Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My last morning in the honbu was kind of a daze. Sister Anderson, Elder Lazaro and I were waiting for our families to come because all of the other missionaries had flown home. I felt so scared, wondering if I had completed everything I needed to. I didn't feel like I would actually see my family. I really felt like Satan attacked me my last few days trying to make me feel like what I gave wasn't enough. But as he tried to make me doubt myself, I knew that it would pass and that his last attack of opposition was all he could do. It was sheer bliss to be with my family again. Having my favorite  place in the world combine with my favorite people, amazing.

Reflecting on my mission, my mission was imperfect; but it was gloriously perfect in how it shaped me to become more like Jesus Christ and more appreciative of the gospel. My mission was blessed with righteous desires to be better and to help others feel loved. My mission was blessed with long days and hard rejection. My mission was blessed with trials, with sickness, with weakness, but with strength and power. My mission was blessed with the everlasting and constant help of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Above all, my mission was blessed with beautiful miracles and beautiful people that humbled me and help me to remember just how deeply Heavenly Father loves us.

I didn't want to let her go.
President and Sister Yamashita: the most loving, inspiring, and incredible mission president and mission mom I could ask for. 
Heather got so big I couldn't believe it.

Seeing my sweet mamma again.

Their first taste of REAL sushi.
Saying goodbye to the Yamashitas.
We ran into Micky and Oda Shimai at the eki!!
Suzuki Shimai,Yoshida Shimai, the Nomuras.  
-We went to Kariya to see some of my favorite members! Suzuki Shimai picked us up and took us to see a close shrine. She taught us lots about it! We went to Daiso. Finished the night with dinner at her house and visits from Yoshida Shimai and the Nomura family. <3 

Suzuki Shimai. My Japanese mama.
Yoshida Shimai.I love her.
Ai chan and sunau chan are both older than Heather, but she was taller.
The Nomura family! Aichan, sunau chan, meguchan, nozochan, kanakun.
Nagoya Castle
Nagoya Castle.
Nagoya Castle.

One of my favorite pictures EVER. After my dad gave me grief about doing peace signs in my pictures at the beginning of my mission, he surprised me by throwing out his peace sign and I could not have been happier.

The stairs continue!!

Top of the castle. Beautiful with the green and city.


Lighting a candle and putting it on the row of burning candles.a

Where they pray. They throw in money into the box, bow 2 times, clap 2 times, and bow again.
Dad's first taste of unagi!(eel)
Fun little temple we found while exploring.
The Nomuras, Chikachan, Kiyoka!!
We didn't get to see the Nomura family on Tuesday when we went Kariya because they weren't able to come to Suzuki Shimai's house. I was super bummed about it and didn't feel like I could leave Japan without introducing my family to some of the most important and beautiful people I have met in my whole life. I love this family so much. She started bawling when she saw me and we went over to see Kiyoko (her friend) and her family. I played the piano for them and it was beautiful. Sister Nomura always loved when I played the piano for her. (Not pictured Brother nomura and momo chan)

Kiyoko, karin chan and the nomuras! (julie chan is not in the picture)

Sister Nomura offered to drop us off at the yakiniku restaurant we were going to. We invited her to come, but she said she couldn't. A few minutes later, she came back  and surprised us with momochan and all the kids and we got to eat dinner with them.
Yakiniku. One of the better things in this life. 

Me and Kokun have probably played hours of jan ken poi! (rock paper scissors). We get so competitive about it.
Kokun (7) momochan (3), kenkun(1) I love them.
My eternal friend.

She is the sweetest mom.
The definition of happiness.
Totsu zen visit to Chikachan and her mom!! I love them. 

Bound for Kyoto

Shinkansen to Kyoto!

The family's taste of the public bus in Kyoto.
Lunch. I had grilled fish and Heather had Karaage (fried chicken)

Mom and dad had a yummy beef with rice.
Kinkaku-ji Temple

Japanese girls all dressed up in their kimonos to visit Kinkaku-ji.

The Japanese boys that that Heather was the most beautiful thing they'd ever seen.
The school children would come up to us and ask questions for us to answer in English. "heroo. may we ask you a few questions?"


Japanese Rock Garden 

Really cool trees.

At some little ramen shop for dinner.

Just your standard grocery store. This didn't even phase me, but Dad took a picture of it. 

Higashiyama and Kiyomizu-dera

This is where they put money in and pray.

Eating traditional soba and mugicha on the tatami matts.
Chicken donburi, somen noodles and tempura.
A giant Buddha.

Ginkakuji (The Silver Palace)

Heather skipping in the garden.
I loved the moss here.
Rock garden in front of ginkakuji.


Maruyama Kouen.

Shabu Shabu

Mochi ice and grapes! 


The Bamboo Forrest.


Ran into a member from Yokkaichi and his wife. 

The one thing everyone ate and hated on the trip. It was seriously disgusting. A gooey ground up fish jelly type thing with cheese in it.. Fried.
"I really hated that. I can't believe I ate that whole thing."
 Fushimi Inari-taisha

The VIEW of Kyoto.

Conveyor belt sushi. Heather actually loved it. 

We went to my last area for church. My family had to speak in sacrament and I translated for them. This is one of my favorite places in the world, with some of my favorite people. 
Shinkansen to Yokkaichi for church.
Chizu san, yuki chan and her husband. We taught him English every week and her the gospel for 30 minutes. She came to all the activities and struggled with the idea of God. But she earnestly studied and loved the "strict" words of the Book of Mormon.
Brother and Sister Warner. My saving grace in Yokkaichi. When I was sick and diagnosed with Celiac disease she came with tons of groceries of what I could eat. They helped with our lessons and are incredible.
Oda Shimai and Kobayashi San. He is my very favorite person in the entire world. I never have seen more of God's miracles or love towards person than in His life.

He said he feels complete to see me with my family all together. This man changed my life.

Yuki chan, krisha chan, tsujioka shimai and heather. We called Yuki "japanese Kristy."

The Furukawa family. Subaru kun, Chi chan, Mi chan. Awesome member missionaries. Chi chan stuck her butt in the camera. hahaha
Chikako San. She never became an investigator. But it was a miracle that we could become friends and make a connection with the ward and missionaries in Yokkaichi. We met her while discussing which cheese to buy.
One of my favorite people. She became my friend at eikaiwa. Taught her a few times and will be a lifelong friend.
My favorite transfer. Favorite companion.
Chikako san made me these gluten free orange chocolate muffins.

Hashimoto Kyoudai,Iori chan, Yamazaki Shimai.


Standing up on the Shinkansen.
Overwhelmed with gifts and love from the members and friends . 

Tokyo Tower.  
Looked everywhere for food, but Sizzler never tasted so good. My steak was over 40 dollars.
View from Tokyo Tower. 


 National Diet Building.

The Imperial Palace. 

Yakitori,  tempura, miso, pickled vegetables, salad.
Hama-rikyu Gardens.


 Ginza Shopping District.

 Sumida River boat ride.
Follow the leader.
That gold thing is a sweet potato.

 Asakusa Kannon Temple & Nakamise Shopping. 

Our tour guide.

The subways of Japan.

 Tsukiji Fish Market. 
The FRESHEST sushi.
The garbage in Tsukiji Fish Market. HUGE fish heads.
Always got to finish with ice cream.

 The Tokyo Temple.


Packing up.
 Keio Plaza Hotel Buffet.

 Heading HOME.
Narita Airport.
Heather loves the long flight.

The group at the airport.
Posters that Bruce and Susie Nelson made for me.