Japan, Sendai Mission

Japan, Sendai Mission

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

On Monday, July 14 Sister Johnson wrote:

Momma! You are so in-tune! Yes, we had an earthquake. It happened at 4:22 in the morning and was very big. We are on the fifth floor of our apartment building, and even that high, everything was shaking. My pen-holding-can fell off my desk and went everywhere. My adorable Japanese companion ran and got under her desk. Then all the sirens went off from our cell phones warning up of the earthquake (which is supposed to happen before the earthquake... whoops.), but then it was over after about 30 seconds, I would say. It was pretty wild. I heard that a tsunami came to Ishinomaki. Scary. I hope that everyone was okay. I can only imagine how scared the people must have been, and that breaks my heart.

So, yeah. I transferred from Ishinomaki to Kamisugi! It was a very emotionally trying week for me, to be honest. I could not believe how sad I was to leave Ishinomaki. I cried more than I have since I was a bean! We spent last P-Day with the Elders; we went to the awesome Pirate Ship place again! It reminded me of Dad. I would love to take him there. But it was way fun! It was Elder Whittle's last P-Day (he is home now!!! I can't believe it! I miss him so much) and so we decided to do something fun together. After that, Sister Alcazar and I spent lots of time visiting members and friends and less-active members. We had a miracle happen on Tuesday that was so eye-opening for me! We went to visit a friend named Keiko San, and she lives over by the ocean, so we biked to her house. When we got there, she wasn't home, unfortunately. So I wrote her a goodbye message and told her that I love her. When we were biking home, we passed a woman on the street who looked extremely familiar to me, but I knew that I had never met her, so I just kept biking. In that instant, a voice in my head said "GO BACK." and an image of a less-active record came into my head. The woman we had passed was Sister Melody Mori, from the Phillipines! I had only ever seen her picture once, but the Spirit brought her record out of my memory. So, we turned around and went back to talk to her. She was SO HAPPY that we came back! She said that she hasn't had any contact with the Church for a long time and that she had been hoping someone would reach out to her in some way. We ended up talking for a while, and Sister Alcazar was able to exchange phone numbers with her and set an appointment to visit her and her three year old daughter. I walked away from that experience so full of gratitude for the prompting that the Spirit blessed me with so that I could bless Melody's life. She is adorable, and I am so sad that I won't get to see her, but I hope and pray that she will progress with the Sisters in Ishinomaki, and that she will once again gain the desire to come back to Church. After the miracle, we visited and visited and visited EVERYONE, and it was so great. We went to see my beloved Sister Kimura, who is my favorite person in the world. We went to see Sugiyama San, who cried with me when I told him I was leaving. We prayed together and I asked Heavenly Father to leave a special blessing of love and guidance on him so that he will be able to grow in the truth. Then we went to Institute, and there were about twice as many people there as normal, and they all came to see Whittle Choro and I, and Elder Anderson off. It was a beautiful night full of so much love, and much testimony of the Savior. There are no words to describe how much love was in my heart that night; it was full to bursting! I was able to feel a fragment of the love that The Big People have for us. It was incredible. I will miss Ishinomaki more than I can even say.

But! Now, I am in Kamisugi! The big city! This city looks so much like Denver, it's INSANE! It has been bringing back so many memories of home; it's making me a little homesick, but it is still Japan, so no worries there. I have the CUTEST companion! Sister Ishikawa is adorable and she is a GREAT missionary! She is young, in her third transfer, but I have learned more from her example already than I have from anyone in a long time. She is so good at loving everyone and at opening her mouth. She invites everyone to come to everything and she has no fear. She is the only Japanese girl in our apartment of six, and so she is going to learn English really fast! Haha, but she also helps me with my Japanese, and it is way helpful. The other sisters serving here are so wonderful! Sister Gass, my super close friend from the MTC is serving here! It has been an absolute BLAST to be with her again, and we have already performed together (her on ukulele and singing and me singing). Our district is insanely musical, and so we are going to use that to do some great work here! The elders are awesome too! We have the zone leaders in our district, and then two other elders. Our district leader, Elder Willey is so awesome! He is a great leader and is super chill and fun. He also builds bikes and so we have a lot in common and have had a lot to talk about! I can tell that we are going to work well together.

So far this week, Ishikawa Shimai and I have been visiting members and have been planning. We are going to dive right into less-active work here; that is my favorite kind of dendo, and she hasn't really done much of that yet, so that is going to be our focus as a companionship. We haven't been able to meet anyone yet, as far as investigators are concerned, but hopefully we will have some appointments this week. We are teaching a woman from Nepal named Bindiya! I haven't met her yet, but I am way excited to. We are also teaching a man from China named Cho, and a woman from Vietnam named Diep (pronounced Jep). We are also teaching an American woman named Donna and a Japanese person named Itosaka San. How awesome is that???? DIVERSITY!!!!! I have missed it so much! WOOHOO! Yay for the city! I am so looking forward to working with all of these wonderful people.

Yesterday, we had church! WOW, talk about a big ward! The Kamisugi ward is twice the size of Capitol Hill! So crazy. There is no way I am going to be able to memorize everyone's names.... My goal is to have them down by the end of this month... We will see what happens! But, church was great. There was a man there on a business trip from America and so I translated Sacrament meeting for him, and that was a fun experience. The Bishop here is named Bishop Furukawa and him and his wife had the six of us sisters over for dinner last night. It was INSANE the amount of food they gave us; I thought I was going to die. But it was delicious pasta, and it was way fun.

So yes, so far I am liking Kamisugi. It is fun to be in the city! But cities in Japan are not really based on a grid system so it is going to take a bit for me to get oriented. But, I am looking forward to getting lost! I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here in Kamisugi. The work is very different here, but I am ready to spread the love of my Savior. It is very needed in Kamisugi.

I love you so much! I hope that you have a good week!

Love, Shak

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