Monday, September 26, 2016

25th and 26th Weeks in Japan; 2nd Area. Knowing Christ's attributes is part of conversion.

September 18, 2016

Yesterday we did splits with members and I had the wonderful opportunity to be with M_________ Shimai (a good member friend--I've mentioned her before).  Despite the heavy rain, we housed for two hours!  She always shares bit of her conversion story.
It started when she was very young.  She said when she was about 10 years old, she saw missionaries (of another Christian church) walking around the neighborhood.  She would think to herself "Come on, come on, come on!!"  She really wanted to learn about Jesus Christ.  When she was even younger, she thought Christmas was about the death of Jesus Christ and wondered by people were celebrating it! Because she wanted to celebrate the holiday, and although her family was poor, she would go outside to their little tree in the backyard and decorate it with what she had.

A little about Japan:
Today has perfect weather! The wind is cool and there may be rain but I love that it isn't hot anymore!!  I think it's done.  A lot has happened this week, we got 7 referrals!! :)   We are really seeing the fruits of our labors.  Even though we don't really have any investigators, we are going to find one today.  We are going to the bike store to fix my bike pedals, maybe shopping, and then we are proselyting in Tomobe!  Yay!!  Tomobe by train is about half an hour away, I think.  We are visiting a less active and a potential investigator referral with a member (Sister S_______, she's from Australia and served her mission in Sendai for the majority).  Also, we teach lessons 1-5 before someone gets baptized.

Here are some pictures of Sister Madsen and I.

  
  

  



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September 26, 2016

This week has been hard, but I love Lord's work. 
Alma 31: 38  "And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith."

We got two new investigators!!  One is really busy and we had to cancel our last appointment, but our other investigator we are meeting tomorrow.  The elders have been helping us a lot and giving us advice with dendou [missionary work].

Coming unto Christ is so important.  Learning about His attributes is part of that process.  It is important to know the nature of the Being that we should love and trust.   If you can listen to the talk given by Elder Bednar, titled "Character of Christ" that would be great!  It was instrumental in part of my conversion to Christ.

This is an excerpt from the visit of Jesus Christ to the Nephites on the American continent, after his resurrection.   

[His visit to them was part of the promise and statement that he made to the Jews in Jerusalem, wherein he said that he would visit people away from the Jews:     John 10: 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring,    and  they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.]

3 Nephi 9: 13-15
13 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.

15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.


Sorry this letter will be short this week because we have to spend extra time cleaning our apartment today.

Until next time, Parker Shimai

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅














Tuesday, September 13, 2016

24th Week in Japan; 2nd area. Rain, rain, come today.

Also from Sept. 4/5th, 2016 (last week)

Currently, there is a lot of rain outside. Probably a typhoon. 

2016 Pacific Typhoon Season (from Wikipedia)


  
Japanese pedestrians battling typhoon season (picture from internet)


I like the crazy weather because then it cools down a bunch!  I'm really excited for Fall!  It's suppose to start cooling down at the end of this month.  Then the leaves will change color.  In Japanese, the word for thunder is "Kaminari" it makes me think of kami, which means God and nari, means ringing.  Although the kanji is different, 雷(rain on top of rice field), kaminari sounds more like the meaning is "God's ringing." 

We found a new investigator. It's actually a family!  We had this potential investigator in our Areabook who we've been trying to meet and teach.  One night, we prayed for help and guidance, and we were searching and searching for her apartment and finally found it.  Although, her husband answered the door.  He knew some English so that made things easier!  His wife (our potential investigator) could not come to the door, but as we were speaking with him, we were able to make a return appointment.  When he was a college student he read the whole Book of Mormon, which was shocking, all of it he had read.  He was curious of which church was the most remarkable, so he studied about many religions at that time.  We offered to give him a Book of Mormon, but he did not want to hold some thing so big in possession.  He asked, "Do you have something smaller, like a pamphlet?" [smiles]: Of course we do.  I have like 20.   So we whip out a 'Restoration of Jesus Christ's gospel' pamphlet, which was perfect.  He asked for one in English for his son to study, so we gave him that too.  Then, he asked about church and our English class we teach so we offered him a handout;  He took that too.  That was quite a miracle!! 
We are teaching that family tonight with a member.  Most people I've taught have not really had a background of Jesus Christ or God, but this family knows a lot more so they may have many questions about the Church.  I'm a little nervous, but I read this morning in 2 Nephi 27:23 --

"23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith."

So I have faith that we will be able to teach with the Spirit. I pray we will be able to teach efficiently and clearly so that they may want to be baptized!!  And then they can go through the temple and be sealed together as a family!!

From Sept 12, 2016

This week we visited a bunch of less-actives! [Remember the list of 200 I mentioned a few weeks ago?] We've been working more with the Filipinos in the ward too.

We had dinner with the amazing M______ Shimai [the one mentioned in blog posted last week when we went and visited Sister F_______] at the M___________'s house [different family]. They cooked us real Chinese food. We talked about families and it made me very excited to be a mom and to raise my own family someday.

The family of proclamation says,
 "The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."  

[The message of family is important to Japan because these days, many younger people in Japan are not choosing to date nor get married and have children.  Japan has an aging population -- including many Centenarians.  This 'fewer marriages and children' is not a trend which leads to good population balance!! ]
https://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/no-of-japans-centenarians-increases-to-65692

About the weather again, I think typhoon season is ended [almost], however, it is expected to be raining all this week and then it will cool down into Autumn.  I love Fall I'm so excited!  

In this video we are having a district meeting while we are waiting for the rain to let up.  "District meeting!" .. "It's raining!"

The elders' names are Elder Ishikawa and Elder King. Elder King is from Australia and he's hilarious, but very humble.  Elder Ishikawa--we were at the MTC together.  [He is Native Japanese] His English is good and he's a district leader.  Well, we just got transfer calls today and he is going to be our zone leader now!  Sister Madsen is staying in Mito with me!  Elder King is staying in Mito and he's going to get two new companions, so he will be a sannin (3 people companionship)!!

Also, do you have any Halloween party ideas?  We are throwing a little Halloween party at the church for everyone, but just need a few more ideas.  We are going to do this relay race that involves possibly bobbing for apples, wrapping people like a mummy, and then trick-or-treating upstairs. Nothing scary though.  Just very kid-friendly, but it's for everyone!  Pumpkins are different in Japan so we won't do carving probably, but we were thinking of decorating cut-out pumpkins from paper.

One thing I'm working on is loving people more.  When we share our message of the restored gospel, but don't show love like Jesus Christ would then it's hard for the Spirit to teach.  When we are filled with the love of Jesus Christ, it overcomes everything else.  The Lord wants everyone to be able to have the chance to choose happiness and return to live with Him again.   It's our choice if we accept Him and live with him again.  Our faith and our actions have to show that we want to be with Him again.

Until next time,  Parker Shimai

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

Monday, September 5, 2016

23rd Week in Japan. 2nd Area. Teaching exchanges, visiting less-actives.

9/5/2016

Let's start with pictures this time-- 
Last week, we had teaching exchanges and I got to go out with my Senpai, Sister Alaverenga.  She's a great missionary!!

[ Senpai = Older graduate or Senior, i.e. Sister Alaverenga was at the MTC for part of the time when Sister Parker was there, but left earlier for Japan due to entering at an earlier date than Sister Parker ]





We had a very interesting lesson on Saturday. We went with M_______ Shimai, a member, to an investigator's house and taught there which was pretty good.  We have high hopes for her, O______-San.  And then afterwards, we went up to Hitachi to visit a less-active named F______ Shimai. 

(By the way, in Japanese terms like "Sister, brother, san, etc." go after the name of people.  So my name Sister Parker is, Paakaa Shimai.) とにかく、

M_______ Shimai knew F_______ Shimai well, so when we came, they were talking the whole time, which was great!  First, she greeted us with a big hug and a smile!  She is so tiny,  but very friendly!  She showed us pictures of missionaries that she and her sister dated, while they [the Elders] were still on their mission--Very disobedient. 
[The Elder missionaries are not there to date at that time.  After the mission, after returning home is when they can date and marry, the Elders would've known better.]  It was kind of shocking, although I've heard many things that have happened a long time ago in Japan.  Now we have probably one of the most obedient missions ever.  But, at the time in the early 1980's, some young ladies thought that by dating the missionaries and getting baptized that they would marry the missionaries [not the right reason to get baptized].  I was having a hard time focusing on what they were talking about at first.   Before we left, I said I short prayer for her, which touched her heart.  She asked that we come back again, at anytime.  We shared Alma 18:32 with her:
"32 And Ammon said: Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning."

She wants to come to church. I hope we can meet again this week!!

I've learned how important it is to work with the ward. We cannot do the work alone with just two missionaries. We are always asking ourselves, the Elders, our missionary ward leader, our bishop, members, and God daily how we can better strengthen the ward. Everyone is family, everyone is a child of God.  As we are bringing new people who enter into the path of righteousness, the missionaries cannot always be there to support those new members.  They need friends in the ward [congregation].   As we've been doing member-present lessons, it's made a big difference in my understanding of teaching.  
[A member-present lesson is when the missionary brings an active member (i.e. actively attending member) of the church to visit a less-active member, and a lesson is given]

By the way, my hand has healed very quickly from my bicycle accident a few weeks ago.  I had bruises on my legs too, but they are almost gone.

Well, that's it for now,

Sister Kirsten Parker


Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

22nd week in Japan. 2nd Area. We Must Be Born Again, and again.

Hello Everyone!

8/29/2016
It takes a lifetime to not even become close to perfect, but this is not enough [by our own efforts] to prepare us to become like God.  In The Institute manual for the New Testament, it talks about John 3:3-5. Being born again is not an event, but a process.

『Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles confirmed that it is a process:


“We were born again when we entered into a covenant relationship with our Savior by being born of water and of the Spirit and by taking upon us the name of Jesus Christ. …

“Latter-day Saints affirm that those who have been born again in this way are spiritually begotten sons and daughters of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 5:7; 15:9–13; 27:25).  Nevertheless, in order to realize the intended blessings of this born-again status, we must still keep our covenants and endure to the end.  In the meantime, through the grace of God, we have been born again as new creatures with new spiritual parentage and the prospects of a glorious inheritance” (“Have You Been Saved?” Ensign, May 1998, 56).

To be born again requires both our own effort and “divine power,” and for most of us, this happens over time rather than all at once, as Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:

It was Jesus who stated that entry into the kingdom of God requires that one be born again--born of water and of the Spirit (see John 3:3–5). His teaching about a physical and a spiritual baptism helps us understand that both our own action and the intervention of divine power are needed for this transformative rebirth--for the change from natural man [or natural woman] to saint (see Mosiah 3:19). …

“You may ask, Why doesn’t this mighty change happen more quickly with me? You should remember that the remarkable examples of King Benjamin’s people, Alma, and some others in scripture are just that--remarkable and not typical. For most of us, the changes are more gradual and occur over time. Being born again, unlike our physical birth, is more a process than an event. And engaging in that process is the central purpose of mortality” (“Born Again,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 77–78).』

.....  

I highly recommend going on the Gospel library app and following along with the Book of Mormon study manual as you read, especially if there is something you don't understand.

The Bible is wonderful and it has laid the foundation for many things, but the Book of Mormon is unique because it wonderfully explains over and over again how the conversion (or born again) process occurs within the human spirit, and what kinds of things block that process.   There are other sublime teachings too.  We need all the scriptures so that we might have a full understanding of God's words, and so that the scriptures might be One in our hands.   This is similar to what is described in Ezekiel 37, that the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim would be joined together, one in our hand - vs. 17.

You can find information about the Gospel library app here:
https://www.lds.org/pages/mobileapps?lang=eng     or in the Application section of your mobile phone.

Other study helps for the scriptures are here:
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/study-helps?lang=eng

As for the missionary work,...
One miracle that happened last week was with a less-active/recent convert, M_____.  She's from another near-by country in Asia.  We fasted for her because she was having a really hard time because of her exhausting work schedule.    So we fasted for her on Sunday.  Then Friday, we went to her house and she really opened up to us.  She has such a strong testimony of Jesus Christ.  She always prays and she finds happiness in the Jesus Christ's gospel.  She has other employment lined up and then will be able come to church!!  It was such a miracle that she opened up to us about her feelings and what was in her heart.  We were going to teach about *Patriarchal Blessings and help her prepare to get one, but we learned that she was previously preparing to go to the temple and she really wants to go so we changed our lesson to talk about preparing to attend the temple, and it was very good!  She's going to go to the temple with her friend sometime soon!

[* A Patriarchal Blessing, is a blessing given by the laying on of hands on the head of the recipient.  Inspired words of counsel are given, in prayer format.   The Israelite tribal lineage is given by inspiration, either natural lineage or by spiritual adoption in to that tribe.  Yes, not all Israelites by lineage are Jews.   Ten of the tribes were scattered into the nations, and their descendants are now all over the world. ]

Speaking of the temple, yesterday was temple day in Tokyo.

Here's a picture of Sister Madsen and I on the temple grounds.



Sister Kirsten Parker

P.s. There's been a few [milder] typhoons but they are fun! There's been no danger so far! :)

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅