Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Monday, December 16, 2013 (Second Post)
On Monday, December 16, Sister Johnson wrote:
Konnichiwa from Ishinomaki!
Well, here I am in my new area! It has been quite an adventure!
Leaving Aizu was really, really sad. I found a home there, and I was so upset to be leaving. The whole time we rode the bus from Aizu to Sendai, the tears wouldn't stop falling. I missed the people. Not just the members of the Church there, but all of the people of Aizu. I have never met such kind and caring and warm people. I missed the other missionaries that I served with there, and I missed most of all the family that Robertson Shimai and I had been teaching. I had finally felt like I had found my purpose in Aizu, and I was ready to stay there and carry out that purpose, but I suppose the Lord has other work for me to do, and that work is here in Ishinomaki.
My new companion is absolutely wonderful! Her name is Luk Yu Ching (Luk Shimai), and she is from Hong Kong, China! We were in the same district at the MTC, and I have loved her every minute of my mission. She is so spunky, and so fun. She's very quiet, but when she has something to say, it's usually HILARIOUS. I love her. So far, we are working very well together. I am looking forward to working here with her. There are four Elders in our district: Elder Ohori, who is our district leader. He is the best missionary I have ever seen, and he is in his last transfer! Sad. Then there's his companion, Elder Canepari. He is a BRAND new bean, fresh off the plane last week! He is from California, and can play the piano really well. Then there is Elder Olsen, who is in his fourth transfer, and is from Canada. He is funny. Then there's his companion, Elder Berkley, who is also a BRAND new bean. He is from New Mexico, and was in marching band! So far, we are all having fun together. I think that we will see much success as a district.
Elder Ohori and Elder Canepari have an awesome investigator right now, his name is Onadera San. He is 36, and reminds me a lot of Dad. He's super genki, and is a very deep thinker. He asked me to teach him the lyrics to Let it Be by the Beatles, so that was way fun! Onadera San has a great voice, and a great sense of humor. He is about ready to get baptized! He is making wonderful progress! He is even participating in the branch Christmas party this Saturday! He is great.
We, as a companionship, are "whitewashing" this area, which means there were sisters here before, but both of them got transferred, so we are both new to Ishinomaki, so we still have no idea where anything is! Haha, you would not believe the layout of this town. The streets make no sense. I know which was is north, and I still can't figure it out. It's been rough, but it's getting better. But, we have two investigators already! Two that the previous Sisters were teaching. One is named Saito Yukiko San. She is in her 60's and is progressing very well! She is trying her best to stop drinking coffee and to live the other principles she was taught by the last sisters. We have our first appointment with her tomorrow, and I am very much looking forward to it. Our other investigator is named Toyota San (yes, her name is actually Toyota. We also have an old investigator named Honda! Haha! Yay, Japan!) and we met her last week at Eikaiwa. She is a great lady. She loves that the Church is so involved in volunteer efforts in the community. So far she says that she doesn't want to become a member of the Church yet, but I have faith that she will eventually.
Last week, we had an appointment with the Elders with a man named Sugiyama San. He is awesome!!! He is in his 50's, and lives by himself. He has a great big house because he is super wealthy (he is an engineer). In the earthquake and tsunami, his house was completely destroyed, and his family died right in front of him. It was really sad to hear. He started meeting with the missionaries a few months ago, but he isn't a full investigator because no one has been able to teach him a full lesson. He is so lonely, so when we go over to see him, he just talks and talks and talks. It was a great appointment, even though I didn't understand everything he said. My heart is full of love for this man who has lost so much. Since the tsunami, he has thought a lot about the purpose of all this, and why we are here. His views on things are very similar to ours. I hope that in our next appointment, we will be able to teach the plan of Salvation a little bit, and hopefully through the Spirit, he will feel a little bit of hope. We are going over next week to help him clean his big house, and then he is cooking for us. It should be a really great time! He likes to build ships-in-bottles, and right before he left, he took one off the shelf and handed it to Luk Shimai and said "Here, I made this just for you!" Then he took a beautiful hand-carved wooden fan off the shelf and offered it to me. He said, "a beautiful girl like you needs a beautiful fan." It was so sweet, that I started to cry. I hope that we can offer him service and love, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that He will accept it. He is a truly wonderful person, and I love him so much.
On Saturday, we had a great opportunity to go with members of the branch to volunteer at a temporary housing unit. All of the people who live there had their lives completely wiped out by the tsunami, and they are still trying to figure everything out. They also all have some sort of disability, whether mental, physical, or developmental. As a branch, we put on a Christmas concert for them! I had the opportunity to sing about Christ! And with the other missionaries, we performed Christmas Carols with handbells! If you don't know what those are, look it up! It was so much fun, and so beautiful! After the concert, we got to talk with the people, and it was amazing how full of love and gratitude they are for the things that they have. It was a very spiritual experience for me, and I hope that we will be able to go back in the future.
Speaking of the members of the branch, they are wonderful! There are about 30 members who come to Church, and they are all so fun! The women are so energetic and full of life, and they are ALL musically talented! It is so fun to sing with them! They sing so beautifully. I love singing about the Savior in Japanese. It's great. Yesterday in Relief Society, we had a great discussion of the mission of the Savior. He has lots, but my favorite of them is that Jesus Christ was send to give liberty to the captives. All of us are captive by something is our own way, great or small, but with the help of Jesus Christ, and the redemptive power of His atonement, we can be liberated from the things that hold us bound. That is my focus this Christmas season, and I hope that I can share that with the people of Ishinomaki.
I am grateful to be here. I know that there is a reason for me being transferred here. I hope that with the guidance of the Spirit, I will be able to find that purpose.
I am so grateful for Christmas. I am grateful for the birth of my Savior. My love for Him grows deeper everyday as I get to walk the paths that He would walk, do the things that He would do, say the things that He would say, and become the person He wants me to be, here in Ishinomaki. As His authorized representative, I have the power and authority to carry out His work in this special place. It is my hope and my fervent prayer that I will be able to learn how to humbly yield to the guidance of the Spirit so that I can do the things that my Savior Jesus Christ needs me to do.
So, Christmas!!!! YAY! We get to Skype!!!!
I haven't gotten Christmas packages yet! I hope to soon! Transfers kind of complicate everything.
Well, I love you to bits and pieces!!!!