to serve with him here in Kobe. The Welches will always be a part
of my life from here on out! Right after interviews we started a
companion exchange with the Sennan sisters where I worked with Sister
McGuire. This sister is literally the Alma to my Amulek and so we work
hard and have a blast and basically experience all the joy of the
gospel. Way too fun.

One interesting thing that happened is that as we prayed during
companion Study, we both felt super strongly that we needed to go and
visit this dropped had ended on sort of rocky terms
and I was nervous but we couldn't deny the Spirit, so we went. We
visited and nothing immediately happened but it ended up in us later
receiving a very mean and nasty phone call from this investigator
where my heart basically got torn to shreds (haha AGAIN) and I was
super super confused why God would have had me do that when He knew it
would cause me that pain. Honestly I was sort of upset and angry with
Him, and honestly I still don't know the reason why He has us do that,
but recently I was impressed with a lot of Peace and the knowledge
that sometimes God just needs to see if we will be obedient. How can
He trust us with the BIG prompting if He doesn't have the assurance we
will follow the small and simple ones? It was hard and not fun, but I
was grateful for the chance to prove my loyalty to my Heavenly Father
in some small way.

Once the exchange ended on Thursday, we headed to the church for
ANOTHER Skype correlation meeting for Zone Conference, and then that
night we taught children's Eikaiwa and then had a meal appointment
with this family named the Kyoutani's. They are just awesome, they are
all so strong and have such a love to share the gospel in any way they
can and it was humbling and inspiring to be their home. Can't wait to
keep working with them to move the work forward here in Kawachinagano.
Friday we had district meeting here in Kawachinagano! We talked about
how we could improve on how we teach repentance but it ended up on
warping into this super spirit led discussion on how we can better
serve with our heart, might, mind, and strength and what our barriers
might be to doing so...super humbling and I have lots of repentance to
do haha but that is okay, repentance doesn't scare me anymore. That
evening we taught the Eikaiwa 30/30 Program to the Oonishi family and
had a Follow Up lesson about Jesus Christ, and it was awesome.
Children just love and accept our Savior so easily, it is the coolest
thing. We all need to be more like them!

SATURDAY WAS THE DAY. After the Sennan sisters came over again on
Friday night and staying with us, Saturday morning we all got up early
and headed over on a train to Ibaraki (this place in Osaka) where we
had a mission wide Broadcast with Elder and Sister Oaks, Elder and
Sister Gong, and Elder and Sister Aoba. First of all it was awesome to
be together with the WHOLE mission, I saw my trainee Sister Epperson
and we cried together haha, as well as tons of other friends that just
mean so much to me. For all you Westlake people out there, I also
finally saw Elder Braden Allred! It was super fun to chat about life
and catch up on the mission. He is doing way happy and is a great
missionary, although he is currently banished to this tiny island and
I so never ever see him haha. The conference in and of itself was
amazing. The Spirit was overwhelming and joyful, and that was exactly
what Elder Oaks talked to us about...the joy of the gospel! He asked
us how we could NOT be joyful because of the truths we have about our
Savior and the Plan of Salvation? How could we NOT share that and use
it to strengthen others? Just awesome and so much revelation. Shaking
his hand and meeting him and feeling his love was humbling and
amazing. He is definitely called of God and was sent by Jesus Christ
to come and visit the Kobe mission at this time. Another crazy thing
was when we all stood together and sang the mission theme song and I
was just hit with emotions and tears and memories and love over my
mission the past 16 1/2 months has given me. I love being a missionary
here in Kobe.

Sunday was also special because we had a special Stake Conference with
the Area President Elder Whiting over in Sakai. For those of you who
keep track (or are even reading this email at this point still, sorry
it is so long haha) I have been blessed to have been serving in this
Sakai Stake for the past six months, and so there were more just happy
reunions. I saw some less active members return, some sisters heading
out on their missions, and just so many people dear to my heart. I
love the Sakai Stake with everything I am. That meeting was also
wonderful, the Spirit and love I felt was overwhelming. I am not ready
to leave this place.

That evening there was ANOTHER Devotional with Elder Oaks and Elder
Gong and their wives, and that was also awesome. He spoke a lot about
how the growth in Japan right now doesn't look strong according to
numbers, but it is amazing when we look at the individual growth and
strength of faith and foundations of the members...and now it is time
to go up and improve from here. That in particular was so special to
me because I feel so strongly so much of my mission has been dedicated
to helping these amazing wards I have been so blessed to serve in.
Ironically I go in there to try and help change them, and yet they
always end up changing me. So grateful for every single one of these
people here. Haha needless to say, it was another good meeting, lots
more revelation, I am spiritually dead but that is okay.

In reading the Book of Mormon this week, I am learning lots about
Ammon and the Sons of Mosiah! Aside from the fact that they are just
completely boss, I learned about the essentiality we have as members
to be good examples. Ammon didn't do much for Lamoni besides humbly
serve and be a good example of the believers, and then took the
opportunity to testify when it came, and from that THOUSANDS were
converted. As members of this church and as true disciples of this
church, we have such a great power and responsibility to share the
light and love of Christ with everyone around us! I promise as you do
your best to share that light and example with those you can in your
small sphere of influence, lives will be changed and joy will be
found. It is true and real and joyful, I promise!

I love this gospel, it means EVERYTHING to me. Also love my Savior and
my Heavenly Father and how they have blessed me with the chance to be
in this special place with people I love more than words can describe.
To simply quote Alma, I cannot say the smallest part of what I feel.

I love you all and hope everyone has a great week! Minasan, aishiteimasu!
Sister Pickering

Photos: Various members and events, Oaks Taikai reunions, road trip
for Stake Conference, happy Stake Conference reunions, humidity and
hair at train stations haha


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