Monday, June 29, 2015

Blog: Hot and Rainy

So this week was a tough one. I mean we have investigators and stuff.
I think it's just the constant rain that is getting me down. Constant
rain and the fact that I have to go out in it. Which sometimes is fun,
sometimes not so fun. Especially when it is hot.
So I think the biggest reason it is tough is because I have been
struggling as to what our investigators need to progress. I feel like
they are all kind of at a standstill right now. Which is almost more
frustrating than not having investigators, haha! But I think it was
during a family home evening lesson we were having with the kind of
less active family last night, when a very distinctive thought came to
my head. Why do you hold yourself back from your potential? It was so
funny because I could see the less active in front of me as well. Who
has so much potential to be a great priesthood leader. And then I very
much thought of myself as a missionary when I go out and contact
people and I just immediately think that they won't want to listen to
the gospel because they look busy, or they are young so they have no
interest in religion. And I realized that it was very much me limiting
myself from greater potential that the Lord sees in me. But no matter
what state I am in I always know I can turn to the Lord for comfort
and help. And isn't that just in itself amazing. When I have a hard
time I can ask Him why, or what He wants me to learn from it. And when
I am having a better day I can thank Him and feel His pure love. I am
just so glad to have the gospel in my life and be able to receive
answers to my questions and help from my loving Heavenly Father. And
who wouldn't want that?!
I am almost out of time, so I won't be able to tell you of some of the
coolest miracles we saw this week! But just know that the Lord answers
prayers. Try to strive to always be sincere when you speak with our
Father in Heaven, because that time is very sacred and we can receive
answers from Him. Also the greatest gift that God gives to man I think
is the ability to be an answer to somebodies prayer! It is just the
greatest feeling in the world! And Christ was an answer to the prayers
of all His children. And I know that He is our Savior and I know that
His work will move forward if we but have the faith! Which is
sometimes the HARDEST part! But we can all gain that experience which
is why we are here :) Glad that everyday is a new day for improvement.
Love you all!!!!

Sister Johnson

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Blog: Pancake Party

So this week was also a week of miracles! I don't know if I told you,
but around February (Wow, that feels not that long ago to me, haha!)
we had our chocolate night activity. And literally like nobody showed
up. No members. Like 5 non-members. It was just sad. And I was so
disappointed. So I was more than apprehensive about doing another
activity. But we have this big Sunday goal so we decided to do an
activity to try and get people into the church and to feel that
special spirit. We decided on pancake party. Easy, for people of all
ages, and some fun games to go along with it. And it was a
success!!!!! Of course we were kind of frantic the whole time trying
to get kids and adults organized. But like 30 people came half members
half non-members! And it was awesome!!!! Now I definitely want to do
more activities with the ward. I will attach some pictures so you can
try and fathom the awesomeness!
But, ya, also this week we had some finding miracles. Love those
finding miracles. Because I don't know if you know, but talking to
random people on the street about God can kind of be a bit scary. But
if you try hard then the miracles come. Because your fear is replaced
with faith. And what great things follow faith! So we had streeted all
the way to the tip or our area where we had no luck. We tried to pass
out a book of Mormon like three or four times and it was just sad to
watch these people reject something so great. But then we got to house
around in this new area. And at first we housed into an area where
nobody answered there door. We found out that the elders had housed
the same apartment building like a couple days before! Haha! No
wonder! So then we left that building and tried another, still no
luck. So then we decided to pray. And I opened my eyes and saw this
apartment with all these lights on. So we housed there and at the end
of the hall on the second floor a miracle happened. I say miracle, but
at first I thought we were going to have to run for our lives. We
knocked on this door. And this guy in a dirty Nike shirt smelling a
bit like alcohol like busted out of the apartment. Scared me like
crazy! And he came out and was leaning on his apartment door. At that
point I was planning an escape route. But then he started to talk
about God, and how he really wanted to have that hope and light of
Christ that he saw when we showed him the Joseph Smith pamphlet. At
first I thought it was because he was just way drunk. But we talked
about repentance, and he seemed to understand everything we said and
he was very grateful that he was able to meet us. So we made a return
appointment and will go with the elders this next time, but ya. It was
a way awesome experience. He was very nice and so humble. It is very
miraculous to see how God prepares His elect.
Then a couple of days before we were housing in the middle of the
afternoon. Which can sometimes be hard because it's just old people
that are home, not that old people aren't awesome. But they don't
usually like listening about Jesus Christ. Plus it was super humid and
hot this day, luckily it didn't rain, though :) So we were housing
around without any luck when we knocked on the door and this young Mom
came out. And we talked to her about God, and she told us how she is
currently pregnant and was worried about having a fourth child and
that some people told her to do an abortion. But she said that she
already felt like it had life and didn't want to. And I think us
talking to her and reassuring her that she had made the right choice
made her feel more confident that she had made the right choice. It
was an awesome conversation. Plus she told us where to buy some cheap
ice cream around her house :) We talked for about 2 hours with this
woman. And her three other kids came home and then like 5 of their
friends came over. And to every kid that came over she asked if they
believed there was a God. Got some yes's and no's, but that was really
cool. It gave us a chance to introduce ourselves to some kids. Which
was kind of fun. And at one point they all came to the front door and
just stared at me because one of the kids overheard I was from
America. So that was really funny! They asked me my favorite animal
and food, haha! They were adorable!!! Anyways that was our week full
of miracles.
Right now our investigators are improving at a slower rate. But one of
our previous investigators who is busy all the time came to the
pancake party! She is still busy, but I think when summer comes in
August she can definitely get baptized! How amazing, right?! I can't
wait to introduce more of this gospel to these people! It's gonna be a
good week!
Anyways, love ya all! Hope you also have a great week full of
miracles! Let's all be miracle proactive!!! Speaking of miracles,
shout out to Sister Price, going to RUSSIA!! So crazy! You'll be the
best missionary ever Hannah! Love ya!

District meeting and indo curry! (evans, redd, schoenmn, ratzlaff,
kozaki, me, beer, loderup)

Us on the way home. Beer chourou was transferring the next day so
we took a nice picture.:)

Pancake party!!!

Musical chairs at the pancake party

Ninja assassin at the party

Murderer in the dark at the pancake party (this looks like some
kind of satanic ritual, haha!)

Blog: Feed My Sheep

So this week was like crazy but really not all that crazy at the same
time. I think I say that about every week though. I'm all like, "whoa,
miracles and stuff. And whoa, challenges and stuff." But as a
missionary it is like this crazy spiritual roller coaster everyday. It
is really quite interesting. The Lord wants me to learn a lot I think.
Because I am used to everything just being crazy all the time but
still have no idea what to do. Because each time it's like a different
kind of crazy. It is super interesting though. Just goes to show how
we can easily forget God. I have realized that there is this very
finite string that attaches me to this world. And it's so odd,
because it is so hard to let go of. I wish i could just be like Peter,
or John and just let it all go and serve a mission for the rest of my
life. But I think I would probably die on the side of the road. Haha,
so for now I will be Sister Johnson and work my way up to Peter,
James, and John status.
But yep, this week was craziness for teaching lessons and stuff. And
we decided to do more less active work, so yesterday we wandered
around for like an hour and a half trying to find this ladies house.
Because it is IMPOSSIBLE to find Japanese addresses. I am not even
lying, nobody has them written on their houses. Half the time I can't
even tell where the front door is on Japanese houses, haha! But then
we decided to dendou around the are where her house should've been and
ran into this awesome lady! Who was busy but she wanted us to come
back so we said we would visit her same time next week. And it was
also kind of funny because while she was talking to us, I think her
mom or something was just like wandering from room to room in the
background. Haha, idk, it was just really funny.
Also had a really crazy revelation. Probably not that crazy and
probably very obvious to all you peeps, but it was really awesome in
the moment. So I was just sitting on the couch after lunch thinking
about our investigators with baptismal dates and how hard it is to get
them to progress. So I just like looked up and asked God what He
wanted me to do. And I had a thought come to my mind so distinctly
that I swear it was a voice. And it said, "Feed my sheep." So like
crazy I looked up that scripture in John 21. And I just read it like
over and over again. And of course I don't know everything about how
to do what, and what the perfect finding strategies are. But I have
realized that this work is about more than just me trying to drag
people through their conversion. It is to help them become self
established in the principles of their loving God. A God who wants to
help them and has sent a wayward soul as myself to try and do just
that. Haha, so I am going to try and change my attitude a bit more
since it wasn't an attitude of gratitude this last week. Not that I
was unhappy or grumpy. But I could definitely improve and really love
this time that I am here, because it is short. And I need to learn a
lot more if I am to be a good member mission that is for sure!
Anyways, that is all I really have to say for now. But crazy that
school is already out!!!!!! Wow, that was fast!!! I am dreading summer
because I heard it get's CRAZY hot here. Not looking forward to that!
But very excited to go and meet more awesome people! LOVE YOU ALL<

Sister Johnson
They had a bit sale on ice cream at this grocery store we play
basketball at. Needless to say we bought a lot of ice cream.

We got soaking wet riding home in the rain. Rainy season in Japan.
I don't think I'll miss it, haha. Love the smell though. It is a nice
change from the usual Taniyama dog food smell :)

Someone from kodomo eikaiwa printed a picture that we took with all
the kids and I saw this written on the little bag thing they put the
picture in. And I thought it was really creepy and funny, so I'm
posted this picture, haha!

Blog: Work til you drop

So Miracles! Miracles galore!
So first off, I am exhausted. Yesterday especially I'm pretty sure I
was cross eyed through most of church. But it's the best kind of
tired! I really felt like I had let myself get lost in the work. And
although you are tired, you know that the Lord has helped you along
every step and because you had to depend on Him you were able to see
his hand in your life greater than ever before. This is very much how
I felt about this week.
Plus my new beanchan is just the best! This girl is so hard working,
and because she is Japanese  she can really understand and connect
with the people we talk to, and they just love her! But yes, this week
we had a training with our zone. Where we discovered that one of the
twelve had come to the asia missions and told all the mission
presidents that we can do more baptisms. So we made another goal to
focus on our sacrament meetings. Our last goal was making baptismal
dates. But as I have discovered this week. That making the date
itself, which seemed like a big hurtle, is merely just a pebble in
front of a mountain. We were able to make dates with two new
investigators this week! It was a big miracle! I was so scared since
Kashiwa shimai wasn't going to be there anymore, she was so good at
helping people understand the concept of baptism and make them feel
comfortable. But as I relied on the Lord and spoke His message with
the confidence I should have as a disciple of Him, I found that I can
be a good tool in the hands of the Lord. And that although I am still
not a very good teacher at all, that the Lord can refine me and use me
as a messenger of His truth. And let the spirit work through me to
help His children. But, ya! We had some awesome lessons with
investigators this week, also some very interesting ones as well. We
also had some BIG miracles!
So one day we were heading to go to a lesson with a recent convert and
had a little time to dendou, but the streets were pretty empty. Then
as we were coming to this cross walk this girl walked right in
us. And as awkward as it would be, I hopped off my bike and started
talking to her. She had some MAJOR interest. She wanted to see our
church and come to church and know of our teachings! Waaaay kinjin!
However, she had a big test coming up this next week  so she couldn't
make a time to meet. So I felt this incredibly strong impression, that
if I move my lips that she would be prepared right now to receive the
message. So I asked her if she had time right then to come and take a
tour of our church. And She said YES! So we walked over with our bikes
to the church and who was there? Our recent convert who is usually
late, was there early! And we did like a joint member tour with this
girl who was taking pictures and everything! Who does that?! And when
we showed her the font, I felt like everything we explained was just
confusing her more. But then our recent convert bore an awesome
testimony on baptism, seeing as she had received it pretty recently.
And it was great! We got her phone number and she is excited to see
and meet with us again!
Then we had this fireside with the members where we taught about
missionary work. The elders planned most of it, and we kind of ran out
of time at the end, but I think it went great. Of course it won't all
change at once, but if we start the fire in their heart and move
things a long little by little Japan will explode for sure! Elder
Eyering even said so in his prophecy of Japan. So we will make it
happen for sure! But while we were studying and planning for this
fireside I realized that I had not prepared myself and done my duty at
ALL before I became a missionary. And I think that is why the Lord
sent me to Japan where member missionary work might pretty soon be the
only way to do missionary work. I needed to realize that I have to do
my part from here on out. We were reading from this book "Power of
everyday missionaries". If you have not read this book. Read it right
now. You will discover that you have more power in you than you ever
thought before. And that you might not have a physical name tag but the
Lord is mindful of all his children and he will help you like he does
his full time missionaries complete his work. I mean missionaries were
and are just regular members who focus on the Lords work for a year or
two. And regular is busy, but there are small things that we can do to
help build God's kingdom. For by small and simple things, great things
come to pass. But yes, realized I was a terrible missionary before. So
I read my patriarchal blessing and some passages from this book and
realized. That the Lord will always provide and he already has
provided so many opportunities for me to share the gospel, which has
helped me grow SO much as a person. I know the Lord will get His work
done. Only our faith will limit His hand in our life. I know that this
gospel is true. Let's love one another, truly and share this gospel!
Love you all!

Sister Johnson

front of

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

 Blog: New Japanese Bean
Kozaki shimai and I

So this week was just CRAZY!! I AM A NEW MOM!!! CRAZY miracles, CRAZY
schedule, just all around CRAZINESS!
So this last week was transfer week, and my beloved companion of three
transfers was transferred to ube. A place about 6 hours north of
Taniyama. So we were basically running around trying to have fun in
our last moments, do missionary work, and pack and say goodbyes! So
that was really crazy. We were companions for 3 transfers and we saw
SO many miracles! I just love that girl to death! She always laughed
at my jokes and did the funniest things! I cried after she left!! But
I know it will not be the last time I see her, gonna bring her back to
America with me! So I guess I will have to leave one suitcase halfway
empty, she is small so she'll fit :) However right after her leaving
finally registered in my mind I was quite stricken with fear and
excitement because I realized that this trainer thing was actually
happening. And she did truly come. Her name is Kozaki shimai from
Nagoya, yes, she is Japanese :) I am still trying to get the hang of
things, but the night before when I found out who my new companion was
I cried because I felt very, very unprepared to train, and a Japanese
bean at that! But oh how the Lord makes weak things strong.
I feel very much that this is part of God's plan for me. I have
learned so much from Kozaki shimai and have been very blessed to
receive some very much needed humble pie. So basically to sum her up,
she is the greatest! It has been nothing but miracles since she came!
I still feel very inadequate as a trainer, but that is when I have
realized the Lord's hand in my life the greatest. But the miracles
started Tuesday I guess. So this lady that was a former investigator
from way before I came here texted us on Tuesday and said that she
wanted to study from the Book of Mormon together. So very excited to
have her lesson this week. Then my bean came. And she speaks Japanese
so I just accompanied her to the bike place and she knew everything
that was going on and took care of it herself while I stared at shiny
new bikes. Then we had to do some iPad training on Saturday and had a
super fun ping-pong night! A lot of people showed up. Then on Sunday,
miracle explosion! So in the morning we had a baptism! The elders
investigator Yamashita-san. He is the Dad of mine and Kashiwa shimai's
investigator shotaro-kun. So they are well on their way to an eternal
family! He is such a wonderful guy and I am so blessed to know their
family. The Lord really does love and help his childern!
So then after the baptism we had sacrament meeting and during
sacrament meeting we got a text from one of our investigators saying
that she couldn't come. So we were a bit bummed about that. But oh how
the Lord always brings in the blessings. So after sacrament meeting
had ended one of the members came up to us and said that this new lady
who had come to eikaiwa last week was at the church. And I was like
very confused because first they said it in Japanese and second I
couldn't figure out why in the world she was there. But apparently she
had gone to church when she was little but never had the courage to
come after that until she came to english class at the church and
realized that she wanted to come, so she came on her own. So I grabbed
one of the strongest members we have and tried to organize my thoughts
into a lesson and we had a very jumbled yet spiritual lesson due to my
bean-chan being so awesome, and the member sharing her experiences.
The spirit was strong! Then we made an appointment for her next week
and she is just so solid!
Then after church we had some meeting and we were able to talk to the
branch president and get his input on a lot of things, which really
helped us as missionaries being able to understand how we can help the
branch. He also gave us a lot of ideas and direction as to what we
should do next. He also informed us on a temple class they will be
starting because we have had so many recent convert members lately so
they want to keep them progressing. We are so blessed! We were also
able to talk with him about getting Mayu shimai (one of our recent
converts who went less active but now is crazy strong and having
spiritual experiences DAILY!) a calling and a temple recommend
interview next week! To be honest when I first met her I thought she
would never come to this point, but oh me of little faith. She is
seriously one of the strongest members right now I think, plus I just
love the girl to death. She's hilarious! So ya, crazy day at church.
Then we planned for a lesson which did not go as planned. Kumamoto-san
is an 81 year old grandma who is way super nice and wants to learn
about the gospel. She made an return appointment last week, but when
she answered the door this time, it seemed she had forgotten and that
she has been busy and will continue to be busy so she couldn't make a
return appointment with her. I can't really understand her Japanese
because she uses a lot of difficult words, but it seems like she is
having a lot of issues with money and family and she is trying to
clean out her apartment to move. So that is why she couldn't meet with
us. So we tried to say we could help her clean and move, and that she
would be helping us by letting us help her (because Japanese people do
not accept help from anyone) but she said she would have to refuse. So
basically we planned on inviting her to be baptized and in the end she
dropped us. And my bean still being pure in heart and soul cried
afterwards because she felt that she couldn't help this poor old
woman. That's is when we had a bit of a heart to heart.
But here's the kicker. Remember a few weeks back when we had all these
investigators suddenly drop us out of nowhere. I felt very frustrated
and sad at the time always thinking about "what if..." And then
gradually I started to trust in God and His plan and move forward with
that faith that He is all powerful and can take care of anyone and
that I had done my part and to leave the rest to Him. I think I now
understand why I needed that experience. So that I could explain to my
companion that she had done all that was asked of her. And that maybe
our part in helping that person was over, but to know that God will
take care of them. That we are passing that investigator to God, not
dropping them. And although we feel sad that they choose to not
continue forward, we should not feel guilty because that is the devil
working down our trust in God. So after that we got up, brushed off
the dust of our feet, and moved forward into helping more prepared
people God needed us to meet.
Haha, and you think the miracles stop there. Then that night after we
got home we got a phone call from a number I did not know. It was a
lady who said she would come to a church activity in 2009. Yes, 2009.
Who felt guilty about not going and wanted to meet with us and
apologize to the elders who invited her. Well, obviously those elders
are long gone(however I did not know she wanted to apologize to them
until after we hung up, so I hope that Beer and Ratzlaff chourou
resemble the 2009 elders... haha) but we get to meet with her today,
and she apparently wants to be friends with us, too. Not sure if she
wants the lessons yet, but we will see today I guess :)
So basically their are so many miracles that I can barely keep my head
on straight. But oh how the Lord blesses his servants! I am so happy
that I have this opportunity to train, and hope to learn a lot more!
The church is true, and this work truly is marvelous! I hope you all
have a fantastic last week of may!
Also HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY MOM!!!!! And happy anniversary mom and dad!
Hope you have a good one!

Johnson Shimai
 Blog: Trainer

So this week was just nuts! Got to see a lot of miracles and get to see a whole lot more this next transfer in Taniyama, because I`M STAYING!! Yay!! Unfortunately my companion Kashiwa is not. :( I am way sad, but I`m not gonna think about it now because then I would cry. I don`t have to cry until Thursday when she actually leaves. But I bet you are wondering how I found out so early. It is because I am going to be a trainer. To a brand new, fresh, right out of the MTC bean-chan. I am very much scared to death. But I really think that the Lord is asking me to depend on Him as much as I can. And He is asking me in a way in which I really have no other choice, haha! But I am very excited, and I hope that the excitement just grows. But if you do have a minute to spare, please pray for me :)
But other than that we also saw a lot of cool miracles this last week. Our zone at the middle of this transfer had made a goal of 30 baptism dates by the end of the transfer. When we made the goal I think we were all pumped but knew that we really had to depend on the Lord to guide us on how to direct 30 people to committing to follow Him. And throughout the goal it kind of felt like maybe we would make it, and maybe we wouldn`t. It was a very up and down month. And if you have been keeping up with my blog you would know that all the baptismal dates we had made recently suddenly just dropped us. Really, like the day before they would be way pumped about coming to church and then the very next day they would drop us. To say the least I was very discouraged. But faith isn`t faith until it is tried, right? Haha, at least I can say that now! But at the time it was very difficult, but we tried to stay positive and move forward. It was just on Sunday that we only had a few days until the goal ended and Taniyama sisters had zero baptismal dates. I was very frustrated because i felt like everyone around us was seeing miracles (which was way cool and gave me a lot of hope) but I felt that all we were seeing was disappointments. So with like no hope or plan left of how to get even just one baptismal date. I just prayed and asked God that we could make one baptismal date for the goal. Then this last weekend happened. One of our baptismal dates that had kind of faded out about a month ago came to church! We told her it was Kashiwa`s last Sunday so she decided to come. Then we had an amazing lesson. She kind of faded out because she got very busy. But when she came on Sunday she didn`t look very lively. Apparently her interviews for finding jobs and things hadn`t been going very well at all. So in the lesson we basically talked about trials and hope. And she cried, she really has such a strong relationship with the Holy Ghost, she is just amazing! And Kashiwa is even more amazing, she really taught with the spirit and love and made our investigator feel that hope that comes from God. She then made a new baptismal date, understanding that it was a very serious commitment and that she does want to try her best. But we assured her that even through times of failure and success that the Lord will love us through it all and help us with his Grace. So she made the commitment of a goal to be baptized! It was just amazing! Such a cool miracle. And guess what?! We made the 30 baptismal date goal yesterday as a zone! The Lord really works in strange ways, to us at least, but He always get`s His work done. And in the best way possible.
I know that our Savior lives. And that he just wants us to be happy. Before my mission I really felt like happiness was the absence of problems. But on the short time I have been on my missio I realized that happiness is felt because of our problems and opposition. And through our trials even more happiness is available for us to feel! We can even feel lots of happiness during our trails strangely enough. I am so glad that I have been able to be part of such a fantastic zone, and have been given the opportunity to come closer to our Savior. Still got a long ways to go, but the work has just begun!
I hope you know that I love you all. And I love the Lord very much. And He loves you more than anyone. Hope your week is full of miracles!

Rode on a Shinkansen for the first time!

I refuse to get wet

Now that is what I call a sunday