Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 14, 2014

Well.... I am alive!!!  We had to stay inside yesterday because of the typhoon. The winds were pretty crazy and everyone was calling us to tell us to get home.  We were riding our bikes back as fast as we could... soooo scary, but so funny. Anyway, I never thought I would be sending this e-mail.  This is my LAST e-mail home before I SEE YOU AGAIN!!!!  I seriously can`t even believe it.  I don`t know if I can adequately express how awesome this last week was and how much I wish I could be a missionary forever.  I have really been blessed by God and I haven`t really thought about going home or felt trunky at all.  Everyone has to keep reminding me that I am going home, that I am going home next week.  It seriously doesn`t feel real. GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS THE BEST!!!  It was cool to think that my family was watching it from all ends of the world (Japan, New Zealand, Chile & Utah). 

Kaori chan. We met her on the street 2 weeks ago and she is amazing. She rides an hour by bike just to go to our lessons. After teaching her lesson one she said she wanted to be baptized. However, her dad says she can be baptized just can’t join the church.. So she went home and told her parents about everything she learned with us and how much she loved it. But they wouldn’t listen. She took the “Strength of Youth” pamphlet home and showed her parents.  She is only 16 and has so much faith. She was so sad we had to cancel our appointment yesterday because of the typhoon. 

Leiah is like the coolest most amazing person ever and we met her last Saturday.  Her brother died this week, but she wanted to meet us.  She is from the Phillipines and has so much faith in Christ and has really had such a hard life, but she is positive and trusts in God. When we taught her the plan of salvation, she said you guys are the answer to my prayers. My brother wasn’t really good and so I have been so afraid for him and praying for him, but now I know he has a chance.  You gave me hope, you gave me relief.  Then when we taught her about Joseph Smith she said I think the things you are saying are real. I believe you.  She inspires me.  It is crazy how we met her the week before her brother died. 

We had interviews with President Yamashita last week and I sure do love him so much.  At the end of my interview, his eyes started to water and he just said "Sister Crofts, I am going to miss y" and I said "stop! stop! I still have a week.  I still have one more interview." I was just crying so bad because I don’t want it to be over.  Because the Yamashitas were in Yokkaichi for interviews, we asked them to do a lesson with Kobayashi san after.  When Kobayashi san met President Yamashita he just turned to me, eyes big, and said "WHOA. chikarazuyoi" (which means, like full of power) We talked about the doctrine of Christ and how baptism is just a beginning and focused more on the temple. The Spirit was so strong, there was so much peace and power and as I spoke, I couldn’t speak quiet enough.  It was probably one of the strongest moments in my life.  Kobayashi san, he is SO ready. He understands that President Yamashita is a member of the First Quorum of Seventy and so it is a big deal to be able to meet him. Oh my, that was seriously the coolest lesson ever. So then, Kobayashi san came to general conference broadcast, both sessions on Sunday.  He loved President Monson’s talk so much and he bowed so humbly and quietly whispered amen after his talk. So after the first session, he turned to me and said "Crofts san, President Monson said the same things that you have been telling me. I thought it was kind of fushigi (wondrous) na.." Then during that hour break, several of the members who have helped for his lessons were sitting by us and Kobayashi san was just teaching us about agency and charity. He was telling us how lately he has been thinking a lot about charity and he doesn’t know why.  He feels like he is wanting to do more nice things for other people and if you don’t have charity you are nothing. We said, Kobayashi san!!! There is a scripture that says that!! He couldn’t believe it. Then he started talking about how he thinks it is amazing that God gives us agency because if we weren’t unhappy we couldn’t really appreciate true happiness.  One of the members and I almost jumped as he was speaking because it was so profound.  So right before the second session, I said "I know you are ready to be baptized, I don’t know your worries or concerns, but God does. There is a baptism this Sunday, and I really feel you are ready. Before you answer, I want you to watch this next session of conference because I know that God will comfort your heart and give you His answer." SO OF COURSE. EVERY SINGLE TALK could not have been more directed at Kobayashi san.  I felt bad that everyone had to listen to General Conference when it was for Kobayashi san. Using our free agency... honoring our ancestors through family history and the temple... and of course. Elder Bednar`s talk?!?!? OH MY. I couldn`t believe it. He loved it. He ran over to Oda Shimai and said "I got my answer Oda san!!!" He left soon after conference, and we tried calling him that night and Monday, but he didn’t answer. He wouldn’t meet Monday because of the typhoon. He told brother Itakura that he would see us on Wednesday. So now we are waiting!!!! ahhhh. I think he can make it for this Sunday. 

Well, I have so many things I want to tell you about, and this mail is all about  Kobayashi san because ahhhh he is just so aweosme. I have been walking faster too because of the boot you sent me. Thank you so much Dad!  Also thank you Liz for the awesome package too!!! I wish Bobby and Kristy could come on our trip, but I know they are exactly where they are supposed to be. I am so excited to see you next week!!!! 

Our bike ride all the way out to Komono to see Kobayashi San

Kobayashi San's mom gave me a chair for my foot.  She is so cute.

I got to see Jessa and Sakura Chan

Jo Chourou gave me a ginger pen because I love ginger so much. Ha Ha  so funny.

Kaori Chan and Sayaka Shimai. I love them

Mika is the happiest ending. She is going to America, her depression is gone and she has changed her life.  It was so awesome to see how much the gospel changed her. She is so happy.

Of course you need snacks to watch the General Conference broadcast. I love this.

I have the best companion ever!! Me and Oda Shimai.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 6, 2014

Minasan konnichiwa!! 

It has been another great week with its fair share of unexpected and awesome. At the beginning of this transfer, I really prayed that I would be able to have a greater understanding of the Savior and His Atonement before I go home. That I would be able to more fully appreciate what He did for me. So with that as a start, let me tell you about my day on Tuesday. I had another fun kokan with Samowitz shimai and we talked to people all day trying to find people to teach!  It was really great and we found this one lady who had lived in America and met the missionaries, but didn’t really understand them so she cancelled the lessons. She was really excited to learn more again in Japanese!! Awesome how much God prepares people to accept the gospel. The missionaries in Takabata are in charge of planning the young women’s activities there, so we played night games at the church. We played ghost in the grave yard and.. well I am a missionary in Japan and I haven’t really gone through anything scary in a while. We turned out all of the lights and then went to go and find the person who was it, my heart was racing because I was so afraid. hahaha Lucky me, I found her, but she scared the living daylight out of me and I started to run away. My shoes were falling off, I couldn’t run fast enough, and then what do you know. My foot hit the doorway, sending immediate pain and shock up my leg. I couldn’t move my foot at all. They wanted me to go to the hospital immediately, but I was an hour away by train in Takabata and wanted to go in Yokkaichi because then I could follow up there. So the next morning, I had to walk all the way to the train. Walking is probably the hardest and most painful thing to do because when I walked it put pressure on my toe and sent shocking pain up my leg with every step. It was far and quite honestly the most pain I have ever experienced in my life. There were tears coming down my face because I wanted to just make it to Yokkaichi, but it seemed impossible to make it there. As I was walking. wait scratch that. gimping to the eki, my mind was caught up as if I was in a different place. I looked over to my left and I saw our Savior, Jesus Christ, with the cross on his shoulders; blood dripping down His face, crying out because of the pain He was going through, but smiling at me. He was walking too, but it was to a different place. He was walking to Calvary where He would be crucified for all of our sins, our sufferings, our weaknesses. I walked with Him, and realized that my pain wasn’t too bad in comparison to what He was feeling. He understood the pain and when I realized that, all I could feel was gratitude and reverence to Him. I know that the Savior walks with my every day, and I feel Him strengthening me every day, but that was different.  He truly carried me to the eki where I was able to make it to the hospital. The elders and Tachi shimai came to the hospital to help make sure we could understand exactly what it was. We had quite the party there. It turns out it was fractured.  He pushed it back into place and that was just sheer agony. But I knew that my Savior was there with me. I received a blessing from Elder Yamada, and it said -your mission is not over. You are close to the end, but your work is not finished yet. God has work left for you to do. Your physical pain will not prevent you from doing the work that you want to do and the work that God needs you to do. You have relied on the Savior before and you can rely on Him again. When you go home, your next mission begins. You will have no worries-.## It was seriously beautiful. Everyone has been telling me to just rest and to take it easy to the end, not ride my bike, not walk, not work, but that is something I can’t do. I know that every day, even though it hurts, that this is what God planned for me. This is strengthening my testimony of the Savior; this is exactly what I needed. Of course, not the answer I was expecting.
 I love my companion. I love my mission!!! 

Crofts Shimai

My fractured toe.  On the left is the initial break that is displaced and on the right is after it was reduced

I had to wear slippers to get in the hospital even with a broken toe that was displaced. Oh Japan.

The little toe isn't supposed to stick out like this
My support group at the hospital
I'm too young to walk with a cane
My foot after my toe was reduced
Oda Shimai took me shopping in a wheelchair to buy big shoes that would fit my foot
Plastic bag to keep my broken toe dry

Nishino Shimai got baptized. So happy for her.

Happy to be with my companion
Silly photo after a double zone conference
This nihonjin grandma was so tiny. I am a giant here. Oda Shimai laughs at this picture almost everyday.

Sunset in Japan

Splits with Samowitz Shimai

Crabs found by the kids