Sunday, September 20, 2015

Six months in Japan!

Hello everyone! This week was amazing! We were able to do Mormon Helping Hands this week! They let us know Friday night and we had to leavereally early in the morning Saturday.  We had a bus and a decent size
group came from Saitama Stake. It took us awhile to get to Ibaraki Ken but it was a lot of fun. Japanese people are so organized and structured giving us all tons of instruction and orientations for doing service. Once we finally were done me and my comp and two other ladies from Urawa went to a nearby house and helped clean. The floods
didn't hit too bad in that area but a lot of their things were still destroyed. We helped this elderly couple clean their furniture and clean muddy dishes. The lady was so cheerful despite how ruined a lot of her home was. I wish I could have taken pictures of her home but we were instructed not to. We didn't get back to Okegawa until around 9pm so it was a pretty long trip but we had a great time!

This week we had a mission tour from one of the General Authorities. His name is Elder Whiting and him and his wife both served in Japan. They were so awesome and I learned so much! We were all called to repentance though... Apparently Elder Ballard got onto him and the other area authorities and asked "why aren't we baptizing more in Japan?" He said they were trying to answer and Elder Ballard kept saying "No, that's an excuse." Finally Elder Whiting said how there is a lack of faith. Sister Nagano also threw down on all of us and said how she had 25 baptisms on her mission and president Nagano had like 24 and said its very possible to see so many miracles. They all also said how are success isn't based on the baptisms we see but it is our job to invite. A few months ago we took a survey and the results were how the missionaries in this mission are losing faith. Elder Whiting told us that only 1% of missionaries invite someone to be baptized in the first lesson and only 2% of missionaries extend a
baptismal date on the second lesson. It was a big wake up call for all of us. They also told us how we should focus on the young people and how they are more open to new ideas and how we need to baptize more future missionaries. I have definitely seen how that is important. Just two days later as we were on our way for service I gave a Book of Mormon to a 16 year old and it was 5:45 in the morning! It was such an amazing conference and I know I need to have more faith and not fear man.

Yesterday was awesome! At church Rei brought her other daughter who is not a member. Rei has a daughter named Rin who is a member and Rei is also not a member. I really think her daughter Mayu is the key for their family. She is super shy and quiet but I think she is startingto warm up to me. Also, Olga and her husband came! It was his first time to church and I've never seen Olga so happy! I hope he enjoyed it and I am so excited for that family!

Ai, one of our eikaiwa students, has a lot of potential. I think she has a lot of interest she just doesn't want to admit it. After english bible study we should her "The Hope of God's Light" and she liked it. She asks a bunch of great questions and I love answering   them. She said how she doesn't care about after life but she wants to know why we focus on it so much. I said, "Ai, thats exactly why we want to teach you our lessons." So we finally have a specific appointment for her to start the first lessons. She also asked us to be honest and what do we want her to become and so I told her our purpose and a little bit about baptism but how we're never going to force her. So
she has good expectations set and I look forward to continuing to teach her.

I just want to finish with a humbling experience I had. One night I was just praying and expressing to my Father in Heaven what I was going through and asking for help and strength and so much more. It was all about me me me and then it was like a switch went off in my head. I started praying for the people in Japan. I couldn't help but cry as I poured out my heart for God to help His children here in Japan. I don't know how long I prayed but I realized I have been focusing so much on myself and how I need to improve but after that prayer I realized if I truly focus on others and helping them, I will in the end become the type of person I need to be. It reminded me of 2 Nephi 33 "For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry." It is now one or my new favorite scriptures. I really am trying to be more sincere and have real intent as I pray now.

This was such a wonderful week and there is truly no where else I'd rather be. I was talking with a member in the ward who is from America and he was just asking me why I came on a mission so young so I was explaining it to him and we had a really good conversation he was a convert at 19 and served at age 21. I know my mission is going to shape me into the type of person I will be in the future. During the Whiting Conference they said they are interested in our missions but are even more interested and concerned in the types of wives/husbands and mothers/fathers we are going to be in the future so we need to make sure we do all that we can to be the best we can be. I love you all so much! I miss you! Aishiteru yo!

Love レイシー姉妹

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