Today, I would like to share an experience that provided a lot of opportunity for growth. It's kind of personal, but what I gained was so precious and dear to me that I would like to ask that you only read the following if you're actually going to read it. (Sorry, no skimmers!)
This week, we spent some time finding people to visit from old records, see if they were interested in hearing about the gospel. There was a woman close to some of the potentials who was a less active member, so we decided to drop by and visit. After texting the elders, they told us that she would probably talk with us, but that she hated Americans.
Well, I'm only half American, and I've been friends with people who doesn't like America, so we worked her into the schedule and set off on another busy day of dendo.
Most of the potentials had moved, so it was with some relief that we biked up to her home and heard a vacuum cleaner running. After a prayer, we rang her bell. She answered, and not only welcomed us, but let us into her home. She sat us on the couch, usual small talk, asked us where we were from and with slight hesitation, we named our homes.
As she left the room for a moment, I looked at my companion and said, "This is a miracle."
And that's right about when things took a sharp turn south.
This sister came back into the room, handed us some tomatoe juice, and sat across from us, and after a prelude of what seemed like normal conversation, she unleashed a stream of what I can only describe as disgust and hatred. Looking me straight in the eyes, she accused me of everying from corruption to bloodshed and terrorism, informing me that my ignorance was the cause of thousands of lives lost in warfare. She profaned everything from the land of my birth to my education, my faith, my God, the whole time peering into my eyes to see the effect her words would have on me, a concentrated stream of coldness burning into me.
I was stunned. I couldn't move, I could hardly breathe from the weight of such unrestrained hate and disgust pouring forth from this woman I was trying so hard to love. Crying out in my heart to my Lord for patience and charity, I felt in my heart, be still. I was a statue against this woman's passionate monologue, with my angel companion supporting me in whatever civil manner she could. I am forever grateful to her, because I simply could not stand alone in that moment.
Half an hour later, standing on an empty corner next to a vending machine, clutching a can of warm lemonade in hands that wouldn't stop shaking, whisps of the darkness I had just experienced still clinging to my heart--I started to breathe again. The shock wearing off from the closest thing to persecution I will likely ever experience in Tohoku, Japan, what I had to hold on to was the truth that echoed through my mind in the spiritual darkness of that poor woman's home.
Before I was American, before I was Japanese, before I was anything this world can claim as its own, I was and am today the daughter of a Father in Heaven. Before I was born of my own goodly parents, I was the child of God the Father, who designed the roaring rivers and carved the mighty canyons. I am not America, neither am I Japan; I am the daughter of a King, heiress to the hope and light this message brings.
So give me moutains to peak, give me valleys to crawl through, because if it be His will, there is not a single thing I cannot do--no, not one. So come what may, for I will never be shaken, and in my heart is woven this truth: I am a Child of God.
Never forget that you are, too.
岩手山 (Mt. Iwate)
Nappy nap before Eikaiwa... kids are crazy
Bonus video: View from Lisa's apartment, probably?