Two weeks worth of letters this time.
About the pictures: This bike was so awesome!!! This girl was too! I loved her. I hope to meet her again someday. Her name was Yukimi.
We made takoyaki with Hikari Chan and Sayaka Chan! It was gross!
This is Hamano Shimai, she is the Sister Training leader that I went on splits with this week. Egg Stand-Up Day was a wild success in the Johnson/Luk Shimai apartment!
On Monday, March 24 Sister Johnson wrote:
I knew that it was Fisher's birthday this week. I was only sad for half a day though. I wrote him a birthday love letter during personal study in the morning and shed some tears. I was also remembering his love. He has SO MUCH LOVE! I can still feel it! I can feel it and see it in his eyes. The Fisher in my memory is always smiling, his eyes twinkling bright, with his arms wrapped around me in the tightest hug! It's the best memory. So, I was sad, but I got a blessing, and then lots of comfort from a very supportive district, so it ended up being okay. I am a lot more at peace now about Fisher than I was when I first got to Japan. I have grown in my knowledge of the divine mercy and love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and have found incredible healing in His Atonement. I am certain that Fisher is wrapped tight and safe in the Savior's embrace.
I got your Spring package this week, Momma! Thank you! It brightened up my day so much! I haven't gotten any mail for about three weeks, and was starting to feel pretty sad, but that was right when your package came! Yay! Thank you. I love the chouchou scarf.
This week, spring finally came to Ishinomaki! It is a balmy 15 degrees today (Celsius)! Sooo nice. The sun is shining bright, and it's a beautiful day! Luk Shimai and I had great fun standing up eggs on the 21st! I had one standing on my desk that morning during study, and then we had to go to Sendai for the day, but when we got home that night around 9, it was still standing!!! Coolest thing ever. We had about six up at one point, but we couldn't get a picture fast enough before they started falling down. But it was great fun. A great way to remember my wonderful family on one of our favorite days of the year!
I am sad to hear about Luna. I was not expecting that at all. I always thought that Stella would go first (cross your fingers knock on wood that that she does NOT go. That would kill me, I think.), so it was a bit of a shock to read that this morning. I will miss him. Are you and Dad going to get another cat? How is Stella coping? I bet she misses him a lot. I'm glad that I have all of your cute Instagram photos of Luna. That is a good thing. Thank you for sending them to me.
This week was pretty ordinary. Luk Shimai has not been feeling too good this week (she hurt her back somehow, and then crashed her bike), so we spent a lot of time in the apartment, me taking care of her. She is feeling a lot better now, and this week should be a lot better for both of us! This week it was our investigator Hikari Chan's birthday, and so we celebrated with her! We also taught her about the Book of Mormon, and prophets this week! Every Friday night, we have a ping pong tournament at the church. Hikari Chan was the captain of her high school ping pong team, so she is SUUUUPER good! She always comes to the tournament, and ALWAYS wins. It's awesome. Later that night, Elder Olsen said that he had been talking with Hikari Chan, and he asked her what she thought about what she had learned about the Church so far. She told him that she thinks it's all really interesting and that she gets a good feeling inside when she listens to us speak, and while she is at church interacting with members. She also said that what she has heard from us about Joseph Smith so far is awesome, and that she thinks it's true! That is so awesome! We haven't taught her the Restoration yet, but we have talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and prophets, and apparently she thinks it's all true! I was overjoyed when I heard. So, next time, we will be teaching the Restoration, and the importance of prayer. We want to help her gain a real testimony and feel the Holy Ghost. I love Hikari Chan! She is progressing well! But, she is starting work this week on a big ferry, so she will not be around nearly as much. She will be working on the ferry for 20 days, and then has 10 days off. The ferry travels all up and down the east side of Japan, so she will be gone for a long time. We won't get to teach her nearly as often. But! It's okay because we will still have contact with her.
In other news, we have an American girl that lives in our branch! Her name is Tatiana Taylor, and she is from Wisconsin. She served a mission in Washington, and is now 28! She is absolutely WONDERFUL. I love her so much. We eat lunch with her every week. But this week, she brought her nonmember boyfriend, Matt, to church!! He is awesome! He is from England, and is super cool! Tatiana has been slowly introducing him to the church, and she told us yesterday that he is super open now, so he might start meeting with us soon! I hope so! I will be so weird to teach in English, but super fun, I think! Woohoo!
That's about all for this week. Nothing ridiculously awesome or weird has happened, so I suppose that's a good thing... No news is good news, right? As they say.
Well, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true! It always has been and it always will be! I am blessed to have a knowledge of it, and of my Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives. I know He loves perfectly. I know He knows me, and all His Japanese brothers and sisters inside and out! I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be here scattering His sunshine all along the way.
I love you Momma! I hope you have a good week!
And some excerpts from her letter Monday, March 31, 2014:
During conference, let us focus on the messages of President Monson, President Ucthdorf, and President Eyring. They always testify of the love, peace, and pure doctrine of Christ. Let us find joy in the Savior! It is there! He is and will always be The Answer. I know this is true, and of this truth I bear witness by the power of the Holy Ghost.
I started reading "Daughters in My Kingdom" this week. The very first chapter is BEAUTIFUL. It describes the women of the New Testament age, women who left everything behind to become disciples of Christ. They were a huge advocate for the growth of the Savior's Church in ancient times, and that driving force is still in place today. The women that established the Relief Society in the 1800's reestablished the women's organization that was in place in the time of the Savior. They were blessed by the power of the Priesthood to heal others, offer relief, teach the Gospel of Christ, and stand as authorized witnesses of Him. We too, like them, are part of that same organization. Through the love and the authority we possess, we will stand as witness of the Savior at all times, and in all places. This is my divine mission. This is the divine mission of women, to testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of humankind. Together with men of the faith, we will advance this work. Alongside our faithful brothers, we are a progressive force for good, and our Heavenly Parents will lead and direct us, because this is Their work. We cannot do it alone. Our divine commission is to work together as one for the good of all humankind. Peace, love, happiness. Charity. Faith. Perseverance. Understanding. Humility. Trust. These are the attributes of Christ that will unite us.
This last week, we had an opportunity to participate in a youth conference up in the mountains. It was a two hour drive there, and the shizen was absolutely breathtaking. My heart is in those Japanese mountains.
I was gazing off into the distance when on top of the rolling green mountains, I saw a glorious ball of pure white light. After a few moments, the light faded a little, and I saw the most beautiful temple, high on a mountain top, off in the distance. The Spirit then spoke to me, teaching me that the work is about to really roll forth in Japan, especially in my personal mission. There will one day be a beautiful temple deep in those mountains. The Savior is moving His work.
It was a great experience.