Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
On Monday, January 27, 2014 Sister Johnson wrote:
Wow, that print is beautiful!!!! Please tell Heather I say thank you! What perfect timing that gift was, indeed! I could feel your missing me this week, and it made me cry too. I had a very trunky week this week, to be honest. It has been hard to be in Japan this week, but it's okay because guess what?
MY MISSION IS MORE THAN HALF-WAY OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have less than nine months left! How crazy is that? I was telling Luk Shimai the other day, if I were married and starting a family, I would have a kid by now! Haha, yay, measuring time in 9-month intervals!
I hope that you are finding some light in your life, even though everything seems so dark sometimes. When my days are dark, I have found great strength in studying the scriptures, especially scriptures about light, sheep, the Good Shepherd, and love. Those key-word searches have always yielded me answers to my prayers. Momma, you said a while ago that you wanted to try and start the Book of Mormon over again from the beginning. How is that going for you? I hope that you are remembering that goal because I know it will bless your life. As a missionary, we have an hour each morning for personal study, and how grateful I am from the bottom of my heart for that time! That hour has become so precious to me. Every morning, I am able to drink from the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon and the four gospels. I have been able to weed out all the "presiding"-ness, and I have learned to read the scriptures though a "humanity" point of view. This has brought the scriptures to life for me! The people in the Book of Mormon and the Bible were just that, PEOPLE! They had to learn to rely on the Savior just as we must also learn. They were tested, they had trials of their faith, and they learned about the redeeming powers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ for themselves. Just like us. Approaching the Book of Mormon this way has made it so much more personal, so much more real. So much more human. I am so grateful to be able to see things the way that I do, the way that the my Heavenly Parents and Elder Brother want me to see. I am learning to see with the eyes of my spirit, hear with the ears of my spirit, speak with the tongue of my spirit, and feel with the heart of my spirit. I am learning so much about the nature of my Savior and my Heavenly Parents, but also about my personal divinity as a woman, and about the divinity of all humankind. I am so grateful for the scriptures! They are true! They are light!
This week was a little bit slow, but it was good! Transfers were this past week; I am now in my 6th transfer (I can't BELIEVE that), which means I am officially old in the mission. Crazy! But, I'm excited to be here in Ishinomaki with Luk Shimai still. This week, our beloved Elder Ohori went home! He finished his mission and headed back to Kobe! We were all super sad. He was such a great missionary! But, we have a new Nihonjin district leader now, named Elder Akiyama. Him and Luk Shimai are good friends; they served together in a different area a while ago. Akiyama Choro is cool, I'm excited he is here.
This week, we were able to teach Yuki San again, finally!! We haven't been able to teach her for a while! We had such a great lesson, too. It was a different kind of lesson; we were not able to mark anything off on the teaching record, but through the spirit, and the relationship of trust we have been able to establish with Yuki San, we were able to discern her needs. We are building a plan to help her overcome some of the things that are holding her back from coming closer to the Savior, and she is well on her way preparing to receive baptism! I adore Yuki San, and I am so grateful for the love and trust that she has in God and in Jesus Christ. Now, we are working on the action side of her faith, and helping her to make and keep commitments that will prepare her to make and keep covenants with God and with her Savior.
I am so blessed to be a part of the Savior's work here in Japan! It is amazing the guidance and the little miracles that I am able to see in my life everyday. I will be honest: this has been the most difficult nine months of my life. But, through all of the darkness and hardship, there has been so much pure Light, light from the Savior. However hard times may be, I know that my Savior will be there before my face. He will be on my right hand and on my left, and His angels will be round about to bear me up. What a beautiful, incredible promise that is. I know that my Savior lives and that He is aware of me every moment. I know that He knows and loves the people of Japan, and I am so blessed to be able to feel a portion of that love in my heart.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Cling to it. Cherish it. Love it, and live it. Let's be like the Savior.
I love you Momma. I hope you have a better week! Me, too!
Love you, Johnson Shimai
And some excerpts from Corbin's letter:
Thank you for your testimony. I always look forward to your emails because I know I will be uplifted by your testimony of the Savior! Your testimony is precious to me; there are some days when your testimony is the only thing that keeps me going! I am so grateful for your handwritten letters. Have you written any lately? I have lots of time to write today; I will send my Psalm-in-the-works your way today.
I am happy to read your talk of Spring! Spring is HOPE! Japanese spring, well, spring in Ishinomaki, means cold and CRAZY WIND. Holy crap. I got blown off my bicycle yesterday! But, I hope that spring comes soon. Everyone says that February is the coldest part of the year in Japan, so that should be fun... But from there, I get to see cherry blossoms! I am so excited about that! Yay, spring in Japan!
I am so grateful for our apartment. We have a west-facing apartment right now, so we get a fabulous blast of sunshine in the morning during personal study because our study area is on the east side of the apartment! It is so great! Ishinomaki has great sun. I'm so thankful for that.
Dogs in Japan...hmmm. I have seen a few huskies. They are quite rare though, to be honest. Most people have little yappy chihuahuas and terriers, and there are a LOT of long-haired wiener dogs. They are quite good-mannered actually, just like their people. Some are annoying, but that's true of all dogs. I LOVE Japanese kitties though. They are so cute. And so Japanese. I miss kitties. I want one. But that's against the rules, unfortunately.
So, I was reading my patriarchal blessing yesterday (I really need to do that more often), and I read the WHOLE thing completely differently than I normally do. I learned that I have three main spiritual gifts: I have the gift of charity. I have the gift of love in my heart. I have the gift of being able to read and understand correct principles. From those three gifts stem all of the other talents that I have, and the Lord expects me to use all of those talents to become a better teacher. It's amazing how much my blessing talks about teaching. I also reread the part about my mission, and it says "If you desire and are worthy, you will be able to fulfill a mission for the Savior." How cool is that statement? Not only will I go on a mission, but I will FULFILL that mission. Through the guidance of the spirit, the Savior will help me FULFILL my mission. I thought that was really awesome. Just another testimony to me that the Savior is guiding me everyday. Continuing, my blessing says, "You will be called to serve and to teach the gospel to others of the house of Israel and to the Gentiles." That got me thinking, who are those others of the house of Israel? Those are the people who have entered the covenant, meaning people who have received baptism already! I have discovered that a huge part of my mission is working with less-active members of the church! They are members of the house of Israel, and my blessing promises me that through the spirit, many souls will be CONVERTED to the Gospel! It doesn't say many will join the house of Israel, it says that many will be converted. That is such a cool blessing! Wow! The Lord has sent me to Japan to work with members of the Church who need to feel the Savior's love through me! How incredible that is! How overwhelming that is! I am so grateful that I am not alone in this great work! I simply cannot do it without the Lord's help. But, I know that He is helping me. He is leading me and guiding me to those whom He needs me to love.
Well Pop. I love ya! SO much. I hope that you have a good week and that you keep having sunshine! Me, too. I need as much as I can get!
Love, Johnson Shimai