Monday, January 25, 2016

Just Happy:) (January 25, 2016)

IT WAS THE BEST THING EVERRRRRRRRR! Isn't her family so cute? T兄弟 (Bro. T) had to leave after the baptismal service so he missed her confirmation, but he got to baptize her and do her little introduction thing, and K kun was so good throughout the whole thing AND sacrament!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter Begins (January 18, 2016)

No actual letter today, but she sent a few photos!

Endo San said, it's your seijinshiki, amd made us food. She is one of my favorite people ever. (She is also stubborn. I've invited her to be baptized like four times. Well, one of these days, right?:)

(Note: Seijinshiki = 成人式 = "coming of age ceremony." The second Monday of each January is "seijin no hi," the day when traditionally everyone who turns 20 during the year [actually the school year, not calendar year] celebrates officially becoming an adult that year. Typically women dress up in fancy kimonos and everybody attends a [rather boring?] ceremony put on by the government. Since Lisa turned 20 during this school year, she was eligible to attend. I don't know whether she actually went to the ceremony or not.)

Kishi S was having a rough day. Joseph stopped in for a hello.

Monday, January 11, 2016

My Soul Hath often Found Relief (January 11, 2016)

Hey y'all! Time's short, got some music to practice, so I will attach a piece of my letter to the President:

... For some reason, I was very discouraged yesterday morning. I'm not entirely sure why, but my heart was heavy and I keenly felt my inadequacies and weaknesses. I was burdened by my shortcomings and was doubtful that I could have any impact at all. There was very little patience or charity or faith within me, and I was going through the motions as Sister Kishi and I attended DCS and as we waited for sacrament meeting to begin. Sister Tanaka, our investigator who passed her baptismal interview and is scheduled to receive the ordinance of baptism on the 24th, attended with her husband and baby, and although I was happy for them and excited as I watched them find baptismal clothing and prepare with the ward members, the light I saw in them didn't seem to make it to my cold heart. I was confused and frustrated with myself.

During sacrament meeting, however, Elder Uehara bore his testimony as he recently transferred to Nagamachi, and he quoted a verse of scripture from 2 Nephi 4:

Oh, then, if I have seen such great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men, hath visited men in such mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken becauae of mine afflictions?

That chapter is my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon.

Following Elder Uehara, Sister Nakano spoke, and she told of a question she asked her son, who is a volleyball player. She asked what the trick was, how he could jump so high, and he answered, "Mom, before you jump high, you've gotta come down real low." Those words struck me, and I pondered on them as we prepared for the intermediate hymn.

We sang Sweet Hour of Prayer, a song I love and have loved for many years. But when we sang the words, "In seasons of distress and grief/my soul hath often found relief," I could not sing for the knot in my throat. Tears spilled down my cheeks as I remembered the truth, the fact that no matter what, I can turn to my Father for help. And I had been; I'd been pleading for patience and for hope and for the strength to smile all morning, but that sacrament meeting was a confirmation to me of a loving Father who reaches out to a daugter in distress.

As a missionary, as much as we'd wish it could be, it's not always rainbows and sunshine. Snowstorms, rainclouds, rocky roads--they all will come. However, with every step of our journey we draw close to Him and He guides us when the path seems dark and the road seems faint, and the sun has set and flowers wilted and dried away.

He is there in seasons of both distress and grief, and he offers each of us that precious relief that only comes from His grace and everlasting love.


Hi parents! On the busy side today and I don't feel like writing much, I'm sorry, but Tanaka S passed her baptismal interview!!! and she came to church with her husband and baby:) Today was a 年会 (New Year's party), and we did もちつき (mochitsuki - pounding glutinous rice into mochi rice cake). It was so fun!

Also, this week at MLC, 会長 (mission president) gave us a training on music and prayer. We did the music and prayer training at ZTM, and we had groups sing hymns that they selected for investigators. I also found out that I'm the only semi-proficient pianist in my zone, so I wanted to say thank you for the piano lessons and telling me to practice and all of the years, because I can play and I use that and translating so much here. I'm accompanying two musical numbers this week at a conference, too. Thank you:)


Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Girl Who Can't Be Moved (January 4, 2016)

Transfer Nine, Area two, companion seven, blessings: too many to count.

Good news of the week is, I refuse to transfer. YOU CAN'T GET RID OF ME, NAGAMACHI! I love it too much. :) Other good news is, Sister K and our entire district is also staying.

Not to be a jerk but we're busy today, so rest assured that I am alive and well and blessed and happy, and we rode bikes for forever this week and were healthy and well, so I will call that good and give you a break from my ceaseless chatter;)

Except for the picture explanations. :)

Pictures: Two girls visited our ward, they are sisters. One will head to the Tokyo South Mission in February and the other is waiting on her mission call.

Sister K and I celebrated our good friend Joseph's birthday. Speaking of birthdays, happy birthday to W, J, A, M, L, D, A, R, and anyone else who had a birthday this week, it occurred to me that a lot of people I know get older right around New Years';) Thanks for your love and support and the influence you've had in my life.

And, our Christmas haul. Between my parents, grandparents, the B family from Ginger Creek, her home ward, her other home ward, the ward we're working in, and her family, our apartment is 90% candy and 10% instant curry. No one is complaining. (Except for the elders have a lot of junk too, so no one to give it to... until splits come around again, hahaha!)

Bonus P.S. I asked Lisa what she did for New Year's, and here is her answer:

Visited a small jinja (Shinto shrine), got an omikuji (fortune), 私は吉でした。(My fortune was "lucky") Visited a TON of members and ate a lot of osechi (traditional New Year's food) and ozouni (traditional New Year's soup, which features mochi, a glutinous rice cake), painted half a kokeshi (traditional Japanese wooden doll) that I will give to you at some point in time, and cleaned our apartment. We took out eleven bags of trash this morning and that doesn't include our plastics. But, the elders beat us, partly because they have four people and since the APs live there, a LOT of ending elders live there, they had twenty bags of garbage, hahaha:) Good thing they cleared it out, we're gaining two elders in Nagamachi this transfer! Eight member district:) I'm staying, so I get to be at 田中姉妹's (Sister Tanaka's) baptism, I'm pretty happy:)