Where to start this week! We've been busy. Maybe I'll start with saying they made me give another talk in church on Sunday...in the same ward, too. Haha. Great fun. I spoke about 1 Nephi 11:17. We don't know the meaning of all things, but we can know God loves us. And when we know that, we can overcome anything. I used to worry about what to say when investigators asked me hard questions like why there are starving children and war and things. Now I know that it isn't my responsibility to answer all those questions...just to testify and be a witness to God's love. Once they let a bit of that love into their lives..they'll be able to answer that question themselves. It was a good experience anyway. It's actually not as scary to speak in sacrament in Japanese because they expect me to be simple, and I just say what I can from my heart and know that even though I can't speak Japanese, the Spirit can, and he will teach them what they need to hear.
A surprising experience this week was visiting the Sakai family. Turns out the couple I thought was one of the normal ward couples is actually absolutely remarkable. They were both converts when they were young, 17 and 20. They met through the church and were married. When Brother Sakai was 32 he was working for the church. One day he got an unexpected call in the middle of the night from church headquarters to inform him that he was being called as mission president for the Sendai mission! Not only that but they wanted him to leave as soon as possible. Apparently the current mission president had become very sick and hadn't been able to interview or work with the missionaries for over a month, and they wanted to get someone in as fast as possible. So his wife wrapped up their life in Machida and moved to Sendai with their two boys under 6. They served a full 3 years as mission president. Amazing! I'm not sure when this happened but he also had President and Sister Hinckley stay at their house while visiting Japan. Sister Sakai said after they fed them dinner, President Hinkley insisted he help with the dishes. During his stay President Hinckley's health went down because of the many countries he'd been visiting, and because of an asthma condition. He asked Brother Sakai to give him a blessing before he flew home. Imagine giving a blessing to the PROPHET! Brother Sakai's description was awesome. He even did it in Japanese because he'd never given a blessing in English and he was too nervous to try. Later Brother Sakai was asked to write a piece in President Hinkley's biography about the experience. If you have the book you can probably find it! The Sakai's were also temple president for several years. Amazing couple. After we did a practice lesson with them, Brother Sakai even did an example lesson for us about how to teach the atonement simply. So fantastic!
Sister Sakai made us meatloaf. I didn't know they believed in meatloaf here. Made me think of you, mommy! She made meatloaf in this round glass bowl and surrounded it with veggies and sprinkled cheese on the top.
I also like the Sakai family because I was able to understand 80% of what they said. Haha. Some people are easier then others!
This past week I also went on splits with O'Rourke Shimai who is from Australia. She was converted when she was 20 and left on her mission a year later. Way awesome. I loved hearing about her story. When she was in college she moved in to an apartment that touched property with the Brisbane temple. She said before the missionaries found her she used to sit out on the back porch smoking and watching the angel Moroni, haha. She is on transfer 6 so we aren't that far apart. I got to go out into the country a bit to a place called Kiryu. The ward there meets in an old factory building that's been converted to a church. Only about 40 active members. A Sisters only area right now. It was fun being out away from the city and surrounded by rice fields and rolling hills. Honestly in some places going down the streets looked like Salem Utah haha except with cool Japanese style roofs. Housing as two guijin is such a different experience! We went to a poor part of town, and wow poor people are almost always warmer then rich people! Even when they rejected us, they were nice and polite about it. We knocked on one door and this adorable little grandma popped out and chuckled as she listened to my blip, and they called out to her husband in Japanese, 'Otosan! Two beautiful white people have come to our door. Do come and see!' Haha. We introduced ourselves and the church a little, and they sent us away with bananas and energy drinks. Being a missionary is great. :)
Today after going to the temple we had MEXICAN FOOD. This little shop the Shibuya sisters found a while ago. A big group of us sisters went. I think that's the second time I've had a tortilla since coming to Japan. Afterwards Takei Shimai had to go to the dentist. They actually had a genkan there to leave your shoes and then you got slippers from a vending machine, haha. Japan is awesome!! We also had a big miracle today. So Takei Shimai's crown fell off her tooth so we went to the dentist. We went to one of our investigators offices in Shinyurigaoka. Afterwards to make use of the trip we handed out eikaiwa fliers. We usually wouldn't be handing out fliers at this time. At one point a lady came up to me and started asking me about the class. She said she wasn't interested in English, but she had a son with Asperger's (sp?) who loved learning English. She then noticed I was from a Christian church and started talking about how she was really interested in Christianity and wanted to find the right church but there were so many she was confused. She then said her son might not like our eikaiwa since a lot of kids come now and he doesn't like being with a ton of people. I told her if she was willing to listen to our message, we could come give her personal lessons at their home. She readily agreed. I introduced her to Takei Shimai and we talked a bit more and turns out she is SUPER interested in the church and has concerns for her son and family and wants badly to find answers in church. She is such a sweet mommy! She even said she wants to enter our church (as in become a member) and is going to come on Sunday. It was such a miracle to find this beautiful woman! We both felt the spirit so strongly when talking with her. Wow wow wow. :) This past week had been a bit rough. Investigators dropping us, baptismal dates at 0...so this was such a miracle. After trials come the blessings!! Please pray for this family. :)
Transfer calls are this weekend. I want so badly to stay with Takei Shimai here in Machida for her last transfer!! Especially now that we found this lady. God knows best!
Jenna's recent 95-year-old convert and her companion...it is never too late to change!