Thursday, March 26, 2015

Week 42: Where do I even start?

As I started to write "where do I even start" I started thinking about the hymn "Where Can I Turn for Peace." That has been the theme of my life this week. It's been a rough week, but despite the hard things going on with our investigators, and also not being home for my sister's wedding on this past Saturday, there have also been so many moments of peace and happiness. You often hear about how your mission will be filled with some of the happiest, and the saddest most difficult moments of your life. I never really understood what that meant before, but it's true. It is like this constant roller coaster, and something can change in a matter of minutes. 

This week went a lot like that. One of our investigators has been having a rough time, and it seems like everything has been thrown in her way since she decided that she wanted to be baptized. One day, we felt like maybe we should do something special for her. I had the thought that maybe we could make her paper cranes, and then write all the things that we love about her on them. So, that is what we did. We made 100 paper cranes, wrote on the wings in both English and Japanese, put them in a jar, and then brought them to her.

 I wish I could even begin to express just how much she has been through this week, but I think the hardest thing, was when she began to question if God is even real. My heart hurt for her, and at the same time, it hurt to have her question the one person who loves her more than anything, and has been blessing her so much. We have been trying our best to really help her feel loved, and to know that through Jesus Christ and His infinite atonement, she can find so much peace. And we have been praying, and praying and praying. On Sunday morning, the Elders asked if she was coming to church, and as much as I hoped she would, we had been trying to help her come to church for months, and something always came up. This week we had actually talked to her about church, and she had said that she didn't really want to come, and she hadn't said anything about coming, so we told the Elders that she probably wouldn't come. Well, in the middle of a meeting, I felt like I should check the phone, but I thought no, that would be rude, and I am probably just hoping. After our meeting, I checked the phone, and we had a missed call, and a voice mail. She said that she was coming to church, and wanted to meet us outside the train station at 9:45... well, at that point it was 9:53, and I knew there was no way we could make it there when it took 15 minutes, and we were already late. I prayed that somehow it would all work out, and then called her. It was too loud and I couldn't understand what she was saying. I was so afraid that she had just turned around and went back home! I told Perry Shimai, and we ran out the door to go find her, letting the Bishop know that we might be late to church. When we got outside, I looked down the road, and there she was! She had come to church! She had come to church all on her own! What an amazing feeling that was. That joy completely outweighed any of the frustration and hard things from the week. 

When we got into the chapel, and were going to sit down, I saw some of the children of one of our Less Actives that we have been working with. Another person who we had no idea would be coming to church even though we had seen her the day before (another crazy story that led to an adventure down random roads, and then we passed her house, not even intending to visit her, but we felt like we should stop by anyway). Yesterday we had 9 people come to church 5 of our investigators and 4 of their children come. 

The Elders also had one of their investigators come to church. Heavenly Father is really working miracles here in Katsura. I think at the end of every day, there has always been some sort of way that Heavenly Father has showed His love for His children. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life. And I am so grateful for the joy that it gives me. It really does far outweigh all of the bad. 

I love you all so much, and I am so grateful for each and every one of you. I hope if you don't get anything else out of this really unorganized email, that you know that God loves you. And that by following Him, you can find more happiness in your life than you could ever imagine.  I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Robertson Shimai

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