Japan, Sendai Mission

Japan, Sendai Mission

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

On Monday, August 18, 2014 Sister Johnson wrote:

Hi!! Oh my goodness, thank you so much for all of the pictures! I want to see more! I am so filled with joy for Olive! She looks RADIANT! Wow. I am a little sad I missed it, but it is nowhere near as bad as last year. The reason I was so sad about Iver's wedding was because I was just super depressed anyways, so this time around, it's a lot better! I am so thrilled for Olive and Jared. How wonderful.

I am so happy that you got to see Ashleen! Oh my gosh, I miss her! How is she? I haven't heard from her AT ALL on my mission. But I hope that we can reconnect when I come home. I am so happy that you got to spend your week and weekend with so many lovely people! That makes me so happy. We are so truly blessed by the people we have in our lives.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE BIRTHDAY LOVE!! That skirt from Olive was so awesome! I wore it all day! I also read that entire book on my birthday, and that swatch watch is SO CUTE! I love it so much! THANK YOU! It was the best birthday! I was 100 percent completely overwhelmed with love from EVERYONE. So awesome.

My birthday was so good. Probably the best birthday I have had in a LONG time, to be entirely honest. I woke up and all the sisters in the apartment had decorated my desk with hearts and streamers and they sang to me. Then, Sister Smith made me crepes. LOVE. Then, in the afternoon, all of the sisters went with me to take a puri, those hilariously awesome Japanese photobooths. So we went, and we handed out a lot of flyers for English class and called it "puri proslyting," haha. Then, we went out to dinner as a district to shabu shabu, which is dipping raw meat and veggies in boiling sauces. SO DELICIOUS. Oh man. The Elders gave me some earrings and lots of cards and messages and stuff. It was super nice. Then, we went to the ping pong tournament that we have every Friday night. Lots of our friends come to that. When I got there, I had people showering me with gifts! It was crazy! But, the best part of my birthday was actually Sunday at church. The members were so nice and wrote me a bunch of messages and love and gave me hugs and presents and food. Then, I have a friend, Mitsuru Saito. He is a violin player and is super good. He showed up after church WITH A CELLO!!!! He said that his friend let him borrow it until I leave Japan, and that he took it to the shop to get it all fixed up for me! It was the BEST birthday present ever! AH! SO MUCH HAPPY. I can't even tell you. SO awesome. So many people, so much love. It was crazy, and I have only been here for one transfer! I felt the love. Let me tell you that much!

Transfers are crazy. AGAIN. President Smith is transferring HALF THE MISSION. AGAIN. I can't believe it. It is so sad and weird. Sister Ishikawa is transferring to Yamagata to be Tui Shimai's companion! Sister Smith is going to Iwaki. Sister Clark is going to Tagajo. Elder Law is the new AP! And Elder Fidler, who came to Kamisugi WITH ME is transferring to Furukawa! He was only in his last area for one transfer too. I feel so bad for him. My new companion is Sister George, from my MTC district.

In other news, this was a great week for us here in Kamisugi! We had so many fun things and so many miracles happen this week! We had splits with the sister training leaders this week, so I got to go back to Izumi again. It was weird, but very good. Sister Orr and I spent the whole time talking and de-stressing. It was much needed. On the night of the split, we were walking back to the apartment in Izumi and a woman was biking through the same crosswalk that we were walking through, and all of a sudden, a million cherry tomatoes jumped out of her basket and scattered all over the road! We frantically ran to help her pick them up, and all the cars stopped for us so we could see the tomatoes in their headlights. I seriously can't believe how nice Japanese people are. It's insane. But yeah, so we helped her gather her tomatoes, and it was a great opportunity to serve someone in need. And it was really funny.

We had another precious miracle happen on Thursday! Ishikawa Shimai and I were hanging out in a park in the middle of downtown Sendai eating some soft-serve cones, when we saw this adorable little Japanese girl and what we thought was her family. We said konnichiwa to the little girl, and all of a sudden, the mother said, "OH!! I know who you are! You are the Mormon missionaries!!" She proceeded to tell us that she received all the lessons about seven years ago, and wanted to join the church so badly, but her husband was scary opposed to her getting baptized, so she was forced to cut off all contact with the church (probably for her own safety, by the sound of it). She said that she stopped drinking coffee and alcohol and that she was still living all of the commandments and praying regularly. She was holding my hands and looking in my eyes when she told me, "I never thought I would be able to see you again. I never thought it was possible. But God listens to my prayers. You are a blessing." It was so sweet, and in that moment, I felt God's love for this woman so strongly, it flowed through my whole being. It was amazing. I am so glad that our Heavenly Parents trusted Sister Ishikawa and I enough to follow Their guidance and be the answer to this woman's prayers. Wow. What a cool experience.

On Saturday, we got together with a bunch of our musical friends and put on a concert at the church! It was so much fun! We sang a lot and there was lots of violin playing, and there were lots of people that came and listened to us. It was so nice, and it was a great way to invite our friends into the chapel to feel the Spirit.

This week was just so great. There was so much love. I finally feel at home here in Kamisugi, and I am so grateful for the time that I have left to be here and serve with all of my heart and more! I am so sad because my companion is transferring. I am going to miss Ishikawa Shimai so much, I can't even tell you. AH! SAD! But she will do incredible things on her mission! Exciting.

Well, that is about it for me. I am happy. I am healthy (Smith Shimai got Insanity, the workout program, from her family in the mail recently. Too bad she's transferring!). I am doing my best with the help of my Savior and my Heavenly Parents.

Love Shak

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