Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 23, 2013 
懇意痴話 家族-

Me and Grant Shimai have had to do quite a few companion swaps while Smith Shimai goes to the hospital. We have the most hilarious experiences together. We went and taught several members and tried to teach some less active people. I pulled over and asked someone where this store was and then as they told me directions I realized that I didn`t understand anything that they said. So we just laugh it off. Everyone is super patient with our Japanese when we visit and it usually goes really well! Whenever we go places people always give us random gifts because we are gaijin. It is so incredible, I love being us.
I have super potentially awesome news. The next transfer of girls coming in is like under 5, so the chances of us training has decreased by A LOT. There are 13 people that can train/trane(? why can`t I spell anymore)... In the last few transfers it has been 100 percent certain that you train, but now I might not. YAY>>> It will be interesting to see how things turn out in Nagano. 3 of us are most likely leaving. So we think that me or Grant Shimai will stay and potentially have a bean. They are also opening lots of new areas in the Nagano zone, so I honestly have no idea what is going to happen.
We went to Nagoya last week. Elder Aoyagi of the 70 came and spoke to our mission. It was super awesome. He talked a lot about getting a "vision" in each of our branches and wards and working towards it. He said that if we aren`t finding inverstigators we need to have more faith and talk to everyone. If our investigators aren`t going towards baptism, then we need to improve our teaching. It was really good because it was all about improving ourselves so that the work can improve. We are trying to get mogi lessons with the members right now so that we CAN improve our teaching and get more practice. There are so many young missionaries in our mission right now, so we need help. President Yamashita has been going throughout the mission and doing practice lessons with all of the junior companions to help everyone. He did it with the other two companionships in our area, so I didn`t get the chance. It takes us 4 hours to get to Nagoya by train, so it`s always a lot of traveling.
Thursday both me and Grant Shimai were vomitting our brains out. So that was miserable and a half. Friday Grant Shimai was still throwing up. Smith Shimai had to go to the hospital again so I stayed home with Grant Shimai. I ended up reading 75 pages from the Book of Mormon and studying a million vocab words. I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON.
Saturday I was FINALLY released from our apartment. I was so excited to be in fresh air again. We had an appointment with Watanabe san. Usually when we go she feeds us like 15 courses of traditional Japanese food. She is a classy lady. But it is super dangerous. I almost died from the questionable foods and the quantity last time we went and I was 100 percent healthy. So Smith Shimai said there is no way I am going. Even though I wanted to teach again, I was super grateful that I didn`t have to be welcomed into the dendou world through that experience. She has such an awesome understanding of the gospel and she just soaks it up, she just doesn`t have faith. She doesn`t have a car so we can`t get her to church. It is so tough. She loves the idea of Jesus Christ, she is starting to understand that he is a real person. She is understanding that the Atonement can help her individually. How cool is that?
We are going to Zenkoji for district activity! I could go there a million times. It is honestly the coolest place ever.  
I LOVE being a missionary. I am so lucky and blessed to be here. Even though this past week we weren`t able to do lots of dendo like normal with Nagoya, hospital, and sick- we are pumped about a new week and are going to work even harder. I am still pretty dang sick, but I`m just trying to act as healthy as possible so that we can work. The church is true. God knows each and every one of us. Because He loves us, He is always with us. Try to recognize His grace in your life. He WILL help you. He wants your happiness. He is patiently waiting for you to draw closer to him. His love is sufficient to make us strong and to make miracles happen. I send so much love from 日本. Never give up and don`t set limits. With God's help, you truly can do anything. I testify of that.


The elders at kodomo eikaiwa. We made ice cream and taught them different words in baking and in the kitchen. Yuto is the most insane child ever.
A group of us missionaries at the Aoyagi conference

This is Heo Choro and Naylor Choro. Heo CHoro is our favorite person ever, he is from Koreo and he is hilarious.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dear Family-
I hope all is going well! I can`t believe that KRisty could be getting her mission call sometime this week. I am dying over the anticipation. I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for the shoes, I really do appreciate them. They are perfect for the rain and have been such a blessing.
 Sister Smith has been super sick and had to go to the hospital last week. She is maybe getting an MRI tomorrow, so I have spent a lot of time studying Japanese this week, which is good and exactly what I need with end of the transfer coming up.
A former investigator of our area who comes to eikaiwa invited us to lunch this last week. She took us to this insanely nice restaurant and it was the fanciest thing I have seen in months. It was super yummy. We talked and got to know her and then we asked how she came into contact with the missionaries. SHe had met the missionaries through housing and she was curious about what they had to say. THey told her that god had a body like us and she was like, well that makes sense. THey showed her a picture of GOd when he appeared to Joseph SMith and she thought `well how can he be my father when he is white?` Her story was really interesting and she said that our doctrine makes sense to her, she just doesn`t like that we don`t believe in other religions our other peoples Gods. Elder Tsukamoto said, well you can ask God directly, you don`t have to take it from us. She said, well that`s true. BUt what was really awesome is she said, `you young people are in your prime, yet you are here in Japan teaching about this church. I am always blown away by the sacrifices of missionaries. So even though I don`t believe in your church, I think it is admirable that you people are here among the poeple of Japan trying to make it a better place and make people feel happiness. So I always take the missionaries out to lunch because you each spend 2 years constantly serving others to be rejected. SO I feel like this is a way I can kind of return the favor.` Isn`t it awesome how much missionaries have had an impact on her? Even if she doesn`T believe it is true, she has seen the example.
We ended up dropping one of our investigators last week.. We met with her for lunch and shared a message with her and asked if we could teach more. THe Spirit was so strong.. And she said that she isn`t ready yet. SO ultimately she chose, and we ended on good terms. We can just spend our time elsewhere.
Me and Grant SHimai went on splits this week, you KNOW that`s always an adventure. Hahaha. We hadn`t realized that it was so hard to order food. SO we had quite the interesting experience at the restaurant we went to. We had absolutely no idea what was going on. We went and taught a few lessons at less actives adn members houses and they were honestly really good. I was able to understand everything the member said because she is so expressive when she talks. I had no idea at the less active though... I just shook my head, said `hai` and `so desu ne`.. At least we both feel the same way! We totally got lost and I tried to pull someone over and ask for directions. She understood my question... But I have no idea what she said to me. She pointed in a general direction and so I just said.. "THAT WAY." hahaha.
Takemoto san is doing REALLY AWESOME. SHe is praying and reading the book of mormon and it is honestly incredible to see the change in her. SHe feels peace. SHe is happy. SHe is relying on GOd through her hard times. Man, I am so proud of her. GOd loves her so much.
Today there was a typhoon in our mission. We got a text form the honbu saying that we need to stay inside and that it`s dangerous etc etc..;... We had to go get some stuff done, that was normally like 10 minutes away. It was torrential DOWN POUR outside and it was super windy. SO we were trying to ride our bikes in this nonsense and my poor tiny companion kept getting blown over. So we figured walking would be best. As we were trying to get to this store, every semi truck known to man decided it was necessary to drive right past us. So they`d come and this giant wave of freezing, cold, water with it. We got SOAKED by every single one. Me and SMith Shimai would just turn to each other, bust up laughing and say SERIOUSLY?? Hahaha it was so funny, but probalby not the smartest thing. We were so wet. I am still freezing because we were that wet. I am thinking I might need to buy a different rain jacket. The one that I brought unfortunately soaks up a lot of the water, so all of my clothes were soaked There are some for super cheap- like 10 bucks.  I also bought rain pants because my skirt is always drenched. I have ended up having to buy a lot of stuff in Japan! I made quite possibly the best purchase of my life- an electronic dictionary! Last transfer of course.. Every missionary has one and usuallyu pays about 280 for the one I got? Me being the Crofts I am bought it for 220! So I got a good deal. It was expensive, but it really helps me to understand what is going on and find the most up to date and detailed definition. DIctionaries save lives. I also bought a backpack for 42 dollars. It was probably the 2nd best purchase of my life. It is really good quality and has a cover I can put over it for when it rains. It holds so much more, and even though I loved my brown bag, it is more realistic for every day missionary life. It is a lot easier on my back too. Could you possibly let me know how much is in my account right now? I probalby should have written that down before, I just have no idea.
My english is getting SO TERRIBLE. My spelling and grammar are the pits, and that was honestly something I felt like I was pretty good at before my mission. I am so afraid that what I say in English doesn`T make sense anymore. SO please bare with me.. If possible correct them please?:):)
Nagano is going to become a 2 sisters 2 elders area I guess again? SO it will be interesting to see how transfers go here soon. My trianer and lots will be free again, so I am praying that they can just train so I don`t have to!! :) I hope that God wouldn`t want to put my bean through so much suffering. A girl can dream.
Last week we went to the post office. A worker was super stoked to see us when we walked in. We usually talk to her and are really friendly, but it was more so than usual. SO we left the post office and she came running out after us. She said "I`m sorry this is so irrelevant, but I want you to teach me English, I want to be your friend!" She was so cute and we felt like it was a tender mercy from God. We had just dropped our investigator and that happened. We are so blessed. WE met with her on Saturday and it went really well! We are meeting with her again this week. SHe has a lot of potential to be a good investigator, she is 23. SUper excited to see how it turns out.
Well, i love you! Please write me... You have no idea how much it helps on the hard days. Even if you just wrote "I love you" and that`s it.. It means the world. :) The church is true!! God is watching over every aspect of this work. Helaman 10*4-6. Sometimes I don`t know what God wants me to do, but if I am dilligent he will bless me. He has promised me that. Even if I might not make a difference in the people`s lives I talk to everyday, I am making a difference in mine. I have no doubt that God is always looking out for me. He is proud of me,a dn will give me His help as I need it.
Much love,
Sister Crofts

 successfully ordering my first meal without sister smith to help me!

                                  Japanese English is hilarious. It brings me so much happiness
The mother daughter awkward photo. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 9, 2013

Hello family!

Sorry about the e-mail last week. I had thought I sent it, but I guess I was trying to get everything done so fast that I accidentally didn`t send it. So hopefully the one I sent goes through! I am safe, not to worry. There was a typhoon warning in our area last week, so we had to stay in our apartment for the rest of the night, but it wasn`t anything to worry about. Hahahaha of course the one week I totally blank on the e-mail there is a tornado in Tokyo, that is honestly hilarious. But I really am sorry!!!!!!!!!!!! I am safe!!

I got the package, thank you much! That completely made my week! The shoes are kind of massive, but I honestly could care less. I am just going to get used to it. I really appreciate all the letters, inspiration, it was much needed.

This week has been super busy, we probably visited a million people. I kid you not. Last Monday we went to lunch with a member (she`s a rm, and she has dendo fire up the wazoo) and two of her friends. One is from America, and the other is Japanese and is the cutest human alvie. THey were asking lots about our purpose as missionaries and our church, so we are ina  really good position with them。We are going to get together with them sometime in the next 2 weeks and invite them to hear more about our church!

Tuesday we met with one of our PIs. I absolutely love her. We got to know her and bonded and what not. At the end when we were about to say goodbye I asked her if she would want to hear more about our church and testified a little bit. She was like Yeah! I`d like that. So we are going to meet with her soon to hopefully start teaching her. She`s super busy so it might be hard to meet with her, but all we need is 15 minutes. She has a member friend that lives in California right now, so we talked to the member friend`s mom and asked her to tell the member friend. We are hoping that she can receive some support from her. It was way awesome!

Visiting a million people... For several days this week we went to members, less actives, potential investigators, investigators and either nobody was home or every one was too busy. So we seriously worked so hard this week, but it may not have shown through in our stats. Oh well, God knows how hard we worked and how much we are trying. We got to the end of the day and me and Smith Shimai just said, "you know, we honestly can`t complain. We worked so hard." We felt really good to know that we`re just doing the best we can.

We had zone conference and it was incredible. I got so pumped to be a missionary. I was seriously so excited! The goal right now is to get the Nagano area to be a stake in two years. It will take a ton of work, but I think it is possible. So we are working to find people in our area to be baptized so that we can strengthen our ward. We have 4 investigators, and it is hard to schedule with all fo them right now. So this week we are focusing on finding. President Yamashita`s goal, or motto is "one companionship, one baptism, one month." We think it is possible, and through the Lord we know it is. We are working our butts off to try and make this happen. Even if we can just find more investigators, it will get us closer to that goal.

Anyway, thanks for the love and support! I really appreciate everything you do! I hope school is going well, and that you are all relying on the Savior every single day. He knows each of you. He wants to help each of you. All you have to do is ask for His strength. The church is true!

                                               Love, Crofts SHimai

roasting marshmallows on the stove.. on chopsticks.
massive japanese grapes.

The Train from Nagoya. 
Trainers Training.  Elder Ho left our zone, he was hilarious. We miss him

 We went to lunch with Sister Asai and her friend from her work who is American. 


September 2, 2013- Didn't get this letter until September 9th!

Dear Family-  (Sorry I promise I am alive!!!!!!!) Computer malfunctioning.

This week has been hard, but it has been one of the most rewarding weeks I have had since being in the mission! I am so blessed to be a missionary. This past week, miracles happened. REAL MIRACLES.

We went to Nagoya for trainers training, and at this point I have 5 short weeks until I will be a trainer. The conference was really short, but awesome. I am now beginning to realize my complete and utter inadequacy as I prepare and work hard to become a trainer. Ultimately, I will be relying on the grace of God to get me ready. I just pray for the peace in my heart that it will all be okay in the end.

We tried to set up an appointment with one of our investigators at the beginning of the week. We called her to see how she is doing and asked if we ccould meet with her this week. Due the the Matsuri festivals, it is a week of drinking for her so she does not want to meet with us while she is "Yopparai" (wasted drunk). She said that she will be drinking constantly in the upcoming week and she does not want to meet with us until she is sober again. SO that was a bummer and a half. Don`t really know where we are going to go from there.

Last Wednesday we went to the Alzheimers care center as usual. Our best friend there was having his birthday party, so we got cake and watermelon. Win. He also gave a speech where he demonstrated his "daiji na oto" ..."important/special sound." That sound was athe first cry he made when he came out of his mother`s womb.. followed by an interpreative gesture (best described as teh position he was in when coming out of the womb) startled doesn`t begin to describe it, it was honestly the funniest thing I have ever seen. But the cake was good. On the way back we were at the train station and there was this woman on the bench, we sat by her and talked to her for a little bit. She asked why we are here and when she heard we are missionaries she nearly jumped out of her seat she was so thrilled adn proud of us. She said that she she read the bible when she was young and felt really good while she read it, but has not been able to find that church since. She has travelled the world searching for this church- going to rome, canada, california, tokyo. So we just testified of our church and how much God loves her and she started CRYING. She was so touched.. RIght in that moment the train came and she had to leave. We asked her if we could teach her more, but she had to go. We were only able to give her a gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet with our contact information on it. I don:t know if we were the church she was looking for, but I know she felt something.

Friday we had this awesome day planned and we were stoked to get out and work. We had the faith to find, and the dendo fire to talk to every person in Japan. Then of course, Torrential downpour, our favorite. Plans ruined.,... or were they? So we were in Nagano and were trying to dendo inside. We got an appointment with one of our potential investigators, walked around, and then decided to head home because the rain wasn:t letting up. We stopped by a less actives home to teach a lesson. IT was an awesome lesson and she was actually testifying to US. She was baptized because her friend was doing it, so it was awesome to hear that from her. As we were leaving her home, I saw a woman in the distance walking under an umbrella. She looked like the weight of the world was on her shoulders and that she was just completely bummed out. This voice came into my head "you need to talk to her." Usually I do not deny a prompting of that boldness, but we were getting drenched and we were already on our bikes. So we kept going down the street. The farther away we drove the more I felt like my heart was going to be ripped out of my chest. So finally sister smith said that she feels like we need to talk to that woman. I gave a complete sigh of relief and told her I felt the same way. Thank goodness we were having the same prompting. So we pulled our bikes over the the side fo the road and were just fiddling in our backpacks int eh rain. When we approached her we began talking to her. SHe was pregnant, in her twenties, it was pouring rain, and she was out for a walk. A little unusual. So we began to testify about eternal families, God and all that stuff. SHe said that she doesn:t know if there is a god. She doesnt even believe in buddhism. As we talked to her, her countenance changed, she looked legitinately happier. The Spirit was so strong. We asked her if we could teach her more, but she said that she doesn:t think that her family would be okay with that. So then we were like.. Ahh.. Dangit. And we were just going to say, "oh well. if we run into you again." BUt then I remembered the humble Book of Mormon I had put in my back pack this morning. A book that precious did not desserve to be wet in the rain so I put it in this cute little fabric bag that wrapped around it several times. I asked her to wait a moment and then grabbed it out of my bag and said "we have a present for you." She looked puzzled and then I handed it to her. We testified of the book of mormon and how she will feel comfort and peace through it. Our contact information was on the inside, but she told us that she would read the book of Mormon. THat she WANTED to read the Book of Mormon. As she walked away, she held that book of mormon close to her heart. She knew that it was a special book. I don:t know if anything will come out of that experience that I will ever know, but she HAS a book of mormon. She has a place to go when times get hard. I am so excited. We think that she doesn:t have a husband and lives with her family, but even if they aren:t supportive of her taking lessons. She has a book that she can turn to to have a relationship with God. I am so excited. THat book will bring forth miracles and happiness in her life. I have faith that she will read it and it will change her life. That was quite honestly one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. Later that night we met with takemoto san again. It had been a long time and we really wanted to see where she was at. So we taught about God and read James 1:5. She honestly just understood the concept. We asked if she had ever asked for help before from God and she said she had askeed for her mom before and she was like- i asked for gods helkp when she got surgery... And then she talked about how when she studies really hard for english tests and then prays to god, she does good. But if she doesn:t work really ahrd he does not help her. So it was amazing how much she understood. The Spirit was so strong and she just connected all teh dots. We had her read moroni 10:3-5. We met with her the next day and she just told us how she felt so good when she read the book fo mormon. So we taught her a lesson and then taught her how to pray at the end. So we asked her to pray and she was really afraid of it, but eventually she said she would. It was without a doubt, the most incredible prayer I have ever heard. At firsti she was a little bit nervous, but as she prayed she TALKED to God. Wow.. THe spirit was so strong. She kept saying "I am so thankful for the Amy sisters and them helping me learn English. They make me really happy, and I like how I feel around them." So then she said that her mom ahd a surgery in July and her eye is not healing very well (and just told God the whole background story) and asked for his help. She ended the prayer and my eyes were honestly watering becasue it was so incredible. I absolutely take for granted what it means to pray, to talk to God.

God loves these people so much. I love these people so much. I am trying so hard to learn Japanese, and it is so slow, but I knwo that I can speak when God needs me to. I love you all! The church is true!

Sister Crofts