I am still out here in my little Kiryu! And having the time of my life with Sister Long. I cannot even tell you how MUCH I love being her companion again. It is miraculous! And there is no one in the mission I would rather be with right now, as we were both called as the first multi-zone Sister Training Leaders this past week. Blows my mind away! Not sure what all our responsibilities are yet...but isn't it crazy? Sisters have been joking forever about becoming the first sister Zone Leaders or APs...and now it's happening. And it's the face looking back at me in the mirror! Hah! What are they thinking?
Other then that it has been a busy week! The Lord's hand is in Kiryu. We see it every day. The dendo has really caught fire and we've even had days with back-to-back appointments and all kinds of miracles. God has been sending us referrals like never before on my mission. It is really humbling to think about. I don't know why the Lord sent us here together at this time....but oh I breath in the days and they are so sweet.
It's fun to see how Sister Long and I shoulder the responsibilities we have here, and how things naturally fall into place for us as a companionship. We feel a big time has come for Kiryu! Of course there are many challenges. Although the dendo has caught fire, there are some interesting knots in the ward that are related to people who work closely with us and our investigators, so that is where we are feeling the most friction. But we've been brightening up the church! Last Sunday we made these cool bookmarks for the hymnbooks with a message about unity and a picture of our mission logo. We were walking down the hallway on Sunday and could see Brother Kodaka showing it to all the primary kids. We also set up a big missionary stand/board with all sorts of things for investigators, and a place to post all the things we're doing and to write miracles we see and put pictures. They love it. We wrote up the little miracle about finding the Oizumi church from a few weeks ago, and Brother Kodaka saw it and asked us to speak about it during Sacrament meeting that day. We're also working on hanging up pictures all around the church...but the walls turned out to be much harder than we thought. Still working on that one. My favorite thing to talk about with members is how we have so much hope for Kiryu and how we feel a special time has come for this place. I've started seeing the light of that hope flickering in their eyes. We refuse to let them tell us this is a hard place with hard people...and God is giving us every reason to believe otherwise.
We had a lesson with Ogiwara san this week where we taught him the Plan of Salvation. I've never seen someone soak it up the way he did. I slapped the first piece on the table of 'zense' or 'pre-earth life' and it took his attention immediately. Piece by piece we laid it out on the table before him. At one point he put down one hand after pre-earth life and the other one down past 'death' and he said with emotion, "This is all I knew existed before." Although he's been to other churches before, that was all they were able to teach him about. When he first saw the pre-earth life piece he said it made him suddenly remember a dream he'd had when he was a teenager, where he'd been in a beautiful place with someone like God. He'd never understood what it meant before. It touched my heart so much to watch someone learn God's plan, God's purpose, for the very first time. I think maybe I've taken for granted the knowledge I've had since I was little. What a difference it has made in my life. It is such a pillar of hope for the weary traveller! The knowledge that this isn't the end. No matter how many sunsets paint our earthly lives, they will all turn to sunrises. Pain won't last forever. We don't have to stay the same. Our future is bright! We have a Savior! No matter how imperfectly we are loved or treated, there is one who loves us perfectly. Knows us perfectly. What a glorious truth I have been sent to share. May these experiences change my heart forever and turn my eyes to heaven!
That night he sent us the sweetest text message. "I have bright life since today, because I catch chance forever."
We are trying to soak in these days, because we know they are limited. It is certain I will only have this transfer with Sister Long, although we are hoping to both stay in Kiryu and train here. Thinking about my time left sends all kinds of strange feelings through my soul, and honestly I can't really think about it right now. Heart can't quite take it. For now I am here and trying to sink my feet in the ground as deep as they'll go!
I love you so much! Life is beautiful. :) Please pray for our sweet Kiryu!