Let me just start out by saying how grateful I am to be serving a mission. I have honestly never been happier. This week, both Howden Shimai and I feel like Heavenly Father is just dumping buckets of blessings on our heads, sometimes so much more than we can even begin to comprehend! I don't know that I even have time to write out all of the amazing things that has happened. I'll try though.
I'll start with. nothing really big happened, just little tender mercies that helped us to know that Heavenly Father was looking out for us. We were able to visit T Shimai, a less active who is having a hard time. She thinks her daughter might have ADD/ADHD, or Aspergers or something. Sometimes she can be a handful. The last time we visited T Shimai, she had just gotten home a few days earlier from her moms. Between just having come home, and her daughter, and being back in quite Tsuyama, she was just struggling. This time though, she seemed much happier, and we were able to talk with her about one of our potential investigators with a daughter about the same age as A chan. She said that she would be happy to meet her, and talk with her about the church. We were so excited. We have learned over the time that I have been here, that she has a hard time coming to church because of her daughter. She doesn't feel like she can keep her quiet and behaved long enough, and so she stopped coming. We are hoping thought that as we start teaching O San, that they can become friends, and help support each other in coming to church with young kids. After visiting with T Shimai, we went housing. While we were housing, although we didn't find anyone to teach, we were able to talk to a lot of people. There was this really nice woman who told us that she had promised her dad that she wouldn't have anything to do with religion for a year (in respect of his death), and so although we couldn't share a message with her, she gave us a little gift, and said that she'd be happy for another opportunity to learn some other day. I am so grateful that I don't need to make any promises that I will not have any affiliation with religion for a year, it seems like a really sad way to live. But, we were grateful to have met her, and were grateful for her kindness. Especially since the majority of the houses that we went to, no one wanted to talk to us.
That night during Eikaiwa, one of our investigators came, and she brought her friend. :) She was so happy to see us, and we were so happy to see her! She has been introducing a lot of her friends to us recently, and we are truly grateful for her.after teaching a lesson to O San, we had to stop by the dentist. I had a filling that chipped, and I was so worried about the dentist. Luckily one of our Eikaiwa students recommended a good one just down the road from our apartment. They were really nice, and my tooth was fixed in less than ten minutes! They were so fast, and I was so grateful! Heavenly Father knows just how much I hate the dentist, so I was grateful for the little tender mercy. While they were smoothing the filling, I just sat there and prayed that everything would be alright, and that it wouldn't hurt, and that I would be okay. He definitely answered my prayers. That night we went to teach a lesson to K Chan (our 15 year old investigator). She said she wasn't able to do a lesson that night, but that we could talk for 10 minutes, so we just followed up on what we had taught the week before. She told us that she had prayed during her voice recital, and that she felt peace. She told us that the recital went well, and she knew that God had answered her prayers. She also told us she knew that he was a really important person. :) We asked if she had the chance to read the Book of Mormon, although she had told us the week before that she didn't know if she would have time because of all of her tests she had to study for. She told us that she had read though! We were so excited! We asked if she had any questions, and she said she did, but her friend helped to answer them. We were afraid who had helped her, but then she explained that she and her friend had read the introduction together. Her friend had gotten a Book of Mormon from her older brother as a birthday present. After they had read it, they asked the friend's brother for help, and he had helped to answer her questions. What a sweet tender mercy, that our wonderful 15 year old investigator was able to read the scriptures with her best friend, and learn from a member who speaks much better Japanese than we do. Once again we were so grateful for the people that Heavenly Father had placed in our path, and in the path of our investigator. Heavenly Father is so aware of each of us, and He always prepares a way for us.
That night when we went home, the Elders told us that they had found three people for us to teach. This week I have been filled with so much gratitude for my Heavenly Father and for the blessings that he gives us.while we were SKKing (planning for the week), we got a call from H, our investigator that brought a friend to Eikaiwa. She said that she wanted us to meet her friend Y, and wanted to know if we had time to come over. So, we took a break from SKK, and headed over. When we got there, we were afraid that it was just going to be a we want to speak English with you visit, rather than a we want to learn about the gospel. As Howden Shimai and I were thinking about leaving after a while, we felt like we should stay. H's other friend, C San (who we had met ), had come over, and started talking to us. She asked us about Noah, and somehow we ended up teaching her about Christ, and the great apostasy, and about the restoration of the church through Joseph Smith. We had prepared a similar lesson to teach K chan the day before, but we hadn't ended up teaching it. Heavenly Father knew we were prepared though, and we were given the opportunity to teach C San. What a wonderful blessing from our Heavenly Father, and an amazing reminder about the importance of being prepared.
The next day was. we had so many things happen, that I don't even know that I can write all of it. After District Meeting (in Okayama) we had a lesson scheduled to teach K San (a referral from a less active member in our branch). We had planned to meet with him at , and as soon as District Meeting was over, we caught a train back to Tsuyama, were we would have 15 minutes to meet up with him. As we were about in Tsuyama, I looked at my watch and realized that we had a whole hour (we had gotten the times mixed up, and the train arrived an hour earlier than we had expected). We were able to get to the mall and eat some lunch before teaching him. After lunch we ran into T Shimai (the less active that we taught ). She didn't have time to talk, but we were excited to see her. Then, we taught K San, a wonderful man who is so prepared for the gospel in his life. We taught him about God and prayer, and after we taught him how to pray, we asked if he wanted to pray. He said that it was a little bit embarrassing in the Shotengai (kindof like Bridge Street... Kindof), but that he would feel more comfortable praying at the church, he also recognized that he felt the spirit after we had prayed with him. After teaching him, we were able to set up an appointment to teach him at the church. Howden Shimai and I were just filled with SO much gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the wonderful blessings He had given us. Everything that had happened that day, had been a blessing from Him. We realized that we should go to the bathroom before we headed to contact a referral an hour bike ride away, so we headed back inside. While walking to the bathroom, we saw T Shimai again. And this time we were able to say hello, and talk for a few minutes. Her daughter also talked to us a little bit, and even told us "see you," something that her mom said she had never said to anyone before. As we turned around to walk away, we ran into K San, another Eikaiwa student who insisted that we have some ice cream with her and her friends. We were able to tell them a little bit about why we are here in Japan.
Thing after thing, Heavenly Father kept helping us to know that He truly is in the work here in Tsuyama. He knows us, and is aware of us. And as we do our part, and are prepared, he helps to place people in our path to teach. So many more things like that happened this past week. More things than I can even begin to express. Like I said, it was a week of miracles, and I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven. I know that He loves me, and that He knows what I am going through. I know that I am never alone. I know that as we take the time to prepare, and truly look for His hands in our lives, we will find it.
I love you all so much, and I am so grateful for each and every one of you! Know that I am praying for you.