Sister Horito and Sister Hubbard
Lots of sea food in Sado
Cooking in their apartment...
Sister Hubbard and Sister Horito
The boat Sister Hubbard arrived on
Sister Horito and Sister Hubbard
Cool bush they found
Hello everyone! Thank you for the emails and love!
For the past four days I have been in Niigata because we had all of these conferences that we had to go to. On Friday we had zone conference with president and sister Nagano. It was really great! They both gave amazing trainings an I really felt the spirit. I'll talk some more about it later in the email. On Saturday, we had a huge district conference with all of the branches in Niigata! I would compare it to stake conference, but because we only have "groups" and "branches" up here, we call it district meeting because there are no wards yet. Hopefully soon! :) we had a zone p-day today and it was really fun! I've met a lot of people who I have never met before in the mission because they have all been in Niigata for a little while. It's been really fun! Because it is really expensive to ride the Ferry, we just spent 4 days in Niigata so that we could be part of all of the activities happening in our zone. Right now I am on the Ferry writing to you all on my way back home. The boat we are riding on today is huge! It's a kind of crew ship and is pretty exciting!
Sado is doing pretty good! As I mentioned earlier, we weren't able to be there for very long this week because of all of the meetings and such, but we saw some pretty cool miracles! On Sado, there is this Main Street where all the stores and things are. Sister Horito and I often bike/walk down it and talk to people. Most people seem to have little or no interest as we go finding, and so lately we have been thinking of some ways that might be more effective. I can't remember if I mentioned it or not last week, but Sister Horito's Dad suggested that we buy brooms and sweep in front of all of the shops on this main road. We tried it last week and saw a lot of success as we served the people by sweeping in front of their shops. We met an older lady named Nakagawa San and had a really good talk with her. Anyway, long story short, we visited her again this week and took her some apple cake that we made her. She was really happy to see us and she introduced us to her daughter named Rieko San. We think they have a lot of potential and are planning to eat dinner with them this next week sometime. Pretty exciting!
We also spent quite a bit of time housing this past week in Sado. About half way through one afternoon, we were having no luck. We talked to so many people, but they all told us that they had no interest and that they didn't believe in God. I was feeling a little bit discouraged, but we decided to house down a few more streets. About half way down, we met this lately who listened to us for about 10 minutes. She was also a very strong Buddhist, but we were able to explain who God is and teach her about prayer. It was really neat! About half way through the conversation, she asked us how we knew God existed and we were able to bear our testimonies of prayer and of the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was really strong and we could tell that she really felt it, despite saying no to our message.
I feel like dendou is a lot different in Sado than it was in Tokyo, but I feel like I am learning a lot as a result of it all. In Tokyo, Eikaiwa was a huge tool we used to find people and teach them. In Sado, Eikaiwa isn't a huge deal because most people who live here will never have to use English unless they move to the mainland. Even then, they don't see much of a point because everyone speaks Japanese. So, right now our attendance for Eikaiwa is very low. We are trying to build it right now. As a district, we went to some of the surrounding schools and offered to help the students learn English. Right now we are waiting for the Principals to call us back and let us know if it is a go or not. Hopefully we can see some miracles there! We are trying really hard to focus on the youth in Sado and get them to do fun activities with us so that someday they will have the opportunity to be taught by the missionaries. There is a fun place here in Sado where all of the school kids go after school to hang out on weekends. The place has a fun Purikura booth (photo booth that prints out pictures and you can decorate them and collect them) and games and such. Anyway, we are planning to go there and become friends with all of the school students and hopefully interest them in our Eikaiwa. :) It should be fun! We are already friends with quite a few of the high school students here and it is always so fun to see them on the streets and say 'hello' as we ride our bikes by. They are all awesome!
Well, I guess I should tell you a little bit about the 4 days I spent in Niigata this week. Our zone conference was amazing! President and Sister Nagano are so wonderful. They're trainings were so powerful. In zone meeting, we read in judges chapter 7 about the story of Gideon and the 300 soldiers who fought blowing trumpets and with the power of God against the Midianites, who's numbers were as the sands of the sea. Together, we read the story.
16 And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.
17 And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do.
18 When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.
19 ¶So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.
20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.
21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.
22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Beth-shittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath.
President Nagano opened everything up for discussion and I feel like everyone learned a lot as we read and studied the scriptures together. It was really great, and I felt the spirit very strong as he compared us to the 300 warriors going to battle against the 41 million people in Tokyo- pretty amazing comparison if you really think about it. I really felt the power of the Spirit as we all discussed and read together. So powerful! Every time President and Sister Nagano speak to me personally, or to us as a zone or mission, I feel so strongly that they are called and inspired of God to do what they do. God really can work miracles though us, but it is our responsibility to be sanctified enough to receive those special blessings. We talked a lot about speaking and acting with spiritual power. We talked about how this spiritual power comes from being exactly obedient and turning our thoughts and hearts to God. After the meeting, our zone leaders encouraged us to join in a special 40 day fast with them. We all accepted and Covenanter with the Lord to fast from the things that keep us from focussing 100% on the work. We each wrote down what we would work on individually to become more sanctified. We then made goals and plans for each companionship to be able to see 2 baptisms in the next 4 months. It got us all really excited and committed to our 40 day fast that we had started. So powerful! :)
The next day, president and Sister Nagano spoke in the stake conference meeting about member and missionary work and committed the whole congregation to find people for the missionaries to teach. As part of the commitment, they gave everyone a Book of Mormon stick in that answers a lot of questions Japanese people have about life. All the questions are answered though the Book of Mormon. Anyway, I wish I had time to tell you about his whole talk! Since I don't, I will just say that it was really neat to see all of these members accept the invitation and commit to sharing the gospel with their friends. The feeling in the room was so powerful as president Nagano promised blessings upon the members and missionaries in that meeting. I was so amazed! The Spirit is so powerful!
All in all, it's been an amazing week! I feel like I'm almost in a whole different mission being way up here in Niigata, but it is an amazing area to be in. I feel the the members are beginning to be very excited about the work here and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to see prophecy be fulfilled through them. Their hearts are so strong.
Well, that's all for this week! I love you all and am always praying for you. Stay strong and please share your testimonies with those around you! Share it by being you! People can really see the light that you have and there are prepared people everywhere!! ... Yes, even in little ol' Magrath ;) haha. I love you all! Thank you for your love and letters!