Tuesday, February 14, 2017

46th week in Japan; 3rd area. Burying our grievances and sins; Valentines Day in Japan.

(picture is from internet)


Hello Family, friends, and blog readers:

I've been getting better at teaching English.  I feel almost like a pro! :)  When I first came to Japan, I would sweat and get nervous.  For quite a few transfers [6 week time periods] it was like that, but now it's good!

I am personally doing good.  I have been focusing my thoughts and prayers on the Ward [congregation] and Mission school.  We had a mochitsuki, and that's where we pound rice with a hammer and smooth it and stuff and then you eat it with different foods.  There are picture and videos on my companion's iPad but we couldn't send it to my iPad for some reason, so we will try again later today and see if we can get it.  

A P.I. [potential investigator] we met on the street a month ago, I've been Facebook messaging her, and she had her day off on Saturday and that's when the mochitsuki was, so she came!!  It was great!  The Ward fellowshipped her well.   After that we did missionary Zone blitz activity, so we did little companion exchanges and I went with Sister Moterzitsky (I don't know how to spell her name).  That was fun!  We have been trying to focus on smart dendou (proselyting) and so we went into a library and asked if we could volunteer and teach English.  They said, "Yes," and  that we could even read English books to children at activities!   For all of the Zone!! So that was a cool miracle!   [For those of you who don't know what Zone means, it is a geographical area in the mission with X number of missionaries assigned to it.  It is comprised of several missionary Districts, which are smaller than a Zone].  Our Zone has had had really spiritual and inspiring meetings and it's been helping me to narrow my course to Heavenly Father.
 
Something I learned in my personal study recently is in the book of Alma [in the Book of Mormon] about the Sons of Mosiah and their journeys.   They did smart dendou [proselyting] too!  When those Lamanites were converted to the Gospel, and called themselves the Anti-Nephi-Lehis, they buried their "weapons of rebellion against God, and showed that covenant to not shed blood anymore by literally burying their weapons deep in the ground.  When the bad Lamanites came to attack them, they kept their promise that they made with God.  They knew they would be saved in the Lord's Kingdom whether they were killed or not.  When the Lamanites started war and saw them not resisting, they stopped and felt sorrow for their brethren that they were attacking and killing, and many converted to God. The Lord works to save his children in ways we cannot always comprehend.  However, there were still Lamanites whose hearts were hardened and turned their anger to the Nephites.  So they kept attacking them, but sooner or later they stopped and become one with the people of God.
 
They kept the law of Moses because hey saw it as a type of the coming of Jesus Christ.  (see Alma 25.  Click here ) By repeating this Mosaic ordinance, in and of itself, it did not bring them salvation but strengthened their faith in Christ therefore keeping their hope in God.  Kept them strong in their testimony because it pointed them to the future atonement of Christ.   This chapter made me think of ordinances like baptism, the sacrament, and the Temple ordinances.  We need to prepare ourselves spiritually in order to receive rewards in heaven.  The sacrament is a weekly ordinance that reminds us of our baptismal covenant and that we will always remember Christ and follow him. It's a time to repent of our sins.  The ordinance itself does not make us clean unless we bring a contrite spirit and broken heart (godly sorrow for our sins) to church.  Therefore, we need to prepare to be able to receive that strength.  

As humans, we always forget things.  If we remembered everything we did exactly, we would probably never sin again after sinning.  But it's because we constantly forget and we are a 'fallen' people, we need to constantly focus on the Savior Jesus Christ and repent.  Through this, and ordinances restored through the priesthood of God, we are able to keep a brightness of hope and strengthen our faith in Christ.  Elder Bednar's talked about this too, in one of his talks.  His talk was focused on Mosiah 4:19,20 (click here)  I think.  It was about keeping a remission of sins, but I understand it more now.  All ordinances are important and need full spiritual preparation for them. 

We are about to go to the temple in Tokyo so I will end this letter here.

Love, 
your missionary daughter,
Sister Kirsten Parker

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

*******
Cultural note: 

It's Valentines' Day (February 14th) again, however it is celebrated a little differently in Japan than in the USA.  Men get the chocolate on Valentines' (as do family, friends, coworkers) and if they love back, they reciprocate to the women on White Day one month later (March 14th).

Here are a couple of links where you can read up on it if you wish:


or

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

44-45th Week in Japan. 3rd Area. Peace is tied to patience & faith, and in doing the right thing.

Hi!

I think people are called to do missions not just to help people in a different part of the world, but it's to show faith to the Lord and to change and be molded into what God wants to make them. But I know that there are many paths to choose that will affect your lives and my life and many others lives.
 
Things in Japan are moving forward. We've found two new investigators in the past week. One was a former investigator and the other was a P.I. (potential investigator).  We called the potential investigator just to see how she was doing.  She was actually a previous Eikaiwa [English instruction] student but stopped coming because she became really sick.  When we talked to her she said that she wanted to go to church and pray to God.

But I can update on that more later.  In regards to peace in the heart, finding peace in spite of stress is a good sign of growth!   I just have some thoughts that I want to express.

I know there are many trials that are going on in life, but there is a way to get through them, overcome them, triumph them.  And that is through Jesus Christ.  I know I talk a lot about Jesus Christ, but he is the center of everything.  The source of all good, the foundation of all righteousness, and the key to all happiness.  When we have trials and obstacles, it's our time to shine!  It's during these moments that we can pray, especially for each other (!), with all our heart, all our soul, and act with all our might to do good.  It's during these times that If we believe, trust, and follow the Savior, we will be simply carried by the Savior. 

I can confirm that the gentleness shown and the peace and love given to each other is from God and confirmation from the spirit that what you're doing God is happy with.  I firmly believe that God has not left you, you are in his hands.  And he is taking care of you.  But, sometimes it may not seem like it, maybe because that's because Heavenly Father trusts you and is letting you try.  Or maybe it's because we are not letting him help us, because his hand is always stretched out. There are things we don't realize often, because we are human and imperfect. 

I firmly believe that through daily repentance and prayer that you will continue to have those feelings of peace and the desire to do good.  I would also recommend to remember the daily little things that Spirit guides us to do.  As we seek it though constant prayer, we can be guided of how to get through even difficult trials in life.  Praying first thing in the morning, before breakfast, before leaving the house, before answering her phone, before starting work, before using Facebook, before going to entertainment, after eating because the food was so good and you just want to say thank you to God!, after a date, after church, before bed.  In everything in life, to never forget God's relationship to us in life,  We always need God in our lives.  Some people only think about God on Sunday, or perhaps on only a few Sunday's during the year, or in fleeting moments, but He isn't a regular fixture in their life or their thoughts or feelings. This life is only temporary and we can see the Lord again and our family members again after this life.  We will all be separated at one point in our lives at different times but in the end, because of the temple covenants [keeping our promises to God], we can live together.

But there was this thing on Facebook by Elder Holland that I want to share.

These are the words of Jeffrey R. Holland on Facebook that I would like to share with you.

"I often think of those of you who are in the midst of a struggle. As much as we want life to be easy and comfortable, as much as I wish it could be that way for you, it simply cannot be. We are all, in one way or another, at one point in our lives, going to deal with a moral conundrum or a difficult issue without an easy answer.
At that point, we need to ask ourselves, “How much does the gospel of Jesus Christ really mean to me?” How will you act when that call comes? Will you defend Christ and His gospel, come what may?
John Taylor wrote that he once heard Joseph Smith say to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. … God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God.”
The life of Christ was like that. It is not coincidental that the word that is used for Christ’s experience in Gethsemane is that He was in “agony.” If we say we’re disciples of Christ, we will on occasion be in agony. We must walk where He walked.
When those moments come—contemporary issues, historical complexities, personal problems at home, challenges in a mission or a marriage, wherever it is—I pray and ask and bless you to the end that you will be strong. May you follow Christ with every ounce of your being, in good times and in bad."

Sorry I ran out of time! 


Love,
Sister Kristen Parker!!
Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

Here's a silly street performer we saw.  Maybe missionaries should wear a silly bird head to get more attention?  Just kidding!   What we offer is priceless, but he just wants some Yen (money) given to him, which will perish as soon as he has paid his bills.    Acts 8:20,  2 Nephi 26:31






Culture... from internet site.  'Can't wait for Spring  [K-Mom]

Saitama Prefecture (埼玉県 Saitama ken) is located in northern Tokyo. Its southern part is adjacent to Tokyo, that is why its is more densely populated, but head northwards and you will find fields of crops and nature in abundance. It has a lot of still undiscovered sightseeing spots, such as places with old streets and splendid nature.
The beautiful shibazakura èŠæ¡œ (Moss Phlox flowers) of Hitsujiyama Park (羊山公園) in Chichibu (秩父市) or the area around Chichibu-hashi Bridge 秩父橋 itself, which was chosen as the location for an anime, are some examples of sightseeing places in Saitama Prefecture that have garnered attention in recent years. On the other hand, Saitama Prefecture is also known as the place for bonsai (盆栽), with many tourists from abroad visiting Ōmiya Bonsai Art Museum (さいたま市大宮盆栽美術館).
https://matcha-jp.com/en/1521