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 新年会 (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:)