Monday, October 31, 2016

29th - 31st weeks in Japan; 2nd Area. People, places, fun, and health

October 31, 2016:   Hello wonderful people!

This week was kind of slow, but *Sister Shoji [new Japanese companion] is awesome! I feel like we are similar people.  She's very sweet and patient and mellow.  Sister M______ [one of my favorite female members in Mito] took us to Costco today, and it was like going back to America.  It's so huge, it was way too big!  But we bought lots of food.  I have a strong testimony of prayer and the power that comes from praying with faith.  Faith is things which cannot be seen, but are true.  I will pray about questions so that things are done according to God's will.

The beachside with view of a Torii (shrine gate)

Carside view of the trip

* 11/15/2016 update.  I have since gotten permission to give her companion's name and pictures.  Her new companion is Sister Shoji.  I have edited this post, as well as the November 7th letter, now to include pictures of her.   K-Mom.

October 24, 2016:   This week in pictures!

The first and second pictures we are at the honbu after the Elder Bednar conference [For those of you not familiar with Elder David Bednar, he is a leader of high rank in the LDS church. He came to Japan recently.  "Honbu" means central mission office in this context.] I love Sister Alvarenga and Sister Hill! 3rd and 4th pictures are with our investigator, R_____. She will be moving soon and opening her restaurant, so we are also teaching her English! She is so sweet!!   And the video is of Elder King at our Halloween party.  We were playing minute-to-win it games.  We were able to invite many non-members to come to the party and it was a big success!!



Sister Madsen is transferring to a Portuguese speaking area.  She is excited! She's already fluent in Spanish and has studied a little Portuguese while in Japan.  And I'm staying in Mito and my companion is going to be... Drum roll......🎳 Sister Shoji !!   She is Japanese, so I get a Japanese companion!! Yay!!  I've met her before and she sooo sweet!  Her English is pretty good, but I'm excited to be able to learn lots from her. She's transfer 5, so we have been out about the same amount of time [she has a little less time than me]. Also, our elders will become a trio.  So Elder Newey (from Utah, he's district leader), Elder King (from Australia), and then Elder Sato is being added to Mito.  Elder Sato was my first district leader in Okegawa! 

Today we are going to volunteer at a retirement home where a member lives. In about one hour from now we will be taking a train.

October 17, 2016:  Health

Exodus 20
12 ¶Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.  God has given a commandment to honor our parents and I respect and value your judgment. 

I have been getting up and doing jumping jacks or some exercise like you said I should. Although, almost everyday we are sprinting.  We do running or other workouts in the morning and then during the day we walk and bike, and sprint to appointments because we run late.  I am exercising a lot, but getting up and doing jumping jacks helps more. President Nagano [mission president] has said, and I quote, "Your health is more important than missionary work." He said that. I just want to assure you that they do care.  Without our health it is pretty hard to do missionary work.

[Kirsten's companion mentioned last week that maybe they would go to the park in the a.m. and do tai chi exercise -- so I don't know if that figured in with her picture of the hands with the oriental descriptions.  Kirsten also mentioned that she has a minor physical issue, and so Sister Nagano (the mission president's wife) misunderstood the origin of Kirsten's issue and referred her to a mission doctor-counselor for mental/stress issues, which Kirsten says is still a blessing because the doctor is teaching her stress management.  Stress can always be a contributor to any physical ailment.   The mission staff really does care about the wellbeing of the missionaries.   K-Mom]

This scripture has been on my mind: 

2 Nephi 33: 3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.

4 And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal."

I pray for you all that you may be able to always have joy by holding on to the iron rod, which is the words of Christ.

Until next time, Parker Shimai

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

Monday, October 10, 2016

28th Week in Japan; 2nd Area. Snippets of Comments from the letter

Snippet 1:
Do you know how excited I was this morning when the breeze felt cool for the first time without it being rainy?!  "It's beginning to look a lot like Chriiistmas!!!" I sang.

Snippet 2:

I know as you continually apply the atonement of Jesus Christ in your life, you will have joy and be able to overcome the problems around you.  I myself am striving to do so.  It's been hard trying to be a trainer.  But I believe it is for my own good.  President Nagano told me this little allegory that his mission president told him [President Nagano] while he was serving a mission.
He said something like, that everyone is a diamond in the rough, and in order to get rid of the rough parts of the diamond, it needs another diamond.  So two diamonds in the rough rub and scratch and grind against each other, and other diamonds to get [off] the little [rough] pieces left, until it becomes smooth on every area [facet].  Then, the Jeweler sets the diamond on a black velvet background so everyone can see the beauty and shine of the beautiful diamond.
2 Nephi 9 
"18 But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever."

Snippet 3:
At the barbeque we went to recently, I learned some Japanese sign language (Shuwa).  [For those of you who don't know, I already know a little bit of American Sign Language.]  That was really cool!  We found a deaf potential investigator there.  That was last last week, I think.

Snippet 4:
This week has been FULL of miracles. I don't even know where to start, but I'll send you some of this from my letter to the mission president:
"We had a lesson with A____ on Monday.  She originally said she could not join our church but wants to learn.  However, today as we were going through the Restoration [of the fulness of the gospel] she said that she almost believes that God is her Heavenly Father and if she did believe it, then she would get baptized.  She understand the Restoration pamphlet much better when we went through it together.  She gladly accepted the Book of Mormon we gave her!

During lunch with an Eikaiwa [English] student, O____, she said that she was thinking about what Sister Madsen said a few weeks ago: that when she looks at nature she can feel God's love.  O____ felt the same way but she would use different words..  And she wants to learn more about what we believe!  That was amazing!  Last time, she said that because she was Buddhist, that she was not interested in learning about the church.   O____ was actually a referral from a member, and she was surprised that she was interested. 

We had one lesson with M________ for the first time on Tuesday!  It was a douseki lesson on the phone.  We talked about the character of God and who He is.  Having a member there was so nice. M_______ said that when we first stopped her on the street, she thought it was fate that we met because it was her birthday and we talked about God.  She had never thought about it before, but it made her interested.  We are going to meet at the station by her house sometime soon, we hope! Yay!!"

Douseki:  per google translation: Presence; 
sit with
be with

i.e. in context -- a member that sits in with the lesson

Snippet 5 - Snippet 6 - Snippet 7:  Pictures

Zone p-day today! It is Sports Day holiday in Japan!!

This picture was today at the best restaurant ever. I love Indian curry so muuuuucchhh.  Yum!!
On my left, is my companion, Sister Madsen. Sister Fossa, on my right is from Italy.  She's so silly and funny!  Then the sister behind me is Sister Nicholas, she is from Utah but she grew up in Japan (half-Japanese).  And then sister Alvarenga is my MTC Senpai/ Sister training leader.  Then in front of me is Sister Hill, Sister Gorner(?), and then Sister Fukuda.

Sister Parker, Sister Madsen, and a Japanese friend

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅    Sister Parker

[A white field is a field that is ready to be harvested -- souls for Christ]

D&C 11:3 Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God.

John 4:35 ...Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

D&C 33:3  For behold, the field is white already to harvest; and it is the eleventh hour, and the last time that I shall call laborers into my vineyard.

Note:  Ever wonder why the Lord mentioned the eleventh hour of harvest?  In the Biblical day, the first hour was 6am-7am.   So, the eleventh hour was 5pm-- very near the end of the workday.  Basically, the Lord is saying, these years are the last ditch effort to bring souls to Him, before the worldwide calamities end wickedness, so that the righteous rule of Christ (1000 years) can begin.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

27th Week in Japan; 2nd Area. "Another Rep [repitition] for Jesus!"

Hello everyone!!

It's great to be a missionary in Japan!  We had the wonderful opportunity to attend the wonderful Tokyo temple.

We had exchanges this week with our Sister Training leaders.  I love them so much!!!  I went with Sister Alvarenga again.  She gave me great counsel that I really needed.  We don't have as much success in our area as much as others, despite as hard as we may work.  Sometimes it can be hard and depressing. I've realized that doing missionary work is simpler than I've been making it.  Missionaries are just sharing truths to people and inviting them to act.  When we approach people and introduce ourselves and state our purpose, we then tell them gospel truths. We bear our testimony of what we know as the Spirit directs us and then it is up to the receiver to accept the invitation to learn what we give them.

Sister Alvarenga and I were housing. (By the way, almost all housing has an intercom with a camera.)  There was this one house.. and we pressed the button on the intercom and then their camera turned on. As we were speaking, a lady came out of the house and we happily shared our message with her.  She continually nodded and said, "Yes. Yes. I know that.  Yes, I already understand that," as we spoke of God and how we can return to live with him. She's Buddhist but previously investigated the Protestant religion, so she had some background knowledge of Jesus Christ.  She was very nice.  In the end she did not accept our invitation to take lessons, but we know she came outside because she felt the Spirit.  She knows there is something good about Christianity.  The Lord has been working in her life and is extending His hand in mercy to her.

We have three new investigators!  Two are high schoolers from our English textbook class/ mission school program.  After sharing a small spiritual lesson, we asked if they wanted to learn about Jesus Christ and they both said they have a little interest.  Little interest is a big thing!!  Sister Madsen, my wonderful bean-chan companion, and I were ecstatic.  Although Sister Madsen has been in Japan for only about 2 months, she is such a fantastic missionary.  She's very good at leading!  Yesterday, we also met with a student from English Conversation.  A couple weeks ago we invited her to learn more about the Church and she said no.  However, this week she said she had been thinking about what Sister Madsen said, "When I look at nature, I feel God's love."  She's Buddhist, but she said she feels the same way, but would use a different description.  So, we are going to start teaching her on Skype weekly.  As well as help her with her English.   Yeah!! :D

Religions all have truth.  They all have commonalities and similar principles with each other.  I believe when we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people, it's not all brand new.  Everyone has felt the Spirit before.  We are just helping them make connections and learning to recognize that they already know God.
In Galatians 5, it says:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Small story: we were riding our bikes and it was raining and we were trying to get home to finish study, but there was this one girl with a yellow umbrella we needed to stop.  Sometimes it feels like the Spirit is yelling with a small voice, "Stop her!"  We stopped her and introduced ourselves as the missionaries and both bore a simple
testimony of Jesus Christ.  She did not want to learn more.  When we got home, Sister Madsen said, "Sister Parker, I'm glad you stopped that girl.  It felt like the spirit was screaming at me that we needed to stop her." I don't know why we needed to stop and talk to her, but Heavenly Father knows.   It could be because one day she may meet the missionaries again and she needed to have previously met us before. And/or we discovered a college that is by our house.  Suddenly lots of college students got out of school and maybe we wouldn't have discovered it biking earlier past it.  College = better chance of finding young investigators. #StrengthenTheRisingGeneration

Peace to all!!

Sister Parker