Being at this point in my mission is amazing. It's beautiful. There are challenges of course and I'm not perfect at Japanese and there are still things I don't know, but I feel so much more...what's the word....settled in my heart. The stress and uncertainty isn't there anymore. We were sitting in a lesson yesterday with an investigator and the two members who had referred him and Long Shimai were talking and I felt so settled into my purpose and my role as a missionary, and could feel the quiet confidence in my heart that the Lord knows my name and that I am where he would have me be. It's not such a big deal anymore that I'm not perfect at teaching or speaking or being a missionary. I wasn't sent here to be perfect. I was sent here to become perfect. And to enjoy the journey. :)
There is such a great work to be done here in Kiryu. It is their time. I feel it so strongly in my heart. And whether I'm only here a few more weeks or until the end of my mission, I'll pour my heart out to help these people. They deserve all that I can give.
A few nights ago I had an interesting experience. I was in my futon getting ready to sleep but I was overcome with this fear of bad things that could happen. And I was afraid that because I was afraid that it would actually happen. It was kind of silly. But it was late and I was tired and I let myself think too much. Anyway....we said companion prayers and then I began my personal prayer. I pleaded for peace and safety and, honestly, didn't know if I would feel any different because of the prayer. But as I continued the most amazing thing happened. I felt as if a blanket of security was being wrapped around me, until my heart felt completely at peace, and it was as if someone very real were there and protecting me. It was such a tangible feeling. I was so surprised, and humbled.
God is so good!
Now I have to share with you our experiences on Saturday! So we went out before conference began to look for some less actives that lived waaaaaaaaaaaaaay out somewhere we hadn't been before. Well we get all the way out there and can't find it and end up wandering around for a bit, all the while time is ticking because we needed to be back for conference. Finally we found two old men to ask for directions. It was such a funny sight. We're seriously up on the mini mountain amidst rice fields and plows and winding roads and Long Shimai was crouched on the ground in her helmet searching over a map with this old grandpa, his huge scruffy dog sitting there with big eyes. We thought we figured it out but couldn't find it before time ran out and we had to go back. It is seriously Japanese country out here! We were cruising down this road laughing at the lack of anything but fields and plows in our view. Okay so I wish that was the only adventure of our Saturday but it wasn't. We did make it back to conference and our Investigator, Dai san, (he tells us frequently that it is pronounced the same as 'die',) made it to church. Afterwards we had an appointment to visit an old less-active former army captain soldier guy who lived out in the opposite direction. Well we studied religiously the googlemaps view on our computer, took a few notes, then headed out. We ended up pushing our bikes up a mountain and into this little hidden mystery village tucked away where no one would think to look for it. Well we get up there to the road where I thought Captain Fujinuma lived only to have a lady tell us there was no one up here by that name. She looked at our address and told us google had brought us to the completely wrong part of Kiryu. !!
Well we did manage to find the Captain's house at least. And we got to sail down that mountain we pushed our bikes up. Good heavens though! IT was worth it because he is hilarious. Totally an army guru. The only English he knows is Army lingo, so whenever he would walk out for a minute he would say, 'please stand by...' and then in his prayer he asked God to bless us on our 'operation mission.' So cute! Even though he is less active, thanks to him the ward had two baptisms last year, and they are both active and happy in the ward.
Oh!! That investigator we had a lesson with on Sunday? His name is Ogiwara Akira san. And he wants to get baptized. :) We set a date for him for May 5th! Very excited. If you would keep him in your prayers it would mean the world to me. Also, Hitomi san (Kofu) was supposed to be getting baptized this coming Sunday but just after I left her son broke his leg...poor little guy! So she's a bit behind on lessons. I miss her so much! We had an emotional parting, but with hopes that I'll be able to come back for her baptism. Might be tough though because it's so far away and expensive.
A few more exciting things....we tripled our English class attendance last week! (It went from 0-3....hahaha.) Also, they put sisters back in Koiwa! Which means I can probably go on splits there soon if I beg hard enough. Also, I am going on splits tomorrow to Oizumi! That Brazilian community I mentioned last week.
Our funny moment of the day...we have an investigator who lives across the street from the church, and we were outside waiting for her. Her dad pulls up in his car and marvels for a minute at the two Americans (there aren't a lot of us out here) then pulls out a harmonica and begins playing away! He claimed he was playing hymns...