|This SUPER old lady we`re teaching named Seyama san. I think she`s 93. She`s definitely the tiniest person I`ve ever seen. Maybe even tinier than piglet grandma.|
Guess what!? The computer here finally got updated with faster Internet so I can actually scroll down the page now! Yippeee!
First things first. Last Monday after emailing we made a special trip to our District Leader`s area of Shimonoseki to help them clean the house of a recent convert. They told us some stories about how disgusting it was during district meeting and I was super excited to go because I love cleaning! It was worse than I had expected. With six of us working for three hours we only made a tiny dent! It was horrible! There is no way you can feel the spirit in that kind of living condition. I`m attaching some pictures of the before and after. Sister Hattori and I spent the entire three hours in one tiny room. We literally filled and re-filled about 30 buckets of water washing off the surfaces of her desk and bookshelf surfaces. It was all just covered in muck!! It had to have been at least 20 years since anyone had cleaned it. Her toilet was a porta-potty and the bathtub was covered in green slime. The kitchen was also horrible. I can`t even describe it to you. Luckily the Elders were in charge of those areas :). Have you ever watched the show `Buried Alive` on Discovery Channel? Yeah.
In short, we spent our entire Pday on that little adventure which might explain why by the end of this week I literally had no energy. Yesterday as Sister Hattori and I were out finding in a faraway area I felt like we were just wandering around in delirium. We didn`t find any new investigators and my patience was running short all day, so I learned my lesson about the importance of resting at least a little on Pday.
|After!!! Good Job Lucy and Company!!|
Earlier in the week, however we did see a LOT of success, maybe more than any other week this transfer. We found 3 new investigators in one day, one of which is the Dad of a member named Tonogouchi Shimai. He`s the referral I told you about who loves animals and whatnot. I wrote on my little profile card hanging in the church that I like bugs and so she thought I might be able to click with her Dad, but she said the only way we would be able to meet him is if we dropped by her house and he just happened to be somewhere near the door. Apparently he rarely leaves the upstairs or answers the door even if nobody else is home to answer it. On Tuesday we felt like we should go over there, and by a complete miracle when we knocked he hobbled down the stairs, answered the door and let us in even though he was the only one home! It turns out that he used to be a science teacher and has done all sorts of research on difference insects and birds. He showed us a few of dozens of glass cases he has of butterflies he has collected and we talked for a good while about that. We even showed him a picture of our pet cacoon Taro and he told us he is probably a swallowtail butterfly! He actually reminded me a lot of a Japanes-y version of my Dad, haha! Anyway, he told us to come back again this week at the same time! We haven`t shared anything about the gospel yet but we`ve been praying all week to know how to naturally start teaching him.
|Tonoguichi shimai and her dad showing us the butterfly collection|
On Wednesday we had a lesson with Komeda san and part-way through the lesson Sister Hattori and I looked at each other and knew we needed to change her baptism date from the 12th. It was apparent by her faith and testimony that she was ready to take that step and enter into the gate of baptism. We asked her if she would feel comfortable with the 29th of this month and she said yes! That is....this Sunday! Unfortunately, we have transfer calls this week so there is a possibility that one of us could get transferred on Thursday and miss the baptism on Sunday. That would be a bummer but honestly I`ll be incredibly happy either way. The Branch really stepped it up this Sunday, calling US to ask who would pick her up for church, sitting next to her in sacrament meeting, taking her to Sunday school and even helping her pick out clothes that would fit for the baptism. I was so happy and comforted seeing the members take that initiative. I always have this incredible anxiety with investigators being baptized because they grow so attached to us and sometimes its hard to smoothly pass that onto the members. However, Komeda san has been welcomed into the branch like no other convert I have seen on my mission so far. I have learned through trial and error what to do and not to do when an investigator gets baptized, and as I get older in the mission the experience gets better each time as I`m more prayerful and thoughtful during the process.
|Komeda san and Hattori Shimai at an RS activity|
I printed out a bunch of my favorite talks from Conference a few weeks ago because I couldn`t wait until the Liahona came out. I have been reading them over during personal study and just loving it. Today I read Elder Oaks` talk about sacrifice and thought it was interesting how he said that just like Jesus Christ`s sacrifice is at the heart of the Plan of Salvation, so should sacrifice be the center and focus of our lives. I really felt while reading it that, yeah, its pretty much impossible to devote our entire lives, 24/7 to service and furthering the Kingdom, but as long as we spend a part of each day, and try our best to have that constant pattern in our lives, that is all that is asked of us. Don`t forget to take some time to review your fav. Conference talks!
I know this gospel is true and I`m so grateful for the sacrifices of the early Saints who gave everything to build the beautiful temple in Salt Lake and elsewhere. I`m so thankful for Christ`s atonement and for repentance. I love you all so much and hope you have an amazing week!
Love, Tingey Shimai