On Monday, September 30, 2013, Sister Johnson wrote:
Happy Fall! It's amazing here in Japan, like clock-work: the seasons are EXACTLY in line with all the planetary stuff, equinoxes and solstices. Monday came and went, and it got cold cold! The wind started to blow and all the trees are shedding. There are still flowers in bloom though, which is nice. But it's sweater weather, which I love!! Apparently come winter, it gets bone-chilling cold here about these parts. But, I'm still loving Aizu and everything that comes with it.
So this week was interesting. Well, actually it wasn't. We are trying to find people to teach and so far aren't having much success, but we will keep trying! I know that the Lord has people here in Aizu for us. We just have to have the faith to find them. I need to learn to be more brave. Something I realized a couple of weeks ago is that I have no reason to be afraid of people because all I'm going to tell them about it how they can have eternal joy through Jesus Christ! That is the greatest thing to tell someone, EVER! That, and free English! The worst thing that can happen is that they say no! Sometimes they say no by yelling and slamming doors in your face... but that's besides the point. I need to get over my fear of opening my mouth and just do it. I've been better, but there is still massive space for improvement. That is one of my goals.
So tomorrow, the fourth quarter of the year begins! The last three months of the year. President Rasmussen has given us a challenge to raise our faith and our vision. We want to see 25 people receive baptism in the next three months! In order to do so, we have been asked to sacrifice something that is dear to us, something that we love but that might not be necessary for missionary work. My sacrifice is first, Coke Zero, and second, the classical music on my iPod. I have thought a lot about it, and those are two things that I love and cherish, but that aren't necessary. So, for the next three months, I will give them up! Morita Shimai is sacrificing negitoro, her favorite kind of sushi, and Robertson Shimai is sacrificing bread! (She is nuts. I love bread). Please keep us in your prayers! Through these sacrifices, we are hoping to see many miracles here in Sendai, and we could use your help.
We were not able to watch the Relief Society broadcast here. Everything as far as Conference is concerned happens a week later here, I think. So the second week in October, we will gather as a zone (because we are not in a Stake, so we gather as a zone instead) and watch Conference on a Japanese translated DVD. I am hoping and praying that they will have an English version... We will see. But I am so grateful it's conference time! It's so weird to think that the last time we had Conference was right before I started this whole missionary adventure! I have almost been out for six whole months. That is hard to believe! Wow. But at the same time, I feel like I've been here for a lifetime. But I love Japan!
The Big Guy is definitely taking care of me, that's for sure. And I am so grateful for the mercy and love of Him and Jesus Christ. Sometimes we do really stupid things, but when we repent and reach out, the Savior is always there, unfailing, waiting with open arms. I am so grateful for that. And for the opportunity I have to repent and partake of the Sacrament each week. I love reading about the Savior and about Him administering the Sacrament. The love and the care that He uses in those verses is precious to me, and carries a deep resounding message of the importance of the Sacrament deep into my soul. I am so grateful for that saving ordinance and the peace that comes with it.
Our Savior is so good. I really want to become like Him someday. I can feel Him here, in the trees and in the wind. I can feel the majesty of His love and power as I look to the mountains that surround this little town. There is something deeply spiritual about this part of Japan. For me, it's not just the mountains and the rest of nature, but the people here are so deeply steeped in history and tradition that I can feel it deep inside me. I don't really know how to describe it, but every time I greet a little old man on the street, or whenever a little old woman smiles to me and says "domo!," I can just feel something. These people know the divine, of that I am sure. They just don't know that that divine is called Jesus Christ. I really think that I am a buddhist at heart, a buddhist who knows and believes in Jesus Christ. I think this because whenever I hear gongs sounding in shrines, or see big statues and sanctuaries, I feel an incredible sense of peace. It makes me feel at one with the Earth and with Those who look down to me and help me every day. Like I said, I can't describe it in words, but I'm grateful and I love it. I love it here. With that being said, there is the deeply spiritual part of Aizu that I love, but there's also the negative side of that, and the spiritual side that doesn't come from Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ. This week, we decided to visit one of the old investigators that the Elders passed to us, and she definitely has some stuff going on inside of her that I do not understand. All my hair was standing on end as we entered her apartment, and I could just feel something bad there. That was probably the longest 40 minutes of my life. One of my companions felt the same as me, but the other was totally fine being there. I wanted to be there to try and help here, but she is in such a bad place and a bad environment. I don't know what to do to help here. She is caught up in things that I do not want to be involved in at all. I am praying fervently for some guidance. I hope that all will be well.
Yes, the humility cycle. I am learning A LOT about that right now. My head is way too big. Like I said, I:m grateful for repentance and for the atonement of my Savior.
I haven't tried nato yet, but it's actually on my to-do list for this week! We FINALLY got a fridge in our apartment (we didn't have one for two weeks. It was way hard, and we all got sick. But now we're okay), so I want to try nato this week. We will see how that goes...
I love you all, and I miss you so.