Dear Family -
That is so neat that the cherry blossoms are already out in Tokyo! I always loved the cherry blossoms - I guess them come out around May or June in Hokkaido so I am excited for that! We don:t have cherry blossoms yet, but it is starting to feel like spring! I even switched from my down jacket to just my normal peacoat today - and I was actually feeling hot on the walk over to the church this morning! Everyone is saying that the snow is over for this year... we:ll see if that holds to be true. But honestly, I much prefer the snow to the rain, so I am a little sad about winter ending - who would have guessed!
Well this week was great! We started a little slow because of our colds, but we are doing better now - I am totally fine - Nanjo shimai has lost her voice alittle bit and has a bit of a cough, but its on the recovering end I think. The highlight of the week was definitely Friday. We had our zone conference with Elder Yamashita and a lesson scheduled with the Nakandakari family afterwards. I was also able to sing Savior Redeemer of My Soul at the conference - I was a little worried about it because just in the 10 minutes before I was supposed to sing my throat started hurting worse than it had all week! I said a little prayer asking Heavenly Father to just let me be able to sing well to bring the spirit - I just needed 5 minutes thats all, and He gave it to me! I was able to sing without worrying about my throat at all. That was the first prayer answered that day.
After the conference ended we went with the Elders in our area (one that transferred away last transfer was back on exchanges) and we went with them to find an old investigators house that they wanted to pass to us, and then they came with us to the Nakandakaris - they were also really good friends with them. That turned out to be a huge blessing! When we got to the Nakandakari family's house we found out that they had actually tried to call us about an hour before to cancel our appointment- not only that but also to tell us that Miyu chan was not ready to be baptized yet. Earlier this week her Dad got upset at her, and said that her attitude was not good enough to make a commitment like baptism - so they made an aggreement - a way for Miyu to show how commited she is. The agreement was to go to bed at 8:30 and wake up at 6:00 everyday - if she did that then he would let her get baptized and attend the service - if not he would not attend the service, and although he wouldn:t stop her from being baptized he wouldn:t be supportive of it. Friday morning was the first morning of this agreement and Miyu woke up at 6:15 - 15 minutes late. As a result her Dad told her that she was not ready to be baptized, and finally made her call us to tell us that herself. Blessing number one that day - Nanjo shimai accidentally left the phone at the apartment that morning, and we didn:t have time to go back and get it afterwards so we never saw those calls or texts!! Blessing number 2: We had Harada choro with us, who they hadn:t seen in a long time and were excited about meeting again which allowed us to go in the genkan. If he hadn:t been there I am convinced they would have explained the situation and had us go home. Blessing number 3: It rained that night, and none of us were prepared for the rain so all four of us were pretty soaked when we arrived - which made them have sympathy on us and let us in the houe to dry off. Usually they let us right in - but that day we were all smashed in the genkan for a good five or ten minutes before they finally invited us in.
We ended up being there for a good three hours or so - the first hour and a half was mostly listening to her parents explain their points of view - which were all very valid and good parental perspectives. They don:t want Miyu to make this commitment half-heartedly and because she broke that first agreement they felt that she wasn:t ready for it. It wasn:t at all that they are against baptism - but if she decided to be baptized they wanted her to be 100% committed because as parents they end up supporting her and taking her to activities and church and things, which they are very willing to do, but only if Miyu chan was actually committed to do it. It was a very fragile situation, and I can tell you that I was praying very very hard the whole time. It would take forever to write everything they said, but to make a long story short we went from one point where they told Miyu that if she didn:t say the real reason she wanted to be baptized than they would tell us to stop wasting our time with teaching her and that would be the end - to a point where her parents began to understand the testimony and commitment that Miyu has already been showing - by coming to church every week for a month, reading the Book of Mormon, praying, setting goals of what she needs to do before and after baptism and posting it on the walls - she was already showing a lot of commitment that her parents weren:t noticing. Miyu chan through this whole thing was very very quiet. There was a spirit of contention there, mostly directed at Miyu that made it almost impossible for her to say anything, let alone bear her testimony. We knew we needed to bring the spirit in so we finally asked if we could sing, and say a prayer together. We sang their favorite song, Love at Home, and said a prayer, and were able to share a message about the Plan of Salvation, according to our original plan, and then give MIyu a chance to stand up for herself a little bit. She wants to be baptized because she believes that God lives. She believes that Jesus Christ lives and that he loves her. She believes that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true, and that is why she wants to be baptized. That was her perfect, simple. beautiful testimony - and that is enough.
As always, this story has turned out to be really long and its probably really hard to follow - but I learned so much that night. One, God knows his children, and he wants Miyu to be baptized. He made everything work out just the way it needed to so that she is still scheduled and supported by her parents to be baptized this Saturday. I always knew, but had it emphasized to me how much her parents love her, and want what is best for her - that is why they are tough on her. And don:t get me wrong they were very upset, but they are really loving - they are such a solid family and really just honestly and sincerely concerned parents. I have a lot of respect for them. In the end, things returned to normal - we made an appointment for the next day, Miyu came to church on Sunday, her family came to pick her up and met a lot of the ward, the Bishop and everyone and we even set the baptismal program up. We have appointments to meet with them every day this week, and I have faith that everything will work out.
This is the Lord's work! He knows his children and what they need. He is behind every detail and guiding every step. I am so grateful for that.
Love you all! Till next week,