Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Japanese Funeral

Ahhh, delicious Japanese candy.  A gift from church members!

It was a week full of new experiences! It felt like we didn't have a lot of time to do actual missionary work this week because other things kept happening.

The construction to expand the church building is finished, and so we are able to study at the church in the mornings again...which is wonderful, but also means a 15 minute bike ride to the church before study. On Thursday, when we were studying at the church before leaving for Interviews with Welch Kaicho, we got a call from a less active member. He asked for the branch president's phone number, so we talked to him for a little bit, gave him the phone number and didn't think much of it for the rest of the day. After interviews when we made it back home, we got A LOT of phone calls from every member...basically. This less active's father had passed away, and they were having the funeral for him on Friday. So, I had the opportunity to attend a Japanese funeral. It was much more of a church funeral, so a lot of the traditional Japanese stuff wasn't done. But it was still an interesting experience. The less active family wanted all of the missionaries to sing, and so we sang Hie to Kolob at the funeral. The entire experience made me really grateful that we have the Plan of Salvation. Like any funeral, it was a little sad, but it doesn't feel like an end, it feels like "eternal beginnings" (like President Uchtdorf said in the April General Conference) because we know of our eternal destiny and Heavenly Father's plan for us.

On Saturday I was able to watch the General Women's Broadcast in Takamatsu! And then after the broadcast, which was amazing, we traveled back to Tokushima and went to this incredibly fancy hotel for a branch dinner....because a less active is the chef at the hotel! The food was delicious and the less active told us that he would be seeing us at church soon! 
So, between Interviews, a funeral and the General Women's Broadcast...we only had a few days to dendou. But, Heavenly Father provides for us and helped us to find the people that are prepared for the gospel. We also had a lesson on Friday night after the funeral with two of my favorite investigators in the entire world. We found them by housing right next to our Branch President's house last transfer, and they have been progressing really well! This week we taught them about the Plan of Salvation and they loved it! They are just so eager to learn, and this 12 year old girl and her mother have the best relationship ever and they are so cute and laugh together and make fun of each other...and if one of them doesn't do their reading assignment, then they teach it to the other one. The good news is that they are very good at keeping commitments :) They see the joy that comes from learning about their Savior, Jesus Christ...and they are just so much fun to teach. I have really come to LOVE teaching the gospel as a missionary.

Anyway...all in all it was a very good, eventful, busy week...even if a lot of the busy was spent doing very unusual things. But, the Lord brings those who need to find the gospel to us. I have a testimony of this :)

Also, one quick thought from Interviews that I have been thinking about - I talked with Welch Kaicho about charity, and developing Christlike attributes. He pointed out that if we are to be like the Savior, we must be perfectly obedient as the Savior was 100% obedient all the time. And as we are obedient, we develop more Christlike love, charity, faith, hope, humility...etc. He expounded John 15 and D&C 4 to me and talked about how we can abide in the Savior's love as we are obedient, and become more Christlike, and then more obedient...and it all just spirals. He also pointed out how until we are given the opportunity to develop these christlike attributes...we can't really develop them. For example, if we never have a humbling experience, we will not be humble. This is so much of what my mission has been. Faith building experiences, love building experiences, humbling experiences...
I also thought about the way that the Savior looks at all of us. He loves us all fully. Granted, He knows what is in our mind and hearts...but He had the ability to love us all perfectly. If we remember how much Heavenly Father loves each of His children, and how much the Savior loves each and every one of is not possible to be angry at the people around us. That Christlike love makes up for all of it.

Grundvig Shimai
 American goodies!

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