Dear Loved Ones,
I am happy to announce today that I was not transfered out of my beloved area of Naha!!! Can you believe it?? This is my fourth transfer serving in the same area. That is pretty rare. I feel very lucky to have been able to stay here in Okinawa for this long. By the end of this transfer Ill have been serving in Naha for almost half a year (Hence this emails subject, `Hantoshi`). I have been able to develop some amazing relationships with ward members, investigators, neighbors, etc. Unfortunately, my time with Uchida shimai was very short-lived, as she was transfered to another area after just one transfer with me here in Naha! She is now serving in Fukuoka at the Mission Home with Mueller Shimai, who was with me in the MTC. We were SO shocked when we got the transfer phone call. I was almost positive that either we were both staying, or I was getting transfered, but never did I imagine that I would have another transfer here and she would leave after such a short time. Wow. I have come to the conclusion that there is someone here in Naha that I have yet to find, who desperately needs to hear the gospel from me. Im working hard to find that person!!
My new companion is Yamada Shimai! (Fun Fact; Uchida means `in the field` and Yamada means `mountain field`). I guess I am destined to work with a lot of sisters who work in fields. She is so so so cute! Absolutely love her. She is from Aomori, which is actually a place that I have a special love for. When I was on my study abroad with BYU a few years ago, I was traveling around Japan with a group of other Japanese students when I accidentally lost my very expensive rail pass. In order to buy a new, temporary pass, I had to go to Aomori and wait for the place to open. The rest of the group went on ahead while I stayed in Aomori for a whole day with the Teachers Assistant Tsuchiya sensei. We spent the whole day exploring Aomori, which is famous for its delicious apples (no wonder I liked it :) ). We went to the beach, and were even able to hand out a Book of Mormon to a boy we met by the beach. It was such a memorable and spontaneous day, and that memory of sharing the gospel with that boy is something that also fueled my desire to serve a mission! That was probably my first `dendo` experience in Japan. Never would have thought that a year and a half later I would be serving a mission there. I have always remembered Aomori and wanted to go back because of that experience, so I was excited when I found out that that is where Yamada shimai is from! She is in her third transfer, so younger than me! I am having a ball teaching her all about this amazing area. In her first few days here we already found two new investigators! So awesome.
This past week before Uchida shimai left we had a lot of fun. Our Zone all gathered for one last hoorah and did an early morning, 6:30 AM jog to the beach, which is about 2 miles away. There we had personal study and then we all sat together and shared our favorite scriptures about Christ. It was definitely a memorable experience. I attached some pictures of us having fun in the sand. That day we received transfer calls, so all of us were kind of on edge. The mission is so fun and unexpected!
This week we also reconnected with the Kinjo couple, a couple whom I found in my bean transfer with McIntyre shimai but last transfer we kind of dropped them because we didnt think they were progressing. This past week, however, they showed up for Stake Conference, and I found out that the husband has read all the way through 1 Nephi 2! This is what he said when I asked him about it, `The Book of Mormon has a special kind of power. When I read this book, I understand more about Salvation that I do when I read the Bible. I dont think that Joseph Smith could have written this book on his own...` Haha!!! You can imagine my reaction upon hearing that. We encouraged him to keep reading and scheduled an appointment to start teaching them again this next week. Were planning on asking them to be baptized on Tuesday, so keep that in your prayers!
When i was in the MTC I made the very ambitious goal of reading the entire Book of Mormon in Japanese before the next General Conference, which was about 6 months away. In order to accomplish that goal, I had to read 4 or 5 pages a day. I did really well my first two transfers, reading every single day, and I got all the way to the beginning of Mosiah, but last transfer when my trainer left and Uchida shimai came, I got SO busy trying to take the lead in the area. I literally had no down time before bed or in the morning because I was freaking out trying to keep track of calling people, filling out the area book, etc. Haha. I was a little stress case last transfer, but thats OK because I learned a lot and realized that I am capable of a lot of things that I never thought I would be able to do (For example, reading a Japanese map and memorizing where all of our investigators, members and Potential investigators lived). Anyway, now that I have calmed down a bit, I have started up my BOM reading again. Unfortunately, that six weeks that I slacked off has cost me about 7 pages a day...haha. So now in order to accomplish my goal I have to read 12 pages a day. I am super extremely determined to accomplish it, so wish me luck!
|I really hope Lucy's arm isn't the pasty white one. lol.|
Missionary work has been really interesting and gratifying with Yamada shimai so far. We are trying a lot of new things with our teaching skills and lessons. For example, yesterday during companion study we practiced switching off talking every two sentences during a lesson, instead of each of us taking a whole section. We also decided that we want to try stopping every lesson at the peak of when we feel the spirit, and leave immedately so that whoever were teachign will really have that feeling linger with them after were gone. Im excited to try out these new ideas. Well, I love you all and I wish you all the best! This gospel is SO true, and like 1Nephi 31:21 says, it is the only way whereby we can gain salvation and live with our Father in Heaven again!