Dear Family and Friends!!
WOW! I can't believe that they changed the age for elders AND SISTER missionaries!!! I am so excited!!! For all of you thinking about going on missions now that couldn't before - DO IT!! I highly recommend it :) Oh my goodness, I am so excited for what this change is going to bring - I feel like the sister misssionary population is going to explode! I hope it does! I bet there will be a lot of new missions opening up now as well - maybe even a Tokyo North and South? Who knows, but I am sure excited to see these changes come into play! I really am so excited, I can't even begin to explain what a blessing the mission has been for me, and I am only just beginning - I am so grateful and excited that so many more people now will have the chance to serve! :) I can't wait to listen to conference, and hear the official announcement! (although I probably won't understand most of it because they only have it in Japanese here in Obihiro... there isn't much demand for an English showing, so it'll be pretty interesting to see how much I can learn from the spirit alone!) :)
This week was so great. Most interesting thing that happened was that we got to have a Sister's split! Sister Kise went to an area called Kotoni, and Sister Masuda came to Obihiro to work with me. She goes home next week, so it was really a great opportunity for me to spend about 2 days with her, and to get some really great advice. She actually served in Obihiro for a few months earlier in her mission so we spent a lot of the time visiting her old investigators and her converts as well - it was a really good experience, and a good chance to get to know the people on a more personal level. Masuda shimai has an incredible way of showing love to everybody and really getting to know people, rather than just sharing a message with them. It was a really good opportunity for me to see a different way of dendoing, and to realize that every missionary is truly unique and that there is no one right way to dendo, but everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and they all work together to build the many different kinds of people and missionaries - all of which the Lord needs to do his work. I guess it is pretty rare to have a sister's split during your first transfer, so I am grateful that I had that chance!
Well the work is going good here in Obihiro - we have been blessed with a lot of teaching opportunities recently, and there are a few that are really progressing a lot. One of our investigators actually lived in California for about 10 years so I get to teach her in English which is a refreshing change every once in a while. She believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and she has a desire to be baptized - we are so excited to help her, and her boyfriend who also has the same desire, do just that! It is so exciting to have a temple announced in Sapporo - it really helps people see that baptism is not the ultimate goal, but simply a step along the path to make more promises with God, and eventually return to live with him again. We have been trying recently to focus more on helping members and investigators focus on the temple - i think its been really helpful. It is nice to be able to teach in English every once in a while and express my thoughts, but even more so to totally understand her responses :) That is always the biggest struggle is not necessarily asking the question that I want to ask in Japanese, but understanding their answer after I manage to get my question out there. I am beginning to understand a little more each day though - I really have felt recently that I am not learning this language by myself. It is slow, and I am becoming pretty good at imitating correct reactions from my companion to responses that I don't understand - but it is coming, and I know that the Lord is helping me, for which I am very very grateful :)
We were blessed to have dinner at three different members houses this week! They were all delicious - I never knew there could be so many different varieties of curry - no two are alike! And I have seen a lot of curry here as a missionary - I'm just saying its a good thing I love curry! :)
Thank you all so much for your birthday wishes! I truly have the best family in the world :) I love you all so much! I am pretty excited to finally be in my twenties, and to turn 20 on a mission - which I guess won't be rare at all anymore! But its still something that I never expected to have happen to me! I really love being here on a mission there is truly no where else I would rather be, and nothing else I would rather be doing. Like I mentioned earlier, for anyone that is thinking about going on a mission - i highly highly recommend it!!
Until next week!