Some sort of festival
Flowers and trees are blossoming everywhere. It is so pretty.
Daryn said these are like pancakes cooked on muffin type grills. They taste yummy.
Traditionally dressed Japanese women
I hope you all enjoyed conference and that you had a fun Easter. It sounds like there are many exciting things happening back home right now! Thanks for telling me all about it. :) You are all so amazing and I love you so much! Its great to hear that Josh and Jianna have a suteki new car to drive places! (You lucky ducks.. Haha)
First of all, Happy birthday Daddy!!!! :D I hope you have a very special day. :)
I haven't seen conference yet, but we will be watching it next Sunday hopefully. We will be able to watch it in English, so I am really excited to listen to all of the talks. I'm sure they were amazing. :)
This week has been really good! Sister Trent and I were able to meet some really cool people as we dendo'ed this week. When we ride the trains, we always try to talk to as many people as we can, as it it easier to stop people when you aren't on a bike, haha. (We do stop people while riding our bikes though) Yesterday, after church, we went to go visit a less active sister and we had to ride the train. On the train, we met two really neat people who are now potential investigators. I will tell you about the first person. This woman was probably in her 20s and she was from Napal. She could speak English, which was so great! Haha. Anyway, we were talking to her casually, and eventually we were able to ask her if she believed in God? She said she didn't and gave us a long explanation of why she didn't. After she finished, I looked at sister Trent really quick to see if she was going to say anything. She didn't look like she had anything ready to say. I felt impressed to ask this woman a question. I asked, "So, if God doesn't exist, what do you think happens after to life when we die?" .. I had barely finished the question when she clasped her head and started to shake it slowly. She said, "no no, I don't want to think about it!" -I could tell she had thought about my question before. From here, we were able to share about the Plan of Salvation and how after to life we can be with our families forever. She was so touched. I watched her eyes as we talked to her... They slowly turned from a worried state, into eyes full of hope and intensive listening. I bore my testimony of God and how he answers prayers. I promised her that if she prayed about the things we had taught her, that God would let her know if they were true or not. We then invited her to church. We will see what happens next week! :)
I could share probably 50 of these experience per week if I had the time to share them... The work of salvation is so amazing! Sister Trent and I don't always get a return appointment, or ever see the people we meet again, but when we are able share principle with someone through the spirit, it is amazing! God knows how to exalt his children, and I think that the simple things we teach to people on the street are part of to process. We plant the seeds and God is able to continue to prepare people's hearts as we follow the spirit. It's been the coolest thing ever to see people's eyes light up and suddenly be full of joy or hope. That is really what to gospel does for us. I'm so grateful for it.
Sister Trent is one of the Sister training leaders in our zone, so I have the opportunity to go on exchanges every two weeks or so. Last week, (I didn't mention it very much) I went to Adachi and got to spend the day and night with Sister Jones (the other sister training leader). Then, this week, sister Jones and my companion had a meeting with the mission leadership at the mission home, so Sister Evanson and I were together for most of the day! It was really fun! (Sister Evanson is actually from Lethbridge and I've met her family before. I think her dad is stake president or something) I love my companion, but it was really neat to see how other sister approach people and begin to teach. There is really no wrong way to do it! :) I had a lot of fun.
Our investigators are doing pretty good right now. We have hit a few curves in the road along the way, but we are hoping to be able to extend some baptismal invitations this week. Keep your fingers crossed! Konno, (the lady who came to church for the Nelson conference) is doing really well! We haven't asked her to baptized yet, but we think she wants to be! One of our recent converts in the ward, Chana (small, really funny Cambodian lady) started telling her about great her baptism was and then she asked Konno if she wanted to be baptized! It was crazy! Sister Trent and I didn't really know what to do! Haha. Konno is really shy by nature, but said she thought it would be a good idea to be baptized. So wonderful! We are sure it will happen soon. :)
it's been really neat to teach her. 2 nights ago, we taught her about the plan of salvation. When we started talking about Celestial Kingdom, she was really excited! She told us that she had a dream about a place like the Celestial Kingdom and how she thought she saw Moses or someone there teaching her about it. -That was super neat to hear! God really is preparing people for us everyday. :) so cool. While we sleep at night, God works with our investigators hearts, and then in the morning we try again to plant the gospel into their hearts. We are really excited about Konno. :) (she is Nehongene by the way)
My Japanese is coming along. Slowly, but surely, haha. I have little miracles here and there and I know I just have to keep trusting in the promises the lord has given me. I am understanding lots more than I have previously though! :)
This week while housing, Sister Trent and I 'accidentally' you ran into a persons house who was a referral some time ago. This lady had been moved to the 'not interested' place in our contacts, but we had no idea at the time. We rang her door bell and she began telling us that she had already found Jesus and that she accepted him as her savior. As she was about to go away, (we never saw her face, this was all done on the voice exchange doorbell outside of her house) we began teaching her the restoration and about the Book of Mormon. This lady also spoke English!
Sister Trent bore a powerful testimony of how our message has helped her and her family, and then I felt impressed to tell her about the 1st vision and how we know God speaks to his children. We both testified of gods love for her and her family and then we asked her if we could come back and teach her family. She was silent as we waited outside the door (I was worried she had hung up on us) but surely enough, she came through. She was very emotional and we could tell she was deeply touched by our message. Although she still said she wasn't interested, the spirit was strong and we are going to visit her again sometime soon to see how she is doing. Maybe we will teach her family soon.
We also saw some miracles with some former investigators! One mother contacted us at eikaiwa (English class) and said that she wanted to start meeting with us again. This lady and her 3 children once upon a time had baptismal dates set, but they decided last minute to not be baptized. We are excited to see what will happen with her. :)
Oh! And I should probably mention that I have been in over 100 tiny earthquakes by now, haha. Some are bigger than others, but they usually are just little rumbles. It's been a neat experience for sure! Haha.
If you haven't watched the new Easter video yet, "because he lives," you should definitely watch it. :) It is really great. There is another great video that we have been sharing with people this week called, "because of him," (another Easter video). They are both amazing, and they have helped me realize how truly grateful I am to say that I have a Savior. It is only through him that I am able to be here in Japan. It is only through him and his goodness that I can be happy every single day here, and every single day of my life. Because he lives, everyone can feel the peace, love and immeasurable joy that comes from feeling his love. There have been so many times in my life when I have felt his arms around me. Sometimes it is difficult to see or feel Christ's strength in our lives, but as I look back on my life and everything I have ever struggled with, I can see how he helped me every step of the way. I truly believe that most times, when we are really struggling, he stand with us, holding his arms open, reaching for us, begging us to grab him. Because of the gift of agency which God gave us, I imagine him standing close by, hoping that we will ask him for help. He will not violate our agency to choose, and this is why we must ask him for help. As soon as we ask him for help, he will reach out and save us. I
Know this is true. This week, while studying, I found some scriptures that I really enjoyed reading. Since it is Easter, I would like to share them with everyone.
37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
(1 Nephi 19: 9)
9 And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it, and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long suffering towards the children of men.
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
These are powerful scriptures that testify of Jesus Christ. I love them so much, and I know they are true. Christ remembers each of us. He has been through each one of our lives individually. He knows what we struggle with and he knows how to make us happy. :) he knows everything. I testify of his redeeming power to save. It doesn't matter what we have done, he will and can forgive us. It is through him that we are able to return to our Heavenly Fathers presence. As a representative of Jesus Christ, I testify of the reality of these things. His love is never ending and we can feel peace as we rely on him. I love my savior Jesus Christ and I am so grateful for him.
"Savior, redeemer of my soul...
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole...Whose wondrous power hath raised me up... And filled with sweet my bitter cup! What tongue my gratitude can tell, o gracious God of Israel.
Never can I repay, thee lord, but I can love thee. Thy pure word, hath it not been my one delight, my joy by day, my dream by night? Then let my lips proclaim it still, and all my life reflect thy will.
Over rule mine acts to serve thine ends. Change frowning foes to smiling friends. Chasten my soul till I shall be in perfect harmony with thee. Make me more worthy of thy love, and fit me for the life above."
I love this song so much! I know this Gospel is true. God does answer our prayers and he smiles upon us as we strive to become like him.
I love you all and pray for you. :) Never forget the love the Lord has for you. If you haven't felt it, pray to feel it and it will be there.
I've had a good week! I pray for all of you. I'm so grateful to be a missionary.