It has been such an incredible week. I don't have a ton of time, but I want to share two of the really cool miracles that happened this last week.
, all of our normal lessons were canceled, and we had plenty of time on our hands. Which meant we had lots of finding time (lots of time to knock on lots of doors, and to talk to people on the street). Usually I am not super excited about finding, because with finding comes a lot of rejection, and lots of hours where you don't always actually find anyone to teach. This particular day though, I was ready and we were excited to find some new investigators (people to teach).
We spent an our or two looking for some less actives members, and were able to find where one Brother lived. The address that we had for him was for a lock-out apartment, so we couldn't get past the front desk. There was no one at the desk though, so we couldn't call him. As we were writing a note to leave for him in his mailbox, a man (one of the building managers) came up to us to see if we needed help. We were able to ask him if he knew this man, and if he still lived there. He told us that he had worked there for the past year and a half, and the whole time he has worked there, a woman lived there, and so he told us that the Brother we were looking for must have moved. After that, we started housing (going door to door). We weren't sure where to go, so we said a prayer, got on our bikes and started riding. As we were biking, I felt like we should turn, so we did. And then I felt like we should go down this other road, and so we turned again. We were trying our best to follow the spirit. We came to this apartment complex, and I felt like we should try housing there. So, we parked our bikes, said a prayer, and then started housing. The first two doors that we knocked on, no one answered. The third door though, a sweet lady in her 30s answered the ping pong box (security camera thing), and so we introduced who we were, and that we wanted to share with her a really important message about families. I then told her that we believe families can be together forever, even after we die. We asked her if she had ever thought about that before, and she told us to wait just a second. Then, she hung up, and came to the door. She told us that she had been reading/searching/learning about Jesus Christ on the internet and was very interested in what we had to share. She told us that she had time, and so then we taught her the entire message of the Restoration of the Gospel. We taught her about Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ. We taught her about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and we were able to pray with her. I was so grateful that just 2 days before, I had taught Perry Shimai the same lesson while we were studying, so we were prepared. Perry Shimai was able to bear her testimony of Jesus Christ, and of the truthfulness of the gospel, and of our message. We were all beaming from ear to ear, even A Shimai. We asked if we could come back and teach her more, and she said that she would like that, so we set up an appointment to teach her again this week. I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father, and for His gospel that brings me so much joy. I am grateful for the opportunity that we had to share that joy with one of His children. What an amazing experience that was. It is something that I will never forget. I know that Heavenly Father will help us when we need Him the most, and that if we do our best to study and prepare, the words will be given in the very moment when we need them the most.
The next experience that I want to share is another moment that I will treasure forever. One of those experiences you never think you will have. One of our investigators Y Shimai, has a great desire to be happy, and to be with her family and her dog forever. We have been teaching her for a couple of months, and at one point, she had accepted the invitation to be baptized. Because of various different things though, she was not able to be baptized, and she told us that she no longer had the desire to be baptized right now. She still wanted to learn more though. I love Y Shimai. She is one of the sweetest little ladies I have ever met, and you just can't help but love her. She is incredible. The day before our lesson, she texted us and was saying that when she was baptized into her previous church, she didn't really feel happy. I asked her if she knew why, and then we talked a little bit about the priesthood authority. Which we had just talked about last week. She said she didn't really remember what the priesthood was, and wanted us to teach her about it again. So, the next day when we went over, we taught her about the priesthood, and how it is God's power and authority. We talked about how when we are baptized by the proper authority, we can really feel happy. We are cleansed of all our sins. We then talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, we can return to live with Heavenly Father and our families again. We will be perfectly happy, and will live in a never ending state of happiness. We had taught her all of this before, multiple times, so none of it was new. We asked her if she had any questions, and she said know. We asked if she understood, and she said that she didn't understand everything perfectly, what each of the steps mean, but that she understood what we need to do in order to be with our families forever. A couple of hours later, she texted us saying that she had read from the Book of Mormon, and that she had started reading from the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet that we had given her. She then asked, if she could really be happy forever with her family and her dog. And we told her yes, that she could. She told us how wonderful she thought that was, and then she asked us when we were having a baptism in April (we had just invited her the week before to be baptized in April, and she told us that she couldn't/didn't want to). I was so surprised at her question, but told her the same date we had invited her to be baptized on the week before, . She replied, telling us about her day, and all the other things, and then she said, "I've stopped drinking coffee, and I want to be baptized!" I have never had someone ask to be baptized before. It reminded me a lot of my dad walking right up to the missionaries and asking to be baptized. There was nothing new that we had taught her, but something finally clicked. She finally understood, and realized the wonderful blessings that she can receive from being baptized. It is such an amazing feeling when your investigators finally understand something, when they finally have the desire to do what you ask of them, and more importantly, to do what Heavenly Father asks of each of us.
I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here, and to be such a small part of Heavenly Father's work. He really does love each and every one of His children, and I promise that if you ask, He will lead you to someone, a family member/friend/co-worker/etc who is ready and prepared to here the gospel. I promise that you too can feel the joy that comes from sharing the gospel with those around you. I love you so very much, and I am so grateful for each and every one of you.
Ps. Just a funny Japanese thing that I learned. Words in Japanese are very similar. Sometimes the word is the exact same, but because of the kanji, it can mean something completely different. I was trying to remember the word for living, so that I could tell someone that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love all living things. Well, the first word that came to mind was ikeru. Which is really close, it even has the same kanji. Well, I was really grateful that I was just texting it, so I was able to check and make sure before I sent it. Ikeru means to arrange/to plant. The word that I wanted to use, was ikiru, which means to live/to exist. Although they look and sound similar, the meanings are completely different. Japanese is hard sometimes. :) But it's okay, only 29,999 more mistakes until I can actually speak Japanese.