One of my favorite highs this week...well favorite shallow, not missionary-purpose-oriented high....is the bike I am currently riding! Haha. My bike is in the shop getting a new tire rim. But since people can't live without their bikes here in Tokyo, bike shops lend out bikes while they are fixing yours. So I have been pedaling around on what is called a 'mamachayri' or what I like to call a 'momma chariot'. It is a heavier bike with a low low bar that is sturdy enough to carry a handful of kids! I am TOTALLY getting one of these when I am a mommy and live in a flat place. The seat is also the most pleasing thing to sit on. It's HUGE. The bars turn inward so you are actually sitting up completely straight while riding. Maybe I won't come back with a hunchback after all. So strange to get used to at first. And going down hills it just cruises and I start laughing out loud every time because I feel like I'm in a movie. Mary Poppins. Anyway...pictures next week!
So we just had transfers. As expected, Takei Shimai and I will both be staying in Machida. :D YAY! President Budge is leaving a lot of people in their areas longer, and leaving companionships together for longer. Very interesting. I am so so grateful to be staying here in Machida because we've had so many miracles the past few weeks and have found many new people. I want to share a quote from our last district meeting...
"We may turn from him, but he is still there. We may feel that he is hidden because of the cloud cover of our concerns, but he is still close to us. We- not he- let something come between us. But no lasting eclipse need ensue...our disregard of him is no match for his love of us."
I testify that this is true. He is always there. And, wow, his love for us is so big. When we turn outward in service of others this love begins to seep into our own hearts. I'm sure it magnifies like crazy when we become parents. God is love!!
So on Friday we had a self referral call from the elders. Her name is Miyuki Yamada san. She is interested in English and more so in religion. So she came to Eikaiwa on Saturday and at the end of church on Sunday. Miyuki san has a lot of problems, but she is a beautiful spirit. I have never met someone so open hearted and ready to listen. She is special. I spent some good time talking with her on Sunday and she got to meet a lot of people in the ward. Wow, though she challenged my Japanese with some DEEP questions. I haven't been faced with questions like hers so far on my mission. One thing she asked me was, 'Am I sick now because of my sins, or something I did before this life?' Miyuki san has some illness that gives her a ton of fatigue. She hasn't had it forever, she said she use to be extremely genki. We aren't quite positive what specifically her problem is yet, but it is evident in her countenance that she is not well. She accepted a Book of Mormon and we are visiting her house today. She called us last night with some worries and we taught her how to pray. I am so humbled by her sweet spirit and readiness to accept whatever we teach her. She is 42 years old. She is so patient with my Japanese. One of the most humble people I've ever met. I think I have a lot to learn from her. Some special prayers in her direction would be wonderful.
Last week I had my first American companion! We had splits and Lundy Shimai came to work with me here in Machida. She worked here for two transfers just before Takei Shimai came so she was SO excited to be back. It was so different being with an American! Not to mention that she is tall and has long blond hair. Lundy Shimai just DUMPS love on people!! It is amazing to watch. She is on transfer six and OH! She is training Dolan Shimai, mom! Yes I finally met Miss Dolan Shimai, and she is great. She wants to be thrown into everything here head first! She has a lot of fire and isn't afraid to talk to people. Hopefully I'll get to work with her in the future. Apparently you and her mom have become friends...? Haha uh oh. I told Dolan Shimai that my mom is very ambitious and will teach her mom all kinds of things.
So this past week was a bit tough. There were a few times where I really wanted to call my mommy or sleep or run around crazy outside to release some of the stresses and pressure of being a missionary. There was a point where I felt frustrated because missionaries are so limited as to our communication with home. I thought that if I could just call home I would feel better. I didn't feel I had an outlet. I think this type of situation happens to everyone at one time or another. There comes a point in life where we don't know where to turn for relief, when the pressure is high and our spirits are sore and our hearts sorrowful. Everyone has to make the choice to either turn to the world, or lift their eyes to heaven. We see so many people who have reached for alcohol or other things in attempts to find solace. As missionaries we are here to point people towards heaven. Towards the only real and true hope. My favorite scripture on this is Moroni 9:47. "...may Christ lift thee up...and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever." I think one of the reasons missionaries are asked to separate themselves from the world is so that they realize they must turn to him. They have to rely on him. God reminds me of this often. :) When I finally decide to turn my eyes to him, he frees my heart and lifts my soul. He has really blessed me this week.
Our Ghasemi family is doing well. Nedar san, the father, is a future leader!! We slammed them with a ton of commitments on Sunday since they are getting baptized so soon, and they accepted all of them. One of the commitments was tithing, and we actually forgot at first to tell them where tithing funds actually go, but they still said they would pay! Then we were like...oh...by the way...do you want to know how tithing is used?? Haha. They are so great. And Tina chan has the BIGGEST smile I have ever seen. I will get pictures of them soon. :) Special special family. Trevor I need some Farsi phrases! Did I mention Nedar san reads the Book of Mormon in Farsi (the parts that are translated) English, and Japanese? Amazing.
I love you so much and I pray for you every day. I would not be here without you!! Your love and support mean SO much to me. Good luck jumping into another school year!