Monday, July 2, 2012

Kiseki bakari (Nothing but miracles)!

My dearest family and friends,
The amazing kidlets!
The weeks are flying by so quickly, but at the same time every single day seems pretty lenghty with a lot going on. Working with my little bean, Takabori Shimai is so much fun. She is definitely way more prepared, wise, amazing and spiritual than I was as a new missionary, and even now, so it is a huge blessing to be working with her. She is always challenging us to find new ways to find and teach and mixing things up, which is very refreshing and fun. I love her to death!
Too many hilarious and awesome things happened this week to be able to tell you in this email so I`ll just tell you about a few.
Holding a gigantic butterfly. Its wings weren`t dry yet from coming out of the cacoon so it couldn`t fly away!
I think it was Friday when we visitited a less active member and were able to meet her son for the first time who hasn`t been to church since he was really young. We were first just helping him with his English homework but then he brought up how he has recently been learning about Moses and the Ten Commandments in school. From that we were able to teach an unexpected lesson about that and prayer, and then he prayed for the first time with us and his mom kneeling on the living room floor! It was so cool to witness that! I think it made the member really happy because she told us she would attend a cookie-making class at the church next week and also asked if after the class she could take us in her car back to her house so we could help her son again with English!
Fukuoka zone!
Right after that lesson we left their apartment and stopped in this playground to hand out English flyers to a bunch of 9-12 year old girls and we ended up standing there for an hour or so talking to them about Christ, the Restoration, etc. They were all begging us for pamphlets and Book of Mormons and event though we had about five with us that we handed out we needed about twice that many! I`ll say it again....I love Japanese children! They`re so humble and pure and seriously craving the goodness that comes from religion and talking about Jesus Christ. I can`t really imagine how it might have  been to grow up in a country where Christianity isn`t really imbedded into everyday life but from what I`ve experienced as a missionary there is a natural yearning for that, and it is especially evident in the young people here. Its so sad to see how the older people get the more callous and uninterested they are in our message, but even when we`re bluntly and harshly rejected we always try to sneak in a testimony and tell them as much as we can about how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love them. Someday when they have a hard trial or are searching for the truth, I know they will remember that testimony and be given another chance to accept the gospel!
 Me and Takabori Shimai
On Sunday we had Stake Conference which was AMAZING because since I`m serving in Fujisaki, right next to Fukuoka, I got to see tons of Fukuoka members who I haven`t seen since I transfered out of there in February! It was such a joyous reunion! We stood in the doorway with a bunch of other missionaries and greeted everyone coming in, and I couldn`t have been happier with life. I love seeing all of these faithful Japanese Latter-day Saints gather together! They are all sacrificing so much to be so dedicated to the gospel despite their time-consuming jobs, school schedules, etc. I honestly don`t know how people survive here sometimes. At Stake Conference we watched a broadcast from Salt Lake City where President Uchtdorf spoke exclusively to the Japanese saints for the first time! Afterward President and Sister Margetts gave their farewell talks and I could feel so strongly how much they have grown to love the members here and how much they`re going to miss them. Other highlights were finding out a boy who attended my English class way back when is planning on being baptized soon, and also being told that my two favorite OYAMA boys, Shintaro and Yuto attended scout camp last week! I hope they, like their Dad, accept the gospel soon and are baptized!
With Sis. Takabori at zone conference
  After the conference Bishop Miyake took us all over the place in his car, visiting all sorts of people who needed some upfliting. He even took us to meet his neighbor, Hara San, who is an old woman running a buddhist temple. We talked to her a lot about family history and told her about how we have the largest database in the world for researching her ancestors. Hopefully it caught her interest and she`ll want to come to church! She is a professional Shamisen and Koto player (traditional Japanese instruments) so she took out her Koto, played a song for us and let us fiddle around on it for a while! That was something I`ve been wanting to do ever since I wrote a report on traditional Japanese instruments a few years ago when i was on Study abroad with BYU!
Eating a quick lunch on the riverside with my bean
President and Sister Margetts will be making the flight back to Utah this Saturday so please pray that they can return home safely. It will be weird writing my last two weekly president letters to President Gufstoffson who is replacing the Margetts this week.
 making gyoza
Well, that is my week in a nutshell. We are teaching a lot of amazing people as well but don`t have anyone who is progressing very well so please pray that the people we meet with this week will follow their commitments and progress towards making covenants with their Father in Heaven. I want you all to know that I know that Jesus Christ is my older brother and advocate, and that when we exercise faith in him we can feel his atonement in our lives each day. I love the gospel, and love being a missionary! Until next week!
Love, Tingey Shimai

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