Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
On Monday, February 17, 2014 Sister Johnson wrote:
Valentines does happen in Japan, and it's actually kind of cool what they do! So Valentines is on February 14th, and it is a day for girls to give chocolate and a message to the boy that they like. And then, on March 14th (White Day), it's the boy's turn to give the girl that they like chocolate and a message! So every girl that gives something away for Valentines hope that the boy will give something back to them on White Day. It's pretty cute, I think. I like that they have two separate love holidays. But, it is not nearly as big a holiday here as it is in the states. It's mostly just junior high and high school students, and people who are "involved" already that celebrate it. But we got some chocolate from some nice people, and we got to give out some chocolate, which was fun.
Comida sounds like a very interesting place! I am excited to eat there when I get home... IN LESS THAN NINE MONTHS! I am nearing the end of my 6th transfer! And gaijin sisters only have 12 transfers in the field, which means my time in Japan is more than halfway over, and my mission is well over halfway done! How crazy is that? I hope it goes by fast. (And I hope the reason it goes by fast is that we are working so hard that we don't notice time going past! That's the plan, anyway. We'll see how it goes.)
This week was a good one! We met with Yuki San again, and this time we had a lesson with her about the Law of Chastity. It was good lesson. The Law of Chastity is hard for me to teach, to be honest. But I have learned that the more love I use when I teach, the easier it gets! So, it was good. Yuki San will not have a problem with it, which makes our job a lot easier! It was funny though because the member that joined the lesson with us told her that we are not allowed to kiss people outside of marriage (I literally gasped out loud. BIG culture difference there, haha. Made me feel like a heathen, and the member definitely judged me, but hey! I'm an American! We do things differently.), so that was interesting. After the lesson, we ate lunch together, and then we played ping pong with Yuki San for an hour. It was so much fun! She has the most energy of any 63 year old woman I have ever met in my life! She is so healthy and so happy. She's so cute. I wanted to get a picture with her but she was sweaty, so she didn't want to take one! And then I told her that we would just take one at church, but she couldn't come yesterday! I'm sorry Momma. I tried. But, she is well. I will get one this week.
We had interviews with President Rasmussen this week, and those are always good. I told him that I have been missing the temple lately, and I shared with him my love of Japanese shrines. He encouraged me to spend time there! He said that if it's alright with my companion that we should take a little bit of time on P-Days to go there and pray. It was great to hear that President Rasmussen knows the value and the beauty that is in the religion in Japan! We talked about how prophets in the Book of Mormon and Bible get themselves into high places to speak with the Lord, and he encouraged me to do the same thing, since we do not have a temple in this mission. It was a great interview, and I will be taking his advice!
The biggest event this week was companion exchanges! We went on splits with the sister training leaders in Sendai. I was with Kubota Shimai (who was my trainer!!!) and we worked in Izumi, which is my first area!!! I will be honest, at first I was really nervous and not looking forward to the exchange AT ALL. Kubota Shimai and I did not have a good relationship when we were companions, and I was nervous that there would still be some negative energy between us. I spent a lot of time preparing and praying that I would have the guidance of the Spirit so that I could mend the wounds that I caused for her. I feel terrible for the way that I treated her and for my bad attitude. I have come to appreciate her so much because she put up with me even when I treated her so unkindly. So, when the split started, I prayed fervently in my heart that I would have an opportunity to apologize to her, and to ask her for forgiveness. Almost immediately, the opportunity presented itself, and as I apologized to her, my heart filled with the love and forgiveness of the Savior. I could feel the Savior's love for me, and I could feel the Savior's love for her. I told her that I admire and respect her so much, and that I appreciate her wonderful example of what a good missionary is. She seriously is Super-Missionary, that girl. WOW! But it was a beautiful healing experience for us, and we were really able to repair our relationship and become real friends. I am so grateful for her love and forgiveness and understanding. During the split, we did a lot of walking because it was snowing like crazy, but I remembered ALL the streets and paths and directions. It was so fun to be back in Izumi for a day! I even got to see some of the members, and I was AMAZED that I could understand their Japanese!!! It was surreal. I felt like I was in vertigo, but it was awesome. One really great experience took place at about 7 that night. The snow stopped just enough for us to be able to bike to a less-active member's house. We had plans to visit a Mom and her two sons, all who were less-active. When we got to the house, a boy answered that Kubota Shimai didn't recognize and had never met before. It turns out that he was the only member of this family that had not been baptized, and he didn't really know much about the Church. I watched in amazement as Kubota Shimai lovingly got to know him and then very naturally led into a Gospel conversation. We were then able to teach him about God, Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon. We set a return appointment with him, and we invited him to pray! He said the closing prayer! He had never prayed in his life! It was absolutely incredible, and the spirit filled that little porch as we bore testimony of the Savior. It was amazing to watch how naturally Kubota Shimai can lead into that kind of thing! We didn't plan on this happening, but Kubota Shimai saw the opportunity and took it! If that would have been me and Luk Shimai, we would have asked to see the Mom and if she wasn't there we would have left! What I learned from this experience is that I need to look for unplanned opportunities to share the Gospel within the plans that I set, and I need to be in tune with the Spirit enough that I will be able to recognize and take advantage of those opportunities. I have set goals for myself, and Luk Shimai and I have set goals together, and we are excited to work harder!
I'm grateful for my Savior and His love, and for the way that love fills my heart when I talk with other people. I can feel the love that the Savior has for the Japanese people around me, and I hope that I can be the kind of missionary that proclaims that love without fear.
I love you Momma! I hope you have a good week! I pray for you everyday! I hope you can feel it! I love you!
Love, Johnson Shimai