Guess what...I AM A MISSIONARY. Seriously this week I was walking along a busy street and feeling happy when suddenly this wave of realization washed over me, that I am a missionary. I looked forward to this time in my life for so long, and now here I am...walking the streets of Tokyo. When did that happen??? Growing up it seems the things you dream of in the future will always be in the future. But sure enough, they sneak up on you, and you find yourself talking to people in a language your brain didn't know a thing about a few months previous, in a land far from home. Wow!
So I have been putting some serious effort into my future smile wrinkles these past few weeks. We end up talking with people for an hour or more and although I am able to pipe in every once in a while, sometimes the conversation runs off my radar and I am just sitting there holding my smile. It's pretty grand. Actually this week I have been able to talk a lot more. I think my brain is finally accepting the fact that it has to think a different way, and my thoughts are flowing more easily. Still have a loooooooooooooooooooong ways to go, but it feels REALLY good when I recognize progress. This week I was even turning my pages backwards in my English Book of Mormon! Haha.
God has been working some big miracles in my life this week. Last Tuesday we had a visit from Elder Don Clark of the Seventy and his lovely wife. They spoke to us in the chapel by the Tokyo Temple. It was absolutely fantastic. He was hilarious and has so much fire for missionary work. During his devotional, I honestly felt like my heart was going to break into pieces. There was so much desire inside of me and so much I want to be as a missionary, but I have been made quite aware of my weaknesses and feeling the weight of expectation and desire just about did me in. But then something beautiful happened. Amidst all these feelings I was pleading with Heavenly Father to open the door for me to make it to the next level of being a missionary. I felt I was absolutely stretched as far as I could and that without Him I could not go any further. During this day, something changed inside of me. I wish I could explain it better, but I promise that the Lord opened that door for me. Suddenly the weight and pressure was drastically lightened. I felt I could breath deeper. I could handle the daily missionary stresses SO MUCH EASIER. My heart was lightened, I could work hard, be bolder, and honestly I promise there was a change inside of me and it came from the Lord. My language skills didn't change, my environment was the same, but my capacity grew. I testify that when we push to the edge of our limits, God WILL meet us there, and He will open the way for us to move higher. I am absolutely insufficient on my own. But in His strength, I can be whatever He needs me to be. I have been filled with so much gratitude this week. I only hope I can express it enough. There were still challenges this week and the language is still hard...but the Lord is with us here in Japan.
Something else cool I found in the scriptures this week. In Alma 41:11 it talks about the nature of God and the nature of happiness. I hadn't really thought about it before, but I realized that they are the same. The nature of God IS the nature of happiness. Boom. :)
Okay time for my hazekashi (embarrassment) from this week. We were about to head out to the church and I had both my backpack and violin. We were taking our bikes so Tomura Shimai started off and I somewhat awkwardly tried to get onto my bike. Well my violin slid around as I was getting my leg over the bar and my leg got stuck and before I could do anything about it, my bike toppled over and I splatted (is that a word?) into the road. *Sigh* Everyone nearby immediately turned around to see Wylie Shimai in a muddle in the middle of the road. GRAND. Hahaha. No injuries incurred except to my pride.
A few exciting firsts happened this week. Tomura Shimai convinced me to meet a potential investigator at McDonald's for lunch. Oh boy! Actually I think it tastes better here than in America. Next first...I got my first phone number on the street all by myself!! Weee! Ok ok it was all in English...but still! Awesome Philippine (sp?) woman who is a devoted Catholic but who is really searching for more truth because she doesn't like how everyone interprets the Bible differently. We are planning on meeting with her tonight.
Seriously I am really craving pizza right now. OH oh oh I saw a SUBWAY on Sunday when we were going to the bishops house!! Ahh! Tomura Shimai told me we could go one of these days. Waku waku shimasu! So so excited.