Can you believe it!? On July 26th I hit my six month mark of being on a mission! Not gonna lie...it 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 meeting...so 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!
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.
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 everything....so don't be sad...just trust in God!
I LOVE LOVE you all!
Love, Tingey Shimai