I remember being so grateful, but so frustrated all at the same time. I guess I was hoping that maybe all of the sudden I would be able to understand Japanese perfectly or something. As I sat there, trying to be strong so that the members didn't know that inside I was a complete mess, I tried so hard to be grateful for that little bit of English. Thinking back on that experience now, I've begun to realize that learning Japanese is not going to be easy for me. It's going to take work and effort, but it is also going to take a lot of faith and trust in Heavenly Father and in His timing. The times when I have trusted in Him the most, are the times when Japanese comes more easily. The times when I just try to do it on my own it becomes almost impossible. For me, learning Japanese has been the hardest thing on my mission. I mean everything else is hard, but Japanese is the hardest. I have really had to rely on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I have learned so much as I have strengthened my relationship with him. It's amazing the blessings, and the miracles that I have seen as I have served Him. I have begun to really love praying. I remember before my mission it was just something that I did (or didn't do because I was too tired, or too busy, or too lazy). Now though, I pray when I need peace. I pray when I need comfort. I pray when I am frustrated and things aren't going the way that I want them too. I pray when I feel like no one else understands. I pray when something good happens. I pray when I am filled with so much gratitude. As a missionary I pray all the time, and I love it. I have truly seen the happiness and the blessings that it brings into my life. When I pray now, I know I am praying to my Heavenly Father, and I know He is listening. I know He really cares about me, and He wants to help lead and guide me. So even though I have been having a hard time, I have also been having the greatest time of my life.
Last week we found out that Sister McLaughlin (my companion) is going home at the end of this transfer. It has been a possibility and we were just waiting for news. I am so sad that she is going home, but I am grateful for the time that we have had together, and for the two weeks left that we still have. I have learned so much from her, and from serving together. It is amazing to look back at these last two transfers and remember just how amazing it has all been, and how much I have grown. McLaughlin Shimai has been great at helping me to be more confident in myself, and being together through all of the trouble she has been having with her knees has taught me a great deal of patience. Together we have seen a lot of struggles, but we have also seen a lot of miracles. Tsuyama is my favorite place, and it will always have a big piece of my heart. We aren't sure what is going to happen here in Tsuyama. Within the next two transfers, about half of the sister missionaries in the mission are going home, and we don't really have that many coming in. A lot of the areas are going to close for Sister Missionaries, and we are hoping and praying that Tsuyama isn't one of them. It has been amazing to see the changes that have been happening here. The strength that the members now have, and the smiles on their faces. Church is a happy place now, and we have even had members bring their friends two weeks in a row. The work here in Tsuyama is starting to pick up, and they are starting to see and understand a least a little part of their true potential. It is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary. I am so grateful for the time that I have been able to serve here, and I hope that it's not over yet. I really love Tsuyama.
I love you all so much, and I am grateful for your love and support. I pray for you, and hope that you are all doing well! I hope that this week you are able to feel of Heavenly Father's love for you.
LINKS to the talks Amanda mentioned from the General Women's Broadcast
Keeping Covenants Protects Us,Prepares Us, and Empowers Us https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/keeping-covenants-protects-us-prepares-us-and-empowers-us?lang=eng&media=video#watch=video
Sisterhood: Oh, how we need each other https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/sisterhood-oh-how-we-need-each-other?lang=eng&media=video#watch=video
Wanted: Hands and Hearts to Hasten the Work https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/wanted-hands-and-hearts-to-hasten-the-work?lang=eng