Monday, November 25, 2013

NOVEMBER 25, 2013

Good Morning everyone!!!!!!

It is such a beautiful day in Kariya.  I honestly am so happy that I am staying.  I love the area  and the people so so much. Yesterday,  I was just sitting in church completely overwhelmed by how special these people are and how much I love them!!!

This last week has been really busy and filled with lots of planning!  Since the other sisters moved to Fukutoku, we have to take care of all the people they worked with. We figure- get organized; work harder the rest of the transfer.  They had 1 person they were teaching, she is super sweet and Philipino. This past week, we have found several new investigators and they are such amazing people. I am super blessed!  Two of the people are Brazilian,  so Saturday 7 hours was spent teaching people in Portuguese.  7 HOURS!  It was really good though.  It was hard, because I can`t really help Silva Shimai with the Portuguese because I can only learn Japanese unless otherwise authorized by my mission president. So the entire time, I was just praying so hard "Heavenly Father PLEASE help her. PLEASE let her be guided by the Spirit."  I could follow sometimes what they were saying so I knew what they were talking about, but I couldn`t say anything in Portuguese... So one of the people read a verse from the Book of Mormon and said "I believe." The Spirit was so strong during the lessons.  If I ever was unsure, I would just pray and feel the Spirit so strongly and I KNEW that she was being guided and what she was saying was true. When I told that to one of the investigators, he was speechless.  He said, you don`t know Portuguese, but you can understand and FEEL it is true???" And that was the case. Miracles are real and the gift of tongues and the gift of the spirit really work in incredible ways.

We found one former investigator that we are beginning to teach and she somehow knows all of the people who are less active in our area. So Saturday,  she was trying to visit less actives with us even though she isn`t a member! Cool huh? She just kept saying "I know how important your work is and I want to help you!" We went to a Brazilian chuhascaria, soooooooo yummy!

It is AMAZING because the members really love the missionaries and are all trying so hard to work with us and help us in any way. We are SO CRAZY BUSY, but it couldn`t be better. There are so many people who are slowly coming back to church and the work is really progressing in our area with reactivation and finding investigators.

This past week,  I met my ULTIMATE challenge with chopsticks: Eating CRAB.  It was quite possibly one of the most challenging things I may ever have to do. Hahahaha,  I was crying from laughing because it was so hard. I was sitting by one of the members, who is about 14 and she was laughing so hard because I was like a child. My food was splattering everywhere as I just tried to eat and ... Uh... It was so hard. Hahha NEVER AGAIN. SOooo embarassing.

The mission conference was AWESOME!  We went to Nagoya and Elder Evans was a misison president in our mission about 15 years ago. It was so great because the whole time he just focused on being reliable, diligent missionaries so that we can work together with the word.  Me and Sister Silva are trying every single day to have a change of heart and become better missionaries. There were 4 sisters that spent the night at our apartment the night before the conference. Kariya Shimai is still a relatively new apartment so there are only 4 blankets. So there are only heaters in 2 rooms of our apartment so the other ones are like walking into a freezer. So me and Silva Shimai gave them the blankets and the futons/pillows and what not because we wanted to be good hosts... Hahaha,  so I started out wearing a thermal and a hoodie and some socks. Ya know, the standard.  However after laying there blankly by the window in the room with no heater for an hour and realizing that it is utterly FREEZING I decided that wouldn`t fly. So I tried getting gloves, another scarf, extra socks and an extra thermal. Laying there.... 2 hours later... I go get another thermal, warmest winter coat and more socks and ear warmers and a hat and I was still shivering. So I had gotten up several times in the night by this point and Silva Shimai asks me if I am okay.  She touches me and sees that I am loaded with layers and says SISTER,  YOU ARE FREEZING. So then she says get in my futon. (she was also freezing so she had geniusly unzipped her futon cover and laid in it. So then I get in, shivering. And she puts my pad on top of me and the futon and just lays on top of it to tries to get warm.  It was one of the coldest nights of my life, but the next day me and Silva Shimai were laughing so hard because we were like THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. Hahahaha we were so tired the next day and we cannot stop talking about how bad that was. It is kind of funny because last p-day we had been thinking about buying blankets, but we were like nahhh, lets save our money we don`t need it. Hahaha dangit.

It has been an awesome week and I wish I could stay here forever. The power of the Atonement is real and He gives me complete comfort and strength every single day.  It is amazing to see miracles every single day, but most importantly to see miracles in myself. I love this gospel and I will spend my whole life sharing how important it is to me and to others happiness. God lives, this church is TRUE. I love you! Happy Thanksgiving! I will probably be eating some form of questionable raw fish on Thanksgiving... THINK OF ME and eat extra turkey okay?

We practice teaching to Hello Kitty everyday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NOVEMBER 18, 2013


Hello everyone! 

I have AWESOME news: I am staying in Kariya with Sister Silva!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Sister Smith and Avarell are moving, so I am bummed about that, but it will be awesome. There will just be 2 Elders and 2 Sisters in our area. I love this area and the people we are teaching so much it would break my heart to leave. So I will be here for Christmas and everything. Can you believe I have been out for 6 months? I only have 1 year left. It is the freakiest thing how much time is flying by. I wish I could just stay here forever. My Japanese still isn`t that great, but I love these people soooooo much. 
The people we are teaching are doing so awesome! They are each learning so much and progressing so much. Because the other sisters are leaving, we are taking all of their investigators too so we are going to be so crazy busy this transfer. We had a really cool experience last week with Mayumi.  I was helping her with some of her English stuff and we were just talking. She seriously is going to be one of my lifelong best friends. I LOVE HER. But I felt like I needed to talk about patriarchal blessings and the blessings and guidance we receive because of it. She thought for a minute and then she was like "I WANT THAT. I WANT THIS." So we invited her to be baptized next month.  She believes it and I know that a miracle can happen and she will be ready for next month! Yesterday we did am FHE with our Suzuki San's family (minus the dad) and the Sugiuras.. It was so much fun and it is amazing how much the kids love the missionaries.   ANYWAY.... I think that in the next few months she will be baptized if she can get time to come to church. All of the people we teach are seriously doing so awesome.

We went to a Korean barbecue last week with Sefa (who is a pro rugby player from Tonga) and his wife Simmy. It is like an all you can eat meat place. Sister Silva always says that she wants to be big and wants to get fat. So this guy is seriously the size of the hulk and he said okay- you eat what I eat. Hahaha I was trying all the new things and it was so yummy but there was this pepper I ate that was so hot I was balling and couldn`t taste anything for the rest of the night. We honestly have the coolest people in our ward and our area. 

THIS CHURCH IS TRUE!!! Time is flying by and I am just trying to live up every moment. I am so grateful to be in the most incredible place in the world! 

Sister Crofts
Knocking doors! 
Sister Silva reacts to Brazilian chocolates sent by Crofts Family
Awesome package sent by Ward YW
Sister Crofts, Avarell & Smith
FHE with the coolest people ever
All the missionaries surprised Sister Ishikawa shimai with treats for her birthday. 
Hanai Miyuki Shimai, Miyachi Shimai and some friends celebrating Sister Avarells birthday! 
Yummy ramen! 
Korean Barbecue. THIS PLACE IS AMAZING. 

FHE with Suzuki San and the Sugiuras:)
Inori chan:) 
Just admiring my legs. 

Bobadilla Shimai invited us to Migeul's birthday and we brought Mayumi along:) 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

NOVEMBER 11, 2013

Dear Family and Friends

It has been a busy week (as usual) and time is flying by so fast. Can you believe I only have ONE YEAR LEFT? Absolutely blows my mind. I got the package of sonha de valsas (?) and I opened it and I swear Sister Silva screamed as if a little child on Christmas. It was so amazing. She just kept saying how much she loves you and NEEDS to meet you. She loves our family! All of us also watched the mission call opening for Kristy, of course I was balling because I am so proud of her. She TOTALLY spazzed out, couldn`t stop laughing. Glad to see my Kristy is still the same.  Everyone looks SO good/different and it was the most bizarre thing. I haven`t yet gotten the 2nd package you sent.... However, if you send things to the honbu they MUST be sent through the US post (otherwise they can`t forward them to me and it takes weeks for me to receive them). I am not really sure what is going to happen next transfer, I hope and pray that I am staying in Kariya. So if I end up staying I will send you the address for packages pronto. Otherwise, there is not much point. Sister Silva has two transfers left in her mission, so she will probably go to another area. However, we don`t know what is going to happen! I will most likely become area sempai and then Sister Silva will go to a new area... 

This week has been AWESOME and we have found so many new people to teach with an interest for the gospel. I invited Danila and Thiago to hear more about the church and they were so excited to learn more about eternal families! Our investigators are progressing so much and words honestly can`t express how much I love these people. So much is happening! 

I think I told you about the Brazilian lady who hadn`t been to church in a lonnnnng time where God had impeccable timing and answered her prayers by us showing up at her door? Well, since she has come into contact with us she has seen so many miracles. Things are working out for her life and she knows that it is because God is blessing her by her faith. You honestly wouldn`t believe the 360 degree change that has happened in this woman`s heart. She has so much faith, and she is so happy! She gave us 10 dollars and said to go buy some bananas. We were like NO WAYYYYY. That is way too much, we can`t take this. She is so sassy and was like "no you take it and say thank you. This is nothing in comparison to the miracles that you have brought to my life." I love her so much.  She is coming back to church! It is amazing how much the Lord has blessed her since she has started to meet with us. There is also another Japanese woman who we have been meeting with who is recognizing the need for God in her life and is returning to church now. These ladies are INCREDIBLE. 

Crazy experience of last week, so we had this insanely busy day planned to visit so many people. So we were pretty far away from our house and Silva Shimai said "okay, we can go back a bit and take the train, this road might long and hilly. What do you think?" So I said "no it is cool, we can do it!" Hahaha... So we start going down this highway on our bikes and it is totally downhill. So I am thinking "yeahhh, this is cool, aren`t we so glad that we did that?" Next thing we know, everything is uphill, super steep and we are both screaming bloody murder because of the pain in our legs. Hahaha I was like, Sister Silva- you can just go ahead and punch me. So in that day, we ended up biking over 30 miles with half of it being uphill. We were so dead. All of the members couldn`t believe how far we went, they said "you are not sister missionaries! Sister missionaries don`t do that. ELDERS don`t even come out this far." Hehehe we could have kept going, but we were out from 8 am until 9*30 at night. So it is super busy. I also got in my first legit bike accident last week, me and Silva Shimai are both totally bruised and sore from it... Hahaha whoops. 

As far as what I need for Christmas... I am not sure I have need of much. It would probably just be easier to send me some money so I can buy a couple new things to replace! All the sisters say it is going to be freezing and I will want boots... So I don`t know really what to do about that. I don`t really have any that would work from home that you could send me. My pea coat might not be warm enough either. I guess I can just put tons of layers on. It will work out! I am not too worried about it! 

Well, I love you all so much! This experience is soooo humbling, but I have never been happier. I really can`t do this without the help of my Heavenly Father. THE CHURCH IS TRUE. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013

皆さん こんいちわ

This has been another awesome week and I am loving my time here in Kariya. The ward is awesome, the people we teach are awesome and I feel so blessed to be here and have the blessing to work so hard. Words honestly cannot express how much I love it here! 

Last week we had the COOLEST opportunity to GO TO COSTCO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mayumi invited us and so we went with her! It was the busiest, most insane place I have ever seen. THese Japanese people know the good stuff. When we went in, our investigator said- "here, you do not act like a sister missionary. You just gotta push people!" hahahaha I love her. I will honestly be friends with her forever.  I was so excited and it was one of those weird flashback moments where I was expecting to look over and see mom and I was with both of them. I loved it though. It was nice to get some American food that is relatively cheap. Oh how I missed this stuff. It was hilarious because Mayumi would say "there is a million people here, ask them to hear about the church! Hand out flyers or whatever you do. Invite them!" She is so great and I love her so much. 

Me and Silva Shimai have almost found several new investigators every single day this week!!! So we are working hard and just need to improve our language skills so it isn`t so hard to get a follow up appointment. We have had some really cool teaching opportunities and been able to testify about the truths of the gospel so many times this week. I think there is nothing more incredible than when I talk to someone on the street and tell them how much God loves them and that their family can be together forever. It doesn`t mean they are interested, but I just love being able to testify of the restored truths. We have a new person that we are teaching right now and she is Brazilian, but doesn`t speak a lit of English/Japanese. So we were housing and found this sweet woman. I started talking in Japanese and then Silva Shimai just said... "I don`t think she speaks Japanese" and started talking in Portuguese. FOR THE NEXT HOUR AND A HALF they talked in Portuguese in the doorway. I was trying so hard to understand, but I haven’t learned any Portuguese so it was tough. It was the longest hour and a half of my life. I wish that I could help her... Why don`t I speak Spanish or Portuguese? These are the questions that taunt my heart. She loves music so I hope that I can kind of "communicate" with her through that. I absolutely love the people that I teach and they are each progressing so much. They KNOW it is true and are slowly progressing. Miracles are so real, and I know that God knows each of us! 

All six missionaries went to a dinner appointment at a member’s house this week. It was her birthday and so she went all out. We helped clean her house while her family prepared the dinner. Next thing we know, they are bringing out plates STACKED with many different types of raw fish. Nasty oysters, Miso soup with fish paste and mushrooms... All of the missionaries just went completely silent. Hahahahahaha. So this woman is the sweetest and she is all always doing so much to serve the missionaries, but out of the kindness of her heart she said that each massive plate of raw fish was for ONE COMPANIONSHIP. My eyes may have started watering. Silva Shimai turns to me and says that she is eating nothing of that. You know what that means: all ME. Dad and Mom, I don`t know if you remember when we went to that Japanese restaurant before my mission where there was only ONE small little raw fish I had to eat and I started gagging and had to spit it out???? Well, this plate consisted of at least 30 pieces of various plain raw fish and what not. And I was the lucky sucker who had to eat all of it. I would just take tiny bites and chug my way through the dinner, fight every single urge to just cry and puke it up.... Silva Shimai was eating the radish on the plate to try and help me... Hahahaha it was so bad. I honestly couldn`t even speak because I was just begging God to help me swallow that nasty stuff. The Elders and Smith Shimai were totally fine, because they were raised on that stuff... But not me! By some miracle, I finished it. And later that night when I finally got home, all I could do was lay on the floor because I was in so much pain. Hahaha It was the complete and total epitome of suffering. 

This has been a really humbling week, and every single day I realize how little I know and how much I need to learn. I am doing my best and receiving lots of help from the Spirit. I love being a missionary so much! I don`t know how I got so lucky. I LOVE YOU. 

Sister Crofts

FHE at the Akasakas. Their daughters are darling. 

Costco Trip for American food. 
Peanut Butter in Japan. A true delicacy. 

Ogata Shimai and Megumi chan.
Sister Averell & Sister Crofts. SO FULL.