|I am actually happy even though the language is challenging and missionary days are a lot of work. This is a great time of my life!|
Yes, there were several bad earthquakes in the southern part of Japan this past week, it's so sad. Inquiring minds want to know: Did I feel the earthquakes? ---No, I was too far away. We had a zone conference call that talked about earthquake precautions and our zone leaders talked us through our emergency kits. Some of the food in our kits is expired, so we will buy more.. but we have plenty of water. They asked us regularly to practice earthquake drills. Sister Riggs and I talked about where we would run to safety around the apartment like if we were showering, sleeping, studying.. I haven't experienced an earthquake yet but I guess they are most common during spring and fall. Thank you and others for your concern!
In Japan here, the church wards are like family. Everyone takes care of each other. I've only seen this ward so far, so I can't say for all wards, but they tend to be really involved in missionary work. All the kids love missionaries and know the mission president. We work a lot with the members and try to get them to come with us to lessons. I've been trying to write down names and something about the person I've met. Those are good ideas, to not just pass time with people, but get to know them, and then help investigators and members get to know each other too. There are almost 200 members in the Okegawa ward though so I have a lot to memorize, but I'm getting there. Last night, we ate at the N________ family's house. They have a wonderful family with several children! All meals I've had with members (except for one) have been absolutely delicious! I played some guitar for them, they had a guitar. Since coming on my mission, I've been using my talents often. I've been drawing pictures and singing a lot. It's come back to me fast.
We have visited members and less-actives from the ward. I show them my mini photo album and they like looking at the pictures. We've had 8 meal appointments. This is really rare. Sister Riggs says that they rarely have meal appointments. I've heard that the more members like you that the more they want to give to you. We've been getting a lot of food donations and meals. :). I am saying this to show that kindness begets kindness. The social part of missionary work can be powerful. When people feel loved, and when they feel that others are interested in them, they often will rise to the occasion and do great things. This is also motivating to myself. I feel like I want to do more because these people and my mission companion show love to me also.
So my other thoughts are --- What have you learned from a child this week?
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
In order to receive entrance into the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children. A child always looks to his or her parent for guidance, help, and strength. They always seek their love. They jump in the arms of their mother or father. They are willing to do whatever their parents tell them too. We are God's children. He wants us to depend and rely on him and his son Jesus Christ.
My testimony and confidence in the Lord's work has strengthened this week as Sister Riggs and I have followed the direction of the Spirit. Many miracles have occurred! There are tender mercies everyday. We've been able to get hold of more potential investigators and less actives. We've scheduled appointments; They have opened up to us and we are able to see how we can help them progress. We have one new investigator, as well! Her name is L______ and she's from Africa. She has 3 children. She is such a sweet lady and has desires to go to church and come closer to God. Life is hard for her, but she is strong. Sister Riggs and I think she may be a Kinjin (term for golden investigator, one ready to receive the awesomeness of the gospel). It was amazing talking to her and feeling the Spirit. We knew exactly what to tell her to help comfort her.
I'm adjusting better to the missionary life. I've realized that I have been more stressed with the language than I thought, but I know I just need to keep enduring and studying as best as I can. This week I'm going to focus on diligence. I don't want to waste any precious time for God's work.
Until next week!! :D
p.s. Here's a city scene picture from Omiya. "Dorothy says: Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."