Niigata (before transfers)
Thanks for your emails!
I think I will start this letter off by answering some questions, haha. There were a lot this week!
There's been a lot of talk lately in Sado about this coming winter season. I'm trying to reach a consensus with what everyone is saying, but I haven't yet. Some people have said that Sado gets really cold, but that there isn't really any snow. They say that it mostly just snows in the mountains because it is too humid near the shore. Others say that there is close to 3 feet of snow every year...now, I'm not sure how people could be so opposite in their experience with the winter, but it's left me wondering what's actually going to happen, haha. This past week, I had about 3 people tell me the first story, and 4 people tell me the second story... I have no idea! Haha. Maybe I am misunderstanding something, haha. I'm sure I will know soon enough. Right now, the leaves are falling off the trees and the autumn colors are really pretty. Today it's been really rainy and there has been some typhoon warnings, but it's been a great day! I am warm enough and I will get back to you all about what I may want for Christmas this year, next week. :) 今考えいます
To follow up with mom's question, I will share a really cool experience from last Sunday. I didn't really time to mention it last week in my letter and so I mentioned it briefly, but I will tell you more about it.
Every Sunday after church, we sing "I'll find you there my friend." Last week, for fast Sunday, we have a ward fast and decided it would be really great if we all knelt and broke our fast together. We were fasting for the miracle to be able to see four baptisms before Christmas. Anyway, we decided that it would be nice to sing our song before we knelt together to brake our fast. Just as everyone was getting ready to sing, I realized that the Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Nagano, had taken the music to be photocopied and that I didn't have the piano music to play it. After explaining what had happened to the ward members, we agreed to sing it without the piano music. I felt like this was a special moment and that it would be so much better with the piano music. I had just barely learned the song 2 weeks previously in preparation for the Nagano's coming to visit, but I felt the Spirit tell me to just sit down at the piano and begin playing the song. Hamada Kyoudai, the music coordinator looked at me and asked me if I could remember the whole thing. The song is around 5 pages long and So I told him that I probably couldn't, but then all the ward members asked me to just to my best-even if it was just the 1st couple notes of the song. The previous week, I had struggled through the song with the music...I couldn't imagine what it might sound like if I tried without the music. I felt so overwhelmed, but agreed to try my best. I learned soon after this experience that we really can do anything with the Lord. I sat down at the piano and played the whole song while our ward sang. I listened to their voices and somehow my hands were guided to play the long streams of arpeggio patterns throughout the song. Soon after finishing, I sat up from the piano and saw some of our branch members in tears. I was so overwhelmed by the Spirit that I was also moved to tears. They asked me how I did it, and I said "自分の力でわありませんでした"(jibun no chikara dewa arimasen deshita) , "it was not by my own power."
We then all knelt together in prayer and petitioned the Lord to help us find people who could be baptized for our Christmas miracle. Such a powerful experience. The Spirit can do amazing things. I don't always understand how things work, but I am left knowing that there is a God in heaven who loves us and is aware of us.
This week Sister Alder and I travelled to Mano to visit a referral from a member in one of Sister Alder's previous areas. We got there, and no one was home. It was a little bit of a let down because it had taken quite a bit of our time to get to Mano. It's was almost dinner time, and so we decided we should probably head back to our apartment from there. As we began to leave, I felt like maybe we should ask God if there was anything He wanted us to do before we left Mano. After praying, the referral pulled into her driveway straight away and we were able to meet with her. Pretty amazing! If we hadn't stopped to pray, we wouldn't missed her altogether.
This letter is pretty short, but I just want to bare my testimony of the Lord's ability to work through us with the Spirit. I've learned that all of the miracles in the mission are performed by the Lord. They are performed regardless of whether or not the missionaries are listening to the Spirit, but as we do listen to the Spirit, we are given the incredible experience of seeing the Lord work wonders and miracles. I love this gospel and am so grateful to be a missionary. This church is true, and God is at the head of this work. Jesus Christ is our Savior and redeemer. He loves us all so much. He will never forsake us.
I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week.