Wednesday, October 30, 2013
October 30, 2013
From Michelle: Several things are included in this post. First, some excerpts from letters Corbin and I received last week. Second, Monday's email.
Mom's letter dated October 15, 2013:
Right now, I have the most wonderful companions. Can I take a moment to tell you how much I love them? Morita Shimai is one of the sweetest people I have ever met in my life. She is so kind, but also so much fun. She has become one of my most dear friends, and I am so blessed to be serving with her. Robertson Shimai is wonderful, too. Her and I come from MUCH different backgrounds, but I am so impressed by her capacity to love and her diligence in the work. my companions both are incredible missionaries and set great examples for me. I have learned so much from them. I am so sad that it will just be the three of us for only two more weeks! But, I'm about 99.2% certain none of us are getting transferred, so we will still be in the same apartment. That will probably allow us to become even greater friends. Yay!
This week, I had a relapse of grief for Fisher. It hit me as I was studying the Plan of Salvation, and I could not control it. I miss him so much. My companions took me in their arms and prayed with me and for me, then they prayed for Fisher in the Spirit World, and they they prayed for Buddy and Shelly and Sadie. I was overwhelmed by the love and comfort I felt from my companions and from my Parents in Heaven, and especially from my Savior. He has His arms wrapped around my Fisher. I am so grateful for that.
Momma, I love this place so much. Aizu is so great. The people here are so nice. the town is so richly steeped in history, and I can feel Christ in the wind and in the mountains. The souls of the people here are so good. I just love it. I feel a connection to this place. I know that there are people here in Aizu that need to hear the Gospel from me. My Heavenly Family has called me here because it is expedient for the salvation of souls. How incredible is that?! They trust me enough to send me to the people here. I have gained a testimony of divine callings. Not only am I called to serve in the Sendai Mission, and in Aizu, but I am called to be with my companions and I am called to serve the PEOPLE OF AIZUWAKAMATSU. I have also gained a new understanding of the phrase, "called to serve". I don't really know how to explain it, but I have learned that as a missionary and representative of Christ, i am first and foremost a servant. I serve my God, I serve my Savior, I serve my mission presidents, I serve my companions, and I serve everyone with whom I come in contact. if you look at Christ, He is the perfect example of this, as with everything else. He was and is the greatest of all, and He spent ALL of His time serving others. Not only did He serve willingly, but He served with love, compassion, and JOY. I am called to the same ministry. I am called to be humble and serve others with love and compassion. I know that as I do so with a willing heart, not only will I be blessed, but those whom I serve will be able to feel their Savior's love through me. There is no greater gift than that of the Savior's love.
I have learned that teaching of the Savior with simplicity is one of my missions here, not only with my investigators, but with my companions, other missionaries, and other members.
I love being a missionary!! I love this place!! I love these people!! I love Japan!! I LOVE YOU!!!!
Dad's letter dated October 9, 2013:
Well, in two weeks, I will have been on my mission for 6 months! It feels like it's been longer than that, though. We all have had to go through some very difficult trials, and I feel as if I have aged, in the spiritual sense. Never has my faith in the Savior been more tested, tried, beaten upon, or relied upon. I know that those are all good things, but boy, it is hard.
My bike here in Aizu is the same bike I had in Izumi! Well not the same ONE, but the same kind and color and everything: Renault, 6-speed, girl bike. Heavy like you wouldn't believe, and slow as all get-out. Rust colored. Brand new. it's nice, but it kicks me out of fifth every time I try, and I have no idea how to fix it.
Our apartment is AMAZING. It's twice as big as the Izumi apartment, and it's way nice. Our neighbors are a bunch of super nice families with cute kids who like to practice their English greetings with me. They are so fun, and very genki! We live in a SUPER nice neighborhood with a bunch of old people. I really don't think homeless people exist here...I haven't seen any the entire time I've been in Japan. So, I don't think anyone digs through our trash! Trash here in Japan is so interesting.Everyone in the entire country recycles and sorts their trash. Different things are collected on different days, and it's amazing. There is no litter here. Japan is so clean.
I love ramen! As far as ramen goes, the smaller the shop, the more delicious the ramen. There is a lot more seafood here in Aizu, and I have tried so hard to be brave, but I just can't do it. I cannot change my taste buds to like seafood. I wish I could. I feel so bad. The other day, we had a big ward activity called "imoni kai", which means "a bunch of people get together and eat potato soup!" The soup is called imoni and it is something unique to the tohoku area. It has about six different kinds of potato-type things, three-ish different kinds of mushrooms, negi, and pork usually. And the broth is make out of shoyu and other things. It was so weird and so delicious. I love Japanese soup. A big thin in Japan is pizza toast, which is bread with ketchup, cheese, and whatever else you want. It's great. I have gone out for sushi with my companions twice, and I ate ebi (shrimp) and sake (salmon)...both were very difficult. So I had pork, hamburger, and bacon sushi. It was wonderful. Ha.
The trees here are amazing, dad. The forests are thick and lush, and full of life, and they speak to me. The pines are some kind of lodge pole pines. They are tall and skinny and very close together. They are so strong and so old. Sometimes, there are huge cedar forests, too! After it rains, and we bike past a cedar forest, the smell in absolutely enchanting. The trees are one of my favorite things about Japan. I love the mountains in Aizu. I can feel Christ in the nature around me here. The stars here are the same, but the nights are always cloudy. I rejoice when I can see them.
I can feel the grandfathers here, but they aren't indian grandfathers. Well, I suppose they are Japanese indians. But I can definitely feel them. And the grandmothers, too. They are all around me. They are the senzo that LOVE their shisun. Ancestors that LOVE their posterity. I can't wait until you can come here and you an feel what I feel.
Thank you for teaching me about my Savior. He is my best friend. I know Him and love Him.
And Sister Johnson's email on Monday, October 28, 2013:
I miss American Halloween. Well, I miss our funky Halloween stuff that we do because we're cooler than the rest of America. :) Halloween in Japan just isn't as big of a deal. They already have Christmas stuff in the stores here though, all over. It makes me miss you, and think about the day I get to call you! That will be so wonderful! Hopefully it will be over Skype. And it will be in the middle of the night for you! Haha. Yay. :)
Well, bad news. I can't do pictures anymore because we got kicked out of the place where we normally do email, so we have to be here at the library, and I can't attach pictures here. BUT! I printed a bunch of pictures and am putting them in the mail for you today! I am so sorry. It's the best I can do, unfortunately.
So! You're probably wondering about transfers... Lots of change! Robertson Shimai and I are now companions! I have become the senior companion and an official trainer! We are staying in Aizu (thank goodness)! So that will be wonderful! I am so excited to have her as my very own bean! But I'm also scared out of my wits because of Nihongo.... AH! Please pray that we will have the gift of tongues.... My dear sweet Morita Shimai is the new sister training leader for the Koriyama zone! She will be staying in Aizu (YAYYYYYYY) and will be getting a brand-new gaikokujin bean! How great is that?! It will be so fun! I am way excited for this transfer. Two of our elders are getting transferred. One is becoming and AP and the other is becoming a zone leader! They are both Nihonjin and are being replaced by gaijin! There will only be two nihonjin missionaries in Aizu now. So crazy! But so fun!
This week was good. We went on splits with the sister training leader, Saito Shimai, and we had a great time! She gave me lots of nice compliments, which was wonderful. I feel so inadequate... but she told me that she was very impressed with my Japanese skills.... I don't believe her. Oh goodness, Nihongo! I am so praying...
I want you to know that I am happy. I love it here, more than words can even say. Aizuwakamatsu, Japan, is a blessed place. I am so grateful to be here serving the Lord. What a great opportunity.
4th transfer, here we go! Keep us in your prayers. :) I love youuuuuu! Loveeeeeee you!