Wednesday, October 28, 2015

(October 26, 2015)

I don't feel like writing a group email today, so just you two:) Partly because I'm lazy, partly because I've been working on being focused in Nagamachi, which actually makes my life loads easier. Please read the talk called, The Fourth Missionary. It's so good! I think it is less for missionaries and more for disciples of Christ. I got the packages, thank you so much! I'll send Obaachan a card today to tell her thanks, too. Life's been so busy, but good.


But Zone Taikai was good! I gave a training on faith, and I think it went well. I used a たとえ (example) about semiconductors, tip my hat to daddy-o:) I said that we need to be fully conductive missionaries, because if we are non-conductive or semiconductive, we can't be fully effective instruments in the hands of the Lord.

Love you! I got Dan's yearbook picture, he looks good!!! 

Picture: Muffins with the girls before Zone Conference:) We got Sisters 小西、黒田、西山、Carr, Burkhart, Qureshi, and Oldroyd, along with yours truly;)

Friday, October 23, 2015

What Manner of (Wo)men (October 19, 2015)

Well, here I am, still in Nagamachi! I am training once again, one Sister O who is also half Japanese (but her mother was born and raised in the States so she looks half but is still learning the language).

She is absolutely hilarious and I feel positive that we'll have a transfer of much clumsiness and laughter, clumsy brought to you by yours truly;) I sent off my angel Sister A up to one of the coldest parts of our mission... But she will do great things:)

This week I mostly just want to share my transfer theme as I begin my seventh transfer. I picked 3 Nephi 27:27, which reads, "And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgement which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am."

It's a fairly famous verse about embracing our godly lineage and becoming greater than we are, but the phrase I chose is, "Even as I am."

I like it, 'cause I think these four words together describes a lot of what I have pondered about and learned about over the course of the last nine months.

I wrote a poem about it that I would like to share, but first, I just want to say, I know that God lives, and I am so grateful for the light and knowledge we have because of His love for us. I know that His Son, Jesus Christ, walked this earth and died for us to find hope in our darkest night. He rose again that we might have the strength to keep going when our strength is exhausted, that we can know that everything will somehow work out, even when we can't see even one step in front of us. Somehow, despite our weakness, despite our inadequacies, we become enough when we trust in Him and grow through His love and mercy.

Here's the poem.

What manner of men
ought ye to be?
He asked, a question we each carry
within the depths of our hearts.
The question each human life curls itself around
of who I am today, and who I will become
An answer we spend decades to find, searching every nook,
every cranny of our finite, human minds, yet somehow, we cannot find
a satisfactory answer.
Stated simply, quietly, eloquently. Wrapped within a single breath.
Our Master looked me in the soul and answered,
Even as I am.

He walks with me, this Heavenly Friend,
although I may not notice
when plodding through the storms of life,
the wind steals the sound of his footsteps away.
He walked with me on my darkest night
I remember His hands, steadying me when I fell.

I remember what it felt like when the world around me shattered and I
felt alone; I remember what it felt like when I realized I would never
be enough. A scarlet stain of inadequacy on purity's plain, a
breath-taking disturbance in the motion of the stars, I remain, even
as I am, a blot unfit for every breath I take, somehow majestic in
spite of every last mistake.

Every flaw magnified in the spider-webbed reflection,
every line a bold declaration of where I yet fall short.
The wilted wings of a newly emerged butterfly,
soon to be beautiful, but not quite yet.
A mottled kaleidescope of half-baked talent and nearly-enough,
Alone in the universe, but with one sure Friend.

There is a reason I follow Him, and it's not because His footsteps are bigger than mine, although they are. There is a reason I honor Him, and it's not because He walked on water, although He did. He is my Savior, Jesus Christ, and He is the only person who can see me for who I am and will yet become and how long that road will take--and love me all the same. He is the only One who can work within me and through me and accomplish great works despite my unworthy frame.

He is the only one that can make me worth it,
enough, whole, complete,
or perhaps
even perfect

even as I am.

I love you all! Take care.

SENDAI SOUTH ZONE 大会!!!!! (conference)
Actually just muffins beforehand. #DailysMuffins

(Note: Lisa's new companion, Sister Oldroyd, is the one at the lower left, second closest to the camera.)

Bonus photo: Mission Leader Conference, October 7, 2015.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Seven Thoughts of a Seven Transfer Missionary (October 12, 2015)

... Ha, ha, just kidding, this week was too sweet to do one o' those cute little lists.

First of all, last week, we met this girl, Hayasaka San, and had a lesson that be thought would be primarily introducing her to the concept of God, because that's usually where we start.

Us: Have you ever thought about God?

Her: Yeah?!

Us: Oh, do you believe He exists?

Her: He has to!

Us: Cool, do you know anything about Jesus Christ?

Her: I love Jesus Christ!

This is in Japan. JAPAN, where nearly every household has a Buddhist shrine in their livingroom. I was like, oooooh yeah! And my American bean grabbed ahold of her hat and hour later, we ended the lesson with a kneeling prayer, having taught the entire message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I was walking on air, man.

This week, we met with her again, and taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation, including the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and committed Hayasaka San to prepare to be baptized on the 14 of November. WE ARE ECSTATIC.

But wait, there's more!

Yesterday, we had some time to go finding, and we'd been working on a neighborhood close to the church, and didn't feel particularly impressed on any other location so we continued. As we headed off after parking our bicycles, I said, "Today is the day we find Hayasaka San Number Two."

We housed for close to an hour. No luck. No one even accepted a Book of Mormon, darn it all. There was a set of apartments and one had a light on. We rang the bell and, like magic, the door opened, and inside was a woman wearing glasses like mine. It was crazy, almost immediately we started having this conversation like we'd been friends for a while, it just felt so normal.

Us: We're volunteers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Her: That church over there?*points*

Us: Exactly! Have you heard anything about our church?

Her: Nah, I just moved in.

Me: No way! I just moved in six weeks ago!

Her: Really?!?!

And we keep talking, we're like, yeah, we are sharing a message about God and families, and I'm like, hey, this is my favorite book. This has blessed my life. I show her the Book of Mormon in my hand, and she's like, well, cool! And I say, if you don't mind, I'd love to give this to you as a present! She accepts the book (which has my testimony written in the front) and she's like, yeah, I'll read it! And through this all, we have no exchanged our names so I say, oh yeah, my name's Luke! And my companion introduced herself and I say, if it's okay, may I ask your name? And she answers...


Drop mic.

The Gospel is true.

Peace out, y'all.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Why Did The Tomato Blush? (October 5, 2015)


Haha, like my joke? Thought it up all by myself. Just kidding, I'm pretty sure it's all been done before.

ANYWAY Luke 姉妹 calling in from Nagamachi once again. This week, we experienced an average amount of turbulance, including two splits, too much planning, and two bottles of salad dressing

Wait, what?

My thoughts exactly.

My intrepid companion Sister A and I arrived at a potential investigator's home, a nice lady we have been referring to as Housing Lady, because unlike Americans, Japanese people will tell you their age, weight, and height in centimeters before they will tell you their name (or perhaps I'm just bad at getting people's names, don't burn me at the stake). We were able to, for the second time, share a scripture and bear testimony with Housing Lady, as well as establish a much better relationship. In which I muster up the courage and non-awkwardness to ask her name, and she agrees that we can come back and share another brief message with her if she's home next week.

In other words, we should probably baptize her in a few weeks;) Or maybe once she recognizes the Spirit and accepts the gospel of Jesus Christ, so hey, in a few weeks:D

Anyway, her name is Ishi, because I or Is would be too confusing.

We're standing on the doorstep laughing with her, she's like yeah, you can come back, and then she says, actually, I have a request of you.

I'm thinking, oh, no, and she steps back into her home and pops out holding two bottles of salad dressing that were literally just inside her door. I got these from a friend, she says, but I don't really like salad dressing, I like mayonaisse.

And that is the story of how my companion and I got an almost investigator and two bottles of salad dressing. Yay!

Also just visited an investigator, A, who is probably getting baptized next transfer, just gonna drop that because I met her baby today and HE IS SO CUTE and I'm really excited right now.

Also, this email's getting long, but here's something I have been pondering on for a while and have decided to try. I have really wanted and tried and put in effort to be a good missionary. While I wouldn't go as far as to say I am failing, I do feel that I am ready to be more, that it is past due for me to go deeper and be a more effective instrument in the Lord's hands. A really spot-on district leader training and an even more spot-on AP training later, I started a process yesterday that I hope will refine me and make me what Nagamachi needs at this point in time. I have pondered and prayed and created a list of things that need to go to allow me to be more in harmony with the Spirit. Along with that, I have decided that I will no longer be responding to emails from anyone other than family, at least for my seventh transfer, which starts next week. Y'all can still write me, and if you send me your street address, I might possibly write back (but no promises 'cause let's be honest, I'm terrible at writing people back anyway). I haven't decided if this is a one-transfer thing or a rest-of-my-mission thing, or if I want to respond once a transfer or once or month or what, I'll keep you all posted but for now, please don't be offended if I don't respond! It's not you, it's me!

Now for the majority of you, it won't be a huge change as I plan to continue my weekly adventure-logs, but to my dear close friends, I love you, and I cannot exprss my appreciation for your support and friendship, but right now I need to give everything to the Lord. This is one of the only things I can put on the alter that might give me added spiritual strength, and I need that spirit with me if I am to do what I must. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong, but I've got to try.

Until next week!

Love, Lisa Luke 姉妹

Pictures: Salad dressing! My companion is quite a bit better at looking intense than I am, and split with Sister C! Between the two of us, we've got one white kid and one Japanese kid. Mostly I just really like this picture.