Starting with the furthest right-
member friend from Adachi. Minami chan, Megumi chan, Iida Shimai
member, me, and Ahn Shimai.
Megumi and Minami chan are being baptized on August 26th :) so exciting!
A thousand paper cranes. It's a big thing here in Japan. I think it is
for good luck
Thank you for all of your letters! It's sounds like there are lots of exciting things happening at home! Josh, Jianna, Jameson- I wish you all the best of luck in your soccer games this week! Summer games are the best. Play hard and run until the adrenaline comes and takes over. It's the best ever when you can play with that rush, and especially awesome when that happens during summer games. Have fun! I'm so excited for you three! Jarom- make sure you cheer really loud with mom and dad. :) I'm glad you all had fun in Waterton and at the parade this past week. It sounds like the rest of the family is doing good too. Thank you for updating me with everything that is happening all the time. It's always so good to hear from you guys. :)
It's been a really busy week for me! Busy is good though. We met our new mission president and his wife this past week! Sister Ahn and I traveled to the Honbu to meet them, and it was an amazing experience for me. Before the meet and greet, I was feeling really weighed down and stressed about a lot of things, but shortly after we arrived I felt like my weight was lifted. I had the most incredible experience and feeling come over me when my new Mission president and his wife entered the room. I looked at both of their faces closely and just watched them as they began shaking hands with the other missionaries in the room. As I watch them, my weight was lifted. I felt such a familiarity with both of them as I talked with them and introduced myself. I couldn't help but think about my setting apart blessing and what was said about the new mission president that would be coming. President and Sister Budge will always have a special place in my heart, and to be honest, I was a little bit worried about the change, but this experience was truly a fulfillment of the blessing pronounced. I feel so close to both of them. I was amazed by how peaceful my mind and heart began to feel as I met them. That weight was completely lifted from my shoulders, and I'm so grateful for this tender mercy. God really does know us individually. He is so gracious. Im grateful for the experience he allowed me to have with President and Sister Nagano. I'm excited to learn more from both of them as time goes on! We saw them today in the Temple and again that feeling of familiarity came over me. They are both so special. My first thought, after seeing Sister Nagano, was how much she reminds me of grandma Tessa. How she moves, speaks, smiles- everything! It's amazing to me. Seeing her was like bring back memories of grandma. It was really special for me to feel that. We had a few short moments together when I introduced myself, and although I didn't say anything about how hard this transfer has been or how I was feeling, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "hang in there," with her pretty smile and pure eyes. I was speechless. All I could say was thank you with a starting to be tearful smile. I know they will both be wonderful. To describe President Nagano a little bit, I will tell you what happened today after our temple session. Sister Ahn and I were just about to walk outside, when we realized it was pouring rain. We brought our rain jackets with us, but even with those, the probability of getting our feet and skirts soaked was looking pretty high. As we were putting on our rain jackets on, hesitantly, hoping the rain would slow up a little bit, the sliding doors in front of us opened and in walked President Nagano. He had just walked into the Temple Annex from the rain. He looked at us, shook both of our hands and asked, " do you two have an umbrella?" We said we didn't, but that we would probably be fine with our rain jackets. Without hesitating, he opened the umbrella he had just closed and held it out to us saying that He had a car and didn't need an umbrella. He said goodbye to us telling us to be careful with a big smile- I've noticed he always has a big smile. Anyway, I think they are both pretty great. :)
As far as our investigators as concerned, I think we have seen some really neat things this week! We were able to set a Baptismal date with our 19yr old friend, Minami Chan. Last week, her best friend, Megumi Chan set a baptismal date for August 26th, and Minami decided that she wanted to be baptized on the same day as her friend. We are so excited for them! I will send you a picture of the lesson we had last night with them. I feel really close with both of these investigators and I'm sure we will be really good friends even after our mission. They said they want to visit Canada and the States after I am finished my mission. They are both amazing and so prepared. I love them so much. :)
The family we are teaching is moving along too. We taught the mother tonight, and she is praying and taking about another baptismal date right now. It's always such a pleasure to be in their home. We love them so much.
Dad mentioned last week that he was able to come in contact with a few other languages in his mission too. Here in Tokyo, I feel like I've met people from all over the world! In Tokyo I've come in contact with, Persian, Korean, Cambodian, Spanish, Russian, Australian, Portuguese, Chinese, Nigerian and a few other occurrences of people from America or Europe- (these being tourists for the most part). It's been really neat to meet people from all over the world. Most people are Japanese though. There are over 13 million people who live in Tokyo, and it certainly shows as we walk in and out of train stations. There are people everywhere! This morning the trains were so packed that we were squished together so tight that we were face to face almost. I'm not going to say that I'm used to being so close to a million different people, but it is a daily occurrence. On the bright side, we always have people to talk to! Haha, it's great. It's really neat to see and experience different cultures here. First and foremost, I am trying to learn Japanese, but I think learning some of these other languages would be really neat too. Our friend Chana is always trying to teach us Cambodian and so I can say a few things in Cambodian, but that's about it, haha. Japanese for now. :)
Dad had a question about cicadas...yep! We have them! They are really loud, especially after about 8:00pm. I think they are really neat though. Oh, and I didn't eat any weird foods this week, but maybe next week, haha.
There were some things that Josh talked about in his letter that reminded me of some of the small miracles I've heard about from other missionaries in the mission. I've heard countless stories of people who have come in contact with the missionaries before, and were given a pamphlet, or a Book of Mormon on a train or on the street. At the time, they weren't super interested, but they took the Book of Mormon or pamphlet anyway. Years later, something hard or tragic happens in their lives, and all of sudden the Book of Mormon falls from the bookshelf, or they find a little pamphlet or a note the missionaries wrote them, and thus starts a their journey of investigation and they eventually receive the fullness of the gospel. This is something I have always tried to keep in mind as I go out and talk to people. Every single word I say, every testimony I give, every Book of Mormon I give or small thing I do to invite others to Christ, is a seed that is either planted or will be planted in the future. If you think about it, every single person that has ever lived and is living now, will receive the chance to hear the fullness of the gospel. Thinking about it in this way, every effort made to reach out and teach people, even if they aren't interested right now, will someday change their lives. They might read the Book of Mormon one day and feel God's love start to flow into their lives. You never know what could happen. God works in countless wonderful ways to further His work.
Some crazy things have happened in the world lately! I heard that same-sex marriage is now legal in all the States. In the church, President Packer pass away, and Elder Perry passed away a few weeks ago too- there have been lots of other changes in our world lately. I find it interesting that their last words in general conference were both about protecting the family, and as they pass away, same sex marriage is made legal throughout all the States. Our prophets seers and revelators truly do speak the word of God. These are amazing signs and wonders! It is sad to see so many people reject God's plan, but it is just another sign of the Savior's second coming. I think we will see more and more of that everyday that we live, but with these changes, I think there is a greater need to prepare spiritually for the things that continue happening around us. It will be neat to see who is called to be new apostles in October. We live in such an important and incredible time. We are truly witnessing the world prophesied about throughout the scriptures preceding the second coming of Christ. I'm really grateful to be a missionary at this time, and for the chance to help prepare the way of the Lord.
It is so important for us to always be doing the consistent little things that count. Daily scripture study, fervent prayer, and keeping God's other commandments and some of these little important things. Through doing these, we will not only be happy, but we will have the confidence we need to stand strong in a world that is being increasingly more wicked. There is a scripture is Mosiah 2:41 that I really like.
41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
True happiness really does come when we obey God's commandments. It's important to always obey the spirit too. I've learned that time and time again on my mission.
I love you all so much. Thank you for everything you do, and for your wonderful examples. :)
Continue to pray for opportunities to share the gospel with others. If you really desire to share this gospel, I know God will give you the opportunity to do it. God always calls us to work according to our desires. Ask and ye shall receive. :)
Here is a quick video of some of the celebration happening on the streets of Tokyo