Tuesday, October 29, 2013

OCTOBER 28, 2013

Dear family, 

Everything is going AWESOME in Kariya. I love this place so much. It is a really big city and it is a pretty big area as well. We live in an apartment by the train station. It is nice and clean, but it is kind of small for 4 sisters in the same apartment. We don`t really stop for lunch or dinner because we work all day, so usually we will bring an apple with us or a member or less active ends up giving us food. If we do have time for dinner we just make some basic yummy Japanese food! I love my companion so much and she never ceases to be hilarious. This has been such an awesome transfer. The Portuguese and Spanish every day is still hurting my brain and I can`t remember anything despite my diligent effort... oh well! It works out. Yesterday we went to visit a less active member (Teshima Shimai) who hasn`t been to church in a year. So at first we sat down (she is Brazilian by the way) and then for the next hour she told us her life story in Portuguese. I was truly trying to intently listen, but I only caught the occasional number or whatever, not enough to understand what she was actually saying. I was listening with my heart, doing everything I could but it wasn`t happening. I honestly had no idea what was going on. So then my brain started trying to shut off and I honestly thought I was going to fall asleep. I was pinching myself and bouncing my leg in attempts to wake up. Man it was tough. So she invited us to stay for dinner! I was relieved to be able to just stand up and move. We got to know her and she is honestly the sassiest, most hilarious woman I have ever met. I love her so much. As we were talking,  we just really developed love for one another. I would throw in the occasional Japanese, but we just laughed and had fun. We found out that she had been praying long and hard about whether or not this church is true. So then she gets a call from a member inviting her to come to church. The day after (unplanned) Silva Shimai calls her and schedules an appointment. She said that we came directly from heaven and answered her prayers. She knows it is true now! She is going to come to church. She`s having us over again and making us Brazilian food. She was mortified when she found out that we aren`t eating at members' houses every day. Hahahaha. I love her so much. When we left, she ran out the back of her house just so she could keep waving to us. It truly was a miracle how much of a change of heart she had from the beginning of our visit to the end. She just needed to know she is loved. 

We were super busy yesterday and Yoshida Shimai asked us to visit her daughter because she more than anything just wanted to see the sister missionaries. So we were able to make it to her house right in time last night and she was so excited to see us! It`s cool how much of an impact we have on these people. I love Kariya so much! 

Our investigators are doing SO GREAT. We met with Mayumi 2x  last week and she told us that when she was reading the Book of Mormon she just realized "this is true. I know it is" She knows she needs to be baptized but the problem is the whole chastity thing... She says that now she doesn`t have money to afford her dream wedding, so she doesn`t want to be married. She says "next year I will be baptized." It’s tough. She deserves a beautiful wedding, but she also deserves the blessings of being baptized as a member of the church. I love her so much and we have so much fun with her! She is such an amazing person and we really have all just become awesome friends. 

Suzuki san came to our Halloween party last week with her family. She has the cutest kids. We talked about the plan of salvation last Tuesday and she really just wanted to understand everything. She said if this is true, that makes this life have more meaning. So at the end, I invited her to be baptized. But she said that she doesn`t really know if that is what she wants. She was asking our member, how did you choose to do this? You have to completely change your entire life and I don`t know if I am ready to do that. So she didn`t say yes or no, but now she can think about it. We are going to talk more about it this week. She has the desire and really wants to understand, so I know that God will bless her with the witness she needs because she is so special. 

We had a Halloween party on Wednesday and it was such a hit. So many people that me and Sister Silva invited ACTUALLY CAME. So we have many potential investigators because of it. Our investigator was there, 6 potential investigators who we invited... It was such a blessing. One girl we met on the street and we asked her to bring her friends. So she brought 3 friends! We were able to talk about the church with many of them and they were super interested. I am so excited to see where everything goes. It was so much fun! 

We were finishing up with eikaiwa for Danilla and Thiago, we cleaned up everything from their cute baby. So Silva Shimai showed them the baptismal font and they were so surprised that we don`t baptize our babies, but they loved it. So Silva Shimai said "Oh, Sister Crofts is amazing at the  piano." Of course I went and played. So we were in the sacrament room and we talked about the sacrament and our church. The Spirit was honestly so strong.. I played the piano and they said that they would maybe come to church sometime. They are just so busy that it is really hard. 

I don`t have enough space or time to talk about all of the miracles or incredible things that have happened this week, but I am just super humbled. My heart is so full of gratitude. God truly is guiding this work. He knows us and he has so many blessings he wants to give us.  All he asks of us is our best. How great is His grace. How great is his mercy! I love being a missionary. It is so hard, and I have never been more exhausted in my LIFE. But I have also never been happier. THE CHURCH IS TRUE! 

Sister Crofts
Sister Crofts and her companion, Sister Silva from Sao Paulo Brazil. 
Halloween Party in Kariya. Kaoru chan and her sister. 
Trying to learn the ropes of those Japanese maps. 

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