Wednesday, November 13, 2013

how to get 'em to church

I'm feeling all the prayers and the fasts, we're definitely going to
have a white Christmas here in Kumagaya.  We have two people preparing
for baptism at the moment.  Ka and Takahashi both have baptismal dates
set for December! This is such an exciting work!  I love these people
so much and I'm so happy I have the opportunity to teach them!

We didn't find any new investigators this week, but we're able to
teach our investigators that are progressing a lot more that I've even
been able to on my mission so far!  We met with Takahashi 3 times last
week, and he came to church, also we're seeing him today, which is a
lot!  And we're almost worried that it's too much, but he loves
feeling the spirit and being around people that love him. So I'm sure
it's a great thing that he can come talk to us so much.  Takahashi san
is a serious smoker, he's been smoking for the majority of his life
and he's in his 60s now.  He can't go three hours without smoking, but
his doctor has told him that for his health he really needs to stop.
We too have asked that he follow the word of wisdom so that he can
feel the spirit more and have a healthier body.  He is trying soooo
hard! But he is not perfect, and he has the faith to quit and will
keep trying.  I know that God can grant him the strength he needs to
quit smoking as well.  Do you know anyone who has had an experience
with quitting smoking that I can possibly share with Takahashi san to
help him to quit as well?

Ka is our other golden friend!  She's so fun and bubbly and we love
her so much!  I know she needs this gospel and she's ready for it.  I
don't think she knows why she wants to keep learning about the Book of
Mormon and why she wants to study about church, but she does it...and
always does what we ask her to do.  I think she wants to find answers
to her prayers and she wants to know how to find the truth.  She wants
to get work off on Sundays but is so worried that she won't be able
to.  I always look back to the days in young women's where we
roleplayed the scenario of asking our coach or our boss to not do
certain things on Sunday and I've heard countless stories about how
the boss was such a respector of someone wanting to attend
church...but I for some reason feel like it's a little different here
in Japan, but she said she'll try!  I think it helps that there's a
boy in Kumagaya ward that she thinks is cute.  That always gets em to
church ;)

at the culture day dance festival in Kumagaya!
eating Indian food with my bffs!
Bagel Shop playing the guitar!


We have two progressing investigators right now! Which is so amazing!
I feel like it's pretty rare to find such kinjin that can meet more
than once a week.  We met with Takahashi 3 times last week, but so far
we've only taught him the Restoration of the church. He's so into it
though! On Sunday he came to church for the last hour and we were
teaching a self-referral and Takahashi joined in.  He was pretty much
bearing his testimony at the end about how there's only one true
church, and this church can make us happy! He tells us all the time
too how his heart feels when he prays, just so much power!  Takahashi
has a few things we need to work on with him, and I know he will have
the faith to change his life around. He's a great great guy, love him
to death!

Also we are teaching Ka, and she's our best friend.  I can see her
faith growing every time we meet with her. We have asked a couple
times if she wants eternal happiness and she has answered that either
way is fine, which is reallllly hard to go off of, because if they
don't realize the desire to be happy beyond this life then they won't
want to change or progress, but after we taught her about the plan of
salvation and it was mentioned that maybe the terrestrial kingdom is
good enough, she wasn't sure and said that maybe she would like to go
to the celestial kingdom.  HUGE STEP!  Also, she's really studying the
Book of Mormon, she's reading it in English to practice her English,
but of course she's going to learn a lot and feel a lot.  She is going
to do Moroni's challenge of reading and praying about the Book of
Mormon, she wants to see if she can receive answers to her prayers
through a book.  If she has faith, it will happen!

And to end on a super happy note, Sister Davis and I saw a man almost
jump of a 5 story building...actually we were across the street the
whole time eating at a restaurant and saw firetruck and ambulance and
all that jazz drive by, but we didn't think anything of it. We walk
out and there's a guy standing on the edge with two rescuers holding
him up.  I never thought that I would first-hand witness someone
wanting to end their life.  It really freaked me out, not just in the
sense that people are so unhappy with their lives that they want to
jump off a building, but also the fact that they don't understand
where their going or why they're here in the first place.  I'm pretty
sure statistics say that Japan is one of the most depressed countries
in the world, and I know that as one missionary I can't change the
world, but this gospel  is the answer.  This message is going to hit
Japan like wildfire one day, and I can't wait!


anime friends at the skytree! there was an anime fair happening, crazy stuff!
yoko, taka, hiro, christensen shimai, willden shimai, davis shimai at skytree!

Eikaiwa class

Our Eikaiwa class is kind of losing it, this week we only had one student show up...BUT it turned out way awesome because we were able to introduce the Book of Mormon to him.  A couple weeks ago we tried to do a mogi lesson with him ( help with Japanese) he talked the whole time about cable TV and things of that sort, that we didn't get to teach him anything at all...but we left him with a pamphlet of the Restoration.  Somehow I pulled out the pamphlet at Eikaiwa and we began having a discussion about it.  He is Protestant, which is very rare in Japan, so he already has a background of the Bible....which is amazingly easy to work with.  He had heard about the Book of Mormon before but assumed it was a replacement to the Bible. So he didn't ever want anything to do with it.  We told him how the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and that Jesus Christ visited other parts of the world.  He was amazed! He said, "so this is proof!" Yes!  Jesus Christ is our Savior and through the Book of Mormon and the Bible we can know of a surety that we are not lost, and we have the Savior to guide us back to our Heavenly Father! We also shared with him Moroni 10:3-5 so he could know the next step in finding the truth...that is to "ask God" in humble prayer if the Book of Mormon is His word, that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church of Jesus Christ upon the earth today.  We told him that if he does this he will know his answer.  He told us he wants to try!

Still in kumagayyaaa

We're still working hard on Kumagaya!   As we began our p-day shopping and this girl comes up to us and we're talking to her about English, as always, and that leads into talking a little about the church.  She seemed interested and we set up an appointment to meet. She's super cute, Chinese, 24, way stylin' etc.  Kinjin.
On Tuesday we went to visit our good friend Roy who helped us track down our bikes that one day a few weeks ago. He had a student with him, and Roy started telling this student that we're Mormons and they always send out pretty girls to persuade people to join.  So naturally we began telling this new student what we do as missionaries.  I don't know if it was our beauty or the Holy Ghost, but he wants to see us again that's for sure.  He seems like a really great guy, we'll have all our lessons at the church with a member present and everything should be great.  He's kinjin too.  :)
Also, Tuesday morning we did a roleplay with one of the members, she's a convert and it was so uplifting to hear her conversion story from Buddhism to Christianity.  So we were all pumped and just going about our day, trying to find a bathroom actually, and as I was looking in one of the local shops to see if there was a toilet I totally SMACKED into a pole, head first.  Luckily the pole was pretty hollow so it didn't hurt toooooo bad, but the sound was great.  It could've been on America's funniest videos...except it happened in I don't know if they take foreign films. But, after that things were crazy!  This older woman, super skinny, wearing patent leather pants came up to me and Sister Davis and just started chatting us up.  She was so funny, but kept leaning on me and whispering in my ear like we were best friends.  This woman was so sassy, just confidence exploding out of her head.  It was great, as she was about to leave she points to her cheek and says "chu" which is the English equivelant of "mwa". So I kissed this old lady's cheek right on the street after knowing her for 3 minutes, and then she left....and I haven't seen her since.  But I'm not sure what got into me, kissing old ladies wearing leather leggings on the street. I blame it on the head injury.
Thursday was good too.  We had our 2  zone conference which was a 2 hour train ride for pretty much everyone that went to the conference, which is ridiculously long for one of these things.  It was fun though, we were all traveling together and the missionaries took over.  Everywhere we looked missionaries were handing out the Book of Mormon and pamphlets.  It was great to see. :) And it was in our area, so maybe it planted some seeds for us in the future.  haha
So we have these white friends, the one from Michigan, well we went out to dendou and we really wanted to see them so we could exchange our information and teach and baptize them, but we had no idea how we'd find them.  But we just had a feeling we would run into them.  We handed out flyers for a little bit, with no luck and knew that we were going to watch conference in the morning so we really needed M&Ms for our special conference pancakes...during our quest for M&Ms, because all the sell in Japan is Japanese candy for some reason, we found our white friends! It was a miracle! We talked with them for as long as we could, and we're becoming their friends, we just need to transition better into the gospel. We'll keep trying to get them to church though.  Dekiru to omou!
Yesterday we had a rough morning, we went to a new investigator's apartment, and she kept tempting us with all these things that any non-Mormon would find harmless I'm sure, and her Japanese and English both aren't perfect because she's from Indonesia, so communication was difficult. As we sat there in all of the worldlyness surrounding us we just felt so dark and uncomfortable...the spirit was gone.  There was no way of teaching her in that environment.  I didn't realize just how corrupt the world is becoming until I set myself apart from it for a while. It was the worst feeling I've ever experienced.  We left her apartment both feeling awful, we sang hymns all the way home....I felt such a difference. 
Lately I've been worried that I'm losing the feeling of the spirit's direction, that my spirituality was dulling.  I've been praying recently for stronger spiritual witnesses, that I could feel God's presence a little more in my life.  I didn't realize I've had it this whole time, it took losing it to understand the spirit again.  I know God listens to us, He knows what we need to make us stronger.  He loves us, and He is always with us, if we allow Him to be.  It made us so sad after this realization that so many people have not ever felt this feeling of warmth and love, and it's hard to explain because everyone feels it differently. But if we set ourselves apart from the world, He will make Himself known to us.  The world creates all of these temporary happinesses, but we know that the only way to truly feeling happy, and feeling happy for eternity, is through keeping the commandments of God.  This is true. I want to share it with all of Kumagaya!  I love this gospel, I loved listening to conference, I feel so uplifted! 

miracles :)

We ran into our highschool bffs a couple times!  We were able to take purikura pictures with them and taught them about why we/re missionaries.  One of them has a Book of Mormon now, and we still need to give the other one. Every time they see us they get so stoked! We're pretty much celebrities in Japan.  haha!  Except I'm so surprised at the number of foreigners in Kumagaya...because Kumagaya is our in the country.  Really close there's a huge population of Brazilians and Mexicans, but here we see lots of white people, and lots of Philipinos.  It's an interesting thing, you wouldn't understand until you were always surrounded by Asians...on all sides...all the time.  It's great! I love Japan!
We actually talked to a couple of white girls in the 7/11 and one of them went to Easter MI University, she's from Ann Arbor. Her friend's from Pennsylvania. We're becoming friends with them and she can be in my single's ward when I come home. haha!

YEsterday was a really cool miracle!  So last week we met this really funny woman from Indonesia.  We were handing out flyers for English class and she just came right up to me shook my hand and asked us where we were from and started telling us about her life.  She said in 3 days she would call us...she never called!  But she told us roughly how to get to her house because she wanted to cook for us.  So yesterday, since we are always doing finding, wanted to go housing around her area to try to find her, but as we were waiting for the bus we were handing out more English flyers and she comes walking up to us again.  She told us it was so amazing that she found us in the same spot because she was only in Kumagaya for one hour to work, and was picking up her new phone.  She was sitting in McDonalds waiting for the same bus we were waiting for, but saw us and set up an appointment to come over.  She's seemed to have a rough life, and really just wants to smile and be happy.  She's been placed in our path for a reason.  I'm excited!

So many pictures!!

hipster missionary photo shoot. what more can you want?
good missionary transportation
cat cafe!  yummmm
yon-nin doryo at the temple!
asakusa temple, biggest buddhist temple in tokyo
best friend, YOKO!
trying to navigate by the ocean in Chiba, gulf side.
 getting rained on in Chiba, major downpour!
Baby Buddha in Asakusa, Tokyo
Asakusa, doing Bukkyo stuff.