Wednesday, November 5, 2014
On Monday, November 3, 2014 Sister Johnson wrote:
Well, I am so excited about coming home that I almost forgot that I need to write about this week! Haha! My inbox was flooded with emails full of excitement and tears and promises of new beginnings. I can't wait! I will be home in Colorful Colorado in FIVE DAYS! I can't believe that! Leaving Japan is going to be very hard for me. I have fallen in love with this country, with the people here, with their customs, culture, and with their spiritualism. I have connected to the divine in more ways than I can describe in this beautiful place. I have heard the hum of the mountains. There is so much spiritual energy here, and you can feel it resonate in your bones when you take the time to observe the movements around you. Japan truly is a magical place, one that has filled my soul with love and light and truth and understanding. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to spend a year and a half in this beautiful country. What an incredible experience it has all been.
This last week has been really great, full of love and life and insanely vivid color. Fall in Morioka is probably the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. The way the sunshine comes through the trees casts a light on the ground that makes the world seem like it is on fire. It seriously is breathtaking. I took some pictures, but they can't do it justice. I felt so much peace and love through the trees this week; it was a miraculous blessing.
We went to a temple this week, one of the Buddhist nature (probably my favorite kind...), and I think it was the coolest place I have ever been in my life. It is super historical and famous, and it is called 500 Rakkans (well, that's the English version). Inside the temple, there's a big Buddah, of course, but there are also over 500 statues that are Buddhist disciples. ALL of them are different!!! ALL OF THEM! It's so cool! They represent the many people who have reached enlightenment and are living in the Buddhist version of the Celestial Kingdom (which to me is the same...). They are all in a state of never-ending happiness. It was so beautiful. I can't describe the feeling that I had standing in that temple. Wow. It penetrated my chest and reverberated in my heart. I felt peace and truth. I loved it so much. I think the best part though was talking to the little old man that was on duty at the temple that day! He spent an hour and a half talking to us about the history of the temple and about his personal beliefs. His name was Tamura San, and him and I instantly connected. He told me that he feels he has met me in a former life and that it was our destiny to meet that day and to engage in enlightening conversation. It was so beautiful and I told him that I felt the same thing! he became an eternal friend, and I am so grateful for the chance I had to meet him.
So, this last Thursday, we went with Elders Bodily and Butler to eat wanko soba, which is famous in Morioka! It's basically all you can eat soba, and if you eat more than 100 little cups-full, you get a plaque! We went because an old investigator of ours, Miyuki San, works there, and we went to visit her. She is probably the nicest, most wonderful person in the entire world. I LOVE HER. She talked to us in English the whole time, and she also explained to us that she reads the Book of Mormon and prays every day! Wow! The only reason she is not an investigator is because she has about three jobs and is INSANELY busy. Her husband is also very opposed to her receiving baptism, and so she hasn't been able to meet with us. It was so sad to hear that. But we had a great time with Miyuki San, and we connected with her so well! She is adorable, and I left the restaurant feeling very uplifted by her. Wanko soba was so much fun though! Sister Hayashi, and both the Elders all ate over 100!! I could only eat 81... it was so sad. I have no idea where in the world Hayashi Shimai put all of hers though! Holy crap, that girl can eat! haha, it was awesome. I am glad we went.
Continuing with Miyuki San, I was sitting in church yesterday with Hayashi Shimai and with two potential investigators that came to church for the first time! It was good. I was sitting and listening to the testimonies being born when I decided to look around to see if the two recent converts we have been working with had made it to Sacrament meeting. I looked back, and there was Miyuki San, sitting two rows behind me! I gasped, I had NO idea that she was coming! So I got up and ran back to sit with her. I wrapped my arm around her and she looked at me with tears and said, "Oh, I just love church. I wish so badly that I could get baptized." During Sunday school, we were talking about the Book of Mormon, and when Elder Bodily asked her to explain the Book of Mormon to the class, she did in amazing detail, and everything was perfect. She pulled out her Book of Mormon and it was COVERED with markings and highlights and her own writings. She said, "I love this book. I read it everyday. It is true and it teaches me about Jesus." It was incredible. I have never seen someone like this the WHOLE time I have been on my mission! It was a great experience and I know that someday the Lord will open the way for her to receive baptism and go to the temple. Miyuki San's faith is incredibly strong, and she has such a strong desire to be a good person. The way will be opened for her, I know that is true.
What a beautiful way to spend my last Sunday, in the company of people who believe in the Savior and trust in Him to make their paths bright. It was a great day. It was a great week. And I am so looking forward to the time I have remaining here in Japan! I get to spend it with people I love, which makes me happy. I am so excited.
Well everyone, this is my last blog entry in the field! I do want to keep writing though, so my next entry will be about COMING HOME! I can't wait to see you all. Know that I love you and that I can't wait to share my experiences with you and catch up. I love you! I love my Savior. He is my Light.
See you all soon!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love and farewell, Sister Shakira Johnson!