Monday, November 28, 2016

35th Week in Japan. 2nd Area. Advent(ures).

This transfer has gone by fast. One week left until transfer calls!

I find peace when talking to people on the street and teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since applying what I've learned from zone conference a couple weeks ago, like bike safety (yes) and the "A Successful Missionary" bullet points in PMG (Preach My Gospel manual). I've been feeling the approval of the Holy Spirit as I've been trying to improve. I feel I've become a more diligent and loyal missionary!

Some miracles of this week:
There was one lady we talked to on the train while on our way to Kodomo eikaiwa [English class for children]. She had this adorable baby and as we talked to her and her baby. She opened up to us quickly. She's Chinese and has been looking for a church to go to!  She recognized us as missionaries as soon as she saw our name tag! She wants to come to Kodomo Eikaiwa as well. When we got off the train, we exchanged numbers and said we can call her. It was awesome!! Almost every time we go to Tokai, we find an awesome investigator or P.I. Kiseki (miracle) Tokai.

I am so happy about this! We were able to meet one of the less-active youth on Saturday.  We've been trying to contact her for about one transfer. We went to her house and gave her little brother, who turned 8 (baptism age!!, he said he may get baptized!), a present for his birthday and sang to him. We talked to both of them and shared a
message about Christmas. Sister Shoji quickly became friends with her.  We are going to help her with her homework on December 5th and another time cook dinner together! We hope to be able to meet her every week

Last miracle. Today at church, one of the members brought a girl named R****** from China who has home stayed with her for a year and today was the first time she came to church today. I don't know why we didn't know this earlier, but it was great! We did a douseki [presentation, lesson]  during Sunday school with her and another member who speaks Chinese. She did not become a new investigator but we taught about Who God is and
missionary's purpose. Sister Shoji was amazing! I'm so glad to have her as a companion. She's really helping me with Japanese too. I feel 日本人ぽい. Like a Japanese person.

Many adventures were had, but this is it for now. :)

Sister Parker

Only 28 more days until Christmas 🎄

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

(pictures from internet)

We are all on our own Advent-- adventure, seeking the wisdom and the light of Christ, while we wait for Him to come again.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

34th Week in Japan; 2nd Area. The love of family.

This past week we taught Family Home Evening on Monday night and we talked about baptism to prepare their son who is being baptized next month on Christmas.  He is just like my brother!  It's hard to listen to a lesson when a young boy is so cute you want to play games instead.  :) Haha Sister Shoji related too.

[For those of you who don't know what "Family Home Evening" {FHE} is, it is one night set aside, usually Monday night, for families in the LDS church to get together in their own home, with the other family members, and have a spiritual lesson.  They can also include a short family council, and games or refreshments if they wish, tailored according to their family's needs.  FHE is designed to help families bond and grow spiritually.  It does not take the place of regular weekly Sabbath worship and instruction. ]

I contemplate life's trials and the power of family love and support, and how the gospel is a guide to us to help us navigate through life's difficulties, just as a compass guides a traveler:

This is a test in life, although a very hard one, we can still choose to be happy and focus on the joy of the gospel! I promise as you love according to the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will always have peace and happiness through the power of the Holy Ghost. Of course, there are still times that we can't help but feel sad, hurt, or upset. 

I really like this scripture.
Alma 37:
"38 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director--or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.

39 And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.

40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.

41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;

42 Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.

43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.

44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.

45 And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.

46 O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever. [this makes a reference in the bible during the time of Moses I believe, when people were dying and if they looked up to the serpent on the stick, they lived.]

47 And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell."

I testify that God loves us and he always will.  Love conquers all.  Even during times of difficulty, God is always there to help and lift our spirits up.  And then when families live according to the gospel, there is that support that family members give to each other. :) So that's why we are here, to help each other.

Keep going! ヾ(@⌒ー⌒@)ノ

Sister Kirsten Parker

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

(image from the internet)

Monday, November 21, 2016

November 22, 2016 (6am Japan time) [11/21/16 afternoon US] Earthquake and tsunami offshore from Fukushima

Update after the earthquake:  From Kirsten/Parker Shimai--

I felt the earthquake.  In Tokyo it was about a 3 magnitude (said a lady who we talked to on the train today).  So in Mito, it was probably about a 4 magnitude.  The earthquake was at 6:00a.m., ten minutes before we set our alarms.  The trains were delayed for about and hour and some more, but we talked to this really sweet lady while we waited.  She may come to Eikaiwa (English conversation class). I didn't realize the earthquake was so big in Fukushima though! We are safe! :) 

We hope no news is good news (she's probably okay).  Kirsten/Parker Shimai is in Ibaraki prefecture (similar to a county), and lives a few miles inland, i.e. not near the beach, and now is under tsunami advisory (lowest rating).  I assume that she would've been woken up by the 6.9 / 7.4 earthquake though.  We'll continue to watch for aftershocks and see how the Daiichi nuclear power plant does.   


Here's a link to an instagram post if you want to hear what Japan's tsunami siren sounds like:

Kirsten is in the yellow area below the orangey-red X.

Tsunami Forecast Region  Category of Tsunami Warning/Advisory

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

33rd Week in Japan; 2nd Area; In prayer we plant the seed of faith which gives us the vision (goal)

I don't have much to report this week. But one thing I learned this week was that prayer is not only a way to communicate back and forth to Heavenly Father, but it is a way of giving our hearts to God and becoming one with His will.  

We also found two new investigators:  Sa____-san and Ta_______-san ["san" is an honorific title that you give to somebody else.  You never give that title to yourself].
We've really been making time between our appointments to talk to everyone. There's a lot of people by the station so sometimes it takes like an hour or more to get there by bike (without stopping people, which unfortunately we have had to do sometimes, it's like 15 minutes).  On Friday after district meeting, we were super pumped to talk to to people. We have prayed and [as a missionary district] made a vision [faith goal] with the ward to get three baptisms by the end of this year.

John 20:24-29
"24 ¶But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord.  But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

26 ¶And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

(Picture from internet)  By Caravaggio, "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas"

We can get three baptisms. We can do it!  That day, we talked to a lady on the train who was so kin金(golden), but we had to get off the train and couldn't get her phone number so we just gave her a flyer.  And then when we were off the train walking to Children's English class, we talked to another girl and she accepted to learn more!  Then after the class, the next lady we talked to has a lot of interest in God and is reading the bible a little bit. She read a Japanese comic version [of the Bible] first and liked it, so she started studying the Bible.  That's Ta_______-san!  After three weeks we finally found some more people to teach!!  I was ecstatic.   

Other news:  Today we had zone p-day.   Also, unexpectedly, Elder Newey our district leader was transferred and will be a Traveling Assistant for his last transfer and a half of his mission.  So now instead of three elders, there are two, Elder King and Elder Sato. (Elder Sato was my first district leader in Okegawa and then he came to Mito after me!). 

Love, Sister Parker

p.s.  On 11/11 it was Poki day.  Poki is a very popular sweet.  It's a stick usually dipped in chocolate.

Pocky /ˈpoki/ is a Japanese snack food produced by Ezaki Glico. Pocky was first sold in 1966, and consists of chocolate-coated biscuit sticks. It was named after the Japanese onomatopoetic word pokkin --Wikipedia

(packaging how it looks in America)

Friday, November 11, 2016

32nd week in Japan; 2nd Area; The Holy Spirit works with people. Coincidences sometimes are miracles.

November 7, 2016

I hope you know that I am trying my hardest to be obedient to the Lord.  There are many rules for a missionary, and I am following all of them the best I can.  I talk to everyone with my companion on the streets testifying of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon and things like that, and invite them to learn more.  Often I try to be friendly and compliment their clothes and ask about where they live or what they do and then introduce my companion and me.  There are many people interested, and I know they can feel the Holy Spirit but they don't recognize it, so they do not become investigators.  But someday, they will meet missionaries again and they will be ready by then.  There was actually a time that Sister Madsen (my previous companion who I trained) and I were biking back to church and we were in a hurry, but Sister Madsen said, "stop that lady!" I was thinking about why she said that, and when I looked at the lady's eyes I immediately felt we needed to stop her.  She was interested in the gospel, but lived in Nagoya, so we had to refer her to that mission area, nevertheless, it was amazing!  

And then the next person that we spoke to, spoke English and went to church in Europe.  I asked why she wanted to learn about Jesus Christ and she said, "It just feels good, I just feel that I want to learn it." I explained to her that we look for those people that have those feelings and we teach them about Jesus Christ.  She came to church a couple weeks later and she loved church.  We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she'd read it and wanted to learn.  We figured out that she lives in a different area, right next to the LDS church building, but she came all the way to Mito (it took over an hour on the train) to come to church.  I think she is still investigating the church in Tsukuba area.

During recent missionary exchanges, Sister Nicholes and I had some appointments fall through, but it was such a great day!  One of the lessons we taught, was with one less-active (less actively attending member).  We called her and asked if we could visit her, but she said it wasn't a good time.  So we shared a message on the phone about Alma 5:60  and it was really good. 

60 And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.

After we said goodbye, she called us back immediately and said we could come over and that her daughter wanted to meet us.  We told this story that connected well to repentance and they understood it very well.  Her daughter is currently suffering through some things and becoming less-active but she had many questions and both the mom and her were engaged in the lesson.  I felt a lot of joy during that lesson and I was so happy the Spirit was there to help us.  I just felt peace and it felt like we were experiencing a bit of heaven.

Also, our investigator R_____-san came to church on Sunday finally!  I was actually fasting for her that day, hoping that she may be blessed with the desire to be baptized.  During Sunday school, we watched the 20 minute Restoration of the gospel video (in Korean for her!) and she really liked it.  The Sunday school teacher, Brother H_____, asked her how she felt about the video and she said she thinks it may be really true!  She said she felt emotional and understood Joseph Smith very well and how he was searching and searching for an answer to his spiritual questions.  That night, we had a lesson with her friend and we taught the beginning part of the Restoration pamphlet and we were going to ask her to be baptized, but we ran out of time. We are going to try Tuesday! Please pray for R_____!

I want to tell you of an experience I had yesterday and today.
So Sister St_____ (Australian member in this Ward who was a missionary in the Sendai and Tokyo mission), went to America, to Utah last week.  Her former MTC companion was getting married and she met her former mission president at her wedding!  He was a YSA (Young Single Adult) Stake President [administering over several congregations] over a woman named JS who lives in Japan now.  He asked her to find her, if she could.  So Sister St______ looks her up on Facebook and finds her and she works at a nearby high school!!  Literally a four minute walk.  So yesterday, on Sunday she is bearing testimony of the gospel and she shares this experience and how God works miracles and says in the microphone, "Where's the shimaitachi.  [Sisters].  Ah ha, yes!  You there in the back!   Tomorrow we are going to visit this less-active!!  K cool cheers! Thanks!"  
And today we visited her.  Sister St______  went in the high school during their lunchtime and brought her outside as we waited (a little odd for missionaries to go in, so we waited outside) and we met her! She hasn't been to church for 5 years and is not teaching English in Japan!  We got her number and told her the story and how amazing it is God is reaching out and she was grateful!! She said that her mom gave her the address of the church so she could go to it, but she forgot about it. We invited her to English class and Christmas party and she is probably going to come!!  We told her about how Sister Shoji [my new companion]  and I were on the train the other day talking to some high school students.  When I told them I was from Utah, one of them freaked out a bit and said that their teacher is from Utah, Miss JS という先生。(A teacher who is called). 
God works miracles everyday and he does reach out to all his children everyday.

My new companion, Sister Shoji is great! She laughs at my dumb jokes, even if she doesn't understand them.  But I can't tell when she doesn't, so I try to explain it in Japanese. 

Here are a couple of pictures of the inside of our apartment.


Sister Shoji, in the apartment kitchen

Until next time,

Parker Shimai

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

("For the fields are white, ready to harvest")

Picture is from internet, showing wheat.  The color is light, almost white when it is ready to harvest.