Sunday, March 1, 2015

Zone Conference and A Birthday Miracle (March 2, 2015)

Hey-o! What's up?

My first Zone Conference was this week!!!!!!!!!! It was fun and so much spiritual learning, loved it! One crazy announcement was that at the end of this month, Elder Evans (of the Seventy) and Elder Aonagi (of the Area Seventy) will be coming to train us on... wait for it... iPads! Yaaaaaay!

M'kay, I'm less than enthusiastic about it at this point, but the idea of not carrying scriptures in two languages is growing on me. ;) (I'm fairly anti-technology but there are benefits, and if God wants me to use an iPad, I can do it. And we get some spiritual powerhouses to train us on it, so I'm okay with that.:) Cool things unfolding here in Sendai. :)

A birthday miracle!!! We visited a homebound less active member (LA) with whom we've had a lot of contact, so we took addresses of other LAs (who have had no contact) tovisit briefly with them. It was very cold and I was a little paraoid because we had a potential frostbite scare earlier this week, and finding Japanese addresses is one of the most challenging things since for some reason, our apartment isn't equipped with an area map... but the lady we struggled most to find welcomed us and guess what? It was her birthday! She was busy so we just sang her a birthday song and a hymn, and she invited us back!

It was a good reminder that God cares about us individually. We usually don't have time to show up at LA homes to see if they're willing to meet, but the cards played out so that we biked up to this lady's home in good time to help her feel God's love. I truly believe our Heavenly Father saw her heart and nudged us in the right direction, even as we considered giving up so that we could find her home to bring her a small gift of music. It doesn't matter where we are on our walk of life; we are God's children, whether or not we let ourselves feel that way. It is my testimony that the Lord is looking out for each of us. I'd like to challenge each of you to look for an extra opportunity to brighten someone's day, even if it's something small, and help them feel the love we share as the family of God. (And share your experience with me? Is that asking too much? You don't have to, just serve someone:) Love you all!

Pictures: Sister K took us to Matsushima!!! And our investigator G lives by the ocean, so she took us to the coast. Beautiful, right?

P.S. Tidbits from other emails I sent today

(Note: This is really random stuff... but there are a some interesting details in here, too.)

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY CHRIS AND CHANDRA!!!! (That makes it sound like they're engaged but that's not what I mean, teehee:) Would you tell Chris congrats for me? I don't know Chandra as well but if you talk to her, tell her I said the same:) Bless them both, those little BYU kids. That's crazy, everyone's getting married... a boy and a girl from my home ward also just got engaged this week to each other, and all the student ward kids... Geez, that was fast. How exciting, though, all the spring/summer wedding that'll be going down;) Ah, what an exciting time of life. I feel like we're not old enough to know people who are getting married, you know?

We like to tease my companion about how fast she's gonna get married--she's 23 and goes home in two weeks, and a lady in our branch read her palms and told her what kind of guy she should marry, it was so funny.

I love my companion and literally everyone here, they are the sweetest. There's this old lady I love that is inactive because she's old and frail and half the discs in her back have collapsed so sitting in chairs for three hours really hurts her, but the elders take her the sacrament each week and we visit her and her son every week or every other week, just whenever we can. Her son is mentally handicapped, so he's forty but in his heart he's about six, he is the sweetest. He LOVES root beer, which is really, really unusual for a Japanese person, so he gives us cans of root beer all the time. (I hate root beer, so it was challenging the first time but the second time I told him I wasn't feeling too well so he gave me a can to take home, which I gave to my companion after we left, but he is just so sweet.)

The thing I love most about missionary work is that we get to befriend these people and get to know them and give them love, and you get to peek into their lives and see how beautiful each of them is. It's so fun to literally spend every day thinking about them and serving them and inviting them to learn more about Christ, and sometimes it's hard or awkward, but even if they don't want to learn more, you still get to talk to them and love them. I'm not being very eloquent but it's a very special feeling, that's for sure:)

This week was also amazing! We did a lot of service, including helping an LA lady move. We were also able to share a brief message with her about the power of the Atonement in allowing us to have a fresh new beginning every time we utilize it. 

Zone Conference was also incredible, but because you were also there, I'd like to mention another highlight of the week, which was this past Saturday. 

We had the opportunity to visit Grace in her town, which was really neat, to be able to spend some time with her and talk about Gospel topics. We discussed a lot about Catholic belief of Saints, which was really interesting; I don't know much about the Catholic faith, but it seems that Catholics pray to saints much in the same way that we pray through the name of Jesus Christ. The saints act as an advocate who were mortal and experienced things like we do, and as such they can essentially convey what we pray for the our Heavenly Father. Sister McGreevy had noticed when she prayed at our last meeting that she concluded her prayer with "amen," but didn't use the Savior's name, so we asked about that and she said that it's mostly because of the saints thing, and saints seem more accessible because they weren't perfect. However she also said that she prefers to talk directly to God instead of through the saints, which was very neat. 

Another thing I loved is that on the way to and from her town, we rode a bus, and we happened to be with the same group of college students both ways. The bus part of our journey wasn't very long, unfortunately, but they were very friendly and we were able to leave them with cards and some Eikaiwa pamphlets. They're from Tokyo, though, so we encouraged them to visit the website to try to find a class from near their school. One girl got our names and said she would try to find us on Facebook, which was sweet of her. They were all very nice, and I have hope that they will watch some "I'm a Mormon" videos and maybe attend an Eikaiwa as a group, and eventually learn more about the Gospel. 

There were other miracles as well this week, including a surprise LA visit which happened totally by chance (or in other words by the Spirit) that was on the lady's birthday, and overall it was yet another wonderful week. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into this work; I am eager to begin another wonderful week.

My corner of the garden here is my favorite. The people here are golden, I adore them. A lot of older people, I'm the youngest active woman/girl in the branch, which is kind of strange to me but I didn't notice until I realized that one of our PIs would be the only YW, so I guess it's pretty normal. The weather is pretty up and down--we're right against the ocean so there's a pretty strong breeze every few days, but I love the wind so it's super fun. (I'm from the mountain, no ocean gusts in Idaho...:) It gets fairly warm, went without a jacket for a day last week, but then we also had a potential frostbite scare a few days after that (but only after six hours outdoors and the issue resolved itself). No crows or potato vendors, unfortunately, that sounds rather magical, actually:) Probably 25 active members, but they are all sweethearts. I don't know, I love it all, we're busy and tired and being a bean is a lot to learn, but I'm really enjoying every minute of it. Tomorrow's hour month mark for being in Japan, isn't that scary? I feel like time kind of slips through your fingers here. There's just so much I want to be doing, so many people to see and love and learn with and grow with, and then suddenly it's time to go to bed, darn it. Buuuut it's fun, and it's the Lord's work, so all is well:)

PS, Dad, my nametag is cooler than the Tokyo mission's at this point. 10 points to Gryffindor!

Bonus photo: At the Sendai Zone zone conference

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