Well, it's been a week full of amazing miracles! I'm not sure where to start with everything. God is really blessing our little Sado island. Sister Horito and I have probably biked close to 70km this past week, and as a result were able to see a lot of the pretty nature here. I feel like I am serving in one of the most beautiful places in the world! The nature here is so breathtaking. There is something so special about serving in a nature filled place. There is definitely a different Spirit to be felt as I love biking on the coast and through all of the beautiful nature. The rice fields are almost all harvested now, and this past week we were able to help someone with their harvesting! It was a really neat experience, and even though the people we served weren't interested in learning about the gospel, we felt really good about helping them. The people here harvest the rice, both by hand and by machine. It's really neat to see people in their rice hats going to work in the rice fields. So neat! I don't know how I'm ever going to leave this place, haha. It's beginning to get a little bit chilly here, but the sun is still shining bright and so Sister Hubbard is a happy camper. :)
Anyway, this past week we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders- Sister Yonaha and Sister Howe. I had the opportunity to dendou with Sister Yonaha who is nihongin and doesn't know English. It was so neat for me to be able to be with a Japanese companion all day, speaking Japanese! So fun! We saw so many miracles together! A few days before the exchange, sister Horito and I found a young woman named Ediku Ito San who seemed to have quite a bit of interest in our message. She is a really cute 22yr old college student who lives in Sado by herself. Anyway, sister Yonaha and I felt like we should go and visit her while we were on exchanges. Sister Horito and I were able to give her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet the past time we had met with her, and so our plan was to follow up with that a little bit and see if she had read it. We found out that she had only read a little bit of it, but that she wanted to read the rest of it but had been busy with school lately. Sister Yonaha and I began to simply explain the plan of Salvation to her- how we lived with Heavenly Father before this life, and how we will return to live with him after this life. While we were talking, I felt impressed to share about the car accident that happened in Magrath just after my 16th birthday and about how four of my friends were killed in the accident. The spirit was really strong. What I didn't know then was that her mother had passed away close to a year previously. She had tears in her eyes as we taught her, and I couldn't help but think of how wonderful it must have been for her to hear that she would be able to see her mother again someday. It was such a wonderful experience. I think she really connected with Yonaha Shimai. Everything really does happen for a reason and God's timing is always perfect. I learned so much from Yonaha shimai on exchanges, and I'm so grateful that we were able to share this special experience with her. I'm exciting to continue to teach Ito San as she has all of a sudden become so special to me. There is something special that happens when we are able to learn in the Spirit of the Lord together. It was such a neat experience. As we both walked away from the house, we shared with each other how we both felt that she was so prepared and how we felt we were speaking God's words at her genkan. So amazing!
We are watching conference this week and I am so excited! Thanks for helping be excited about it and for sharing your favorite talks and insights. I always learn so much from you all. :)
So, to let you know what happened with the Philippine lady we met last week! Her name is Lovelia (isn't that pretty?) and we were able to see her yesterday! It wasn't quite what we were expecting as she told us that she had left the Christian church and stopped believing in God. We were pretty shocked to hear that as she asked us to come over on the phone last week. We were truly led to her by and through the Spirit and so we are not going to give up on her though!
We marked a bunch of scriptures that testify powerfully about God and left her another note with a Tagalog Book of Mormon. She's special and she needs the gospel in her life! ... She just doesn't know it yet, haha. She really is a sweet mother though and we were able to meet her neighbors who are also Philippingin which was really neat. I guess we will see what happens with her as time goes on. God works in mysterious ways.
President and Sister Nagano are coming to visit Sado from the 23-25 and so we are really excited for that! I think they will have some really specific instruction for us and the Sado branch when they speak to us. I'm excited to hear from the both and to be interviewed by them. Something I really admire about both of them is how strongly United they are. They do everything together and they know all of the missionaries so so well. I feel very close with both of them and so I'm so excited to have them come to the island. :)
I can't help but think that there is something wonderful about to happen here in Sado. I feel it so strongly and it gives me so much motivation to work hard everyday. We just have to trust in God's timing and follow the Spirit. I know that as we do our best to do the things that we have been asked to do that we are given extra power and strength to do them. Then, with the Lord's help, we are able to do things and work miracles by His Spirit. In doctrine covenants 138:17 it says:
17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
Sometimes in our lives, we reach a point where we feel like the road we were walking on has disappeared, or that we have lost our way somehow. These times are always difficult, but I've heard before that sometimes we have to struggle in the dark for a little while before we become humble enough to recognize the light for what it truly is, and forever will be. I love this scripture because it directs us to simply do everything we can, and then "stand still and see the salvation of God." God promises to make up the difference when we try our best to do His will. God can multiply our efforts by hundreds and thousands. He really doesn't need missionaries to further His work, but He allows us to serve Him because we have desires to and it is such a blessing to be able to feel His love through this work. This Gospel is true. It is the Lord's restored church and it is back on the earth with its fullness and power. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is true, and was translated by the gift and power of God. We can feel God's love through reading that sacred book and receive direction by living by its principles. Just like in other dispensations of time, we have have a living prophet who leads and guides us today in the church. Jesus Christ is the Savior and redeemer of the world. He has redeemed us from Sin and made it possible for us to return to our Heavenly Father. We, by ourselves, could never return to God's presence because we are imperfect and always make mistakes. The fact the He, Jesus Christ, would suffer and die for me, an imperfect person, is beyond all of my understanding.. But because he did, I know I am greatly loved and that I can truly return to my Heavenly Father. I can't express my gratitude enough for my Savior Jesus Christ.
Sister Horito at the end of a path we took on the island
In Sado, the beaches are so pretty