Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014


THIS. WEEK. WAS. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh. MY. As I reflect back on this week I honestly just want to start crying because I am so grateful for how infinitely God is blessing me and Sister Moore.  We are 100% talking to every person about God and the gospel and it is UNBELIEVABLE how much the miracles are following.  Sunday, we had been fasting to start the "40 day fast" so we can be more consecrated and more worthy of the Spirit. So, we hadn’t eaten all day, had talked to over 50 people and received lots of hard rejections.  So then right by our apartment, there was this woman who didn’t look very friendly and so I was thinking... "uh... okay maybe I won’t talk to her" but then I remembered that she was a daughter of God too and she needs the gospel too.  So we talked to her.  She wouldn’t give us any contact info and didn’t really seem to have interest but said that she would maybe come to the church Sunday to learn English for 30 minutes and then learn about God.  So we accidentally scheduled the appointment during the baptism ... :) So we didn’t really think she would come, but we prayed before "if she is really prepared, please let her come."  So then 30 minutes after the meeting had started she comes walking into the church RIGHT before the baptism was actually going to be performed. So she sees it, was totally shocked and then while they were baring testimonies and what not she was taught the first lesson. ( I had to play the piano for interlude music, so I kept messing up because I was just praying for Sister Moore that she would be led by the spirit and I was watching them.) Hahaha but SHE LOVED IT and believed everything that was taught to her. So after,  one of the members invited her to eat some food.  They are actually close in age and she was baptized a year ago. So we gave her a Book of Mormon and she was so stoked to take it. AND>>>> We invited her to be baptized and she said YES!!!!  She will be baptized July 20. Yamamoto san is so excited and was SO PREPARED.  We couldn`t believe it.  From the time that we first met her to the end of the get together after the baptism, she changed so much and opened so much. 

THIS MAN WHO WAS BAPTIZED HAS AN AMAZING STORY!"!!!!!  So he was against the church for 30 years. He lit his wife`s Book of Mormons on fire... through them in water... would lock the door and throw away the key just so she couldn`t go to church.  He really hated religion. However, recently he was super sick and received a priesthood blessing from the branch president.  He felt so warm inside.  SO then he was at a fireside with President Yamashita and in front of everyone he just said how he doesn`t understand the feeling he had and that he has been learning from the missionaries for a few weeks.  Then President Yamashita said – “that is the SPIRIT.”  He invited him to be baptized in July and he said yes. Then the man called and said he wanted to get baptized earlier.  Because of this awesome man`s baptism, Yamamoto san is getting baptized!!! I was so touched by this family`s experience and couldn`t help but cry throughout the baptism because it was such a miracle and this family is so happy. The grandchildren, the children, the wife... Ahhhh this gospel honestly brings people together.  

Tuesday, we went to go meet one of our members to teach English to him and some nonmember friends. As we were waiting for him at the train station, there was this cute grandma that we saw so we helped her up the stairs.  She looked kind of tired so we bought a ticket for her and then gave her a card with our number on it.  We then went to go to Brother Itakura`s house.  As we got into the car, he just said "Sisters! We are eating wild boar that was found around my house today!"  Me and Moore Shimai just looked at each other and started laughing. "Bring it." ahhaha but it was actually delicious... but the next day we were super sick.  We ended up having to work close in the city so we could always be close to the bathroom... Hahaha brutal.  So then on Thursday, we get a call from this random number who had actually been the SON of the grandma that we helped. He thanked us for helping her and said that she had actually been really sick and tired and that we saved her life because she went to the hospital.  So he said he wants to go to our church and learn about who we are. He said "do you understand interest?" ahahha I was like.. UM. YEAH!  So then on Sunday he showed up at church.  It was his first time at a Christian church.  He listened intently.  After church he told us about the warmth he felt in his heart and then he said (it sounds weird in English) but that Jesus Christ is IN us, he can see Him. And that we are friends with God. He said over and over again how happy he was and how much we helped him. I am so excited to teach him. He is SO READY to accept the gospel. After that we were just screaming because he was sooooo awesome. His name is Kobayashi San. It was seriously the BEST day ever. 

Also, this is just kind of funny. But there was this guy on the street who asked who we are and how we speak Japanese.  He said he had been to Fiji for 2 years, but couldn`t speak any English. He smelled like alcohol, and I think he was drunk.  But then we told him that it is because we don`t drink alcohol, and study hard. We told him how he would be so much happier if he stopped drinking alcohol. Then he said- well you have never had alcohol so you don`t know if there is greater happiness. Then we said, well you have never not had alcohol so I guess the same principle applies.  He was kind of taken aback, but it was like "touché."  We tried to get him to commit to follow the word of wisdom on the street... It was super fun. 

There were so many awesome people we talked to this week. One new girl said "信じたいi want to believe" (in god) one said "すごい awesome" (about the restoration) most said "考えたことないnever thought about it" (God, the purpose of this life, where we go after we die, Jesus Christ...)" "no interest" いらないI dont need that!” But it is awesome! I am so happy and just overwhelmed with gratitude .... ahhhhh.... this is so fast.  I KNOW that God answers our prayers and He helps us every single day. I LOVE THE GOSPEL 

Baptized after fighting against the church for 30 years

Yuhi is 16 and lived in California.  Yuki is a member.  They are two of my favorite people.

Brother and Sister Itakura are on the far right and are always doing missionary work.  He said my wife is my treasure.  Cutest thing ever!

Itakura Kyoydai's Home.  He built it and it is like walking into a fairy tale

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

Minasan konnichiwa!!!

How is everyone doing?!?!?! I hope it has been a great week. June is almost over. WHAT. I am so grateful for the experiences I am having. I love my mission so much and my companion. OH MY I LOVE HER!!!! She is such an awesome missionary and we are working hard, talking to everyone, and seeing so many miracles every day. We are finding a new person to teach almost every single day. God is blessing us so greatly. Sister Moore is from Roy.  So she is way good friends with Mitch and Makenzie Stevens and lots of people I know from choral edition.  It is so crazy. She went to the U before her mission and is studying to be a doctor. SHE IS AWESOME. 

Punam came to church this week! She loved it and is coming next week! Yayyyyy. I love her. 

We went to Fukutoku for stake conference and on the way there we had SO MANY MIRACLES. We found 1 woman who had been an investigator 20 years ago and then the missionaries stopped coming and moved so she couldn’t find the missionaries again and has been wanting to find them again. She is not in our area but she wants to meet the missionaries again. Then there was one man who was listening to us having fun and we started to talk to him. He asked where our church was and ended up going to stake conference with us and watching it. He is going to be the elder’s investigator there. He loved it!!! Then there were all these people we talked to who were interested in the gospel. I love teaching Japanese people about Jesus Christ, even if it doesn’t have any meaning to them at first!  At the end of the night, we just couldn’t believe all the amazing things that happened just from traveling by train and talking to everyone about the gospel. 

We met this new Chinese girl named Su last week who we met with again on Saturday. We first taught her 30 minutes of English and then shared a message about our church. She is 21 and is living here with her friend, but at first she said “iranai” (I don’t need it) and that she wants to rely on herself and doesn’t think there is a god. So we talked about the Book of Mormon and introduced it a little bit. We asked her to read it and she said there was no way she would read it, but then we continued to share our testimonies about how important this book is and how much god really does love and know her. We finally asked her to read 1 Nephi 1 and she said okayyyy I will read it. Me and Moore Shimai’s goal is just to help her to believe in God. I don’t care about anything else if she can just know that there is a loving Heavenly Father who is there to help her! It was such a miracle that she took the Book of Mormon and said she would read it! 

There was another woman we found last week who we visited today. When we went to her house we shared a simple message about prayer. She had never prayed and never even thought about God before. So we talked about how much she loves her children and how it is the same way God loves us. It was so simple, but I felt the Spirit burn so strongly in my heart. She was listening so intently and I know that she felt something. 

Even though it is hard to find people that will join the church and progress towards the blessings of baptism, one of my favorite things about serving in Japan is the fact that they don’t really believe in God.   I will tell you why. Because when I tell them that God loves them and that he is their Father, it is always kind of a shock and is always something completely different from what they have been told,  or not told,  their entire life.  It is something that will be planted in their hearts forever- regardless of whether or not they want to hear more. I am doing everything I can to help them find greater happiness and peace. Every rejection hurts, but I just remember - this is what I was called to do!  I am doing my best and I think that God has to be proud of me for trying, because it IS HARD and it IS SCARY and it IS discouraging sometimes. I have to let go of every ounce of pride and fear and just do it and let God help me. I am so blessed and grateful for these experiences... Gahhhhh IIIIIIIII  loooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeee mmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyy missssssssssssssiooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! 


Crofts Shimai 

Sister Moore, my new companion. I love her!
Last photo with Sister Kawai

I have an important message. Come listen.

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

Dear Family... こんにちは!!!

今主は楽しい方です。私の伝道は大好きです。Loving the mission. I am way sad because Kawai Shimai is transfering to Kasugai. I am staying in Yokkaichi and Sister Moore (from Roy Utah) is coming to be sister training leaders together. She is awesome and I am way excited to work hard:)  This little family loves us visiting them and when we went to saw them this week their 5 year old son asked us- “shimaitachi have you met God and Jesus Christ???”  When we said no he was a little surprised but it is absolutely the cutest how much he looks up to us. There is a girl from Nepal that we are teaching that we met this week.  She talked about how in her country if you do anything wrong you can`t pray to God so she hasn’t been praying for a long time. However, when we talked to her about how you CAN pray to God and He loves you regardless of your mistakes she LOVED IT. She is coming to church this Sunday with her younger sister!!!

Also, Jessa`s daughter, sakura chan, is the cutest thing and she calls me and Kawai shimai `big sister.` There was a referral we contacted who had just moved into her home a few months ago. She is from China, but doesn`t have a lot of friends and was SO EXCITED for us to come, and begged us to come back to their home. I LOVE HER. We also taught this guy who was saying he has already broke the law of chastity and he is too far gone. He understands how waiting until you are married to have sex is important, but it is too late for him. I LOVED being able to talk about the atonement with him. He is such a great kid and I know that as he learns more he will find greater value in himself. Oh! So we were walking along the street and these little 13 year old boys start talking to us. One ended up being pretty okay at simple English and asked if we are from America. We asked if he knew where Utah was and he said yes. Then we asked him if he knew what was famous in Utah. All he said was "sex." Hahahahaha. We were so shocked he knew that word and we left soon after that.  

I also got a punk (flat) tire this week, my tire completely wore out ( I guess that is what happens when you ride your bike every day for a year) so I had to blow a lot of money on a new tire. I get up super early every morning so I can go running. I am trying to lose 20-40 lbs. Thankssssss. This is a short e-mail this week. But basically, I am meeting some of the most awesome people every single day. Missions are hard. I am stoked for the next adventure. 

Sister Crofts & Sister Kawai

I killed a fly with my quick hands

I love them. Jessa & Sakurachan

Popped Tire

Our District

My favorite Family

Basically someone from every country: Australia, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, USA (Oklahoma, Utah, California). So fun!
This is a way awesome bus that comes every morning to pick up the kids in front of our apartment
Tonteki, a yummy Japanese restaurant

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 9, 2014

Minasan konnichiwa!!! 

This week was 110% awesome and I love the experiences I am having and how much I am learning and growing from them. I do have good news, the crazy skin rash I had covering my body is called erythema multiforme. So I was able to go to the hospital and get some medicine for it. It has actually cleared up quite a bit. It has been on my body for 3 months so I am way happy that the itching has been going down with it. YAYYYY. It is so crazy how much we were blessed by God this last week to find people to teach. We had a referral from one of the members to go visit this house "accidentally" (by the Spirit) messed up on the address. However, when we went to this apartment, we found this lady who had actually been an investigator 20 YEARS ago! Insane right?! She liked the church, didn`t have a Book of Mormon because she moved and was just absolutely awesome. She is busy right now, but you can bet we will be going back. We visited some people a few weeks ago and felt like we should go housing over there. We knocked on a bunch of houses, found a whole lot of "not interested", “I don`t need that" and "I am buddhist". Then we came across this absolutely beautiful, traditional Japanese home and the cutest woman came to the door. We started introducing ourselves and she said "I know who you are," did Sister Tachi send you this way? And we were way surprised and had literally just bumped into her house.  She talked about a member who she was friends with and how she has been to church and what not.. She said she had learned about the church 2 years ago and wants us to come back!!!!!! YAY, that was totally inspiration and we are stoked to meet her again. 

We went to Jessa`s house last week to have a birthday party for Sakura chan (her 2 year old daughter). It was just us four and SO MUCH FUN.  She fed us so much food and we thought we would die. Then we taught her about the plan of salvation and how we can live with our families forever. She started to cry and she said "my grandpa." She loved it so much and she has been carrying her Book of Mormon everywhere with her because she loves it so much. So she wants to be baptized!!!  So excited for her, she is the sweetest person in the world. 

One of our investigators, Mika, is awesome and she seriously tells everybody about what she is learning from us!  She met this man on the street and she said he looked like a spiritual man to her... SO she started talking to him and told him about us.  He had lived in an Amish (type) colony for most of his life and has been in the real world for only 3 years. We met him with Mika and we taught him one of my absolute FAVORITE lessons of my entire mission. When we first saw each other we both said "hey, I know you!" We have said hello to each other all the time, and I always want to talk to him because he looks so nice... But we can`t talk to men unless they talk to us first so I couldn`t talk to him. Anyway, back to his lesson. We first talked about God and it was way difficult for him to get the concept of God having a body like us and being our father. But he has prayed a lot. So we talked about how Mika was a mom and she always calls her son Yuhi in California to get closer to him and make sure he is okay, but it is like the same thing as prayer and God loves us and always wants to hear from us. When Buchi heard that he was just like "WHOA. WHOA. WHOA.!?!?" And he threw his hands up in the air and couldn`t believe it.  He was so excited.  We told him about Joseph Smith and he said that he thinks it is true.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and he just said " This is such a special book. I can feel it." And he prayed at the end of the lesson!!! I love Buchi. He is seriously the coolest person I have ever met. 

Chizu (the one who believes that god is in trees and water and what not) read from the Book of Mormon last week in Alma 17 where it talks about King Lamoni. She said that as she read it,  it kind of felt like an answer for her because King Lamoni had super similar ideas as her. She is slowly coming and it was awesome that she could find answers in the BOM! 

Well, I LOVE YOU!!! Have an awesome week. It is starting typhoon season so there are incredible amounts of rain all the time. The church is true! 

Sister Crofts

Typhoon season. Bring it on!
Buchi & Mika with Sister Hart. Love them!

Housing. Can you imagine if 2 Japanese people knocked on your door to tell you about their God

This is Sakura Chan. Isn't she the cutest thing ever?

Hospital bill for rash
Sister Kawai

Volunteering at an old folks home

Sister Missionaries