Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
On Tuesday (yes, Tuesday, UGH!) July 22, 2014 Sister Johnson wrote:
Hi Momma!!!!! I really am so sorry that we didn't have time to email yesterday. But! It was a special holiday in Japan: umi no hi! That means "Oceans's Day!" So, we celebrated it by going to the ocean as a district!! Oh boy, was that so much fun, I can't even tell you! We biked about an hour to the coast and played in the waves all afternoon! Don't worry, there was no swimming. We are obedient missionaries. It was so beautiful though, and the water in Sendai is so warm. We really bonded as a district, the ten of us. And we went with a member, Brother Miura, who just got baptized! He probably already posted pictures on Facebook of the beach (I hope he did!). He is a great member and he just got called as a ward missionary! We are so excited to work with him.
So yes, the November 7th thing is true! I didn't know about it either actually until this week! I got a letter from President Smith in the mail that was basically a "don't get trunky and be a finisher" letter, but at the end, it said that I would be coming home on the 7th of November! Apparently there is an Asia Mission President's conference that is happening and it shortens that transfer into five weeks! So I get to come home one week early! WOOHOOOOOO!!!! I cannot tell you how excited I was to hear that! That means I will be home one day or two after Dad's birthday! What a good birthday present! I am happy that you have gotten in touch with Gass Shimai's mom! I cannot even say how much I love that girl. She has been such a huge support for me during my mission. When Fisher passed away, she just held me for hours and let me cry in her arms. Then she helped me when I was a bean and was struggling really bad. She just has always been there for me with such HUGE love and I am so thankful for her. I am LOVING serving with her here in Kamisugi.
Things in the new area are interesting, that is for sure! There has been so much going on; I definitely feel like I am in the city again! Everything goes a million miles a minute here! It is much MUCH different from Ishinomaki. But! I love it! I am getting used to being a city girl again. The thing that I miss about Ishinomaki though is that everyone, EVERYONE greets you on the street. Here in the city, if you say hello to someone, they just look at you like you have three heads and then keep walking. I actually had kind of a sad experience with that this week. I was biking with Sister Ishikawa and the other four sisters to the store because we had to do some shopping for the ward party, and I said konnichiwa to a man that was walking past. He stopped and said, "Wow, it's really rare to have someone say hello to you on the street nowadays!" So we laughed and talked and I introduced myself as a Mormon missionary, and all of a sudden, his countenance got very dark and his expression changed. His voice became very rough and he got angry at me and said that I am a brainwashed terrible person and that I do not believe in God or Jesus Christ. He then started yelling at me for being an American in Japan trying to "change the spirituality of the Japanese people and brainwash them too," or something to that effect. Then he blamed me and my ancestors for World War II and then yelled at me in English and said "Stupid Yankee, go home!" It was frightening. I was really scared of this man, and I could tell that there was something else inside of him besides his own spirit that was controlling his thoughts and actions. I wanted to turn and run away as fast as I could, but I couldn't move my feet. In that moment of great alarm, I felt the power and authority I hold as a representative of Jesus Christ pulse through me and cool my head. I was like being plunged into a lukewarm tingly pool. I then stretched out my hand, and testified to the man of the love of God and of my Savior Jesus Christ. I testified that I know They are real and that They love all people equally. I apologized for the conflict that took place between Japan and America (before I was even born...) and told him that I loved him and that I would pray for him. In that moment, he was silenced. I wished him a good day, and walked away. It was a very unusual experience. I have only had one other person treat me that way in Japan, and it was when I was in Izumi last year. But this time around, I walked away feeling like I had (and God had) left an impression on that man that he is likely to never forget. Afterwards, I was feeling very drained and sad, but my wonderful companion said just what I needed to hear to help me cheer up again. I am so grateful for Ishikawa Shimai and for all the love that she shows me. She is a wonderful companion.
Sister Ishikawa and I spent a lot of time doing less-active rescuing this week. We have decided to focus on less-actives as a companionship, and while we were not able to meet anyone this week, we are still going to work hard. We also had a chance to volunteer at an old folk's home this week with the other sisters! We put on a concert! It was so much fun; we had violin and ukulele, and singing, and so much wonderfulness! It made me realize how much I miss my cello. I have got to find one here in Sendai. I am sure I will be able to.
I have learned this week that it is really very easy to get discouraged as a seasoned missionary, but I have also learned that when I become discouraged, I have power to overcome those feelings. That power lies in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. There is so much happiness and joy to be had as you lose your life in the divine. There is also much joy to be had as your allow your own spirit to be free and to commune with divinity in nature. These things are truth, and these are the things I cling to.
I love you! I hope you have a good week! I will do my best to have a good week too!