Monday, June 17, 2013
Christ is the Light and Life of the World, part 1....
Okay, this week was so great!!! Miracles are happening here in UBE! I have a really cool story to share....So Sister Buhler and Sister Eddy have been here in UBE for FOREVER. Sister Eddy is Burgon Shimais trainer, and she is on her 6th transfer in UBE, she has been here since LAST THANKSGIVING. Can you believe that...that is unheard of. Her and Sister Buhler were companions in the MTC and they have been companions for 6 months since they have been in the field and now they are training Burgon Shimai and I together, so they know each other really well they are like sisters..anyways, they have been trying SOO HARD to get UBE going. Since Sister Eddy has been in this area she has helped transform it into seeking out and finding less actives. When Sister Buhler got transferred here she caught the spirit as well and now she's obsessed with finding all these less actives that haven't been contacted in YEARS AND YEARS. Like i said, some of them don't even know what the church is, yet, they were baptized at some point...So when they started digging up all these records they started to find tons and tons of people..the very first person they ever found and visited four months ago, was this lady named Aida..she wanted nothing to do with the church..Sister Buhler is so persistent and even though Aida wanted nothing to do with religion she was still really nice and would allow them to come over and visit. After four long months of never giving up (but wanting to many times, according to Sister Buhler) we went and visited her and her niece this last week. It was my first time meeting with them. We brought a member along with which was great. We planned on talking about our baptismal covenants and how it is so important that we renew them each week at sacrament. We wanted her to understand that if she would go back to church she could get the spirit back in her life and be able to overcome her hard challenges. Sister Buhler wanted me to share my conversion story at the end...Aida's niece's name is Ami, and she is 32 years old. She was born in Japan but has been living in America for most of her life. She was baptized when she was 8 but her mom took her out of the church when she was 12 and hasn't been back since. she moved here to Japan to live with her Aunt Aida 4 months ago because she wanted a change of pace in her life. She doesn't speak hardly any Japanese, just English since she has lived in the states most of her life. Aida only speaks Japanese though. I was excited when Sister Buhler told me that Ami only spoke English and that I would be able to share my conversion story in English to her, and then she would translate it for Aida. When we got to the house, we rang the doorbell and Aida came to the door..in Japan they have something called Genkons (probably didn't spell that right) but in America it would be what we call a Mud room. Most Japanese people won't let you come into their house, they just make you stand in their genkon and talk to them. Even the members... its weird. Anyways, Sister Buhler started asking Aida how she was doing and then went into talking about the lesson we prepared. I could tell that Aida was really uninterested in what we were saying by her body language and she wasn't being that responsive. Sister Buhler gave about a 15 minute lesson and we had the member that came with us bare her testimony, as she was doing that Aida's niece walked in and was like oh sorry I was napping, and then just stood in the doorway and started listening...at the end Sister Buhler turned to me and was like will you share your conversion story now? So I turned to the niece and began telling her my story and how I came back to church. I told her all the trails I faced, but how once I went back to church my entire life changed. I told her about the first day I went to my very first singles ward and when I walked through the doors of the building I was overwhelmed with the spirit. It was then I knew that I needed the spirit in my life. When I was telling her my story I started to cry (big surprise right?!) And suddenly EVERYONE was crying...Aida had no idea what I was saying, she was sitting on the floor and tears were rolling down her face. Sister Buhler began translating for her and she continued to cry. I connected really well with Ami and she too felt the spirit so strong, we were all crying. I bore my testimony that church is where we need to be in order to get the spirit back in our lives. At the end of my story Sister Buhler committed both of them to come to church on Sunday and they BOTH accepted!!!! What a miracle indeed. Yesterday was Sunday and we walked through the doors 20 minutes early and Aida and Ami were already there!! We sat with them, and they stayed for the whole day. It was amazing. Anyone can come back to church, this is not news to me. I am a walking example of this. I am grateful I get to see others come back too! I am so grateful for the spirit, and for its powerful witness that it bore to their hearts when we met with them.
Next, Sister Buhler and I had a referral from a member in the ward and we went to visit him last week also. We knocked on the door and we barely said hello before he was inviting us into his house. Buhler turned to me and was like "THIS NEVER HAPPENS!!!" Like i said , Japanese people don't let you into their homes. The first thing he did was give us an entire tour of his home, he sat us down in his kitchen, got us some juice and we began talking with him. He has been married for 40 years and his name is Wantanabe. He has some Buddhist background but he isn't really religious. When the time was right Buhler began talking to him about the Plan of Salvation...my Japanese isn't great so I didn't say anything hardly at all the whole time we were at his house until the end when I bore my testimony. He told Sister Buhler that he felt like we were different, and that we were really happy. She explained that we are in Japan giving up 18 months to serve others and teach about Jesus Christ, he was so receptive to that and said how amazing he thought we were for doing it. She asked if we could return and teach him more and he said that he would love it of we did. I felt something special when we were talking with him...who knows if he will get baptized, but i definitely know something good is going to come form meeting with him. He is in his 60's or 70's i think. I am excited to meet his wife!!