:) It has been such an awesome week. So wonderful there are way too many things to write about and definitely not enough time to write it all. The beginning of the week was good but crazy, with trying to get Perry Shimai ready to go to Imabari, and meeting with everyone that we could. We managed to meet with almost everyone, which we were really grateful for.
It was really weird to be sending someone to another area this transfer instead of sending another companion home. I know she will love it though, and it will be great. I sure am going to miss her though. Companions are the best, and I can't wait to be lifelong friends with all of my companions. They have each taught me so much, and I am so grateful for them.
After a crazy couple of days, it was time to go to Kobe to meet up at the transfer point. (When we have transfers, there are a bunch of different transfer points so that no one ever has to be alone, everyone travels with their companion, or with a group to another transfer point until they finally get to wherever they are supposed to meet.) So Perry Shimai and I woke up, got ready, did some last minute cleaning and packing, and then we headed to Kobe. When we got there we said hi to everyone. I saw some missionaries I haven't seen in 6 months! And I got to hear about how the work is going in Tsuyama, which was so fun. And I stayed near Perry Shimai's side, slightly apprehensive to start my new adventure. But, eventually I said hi to Tanda Shimai, bye to Perry Shimai, and we were on our way.
Tanda Shimai is so cute, and so sweet! I already love her, and love being companions. I was a little bit afraid of having to speak Japanese all the time, but I was blessed to have some a group of missionaries headed through Osaka, so we it wasn't just the two of us yet. And then we also had 2 elders from our zone headed through Kyōto, so we got to talk with them. I still spoke in Japanese, but I was able to speak to hem in English too. I was truly grateful for such a sweet tender mercy from the Lord helping me to know that it would be okay. Then, Tanda Shimai and I transferred to a slower local train, and then it was just us. But, it was alright. Tanda Shimai is a 4th transfer missionary (she has been on her mission a transfer longer than Perry Shimai), and she is from a branch in Chiba-Ken (south of Tokyo). She has 5 people in her family (two older brothers, and she is the youngest). She has only had Japanese Companions (both in my doki - we came to Japan from the MTC together... I think in English sometimes it is called a batch?...), and so we are both having an adventure as we both have a Nihonjin/gaijin companion.
So far we talk and laugh lots, so it's going pretty well. I have been amazed at how many times I have felt Heavenly Father blessing me. I had lots of fears/worries coming into this transfer. Like not being able to fully communicate, or constantly having a headache, or other little things that are seemingly unimportant. But so far, all of my worries have disappeared. I haven't had any headaches (except a small one after Stake Conference where there was both English and Japanese, and the spirit was really strong), and we have been able to communicate fairly well. She doesn't really speak any English (although I'm sure she knows a lot more then she lets on), but if I happen to not know a word in Japanese, more often or not either I can explain what it is, or she knows the word in English. :) and she is also an amazing missionary. I am so excited to serve with her!
Another awesome thing that happened this week, was stake conference. We had Elder and Sister Maynes, Elder and Sister Whiting, Elder Aoba, and President and Sister Welch come as special guest speakers. What an incredible opportunity. I learned so much, both from them, and as I was taught by the spirit. I think that one of the things that impacted me most was Elder Mayne's talk from thenight session. He talked about how the importance of having the right priorities. He asked questions like: Where are your priorities? What is number one? Is it the gospel? Another number one could be your family. What is the most important to you? Is it being rich? Is it being famous? Is it having two cars, or a bigger house? Where do your priorities lie? He then went on the share a story about a family that they met in the Philippines a little while ago. They were very poor. But they were very happy, because of the gospel. Often all they would eat was rice, because they couldn't afford anything else. One day as they sat down to eat lunch, their dad brought in a nice big magnificent fish. He put it on the table, and told the children to look at the fish, and then take a bite of their rice. Look at the fish, take a bit of rice. Look at the fish, take a bite of rice. After a while, he explained that this fish was for dinner, and they could not afford to eat it for lunch, so they just ate their rice. But despite how poor they were, they were still happy. "As poor as they were, they grew up happy because they had the gospel in their lives." I am so grateful for the gospel in my life. I have never been poor like that family, but the gospel helped me through other trials in my own life. Through the gospel I have found true joy, so much joy that I can't help but want to share that joy with others.
A Priceless Heritage of Hope." I know that that is true. And I know that as we look at our own lives, and see where our priorities lie, we can find the happiness that the gospel brings. You will be happier than you can even imagine.
I love you all, and hope that you have an incredible week.