Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!! 

I hope everyone is genki and I could not be more jealous of you in Mexico right now. This morning as I went out to my bike it was covered in ice and I couldn`t help but think of my family beaching it in Mexico. It snowed the other day and we were super stoked about it. 

Christmas was AMAZING and I can`t even put into words how grateful I am for the experiences I had. We had some way cool teaching opportunities and there were so many people who heard about Jesus` birth for the very first time. We went to this awesome lady`s eikaiwa Christmas party and she wanted us to teach her students about the real meaning of Christmas. I had the opportunity to do so and at the beginning I asked if any of them had ever heard of Jesus or the story of His birth. There were over 35 people in the room and not one of them raised their hand. I honestly couldn`t believe it. So I simply taught the story of His birth. Every single one of them was so surprised that Jesus` birth is what we celebrate at Christmas. After, this girl from Malaysia came up to me and asked me "How is Jesus Christ the Son of God?"  I taught her a little bit and then told her how we lived with God before this life, how we were sent here to learn and grow and can be clensed of our mistakes through Jesus Christ. She was silent for a minute, just looked into my eyes and said "wow......... that is beautiful." We talked for a while and she said that she always wanted to know who Jesus is. Unfortunately she is heading back to Malaysia next week, so we can`t legitimately teach her, but the fact that she was able to understand who Jesus is really was a miracle. There were so many people who heard the story of Jesus for the very first time this Christmas and I think that was the biggest gift of all. Even if they don`t immediately have a desire to learn about Him, there are seeds being planted and it is absolutely amazing to see people hear about Him for the first time. 

We had a ward Christmas party and it was a huge success! Over 100 people came and 30 of them were non-members. We were able to meet so many awesome people and I am really excited to see the people who have interest after that!  On Christmas, the missionaries threw together a little party of about 20 people and it was honestly sooooo amazing. We made a ton of food, and sang Christmas songs together. It was my first Christmas away from home, but I felt like I was with my family. We had some of the people we teach there, some friends, some members, it was honestly amazing. Who knew missionaries could pull off such a feast?  I was so grateful for my blessings! 

Yesterday we were housing and an old chubby man literally answered the door naked. My eyes were on the floor and as I raised my eyes to meet his face I was struck with nothing but horror. We were talking and trying to create a mental barrier between his head and the rest of his body. We told him about Jesus Christ and why we are here and he ran to grab something. IMMEDIATELY me and Silva Shimai just started booking it down the stairs to run away. Hahaha it was absolutely mortifying. Silva Shimai turned to me and said "Sister Crofts- was he legitimately naked?" hahaha yikes. Why? WHY? 

Transfer calls came and I am so happy that I am staying in Kariya again! Elder Baker is transfering to another area so there are 2 elders and 2 sisters again. It is Sister Silva, Elder Sambongi, and Elder Gibb`s last transfer and they are going home. So it will be just me left! Kind of sad, but I really am so excited. I LOVE these people.  I am so grateful for my Savior. I love teaching people about Him. In Him, we can find peace and everlasting joy. Have an awesome week! I am probably going to gain a solid 5 kilos this week. It is shyogatsu this week (look it up, THE Japanese holiday). Everyone is on break from work and they all spend time with their families. It is basically socially unacceptable to go visit people`s homes during this time. So the members feed us lunch AND dinner. Each is a gigantic meal, of course delicious... But dangit we are going to be so sick. 


Sister Crofts

Japanese is hard to learn! Suzuki Shimai took us to her friends house who is a professional. 
Kariya and Okazaki sisters! (ward and watanabe) 
The closest thing to an American hamburger I've had. Japanese hamburger taste s
The girl from Malaysia who wanted to know about Jesus:) 
Seriously damaged my foot on a wall while riding my bike. 
Our Philipino investigator, Chini, made us food. 
Chika chan and Mai chan. 
Our little Christmas party we put together:) A recent convert, 2 less actives, 3 investigators, a PI, and 2 ward missionaries. When I was sitting there eating I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for my love of these people and how we pulled it off. Such a special Christmas. 

Sunday before Christmas dinner at the Hayase's.

Our ward christmas party                                              The Bobadillas:)

Oie Shimai                      

The party where I taught about the Saviors birth:)
The Matsuhisa girls made these awesome COOKIES!

A shrine we bumped into while visiting people with Seika chan. She took us to her mom's dance place where they were learning hula.

Opening the family calendar. 
Ishikawa san invited us to his concert. It was classical and Baker, Gibb, & Silva conked out. He went up to the lead soloist and said "have you ever heard of Mormons? they don't drink tea, coffee, alcohol and they don't smoke." Awkward to say the least. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013

Merry クリスマス!!!

It has been an awesome week. We are working hard and I love my companion, Kariya and the amazing people we are teaching. We have been receiving so much help from the members this week and their love and support is seriously making all of the difference. With Christmas coming up, our schedules are insane and everyone is trying to get appointments with us for Christmas and for the first week in January because it is a huge celebration in Japan....?

We have had the opportunity to work with several of the less active people and families in our ward this week. It was incredible when we were teaching one of the ladies who is currently believing in reincarnation. We talked about the doctrine of Christ and her purpose in this life. She realized how she deeply she wants to go to the temple and we are now working towards that- awesome huh! Something clicked for her in that lesson and it was an absolute miracle. Last night we visited a Brazilian family (the Da Silvas)  in our ward who hasn`t been to church in years with one of the members. It was the craziest feeling because they opened the door and I immediately thought "I KNOW YOU." I knew this family and the more we talked the more deeply I realized how much I know them. It was awesome because we were able to share a message and help them to feel our love for them and we are going to start working with them and visit them so they can return to church. After we left,  the lesson me and Silva Shimai just couldn`t believe how much we recognized them.. We haven`t dendoed in their area before so we don`t know! Anyway, super incredible family and super willing to listen to the gospel again!

The people we are teaching are SO AMAZING. Words cannot even express the love I have for them. It is really hard because they HAVE faith. They HAVE the desire, but Satan is working so hard on them right now... But so is God. :) We were teaching one of our investigators, he is honestly amazing. He was invited to be baptized 3 times in the lesson and he KNEW that he needed to. The Spirit was SO INCREDIBLY STRONG but he said.. I want to make sure that it is 101% true before I commit to anything.. WHAT?!?!? It is so sad when you see how much someone is touched by the Spirit and they don`t choose to act on that. I feel like that with all of our investigators right now. They know it is true but they won`t make the big steps and act on it!

We had the most INCREDIBLBE experience with our ward last week. We spent all day Friday preparing food and goodies for this women’s protection home in Handa. It is a center for women whose husbands maybe abused them and are now single moms maybe hiding from their husbands or just seeking refuge. I  hope that makes sense.( I can`t speak English) We went and fed them this amazing meal and played games with them and then had the opportunity to teach them about the nativity story. I had the blessing to talk to so many of these moms and children.. They were so humble and so grateful. The kids had a blast with the games and it was hilarious! When everyone saw the food they ran to it and were grabbing anything they could. I honestly couldn`t believe the humbling situations these people were in. Ah, I just am so grateful. Their hearts were touched by the Spirit of Christ that night. There was one lady who told us- I want you to teach my children about Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, we can`t return to the place since it is kind of on "lock down" I guess. It is just super cool that they were able to feel that they are special and loved.

I love all of you and send much love! I hope everything is going well! I AM SO EXCITED TO SKYPE YOU NEXT WEEK!!!!!

Crofts 姉妹

I was the example during a Zone Conference. 

We heart attacked Suzuki San's house to show her love.
Christmas at the women's home. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DECEMBER 9, 2013

It has been a great week! We have had the opportunity to serve many of the members and people in our area. There have been lots of crazy experiences this week and I am super grateful for the humbling, amazing opportunity to be serving in Kariya. Me and Silva Shimai have been fed by a lot of members these past few weeks and as a result of gotten some SERIOUS food poisoning. We were at a members house and our stomachs were making the sickly gurgling noises and she asked "are you okay... Do you need to use the bathroom?" hahaha ahhhhhhhh. And it just downhilled from there. We both were in and out of the bathroom for several days. There was a point where it was coming out on both ends for me. SO MISERABLE!  Hahahaha there were several times where we tried to go out of the apartment to visit people. We would ride our bikes for a little bit and then just freeze because we couldn`t move and had to find a bathroom IMMEDIATELY. Hahahaha the members and people we visited just laughed soooo hard at us. It was so terrible and I hope you don`t think I am disgusting for sharing this, but please just try and understand my life.

DAY 2. As you may recall, me and Silva Shimai had a pretty gnarly cleaning experience last transfer. So we visited them last week and realized it was BEYOND TERRIBLE and needed immediate relief. So we set a date to clean on Saturday (wtih the Elders muahahha. There are 3 elders now by the way). So we came, had our gloves, our faces covered in masks and were ready to go. It honestly looked like a bomb of dirt and nastiness had been let off in their home. The elders don`t usually go inside, so when they walked in with us they were filled with immediate terror. Hahaha. They were whimpering and begging us to not make them clean it. I have never seen any humans so afraid in my life. Hahaha. They were honestly shaking. So me and Silva Shimai just kind of started going and told them what to do. We got there at 9:30 am and cleaned until 5:00 pm. They have lived there for over 20 years and I am without a doubt certain that they have never cleaned that apartment in their life. I had to clean the showers and it was completely black. The fridge had hundreds of dead and living cockroaches just scattered throughout the walls and the food. All of the cups and plates were filled with dead cockroaches. We moved the fridge back and there was a pile that just scattered out and all of the elders were in the corner screaming while me and Silva Shimai killed as many as we could. Hahaha. We also took many of the doors off to put new wallpaper on. As we did so, cockroaches just flew out of the cracks and I was hitting the door trying to get them out, Silva Shimai was vacuuming and I was stepping on them with my feet and hitting them with a paddle all at the same time while the Elders were freaking out. Hahaha it was honestly the funniest, most repulsive experience. Last time we cleaned, we just barely made a dent, but this time was good because we really had the opportunity to deep clean. I did not know it was humanly possible for a home to become so dirty. We really did so much for their home and it felt so good when we finished. Sister Ogata pulled out some meat from the fridge that had just had cockroaches climbing through it and said "please!! Let me cook for you!" without hesitation we all said "NOOOOOOOO!" At the end there was a trail of cockroaches above the kitchen cupboard just waiting for us to leave so they could reclaim their territory. It was so depressing, defeat. But I hope that they can maintain their home now and so they can establish a celestial home. When I returned to my apartment, I couldn`t believe how clean it was. If I ever saw a black dot,  I thought it was a cockroach.  But then I realized, I AM SAFE. It was a scaring experience and my future home is going to be sparkling clean, but I am really grateful we could help them.

It has been an awesome opportunity to serve so many of the members this week and to work with them! They have so much love for us and are doing everything they can to help us. I love my Savior so much. His Atonement is real. His grace and mercy are infinite. He is always there and through HIs strength we are made whole. I love this church, how blessed I am to have hope. Have an awesome week!

Sister Crofts
A beautiful sunrise on our way to teach Japanese to Andre and teach recent convert lessons to Mai. (7 am) 
This was the fridge after we had cleaned it a bit. 
It took an hour of scrubbing to get it to look like

Dinner with the Matsuhisas. The fish was still moving on our plate and the shrimp was half a foot long.