About the photos: This is Sister Akatsuka from Izumi.
On Monday, June 23, 2014 Sister Johnson wrote:
This week was insanely crazy busy, and I am exhausted! We were in Sendai THREE times this week! The first time was on Thursday; we went down for our last zone conference with Presidents Rasmussen. That was a wonderful day! I received lots of guidance and lots of motivation on things that I need to improve. I am working slowly but surely to become a better missionary. It was really weird to say goodbye to President and Sister Rasmussen. It doesn't seem real that they are going home! They leave this Saturday, so that is also when Presidents Smith will be here! I am excited to meet them; it will be wonderful to work with them. The second and third times we went to Sendai were on Saturday and Sunday for Stake Conference! Wow, talk about crazy amounts of Japanese Mormons!! I think the Sendai Stake is bigger than the Denver Stake! It was a good conference though; there was a broadcast of General Authorities from Salt Lake and they were speaking in Japanese! It was cool. Elder Christofferson spoke (him in English though), and I always like when he speaks. I also was able to see a lot of people from the Izumi ward, the ward that I was working in last year when I first got to Japan! Talk about a crazy trip down memory lane! It was so nice to see all the members and to actually be able to understand what they are saying now! Haha. I also was finally able to meet Hiromi Shimai, the girl that I became friends with on Facebook before my mission! She is SO CUTE! It was so nice to talk to her! We only got to talk for a little bit, but she is so cute and so fun. But yeah, Stake Conference was insane, and this week, we have branch conference to look forward to, so that will be awesome!
Speaking of awesome, WE HAVE A BAPTISM IN ISHINOMAKI THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of Elder Whittle and Elder Aono's investigators, Shimizu San, will be getting baptized on Satuday at 6:30pm! Yay! Shimizu San is a golden investigator! He actually lives a stone's throw from our apartment balcony, in a temporary housing unit. He was found by a member named Brother Kaoru, when Kaoru Kyodai was putting church flyers into some mailboxes near the Church. There was a survey on the back of the flyer that had a question that said this: are you interested in learning about Jesus Christ? with a box to check 'yes' or 'no.' Shimizu San checked 'yes' and started meeting with the missionaries the very next week! Well, a little under three months has passed, and he is getting baptized! Shimizu San has been so prepared. He has had a very hard life, but has been experiencing many miracles as he has learned of Jesus Christ. His testimony is strong, and he loves God and the Lord Jesus Christ. I am so excited for him, and for the joy he has and will experience. I have a feeling that this baptism will be the start of many miracles in Ishinomaki! This miracle will change the way the members in Ishinomaki feel about missionary work, and then miracle after miracle will flow from heaven! I really do believe that. I hope for that. Ishinomaki needs some miracles.
This week was a little bit rough for us on the investigator side of things. We met with Yuki San and had a really great lesson with her about tithing. But, she hasn't been coming to church for a while, and so we asked her why. It turns out that she got in an argument with a member, and has been very offended with this member, so she decided that she doesn't really want to have anything to do with the Church right now. My heart is broken. I am so sad inside, and I don't know what to do. There have been so many times in my life that I have been in the same situation as Yuki San, being rundown and belittled by other members of the Church, and so I know exactly how she is feeling and why she doesn't want to come to Church. It is so amazing to me that people who claim to follow the Savior Jesus Christ, and who claim to be members of His Church can be so hateful and judgmental. But all we can do is find healing in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and we can love as He would love. Christ taught us to love our enemies, to pray for them that hate you and despitefully use you. This is what we can do. We can pray to love the way Christ did, and we can pray for the bravery to act the way that He would act, always with compassion. This is my prayer and plea for Yuki San. I hope that she will be able to move past this, that she will feel the love of the Savior enough to be able to forgive. Christ gives us forgiveness, and I know that as she learns to trust in Him, she will find relief. It is just the getting there part that is hard. But, I have faith in my Savior; He can do ALL things.
I am grateful for my Savior. I am grateful that I have Him to lean on, both when my days are sunny, or filled with rain. He is my Light. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I have His authority to proclaim His name, the Gospel of His Love. It is my hope and prayer that everyday I will grow more in unity with Him and with my Heavenly Parents so that I will be able to perform Their will for me. I pray for unity with my companion. I pray for unity with the members in Ishinomaki. I pray for unity with the other missionaries serving here. I pray for unity in Zion. It comes when we are "of one heart, of one mind, and dwell in righteousness," and "it is on the Rock of His Righteousness" where we must build our foundation of Unity. I know that as we do that, "we cannot fall."
I love you Momma! I hope you have a wonderful week full of love for EVERYONE! Love you!