Monday, June 19, 2017

I'm the Queen of Sakai: Nihon Week 67

Alyssa and her new companion Sister Gusman

First of all, transfer news...I am still here in Kawachinagano! Woohoo! I will be ending my mission here in this beautiful area of Kawachinagano and I am so so happy. That makes it transfer four for me here, and transfer six in this amazing Sakai zone. I will have literally spent more than half of my mission in this amazing Stake (literally I have been here so long that me and the Stake President have a secret handshake haha), and I couldn't be more blessed to be in this special part of the vineyard. Literally heaven and I am so happy to still be here. 
My new companion is named Sister Gusman and the best part is that I actually met her back in the MTC many moons ago! She is from the big island of Hawaii, and is literally one of the kindest and sweetest and most charitable and happy people I have ever met. Everyday I am getting to go and work with a ray of sunshine, and it is so fun. I am so lucky to have started and to be ending my mission with a Hawaiian companion haha, and the other fun thing is that all of my morning workouts have been turned into learning the hula for our upcoming ward talent show. Should be a Hawaiian rollercoaster ride haha. 
Monday night after P day we had a cool miracle as we did some Area Book work and were super blessed to be able to make contact with some former investigators who were willing to meet again! That has been a somewhat rare occurrence on my mission and so I was super excited. We have appointments this week and I can't wait to see what happens! 
Tuesday was a crazy day of getting a bunch of stuff prepared for my companion to go home, and then we were able to go visiting Teaching with some sisters in the ward and I honestly love it so much. These sisters are so diligent and good and getting to be a humble witness to how they magnify their callings has been such an inspiration for me now as a missionary, and for goals I have upon returning. Literally I say this so much but I mean it every time, that these Japanese members have forever changed my life and I am so so grateful. That evening we had our classic English classes which was super fun as always! 
Wednesday we had some great lessons with some less actives that I adore! The first in the morning was with a Sister named Tsuruta Shimai and we had a great lesson out of the Book of Mormon and were all able to share our favorite parts and how they have shaped our lives. For that day my favorite chapter (it changes a lot okay haha) was Mosiah 14 which is all about the atonement of Christ, as we taught it and explained I couldn't help but once more just be so overcome with love and gratitude for my Savior. I love Him so much. He is truly everything to me and I couldn't be here doing this without His help and love every single day. I have loved my time coming to know Him as His representative! We also had another lesson with our couple who is working to get to the temple and they are doing SO WELL! Kyoudai went out and did dendo with the elders last week and I guess was way cute and tried so hard and chased some people down with flyers to invite them to various events. He has changed so much through the atonement of Christ and it has been the best thing ever to witness. He also came to church yesterday by himself, even though his wife was sick. Small miracles! 
Thursday was Transfer day and that was just craziness as always. We were up bright and early to send off my beloved companion Sister Larsen for her next transfer as an RM in America! I was blessed to work with her for the time that I did, I learned so much and know that I found another friend for eternity. I will be seeing her again soon, so it was okay. We then spent a loooong time at an Eki and other various places while we waited for the rest of the sisters to transfer into the zone! We have three new sisters including my companion, and they are all bosses. I can't wait for all the exchanges we will have this transfer! After my companion finally got here (she was banished off on the rock of Shikoku and so took a while to get in) we ate some food and then headed home where we had the big long and beastly weekly planning session/how to be an STL 101 speech. Sister Gusman is such a trooper and I am so excited for this transfer with her! 
Friday was a wonderful and yet miraculous day for us! Being honest we didn't really have any appointments and so I was a little nervous on what to do and was praying SO hard for us to be in the right place at the right time, and the Lord and the Spirit totally answered my prayers. After some morning studies we went out to go and visit a LA named Tanya that had been LA for a looong time and nobody had really been able to meet with her...but we did! She was super Genki and we had a great talk and were able to set up an appointment to go to lunch today (which we did, and it was awesome and fun and delicious and ended up in an adventure drive through the mountains, but that is aside the point). We were so elated to meet with her! As we were leaving I had this weird prompting to go back and house this one specific house but we decided to do it anyways and then nobody was home...I thought it was odd but then the second we hopped back on our bikes we saw Tanya come around the corner and we met and talked AGAIN and she bought us drinks #blessings. God works in mysterious ways but heaven knows He is there. After that we headed to visit a member and do some service there, and then back to a big Eki for a Chirashi Kubari (like flyer handing out party thing?) to try and get our English class rolling. It was fairly successful, and during that time we also had an adventure where we saw a former pursuer of my love and affection (the dude from the Dominican Republic of the Congo, for those of you who read or remember my emails haha) which meant we had to pull a secret agent movie and flee through this crowded train station and end up hiding in a restaurant. The mission never gets old, I tell ya. We ended the night with our weekly lesson with the Oonishi kids, which then turned into a meal appointment across the street with them and the member family named the Kitous and their nonmember kids and grandkids. The members here are angels. 
Saturday after studies we headed out bright and early to go and visit this LA and I didn't know her address so we had to use my handy dandy google maps. We got the address in and everything and it was great, and we started out on our merry way. Along the way to the destination my iPad thinks we are going, we actually end up finding her house accidentally, which means my iPad had somehow been mistaken. We shrugged it off and tried to visit, but sadly nobody was home. We left a note and then had some awkward time, so we decided that we should obey google maps and see where it was trying to lead us. We ended up in this young Family neighborhood and the first door we knocked was this super nice young dad with three kids that went to a Christian school and interest in bringing them to children's Eikaiwa. What?  God is so good. The entire day was filled with tons of little miracles like that as we biked around and worked hard and tried to find a lot. We tried to go hit up some universities we found on the map and accidentally ended up biking into my former area (whoops), and basically climbed several mountains. Sister Gusman has been such a champ on the Kawachinagano hills in this crazy summer heat, I have been mean and basically dragging her all over the place to super far locations. 
Sunday was of course just special and wonderful. We had a great set of meetings and ward Council and studies and then were able to go out and try and visit some people. Nobody was really home or available, but as always it is just a privilege to be a servant of the Lord and doing His work. The blessings and joys are really endless. 
I had sort of a funny experience this week where I was having one of those off days that we all as humans and missionaries have from time to time. I was just sort of feeling down and tired and sort of done and the thought came to my mind "Okay if only we had a miracle right now or someone who would listen, THEN I would change my attitude and get happier" and then in that moment I was so lovingly corrected by the Spirit in a way that was basically like "Oh snap, are you asking God for signs?" It was really humbling in that moment to realize I was totally being like Laman and Lemuel and asking for some sort of sign in order to make me happier or to strengthen my resolve and faith. Something that I have really learned over my mission that faith doesn't need signs. Faith is a hope and a belief that it will all get better and if it doesn't, it will be for our good, and faith is choosing to be positive and happy about whatever comes that way. It was cool for me to recognize and remember that our faith and our happiness is independent of our circumstance, and if we only choose to use our eyes of faith to see, the blessings and love of God are ALL around us. 
I love this work and this mission so much. Everyday I am just so struck with how blessed I am to be here! Love being a missionary and love these people and this gospel so much. So so so blessed. 
Have an amazing week and I will talk to you all again soon!
Aishiteimasu, minasan! 
Sister Pickering 


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