I sure am genki today!!!!!! We had the most amazing experience yesterday that I want to share with all of you. I think I have talked a little bit about a woman we've been teaching in my past emails. Her name is Natsumi Oohama. We found her one day when we were visiting someone in an apartment complex. We were standing in the hallway of the apartment complex and using Oohama-san's door as a place to write a note to the other person we were trying to visit, when she walked up with her friend and her little 4-year-old son Kotaro-kun. They started cracking up because I guess they were surprised that three Americans (this happened when we were in a three-some with Sister Lynch) were just randomly standing in front of her door. She and her friend were really giggly and were basically just making fun of us as we tried to teach them a little bit about Heavenly Father and our message. This was maybe my second week in the mission field and I remember thinking, 'This is so pointless, they're just laughing at us.' We stood there talking to them for a while, and then we always ask something like, "do you think you have interest in learning more about our message?" We asked that and in the midst of the laughter Oohama-san said, "kyomi ga arimasu" which means "yes, I have interest." I remember being really surprised but happy of course. Anyway, for a few weeks we tried to meet with her but she kept bailing on us. Eventually last transfer we were able to teach her for the first time, and ever since then we have been meeting with her once or twice a week. We also found out a few weeks after meeting her that she has an old record from 2007 when she used to be married. She went to English class at the church with her family but then never really took the lessons. We were really shocked to find her ancient record in the book but when we did we knew it was no coincidence that we had found her that day. We have been able to get to know her really well. She was raised as a Jehova's Witness but doesn't really belived or go to church anymore. She has also since been divorced and now lives alone with Kotaro-kun. She is incredibly kind and is really seeking for knowledge and happiness. She loves studying the Book of Mormon and has a really strong testimony of Christ and Heavenly Father. Gah, shes just so amazing. But anyway, up until now she has been keepign the sabbath day holy, and is now keeping the word of wisdom. She comes to church every Sunday and we have asked her to get baptized since the second time we met with her but she always says she's not ready.
So yesterday she came to church but was acting kind of weird, and then she left early with Kotaro-kun. We didn't really think anything of it, but then at about 5 pm we got a call from her and she sounded really upset. We immediately jumped on our bikes and booked it over to her house (we had never been in her house before or been invited there before). On the bike ride over I had this feeling that something important was going to happen that night. I was just praying the whole way over there that whatever it was, it would somehow help her to accept the gospel. We arrived and ended up staying at her house for two hours just talking to her. She was having a rough day with just life problems (which we honestly couldn't really help her with), but the atonement of Jesus Christ can fix any problem so we just focused on that. We read DC 58:4 and 121:7-8 with her, and then read Mosiah 18 about the people of Alma being baptized. She really liked verses 10 and 11. The spirit was so strong! We shared some personal experiences and bore testimony that this IS the true gospel on the earth, restored by Joseph Smith, and that through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost she and Kotaro-kun would receive blessings that she couldn't imagine. We asked her to get baptized on July 23, and there was silence for about one minute as she just stared at Mosiah 18 mouthing the word "baptism" and nodding her head over and over. Then she finally looked up and said, "wakarimashita" which means, "Ok, yes" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Best day of my life probably. We are so excited for her!!!! I know that the gospel will bless her life SO much!
Other news....we had zone conference last Tuesday. Our transfer theme is Alma 57:27. We need to put all of our trust in God and never doubt! After zone conference we attended a funeral service for a member's mom who died. We sang during the service (mostly because the member whose mom died's relatives were all coming, and they're not members so she wanted them to hear us sing and meet us) haha. I love the member here. They even have dendo fire at a funeral. Anyway, it was really cool to attend the funeral just to see the traditions. You have to walk into this room all by yourself where all of the relatives of the person who died are sitting and do this special bow. first you turn to the right, bow, turn left, bow, then bow straight ahead to the huge flower shrine with the persons picture and pot filled with the ashes (bleh), and then place a flower on the table, back up, do the bowing thing again, and walk out. We didn't really know what was going on until they just shoved us into the room and made us do it. I was so nervous! I probably did everything wrong and offended everyone. But that was a cool experience.
Other than that it has just been boiling hot outside. Sometimes Sister McIntyre and I each have to take three showers every day just because we're so sweaty, haha. Today we are going with the zone leaders to this "cat cafe" or something. Elder Maeda is obsessed with cats....so im pretty excited to see what this cate cafe is all about, haha. If you know me at all you'll know that i think cats are the most detestable creatures on the earth. I'm hoping its called the cat cafe because that's whats on the menu :)
I love you all and hope you have an amazing week! Thank you for all of your prayers and help. You're all so amazing! Remember to have a prayer in your heart all day long so that Heavenly Father can lead you where you need to go! Love you!