Monday, March 23, 2015

Broken Bikes and Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree

I am currently in Kobe- Ichikawa Shimai and I traveled early to Kobe this week so that we could spend the preparation day in China Town with Daniels Shimai and Croft Shimai before MLC. I also brought the Mint Oreos that I received for Valentine’s Day to share with everyone - because I realized my taste buds have become very accustomed to Japanese sugar levels...not American sugar levels, and my tolerance for sugar has significantly decreased. (But, thank you for the Oreos mom :) )

Every week is amazing.
The cherry blossoms have started blossoming and I sing "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" all of the time. It turns out that this song does not exist in the Japanese Primary Songbook, and so Ichikawa Shimai was very confused. I attempted to translate the lyrics, and realized yet again how little Japanese I actually know. But - she understands the basic idea of it now (I think).

Elder Nelson came to our mission this week. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE HEARING AN APOSTLE OF THE LORD SPEAK. It was perfect timing, because I received a lot of much needed direction for my life. It was also really neat to see the entire Japan Kobe Mission gather together.

We had a lot of miracles that happened this week, largely not according to the plans that we set...but that just shows how much Heavenly Father is in charge of our days and how we do about zero of the actual work, but are simply tools in the Lord's hand.

One story from this week illustrates this principle really well.

On Saturday we had a day planned full of lessons. We arrived to the first lesson on time. It went smoothly. We left our appointment and stopped at a conbini to go to the bathroom. It was windy. Outside of the conbini our bikes toppled over, and Ichikawa Shimai's bike got stuck to my bike and tore the cord that connects my gear shifter thing to the gears. However, because the wire is covered by a plastic coat - I didn't notice.

We went to our next appointment. The investigator had forgotten and wasn't home.

So we went to our next appointment, At the top of a mountain. I was going up the mountain - when my leg muscles were really tired of being in the top gear....when I discovered my gears would not shift down. So I gamon-ed for a while, and then called out to Ichikawa Shimai asking if we could stop and look at my gears. We couldn't fix it, so a grandpa stopped to help us. He couldn't fix it either and mostly just pulled on parts of my bike for a while. So, we continued up the mountain in a very painful gear.

And then our investigator wasn't home.

So, we asked her neighbor if she knew of any close bike shops. She said that there weren't any - but that her son did own a bike shop. She called her son and set up an appointment for us. The bike shop was in a really weird place that neither of us had ever been or would probably have ever thought of going. The lady also was really nice and said we could visit again.

So then we biked to the bike shop. We met her son. He was really nice. While he was fixing my bike (it turned out the wire had rusted inside the plastic coat and when it fell, it snapped), we went housing around the area.

And we housed an apartment complex that we would never have housed if we hadn't been stuck at an abandoned bike shop area. And we met a family. The mom has two children, no husband - and time to learn about the gospel. We talked with them for a while, taught a lesson about the Plan of Salvation- and set up another appointment. It was one of the weirdest experiences because the whole contact she acted like she had no interest - and then out of the blue started saying yes. And wanted us to come back. That is the power of the spirit.

Ichikawa Shimai and I pray every day - many, many times that we can find the people (who in Ichikawa Shimai's adorable English words) "People who are having a problem and need the message of the restored gospel." This week was a fulfillment of that prayer over and over and over again.
Plus, my bike was fixed - and he didn't even charge us tax.

We also started teaching an amazing 13 year old girl who is adorable and wants to know how to be kind to people and not gossip in middle school.

One of our other investigators is working to stop smoking.

Another one is attempting to help her family find the joy in the gospel, prepare for her baptism and strengthen her less active kids. Her daughter came to church this week and testified about how she wants to come to church from here on out because there has been something missing in her life.

One older lady we are teaching committed to be obedient to all of God's commandments.

Another 14 year old girl said a heartfelt prayer, started relying on the Lord and felt the spirit's influence for the first time. Also - ever since meeting with us her test scores have sky rocketed and she is feeling the power of the gospel.

I wish that I could write about everything that is happening, and how much the Lord is guiding His work. But, I don't have time.
The Lord works through miracles.
And sometimes, He performs those miracles through us.

Have a great week! And preform a miracle for the Lord - He uses us if we let Him :)

Grundvig Shimai

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