Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Mission

It`s my last e-mail!!!  I can hardly believe my mission ends tommorow! It`s been a wonderful mission. I am so glad I made the choice to come on my mission! If I hadn`t come, I would have missed out on meeting these amazing people, like Yamaguchi Shimai--and bringing them back to Christ!

Kurumi chan was baptized on Sunday, and it was wonderful. The young men and young women sang `As Sisters in Zion` and `We`ll Bring the World His Truth` arrangement together, and it was full of power and the spirit! The Kato family has truly added to the young men and young womens here, it`s just amazing. And if my old companion, Semba Shimai, had never stopped on her bike to talk to the oldest of the Kato siblings (Kyoka chan, who was also riding their bike), their whole family would not have entered the church! This is truly the Lord`s work!

I`ve reflected on my mission a little bit the past few days, and have realized how much God has blessed me as I`ve served here. I`ve grown to love these Japanese people, and some of them are my dear friends. Sharing my testimony of Jesus Christ with them has brought so much joy to my, and their lives! My mission has also at the same time, changed me as I`ve relied more on Christ for strength to overcome my weaknesses.

I know that this is the true church, with God`s power and authority once again on the earth. I know that we have a living prophet! The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and was translated by Joseph Smith. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and made it possible for us to return to live with God, our Heavenly Father, again. I know that God lives and loves each one of us!

I`ll see many of you soon.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Is it really the end?

It`s hard to believe that my mission ends next week...after just one more e-mail!! I don`t think it`s really hit me yet, and I don`t really want it to--that I`m finishing my mission. The time has flown! But I am so glad I came on my mission, and am so grateful for all the amazing experiences I`ve had here, and for all the sweet Japanese people I`ve met.

Kato Kurumi chan passed her baptism interview, and is all set for getting baptized this next Sunday! The young womens put together the program, and are doing the musical number, it`ll be so wonderful. And she`ll be confirmed in sacrament meeting the following week, so mom, dad, and Michael will see it! We`re so excited for her and her family!

Kokubun Shimai still hasn`t gotten her husband`s permission to be baptized, but she`s doing all she can. The branch has really come and welcomed her in, even though she`s not a member yet--this past Saturday we had a Mochi Ski Taikai--where we made the mochi I told you about last week, by hand! Dotson Shimai and I got there late, as Kokubun Shimai was walking out...our branch mission leader had stopped by her husband`s work (his own making chairs by hand shop, where Kokubun Shimai also works), invited Kokubun Shimai to the party, she`d come, had a great time with all the members, then left as we were coming in! She looked super happy, and we were so happy to see the members helping her--which they will continue to do after I leave/missionaries get transferred in.

I`m loving each day left I have serving as a missionary, even though it`s super cold and we can`t feel our fingers or toes as we knock on people`s doors/talk to them in the streets. Missionary work`s the best, I love sharing my testimony about God and Jesus Christ with every one I meet! I`m excited to continue to share my testimony with everyone, and help them come closer to Christ until the end! I know that God lives, and Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Book of Mormon includes the perfect gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that this church is the true, restored church and through it we can return to live forever with our families with God again!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

It`s been a wonderful New Years here in Koriyama. For the Japanese people, New Years is a bigger holiday than Christmas. Instead of going back home for Christmas, everyone goes back home for the New Years to be with their family and eat traditional New Years foods, such as mikan (tangerines) and mochi--it`s rice flour that`s ground into a hamburger or square shape that they eat with everything. In soups, sweet beans, etc... We had lunch on New Years with the elders at a member`s house, where we had all these traditional foods, it was delicious!

New Years dendo has been fun, asking everyone if they have goals for this new year and how they would feel if God could help them with it. People are pretty busy around this time, but we`ve found some people who were alone for New Years and have been able to share a little of our message with them, including a sweet Baptist lady who invited us into her house and listened as we taught her about the Restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith! She accepted a Book of Mormon and will pray about it.

Kato Kurumi chan is doing great and excited for her baptism in 2 weeks. It will be a great thing for her and her family, as she is the last of her siblings to get baptized.

A little bit of sad news--Mai san, the investigator I told you about last week--talked to her dad about how she was going to church and learning from us, and he said that it was `dame`--bad, and she can`t come to church anymore. Even though she`s an adult, she`s still living with her family and can`t go against her dad, so we aren`t teaching her anymore. When we called her and talked to her, we encouraged her to keep praying, so that someday the Lord will prepare a way for her to be able to join the church again. I`m sure someday, in the Lord`s timing, she`ll be able to!

Kokubun Shimai still hasn`t been able to get the consent of her husband. We`re continuing to pray for her, and hopefully after the business of the New Years we`ll get another chance to help her husband.

As I realize that my mission is coming to an end, I`m sad to think of leaving these wonderful people and not being a full-time missionary any more! I`ll try to do all I can, and all God wants me to in these last few weeks...this is His work! I know that God lives and loves each one of us.