Monday, September 22, 2014
Monday, September 15, 2014
On Monday, September 15, 2014 Sister Johnson wrote:
Thanks for the reassurance, Momma. Lately, I have not felt effective. AT ALL. But I guess that comes when you are companions with someone who does the work in a COMPLETELY different way than you. But that is okay. I am still loving with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength. And yes, this is enough. I know that that is what I am here to do. That also includes loving my companion, and so right now, that is what I am working on.
With that being said, it was an interesting week here in Kamisugi. The biggest thing that happened was on Friday; we had a half-mission conference! A member of the North Asia Area Presidency, Elder Whiting, and his awesome wife came to visit us! All of the southern half of the mission gathered here in Kamisugi, so I got to see a lot of people that I wouldn't have gotten to see before I left! So that was good. The conference was good...ish. The morning session was one of those "question and answer" times with Elder Whiting, so it was just a big discussion. No one was brave enough to ask the first question, so of course, I raised my hand. The question I asked was this: as authorized representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ, how can we more fully access the blessings of the Priesthood in our daily work? I decided to ask this question because it is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. I have been given authority to represent my Savior, and I want to learn how to use that authority to be more effective. I know that the Priesthood is not a power that I can use for my own benefit. I know that it isn't like some sort of super-power like earth-bending or teleporting, but I know that the power of the Priesthood is real and that I have access to it everyday. So, my question was how. How can I access the blessings more fully? Well, Elder Whiting was cool and funny, but he didn't answer my question. What he said was "Your authority is not the Priesthood, and your power comes from the Holy Ghost." It made me sad to hear that. Yes, I agree that we must use the power of the Holy Ghost in this work, but if my authority doesn't come from the Priesthood, than what authority is it? It wouldn't be real authority. I loved Elder Oakes' talk in the last Conference from the Priesthood session. He mentions specifically that full-time sister missionaries have been blessed with the authority of the Priesthood. I know this is true. So, yes I was disappointed with Elder Whiting's answer, but that is okay. I can receive personal revelation for myself about this topic. The afternoon session of the conference was really good though. We talked about the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Spirit immediately entered the room as soon as we began to talk about the Savior. It is so amazing to me how that happens! People could be talking about church-related things all day long and not have the spirit, but as soon as the Savior is mentioned in an uplifting way, the Spirit is there. What a great blessing that is! I learned in the afternoon session of the conference that if I want to access the powers of the Priesthood more fully in my life right now, that I must access the powers of the atoning sacrifice of my Savior. He is the answer. Of course, He is ALWAYS the answer.
So, that was the main thing this week. It was a good experience. But what came after was so much better! I awoke to some revelation yesterday morning. It was a really interesting experience. We talked in the conference about creating a revelatory environment, and so I spent the rest of the day pondering what that means. And lo, and behold, I was blessed with revelation because I had sought in prayer and was studying it out in my mind! I woke up at 6:03 with a thought in my head that was clear as the sunshine on a summer day. The thought was this: "Seek first the kingdom of God, and all that you desire will be added unto you according to your righteousness." Lately, I have been having kind of a hard time focusing and wanting to still be a missionary. My focus has been on other things, like friends and music and home and fun things. I have been very distracted by lots of things, and it has been pretty detrimental to the work. I have been trying with all my might to figure out how to refocus and how to get back on track, and so I asked Heavenly Father to help the zone conference be an uplifting experience for me. So, when I received the revelation it was a good (and very literal) wake-up call for me. This was The Big People's way of telling me where my focus needs to be. As you can see, the wording of the revelation and the words of Christ from the scriptures are a bit different. I did some studying yesterday and as I searched the words of Christ, I was able to realize just how personal this revelation was; it was indeed just for me. So, now comes the part where the refocusing needs to happen. I need to develop the faith to sacrifice the good things I have now for the absolute best things in the future. I need to put off the natural Shakira and be Johnson Shimai for seven more weeks! I know that as I focus on the basics, prayer and scripture study, and focus on the Savior, that I will be able to realign myself and make these last weeks really count. I have faith in my Savior that He will help me do this.
Well, there were some awesomely fun things that happened this week too! Last P-Day, we went to a baseball game with some members and some friends! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! Oh my gosh! The member that we went with, Sister Date, is an avid Eagles fan, and so she got us seats about 20 rows behind home plate! It was awesome! Unfortunately we had to leave at the bottom of the 6th (the natural Shakira was grumbling about this a LOT), and they were down 4 to 1. But apparently, after we left, they came back and won the game! So awesome. I am sad that we missed it, but I am grateful for the opportunity to have gone! Baseball in Japan is so different than in America, but it is still just as fun. I loved it. I want to go back. We went with Mitsuru (my violin-playing best friend) and Kosuke, a friend of ours from Eikaiwa. It was great to spend more time with them and get to know them even more. There was so much love there! I could feel it really strongly. It was awesome. Then, this weekend, there was a big Jazz Festival in Sendai! It is famous in Japan, and there were SO MANY PEOPLE here in Sendai. There were makeshift stages put up all over the city, and there was jazz going all weekend! It was wonderful to listen to as we rode our bikes to and fro. I miss Jazz. I miss music. So it was good to hear.
Speaking of music, yesterday we had the opportunity to perform a musical number in Sacrament meeting! It was me on cello, Money Shimai on violin, Gass Shimai on the piano, and George Shimai singing! Gass Shimai wrote the arrangement; it was a combination of "I'll go where you want me to go" and "My shepherd will supply my need." It was absolutely beautiful! And there were so many people who were there to hear it! I love performing music as a missionary because it is one of the ways in which I can really bear my testimony in a sincere way. The best part though, was that my friend Mitsuru came! He is the violin-playing one. We have been inviting him to come to church for a long time, and yesterday he finally came! I was so happy. And he said that he was moved by the musical number, that he almost had tears come out! Haha. That is the power of the Spirit in music right there. Yep. It was so great, and I am so happy that I got to share my testimony with him through music.
Another fun thing that happened this week was on Saturday night. So in Japan, there's this thing called Jiro ramen. It means BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG ramen. On Saturday night, we went with some friends and ate jiro ramen! It was INSANE! I thought I was going to die, but it was so much fun. It was one of those things that you can only do in Japan, and so it was a very fun time. I will send pictures of it later.
Well, I think that is about all from me. I finally feel better this week! I love you all. I hope that you can feel my love all the way from Japan. I hope you have a happy week!
Momma! Happy anniversary! I was thinking about you and Dad this morning, and that you have been together for 26 years! WOW ! That is such a long time! I love it. And I love that you and Dad are so in love. It is the best. It gives me hope.
I love you Momma! I hope you have a happy week!