Monday, June 29, 2015

Hey Fam!

Hiking in Ogose - 6/29/15
Hiking in Ogose - 6/29/15

Hiking in Ogose - 6/29/15

Hiking in Ogose - 6/29/15

Hiking in Ogose - 6/29/15

Hiking in Ogose - 6/29/15

Hiking in Ogose - 6/29/15

Japanese toilet :-)

Hello everyone! 

Thank you for the emails! Sorry for the late email. We went hiking today as a zone in Ogose and had a lot of fun but I am dead right now. I'm glad you all are having a great summer vacation. Not gonna lie, I think I'm in the best place for the summer. I mean I'm in Japan! Sometimes I don't even realize I'm in Japan. I just feel like I fit in and I think I've adjusted to the culture shocks haha. 

So this week has been really good! It went by so fast! On Tuesday we went to the towns gym to play basketball. The elders have invited us a few weeks ago because they said a girl usually goes and could have interest. So we went but turns out the elders couldn't come so we felt super awkward. But everyone was super nice and sister Teruya and sister Parker wanted to play basketball. You know me, so I didn't want to play so they asked me to be the score keeper. It was really fun getting to know knew people. Quick funny story... I was on the stage with the score board but then it was time to go. The stage was really high so I didn't want to jump off in the fear of breaking an ankle so I went to find the stairs. Sister Teruya and Parker were waiting at the bottom of the stairs but I had to go behind some curtains to get to them. Well, one guy who had been sitting out because of a sore leg, saw I was confused on how to get down and he got up and followed me! I was screaming inside my head, "sight and sound sight and sound!" He was just being nice and showing me the way but it scared the living daylights out of me because I couldn't see my comps for a full 2 seconds and I was with a guy. I felt like I needed to repent afterwards... Scariest moment of my life haha. Anyways, so we had fun and made new friends that we invited to Eikaiwa. On the way home there was the biggest rain storm I've ever witnessed. There was lightning and thunder constantly and we rode home on our bikes. There was one road that was like a river and every time we peddled our feet were covered in water. It was awesome! We had a great time!

We had our last Zone Conference with President and Sister Budge this week. I seriously didn't think I would come to be so close with them. But Sister Budge said to us all, "be grateful that it is hard to say goodbye because that means you have developed a strong relationship." The conference was amazing and it was exactly what I needed to hear. President Budge talked a lot about humility. He talked about Ether 12:27 which says:

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

It suddenly all clicked for me! That is what I'm doing, I came on a mission and in that scripture it says, "if they come unto me" and I have definitely realized my weaknesses. He also said we don't need to repent for our weaknesses. We just need to recognize them, humble ourselves and have faith that we can change. The opposite of humility is pride and humiliation which is injured pride. Satan tries to lead us down the path of pride but if we recognize our weakness and try our very best to improve, they will be made strong. But one thing I really liked what President Budge said was, "sometimes the weaknesses aren't taken away. God likes us to be humble, it keeps us away from pride. But He will make us strong in our weakness." President Budge is such a brilliant man. I am going to miss him and sister Budge a lot but I am exited for President and Sister Nagano. 

I have realized this week that one of my strengths is pronunciation. But my weakness is speaking. I read over my setting apart blessing and it said that I will be blessed to master the language quickly but I will be tentative to speak, but if I do speak I will be able to help others so much. I know I need to keep improving my strengths and by doing that I might be able to improve my weaknesses. I also watched the Mormon Message The Will of God and one of my favorite lines is, "Thank you God, for loving me enough to hurt me." We need to always remember that Heavenly Father knows all. He knows our potential and He knows our weaknesses. He will be more than willing to help us overcome our weaknesses we just need to be humble enough to accept our weakness and go forward. We won't change overnight, but as we trust in the Lord, day by day, "[we] can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [us]. I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week! I miss you all! Aishitemasu!

Love, Sister Lacey

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Rain

Too bad missionaries can't have puppies :-(

They have a nice toaster

At Church in Okegawa


Sisters on the road

Hello everyone! 

Thank you for all your emails! I hope you are all enjoying your summer! It's been raining so much and I love it! It's
still been pretty cool with the rain but everyone is saying that August feels like death... Bring it on. I seriously think we had more rain in an hour than Apple valley ever had in a year! It's insane!

This week was awesome!  I love my companions! We are having a great time and I LOVE finding. I feel like I'm coming out of my comfort zone more and I'm more willing to talk to people and I'm not as afraid to make
mistakes. It really helps my language improve. We decided to try and make housing and streeting fun. We said we wanted to talk to everyone wearing a striped shirt. We prayed and told Heavenly Father to put prepared people in our path because we would talk to everyone wearing striped shirts. So the next day we went out and we turned a corner and literally everyone was wearing striped shirts! It was crazy! We went from person to person, sharing short messages with them. Some people weren't interested and some listened. It was a huge testimony builder that God does hear and answer our prayers.

I went on exchanges with Sister Gates and I met with one of the investigators there and she is amazing! She loves President Monson so much! She almost started crying just talking about him. She really wants to go to the next general conference to see him. It was such a huge testimony builder to me.

This transfer we have decided to set a lot of specific goals. Sister Teruya told us, "I want to see a miracle." We are determined to do everything we can to see a miracle. We have been really trying to exercise more faith and it definitely makes a difference when we have the same goal in mind as our Father in Heaven.

I love you all so much! HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DAD! I hope you have a safe week. Thank you for all that you do! I miss you all! Aishiteimasu!

Sister Lacey

Monday, June 15, 2015

Series of Unfortunate Events

Saying goodbye to their 7-Eleven friends in Urawa

Fire clouds

New companions - Sister Teruya and Sister Parker

Hello everyone! 

Thank you for all the emails! There have been so many ups and downs this week.. So... This week. Where do I begin?! I am now in Okegawa with Sister Parker and Sister Teruya. Transfer calls were Monday and transfer day
was Wednesday.  Sister Sticht and I were so busy cleaning our apartment, packing, and telling our investigators
that the elders were going to teach them now... It was a rough couple of days. But wait, it gets better. I went to the mission home and Sister Sticht became companions with another sister leaving and they were going to be together for the next few days. I was with this Japanese Sister while we waited for our new companions to arrive. We went out finding and had a really fun time. A few hours later President Budge told me some sad news that Sister Kawabata was most likely going home... I was so sad and I was sent to go with the Nakano sisters who
serve by the mission home until they figured out what to do with me. I think their apartment is the smallest in the mission! I stayed on the floor for four days because there was only two chairs haha. President Budge called me Friday morning and told me where my new area would be. He said he and President Dorff talked and thought it would be best for me to serve in Okegawa. It is still in Saitama Stake but I am in a different zone.

I couldn't meet up with my new companions until Saturday evening because of schedules but I was happy because I got to meet Sister Sticht's family! She called me and we met up with them at a train station. I was so happy to meet them and it was almost like seeing my own family because I know so much about them. They gave me gifts too! They were so nice and then I had to say goodbye to Sister Sticht. It was so hard because she's going home and it's not like I can see her again during the mission. I cried when we hugged goodbye and she gave me encouraging advice. It's hard to leave my trainer and be away from everything I have known. New area, new companions, but I LOVE Sister Teruya and Sister Parker. Sister Teruya is from Okinawa and is so loving and hilarious and Sister Parker came into the MTC a few weeks before I left and she is hilarious! We are going to have a great time! I am so excited to serve with them and to work hard here in Okegawa. The members here are so nice and a lot of people say I sound like a Japanese person when I speak. Thanks to Sister Sticht! She helped me a
lot to focus on pronunciation. My vocabulary is very limited but at least my pronunciation is good!  The ward has so much dendou Fire and they love the missionaries. I still get to see Urawa people because I'm in the same stake so I'm happy about that.

Sister Fox shared a really cool talk with me. One of my favorite quotes is, "The doctrines are His, brothers and sisters, not ours. The power is His to delegate, not ours to manipulate!" I think that's so true. This is Christ's church. We are to obey His commandments. We can't pick and choose. If we do that, we won't receive the many promised blessings the Lord is ready to bestow upon us.

I love you all so much! I'm sad that I won't be in Koshigaya but I know I will have a good time here in Okegawa. I miss Urawa already and it will always be my home here in Japan, but I'm ready to do all that I can to help the people here. Thank you for all your love and support!


Sister Lacey

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Busy Busy Busy

She finally saw Mt. Fuji!

Brooke's name in Thai

Hey family! 

Thanks for the emails! Transfer class were today and... Sister Sticht like you know is going home. I... I'm getting transferred and our area is closing.... We have so many mixed emotions. We have so many amazing people we are working with but we know that God will take care of them. I guess President Dorff and President Budge talked and they are taking out half of the missionaries in our ward.. On the bright side I am staying in the same zone and guess what.... MY NEW COMPANION WILL BE SISTER KAWABATA!!! I'm getting a Japanese companion! I am so excited and I feel like my exchange with her the other week was just foreshadowing. The members I met there kept telling me they wanted me to come back and Sister Kawabata and I worked so well together. I'm so sad I will be leaving Urawa and it hurts to know that our area is closing because we feel like we should have tried harder but I know this is what is supposed to happen.

Okay so on to how this week was:

So this week was crazy! I'm officially not a trainee now! I'm done with the 12 week program! Crazy right? Last Sunday Sayuri told us she wanted to get baptized on the 7th so we did everything we could to prepare her. We taught her everyday and set up interviews and made the program and then Saturday came... We were busy the entire day with appointments and we didn't even have time to go to the bathroom! haha and then she had her baptismal interview with the district leader and everything went well. The bishop wanted to talk to her to and I think that's when everything became so real to her. There were some certain concerns that came up and so we had to cancel. We received a text from her on Sunday and she practically said she doesn't want to learn or go to church anymore. Sister Sticht and I were so confused and just drained. All we know is that this is God's work. Everything will happen in His time. 

On the other hand, Fang texted us during sacrament and said she wanted to go to church and so she came with us and then went to an YSA activity afterwards. Her and I had a really good talk and she hasn't been happy and I told her if she truly wants happiness in her life she can find it through this gospel and gaining a relationship with God and Jesus Christ. Also, a member in the ward brought a friend who is really curious about the church and wants to learn about it. She almost started crying at church when we talked about the spirit. We have another appointment with her later this week! 

We also found out some amazing news from the elders about the 13 year old boy we found housing last week. They went over to his house and he has already read 20 pages of the Book of Mormon and said it totally changed His thoughts about God. He has read the bible before but he loves the Book of Mormon. He is like the Japanese Joseph Smith haha. The elders said his mom might have interest too! It is so crazy how we found him too. Sister Sticht and I weren't feeling too good and we were just in our apartment for dinner but we decided to leave and go housing (something we both don't like to do) and we had no idea where we wanted to go. We housed a few apartments and met some cool people but nothing serious and then sister Sticht asked me where I wanted to house and then I almost took one road but then I just decided to go across the street. We found no one at that place so we were about to head home because it was getting late but then sister Sticht said we should house the next apartment over and boom. Kinjin. The Spirit definitely lead us that night! 

A few days ago I was on exchanges and it was just a long day of traveling and we were sitting on a train and I really didn't want to talk to anyone. I noticed a lady sitting next to me really seemed like she wanted to talk to me so I finally put my self together and started talking to her. Turns out she speaks really good English and we had a great time! She told me to speak in Japanese and she would speak in English. It was definitely good practice for me. I gave her my number and she said she would call so we shall see! Also, on the train a few days ago, I started talking to this lady but it got really awkward and she stopped talking to me but then all of the sudden she gave me a cute little bead thing that was attached on her phone! I hurried up and gave her a flyer right before she got off the train, it was the cutest thing! Oh and also, I thought I got some attention for my eyelashes in America, nah. People go crazy about my eyelashes here. Sometimes it gets in the way because we may be talking to someone about the gospel and then all of the sudden they stare at me and start taking about my eyes. It's kinda funny but distracting haha.

Well, I'm excited to see what this next transfer has in store! I am so sad to see Sister Sticht leave. She has become kinda like my older sister and I'm going to miss her so much. I love you all so much! Thank you for everything! I know this is Gods work and He will take care of everything! Ja ne! Aishiteimasu!

Sister Lacey

Sent from my iPad

Monday, June 1, 2015

Learning Experiences!

Sister Kawabata and Sister Lacey 

She loves Japanese Ramen

Homemade Pizza

Hello family! 

This week flew by and I learned so many lessons! We went to the temple on Tuesday and I had a great time. I saw my companion from the MTC and guess what? We were matching again! We would always match without planning in the MTC and we were again! It was so funny, I love her. After the temple we went to a couple missionaries house who know sister Sticht and we had delicious tacos. I forgot how amazing tortillas are. 

The funniest thing happened on Wednesday! Some of the ladies in the ward wanted us to go to an old folks home with them. So we went and Sister Sticht played the violin and we sang some fun Japanese songs. After the show was over we sat down with the cute little old people. I sat down in between this little lady who would just start singing randomly and it was so cute and I sat by this funny old man. I started talking to him and getting to know him a little bit. He asked me if I was going to get married when I go home. I said I don't know, maybe. Then he said "if I was younger and handsome I would marry you!" It was the funniest thing ever! He also gave me half of his dessert and made sure I ate it. Then it was time to go and he stood up when I did and just stood by me as we were saying goodbye to everyone.(He was just barely taller than my shoulders) As we were heading out the door he was following me and said "I want to show her to my mom!" We waved and walked out the door and then we turned around and he yelled "choto matte!" (Wait a minute!) and was struggling against someone to open the door again. He kept saying he wanted to say goodbye so I walked back up to the door and shook his hand and we said "sayonara!" It was the cutest thing ever and he didn't want to let go of my hand. I think Heavenly Father knew I needed to feel special considering the rough couple of days I'd had.

At Eikaiwa there is this new cute girl my age and I love her to death. We just love talking and she asked me to teach her how to pray and I gladly did and she said she couldn't wait to pray! I love her so much already, we are so alike!

Oh! Another quick funny story from the week before. We had interviews with President Budge and before hand they told us to think of things to ask him because this would be our last interview with him. I asked him a few questions about our investigators and then I asked him how to become a master teacher. So he decided to do a mogi (role play) with me! If you're familiar with role plays as a missionary they are the most awkward thing ever, well to most missionaries. And I did one with President Budge! So I went first and he said "yeah, mmhm, that was pretty good. Now I'm going to try." Yeah he blew me away. He is a very smart man. I have a lot to learn from him and I'm sad he's leaving so soon! But I know I can learn a lot from my next mission president. I also had written down how to have more confidence but I thought that might be weird to ask so I just said, "well is there anything you think I can improve on?" Guess what he said? "I think you need to have more confidence." So he then gave me some advice on what to do. He is very in tune with the spirit! I love the Budges!

We went to another old folks home on Saturday and sang songs for them. The last song we sang was God Be With You Till We Meet Again and sister Sticht and I almost lost it. The spirit was so strong and it looked like the room was glowing!

I went on exchanges with Sister Kawabata again and she is so amazing. She makes me seem way better than I am and said, "you know how some things say made with cotton or made in China? Well you are Made with Love!" She's adorable and an incredible missionary. We went to an older couples house who just got sealed and talked with them and an investigator. We were talking about the plan of salvation and after I said some things the husband said the cutest thing. He said how much he respects missionaries but he really respects missionaries that come from other countries to teach the gospel and have to learn a different language. He said he was touched and kept telling me to come back and that he was waiting. Sister Kawabata said she's never heard him talk like that or say that to anyone. I couldn't understand everything he said so his wife translated it into more simple Japanese and I just felt so much love from all of them! 

Last night we went housing and we met the most amazing 13 year old! He opened the door and was the most respectful person I've ever met! We asked him if he believes in God and he said "Oh yeah I believe in God and Jesus Christ." I never would have expected a Japanese persons with no religion to say they believe in Jesus Christ. He said he's read the bible some and so we gave him a Book of Mormon and he gladly took it. He's a huge soccer fan and said he wants to help people because God created us all and he wants to help others. I couldn't understand ever word he was saying but I was just picturing him as a missionary one day. I felt like he was preaching to us! We immediately told the elders and referred him to them and I can't wait to see what happens! I love miracles!

So earlier this week I was having a bit of a rough time and I came upon this talk called "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence" and this was my favorite part:

"Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience. Remember that you are here to be proved and tested, “to see if [you] will do all things whatsoever the Lord [your] God shall command [you]” (Abraham 3:25)--and may I just add, “under all circumstances.” Millions of your brothers and sisters have been or are being thus tested, so why would you be exempt? Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence. Other trials come because of the negligence of others or simply because this is a fallen world. When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that! Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, “I understand, Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isn’t it?” Then partner with Him to endure well to the end. Spiritual confidence increases when you accept that “often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into [your life] because of what [you] are doing right."

I know that whenever there are "surprises" or other trials that come during my mission I just need to trust in Heavenly Father and my Savior. I know I am being tested to see if I will put all my trust in the Savior because He will never leave me. Other people might but He never will. This week I really started to understand and to feel when my Lord and Savior is carrying me and when He knows I am strong enough to climb myself. But, the thing I also realized is He is always holding our hand except when we think we can climb this mountain of life on our own. That's when it gets really tough, when we think we don't need any help. I know the Savior is always there for us and ready to catch us if we fall. He knows us perfectly and I have felt His love so much this week. I hope you all have a great week! Thank you for everything! I love you!

Love Sister Lacey

P.S. We might have a baptism next week... Yeah Sayuri told us she wants to be baptized and picked this coming up Sunday! We're not 100% sure she's ready but we will do our best to help her and if it's God's will it will happen!