Dear Family -
How are you all? I hope you all had a lovely Valentines Day this week! Despite this year having absolutely no probability of any typical Valentines Day activities, it was a blast! This week was transfers, and it just so happened that the Sister's Conference that we have every transfer fell on Valentines Day so we all got to spend it together. I love Sister's Conferences! We have lunch together, then practice some songs, and then hear some workshops and testimonies of the Sisters that are going home that transfer. Two fabulous sisters went home this transfer which was sad, but it was neat to hear their workshops - Sister Kito talked about remembering our vision for what kind of missionary we wanted to be, and always having hope. Sister Koyama talked about what she learned about the importance of loving yourself in order to love others. The commandment says to love they neighbor as thyself - loving our neighbor begins with loving the person you spend the most time with - aka yourself. It was a great conference. It really made me think about what my image of a missionary was before I came on a mission, and if I am living up to that. Looking back I think my image was something like this: Always smiling. Always thinking about others. Obedient. Loving. Mature. Strong testimony and great knowledge of the gospel. On a bike or knocking on doors or in lessons all day everyday. I think there are sometimes when I come close to being that kind of missionary, but I know there are many many ways that I still need to improve. It was a great workshop and it really motivated me to try even harder this transfer to become that kind of missionary that I always wanted to become! And since coming on my mission I have come to think that doing that all comes down to being obedient, living what is written in Preach My Gospel, but most of all just becoming more Christlike. I have decided that I really want to learn more about Christ - this transfer I have made a goal to read the four gospels and continue my study of Jesus the Christ - I don't think I'll be able to finish it quite yet.... its a long one!
If you couldn't tell from the title... I am still in Atsubetsu! Our threesome went down to two - now it is just Sister Nanjo and I. It has been a little weird to adjust to just having the two of us - it feels like someone is missing all the time! But I love Sister Nanjo so much, and I am so happy that I get to work with her for another transfer! This transfer is actually 7 weeks instead of 6 like normal because of the changes at the MTC - so we get even more time as companions! We were both sad to lose Sister Northrop, but we are excited for this next transfer too!
Mom said that the number of sisters has been decreasing a bit in Tokyo recently, but that they will increase in the summer? About how many will there be when that happens do you think? I hear that we are getting 5 new sisters next transfer - 1 gaijin and 4 nihonjin, and then 5 the one after that but 4 gaijin and 1 nihonjin! Up to this point the gaijin sisters have been very few - but it sounds like by the end of summer the ratio of japanese and foreign sisters may even out! It's exciting to see the changes that are happening - and to have the younger sisters coming too!
Mom, I love what you said about how you get a different insight from Ether 12:27 every time you read it. I had the same experience this week! (well, Sister Nanjo had the insight and then shared it with me :) ) If you look at what comes before verse 27 it is Ether expressing his concern that he is weak in writing, and that the people who would read his writings would mock at his weakness. Then the Lord promises Ether that His "grace (or enabling power) is sufficient for the meek that they will not take advantage of your weakness"..."if they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them". When I read it this way I realized that God gives us weaknesses not only so that through his grace we can be humble and grow, but he gives His grace to those that are to receive us as well that they may overlook our weaknesses. We may still be weak, but if those listening to us are humble and meek than through the grace of God, even though we are weak, we can be or have a strong influence unto them.
The Lord really does love us and he will do everything he can to help us, and those around us to accept us, as long as we turn to him.
Well all is well here in Atsubetsu - it is still winter, it snows almost everyday, but we are staying pretty warm - no frost bite yet! :) I learned yesterday that it is not a good idea to schedule appointments that require you to wait at the church for a while after church - yesterday as we were waiting for our appointment to show up the ward clerk came up to me and asked me to give a talk in sacrament meeting next week. Just that morning I was saying how lucky we were to stay in the same ward so we wouldn't have to give a hello sacrament talk! But of course I agreed - and then I found out the topic. I am going to give a talk on Preparing for the Second Coming. In Japanese. For 10 minutes. next week. Lets just say that in that moment my whole week's personal study and language study time got planned out all at once! I'll let you know how that goes next week. Pray for me!
I hope you are all doing well in Japan, Singapore, Liberia, and Utah! Wow, It is getting increasingly difficult to explain where my family lives! I love you all! Have a great week!