Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Transfer Call

This morning we got our transfer calls, and Dotson Shimai and I will stay here, but Semba Shimai will be transfered to Kamisugi and become a trainer of a new Japanese sister missionary who`s coming in tomorrow! We`re sad to see her go and will miss her here, but know that she`ll see miracles in Kamisugi and help her new companion. It`ll be the first time I haven`t had a Japanese companion with me here in Japan!

On Sunday Yamaguchi Shimai was baptized!! The baptism service was at 8:30 in the morning, and she was confirmed during Sacrament Meeting the same day. Everything went smoothly, and it was so wonderful and filled with the Spirit! I played my violin for the musical number, with the other missionaries singing 2 verses of `I Need Thee Every Hour.` Yamaguchi Shimai shared her testimony after her baptism, about how she`d felt God`s love during the music, and how she felt so wonderful after being baptized!! I can`t express adequately in words how happy we were to see her whole conversion, and baptism--it truly was one of God`s miracles that we found her!

Saturday was the Branch Halloween Party, and it was a lot of fun. We helped set up and run some of the games/activities, and our investigators had a great time.

I`m out of time today, but love all of you and pray for you!
Swain Shimai

Monday, October 18, 2010

Not By Accident

Guess what? Yamaguchi san passed her baptism interview and is going to be baptized next Sunday!!! Lately she`s felt like she isn`t ready for baptism because her daughter, who is a Jehovah`s witness, kept asking her questions about the church that were hard to respond to, and also because she doesn`t understand everything in the Book of Mormon. We told her that the most important thing was her testimony that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that Joseph Smith restored Christ`s church on the earth--she believes this and has this testimony! And she wants to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized and following his commandments for the rest of her life--she is truly ready for baptism. After she passed her interview, she came out and hugged us all and was so excited, and said, `I can be baptized!!` We all were so happy--I think part of the reason me and my companions were so happy was because Yamaguchi san was so happy and excited for baptism! Also, Yamaguchi san saw the poster for the branch temple trip and wants to go with them to the Tokyo temple, just two weeks after her baptism. She has so much faith, and we don`t believe it`s an accident we knocked on her door at the end of August. This is definitely the Lord`s work, and he directs us to those who are ready to hear and accept our message.

This past Tuesday, all of our appointments cancelled and fell through, and although we talked to everyone, no one really seemed to want to listen...but then the next day, Wednesday, was filled with so many small miracles! I believe that the Lord, according to His timing, rewards us according to our faith, and hard work. On Wednesday, we went to the church to do a mogi (practice lesson) with an amazing couple in the branch (who always helps the missionaries), the Mizumoto couple, when we walked into the church, and with them was a man who we hadn`t met before. We found out that he was standing in front of our church, looking at the sign of our church `The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints` when Mizumoto Kyodai came outside the church to look for us...the man, Sato san, asked if he could go inside and see our church, so Mizumoto Kyodai took him inside and was giving him a tour of the church when we found them. We had a lesson with him right there, and he told us that he`s wanted to learn about Jesus Christ for a long time! He really wants to make changes in his life and follow the example of Jesus Christ--now the elder missionaries are teaching him, and preparing him for baptism! Sato san is another testimony that God knows and loves each of His children!

I love all of you!
Sister Swain

Monday, October 11, 2010

First Bike Crash...!

Wasn`t General Conference wonderful?! My companions and I, and our investigators who came all loved it! It`s so amazing that we could listen to a broadcast of it all the way here in our branch in Japan--and feel as we heard our living prophets speak through a staticy t.v that they are truly called of God! I loved all the talks, but especially liked President Monson`s talk about being grateful, and Elder Holland`s talk about how they were grateful for the faith and good works of everyone. We`re so blessed to have the guidance of living prophets!

Our investigator Yamaguchi san is doing so well! This past week she`s really changed, and her testimony has become so strong--we think part of it is definitely because she`s reading the Book of Mormon and praying everyday. She attended 3 of the 4 General Conference sessions, and loved it, and even cried during some of the talks. She`s most likely going to be baptized on October 24--she`s so ready!

I crashed my bike for the first time on my mission, but it wasn`t that big of a deal--when we were going to get off our bikes and stop to talk to someone on the street, I decided I`d try and get off my bike a different way (the way Semba Shimai does), but accidentally put my brakes on too soon and lost my balance, going down with the bike. I only had a few scrapes and bruises on my hands/legs, but the lady who we were going to talk to had seen it happen, and came over and looked at my hand. She pulled something out of her purse and lit some wood thing on fire and put it in a lead pipe and applied it to my hand, saying it`d help my hand not hurt the next day! Afterwards we found out she`s a therapist that does things like that. We talked to her about our message and she said we could share it with her again, and gave us her contact information. What a way to get a potential investigator! (And she was right, my hand didn`t hurt the next day!)

I`m loving each day serving as a missionary, for the little while I have left. I don`t want to stop being a missionary! I know that this church is true and led by living prophets!

Sister Swain

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Rainy Week

I`m so excited to watch General Conference next weekend! (We watch it a week later because of the time difference.) We`re going to teach all our investigators this week about how we have a living prophet, and the importance of following him, and then invite all of them to General Conference to hear our prophet speak!

Our investigators are doing pretty well, although many of them have caught colds this past week (it`s rained a lot) and couldn`t come to church. Yamaguchi san`s body condition hasn`t been the best lately, so we haven`t been able to meet with her for about 2 weeks...but we`re praying that she`ll get better soon and be able to come to General Conference. Even though she couldn`t meet with us or come to church, she`s been reading the Book of Mormon and praying every day!

We had specialized training this past week, where the mission president came and taught us. It was great, and I realized that even though I`ve been a missionary for a while (almost 1 yr. in Japan!) I still need to improve my dendo skills and seek to become a better missionary.

We had several small earthquakes this week...they`ve pretty much become normal for me now:)

Last Tuesday, some of our appointments cancelled and our plans changed, and we ended up going somewhere besides where we`d we were riding we came up to a stoplight, and I felt like I should talk to a lady who was waiting at the stoplight. As we started talking to her, she told us that she used to take lessons from the missionaries 30 years ago, but her family didn`t have good feelings towards the church, so she couldn`t join our church then. As I talked to her and bore my testimony to her of how God lives and loves her, and wants to help her through her trials, her face expression really changed as she felt the Spirit, or God`s love! We exchanged phone numbers and hope to meet with her this coming week. I`m grateful that our appointments were canceled, so that we could meet Miyashita san--the Lord truly placed her right in our path!

I love serving the Lord every day! And I love all of you! Thanks for everything!

Swain Shimai