Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 24,2014

Hello everyone! 

So it has been a crazy busy week.  We had transfer calls and I am staying another transfer in Kariya with Sister Aso.  I am sooooo happy!!!!!  Every day it is unreal how much more Japanese I understand and how much it is improving.  We speak in Japanese all day long and I think the constant headache I have has just become part of who I am.  Hahaha me and Aso Shimai are having such a good time and I love her sooooo much. 

Right now, we are again having the problem of finding people who we can teach who are ready to hear more about the gospel!  We are talking to as many people as we can just trying to find people who will listen.  Whenever we bike or walk, we always pull over for the person walking "KONNICHIWA." Hahaha.  We are trying so harddddd.  But the miracles will come!  We are working hard and doing our best and I really don`t know what God could ask for.  Last Tuesday, we went to Handa by bike, so that we could visit some of the members out there.  We ended up riding about 55 kilometers (Sorry I don`t know miles anymore).  We had some cool experiences being out so far testifying to people about Jesus Christ.  The only thing that is hard is they live so far away that coming to church is kind of impossible.  There is this huge bridge that we have to cross in order to get to Handa.  You know how I almost started crying every time we crossed the bridges in the car?  As we approached the bridge, I started to cross it, a little bit nervous but not really phased by it. (BELIEVE IT OR NOT) then I realized I should turn around to check for Aso Shimai... hahhaha. There she was, feet before the bridge shaking in absolute terror.  I think we were there for 5 minutes just trying to get up the guts to cross the bridge.  So finally I said 1,2,3, GO and she just starts screaming at the top of her lungs and riding as fast as she possibly can so that it could just be over.  Hahahaha there were birds flying everywhere, weird looks from people around, but she did it!  It was absolutely hilarious. 

It got a little bit warmer for a day or two and then became absolutely freezing again. We were out housing and talking to people on the street and as we went to ring the doorbell our hands were seriously shaking and our bodies trembling because we were so cold.  We weren`t able to find anyone who wanted to hear more, but I always think it is a miracle when we can give out a Book of Mormon, or talk about Jesus Christ or eternal families for the first time.  We thought we were going to die because it was so cold, but miraculously we didn`t catch a cold!  YAYYYY. Tender mercy. 

I wish I had more time to tell you about the amazing things that happened this week, but I don`t have time! All I can say is that I am soooo grateful. 

This church is true! 

Sister Crofts

Crossing the bridge to Handa

Kokan with Ishida Shimai! Seika chan, Miyuki Shimai, 
Our District
Absolutely Freezing
Relief Society Activity.  I Love this Ward

The Asakawa family
The Nomuras 
Apples form the members:) 
I LOVE THIS. hahahaha
Yamamoto Shimai was so happy. She was shocked to have missionaries ride all the way out to her house. 
Iwanaga Shimai! We visited her and the Asakawas and drove home at dark in the rain. 

Brazilian with Mayumi and Malom. I love them:) 
Indo Curry 

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014

Hellooooooooo... Happy SPRING!!!  The weather is getting so much nicer here.  There was one day where we only needed a light coat last week and we were so excited that we ate ice cream. Hahaha.  Then of course, the next day it was pouring rain and ridiculously windy.  We wanted to go really far in our area, but after 15 minutes of just trying to ganbaru through we looked at each other and came to the conclusion that we were reaching borderline insanity and that even though we were missionaries.  God would not protect us for being stupid.  So we made other plans.  It has really been just another awesome week and I love being here with Aso 姉妹.  There was also an earthquake the other night around 2 in the morning.  Of course, I sleep through just about everything but I started sleep talking.  I said something to Sister Aso in Japanese.  What is happening?... she said in English: earthquake, I said 怖い(scary).. Then in English she said scary. The next morning I had absolutely no idea about it, but I guess we just completely switched languages.  Hahaha she is trying to learn English too! 

We tried really hard to find people that are ready to hear the gospel last week.  We gave out a bunch of Book of Mormons through talking to people on the street.  They didn`t have any interest, but I always get so excited because I know that every Book of Mormon has a miracle that will follow somewhere down the line.  We had an appointment Wednesday morning with someone and they weren`t home so we were kind of bummed out.  We have been so busy that we are starting to get a little bit behind on our training, so I thought "okay, well let`s go back and do our training."  However, as we started riding our bikes, this overcoming feeling came into my heart that we needed to go and visit the Nomura family.  I was so surprised because we had just visited them the other day, but that feeling was so powerful and strong I didn`t dare return home. So as we were on our way to their home, I saw a woman in the park with her little baby.  I saw her and was about to pass, but then I realized. Of course! We need to talk to her.  So we put our bikes away and went and approached her.  We started to talk about eternal families and she just started smiling so big.  When we asked her what she thinks about it she just kept saying how suteki the idea is.  We ended up teaching her the entire plan of salvation on the street and we are going to meet with her again this week. If I hadn`t listened to that feeling, we wouldn`t have found her.  Then we went to the Nomura home and as we were putting our bikes away we had the opportunity to meet one of Nomura Shimai’s friends who honestly introduced herself to us.  It was so crazy how listening to one little prompting brought so many miracles. 

As we have been teaching lessons or inviting people to listen to the gospel, I honestly can`t believe how strong we are feeling the Spirit.  We had one lesson last week where we were all almost in tears because of how powerfully we felt the Spirit.  God`s love is that real and we have the opportunity to feel that every single day.  I love this gospel sooooo much.  I think my favorite things about being a missionary is the infinite love you feel, and the Spirit and power you feel as you teach. Well, have an awesome week!  Love youuuuuuu.  The church is true! 

Sister Crofts

Sister Crofts & Sister Aso

Your challenge: read this and figure out where you're supposed to go. 

Happy Spring
I obsess over momo chan. 
Add caption

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014


Well, it has been an awesome week on our end of the computer and we are doing really awesome.  It got a little bit warm for a bit and then it became freezing again, so yayyyy. Aso Shimai is from Hokaido where there is tons of snow and she says that is feels so cold here because of the wind and what not.  We both had bike crashes this week... of course they were really small.  We also caught some colds... WOOT. but she called this week our "punishment week." Hahaha. I love Sister Aso. 

This week, we were at the train station and I had to use the bathroom.  So of course, it is one of those terrible Japanese standing ones.  I do the standard, and then go intended to flush the toilet.  I don`t read kanji, so of course I had no idea what the button said, but next thing I know there is the loud, terrifying alarm going off throughout the train station... because of me.  I frantically am trying to press the button again and again to make it stop, but no. So I got scared, gave up on flushing and just booked it out of the bathroom.  Aso Shimai and two other girls were staring at the bathroom I had just departed from and then of course, she starts busting up laughing.  She asked me what I did, but I was so scared that I just ran away from the "scene" and left the eki. So, for the next 15 minutes, the siren/alarm, whatever you call it was beeping and as we walked away we could hear it for a good long time.  I honestly have no idea what I did. 

We were so lucky to see some really incredible miracles this week with some of the less active people in our area.  We visited a lady who has been less active for about 5 years and hasn`t been visited by missionaries or anyone in a long time.  So we showed up at her home and she was completely shocked.  But we were able to pray with her and feel the spirit and she remembered why she joined the church and the feelings she had before. SO AWESOME. We left and Sister Aso just looked at me and said "MIRACLE." We visited another family with two of the members in our ward and we were able to talk and she remembered how much she loved the missionaries.  After we left, the Relief Society President looked at us and just said. WOW.  She has visited her several times, but she had never opened up like that- so many incredible experiences. 

I am so grateful for the power of the atonement, the strength that we can feel every single day and the ability that we have to change our hearts through the mercy and grace of God.  I love being a missionary. 


Sister Crofts
So happy to get crackers. 
After one of our long bike rides she literally walked into the door and just curled up in a ball. hahaha 
Sushi rice at the Matsuhisas

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 3, 2014

Happy March! 

It has been a really hard week for me and Sister Aso!  Lots of tough lessons, tough rejections, long bike rides, hours spent talking to people/knocking houses, the death of Sister Ogata... All around, just hard.  But I am sooooo lucky to have Sister Aso. I love her sooooo much.  We were able to just have fun, try to laugh it off and keep trying.. We are honestly completely exhausted, but we did our best this week!  Even though there were lots of disappointing moments, we weren`t disappointed in ourselves because we did the best that we could, and that is ultimately all that God asks of us. We went to go visit the Ogata family Tuesday and the daughter answered the door.  She looked so upset and there were police in her home.  She said that now wasn`t a good time and so we left.  We were so scared and didn`t know what to do.  So we called the Relief Society President but didn`t hear anything all day.  The next morning, we found out that Ogata Shimai had passed away Tuesday morning. I was soooo upset because I loved that woman so much. We have been visiting her almost every week since October.  We would go clean her home, endure the cockroaches, share a message and leave. We put wallpaper up in her home, we spent hours and hours trying to make her home more beautiful so they could feel the Spirit there. Every time I went there, I felt the love of God.  I felt how special she was and I also just felt an infinite amount of love in return from her.  We tried to help her to understand that alcohol and tobacco were not good for us. We tried to help her understand the gospel. We did everything we could for her and I think that is why we loved her so much. Thursday we had the opportunity to go to her funeral with the Relief Society President, Miyuki Shimai, and the Bishop and his wife. It was a Buddhist ceremony because all of her relatives are Buddhist.  There was incense burning, little shrine things that are pretty standard I guess.  So we got there pretty early and I just felt so much peace. She was so sick before she died that I knew that she had returned to our Heavenly Father, and was happy. :)  I was sooo grateful for the Plan of Salvation in that moment. Then a Buddhist monk came in and began chanting and then the dreaded "GONG" that made me nearly fall off of my seat every time he hit it because it scared me so bad.  I was the only non-Japanese person there, and I 110% had no idea what was going on.  So then every person began going up one by one, bowing to the Ogata family and then they went to this little table in front of her dead body where they did something with incense that I was not able to see.  So I turned to Miyuki Shimai and asked her- wait, is that something WE are going to be doing??!?  She said yes, of course.  I maybe... started to freak out a little bit.  I was watching every single person like a hawk, just trying to figure out what they did at that little table.  So I went up and bowed as respectfully as I knew how to the family, knowing that everybody was watching my every move and saw my little name tag that said "Jesus Christ" on it.  I turned around to the table and there where these two random bowls... I moved the contents of one bowl to the next and hoped that it was the right thing to do.  That ritual is so sacred to them and I literally had no idea what was going on. I went and sat down and noticed that the Bishop was kind of laughing at me. Hahaha whatever.  They put food, clothes and important things to Ogata Shimai in the casket.  I saw someone put in a case of cigarettes and just thought "dangit," but I couldn`t help but laugh because it was sooo true.  The service ended and I was grateful to have my first Buddhist funeral service over with.  It was really hard that Ogata Shimai died, and I wished that there was more that I could do for her, but we did everything we could for her and I just feel happy that she is in a better place. This last week all the ward has done is talked about how much we did to help her, but I feel like I was more blessed than she was.

Another wonderful highlight is we found a 91 year old woman to teach yesterday. SHE IS SO CUTE!!!! Hahaha 

We are crazy busy and tired.  However, we are happy, we are learning so much we love these people and are trying and that is all we can do! 

Love youuuuuu

Sister Crofts

SPRING IS COMING!!! Sakura sakura sakura

Japanese food