Sunday, February 22, 2015

 Blog: Valentines 2015

So this week was kind of crazy!
First of all we had the Whitely conference. Which required a three plus hour bus ride up to Kumamoto, but we got to stay with the sisters up there for a night, which was way fun. Six sisters crammed into one apartment :)! It was actually quite fun. And the conference was awesome I learned so much!
Then we had a lesson with our two so-so investigators. Lately they have really been struggling. But we prayed about them a lot this week as to what we should do for their next lesson. We decided to focus on Christ and watched the Faith in Christ DVD. One of them almost cried! It was fantastic! The spirit was so strong and the lesson definitely went a different direction. That`s what happens when you focus on what our church is all about!
Then we had an activity that we planned this week for valentines day. It went pretty good, except like nobody showed up, which was a let down, but we still had fun and ate a lot of chocolate! Then that night we got a text from our investigator with a baptismal date saying that she couldn`t come to church, which means she can`t get baptized this month. We were very sad, but we are still hopeful that she can make a new baptismal date and become an awesome member!
This week was also my companions birthday! Happy birthday Kashiwa Shimai! It was so funny though. Because the night before I made her favorite jello stuff, but she came out of the shower quickly so I took it off the stove and put it in the cupboards so she wouldn`t notice. (with an oven mitt under it so it wouldn`t set our apartment on fire) And after she went to bed I continued with the preparations! It was way fun, and she didn`t even notice, ha! Then that night for her birthday some of the YSA`s came and pied her in the face, it was excellent. They got whip cream all over. Good thing we had our apartment check that morning :). 
That night we also wanted to eat at her favorite restaurant, but we didn`t know which train station it was to get off. So, of course, we got off on a random one. But we were lead by the spirit and we were able to find the restaurant which was pretty good. 
Then on Sunday it was a branch presidency meeting, which is like a stake meeting. And it went so well. A lot of members showed up, and we had a huge jikushoukai ( Self Introduction) at the end. The food was SO good!
Then that night, quite the miracle occurred. We were heading to some apartments to house when we ran into an older woman who seemed way excited to talk to us. She said that she wanted to make an appointment with us but didn`t have her calendar with her. So of course she walked us to her house and invited us in and gave us delicious yogurt drinks. On the way to her house though, she said that usually she doesn`t go to that post office, since there is a closer one to her house. But today she just felt like she wanted to go to the post office we bumped into her at. Aw, yes, that `feeling`. And she kept saying, `wow what a coincidence that I went to that post office and ran into you sisters there.` Yes, what a `coincidence`. It was so awesome that we ran into her and she is way super nice. We are excited to go visit her again!

Well that`s all I have for this week! Love you all!

Sakurajima, the volcano constantly erupting by our area. This a picture of it from our grocery store :)

Kashiwa Shimai making pancake balls (they are actually super delicious) experimenting for our chocolate making activity .

Us on our way grocery shopping. Just a glimpse of my are :)

Valentines day is a pretty big deal in Japan. They had these awesome illusions all over the train station that we were at!

Us at the Kumamoto apartment with all the shimai before the whitely conference

A member in our ward is super good at drawing and does a portrait for each of the missionaries that come. Super talented.

Happy birthday Kashiwa!

Us at the miracle restaurant. Brought there by the spirit.

Us eating at a Cora 姉妹 house! It was temakizushi, so good!

Us all whip cream-effied

Two really cute kids in our ward. These two really like playing together, haha :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

 Blog: Mountain Biking

So this week was pretty busy. I think. We had mensetsu`s ( interview) with the mission president. And special training from the AP`s. It went pretty well. But we got lost on the way up there, but we ran into some of the Elders and they knew where the church was. Really missionaries receive so many blessings from God! But then we also had zumba that day. The senior couple sister was a zumba instructor back in the U.S. of A. And a lot of people come, so it was way fun!

This week we taught an L.A. who literally keeps all the commandments, but she doesn`t come to church because her mother, who lives with her, is super hantai (against the church). Then we also taught two investigators who struggle with knowing if God is there and the plan of salvation. But we will keep working with them :). But something I realized as we were teaching these three sisters is that I am so glad I grew up in the church. Given I had to find out if these things were true on my own, but because i had been taught these things growing up it wasn`t as hard for me to grasp the concept I guess. Growing up in a Christ-centered home is really such a blessing that I took for granted. I am so glad that I know that our Savior lives and that he died for us. Church is true!

Then we taught a member who says he has weak faith. But he kind of made a resolve to read the book of mormon again. He enjoyed it the first time, but said he didn`t receive that feeling from God that it was true so he is kind of angry with God. But he said he wants to read it again. And we asked him when he was going to start reading. He said, `Why not today?` And we were like, Yes, yes Ryou, why not today? So awesome! He really is such a nice member though, he always thinks about others before himself.

Then we taught our kinjin (investigator) lesson 3 and part of lesson 4. She is so busy that we just cram in as much as we can in an hour since her baptism date is coming up. But man, her faith is just strong. She still has a strong desire to be baptized and said she will keep the commandments of prayer, scripture study, obedience, baptism, and confirmation. She was very surprised about the W.o.W. and said that she loves tea and drinks it everyday and said it is difficult for her to understand. But she said she would try it for a week. Then she came to church the next day. And what a miracle! Everyone that spoke that day talked about keeping some sort of commandment. One even talked about the W.o.W. And after we asked her how the W.o.W. is going. And she said that she really does want to know if the W.o.W. is from God and that she will pray and such to find out! She is really so amazing and I just love her.

But yep, that is basically all for this week. Love you all! Hope you have a good one! Keep the commandments!

Johnson 姉妹

Sunday, February 1, 2015

 Blog: Climbing the Mountain
So this week was exhausting in both great and not so great ways!
First of all this week we had so many awkward moments during housing. And by that I mean when we would go up to someones door they were just getting home. So they were trying to get into their house and we just like talk to them outside. I kid you not this happened like 6 times this week. Or people were just leaving their house so they would come out and be leaving and we would follow them and try to share a message. It wasn`t very effective since they were in a hurry, but hey at least we tried.
This week we also did some far traveling. We went to Ibusuki to visit an L.A. and it was like an hour by train. Ibusuki is a huge vacation spot apparently, but it was cold the day we went so there was like no one outside. And my companion, bless her soul, doesn`t know North from South. Literally, we went in the opposite direction and got lost in Ibusuki, but it always makes for an awesome adventure! We like took this `road` that Kashiwa shimai chose, and it was basically walking through people`s backyards, haha! But found some awesome historic sites in the process. Then the next day I found the Yama(mountain) in tani(valley)yama. We went to a members house who lives way up in the mountains. But we got lost and went up this really obscure mountain highway path for 20 minutes, nothing but uphill. Realized we were lost, went back, and went up the actual obscure mountain highway path. My companion is way funny though, she felt so bad, but I don`t know I couldn`t help but laugh and cry at the same time (realized I am not a fan of uphill bike riding). But when we got to the members house we got to play with her super cute daughter. We went up to help her with her kids because she had just had a baby. 
Also this week we ate out a lot. We were just too tired to make anything for ourselves so we had McDonald (big macs are not all that big, tiny in fact), had udon (thick ramen noodles), and we went to a yakiniku shop owned by a member (SO GOOD!). It was all delicious.
We also met some awesome people. Lately our Potential Investigators have been odd. They like text us right after we talk to them giving us their emails and stuff. But they never become investigators. But Japanese people are very busy so it is hard to schedule an appointment with them. We did meet two people who had met with the missionaries before. And they seemed way excited to meet us. Hopefully we will be able to meet them again! This week we also gave a bible to a former investigator. But we weren`t able to find her at the mall where we decided to meet. I said a prayer hoping we would be guided to her or just be able to meet her. When we left I was very disappointed that we couldn`t meet her. But oh me with little faith. We ended up housing close by and she called us saying that she was at the mall now and we were able to have a short lesson with her. God answers prayers. It`s very true.
We also had another lesson with our golden investigator! She came to church! Yay!! All it took was explaining to her that she had to come to church in order to receive baptism. And she was perfectly fine with that and came. Also her lesson went super well. We had a member come and joint and it went so smoothly. Well, actually, she had some doubts about prophets, but by the end she seemed more convinced. And she said she has had good experiences with praying. Also during fast and testimony meeting she realized that she also has a testimony. Hallelujah! She is really such a strong daughter of God. I can`t wait until she can enter the waters of baptism and feel that everlasting guidance of the Holy Ghost! She`ll be an awesome member. There is still a lot left to teach her. But she is so in tune with the spirit already, and God has such a wonderful plan for her!
Well can`t believe it`s already February! Hope you have an awesome week!
Johnson Shimai
Us eating  our McDonalds.

Kashiwa shimai, me, Mari Shimai, and her Mom Kaneko Shimai eating Yakiniku! So delicious!

The crazy huts we found while we were lost in Ibusuki! Apparently they were excavated from a volcano eruption that happened a long time ago. They call it the Japanese pompei

Eating Udon