Sunday, July 31, 2011

From the blog administrator

I just wanted to say I've been out of town for a couple weeks so I hadn't updated Lucy's blog in a while.  The last three posts are new and I will soon upload some photos for those posts as well.  Sorry!


6 Month Mark

Can you believe it!? On July 26th I hit my six month mark of being on a mission! Not gonna feels exactly like its been six months. Hasn't gone fast or slow.... just perfect :). I don't have too much exciting news from this week. Yesterday was the first Sunday in a few months that we haven't had a musical number in sacrament that was rare. I felt like something was missing because we didn't have a million things to practice, haha. Last week I think we had four musical performances in one week. So much fun! All of my companions so far have been so musically talented! Uchida shimai has a GIANT book of sheet music, so its fun every week picking the songs we want to sing with the Elders. This past week we had an Eikaiwa concert. We all wore our matching cowboy hats, of course. I think the best part of the concert was singing "Country Road" with all of the missionaries with some ward members playing electric guitar and keyboard. It was so hilarious. I definitely do not know that song for some reason, even though its apparently incredibly famous. Anyway, it was kind of a disaster but we had a good time.
Sister Uchida and I saw SO MANY MIRACLES this week!!!! I am just going to list a few here because I don't have very much time to write:
1. We met an incredibly lady named Kanna san on the street and got her number. She said that her phone is kind of broken so we would probably have a hard time getting a hold of her, but that night we called her and she picked up after one ring and said, "whoah that was such a miracle! My phone has been broken all day and I just got home and plugged it in and as soon as it turned on you called!" She ended up coming to the church for a lesson and we extended an invitation to be baptized during that first lesson. She didn't say yes but she said she would talk to her family. Such a cool experience!
2. This old Ojiisan member named Yoshimura-san came to FHE this week. He was sitting in his chair looking all grumpy like he didn't want to be there so we started talking to him. We realized we had a lesson with Nariko-san (our favorite grandma with a baptism date) the next day but didnt have a member to joint, so we asked him adn he immediately perked up. We went into the hall and got everything figured out. Right after that he left without even attending FHE. I thought it was kind of weird but I didnt think too much of it. Then later that night Uchida shimai told me that while I had gone to get a map, he told her that he was really tired that day and didn't feel like going to FHE at the church, but he felt like he should for some reason so he went anyway. When we asked him to joint for us he realized that he was supposed to come to the church that night to help the missionaries, so once that was finished he went home. What a cute old man following the promptings of the spirit! It really was a miracle because Nariko-san has a lot of health problems and can't really come to the church that often, so its really hard to find members who can go with us to her house. We love him so much!
Cowgurl Emerges
3. This week we scheduled TWO more baptism dates with our Chinese investigator Kosei san and another lady named Ooshiro who has been coming to a lot of church activities for about a year but for some reason hasn't properly taken the lessons from the missionaries before. This week was so crazy! During district meeting we had training from our Zone leaders and they reminded us that if possible we're supposed to be extending the baptism commitment in the first lesson. I always get really scared doing that..but we decided to be bold and have no fear, and look what happened! We asked five people to be baptized this week and two said yes!!! Wow. Bikkurishta! We really need to follow the advice of our leaders and not doubt that counsel!
4. We visit teach five sisters here, and three of them I had never met before this week. For the last four months or so that I've been serving here in Naha, I have gone EVERY WEEK to these sister's houses to try to meet them but never had any luck. This week sister Uchida and I decided at a whim to go to two of their houses right in a row before we had a lesson, and we were miraculously able to meet BOTH of them in the same day for the first time! Michibiki (guidance) for sure.
Biker Babe
5. My favorite miracle from this week might be Natsumi shimai, our recent convert. We had our first "after baptism" lesson with her this week about the priesthood and the restoration. At the end of the lesson she pulled out this journal that we had given her and decorated with pictures of her time investigating the church and she said, "I showed this to my friend the other day and told her about my baptism, and she was very moved....I think maybe you should meet her." Wow! Are you serious!? Natsumi shimai has Dendo fire!  I couldn't have been more happy. Then on Sunday we had Ooshiro san come to church for the first time, and during Sunday school I overheard Natsumi shimai sharing her testimony and conversion story with our investigator! Once again, pure joy. Uchida shimai and I went to the bathrooom and once we got inside and were alone we cheered for joy, jumped up and down adn hugged each other, haha. It was really corny but we are just so happy!
6. This week we also had an extremely touching lesson with a woman we met at Eikaiwa. Its not something I would really share over an Email, but hopefully I'll be able to share it with you at another time. I love being a missionary and having people open their hearts to you, even if its the first time you've ever met. Sometimes I get sad from all the sorrow I see, but the gospel is filled with so much joy, but it doesn't last for long. This week I had some very spiritual experiences with being led by the spirit for what to say. I said some things that I didn't intend to, or even think I knew how to say in Japanese. Miracles, miracles!
This morning I read in the Conference Ensign, "As many as I love, I rebuke and Chasten" by Elder Christofferson. Please read it!!! So good!!! 
The church is true! Life is swell. We don't know anything, and Heavenly Father knows don't be sad...just trust in God! 
I LOVE LOVE you all! 
Love, Tingey Shimai


Natsumi Oohama and Lucy at her baptism
My dear family and friends,
I think any of you may be able to guess what the highlight of my week was this past week. Our amazing friend Natsumi Oohama was baptized on Saturday, the 23rd and confirmed in church yesterday! Looking back and reflecting on the past few months, I have learned a lot from teaching and learning with Natsumi shimai. I vividly remember the first time meeting her, it being one of my first few weeks in the field, and not really knowing if she would continue listening to the lessons. I was reading my journal the other day and I have an entry that says something like, "a woman we met housing the other day came to FHE tonight with her cute son! Tonight we also found her old record in the area book, which was a total coincidence because we had no idea that she had investigate the church before! I just know she is going to accept the gospel!" Haha. It made me so happy to read that entry and remember how excited I was meeting her and teaching her. We really put all of our hearts and souls into teaching her. She never made it easy, as she is very inquisitive and loves "benkyo" or studying the scriptures.
scrubbing the baptismal font

I remember as a "bean" or new missionary, I was terrified to go into lessons with her because I couldn't understand her fast Japanese and didn't really have any experience teaching, but she was always so kind to me and listened to me (even if she was snickering at my many mistakes, hehe). She is honestly one of the strongest, kindest, most genuine people I have met. She was truly prepared by the Lord to receieve the gospel. All we did was teach the best that we could, and the spirit really did the rest. Natsumi shimai was so willing to try anything we threw at her, including the Word of Wisdom, which she gained a testimony of quickly, as well as keeping the sabbath day holy and fasting. Teaching her has really opened my eyes to the way that this all really works. The most important thing is for others to go home, and try LIVING the gospel in order to gain a testimony for themselves. All that we as missionaries can do is prepare as best we can with the spirit, and extend commitments that the person we are teaching either will or won't accept. But I have a firm testimony that if they do truly try living the gospel, keeping the commandments, and taking Moroni's challenge (Moroni 10:3-5), they WILL gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. I feel so blessed to have been able to witness the gospel change another person's life.
Natsumi and her son

As you can see from the pictures, Natsumi shimai was just GLOWING at her baptism. She was a little nervous, but she was a trooper putting on the giant baptism dress (the only one we had at the church), and tromping up onto the stand. She is a really funny shimai and is always giggling at everything (so naturally we get along really well). I did her introduction, we had a spiritual message from a ward member, Sister Uchida and I sang a song called ,"the Olive Tree," and then we all gathered around the baptismal font. Ever since we scheduled a baptism date with Oohama, and I have thought about that day, I always just imagined myself sobbing my eyes out with happiness seeing her baptism, but when the moment actually came I didn't cry at all. I was just way too happy to cry I  guess, haha.  We told Natsumi shimai that she needed to prepare something to say after she was baptized, and right before she was supposed to go up and do it she got this panicked look on her face and turned to me and said, "Wait, what is it that I say at the end? I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen??" and then we both cracked up. It was really funny. She got up and bore just a very simple testimony about God's love that lasted about 15 seconds and then sat down. It was very powerful. Then Sister Uchida, Elder Maeda and Triffitt, and I sang "Shinji susuman" which I don't know the title of in English but it is a really beautiful song and a lot of the congregation was a little weepy, hehe. Anyway, I am glad to announce that everything went very smoothly and we couldn't have asked for a better or more special day for Natsumi shimai!

Getting a nice little gift
Oh, I almost forgot one of the best parts about that day! Sister Uchia and I had about 10 investigators/potential investigators come to the church that day! Before the baptism we had a ping pong tournament and spaghetti party (the Elder's brilliant idea to get nonmembers to attend the baptism). It actually worked! Most importantly, Nariko-san, who is scheduled to be baptized on August 13th came to the church for the first time and after the baptism she said she was very moved by the ceremony. She even went up to talk to Natsumi shimai and Natsumi bore her testimony to Nariko about how much the gospel has changed her life! What an amazing opportunity for our cute little grandma investigator. I love her so much. We also had about 7 other investigators attend the baptism. It was literally a miracle because most of them said they couldn't come and then ended up showing up. So happy!!

On the books!
Yorokobi- True joy
I love all of you and I am so grateful every week for the opportunity to write this email home about all of my experiences.
"Happiness is only real when shared" -Alexander Supertramp, "Into the Wild"
Have a great week! I know I will!
Love, Tingey shimai



Guess what? Natsumi-san is getting baptized on Saturday!!! What with the new transfer, Sister Uchida coming and not really knowing the area, and Natsumi-san`s impending baptism, this week was a little bit stressful, but everything has just been miraculously working out. Sister Uchida has really been able to bond with our investigators and with the members in a very short amount of time, which was really important, especially becaues Natsumi-san has also been feeling a little anxiety about her baptism. I have never held a baptismal service before (Sister Uchida and I were in the same MTC doki so we were both pretty new and inexperienced), so it has been fun figuring everything out. We pulled out the baptism clothes that our ward has stored in the missionary closet and the dress was about twice the size of me...and Natsumi-san is about a foot shorter than me...hahaha. Were still ironing out all the kinks and trying to get things ready. She is having her interview with the Zone Leaders tonight. Fun fun fun!

I almost forgot! We recieved a referral from a ward member last week for a woman named Nariko-san. She is a former investigator and apparently wanted to be taught by the missionaries again, so we started teaching her last week. On our second visit we scheduled a baptism date! It seems like she has been really prepared this time around to really internalize the message. She is currently following the Word of Wisdom and doing really well reading the Book of Mormon. She is this really sweet older lady who lives alone and has recently had multiple deaths of very close loved ones-so we are trying to help her really understand the Plan of Salvation and help her let the atonement heal her heart. We are praying that everything goes well and that on August 13th she will be baptized. Whenever we go visit she has a bundle of bananas for us to take home because she knows I love them :).

Sister Uchida is such an amazing companion! We are struggling and learning a lot together this transfer. We dont have our trainer `moms` to help us do everything now, so everyday is definitely a hilarious adventure. We were really excited yesterday because we received a phone call from a woman wanting to meet us at the mall up the street from the church. We raced there all excited (it is very rare to have someone call us up and want to meet out of the blue), only to find out that she wanted to dendo(do missionary work) to us instead, haha. She started teaching us about this book written by a Japanese man about Hotokesama (still not completely sure what that is).

I always enjoy being housed by the Jehova`s Witnesses and talking to other missionaries, so I didn`t really mind. We ended up being able to teach her about the Restoration just standing there on the sidewalk in front of Starbucks. It was funny because at the end she tried to hand us two of her books, but we said we couldn`t take we tried giving her a Book of Mormon and she said the same thing...and then we all just cracked up for a second and said farewell. Missionary work is so fun!

I just want to leave all of you with this scripture that I read this week. This is exactly how I feel this transfer working alongside Uchida shimai. Alma 26:11-12. My joy is full, my heart is  brim with joy! I know that I am weak but the evidence of God`s work through us can be seen in the change Ive seen with Natsumi-san and others we teach. I can tell you all one thing; none of the miracles I have seen in my mission so far have been my doing.

I love you and wish you the most joy and happiness that this world and the world to come has to offer! There is only one way to gain that joy. Only through Jesus Christ!
Have a good week!
Love, Tingey shimai


This post was from the MTC and for some reason it didn't get published so here is the missing MTC week post.  Sorry again!



 Wow, I have a lot on my mind this week what with the earthquake and everything that is happening in Japan. Thank you for everyone's dearelders concerning the earthquake and your prayers. There has been a lot of buzz in the MTC, especially within our zone, about what is happening, but the church website has blocked the footage and photos, and most of the articles from the missionaries, so we still really no nothing. The only info we get is from our teachers, so thank you for your letters and updates. Feel free to send more (Dad) if you find out anything else.

 We are all very sad for the people in Japan at this time, but it is also a blessing in a lot of ways. When I entered the MTC on January 26th, there were 56 of us who came in, which is the largest amount of missionaries EVER to enter the MTC at one time to go to Japan. We didn't really think anything of it until we realized that we are the group who will be entering Japan on April 11th, 4 weeks after the largest earthquake and maybe largest natural disaster to ever occur in Japan. The Lord knows what he's doing. He has been preparing for this moment by calling a ridiculous amount of missionaries to go into Japan at this time. Our hearts go out to the people of Japan at this time, but our hope is that their hearts will be softened, and that they will give place for the message we're bringing to them.

 In other news, our new cohai came in this week! Some of the missionaries from our zone volunteered to be hosts for the new wave of missionaries last Wednesday,and I got to be a part of it which was awesome. The best part was that I got to host one of the six new sisters going to Japan!! Her name is Sister Derricott, and her dad is actually a giant celebrity in Japan because he had a talk show over there or something. The other day one of my teachers came in and was all excited, and when we asked him why he said that he had just met Sis. Derricott and realized that she was Kent Derricotts daughter, and he felt like he just met Tom Cruise because on his mission everyone would ALWAYS ask him if he knew who Kent Derricott was, haha. So I guess we have kind of a celeb in the MTC with us! She is going to be able to do some amazing work in Tokyo with her celeb status! The rest of the sisters are amazing, and one of them, sis mueller, is going to Fukuoka with me!!! Yattaaa!

 Oh, a lot of you have been askign about the musical number I tried out for. I tried out a couple of weeks ago and they are goign to use me at some point. It could be a fireside, Relief society, or a small group meeting, but I don't know which one yet.

 My companion and I have been praying a lot for about a week that we would be able to use the scriptures more in our lessons. We have been finding it a little difficult to really focus our lessons around the BOM, so we have been keeping it in mind a lot. Yesterday we were talking about it and suddenly we thought of using Alma 19:1-13. Read these verses and look for the way that you could relate these scriptures to someone who has just lost a loved one. The Queen's reactions are a perfect demonstration of what we need to do in this life. She first hears the word, Then she desires to know more, she excercises faith that what Ammon is telling her is true, then she "endures to the end" by waiting by King Lamoni's bedside until the time when Ammon said he would awake. In the TRC this week our investigator is supposed to have recently lost a loved one, and we're supopsed to teach them the plan of salvation to comfort them. We are giong to use this scripture and relate it to what our investigator must do to see her husband again. Isn't that sweet??!!

Well my time is pretty much up here. I love you all and I'm doing subarashiiiiii(excellent). Keep reading your scriptures everyday and praying. We had a lesson in a Fireside the other day about true conversion and what really helps investigators progress. The 3 things that realy only made a difference are gettign your investigator to pray on their own, read the BOM on their own, and go to church on their own. I think that says a lot about what we also need to do as members.

Love, Sister Tingey!! AisuruKazokutachi,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Transfer Three

Lucy and her new companion, Sister Uchida
Look at those happy smiles! They are going to do miracles together!
Looks like they're welcoming new missionaries Japanese style.  So silly:) Love the hat strap.  
Guess what?! I'm already in my third transfer! Sugoi!
I really can't believe it. Time is a-flyin'. Sister McIntyre's mission ended on Thursday and she flew back to the States this last Friday. She was such an amazing trainer and I feel so lucky to have been able to learn from her! Plus we basically became best friends, so dendo-ing with her was incredibly fun. We worked really hard and met so many amazing people! I love her! The only good thing about her leaving was that I inherited all of her clothes, all of which she inherited from her trainer last year, so you can imagine how incredibly glamorous I look everyday.
Good-bye Sister McIntyre! You were loved!
Well, in place of Sister McIntyre my new companion is....(drum roll)...Sister Uchida!!! We were in the MTC together! She is from Saitama, Japan and is basically the cutest Nihonjin alive. We spent a lot of time together in the MTC and became really good friends, and flew to Fukuoka together in April. In the airport during our layover in San Francisco we sang hymns together and then when we arrived at the mission home we both remember saying, "I hope we become companions someday!" Yappari! We are so excited. We are both only in our third transfers, but we became "co-senior" together this transfer! Scary! 
Scared Lucy surrounded by Elders and Sister McIntyre looks like she's rushing to the rescue. haha!
 Before I knew who my new companion was going to be I was really nervous because with Sister McIntyre leaving I would become in charge of the Naha area and would have to teach my new companion everything and basically take the lead. I was super nervous but when i found out Uchida shimai was coming I felt incredibly releived. Even though communication is sometimes hard because my Japanese is horrid, we get along great and the last three days have been amazing! We spent her first day here planning like crazy and talking about all of our investigators and who we wanted to visit this week. It took about 9 hours (sister Uchida was a sport and didn't even take time to unpack her suitcase before we jumped right into talking about the area) but I have been super grateful for that planning session ever since because Uchida shimai has pretty much been able to meet all of the "Naha VIP's" in just three days due to strategic planning and good use of time. Our first day of the new transfer was all on foot because her bike hadn't come yet, but we visited a ton of people who live close by. Sister Uchida is so friendly and has a really incredible testimony, so everyone immediately fell in love with her. Phew! Haha.
Lucy's super shiny green shirt with darling sistas and goofy looking Elders
We made a lot of new goals for this transfer, including how many people we want to talk to each day, how many Book of Mormons we want to give out a week, how many lessons, etc. It's really fun because we got these little devices we can hook onto our bags, and whenever we talk to someone we punch it so it counts how many we have by the end of the day, haha. This transfer is going to be amazing! She has a lot of really fun ideas for creative dendo, too. My favorite is "sanbika dendo," which we have been doing a lot of in the past three days. We choose a hymn during personal study, and then every person we visit that day we sing that hymn to sometime during the visit. One of our mottos for this transer is "Use our talents!" Dakara, we are going to be doing a lot of singing and such. Yay! We also have two theme scriptures for this transfer: D&C 50:26, 64:34. We both feel extremely humbled what with becoming senpai (senior) and not really knowing how to dendo, so we are just going to learn together and do our best! We love verse 26 because although we are extremely inexperienced, we have been ordained of God, and set apart as missionaries. Through that power we can accomplish great things! However, in order to be powerful tools in the hand of the Lord we must become servants to all we teach. We also loved verse 34 because we both really want to give our ALL to the Lord this transfer. If we let him, he can use us to find and teach all those who he is preparing here in Naha. We just need to give him our whole hearts and have a willing mind. I'm so excited.
Doing some shopping.  What are those? I really like that lady in the background.  lol.

Lucy and her new sweet mission bling
I never understood why Sister McIntyre was always sitting at her desk looking through the area book, writing things down, and on the phone 24/7 until she left....haha. I thought I was working really hard before but now I feel a huge responsibility to keep track of everyone, contact the right people each day, schedule appointments and lessons, etc. It takes forever! I suddenly have zero free time, but its all fine and dandy. One thing I have realized since coming to the field is that staying motivated, having a positive attitude, and having fun is a lot easier to do when we're EXTREMELY BUSY and working REALLY REALLY HARD. Seems like that wouldn't be the case but I have found that the days I am the most satisfied at night right before I go to sleep are the days when we were so incredibly busy I thought I was going to fall over dead.
Lucy with her investigator that's getting baptized mabe?

We had a really amazing dinner last night with Oohama-san at a member's house named the Kinjo's (everyone here is named Kinjo). She jointed for our lesson teaching the Law of Chastity. Preparing for that lesson was hilarious because neither of us had ever taught it before, and Sister Uchida had never met Oohama-san before...but none of that really matters if you teach with the spirit and have an awesome joint and companion! Her baptism for July 23rd is still set, so mark it in your calendars!!!!!!! I'm so excited!!! She has so much faith and I have seen such a change in her since the first time we met her. It really is incredible how the knowledge of the gospel has the ability to completely change a person's life. I have never witnessed that in someone other than myself until now. This gospel is so true! I'm lovin' life here in Naha and think of my family all the time I love showing everyone pictures from home and telling them about all of you. I love you!!! Ganbatte! Talk to you next week :)
Ward Family
Love, Sister Tingey

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Greetings from Naha

Is it me, or is Lucy looking really thin? Lucy, you look great! I bet it's all that healthy food you've been eating over there in Japan.  Or probably...
It's because you're keeping up your killer workout routine

Well this week has been very eventful! I have a lot to say in not very much time but I'll try to fit it all in!
I have a lot of fun stories from this week.
Funny story: somehow this bright pink scarft made its way into my all of my white clothes are dyed bright pink. Awesome huh? Not too much I can do about it being stranded on this tiny island, paha.
Giant pig head in the meat market
Last Wednesday the senior couple missionaries came from Okinawa and brought this newly married girl with them from the base because she was bored. We gave them a tour around Naha and this really cool street called Kokusaidori, which is a huge tourist attraction. They had heard about this meat market that they wanted to go to, and we had also never been so we went to check it out. It was the most awesome place ever!!! There were just pig heads and dead animals laying around everywhere. I attached a picture of us three with a giant pig head. We walked around the meat market for a while and then the cool part is that you can buy your meat or fish or whatever you want to eat, and then take it upstairs to the restaurants and they'll cook it up for you. We didnt buy anything but we went upstairs to eat and realized that our investigator Linseika (from Taiwan) works there! So it was really fun because she served us our food. Gopeipei also came with us so it was a really good day spending time with some of our investigators.
Lucy and Sister McIntyre singing in the concert
Last Tuesday all of the missionaries on Okinawa put on a concert in Urasoe for the members and anyone else who could come. We had a big turnout! Sister McIntyre and I did a song together, I did one alone, all of the Okinawa sisters did one together, and then we also did one with all of the missionaries. All of the Elders also did some really good numbers. We all practiced really hard to make the concert fun so I think everyone had a really good time.
Playing baseball with some members
Best faith strengthener story: When I was a brand new bean in my first couple weeks here in Naha I was streeting one day with my companions sister Hooker and McIntyre. We stopped to talk to this girl named Yoko and ended up being there for about 30 minutes teaching her, praying with her, and she seemed really legit, but then when we asked her if we could teach her more or get her number she totally rejected us and walked away. We were super bummed because we were so excited and thought we would for sure be able to meet her again. We kind of just gave up and started to ride our  bikes away down the road in the opposite direction, when I thought, "There is no way I'm giving up that easy!" So I asked my companions if I could ride back and try one more time to get her number. We ended up going back and in my super awkward Japanese I said something like, "I'm sorry...but I really feel like we should be is it ok if we exchange numbers?" She had just moved to the area and had told us before that she didn't really know anyone, so i figured doing the whole "friend" approach might be better. She ended up giving us her number that second time asking and I just remember floating on a cloud the rest of the day, feeling good about thrusting in my sickle, even though it was awkward to stalk her down again. We didnt see very much fruits from that contact for about 3 months. We called her about once a week with no response, but I still felt like we really were supposed to meet her. Ok the best part of this story is that last Wednesday right before our weekly Eikaiwa (english class) guess who walked into the church!!!!??? You guessed it! That same girl we had hunted down three months earlier. She completely randomnly showed up for Eikaiwa, stayed the whole time, had a ton of fun, and then lingered for about an hour afterward talking to all of the missionaries. It was such a miracle!!! I was again floating on a cloud for the rest of the night. The Lord really does put people in our path for a reason, and we shouldn't ever ignore a prompting from the Holy Ghost telling us to do something, even if its hard! We never know what the Lord has in store for that person.
Posing with some investigators
On Saturday night we had Elder Yamashita from the Quorem of the 70 come do a special devotional for all of the members in the area. It was a really great devotional (even though I didnt understand a lot). He talked a lot about what it was like to get the call to be a General Authority, and how the process went. He skyped with Elder Oaks and had to describe each of his 6 children and their families individually, talk about his job, retirement, what he would do if his house burned down, and a lot of other questions that he wasn't prepared to answer. Then, there was silence for one month where he didn't hear anything. He said he didn't sleep for that whole month, and then he got a call from Elder Uchtdorf that he was being called to the 70. Anyway, it was really cool to hear him talk about it.
The Elders singing at the conference
The next day(Yesterday, fast sunday), he came to our first ward and took a little bit of time at the end of Fast and Testimony Meeting to talk a little more. Our investigator Natsumi-san came and I was so grateful she could hear his testimony and also meet him afterward. He shook her hand and said, "please continue studying," and walked away! Haha. It was just short and powerful.Something really amazing happened for me during that meeting. I was sitting there listening to Elder Yamashita talk about a testimony meeting he had with all of the General Authorities in April right before conference, when about 10 minutes into his talk I realized that I was just listening to him and understanding what he was saying!!!! That is the first time in my life that I haven't had to be concentrating super hard trying to translate everything really fast in my head and getting lost. It was so amazing!!! I know it was because I was fasting and feeling very humbled, that I was able to have that experience, even if it didnt last for very long, haha.
A giant tree.  They don't grow like this in America!
Ok, last story. I saved the best for last because it is just so good. During that same fast and testimony meeting where Elder Yamashita spoke something totally hilarious happened that I just have to relate. I was sitting there next to McIntyre shimai waiting for the meeting to start, and I looked over at the door to see if Natsumi-san had arrived yet...when all of a sudden I saw the most unreal sight of my life. I saw the MOST ENORMOUS SPIDER I have ever seen in my entire life crawling around on the wall right above Elder Triffitt's head!!!!! I'm not kidding you-from where we were sitting I was judging it to be about the size of my hand or bigger. If you know anything about me, you'll know that I love spiders and will do almost anything to catch one...and I have never met anyone who is more scared of spiders than sister McIntyre, so you can imagine how excited I was when I turned to her and said, "Look at the wal behind me RIGHT NOW!"  Hahahaha. Just thinking about her face right now makes me crack up. I really felt like I was in a movie or something because it didn't look real! It was so big! Anyway, for the rest of the meeting I felt really bad because i was trying so hard to be reverent and concentrate on fasting and listening to the testimonies, but every few seconds I was looking back at the wall looking for the spider. It eventually disappeared, and then after the meeting I went on a search for it. I got two brothers in the ward to look for it with me, and as we were searching suddenly sister McIntyre ran in yelling, "Sister Tingey, I found it !!!!!" It was just chilling in the room next door right above the door frame. The two brothers caught it and let it go outside, and actually upclose it wasn't as big as we thought...probably a little smaller than my hand, but definitely the biggest spider I've ever seen in real life.Ok that was my last story of the week.
I love you!!!! I am having such a great experience here and seeing so many miracles everyday. I am convinced that we can see the Lord's hand in every aspect of our lives if we are humble enough to recognize it. I am learning slowly that everything good that happens and all of my accomplishments are only because of Heavenly Father's help and guidance. Make sure to study the conference Liahona! It is filled with so much knowledge and guidance for each of us individually!!!!
Love, Sister Tingey