Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
On Monday, January 20, 2014 Sister Johnson Wrote:
I'm so happy you got my kanji! It is a tradition in Japanese culture to paint your goal for the year in kanji and then hang it somewhere where you can see it everyday, so a member in our ward helped us to that. No one is teaching me how to do kanji, but I am slowly learning it myself. I can read a TON more than I can write, which is super fun. Japanese people are always super impressed when I read the Book of Mormon at church. Haha, it's so funny to hear their reactions. But yeah, that was a fun day. The one that is hanging above my desk in my apartment says "Umi no mono: ai." Which, in Shakira Japanese, means "love the things of the sea!" That is my goal. I will eat fish.
I have a lot of other goals, but that is one that I really want to work on.
My release date is November 14th. Will I be flying home from Japan by myself?
So, today is the start of transfer number 6! Luk Shimai and I will be staying companions in Ishinomaki! I am so grateful for that. President Rasmussen came to our sacrament meeting yesterday, so I asked him about transfers and was so relieved when he told me nothing would be changing. I have too many people in Ishinomaki to love for me to be transferred! I would be okay staying here until the end of my mission, I think. Which actually might be possible to be honest... We will see what the Lord has in store in the future, but for now, I will work, work, WORK!
So this week was good. It was still hard though because I got over my cold, but as soon as that was done, both Luk Shimai and I got the same stomach bug and got really sick. It wasn't fun. But we both got blessings last night from Elder Ohori (my first blessing in Japanese, that was a cool experience!) and today, we are feeling much better, thank goodness. I am sick of being SICK! Bleh. But, I am on the mend, and for that I am grateful.
Aside from being sick, this week was a really good one! The miracle that I wrote about last week continued this week; we were able to have our first lesson with Kato San! What a wonderful day that was! Luk Shimai and I prepared diligently and sought the Spirit as we walked to her house on Wednesday. When we got there, Kato San ran to the door and let us in very excitedly. She led us to her living room, and told us that she has been looking forward to this all week. To show her gratitude for us, she bought us all kinds of cookies, and they were DELICIOUS. Japan has ridiculously good baked items. But anyways, the lesson was wonderful. We talked about a lot of things with Kato San, things like the Book of Mormon, where we were before we came to this earth, why we are here, etc. We talked a lot about the nature of God and how much He loves us. We talked about how we all are daughters and sons of God and that we have the potential to become like Him. We talked about prayer and about how we can commune with God as we seek Him in humility. Kato San used to be an elementary school teacher, and she was telling us that when the earthquake and tsunami happened in 2011, a lot of her elementary students were killed. She told us that she was very sad about that, so we decided to share Moroni 8:17, which talks about how God loves little children (And I am filled with a charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation). After we read that scripture, she said "Yes, of course! This was my thought when that happened. I was looking out my window one night after the tsunami, and was feeling sad about my beloved students. But I looked up and there were new stars in the sky, stars that were brighter than the others, stars that I had never seen before. I knew that these were my students and that was God's way of telling me that He is taking care of those little ones. He loves them so much, so yes, of course this passage is true." The Spirit was so strong and filled Kato San's living room as the Spirit testified to her of the truthfulness of our loving Heavenly Father. The lesson went on, and we were able to talk about prayer. Kato San told us that she prays everyday, morning and night. She said that she feels gratitude with she prays and that she feels like her family will be safe from harm. We were very naturally able to teach her how to really commune with her Heavenly Father and how she can feel His love as she prays to Him. We also talked about how answers from Heavenly Father come through the power of the Holy Ghost, who is manifested to people in different ways. As soon as we talked about that, Kato San said, "Oh yeah, I've felt that before! That's what I felt when you came to sing to me the first time. That is what we have felt the whole time here today! That is the Holy Ghost." It was absolutely incredible to see her recognize the Holy Ghost that clearly! We then invited her to pray at the end of the lesson, and my heart was filled with warmth and love as Kato San offered her first prayer to her Father in Heaven. It was so simple, and so sweet, and the Spirit was there, confirming to her that she really is a daughter of God. We invited her to read from the Book of Mormon, to read about the Plan of Salvation, and to pray everyday to know the truthfulness of this beautiful message. It was a wonderful lesson, and Kato San is willing and ready to learn. From here, we will talk of the Savior and explain who He is and why He is the most important. We will testify of Him and it is my prayer that she will feel His love through us, because He loves her SO much! My heart is full with the Savior's love for Kato San! I am so excited to teach her again! We don't have another appointment with her this week though, unfortunately. She said that she really wants to take time to read, understand, and pray about the things we taught. She is so genuine in her desire, and I am so excited to see her progress. It was a great experience.
Yesterday at church, it was Elder Ohori's last Sunday on his mission, so our sacrament meeting was packed! He is such a wonderful missionary that so many people who love him but don't normally come to church came to church to see him off! It was so wonderful! Our other investigator, Yuki San, was also there! She is so great. She has made friends with all the women in the branch, and they were all fighting over who got to sit with her! It was so wonderful; the members love her and want to help her learn and progress. We also had our potential investigator, Sugiyama San (the wealthy man) at church yesterday too! He has never come to church before, and I think that he enjoyed it! He even stayed behind afterwards to have lunch with us and the members! It was wonderful! I hope that we will be able to made a solid teaching appointment with him in the near future.
So, with the start of this new transfer, I have been doing a lot of evaluating. I have been evaluating my mission life, my testimony, my faith in the Savior, and my commitment to follow Him. I have been evaluating my resolve to work my hardest, to be exactly obedient to mission rules, and to courageously heed the promptings of the Spirit as they come to me throughout the day. I have learned that my mission is to love as the Savior loves. I am here to guide people to Christ by loving them with a love deeper than they have ever felt before. I have learned that the Savior has love for each and every single person, and it's not ordinary love as we know it. The love of Jesus Christ is deep, abiding, strengthening, redeeming, forgiving, and perfect. I am very far from perfect, but my mission is to love everyone with whom I come in contact in a way that they will feel the perfect love of the Savior through me. That is what he has called me to do. Christ has called me to love, and I am so humbled that He trusts me enough to do this for Him.
I was reading yesterday in my personal study from the Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith about the Savior. As I read the testimony of the prophet, I felt the Savior's love for me. These are His words:
"I sit and reflect at times, and in my reading of the scriptures, I think of the mission of our Lord, what he did for me, and when these feelings come upon me I say to myself, I cannot be untrue to him. He loved me with a perfect love, as he has done for all men, especially those who serve him, and I must love him with all the love I can, even if it is imperfect, which it should not be. It is wonderful. I did not live in the days of our Savior; he has not come to me in person. I have not beheld him. His Father and he have not felt it necessary to grant me such a great blessing as this. But it is not necessary. I have felt his presence. I know that the Holy Spirit has enlightened my mind and revealed him unto me, so that I do love my Redeemer, I hope, and feel it is true, better than everything else in this life. I would not have it otherwise. I want to be true to him. I know he died for me, for you and all mankind that we might live again through the resurrection. I know that he died that I might be forgiven my follies, my sins, and be cleansed from them. How wonderful is this love. How can I, knowing this, do anything else but love him, my Redeemer."
My thoughts echo President Smith's. Let us the love the Savior with the most perfect love we are capable of. Let us be true to Him who is our Light and our Redeemer. Let us all love others as the Savior would love, and let us always remember and be grateful for the Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I love Him, and I am so blessed to be here in Japan serving Him.
I love you! I hope that you have a good week! Miss you!
And some excerpts from Corbin's letter:
This morning in personal study, I was reading 2 Nephi 4, which is also known as the Psalm of Nephi, and it got me thinking. Psalms are music. I am a musician. Why don't I write my own Psalm? So, that is what I did! It is still in the works, but I would like to send it to you via snail mail as soon as I am finished. What better way is there to express my love for the Savior then through the very sacred gift He has given me and expects me to use! It was a wonderful personal study this morning; I feel very enlightened.
It's amazing how great personal study is each morning. I LOVE that about being a missionary. I have an hour every morning to immerse myself completely in the scriptures and to learn of the Savior! It's such a great opportunity. I have loved personal study my whole mission, and I will continue to do so until the end of my mission, and I hope that I will be able to develop a habit of good consistent scripture study when I get home from Japan. What a blessing it is to be able to study the life of the Savior and His words from ancient prophets!
Well, I love you. I love the Savior! He loves you too! He loves you perfectly.