First of all I better report on the exchanges I did this week...because a Sister Davis from Provo Utah came up to work with me! Apparently she is way good friends with all the Shields in Provo. She also happens to be Kaitlyn Waters cousin. Seriously she knows or is connected to just about everybody! I guess that is typical for people with Provo roots. It was an awesome experience! She just barely had her 20th birthday. She came to Kiryu to work with Sister Lowry (who was her MTC companion) and me. We had a great time! And somehow the next day I even got all of us back to Urawa for the conference with Elder Ringwood, even though the trains getting there were brutal. LOTS of switches and some big stations. God is good! That's all I can say.
It is a humbling experience being a leader. I feel like a lot of the lessons God has been trying to teach me gradually throughout my mission have all been compounded into one transfer. I think I've become more aware of who I really am as a missionary, and as a person, than ever before on my mission. I feel I am learning more from those I'm supposed to be 'training' than I could possibly be teaching them! It was interesting because although we had a good exchange I didn't really feel like I'd been able to do as much for them as I'd hoped to. I have a big desire to empower them and give them my heart, but I felt kind of unsatisfied. Then at the end of the day, as we were all laying in our futons to sleep, the conversation turned towards the big changes in the Tokyo Mission, and all the new missionaries coming in. I feel the Spirit so strongly whenever we talk about that and I testified to them with all the heart I could spare that they were chosen and prepared for this time, and that I was so impressed with them and their group. I was able to really share how I felt about this mission and about their role in it, and the Spirit touched my soul and I felt that I was finally able to give them what they needed from me that day. It taught me strongly that God knows what these sisters need from me. I may have my own plans and ideas of how to be a training leader, but in reality what I think about it all doesn't matter much. God knows what and who he needs me to be! I've got to trust him, put it in his hands, and do everything I can to invite the Spirit into my life.
It's been quite the week. I also got some heavenly tutoring on effective planning and finding....which mainly came through the form of failure in those areas. But Sister Lowry is such an angel! I've been blessed with the sweetest fiery little companion! She is one of those miracles in small packaging! Anyway...amidst a challenging week, God also granted us some big miracles. We had 12 students come to eikaiwa this week!! Including 6 new students. They just kept coming. Then over the weekend we also received 4 referrals from members. 2 from our sweet Bishop's wife, who found the courage to invite some of her friends to hear the gospel, and 2 from the Elder's Quorum President who, when we came to his area and asked where to dendo, sent us off to see two of his friends. So cool.
Okay in closing I'm going to share something else that is really long (sorry) but so worth it to read! This is a quote from Patricia Holland, Elder Holland's beautiful wife.
"My greatest misery comes when I feel I have to fit what others are doing, or what I think others expect of me. I am most happy when I am comfortable being me and trying to do what my Father in Heaven and I expect me to be. For many years I tried to measure the oft quiet, reflective, thoughtful Pat Holland against the robust, bubbly, talkative, and energetic Jeff Holland and others with like qualities. I have learned through several fatiguing failures that you can't have joy in being bubbly if you are not a bubbly person. It is a condition of terms. I have given up seeing myself as a flawed person because my energy is lower than Jeff's, and I don't talk as much as he does, nor as fast. Giving this up has freed me to embrace and rejoice in my own manner and personality in the measure of my creation. Somewhere, somehow the Lord has 'blipped the message onto my screen' that my personality was created to fit precisely the mission and talents he gave me. But the moment I indulge myself in imitation of my neighbor, I feel fatigued and find myself swimming forever up stream. We will always have enough resources for being who we are and what we can become."