09 Feb 2015 / Erin Letter

Hey everyone!!

 

The weeks are flying by fast but I’m loving it!  My companion and I are getting along really well so we’ve been having fun and working hard.

 

Buuuut this week I was SO stressed out I feel way bad for Hart shimai because she had to put up with me.  My ward mission leader even called and told me I need to take a break and eat a cookie.  The ks haven’t had a lesson for weeks… They’ve cancelled the last 4 appointments we set up.  But the thing is that they don’t tell us they get busy, so on Friday we waited outside of their apartment in the freezing weather for an hour.  Anyways it’s hard on the mission because all I think about are the people we work with… We pray for them and plan for them and dream for them every second of the day.  So when they stop progressing and stop putting us as a priority, I stress about it every second of the day.  But it’s been a huge lesson to me about leaving it to the lord after we’ve done everything we can.

 

Ch and Ke are doing awesome… Taught the restoration last week and it was way powerful.  It’s so amazing to hear someone say “I believe this is true.”

 

Hart shimai and I have been working to find specific miracles… Like on Tuesday, we prayed and decided that we were going to find a mother who was ready to accept us.  We talked to literally every single mother on the streets but kept getting rejected.  So on our way back home at the end of the day we see a pregnant woman walking with another child.  We end up talking for 15 minutes and explaining church and our purpose.  She gave us her contact information and even HUGGED US HAHAHA and we were sooooo grateful afterwards.

 

Other random things:

-made nikuman at the church with a member and her Chinese friend.  It was legit… Took 5 hours to steam (we only stayed for 1) and was the most delicious thing I have eaten.

-the Air Force base is in our area and there are so many Americans around here that we started a japanese class along with our ENGLISH class every week.  We went and helped the elders spread the word about the class by giving out flyers by the base… So we had to speak in English and it was WAY scarier and harder to approach people and invite them in English than japanese.  So crazy how different it is.

-went to Kamakura today and got to do a bunch of touristy things!  So fun!

 

Sorry this is so random but I’m doing good and loving it here!!  But everyone read D&C 19:15-19… So cool.  The savior wants us to repent so badly.  He suffered so much for us and all we have to do is repent and the pain and suffering and guilt won’t be so agonizing or deep.  We can be healed again.  And he’s so sorrowful when we don’t repent.  But the amazing thing is,  He’s not sorrowful we wasted the pain he went through.  He doesn’t look at it as a waste.  He’s sorrowful because we have to feel the pain he did, and he wants more than anything for us not to have to do that.

 

Love you!

Erin

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02 Feb 2015 / Erin Letter

So I don’t really know what happened this week… It went by way fast
and all I remember is that we were super tired and a bunch of random
things happened.  But it was good!  The progression for our
investigators as taken a little break… The ks have the
influenza and Ke worked until 8 pm every night so we haven’t been
able to meet at all. But I’m hoping we get back into the lessons this
week.  But back to the random stuff…

-Basically you really want us to be your missionaries because we will
deliver packages full of food and fun stuff at your door.  Ch
san has a super hard time coming to church because it’s her only day
off so she usually sleeps until the afternoon.  So we delivered her a
“you can do it” package with an sleep eye mask and breakfast foods and
snacks.  It was my grand plan to make her feel guilty so then she has
to come to church, right?  Well then she got the flu. So we biked 40
minutes back the next night with soup and liahonas and motab CDs to
the rescue. And since ke san’s super busy, we delivered her a box
with her favorite snacks and a bunch of chocolate to help her brought
work. We wrote “survival kit” on the top and left it in front of her
door and hid behind the bushes to watch her open it.  BAD IDEA she
almost called the police.  I realize that we should have put something
on it other than “survival kit” because that hints at something a
little dangerous hahaha. But it was way funny to watch her and Charles
because they flung the box open and ran away expecting it to blow up
or something hahahaha.

-on Sunday hart shimai and I took up a whole row of seats with our 3
less actives and random eikaiwa student and I felt like a proud
mother.

-taught a lesson to two teenage sisters who moved here from India a
few years ago… And we got to eat at their indo curry shop!  The 15
year old is way cool and has awesome interest… She has no clue who
God or Jesus are but she asked about the scars in Jesus’s hands and
she completely got the atonement… So cool!  Hard thing is that they
don’t know church words in japanese!

-had another big cookie making party with ward members and PI’s we met
this last week.  So funny because we call them and invite them to
church or to hear our message and they say they’re super busy and have
no time.  So then I’m like: “well we are actually teaching how to make
AMERICAN cookies at the church on Saturday night!” PI: “oh well
saturday actually just cleared up… Looks like I can go!”  Hahaha and
then we just start teaching at the end and sneak the lesson in.

-on Friday it snowed and freezing rained all day and our appointments
called us to cancel because they didn’t want us to leave our apartment
in the bad weather and didn’t want us to bike on the ice.  You can
imagine how frantic we were at trying to tell them that if they
cancelled, we would have to spend all day out in the ice and snow.

Okay sorry this is so random, but I’m still doing good! Loving it here
even though it’s freezing and we are wet a good part of the time. Love
you all and hope you have the best week!

Erin

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26 Jan 2015 / Erin

Hey everyone!

This week was so busy but so amazing!!!  I am loving where we are at
right now… Working hard and seeing so many miracles everyday!

We threw a big FHE at our church for the Ki family
(grandma/daughter/granddaughter fam who have baptismal dates) and
invited ward members and I was way nervous because I was in charge of
everything and then 10 minutes before two investigator families called
and told me they wouldn’t come and our less active came but didn’t
bring any his wife or kids and then the KI fam said they would be
a half an hour late and I realized I didn’t know how to explain the
game in japanese so basically my comp had to calm me down from a panic
attack.  BUT it turned out way good and was an awesome defining moment
for everyone.

Also we found two new investigators this week.  Ch (huge, tall
African man who doesn’t speak japanese) and KE (super cool graphic
designer who can’t really speak English) so basically that’s true love
for you… They can’t understand each other 100% but they’ve been
married for 5 years!  When we first knocked on their door keiko let us
in and she cried three times during our lesson.  We went back a few
days later and she cried three more times.  And then we dropped off a
note for her a few days later and she said she cried when she read it
hahahahahahaha she feels the spirit better than I can!!!  But they are
SO ready for the gospel.  Ke said that when we teach her she feels
like her heart is getting a massage.  It was amazing when we taught
her about God, christ, and the Holy Ghost.  My companion taught in
English to Ch and I was translating in Japanese to keiko so I was
looking at her right when she finally felt and understood what they
can do for her.  It was amazing… Her head just sagged down and she
started crying.  It was like a burden just lifted off of her.  She was
so grateful that someone loves her and can help her.  CAN WE JUST
PAUSE FOR A MOMENT AND THINK ABOUT HOW AMAZING THIS GOSPEL IS?

Okay other fun things:
-THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR THE BIRTHDAY LOVE.  This birthday was awesome.
Seriously sharing this gospel has become my favorite thing, so I was
way excited to do it on my birthday.  We went over to the Kikuchi
family’s to share a message… Well that never happened because we
walk in and they gathered their WHOLE family (including the 84 year
old great grandma and all the grandkids and random brothers who I’ve
never met but who bought me presents) and made a huge japanese dinner
for me and had decorations up and made two cakes and I felt so much
love from these people.  Investigators throw the best birthday
parties.  Except when you haven’t taught them the word of wisdom yet
and they bring out coffee and tea…
-I was transfixed by a baker making bread and wanted to go watch
through the window so I started making my way over and face planted on
the ground because I was staring at the bread and not the FENCE IN
FRONT OF ME.
-less actives who hide behind their door and creepily open it right as
you walk up because they are so excited for you to come over.  This is
the woman who used to not let us in… I literally love less actives
so much.  So much progress has been made!

Okay got to go but I love JAPAN and I am loving my time here.  It is
such a blessing to be able to share what is most important to me every
single day.  Sometimes I’m walking through the crazy busy streets with
people rushing to the train station and little kids running home from
school and the sun is setting and it’s so beautiful and I’m so happy
to be doing what I love that I swear that I will never leave this
place.  This mission is such a blessing!

Erin

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19 Jan 2015 / Erin Letter

     Everyone!  We had an amazing week!!  First off, I got a new companion,
and on her first day she goes, “we are going to work really hard and
we need to be 100% obedient” and I was like I LOVE YOU WHERE DID YOU
COME FROM I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MY WHOLE MISSION.

And the results have been awesome!  We’ve had a really fun past few
days with SOOO many miracles.  I am so excited for this transfer… I
feel like it’s going to go way fast.

First off: WE FINALLY SET THE KI FAMILY’S BAPTISMAL DATE!!  But
it’s way far.  As in April.  But we’re working on that.  We had the
best week with them… Some highlights…
-on Wednesday the ENTIRE family (even boyfriends and grandkids) came
to eikaiwa and I think they felt bad for not contacting us over New
Years because they brought presents for us hahaha, I am now the proud
owner of a new pair of fuzzy socks and ear muffs.
-on Saturday they came to our ward activity where we pounded a bunch
of rice and made mochi and it was delicious and way fun.  And Emiko
san told me that she knows prayers work because she prayed so I
wouldn’t transfer and it worked HAHAHA.
-on Sunday both Em and Chi san, as well as two members and us
missionaries, fasted for 24 hours so that they would know if they
baptismal date they had chosen was right or not.  CAN WE JUST GIVE IT
UP FOR THEIR AMAZING FAITH?!?!?!?!!!  We taught them what fasting was
the day before, yet they had so much faith that God would answer them
if they fasted that they decided to do it for the first time for 24
hours.  These two are amazing.  Also On Sunday Em San told me that
she dreamed the night before that she accidently ate something and she
was soooo relieved when she woke up and it wasn’t real hahaha.
-and lastly, the reason for the April 4th date… Em San really
likes symbolism and what not.  So she wanted to get baptized on her
birthday but that’s in October.  So she wanted to get baptized on her
grandsons birthday but that’s in 5 days.  So then the next day with a
special meaning was in April, the day her brother passes away.  She
said right now she feels like at date is good, but we will see if it
changes!

So, yes, I love these two woman.  Yesterday I sat back and realized
that two months ago, I had no clue who they were and they had no clue
what our church was.  And now I feel like they are my best friends,
and they are changing their lives for this church.  I can’t believe
what this gospel can do… It works miracles and changes lives and I
am soooooo privileged to be able to see it everyday.

Okay no time but we had other really awesome things happen so we are
just going to keep working and hoping to see some more awesome things.
I don’t even know what to write but basically I love everyone.

Also today I went to Yokohama and Chinatown to celebrate my birthday
WOOOOOO I love JAPAN… and also China I guess.  I am so lucky to live
here for a year and a half and serve these people.

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12 Jan 2015 / Erin Letter

So it’s going to be a short one today because this week was awful in
terms of missionary work… We tried so hard but it felt like nothing
happened, or things just got worse.  And I’m sick… Yesterday I woke
up and had a sore throat and was dizzy but did the whole “I’m not
really sick just tired, and I can’t rest because there is someone who
needs to hear our message and is waiting for us” thing. Bad idea… we
had to go back to the apartment early because I was shaking and had a
high fever and couldn’t talk and my companion almost made me go to the
hospital haha.

But anyways the news of the week: we FINALLY got in contact again with
Ki San and her daughter after two weeks of nothing.  Turns out
she had a problem… She felt like she was being pressured to be
baptized and that choosing when to get baptized wasn’t her choice.
It’s so frustrating when I want to comfort her and tell her what I
really feel but can’t do it in japanese.  But we tried our best to
assure her that it’s her choice and we love her and will love her no
matter what she chooses.  I’m still way anxious about it because she
still won’t set an appointment with us and keeps saying she’s busy.
It’s way hard too because our other progressing investigator dropped
us so we are back to finding people all day.  And it’s freezing.  So
pray for her!!  But a kind of funny story is that we heart attacked
her door a week ago because I was panicking that she wouldn’t talk to
us, so I thought that if we heart attacked her she would have to say
thanks, right?  Well she was NOT A FAN.  Warning to everyone: DO NOT
HEART ATTACK  DOORS IN JAPAN.  People will get way embarrassed and ask
you to never do it again because it’s strange and their neighbors can
see it and they don’t like it and it makes them uncomfortable.

Other  funny experience was when we had lunch with ka san, a 70
year old lady we met on the street and talked to for only 3 minutes
tops, but we got her number and she invited us over for lunch.  We
agreed to meet at a park and we all biked over to her house.  While we
were biking I was like, this is the strangest thing ever.  Two 19 year
olds following a 70 year old woman on her bike to have lunch and her
house.  And we had only ever talked for 5 minutes and introduced
ourselves…what normal people do this?!?! But it was a really good
visit and she doesn’t want to take lessons or go to church, but she
listened to us really well and asked questions about what we taught.

Okay sorry this is so not interesting but I’m not feeling good so I’m
out!!  Also we got transfer calls last night and I’m staying in Yamato
WOOOOOOO and I’m getting a new companion who came to Japan 3 months
before me.  She’s from San Diego and  I know her pretty well… We’ve
been in the same zone and  actually taught together and she’s a way
hard worker so I’m sooooo excited.

Okay bye love you!
Erin

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05 Jan 2015 / Erin Letter

Hey everyone!!

So New Years week in Japan as a missionary means this: 1. members will
feed you so much food that it will make you never want to eat again
and 2. Investigators and everyone else living in the near vicinity
won’t meet with you or leave their house because it’s their New Year’s
break.

… But it was really fun!!  Dendo was really hard because everyone
stayed in their houses so we couldn’t find many people who would talk
to us out on the streets.  But when we knocked on their houses they
got mad at us for interrupting their break and family time.  Also, our
three progressing investigators have completely stopped contacting
us… Even Ki San and her family!  She hasn’t answered her phone
in a week.  We have visited her but she wasn’t home.  We were supposed
to have a lesson and she’s been coming to church every week but this
week she didn’t come…it’s like she disappeared.  Same thing with
Hi san.  I am PRAYING that this is a weird New Years thing and
that it’ll go back to normal this week!!!

But it was an awesome week for really helping ward members and getting
to know them.  It was fun to visit families and share a message and
give them a challenge for this new year.

My favorite part of the week was talking to people on the street… We
had some really awesome conversations and got to talk with people
about life and pull out the Book of Mormon and read it with them.  I
loved getting to know them and recognizing their needs and being able
to share a scripture that will help them.  Forget baptisms and stats
and investigators, just the four or five minutes I spend talking to
someone on the street about their family, and being able to share a
scripture that shows them how their family can be blessed, makes me
sooooo happy.  Those few minutes make this whole year and a half worth
it.  Regardless of whether the person takes the Book of Mormon or not,
or will meet with us again or not, it is amazing that I get the
opportunity to give them a little peace of the perfect truth, of hope,
of happiness, of light.  And after just a few minutes of talking to
someone, I love them so much.  These people are amazing… Everyone we
talk to everyday.  Sometimes when I’m talking to them I just want to
be like YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD.  THAT IS AMAZING. I am so lucky to
have the opportunity to meet so many of them everyday.

Fun things of the week:

-I have a ranking of convenience store bathrooms from best to worst…
Family mart takes the win.   #missionarylife
-our mission is really small so it’s hit the max amount of
missionaries it can take.  So from here on out, we can’t increase in
number.  So this next transfer only 2 missionaries are coming in, and
they are both sisters!
-when we talk to people on the street, it’s always the prettiest and
super fashionable people that are the hardest to talk to because it’s
super intimidating.  So funny because sometimes two females are
walking towards us, and one is a grandma and one is a college student
who looks like a model and it’s really hard not to just talk to the
grandma every time. When I was on splits, me and my companion were so
nervous but we challenged ourselves and tried to talk to the college
girl, and we were so proud hahaha
– a member gave me an ENGLISH church cd she has and asked me to
translate it into japanese… LITERALLY SO HARD.
-one of our less actives is from Peru and her japanese isn’t very
good.  So our lessons are hilarious because I speak English and
tamagusuku shimai speaks japanese and the less active speaks Spanish
and no one knows what the heck is going on.
-we had a lesson with a high school student but made okonomiyaki with
her at the church before.  I accidently put the whole mix in, which
made enough for 12 people.  There were only four of us…
-I made tamagusuku shimai get up way early on New Year’s Day so we
could bike to a park and watch the sunrise.  I had a grand plan of how
we were going to talk to people as the sun was rising and tell them
about God and the purpose of life.  TOTAL FAIL.  The park was
deserted.  Funny story though hahaha.
– a young women bore her testimony on Sunday and said her friend
texted her a picture of the Book of Mormon and said she got it from a
girl from America and a girl from Japan… Yep that’s us hahaha.

Okay love you all have the best week ever!!!

Erin

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29 Dec 2014 / Erin Letter

Hey everyone!

Okay the craziest busiest week ever with so many random weird events
and I went on splits 4 times so I have a ton to tell so I’m going to
try to type as fast as I can.  But first THANK YOU for the emails and
cards and Christmas love, which made being away from home actually not
too bad.  So this week…

Monday: my comp was still sick so I went on splits to the English
speaking area and ward: best night ever!  Had a real deal American
Christmas dinner and I almost cried a little out of joy when I walked
into the members house and saw all the Christmas decorations.  The
member invited her japanese neighbors, so I got translate all night.
It was way fun because the japanese neighbors had never eaten ham or
Apple pie before and they were freaking out haha.

Tuesday: stayed in all day with the sick comp.  We left the apartment
once to go to the church and I was so stir crazy I started running up
and down our street haha.

Wednesday: CHRISTMAS CONFERENCE!  Our mission is tiny so we were able
to all gather at the mission home and we had a white elephant
exchange, ate, caroled, and listened to some awesome talks from our
mission president and wife and watched meet the Mormons which was WAY
GOOD.  Our whole mission fit into the chapel haha.  It was SOOO fun,
spiritually uplifting and really powerful to have all the missionaries
gathered together.  When we sang, the feeling in the room was awesome.

Thursday: Christmas wooooo!! It was a really, really good day.  My
comp is not down for the whole CHRISTMAS thing so I opened presents by
myself and blasted the Christmas music haha.  Members from our ward
surprised us and delivered food from Costco in the morning.  But the
best part was that we spent all day riding our bikes and walking,
talking to people and giving them Christmas cards and it felt SO GOOD
TO SERVE.  Seriously it was a way different CHRISTMAS but it was such
a fulfilling one.  I don’t even know but I loved it.  But way funny
because all of our conversations went life this:

Me: merry Christmas!
Person: oh, it’s Christmas isn’t it?  I’m on my way to work.
Me: Do you know why we celebrate Christmas?
Person: “……”
Me: we celebrate Christmas because it’s when christ was born.
Person: really?  I didn’t know…

Yeah, so lots of work to be done in Japan.  We taught hiromi san, who
became progressing.  She said that when she met me she opened a door,
and now she is standing and everything new is coming out of the door.
And I was like HIROMI YOU NEED TO WALK THROUGH THE DOOR INTO THE OTHER
ROOM. Also we were so busy that we skipped dinner to go visit Ki
San and Chi san.  We gave them presents (pictures of Christ and
colored pencils to mark their scriptures). And Kikuchi San just called
us today and told us that she photocopied the picture and blew it up
to a huge size and it is hanging on her wall hahahahahahaha. SHE IS
THE BEST.  Also SKYPED MY FAMILY!!!!!

Friday and Saturday: was on splits both days and travelled all over
our mission to do it.  Was so tired I almost fell asleep while riding
my bike.  But I met SOOO many amazing, prepared people on the train.
I love being a missionary because I get a chance to talk to everyone
and find out who hey are and what they believe and it’s really amazing
how different and special everyone is.

Sunday: Ki and Chi san stayed for all 3 hours of church AND
a lesson after #champions.  Tamagusuku shimai and I taught young
women’s, which gave the ward the opportunity to fellowship Kikuchi and
Chi San, which turned out really well.  It makes a world of a
difference when the ward fellowships our investigators. Kikuchi San
and Chi San both want to get baptized, but Kikuchi San is
apprehensive because she said she doesn’t know 100% if the mormon
church is true or not.  But we taught the atonement yesterday and she
ended up crying and then I started crying and then the member started
crying, so it was a good feel-spirit-and-cry fest.  Praying everyday
that she recognizes her answer.  It’s right in front of her!

Other random stuff:
-when we forget to buy toilet paper on pday so we steal some from the
church all week
-the ward hasn’t seen a baptism FOREVER so they’re getting really
excited about Ki and Chi San which is putting a ton of
stress on me.  Our ward mission leader is telling me to do one thing
and the member who teaches with us is telling me that she doesn’t
think that’s right and my bishop wants me to start teaching the
commandments quicker and half the time I can’t even understand what
they’re saying.  But it’s made me realize how important it is to put
100% of my faith and trust in the lord.  In the end, he has a plan for
them.  He knows his children better than I, or the ward, do.
-next week is New Years which is crazy here!!  We have two meal
appointments EVERY DAY so basically i need to start fasting now to
prepare myself.

Okay sorry this is so long LOVE YOU ALL and I am so grateful for
Christ and this Christmas season.

Erin

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