I think I'll start out with a story this week. On Saturday we had a couple of appointments in the morning - the first one went really well and we had a really good lesson/discussion about the Plan of Salvation with one of our investigators - a 20 year old girl who is going to be a nurse pretty soon. We left the lesson feeling really good, and left the church for our next appointment confident that we would only be in the blizzard going on outside until we made it to our next appointment. When we got there however, she wasn't feeling well, so we resorted to housing instead. Despite the blizzard we felt that we should go knock on the houses in the storm, not the apartments where we would be inside. The very first house we went to, Segawa was their name, a grandma opened the door and let us in the genkan to get out of the snow. She was a TALKER. Before we could explain anything about who we were, or that we were missionaries or really said anything at all we found ourselves sitting on her couch inside listening to her talk - I would say we were having a conversation, but that would be an exageration of our contribution. She kept telling us about her husband, and how he was a math teacher, and that there wasn't anything in the world that he didn't know, and that even now, decades later once a year students come and visit for a day or two. To make a long story short we ended up visiting with her for a good two hours - after the first hour when we finally had a chance to explain who we were and a little bit of our message she changed the topic to how she heard this rumor that people will slam doors on people like us without even listening to our message at all, and how she cried when she heard that - she had a fun time explaining the door slamming too.. "Ban ban ban ba bin binn bon - Kekko desu!" We heard that story a good 15 times or so too. I dont think I have laughed so hard with a compete stranger for such a long time before as I did with Segawa san :) wow that was a long story. gomen.
Later that day another appoitment fell through and we were on our way to do some dendo at the train station when all the sudden the thought came to me to visit a boy that just got baptized in the ward a few months ago. When I looked around to see where we were - we were exactly at the road where we needed to turn to get to his house. So we went down the hill to head to his house. The road was super icy, and my companion fell once, and I fell twice - but we continued. We got to parts of the road where the snow was up to our knees- but we kept going. We finally made it to his house, and when Yuma-kun ( the boy's name) answered the door we were surprised to see that he was close to tears, when he is usually one of the genkiest kids you'll ever meet. We talked to him for a while, and learned that he was feeling really distressed about things right then - with his parents getting angry at him for different things, and how he felt like no one could understand him - the best was his sister who could only understand about 50% maybe. We listened to him, and comforted him, letting him know that even if no one around him could understand him 100%, God did and that God would help him. I feel prompted to share Mosiah 24:12-16 with him, which we did, and then we said a prayer together before we left. He gave the prayer, and in it he said "Shimaitachi wa chodo nayandeita toki ni, chodo ii timing de kitekureta koto ni kanshyashiteimasu. Mata chodo ii seiku o wakachiatekuretakoto ni kanshyashiteimasu". "I'm grateful for the sister missionaries who came right when I was troubled, at just the right time and shared just the right scripture with me". I know that that was exactly where we needed to be at that time. I am so grateful that we decided to follow the prompting to visit him and that we didn't give up despite the difficult path to get there. I know that God was watching out for Yuma-kun, and I don't think there is any better feeling then to know that I was able to help him feel that right when he needed it.
I love being a missionary! I know that I am not strong enough to do it by myself, but I also know that I am not alone. And it is times like that that let me know that if I give my best than the Lord will make up the difference. I really appreciated what you said in your email about humilty and pride Dad, thank you so much for sharing that with me!
Mom and Dad, Thank you for your email! I haven't seen any yellow sand over here yet - just snow! Hopefully it will just stay at that ;) I actually dont really want the snow to end - mostly because when all the snow starts to melt the streets will turn into slushy messes everywhere - we've had a couple days where its been warm enough to melt a little bit and I am learning that I definitely prefer the snow to rain or puddles. But what will come will come!
That is so neat that you got to see the Litchfields! Are they still living in Canada? Tell them hello for me if you get the chance :) Speaking of Canada there is one sister missionary here from Canada, and I just met a Canadian man who lives in our same apartment building the other day. Kind of random, but oh well ;)
That is amazing that you had 6 baptisms in one day! How many baptisms does the Tokyo mission usually have per transfer?
What is the Candle Mama concert? I am having a hard time making an image of what that could be in my head... right now I am just remembering Dad's Santa story - you don't have a beard, but watch out if you wear a scarf! Insights on Love at Home.. well I dont know if this will help you or not, but We are teaching a family right now, The Nakandakari's - they have four kids and the oldest one has a baptismal date right now. Whenever we go to their house we usually start with a song and a prayer. They have been to the FHE that the Evans have at their house every month a few times now and "Love at Home" is always one of the songs they sing there. Their five year old, Samu kun loves that song, and his mom said that he will just start singing it randomly all the time "ai aru, ie yo!" "katei no naka ni, ai araba". That's all he can remember so he just sings those two lines over and over :) So now everytime we ask what they want to sing they all are super excited to sing "Love at Home". We sing all three verses everytime and they all sing - the 5, 7, 8, 10 year olds and the Mom all sing together with us. It is a beautiful sound - other times in the lesson the little ones lose focus and it can get pretty crazy, but during that song it is peaceful and you can feel the spirit so strong. There are many different religions in the world and many different ways of thinking, but the family is something that can reach every heart. Yesterday we met with another investigator who started talking about marriage how family and how strongly she believes that you can't understand love until you get married and have a family. I couldn't agree with her more - I obviously haven't been married before, but I know that the love that I feel in our family now is what has taught me to love others, and to feel God's love for me. Love at Home is the basis of any other love. It is the key, it is the foundation that any other kind of love is built on. That is why our families are so essential to everything in our lives, and in the gospel.
I don't know if any of that will help - but that is what I have learned just in the past day or two about Love at Home :) Let me know how your talk goes!
Mom and Dad, thank you so much for making our home a home full of love. You are both incredible examples to me, and I feel so blessed to have been sent to you!
Have a fabulous week in your spring weather!!