Monday, April 27, 2015

 Blog: Baptism

So this week was AMAZING! We had our very first baptism. It was the 13 year old boy that I told you had started his lessons the week before. He was so prepared by the Lord and his family was very excited to see him get baptized. I think it also helped the Dad want to get baptized more as well, so such a miracle indeed.
But this week we did some finding and we had an awesome experience. So unfortunately I caught a bit of a cold. I think it was from the new elder who just came from the MTC. But we didn`t have a P-day last week since we went to the temple just this last Saturday. And I was very determined to go out and work, even if it killed me. Which it almost did, haha. But don`t worry I feel a million times better. And the Lord blessed me while we were working and we found two new investigators! They were both very nice and we made return appointments for this week, but we were suddenly informed that we had more ipad training meetings so we wouldn`t be able to go at our scheduled times. But we left them notes in their mail boxes and they emailed us back saying that we could visit again and one made a return appointment for Friday. Such a blessing indeed!
This week we also had a miracle where we decided to go out and dendo. We picked this neighborhood and then it started pouring rain. And my companion didn`t bring a coat and neither one of us brought umbrella`s so we were huddling in an apartments garage parking. We checked to see if the rain would let us, and the weather report said that there was 30% chance of rain today. So we were like more like 100% chance it is already raining. So we waited and decided to pray. So after we said a prayer we decided to run to this little shop that we saw earlier. So we ran out from our shelter into the rain and almost immediately the rain stopped. I guess the Lord just needed us to take a leap of faith in order to receive the blessings. Such an awesome experience.
We also got to go to the temple this week, which was AWESOME!! Love the temple so much! I definitely took advantage of having one 5 minutes from my house. Because we had to drive 5 hour to get there, but it was way fun still. We just chilled with the elders and some members. And the temple was amazing. I had the headphones on for the English translation, but I actually understood some of the Japanese session as well, which was way cool! The temple is such a blessed place. And it is one of my favorite things to tell investigators about. They always seems so excited and amazed by the temple. It really has shown me that I took a lot for granted while it was readily available to me. I hope you all reading this decide to take a trip to the temple sometime this week, because real happiness and blessings are found in the house of the Lord :)
Then after that we were able to go to see this artist named seiji who makes shadow art. He creates all these layers and makes shadows out of paper and creates the coolest art stuff! I wish I could show you pictures cause it was just amazing. The guy has real talent, diligence, and hard work. I loved going to the art show. So basically it was just the best P-day ever!
Well that`s all for this week. The Lord`s hand is really pushing this work forward. And as a missionary I have found many, many, MANY areas I want to improve on both now and in the future. But this life is all about learning and improving. And I am so grateful for this chance to learn and grow like never before! The Lord numbers us all and knows our needs, this I can testify is true. I hope you all have a miracle filled week!
Me sleeping on our way back from the temple. My head looks really small for some reason, haha!

The artist came to his gallery and walked through the front area, it was hard to take a picture so it`s a bit blurry

THE BAPTISM! Kashiwa, me, shotaro, beer, and ratzlaf

Us on the way to the temple! (Beer, Ratzlaff, Me, and Kashiwa)

The baptism continued. Members who helped in his conversion and his family and also some random members that jumped into the picture. It was a good time!

Monday, April 20, 2015

 Blog: Members Help The Work
So this week was just one full of miracles!
The Lord works in the strangest ways sometimes :) But they are also the BEST ways ever!
So the beginning of this week was kind of crazy. One of the elders in our area returned home (in missionary terms ``he died``) And his companion was going to be a trainer. So on P-day we just kind of hung out with some members who wanted to take us out to eat and some of the other elders in the next area that were also returning home. It was fun, but crazy. Then we went and ate at that members house again. The one that let us wear her kimonos! They are seriously such a nice family, really an example of the believers.
Then we kind of just did a lot of regular dendou, housing and such. Don`t get me wrong I like finding, but lots of finding can be a bit tiring. And lately, to me, at least it felt like we had a LOT of finding time. So I prayed to God that we would be able to teach more lessons to people. I was thinking that maybe we would find a new investigator on the street or something. But of course His ways are higher than mine. And we got a surprising call on Friday morning. So a member who got baptized with her daughter back in August had been jointing for us lately. And her and her daughter are just really awesome members! Her husband and sons would also come to church occasionally, but whenever we asked if other family members wanted to receive the lessons or do activities with us, she seemed apprehensive. So we didn`t push to hard, but we kept trying to think of ways we could get our foot in the door. Then Easter Sunday :) One of the most marvelous times of the year came and we invited all members to invite non-member friends. We challenged this sister and she asked if non-member family could come as well. And we were like YES, YES, BRING YOUR FAMILY. So they came on Easter Sunday and some of the members were just awesome and sprung right into action. So anyways, back to this call. She called us and said her son wanted to be baptized. On his birthday. This Sunday the 19th. So we were scrambling making calls to AP`s to see if the church attendance counted and such. And we scheduled dates to teach him lessons. We basically teach him a lesson everyday this week then he has his interview. So does God answer prayers? Heck yes he does! So we are super excited to help him receive baptism. He is a wonderful kid and he might not understand everything, but he does understand that this gospel is good and will be a blessing to his life. So we are very excited for that and pray all goes well :)
Also conference happened. If any of you remember that far back. It was wonderful! I have never enjoyed conference so much in all my life. Why might you ask? Because I came with questions and they were answered! Plus every time I listen to the general authorities speak I can feel their love for their savior and his love for me. I was reminded countless times that even in my state of inadequacy the Savior loves me all the more. He just needs me to grow and progress. He came to this earth to help ME with my inadequacies in hopes that I can use my experiences to help others. And a mission has been the greatest eye opener to me since the day I was born. Although still very much imperfect I can feel a light growing within me that I think all missionaries understand. Whether you be a full time, or just giving a simple hello to your neighbor next door. When your on the Lords work he is there to guide you through. I know that this church is true. Although the members may not be perfect, we are all trying to be better people and that`s what counts. Progression my friends, it`s the best gift God has ever given. I am very excited to continue on this journey and get yelled at by crazy old people, doors slammed in my face, the hand and see all the MIRACLES that come as people find that change of heart and see the light of Christ in what may seem like endless darkness! So grateful that I know I am a child of God. I hope you all know that whatever life throws your way, you don`t go through it alone. Happy Easter and April everyone!


Eating out with a member (mine shimai)

Shiro kuma! One of the best things I have eaten! Transfer P-day!

zimmerman chourou`s last eikaiwa!

Oota kazoku shokuji

conference (beer, ratzlaff, me, and kashiwa)
 Blog: Easter Week

So this week has been both crazy and not really. Well actually just today was really crazy. It`s transfer P-Day! And I`m staying here in Taniyama with my same comp. We`ll be going on three transfers son!
But anyways this week we`ve been running around cause of Easter, one of the elders investigators got baptized and just a bunch of finding. We have had a lot of finding time lately. We`ve have been able to teach so many people on the street and we are getting God`s word out there :) The only problem is Japanese people are very busy so it is very difficult to make return appointments. But of course the path doesn`t end there so we continue on until we find a heart of Zion!
Also we were able to make another baptismal date! Our zone had an Easter goal of two baptismal dates per companionship. And to be honest I didn`t think we would have been able to get two, but I kept the hope and my companion told me we would so I put it up to the Lord. And of course he delivered. She is a former investigator, and a very funny lady! She cracks me up. Her understanding is really difficult and when we watched the YW broadcast she said her head hurt afterwards. As did mine, not quite that far up on my Japanese. But she said that she wanted to work towards being baptized again. So we will take it slowly with her. And of course our other investigator is just amazing. We have become closer friends and I can see the light of Christ blooming inside of her heart. It`s the craziest thing ever!
This week was just good. And i realized that as we tried to accomplish the Easter Goal, I think it is the hardest I have ever worked on my mission. Which just reminded me how important very specific goals are. Sometimes it is hard on a mission because there are so many goals you could do, and it`s hard to just focus on one. But when you find a goal prayerfully you know God will follow up on His end. So gonna try and find a new dream, I mean goal :) 
That`s pretty much all for this week. Gonna keep trying to listen to the Spirit, but sometimes the only answer I get is go to work. It`s easier for the Lord to direct moving feet! Thank you for all the prayers in my behalf. Hope you all had a fantastic conference and Easter!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

The giant okonomiyaki we ate! It was huge!

The sakura tree`s are starting to bloom here in paradise :)

So this week we did a lot of dendou. Since like more than half our investigators moved we have had a lot of time freed up. And so now we are basically doing a lot of finding and looking for investigators. Which can be quite difficult at times. I would also be quite apprehensive if two foreigners came up to me and asked me about my religious beliefs. But you meet some really nice and prepared people because of it, so dendou is pretty fun! We haven`t found that diamond in the rough yet, but we`ll keep looking!
But yep, this week we had district meeting which went super well. And afterwards we ate Okonomiyaki (cabbage/seafood/pancake very delicious) it was at least twice the size of my face. Very delicious.
We were also able to teach a Less Active this week who came to the branch meeting on Sunday, and although she fell asleep she did tell us that she realizes the good influence church has on her. Unfortunately she didn`t wake up yesterday morning and didn`t come to church. But we`ll get her next time!
Then we started teaching our investigator the commandments, she seems like she really wants to follow the prophet and get her own answer for herself whether it is true or not. Which is awesome, I love how she always decides to find out if it is true for herself. That is how I know it is her true conversion. She also wasn`t able to come to church though because she got sick :( But hopefully we will see her this week and teach her.
Then on Sunday they asked the missionaries to teach a combined relief society and priesthood lesson. I think it went pretty well. We didn`t have a lot of time to plan but with the spirit we made it through. Which is also what we taught on! In order to understand those promptings from the spirit we need to build a relationship. Because the spirit is the most important part of anyone's missionary work. Whether it be a full-time or a member. Which is basically just doing the basics. Reading scriptures, praying, fasting, obedience. It really got me thinking that I really wasn`t good at those before my mission and is definitely something that I want to take back with me when I get home. Definitely developed better study habits here! Anyways that`s all i have for this week!
Thank you so much for all the prayers on my and our investigators behalf! I have definitely seen blessings that come through depending on our Savior and hope to do Him proud!
Anyways hope you have a good week!
OH! WAIT! I forgot to tell this crazy story! It actually happened like two weeks ago, but I keep forgetting to tell it. So we were riding our bikes to the train station and were crossing the street on our bikes and this old woman just like fell almost right on my bike. Because she was so close to my bike I kind of ran her over. But the lady was just unconscious in the middle of the street! I got off my bike and ran over to the lady. I didn`t want to move her not knowing where she was hurt or anything. But the lady was out. Then we saw blood coming from her head and told someone to call an ambulance. My companion went and grabbed a towel. Then she finally started to move. And I was like, hallelujah! She`s not dead! But ya, then a close by hotel brought a wheel chair over and we just sat there holding this towel against her head that was still bleeding and waiting for the ambulance. It was crazy! There are too many old people out and about. I can`t look at old ladies the same. But ya, that is my crazy story.

-Johnson Shimai