Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 21: What happens when you forget your phone in a member's car...

You get 13 missed calls, 1 message, and 1 voice mail. We got calls from our district leader, our zone leaders, or sister training leaders, and even from the APs (assistants to the President). We realized once we got home that we had left the phone in the H's car on the way home from dinner. It was too late to go to the Elder's apartment so that they could call the H's, so we just prayed that everything would work out. Luckily after trying to contact us 13 times, eventually they contacted the Elders so they knew that we were okay, and had just forgotten our phone. The Elders called up the H's, and then H Kyodai dropped off our phone at their apartment. Then this morning, the Elders stopped by and brought us back our phone... Whoops. Moral of the story, never forget your phone when you are a missionary. Especially not on Sunday night when everyone is calling for follow ups.

What a crazy amazing week. So many things happened that I'm not sure I will be able to tell you all of it, but I'll try my best. 

On monday evening last week, we were able to teach one last lesson before McLaughlin Shimai headed home. We had been trying to schedule an appointment with one of our investigators, but she would always have to cancel. We decided to give it one last try before McLaughlin Shimai headed home, and before we dropped her since we could never meet. I felt like we really needed to teach her again, so we set up an appointment. We told her that McLaughlin Shimai wanted to say goodbye, and she said we could come over that night. On our way home from Family Home Evening, we stopped by her house hoping that we would be able to teach her. She invited us in, but we weren't sure if we would be able to teach her a lesson. Then her daughter came downstairs. As I was talking with her daughter, McLaughlin Shimai was able to talk with H about families. Then she asked if we could watch a quick video. They gladly said yes, and so we put in "Together Forever." There is one video where a mother and father are talking about their daughter, who had passed away, and how they know that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they can be with her again someday. As we were watching the video, the spirit was so strong, and I know that both H and her daughter were able to feel it. (H's dad passed away recently, her mom is really sick, and her other daughter just had a baby. She has been experiencing a lot of big events these last couple of weeks, and has expressed how important family is to her.) After we shared the video, we bore testimony of eternal families, and why we are here as missionaries. We asked them if they would like to learn more, and they said they would. I was so grateful that we were able to follow the spirit and not give up on her. She needs the gospel in her life, and I know she is ready to hear it. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary, and to share the gospel with so many people. To help them to change their lives, and to help give them hope. It is truly amazing. 

On Tuesday morning, we headed to Okayama where McLaughlin Shimai dropped me off and headed to Kobe. 

Mc Laughlin Shimai and I on the train to Okayama

The Sister Training Leaders where there to pick me up, and then I spent the rest of TuesdayWednesday and Thursday in Okayama with them. It was so fun to be in a san nin (trio) for a couple of days. We were able to teach a lot of lessons (3 a day), and with every lesson I felt more and more confident speaking Japanese. We also went housing a lot, and as a result laughed a lot. At one point we were housing, and I didn't know what to say, but instead of just letting them talk, they told me what to say and I repeated it. By the time I was done saying a few sentences, the person actually came to the door (I was just talking the the ping pong box - with a video camera). :) Although he wasn't really interested, it was nice to be able to get him to come downstairs so we could talk to him. 

( I forgot my bike helmet in Tsuyama, so I had to borrow one... This was all we could find.)

Being in Okayama was really great, but I was really excited to meet Howden Shimai on Friday and head back to Tsuyama. Howden Shimai is great. She is from Utah (although her parents are both from South Africa). She is on her 11th transfer, so just a transfer behind McLaughlin Shimai. We get a long really well, and I am excited to work with her. 
(Howden Shimai and I)

On Saturday the Branch had a Halloween Party, and we dressed up as spring and autumn faries. It was so fun. The members already love her. At our Halloween Party, we had two members bring their friends, and we also had three families from Eikaiwa come. It was so much fun, and a great way for our Eikaiwa students to build a relationship with the members. :) 

( Halloween Party, Almost everyone at the party)

Yesterday after church, we were able to go to the Autumn Festival with two of our other Eikaiwa students. There was a parade with o-mikoshi and danjiri. 

( o-mikoshi - it was really heavy, and had to be carried by all of those people)

The o-mikoshi is a little shrine that is carried, and then the danjiri is like a float.

(One of the six danjiri)

 In Tsuyama we have the third ranked o-mikoshi in all of Japan. It was cool to be able to learn a little bit more about Japan, and the place where I am serving. We also had the opportunity to share a little bit about how we don't buy things on the Sabbath day, and about God. As they were telling us about the customs behind the o-mikoshi, and about all the different gods in the Budhist religion, it made me grateful for the knowledge that I have of our Heavenly Father. I am grateful that I can pray to Him anywhere, and about anything. I am grateful that my relationship with Him has strengthened since I have been on my mission. I know that Heavenly Father is real. I know that He loves each and every one of you. He loves all of His children. I know that He hears our prayers. I am grateful for His love and guidance. I know that He answers our prayers, and that He is always there for us. We just need to ask. I promise that as you really sincerely pray to Him, you will feel of God's love for you.
I love you all, and I pray for you everyday.

Robertson Shimai

 (Okanomiyaki Cake for an investigator's birthday. He is diabetic, so we couldn't make real cake)

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