Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Charity is a Journey

I think every week is just increasingly becoming the busiest week of my entire life.
I maybe spent three nights in my own futon this week, and the rest of the week I spent in three different areas.

On Monday we traveled to Kobe for MLC (Mission Leadership Council). And I met Daniels Shimai, Mackenzie Shimai, Croft Shimai, Stevenson Shimai and Ichikawa Shimai <3 who are all some of my favorite people in the entire world. It made my heart so happy. It was also Stevenson Shimai's birthday, and Daniels Shimai made cake, and so we all ate chocolate cake. MLC was amazing and I received so much revelation and I always learn so much from Welch Kaicho and the Assistants. Daniels Shimai bore her "final testimony" and I cried. (I am lucky and I am bearing mine at the next MLC). We talked a lot about prayer at Mission Leadership Council and everyone had so many inspired comments that I wish I had time to write, but one of my favorites was from one of the elders who talked about how prayer is a way to prepare us for judgement. I had never really thought about prayer that way, but it makes sense because it is through prayer that we develop a relationship with our Heavenly Father. As we pray sincerely, when Judgement day comes we will meet our Heavenly Father and find that we already know Him. 

MTC district (see back here. and here ) picture at MLC
We arrived home late Tuesday night. On Wednesday we ate sushi with one of our investigators and her boyfriend. She is amazing and it has been incredible to see the change in her countenance over the past few weeks since she started investigating the church. She has become so much lighter and happier, it brings me so much joy. Her and her boyfriend are working towards a temple marriage and it makes my heart so happy. Plus, the sushi was delicious.
Croft Shimai and Grundvig Shimai's run up the mountain at MLC
A lot of other really amazing lessons happened that I don't have time to write about. BUT. On Friday I went on a Koukan with the Imabari Sisters, and we did a lot of housing in the rain. And we met so many amazing people. We met this 12 year old girl and taught her how to pray, and it was one of the moments as a missionary where you don't really know what you are doing but the spirit takes over - and you can tell that the person listening to you has no idea why they are listening to you, because you aren't fully making sense...but for some reason they can't quite close the door. It is those moments when I can just feel happiness radiating from my face and I love missionary work more than anything.

On the same koukan, Ichikawa Shimai was here in Niihama and I MISSED THIS LESSON - but, they had an amazing lesson with one of the families we are teaching. The mom cooked okonomiyaki for us because she knew it was my favorite and I felt so bad that I wasn't there (we forgot to tell her I wouldn't be there...) but, in this lesson the mom told Ichikawa Shimai that she hates religion and never wanted to listen, but then she saw the sister missionaries and thought to herself: "Why are they so happy?" So she came to our English class. And now her whole family is investigating the church. Her heart has softened so much, and she even told us if her children want to join the church, she would be OK with that. It made my heart very happy again when Ichikawa Shimai told me about that lesson.

Then, this weekend we spent a lot of time with Welch Kaicho (see here, scroll down to bottom to see Welch Kaicho) because of district conference. He is an amazing mission president and the conference was so fulfilling. I also had my final interview, and that made me realize that there is no "Transfer 13" for American Missionaries.

So. it was a very eventful week, spent mostly in Kobe, Matsuyama, Imabari and a tiny bit in Niihama. But I realized driving back from Matsuyama to Niihama on Sunday how much I love this area with all of my heart. I have been praying to love it ever since I got here and I can feel that love just overcoming my heart now. Like it says in Moroni 7:46-48: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ...." Maybe Charity has been the biggest journey of my mission. Ichikawa Shimai always says: "The key to companionship is to love their weaknesses." But, that is a lot easier said than done. We can't do that on our own, only through our Heavenly Father can we be filled with His love. His love is "bestowed upon us." It has come gradually, but I think I finally understand the look that my MTC teacher had in his eyes when we all asked him as eager MTC Missionaries: "What was your favorite part of Japan?" And he said really quietly: "The people." I saw that and I had heard people say it a million times, but I thought to myself: "I want to be able to say it LIKE THAT. Because he REALLY means it."

Anyway, Charity is a journey. And, it is a really joyful one.
Grundvig Shimai

The Tokushima socks I always wanted

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