Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28, 2014

I kind of want to cry... I just wrote this whole e-mail with everything including pictures. But, it died and didn’t save. Ohhhh myyyy nooooo... 

Well.. I am really sorry I don’t have a lot of time. 

Moore shimai and I are staying together another transfer in Yokkaichi!!!! YAY!!! I LOVE HER! 

It is crazy how missions bring so much happiness and highs but so many lows at the same time.  Moore Shimai and I have been having such a hard time lately. All of our investigators are falling through and nobody will listen. We are doing all the same things we did at the first of the transfer when we were seeing so many miracles and finding so many people to teach, but nothing was happening. We were praying so hard and just working so hard, but it was rough. 

I ended up going to the hospital last week on Tuesday for 5 and 1/2 hours. They didn’t find anything, but I just got some medicines and what not. It honestly didn’t help at all.  So after I decided I would get a priesthood blessing.  Before the blessing, I prayed so hard and with everything I could muster that God would just heal me so I can work with everything I have.  I KNEW that God could heal me, that I could get better. As they gave me the blessing, I felt the Spirit enter every ounce of my body and I just felt so much peace warmth and happiness.   It gave me so much strength.  So the next day, I still felt a weak, a little dizzy, and a little nauseous, but I remembered the promises of healing that I had received from my blessing.  So we just worked SO HARD from there on out. As we were going out super far on our bikes in the blazing hot sun, there were several times where I honestly felt like crying because it was so hard and I felt so weak. But I just kept praying that God would strengthen me through the atonement of my Savior, Jesus Christ that I would be able to do it. Even though I felt physically weak, I felt happy because I felt the Spirit so strongly burn in my heart. I received the strength to just make it through even though it was hard. I know that the Savior was carrying me through every moment.

After several weeks of just struggling and working so hard to get the work going, we met someone!!!  We were riding our bikes along this absolutely beautiful river and we stopped our bikes to talk to this lady walking her dog. She had no idea what we were saying because she was from Brazil and only spoke English and Portuguese but she started speaking to us in English. We talked to her and she was so happy to talk to us, but she told us how she has been searching for the truth. As we shared the first vision, the spirit was soooo strong and all she could say is "that is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. So do I just get your phone number or what?" AHHH!!!! Finally!!! SO we are meeting her next week and she is just awesome. It was such a miracle and after that me and Moore Shimai just looked at each other and started crying because we were so grateful we could find someone so prepared after such a struggle to find people. We have had many cool experiences and found so many people who are great. We are trying so hard, and I know there is so much I need to do to be a better missionary... But we are doing the best we can. 

On Sunday, I was thinking about how nobody is coming to church and felt a little bummed. I prayed so hard on the way to church, "God, we invited everyone who rejected us to church this week. We tried so hard, please, if there is someone who is ready to hear the gospel, please let them come to church."  We walked into the chapel, and what do you know. CHIZU SAN CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!  We were so surprised because before she only came to church for the nursery time before and didn’t really want to learn. She said how she liked the feeling she had before and wanted to come!  They have me put together a musical number almost every week. They love it. So I played the piano again.  Chizu san was going to head home after, but right after sacrament, it started POURING rain. So we were able to teach her about the gospel of Jesus Christ!  She recognized how she feels the Spirit and what not and how she likes that feeling. She said that she will be baptized, but she wants to read the Book of Mormon first. At this rate, it may be a few years... But she is coming unto Christ and progressing so much! She read the Book of Mormon and shared the scripture she liked. I think it was in 1 Nephi 11. It was the most strict, and scary scripture about how you can’t return to God if you are unclean. She said she absolutely loved it and the strict scripture was her favorite. Hahahaha me and Moore Shimai were kind of shocked. I am so proud of her! Right after the lesson, the rain left and it was sunny for the rest of the day. God works in small ways to make miracles happen... 

Well! I love you all! Sorry no pictures this week!
Sister Crofts

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 21, 2014


Well it has been a really great week and I learned a lot, but I am having a really hard time with my body. I didn’t tell you this last week because I didn’t want to worry you, but I was feeling really dizzy last Friday and ended up passing out in the bathroom. I got a priesthood blessing and I was dizzy for a few days, but just kind of blew it off and kept working. Then Saturday, it got so bad that I had a hard time walking and had some nausea and what not too... The doctor told me to rest so I ended up sleeping for 8 hours during the day, woke up for a few hours and then went to sleep around 9 o clock at night and slept all night.  I went to church on Sunday but I was so dizzy I had a hard time sitting through class. The bishop and his wife ultimately offered to give us a ride back to the apartment. I am drinking lots of water and eating relatively healthy, so I don`t know what is going on with my body... But tomorrow we are going to the hospital to get a blood test to see if we can figure out what is going on. (It is "ocean day" in Japan, so all of the hospitals are closed....) I am really  sad about it to be honest because I only have 3 months left (as of today) and I want to work as hard as I possibly can, but man.. My body. It is so hard. Hopefully they can figure it out. Moore Shimai is soooo patient and she said that because I received a blessing, God totally could`ve healed it, but since it hasn’t gone away yet, maybe there is something He wants me to learn? I love my companion so much; she has seriously become one of my best friends. 

I want to share with you a crazy experience that I have had. So I went on a companion exchange with one of the lovely sisters in Takabata a while back. We visited Sister Ichishima who had been going through a hard time.  She was a single mother and her son had just gotten sick. She talked about how she felt so lost and hopeless and that she has a hard time waking up in the morning (even though she trusts god and knows he will help her). She just didn’t feel like she could do it.  It was kind of incredible, because her experiences related to some of the things we had gone through as a family a while back.  I shared with her some of our experiences as a family and how it strengthened us and brought us closer together and about a dream that I had one night after I had prayed my heart out and felt like giving up.  I hadn`t shared it with really anyone before my mission because it was so sacred, but I felt like I needed to share it with her. As I shared that experience, we all were just bawling. The Spirit touched all of our hearts with peace and she talked about how she knew that my experience was an answer to her prayers. I was so sad to leave her, because I wanted to help her more, but I was so grateful to have that time. Fast forward. So Elder Tsukamoto went on a companion exchange in Takabata and visited this same member. She asked if he knew me and she remembered my name and everything ku-ro-fu-tsu is super hard for Japanese people to pronounce, let alone remember. Then she went on to tell Elder Tsukamoto about how she was a missionary in Japan a long time ago, but that I was one of the two best missionaries she has ever met and how I was an angel sent directly from God to save her life and her family. She said that she will never forget me and the impact I left on her life.... When he told me this, I couldn’t help but be so grateful... I don`t share this experience for praise or any recognition on my part, but to acknowledge how much God answers our prayers... How much God gives us experiences so that we can help other people... I may have only met her once, but I know that she was one of the people I was supposed to meet on my mission. I love her sooooo much. 

We meet with Chizu san every week and teach her adorable son, Yuki, English for 30 minutes. She came to church last Sunday so she could listen to me play the piano! She usually just comes to church after sacrament to go play in the nursery with Yuki... Anyway, when she came on Wednesday, we were finally able to get a member to come to the lesson!  She believes there is a God in everything.. But she has been praying every single night asking “God are you there? Are you my heavenly father?"  But she said she wasn’t receiving any answers. We talked to her more about prayer and the member gave such an awesome testimony about the way God answers us and how we need to have patience. At the end of the lesson, she said how she was excited to try to find an answer again and she just seemed so much happier. After the lesson we thanked her for coming to church and she said how much she loved the sacrament meeting and felt a "warm feeling" inside her... We were like WHOA!!! CHIZU SAN!!!! That is the SPIRIT!!! That is proof that God loves you!!!!! She was super stoked, but it was just awesome to see how much God prepared her heart. She was feeling the Spirit and she didn’t even know it!!! 

We heart attacked Yamamoto san`s door... Still haven`t heard from her.. This time for her will make her a stronger member when she does come around!

Tanaka san called and said she can’t meet until September because of the August o matsuris... nooooooo.... whyyyyyyy....

Lots of cool O MY experiences... Giving out lots of Book of Mormons... Pamphlets.. Preparing the hearts of the children of men... Talking to everyone we can possibly see.. Living the dream... 

Well, I hope this week goes better for the health and what not! Saturday is transfer calls. So, Here’s hoping I stay with Moore Shimai. I only have 2 more of these! 

Have a great week! 



Lunch with our district minus the Zone Leaders

We went housing and this man had made a little village in front of his home.  He was so rude to us so I asked if I could take a picture of his little village.  He made everything by hand so I thought it was cool & it gave us time to give him a pamphlet

Heart attacking Yamamoto San's door. Hopefully, the Lord will soften her heart.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 14, 2014

Minasan konnichiwa!

Well, it has been an awesome week, and a hard week for sure. Ahhh.  This week has really strengthened my testimony about how much there is opposition in all things!  ALSO, the transfer is almost over and this week I reach my one year in Japan.  I guess I am basically a Japanese citizen right???

This week started off amazing with a lesson with Tanaka san. We went to meet her and she told us how upset she was because her uncle just died (her mom also died this year) and everyone is dying.  So she had been an investigator 8 years ago for about 2 years ago, but she was the one we randomly found housing because we felt like we should go in her area.  So we said Tanaka san, do you know about the plan of salvation?  She didn’t.  So then we taught her about it, she started to cry during the lesson. She said she doesn’t know if this is true, but if it is it makes her really happy because she wants to be with her parents again. SO AWESOME! 

The next day, we tried to visit Kobayashi san. So we rode our bikes out an hour and a half to go and see him... One disadvantage to being a missionary is all we have is a map to look at and we have no idea what the road will be like. So we start on this road and it ended up being this really tiny highway with only two lanes on the edge of a river... The sides of the road where there is usually space for bikes wasn’t really in existence either.... So basically it was just kind of terrifying.  As we started on it, me and Moore shimai started screaming and were like OH NO OH NO. WHAT IS THIS?!?!?!  I don’t think I have ever ridden my bike so fast in my entire life. (don’t worry though! We got there safely!)  We were praying so hard that God would protect us and we wouldnt have any problems. We were so protected and it was honestly a miracle. これから気をつけます!  We showed up at his house after that long bike ride and of course, he wasn’t there.  So we started making some origami hearts to put on his door. Next thing we know his mom walks up to us and is like -oh konnichiwa!  You are decorating my door!- and she was so happy, but she didn’t remember us at all.  Hahahaha so then Kobayashi san comes walking around the corner and he was SO surprised and happy!  He couldn’t believe that we went all the way out to his house by bike. Then his mom was like isn’t this the first time you met?  He said no mom!!  These girls saved your life. Obviously, she was pretty out of it when we met her. But anyway, we went in and he talked about how he was sorry he didn’t call us.  He just needed time to think. He read in 2 Nephi 31 and he said that he can’t  join the church because his family is Buddhist.  So he was just thinking.  So we talked to him about the plan of salvation.  He said in his cute Japanese accent -disu izu pefecto shyshtemo. goodo goodo.- He LOVED the plan of salvation!!!! 

We went housing in this area and ran into this man who came out to talk to us. We introduced ourselves a little bit and talked about how our message helps us understand where we come from, why we are here, and where we go after we die.  At that point, he jumped a little bit and was surprised.  He said that his mother in law died the day before and they were all pretty upset about it and planning the funeral and what not.  We testified that he would be able to see her again and that she is okay!  He said that Christianity is kind of hard for his family right now... So right now we can’t meet, but it just strengthens my testimony that God answers people’s prayers and gives us little tender mercies to help us have more hope!  I honestly think it was a miracle. 

So the typhoon... Yeah... We got an e-mail from the honbu on Thursday morning that said we can’t leave the apartment the whole day because it is dangerous. We did lots of planning and calling people, but man it made me so grateful that we can work and ride our bikes and talk to people OUTSIDE. We started going crazy a little bit.  It was super windy and rainy, but for the most part it wasn’t a big deal. I guess better safe than sorry. Anyway, it did destroy some other areas in our mission though. We were sure protected. 

Yamamoto san.  I LOVE THIS WOMAN.  We met her several times last week and she was progressing so well!!! We taught her about the word of wisdom and I honestly think she was going to start crying. She said -my coffee jelly, I eat it every day-. Hahaha and she couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact that we don’t drink green tea.  Green tea is coupled with almost every Japanese meal.  It is the Japanese culture.  So it is really hard for them to understand.  But she said she would follow it!  She only drank tea one time from the time we met her on Saturday. However, Saturday we met her and talked about the priesthood and Jesus Christ and what not and it was an awesome lesson. Then we talked about the forms to sign before baptism and it kind of freaked her out a little bit... But we were okay we thought! So the next day at church, she didn’t come. We were like NOOOO because now she can’t be baptized next week. So i called her to see what was going on and she said that she just needs some time... It became a little bit impossible for right now. We were like?!?!? what/!?!??!  So I asked her what changed.  She said that when she was signing those forms and it asked her about her parents name and she was not even slightly okay with that.  Her parents died and are Buddhist.  She thought that it was just her entering but she doesn’t want it to have any relationship with her family.  I explained that it is okay and she doesn’t have to do temple work and that the information is private, but she said please understand, I just need time... ;****((( Wayyyyy bummer. But she was doing so awesome and progressing so well that, there just has to be opposition in all things right? It will be okay! 

So you know how we met the deaf family last week???!?  Well we taught them last week.  It was actually awesome. We started out teaching their two darling children English and it was so fun. So we had written out little cards in Japanese to teach them the lesson.  So we would ask them a question on a little card or something and they would just write out the response. It was so exciting to wait for their response or watch them as they read our testimonies about God and prayer. And to feel the Spirit come in as they were reading... The wife had never prayed before. We prayed at the end and they just watched our mouths as we prayed and it was definitely not your standard first lesson. SO much fun! 

4 of our investigators came to church this Sunday, it was really great! 

It has been a hard/wonderful/awesome/faith strengthening week. I love this work! I also love my companion to death, she is so awesome. We are learning so much together! 

Have a great week! 

Sister Crofts

Kobayashi San and his cute Mom

She looked at this picture and said"Japanese Grandmas are cute, aren't they?" Ha Ha

Sister Moore & I made it to Kobayashi Sans house. Barely!

Japan is seriously so beautiful

Takahashi Shimai on a kokan (split). I love her.

Pretty rice fields

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014

皆さんこんにちは! 元気でしょう

Well, it has been another awesome week! Although it is July which means it is typhoon season. I don`t mean to say I hate it, but I do. Hahahaha.  We ride our bikes in the rain alllll day.  Even though we are wearing rain suits, we are still soaked on the inside because you end up sweating and get water in your rain suit. So you just feel wet all day long. It is harder to find people to talk to on the street too! We are getting up at 6 am to go and run every day! I love it. 

Yamamoto san is doing AMAZING!!!! Last week we taught her about the plan of salvation and she wanted to take a picture of it. She asked about who the leader was about our church, and if we ever see him, we talked about the prophet and what not and she stood up because she was so excited when she saw the picture. She saw his face and started to rub it and said "ありがたいありがたい”, which is like I want to thank him. She was even more shocked that a person so important was someone we could meet or see. She is learning so much and she ... ahhhhh i love her. It is amazing how much she is growing. In her prayer she asked heavenly father to help her so she can be baptized. She said that the member who is tachiaiing her lessons is her best friend. SO CUTE. I love them. She loved church and is doing so great. 

Last week we had a takoyaki party during eikaiwa and lots of our friends/investigators came! Kobayashi san had planned to come, but then at 8 o clock he shows up with this huge boxes of food for us. He told us how grateful he was for our help with his mom. It was SO MUCH FOOD. I couldn`t believe it. Also, do you want to hear something hilarious? So do you remember that man that we tried to get to follow the word of wisdom on the street? Well he came to the eikaiwa party. He talked a lot with the elders and what not, but I guess after what we had said to him he quit alcohol for 1 DAY!!!! but then decided it was to hard and stopped. But the fact that he quit for a day brings utter bliss to my heart. 

We had a lesson with kobayashi san the next day. I was soooo excited to teach him. We had a member present for the lesson  at the church and it had been really awesome. He sits down and says I want to know why there are so many Christian churches and how I know which one is true. We said how perfect it was because that is exactly what we want to talk about with you!  and then out of nowhere this other member comes in and just sits down. Basically... In a nut shell... This member likes to talk. He talked forever and wouldn`t stop and he kept talking about all of these random things. I honestly wanted to start crying. He kept cutting off us and the other member and the lesson ended up being 2 hours... It was terrible. Kobayashi san told us over and over again how warm his heart felt though. When he prayed at the end of the lesson, he told God that what he is feeling is not something in his head, but it is something in his heart. He feels and recognizes the Spirit so strongly. It turns out that the member who came in and destroyed our lesson had actually gone for the other sisters lesson too and it was this man and woman who were together but living separately and he said "you will need this" and gave them a law of CHASTITY pamphlet. !?!? WHAT? WHAT? I could go on for a while about how unbelievable it was, but I am trying to get over it. Since that lesson, Kobayashi san won`t call us back... We are going to try and visit him tomorrow. 

It was absolutely CRAZY!!! We go this old folks home every month. Missionaries have been going for months and months. We had to do a companion exchange and it was hard to get back in time for it, but I just felt like we needed to go. So we came back with one of the new missionaries from Czek and went with the other 2 shimai. When we went, we started by singing the American national anthem (HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY) and sung "I am a child of God". There were probably 20 old folks in the care center and 10 workers. So out of nowhere one of the workers said how we have been coming here for a while but they don`t know anything about what we believe. What is the difference between Mormons and Catholics? So we stood up and testified to them about the Book of Mormon and God`s continuing revelation through the prophet. Then at the end they all started doing the little cross prayer that Catholics do. Hahahaha. So then we talked about prayer and how we literally talk to God like he is our Father. So then I asked if we could say a prayer together so they could hear what it was like. So I said a prayer with all of them there. How crazy is that?!?!?!?! This room FILLED with Buddhists who don`t really even believe in God!!  Then after that ALL of them were asking questions about the church and they kept saying "Mormon" over and over again. It was seriously SUCH a miracle and the Spirit was so strong. Gahhhhhh. I don`t know if anything will come out of it, but I LOVE opportunities like that where we can just testify and help them to feel the Spirit! 

We went housing for several hours and were having no luck finding anyone. It was kind of a nicer area, so nobody really would listen. Then we found this family..... Both of the parents are deaf and they have two of the cutest children. We started trying to talk to them and it was rough, so then they got their 5 year old son and he translated for us. I tried American sign language but it was in vain...... Hahaha failure. But they wanted us to come back so I am way excited to go back! I don`t know how we will communicate, they wrote a lot in kanji when they were writing messages for us. So I guess me and Moore Shimai will have to study more kanji and pray for the gift of tongues. 


Love you.

Liz was so thoughtful and sent me presents

Crepes with the Takabata Shimaitachi

My leg is taking a beating from the bikes

Nozomi made me flowers. She said she missed me. I love her.

Our takoyaki party

Yummy lunch with Sister Moore

My tastes have changed. I now eat things that would have killed me when I got here and now I love it.

Sister Oda on companion exchanges

Japanese day care with kids in these buckets. Hilarious!