Monday, November 11, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Two weeks worth of emails, and some mailed snapshots, since she is unable to send them electronically for now.
On Monday, November 4, Sister Johnson wrote:
I have found so much joy this week! Christ is all around us. He is in everything. He IS everything. That is something I have been learning more and more every day. I love Japan.
Well, as you can probably guess, this week has been entirely overwhelming for me. Being a trainer of a gaijin has been insanely hard. I have been very humbled this week, and I am so grateful that the Lord is opening my eyes to His guidance and tender mercies. I have spend much time on my knees pleading not only for the gift of tongues, but for the interpretation of tongues. I seemed to have forgotten about that part of the gift... and boy, has the Lord blessed me! Robertson Shimai and I already have found a new investigator! Her name is Urasawa San, and she is a Korean woman married to a Japanese man. She is a 7th Day Adventist, and owns a Korean restaurant just down the street from the Church. We have started to do the Family English Program with her, which is where we teach English for 30 minutes, and then we share a message for 30 minutes. At this point, I'm not sure what her interest level in the Church is, but she already has a background of Christianity and has great faith. She told us that she has been separated from God for a long time now, but occasionally, she gets warm feelings in her chest that are accompanied with thoughts that "I need to return to God." How wonderful is that?? I hope that Robertson Shimai and I will really be able to pay attention to the Spirit to discern her needs because I really believe that she is being prepared to accept the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have another appointment with her this week.
The Lord is blessing me with light. I had a really incredibly wonderful spirit-filled scripture study this morning. I have found the answer as to why Japan is so deeply spiritual to me. Christ created everything spiritually before He created it spiritually. Now go read Isaiah 44: 22-24. Especially 23 and 24. Can you hear it? I can. Look again. You can hear it, see it, feel it. He is everywhere.
WOW! I was engulfed with the Spirit and with love. What a great blessing! There's more to that experience, but I don't have time to type it all out, unfortunately. But! I love Isaiah. What light comes from that book! No wonder Christ exhorts us and pleads with us to read his words. I am so grateful for the scriptures. They really do testify of Christ. They really do contain the fullness of His Gospel. If we really dig in, we can find Him, His love, His nature, and HIS truth. What a wonderful opportunity we have to read and drink from and feast on the words of Christ.
I am doing the Lord's work! I have learned SO MUCH this week that in no way is this work MY work. It is all His. How grateful I am for that. It was so much fun to house this week (the first time that has EVER been fun. I hate housing.) because people are already nice, but they are SO MUCH NICER when they have two blond gaijin girls knock on their door to tell them about Jesus! People were SO NICE to us, it was unbelievable. One woman invited us into her genkan and gave us a ton of food and gave us hugs (that's the real rarity) and wished us on our way! It was so fun. And it's getting easier to talk WITH people, not AT people, as we house. Yay, blessings. It's all the Lord. In no way is this my power. I can't do anything without His help. Jesus is the best, right?
I am freezing, yes. I am definitely your daughter, Dad. This weather is getting so much colder, and my joints are aching like you wouldn't believe. When we get home at night, my hands can't move. I'm quite worried about it actually. What's the deal with that? I don't want arthritis.
So, I have been sick this week. I'm pretty sure I'm developing a sinus something-or-other. I have had a killer headache and my head is clogged. I feel fine, all except my head. Blehhhhh. But, it's getting better... ish.
Robertson Shimai and I are cooking lots of veggies. And lots of chicken. And lots of rice. I need to learn how to cook more of what is available here. But I know quite a bit already, and I am excited to cook for you when I get home!
So, I forgot to tell you about how wonderful Sister Robertson is. This week, I had one really rough day. I could literally feel Satan sitting on my shoulder, convincing me that I am so inadequate. That, and lots of other things. I could literally feel him there. It was so scary and I didn't know what to do. I plead with Heavenly Father to give me the strength and the power to cast him away. In companionship study, Robertson Shimai and I were talking, and I said through some tears, "I really need your help today." and I told her everything that I was feeling. After the two hours of study, Robertson Shimai said exactly what I needed to hear. She said:
"Johnson Shimai, I love that you are so musical. I really do. So, you know that phrase in the scriptures that says "an instrument in the Lord's hands?" Well, I've always thought that that means a tool of some kind, like a screwdriver or something, but today, I learned that it means something different. You, Sister Johnson, are an instrument in His hands, and through you, He makes beautiful music. You are His instrument. He loves you, and I love you for being so beautiful."
That is what she said, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. Heavenly Father answered my prayers through my sweet, wonderful companion. What a great blessing it is to be serving with her and to be friends with her.
Please keep me in your prayers. Heaven knows I need them.
And on Monday, November 11, 2013 Sister Johnson wrote:
Yes, I got the package this week, THANK YOU SO MUCH! It made me so happy!!! I LOVED hearing from those girls (our ward's young women); they are all so sweet. I don't have time to write them back all individually, so will you tell them all that I love them? Also, tell Katie that her story had me rolling on the floor laughing. LOVED that.
I am so happy to hear that you got my pictures! I am sorry that that is the only way I can do pictures right now. I wish I could send them electronically, but I can't. I will put some more in the mail today.
We don't have "stake conference" where I am, because the only stake in my mission is in Sendai. So, we have district conference, which is under the direction of President Rasmussen! That is in two weeks, and should be very good. I think I will be translating for Sister Rasmussen, too! So, I have lots of language study to do. I have found in the last transfer that I can understand about 90 percent of what people say now! I can reply, but very simply. I can't speak as well as I can understand yet, but it's coming along every day! I love speaking Japanese, actually. Every week, we volunteer at an old people place, and this week, one of the women there smiled at me, told me how pretty my face was, and then told me that my Japanese pronunciation was beautiful. She said that it sounded like a native! What a great thing to hear!!! The language can be incredibly frustrating at times, so it's nice to hear that I might not be as inadequate as I am feeling. That is certainly a gift from loving Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ.
This last week, we had an opportunity to teach Urasawa San again, and we taught more about prayer. She said that she had tried to pray this week, but that all of her prayers were the same! So, we talked about how you really can pray about anything, and that when you pray from your heart, it becomes more meaningful and you can feel the love of God in greater measure. At the end of the lesson, we invited her to close us with a prayer and she said "NO! I can't!! I can't!!" But Robertson Shimai and I felt impressed to just wait. After about three minutes, she said "Okay. I will pray." She gave the most warm and heart-felt prayer I have heard in a very long time. It was sincere and from her heart. Afterwards, I asked her what she was feeling, and she said, "Yes, I feel the Holy Spirit inside of me." What an incredible experience! She is progressing!
Yesterday, Robertson Shimai and I went and visited an old investigator that was in our area book named Arai San. He and his family live very close to the church and have always come to activities, but for some reason, they stopped meeting with the missionaries, so we decided to go and invite him and his family to hear the message again. When we asked, he said, very excitedly "Aa, ii desu yo!!!" which means, yes that sounds great! So, starting on Saturday, we will be teaching him and four of his children English and the gospel! How great is that!? I am so excited. What a blessing!
This week has been a rough one, to be honest. Last P-Day evening, I crashed my bike for the first time on my mission. I was totally fine, nothing happened, I just had some bruises on my knee. Sister Rasmussen told me to go to the hospital, and so I did. I got some x-rays on my knee and back and everything was perfectly normal, just like I thought! So, nothing to worry about there, I promise. Also, Morita Shimai was suuuuuuuuuuper sick this week, and so we've been taking care of her. She is on the mend, but is still feeling under the weather.
I never realized how hard it would be to be an obedient missionary. Robertson Shimai and I have made goals to be exactly obedient, and we have found that the greatest opposition to that is other missionaries. This week, we have felt some angst from some other missionaries in our district because we don't want to waste time (hours and hours actually) at member's houses, and I am feeling very confused by it all. We are just doing what we are supposed to be doing (being missionaries and working hard...). I have learned that the image of missionary work in Japan and that in America are very, very different. But, it makes me think of what you said to me, dad, in Izumi. I am a fixed gear woman. I am a GO GO GO missionary, and that is how Robertson Shimai and I have decided we want to work! So, we aren't going to let other missionaries get in the way of that. So far, it's working.
Well, I love and miss you, so so much! I hope you have a great day! :)