Japan, Sendai Mission

Japan, Sendai Mission

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

On Monday, February 24, 2014 Sister Johnson wrote

This week was a good one! We found four new investigators! Two of them are high school students, 18 year old girls who are some of my eikaiwa students, so we started doing the family English program with them! The program is 30 minutes personal English study, and 30 minutes "introduction to the Church," for lack of a better term. The girls names are Hikari Chan (chan is the title for girls), and Sayaka Chan. I love them both so much! They are so fun, and they both came to Church yesterday! They said that they didn't understand much, but they asked really great questions, and they seemed to like the atmosphere of the Church. I'm glad the members here are so great because they made all the difference for those two, I think. They were so welcoming and warm to Hikari Chan and Sayaka Chan. It was wonderful. Our other two new investigators are Sato Tomoko San, and her daughter Ayaka Chan. We are also doing the family English program with them! Tomoko San seems really interested in our message; she is really receptive to the messages that we share. During the earthquake and tsunami, she was separated from her husband and Ayaka Chan for over five days, and she had no idea if they were alive or not. Their house was completely destroyed, and when she finally was able to get back home, her family wasn't there. Luckily though, she found them at the evacuation center (safe place on top of Hiyoriyama mountain), and they were all safe and sound. Tomoko San told us that those were the hardest, longest, and most heartbreaking days she has ever experienced in her life, and because she had those experiences, she is so grateful for everything that is around her. She told us "just being able to live life with my family is pure happiness." Both Luk Shimai and I feel that the experiences she had in the disaster prepared her to hear the Gospel. It has been really great to get close with Tomoko San, and we hope that we will be able to continue to teach her. So yeah, it was a great week here!

The weather has also been great! It has been very warm lately! Well, warm-ish. The sun has been shining, which is heaven for me in the morning during personal study! But the wind here is still crazy cold. It comes both from the mountains and the ocean, so we always are biking against the wind. It's crazy. But it's great exercise. Today I broke a sweat on my bike for the first time in months! It felt great.

How's the weather in Colorado? Getting warmer yet? I hope so. Something I've learned on my mission is how much I really don't like the cold. We are so lucky to be here in Ishinomaki where it doesn't get stupid cold and have crazy snow. The poor missionaries up north in Akita Ken and Aomori Ken are dealing with over two meters of snow right now. That sounds nuts. I can't even imagine. Heavenly Father sent me here because he knows that I would have hated that. He is so nice to me. This morning, I was wearing my coat out in the sun and I said "atsui!!!" Which means "hot!!" and right away a nice breeze came to cool me down. It was a nice little tender mercy.

Yesterday in Relief Society, the teacher asked my least favorite question in the ENTIRE world. She said, "Well, we all know that we all have our own roles within the home! What are our roles?" As soon as the words were out of her mouth, my whole body tensed up and I thought to myself, "Oh boy, here we go." We went around the room one by one, and all the women before me talked about being good wives and cooking for their husbands because they are working hard all day providing for the family. Some of them said that it's their role to support the priesthood holders in their homes. Some of them said it's their role to clean and cook and make the home a nice place to be. I don't think that any of those things are bad, but the overtone of all of that was because we are women, these are the things that we must do. These are the things that are expected of us. When it got to be my turn, I had a very quick decision to make. With my limited Japanese, I cannot possibly address this topic adequately because this is a topic about which I am so passionate. So, I had to decide if I would stick to what I know to be true and right and try to explain myself in Japanese, or I could just bail and say, "I agree." I chose to speak my mind! I started by saying that my family doesn't fit the gender roles that have been placed in the culture of the Church. I decided to talk about my wonderful amazing mother, and how she is one of the hardest-working career powerhouse women that I know. I talked about how my mom has sacrificed so much for the sake of my family, and that her and my dad work together to provide a life for themselves and for my brother and his wife and I. As I was speaking about my mom, I was filled with the love of the Savior, and I was able to bear testimony that everyone is equal in His sight. Our Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ are no respector of persons. They don't care what your "role" is, or what it "should be." I don't think that being a mother who stays at home is bad, but I was just able to make the point that it doesn't always have to be that way. It turned into a good experience, which I am grateful for.

I got your package, and your letter this week, and they both made my day! Luk Shimai and I love our cozy slipper socks! Thank you. I also loved your letter. I am feeling the Savior's love on my cheeks! I hope you are, too!

Love: Shak Shimai

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