Monday, August 29, 2016

Bonus post: Video or slideshow of Sapporo Japan temple open house

For those who are curious about the new LDS Japanese temple in Sapporo,...


Sorry, it won't let me save and embed the Video, so you have to go to the link instead.

Click here: http://www.ldschurch.jp/events/sapporo-temple/video

Just a note:  This is a Japanese (LDS Church official) webpage.  If you got Google Chrome, you can go to the URL bar, look on the far right, and there is a little symbol next to the star.  Click on that and it will translate the page for you.  You might need to go into  your settings to add a language, or it might automatically detect it and do that for you.   However, you can just click on the video too and skip all the language issues (which aren't necessary to watching the video). 


(picture from www.mormonnewsroom.com)


There's a temple slideshow if you prefer that over the video:Click here: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/sapporo-japan-temple-to-open-for-public-tours 



Here are a few facts about the new temple in Sapporo (from http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/sapporo-japan-temple-to-open-for-public-tours):

Following the public open house, the temple will be formally dedicated on Sunday, August 21, 2016, in three dedicatory sessions. The day before, youth of the Church in the temple area will perform in a cultural celebration honoring Japan’s history as well as the history of the Church in the country.
The temple is located at 1-6-1 Ooyachi-Nishi, Atsubetsu-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan.
The 48,480-square-foot Sapporo Japan Temple sits on 9.8 acres with the statue of the angel Moroni on top of its single spire. The temple will serve more than 8,000 Latter-day Saints who live on the island of Hokkaido and in Aomori, the northernmost prefecture of the main island of Honshu.
The Sapporo Japan Temple is the Church’s third temple in Japan and, when dedicated, becomes the 151st operating temple worldwide. The two other temples in Japan are located in Tokyo(dedicated in 1980) and Fukuoka (dedicated in 2000).



Saturday, August 27, 2016

21st week in Japan; 2nd Area. I'm doing it for Jesus, because He did it for me

It's been a great week!! Nothing can get my companion and I down.  Not even the typhoon weather. Sister Madsen and I are working really hard. She's such a power house!  I could see her training on her 2nd transfer.
I've healed quickly from the bike accident.  I can't do push-ups, but I can do dishes.

One of our lessons we taught this week was with a new investigator.  We had dinner together and after we finished she asked, "So, you wanted to talk about church?"  Let me tell you, I know this investigator is serious.  She expressed to us that she's not sure if God exists, but she wants to make good decisions in her life.  As we spoke of the Book of Mormon and how to pray she was excited.  It made my companion and I so happy!!  Slowly, we will help her build a relationship with Heavenly Father.  I'm very excited to see her change and experience for herself that God is real, that there is a creator who loves her, named Father.

I've thought about more and more how to become a better teacher, more tuned to the Spirit. As a missionary, when teaching, we are trying to help people find that connection with God. We don't know what that person needs, we just try follow the Spirit as the thoughts and feelings come to us. Although, we have many weakness, we try our best.  We try to ask them questions that help them really think and understand that God is there for them. Missionaries are not the ones who convert investigators, it's the Holy Ghost.  It's so important to follow the Spirit.  We can't truly help people come unto Christ unless we are following that guidance.

This weekend, I was able to see the celebration and dedication of the third temple to be built in Japan.  In the celebration, there was spectacular dancing and singing, and the story of what happened to the church in Japan acted out by the youth of the Church in Sapporo. During World War II, the missionaries were taken out of Japan and the church buildings could not longer be in use.  I believe religion was discriminated.  But, the members had faith and waited patiently for the missionaries to come back.  Secretly, they would have study and pray wherever and whenever they could.  It was a very hard time.  During the end of the celebration, there was slideshows of old pictures of the stakes and branches of Japan, primary classes outside, etc.  Those members waited so long for the church to come back to Japan.  As did the church members in Sapporo wait for a temple to be built. 

I felt great power in there.  I knew through the Spirit that because of temples, there is hope. It is a sacred place, a House to the Lord.  It brings families together so they can live together forever.  There is no end after death.  Only eternity.  Never to be lost. 

God's authority has once again been restored on earth.  God's first prophet of the church, Joseph Smith, and his followers underwent hard times for to bring about the work of the Lord.  Nevertheless, that great and marvelous work has been completed.  We have the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ restored.  It's perfect and it teaches people to do good.  It teaches the way of Christ.  It brings relief to the afflicted.  And it brings pure joy to all who follow those doctrines of Jesus Christ.

"2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
John 3

When someone is "born again," they feel the Spirit. They have a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. The power of the Holy Ghost is what causes a mighty change heart. Now, one can only enter into the Kingdom of God by being baptized by someone holding the authority of God. Then, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. They can constantly have the guidance of the Holy Spirit with them.

But hold up. That's not it! We must endure to the end! We are constantly changing. We must continually try to follow Jesus Christ's example and perfect ourselves. We are not only "born again" once. We are not perfect, we make mistakes. But with each change of heart that we have, and if we act on it by having the faith that Jesus Christ can help us repent, we can be forgiven and cleansed. We can only grow to be like our Heavenly Father if we diligently seek His help. He is our friend, our help, our Mediator, and Saviour.

In the name of Jesus Christ I end this email. Amen.
Yeah!! Have a great week everyone! Please pray diligently and seek to build others up.

Love,
パーカー姉妹
Sister Parker


A Window with a view


Friday, August 19, 2016

It's Back to School time! Cultural post - about school in Japan, especially Elementary school

This article is provided by K-Mom (not Sister Parker the missionary)

From:  http://www.factrange.com/japanese-elementary-school-students-dont-get-exams-reach-grade-four/

Japanese elementary school students don’t get any exams until they reach grade four.





In Japan only requires nine years of compulsory education to students.
The Japanese education system consists of three years of elementary school, three years of middle school and three years of high school.
The Japanese make more of a big deal about the beginning of a child’s education career than the end.
Japanese elementary school students don’t get any Exams until they reach grade four because the goal for the first three years of schools is not to judge the child’s knowledge or learning, but to develop responsibility, establish good manners and to develop their character.
More Japanese elementary school students say they enjoy school than their American counterparts.
School Rules in Japan.
> Japanese schools have strict rules about fingernail length and hair styles.
> Students who have been caught cheating have had their heads shaved and have been expelled from school.
> They are taught to fold their jackets properly and always have tissue in one pocket and a handkerchief in the other. In school they learn to have three sharpened pencils with them and always have glue, rulers and erasers in their pencil boxes.



All primary school kids eat school lunches, and about 8 percent of middle school students do. Japanese students eat their lunches in the classrooms. there are no cafeterias in Japanese schools and help prepare and serve school lunches. Food is served from stainless serving trays and large pots by students, who sometimes wear surgical masks, aprons and hair protection.  The food is often prepared in a kitchen on one floor and transported to the classroom on special carts.



Souji (honorable cleaning) is a period of about 15 minutes each day when all activities come to a stop, mops and buckets appears and everyone get busy in cleaning up. Often the teachers and principals get on their hands and knees and join students.  Japanese schools don’t have any janitors because the students and staff do all the cleaning. Students in elementary school, middle school, and high school sweep the hall floors after lunch and before they go home at the end of the day. They also clean the windows, scrub the toilets and empty the trash cans under the supervision of student leaders.

  

The students in Japanese schools are generally better behaved and there are far fewer discipline problems than in the United States. Studies have also shown that Japanese students on average spend about one-third more time learning each class period than American students do.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Bonus Post: 20th Week in Japan; 2nd area.

[Subject matter taken from a family letter]


So as I said in my letter last week, my new companion (greenie from the MTC) is Sister Madsen. She is really motivated and we have great plans for this area.  


Among other things, we wish to visit the less-actives (those who rarely attend church or have ceased attending all together).  There are 200 less-active-in-church people here.  

I'm doing pretty good by the way. I fell off of my bike, but I am good. It's nothing too serious.  I told Sister Nagano (President's wife).  We found two new investigators in one week!  They are both about 20 years old!  We are really trying to strengthen the ward and the youth!
I feel stressed sometimes, but I'm able to overcome it quickly.  Since coming to Japan, I've become much more patient.   My Japanese language skills are also progressing nicely.

As for the question in the letter about teaching others without a language in common, I have similar experiences with teaching people who don't know English or Japanese very well.  Usually they speak Chinese, but sometimes, it's Spanish.  

[Sister Kirsten Parker's words about dealing with trials]:   Don't let temptations overcome the spirit that you've been feeling.. Keep feeding yourselves with the joy of the gospel.  Satan tried and continues to try hard to make sure everyone doesn't have joy.  This may be a trial right now, but trials can be overcome and completely conquered when you continually ask the Lord for help.  Please continue to have the faith that everything will be okay.  No matter how dark the road may seem, if you hold fast to the iron rod and not let go, you will see the light and you will always have that inner peace from the Spirit.  When afflictions come, if we don't let ourselves get down, we will still feel that peace and comfort of the Spirit.   Constantly uplift each other. Have a family conference and make goals of how to constantly lift each other up even during trials.

October 2011 General Conference address:    [images not part of talk]
"You are not forgotten."


        Sisters [and Brothers], wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.


        Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!


        He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name--you are the [sons and] daughters of His kingdom. The Psalmist wrote:   [Psalms 8]


        “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;    
(images from internet search)   



        “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? …


        “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.”


        God loves you because you are His child. He loves you even though at times you may feel lonely or make mistakes.




        The love of God and the power of the restored gospel are redemptive and saving. If you will only allow His divine love into your life, it can dress any wound, heal any hurt, and soften any sorrow."


***********************

It may be hard, but Jesus Christ makes it easier!!

Remember, how powerful God is.  He created everything and His hands continually guide us when we follow Jesus Christ.  He can help you overcome the boulders placed in your path.  

Art by Greg Olsen
   
Image from giftsandbooksforchristians.com; Greg Olsen art
www.bradfordexchange.com
  
 

Never cease to pray and glorify a Heavenly Father who is rooting for you right now!! 

Thank you for continuing the Lord's work and preaching the gospel. :)

Your loving missionary daughter,
Sister Kirsten Parker


Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

20th Week in Japan; 2nd Area; The beginning of Week 3 Trainer stories

Hello people of America and beyond,

We did a service project for the a temple president and now our mission president owes us ice creams I guess.  It felt great serving in such hot and HUMID weather.  I drank so many liters of water.  Japan is hot.

Service Project, August 2016
Sister Parker's new companion, Sister Madsen, is on the left in the purple shirt
Sorry I'm not writing too much this week.. I fell off of my bike and hurt my hand.  

We found two new investigators this week and they are so awesome!!

Here's a poem from an Elder who shared it during District meeting. #missionarywork

[thank goodness for copy and paste, so less typing]

 He has been there before.📓🎗🎖

The alarm bell rings at 6:30, I stumble to my feet
I grab my companions bedding and pull off his sheets

A groan fills the room, is it already time to arise?
It seems like just a second ago, I was able to shut my eyes
The morning activities follow- study, prayer and such
When it's time to leave the apartment, you feel you haven't accomplished much

"We have a super day planned,"My comp. says with a grin
I lowly utter a faithless breath,"Yeah, if anyone lets us in."

With the word of God and my faithful companion, we ride off into the street
prepared to face another day of humidity and heat
It's 9:30 in the evening, the day is almost through
My companion and I are riding home not accomplishing what we thought to do

We ride up to the mailbox, hoping to receive a lot
Only to look inside and hear my echo reverberate "air Box"
We go up to our apartment, the day is now complete
The only thing to show for our work is a case of blistery feet

It's past 10:30 p.m. My companion is fast asleep,
Silence engulfs me all about and I begin to weep
In the midst of sadness, I kneel down to pray
I need to talk to Father, but I'm not sure what to say

"Oh, Father" I begin, "What happened to us today?
I thought we'd teach somebody, but everyone was away
My hands, my aching hands- worn, hurt and beat;
If our area was any smaller, we'd have knocked every street"

"Why on missions are the days so much alike?
The only difference about today was the flat tire on my bike
Will you send some cooler weather? The heat is killing me
I sweat so bad, it gets in my eyes, it's very hard to see"

"Why do I have to wear a helmet, isn't your protection enough?
People always laugh at me, and call me stupid stuff
Please send us investigators so I may give them what they lack
I want to give them Books of Mormon, the weight of them hurts my back"

"And what about my family: They don't have much to say
I'm sick of not hearing from home day after day after day
Oh Father, Why am I here am I just wasting time?
Sometimes I just want to go home, I'm sorry but that's on my mind"

"My companion, Heavenly Father, what are you giving me?"
The way he rides his bicycle, I don't think he can see
Now you have it, I can't go on, I don't know what to do
That, my Father in Heaven, is the prayer I have for you"

My prayer now finished, I stand up, then jump right into bed
I need my rest for tomorrow, we have another long day ahead
Sleep starts to overtake me, I seem to drift away
Then it seems a vision takes me to another time in another day

I'm standing alone on a hill. The view is very nice
A man walks towards me and says, "My name is Jesus Christ"
Tears of joy well up inside, I fall down to His feet
"Arise," He states, "Follow me to the shade. You and I need to speak"

My attention's towards my Savior, total and complete
He says, "Your mission is similar of what happened to me
I understand how you feel, I know what you're going through
In fact, it would be fair to say I've felt the same as you"

"I even know how you felt when no one listened to you
At times I felt not quite sure what else I could do
I know you don't like to ride a bicycle, for you a car would be sweet
Just remember the donkey I rode wasn't equipped with 21 speeds"

"I understand you don't like sweating, in fact it's something you hate
I remember when I sweat blood from ev’ry pore, oh the agony was great!
I see you don't like your companion- you'd rather have someone else-
I once had a companion named Judas who sold my life for wealth"

"It's hard to wear a helmet and have people make fun of you
I remember when they put thorns on my head and called me King of the Jews
So you feel burdened down by the weight of your pack
I recall how heavy the cross was when they slammed it on my back"

"Your hands hurt from tracting and knocking on doors all day
I guess when they pounded nails into mine, I ached in a similar way
It's hard not to hear from home when your family's not there to see
I lost communication on the cross and cried, "Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

"We have a lot in common, but there's a difference between us you see
I endured to the end and finished my mission, so follow and do like me"
He embraced me with His arms and His light filled me with His love
With tears in my eyes I watched as He went back to the Father above

I stood with awe and wonder when a beep rang in my head
I listened and heard the alarm, then realized I was in my bed
My companion let out a groan, "6:30 already, no way!"
I sat up and said, "Come on, I'll even carry your scriptures today!"


頑張ろう日本」


When we turn our thoughts to the Savior and keep in mind the sacrifice He has made, we can always remain joyful no matter what our circumstances in life may be.


Sincerely, love

パーカー姉妹
Sister Parker
Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

19th Week in Japan; 2nd area. 祭り時間 (Festival time); new companion from the MTC

[I'm waiting on permission to post the new companion's name or picture]

祭り時間 [Festival time] !!! YAY!!!

Hello everyone!!

This week, my companion Sister Lacey went home and I got my green bean, my little companion amigo, trainee, bean-chan, or to be interpreted, Sister M______!!


Sister M_______ is a great missionary!  She just got here, but her Japanese is very good for a first transfer! She studies hard and is very knowledgable.  She just wants to teach people and find people and is so motivated. She's not too afraid of talking to people.  I almost feel like I'm the one being trained. It's very humbling. I can see the Lord is trying to pick out all the leftover impatience and selfishness that I have in me. The littlest things are the hardest, but I'm excited for how much will change this transfer!


We got a new investigator through a less-active this week. There was a less-active who was on our Areabook map but not our Areabook records.  We visited her and wanted to do a little self introductions and we really got to know her! She hasn't been to church in awhile.  She called her daughter over, who is 16, and we started talking.  She explained to her daughter that we were sister missionaries and she got excited.  She has interest in the church, but doesn't know anything about it really.  We became friends!  And we gave her a Book of Mormon and testified of the joy we get when we read it.


She's coming to English conversation class this week and we got a return appointment. We are so excited to help her mom come back to church and help her daughter learn of the Savior and his amazing and everlasting love and atonement!!!!


Our other investigator, S_______-san, did have a baptismal date, but she can't come to church in Mito because of bad childhood memories there. We are going to meet and teach with her this Wednesday about going to church in the Sendai mission, which is actually a little bit closer to her than Mito.

And E____, our awesome kinjin Chinese investigator went back to China. We have been trying to skype her because she really wants to continue to learn about God and Jesus Christ, but we haven't been able to reach her for some reason. 

However, this week we've been talking to a lot of people and really trying to get to know people and becoming friends and inviting them to take our lessons or come to Eikaiwa. This week is going to be busy, I hope!!

This next week, we are trying to be obedient for the right reasons.  We are being obedient to reap souls, to help people know that there is a way back to a loving Heavenly Father and that's through the Savior and his eternal sacrifice. In Luke 22, when the Savior had already suffered in Gethsemane, arrested, and denied by his best friend.  He was taken to the council --   "67 Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell 
you, ye will not believe:"

It can be hard to believe in things we cannot see. But we can know through the Holy Ghost and its promptings, feelings, and small directions that Jesus Christ lives and has saved all who believe in Him and follow Him.   In 2 Nephi 32: 3, it says that you can be taught what to do in everything:   "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."   Feasting means that you should learn a lot of the words of Christ until your soul is full, just like the body is after a holiday meal--partake until your soul isn't hungry, but has been satisfied.

That's all for now!! Until the next adventure!!
頑張りましょう!!!

Love,

Sister Parker


p.s. Here are some videos of the festival fireworks.  
Fireworks are the best in Japan!! 花火 (hanabi)

Video 1  (1 MB)  (about 11 seconds long)
video



Video 2  (1.3 MB)  (about 15 seconds long)
video



Video 3 (16 MB) (about 3 minutes long -- this one is the most spectacular of the 3 videos and in real life to watch it must've been very beautiful.  The sponsor spent a lot of money).
video





Tuesday, August 2, 2016

17th and 18th Weeks in Japan, 2nd Area. Another level up in spiritual growth.

17th Week:  (Some of you may have read this last week via email)

"I fear no man!"

I typed my weekly letter but I made the mistake of leaving the email app and then when I came back, it got deleted. sorry everyone, I don't have anymore time!!
John 15:
"12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."

This week, please pray and look for opportunities to serve others, you come closer to Christ, and help the Lord's work move forward by working together!! Gods love is unfailing and unveiling.

Till next week!!

Love,
Sister Parker!!

パーカー 姉妹

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

18th Week:

こんにちは、皆さん! 私はあまり英語も喋ることができませんね。けれでも、まだ日本語は難しいですよ! Already my brain has trouble with speaking English, but Japanese is still hard.

We had transfer calls today and Sister Lacey, my companion will be transferring tooo.. Drum roll.. America!! Yes America!! Or, to be interpreted, she has finished her mission, honorifically. My new companion will be.. Fireworks roll.. I don't know yet!! Because I'm training!! Yay!! I am so excited! So many people are supporting me. I may be young, but that's okay. I know I'm going to be lead by the revelations of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit will be teaching and training both me and my new missionary. The spirit will be the real trainer. 

"Alma 37: 
33 Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.

34 Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls."

I will strive to be more specific in my weekly emails and what I'm learning so you all can get a little bit of what I am learning from being a missionary of the Lord. I'm called by God to share this glad message of joy and that message is that Jesus Christ lives! All people who come and seek to learn of Jesus Christ can find peace, joy, and comfort in their lives. This world is crazy and dangerous. There's things that can bring happiness, but not forever. We can only be happy to our full extent forever by repenting of our wrongs and getting on the path that leads us home to our Heavenly Father. This life is the time to perfect ourselves and meet God again. There is only one path to eternal salvation in this war, (or, to be interpreted, mortal life) and that's Jesus Christ. He is all-knowing and powerful and all-loving and patient. Those who seek him  message will find it.
Visit Mormon.org for more information :))))))))))

Love you all!!!
Love,
Sister Parker
パーカー姉妹


Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

See below another time lapse video of my travelling to the mission office:

video



Here's a picture (from the internet) of one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan (two of them are in other cities).

Kairaku-en  (偕楽園) (English: "A park to be enjoyed together").   Kairaku-en is located in Mito.

Kairaku-en garden, in Mito.