Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Seven Days of Miracles (August 1, 2016)

As promised, here is a real email! Yay!

This week was...
Seven Days of Miracles

I always hate when people make lists of what they did every day of the week, well I guess I don't hate it but I almost never read it, but this week was too good to skip it, so I just made a list of the miracles we saw this week in as concise a way as I could. Enjoy!

1. Monday: Miraculously resolved technology issues, the most successful mission home FHE I've ever been to. Two of our investigators attended and both walked away having felt the Spirit.

2. Tuesday: A joint lesson in which our artist investigator expressed concerns she had which neither of us really knew how to resolve, but the member who was with us shared an experience that helped her understand the why. Also a visit with the Young Women President in which her stern exterior shifted enough for us to see her kindness, light, and warmth.

3. Wednesday: A call in the morning from the Stake President's wife which led to going to lunch with her and a lesson with another investigator, who, when invited to church, answered, yeah, I'd love to come! Later a lesson with another investigator in which we break down walls and begin to understand much more.

4. Thursday: Lesson with a woman who not only kept her commitment to pray but also understood and acceptd the entire Message of the Restoration, expressed much interest in the Book of Mormon, and then committed to read the introduction and pray to ask God if the Book of Mormon is true. Rushed back to an extremely spiritual district meeting, where President Smith showed up unexpectedly and we were all edified together. We proceeded to have another investigator lesson in which we broke down more walls, then visited a less active member whose sick city finally took its medicine and began to eat again. Played a hymn on my violin for her and we all felt the Spirit so strongly right there in her doorway.

5. Friday: We visit an investigator's cafe with two members. She shows us a nearby waterfall and we set another appointment after singing I am a Child of God together.  Kamisugi FHE is the most successful it has been since I arrived, with some YSA and the elders' investigator. We bond with a YSA sister over the final game in which we identify and slay a werewolf (which ended up being the elders' investigator...)

6. Saturday: Visit not once, not twice, but three times with the same sister who was having a hard time. Lots of mysteries are cleared up. Visit a less active sister and discover the reason she is unable to attend church with us. Go to lunch at a legendary member's home, with two investigators. We then attend a sports activity together, in which every companionship had at least 2-3 nonmember friends in attendance. Smashed volleyball pretty hard;) One of the girls invites us to her dance competition.

7. Sunday: Two investigators to church, and the elders have people, too. We all learn together. We go to the investigator's dance competition. Dinner with a member couple for her birthday along with another investigator and one of the elders' investigators, complete with a wonderful message at the end where the Spirit was present. (Which is hilarious, 'cause the elders couldn't come since it'd break some mission rules, hahaha:) Both investigators committed to seek answers and peace from God for their own needs.

Yep. 'Twas a good week. If you read all that, you're a champion and more generous than I'd probably be, or you're my parents:D

And, after being asked to give a five minute training on things I've been learning on my mission, so here are five principles I've learned. I can't claim true doctrine on all of them quite yet, but I feel that they describe what I've learned all right.

1. The Atonement of Jesus Christ cleanses and empowers us
2. The Atonement of Jesus Christ allows us to grow--but only as much as we choose to
3. Time is exceedingly short, in dendo and in life
4. Trust in the Lord (and His timing)
5. God never expects more than our very best, but He does expect that

So grateful to be a missionary here and now! I love the people, I love the work, I love what it feels like when we have to run back to the apartment to keep curfew, I love seeing people grow and come closer to Christ, I love teaching people and talking to people, even the creepy ones and the not-so-nice ones, because we are all brothers and sisters after all and when all is said and done, all we do is offer them peace and joy and all good things. I know God loves and loves each and every one of us. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and He saves us from fear and insecurity and pain and anguish, and that as we trust Him and Almighty God, there is nothing that can prevail against us. We are intended to become so much greater than we can fathom by virtue of the fact that we are His children. I'm grateful for second chances and the stars that rise each night when the light is gone. There is peace and sunlight in my soul, because of the truths that I know. I am the happiest.

Pictures: Last time I didn't explain at all, but the missionaries in Kamisugi served as waitors/waitresses for a wedding reception, which is why we have the matching bowties and black-white thing. Also my little friend and I. Mostly this picture just makes me look a lot nicer than I actually am, so, I like it;)

仙台七夕! Next week is the Japanese Star Festival. Legend has it that two lovers, like the star prince and star princess (or something, frankly I've never had the story accurately explained to me) who fell in forbidden love can only meet once a year, and that's next week. Anyway giant decorations are beginning to make their appearance around Sendai:)

One of my favorite English students is a traditional dancer of the Suzume odori, or sparrow dance. Probably the coolest thing ever. If I remember to I'll send a video in a following email.

Not her group, but still way cool!

Bonus photo: Kamisugi Zone conference