Greetings my fellow kindred from America,
This last week we had SO many miracles happen! We have something in our mission called 'standard of excellence' and they are goals set by our mission president, and he promises that if we achieve them each week then we will for sure be blessed with at least ONE new investigator. Which is such an amazing blessing. The standards of excellence are having 20 contacts a day, having 3 lessons with people on the street or when you do housing, extending one baptismal invite, and handing out 1book of Mormon. If we meet those goals everyday for a week straight then he promises us that we will find a new investigator. Those goals may not sound like a lot for one day, but believe it or not it is pretty challenging to meet that everyday for a week straight. Sister Nelson and I were really determined last week that we were going to meet all the goals that we set...standard of excellence being one of them because we really wanted to find a new investigator!
Last Tuesday we were biking home and we were approaching two women who were out walking, I decided to stop them even though they looked like they were maybe in a hurry...we immediately started testifying about the restoration and the book of Mormon to her and she was SO intrigued. She was one of the few people I have talked to that actually had some kind of knowledge of Christ and his ministry..she hadn't really studied the bible but she said she has read some of it. When we stared talking to her about the Book of Mormon she readily accepted a copy of it. While we were talking to her, I was blessed with the interpretation of tongues and the gift of tongues. It was such a BLESSING. I could pretty much communicate everything I needed to tell her about our message. And by some miracle I was understanding everything she said...it was almost as if we were speaking English to one another. As I was talking to her, I definitely felt like she was someone that I knew in the preexistence. She had a really familiar presence about her, I know that she was feeling the same thing towards me..she asked us where our church was and we testified to her one last time how our message was true and she gave me her number and I told her I would call her this week so we could meet again. As she walked away Sister Nelson and I turned to each other with wide eyes and started rejoicing for how prepared of a woman we had just met!! That night I couldn't stop thinking about her and how special I thought our experience with her was! Two days later I called her, she was busy at the time and said she couldn't talk, which made me a little worried that Satan had gotten a hold of her, and she wasn't interested anymore...so I told her I would call the next day, and we hung up. The next day I called her around 8pm and she didn't answer...we got home about an hour later and I checked our phone to see that we had one missed call and a voicemail from an unknown number. It was her! Her name is Shiraishi San. She said that she had tried calling back, but she called the wrong number (she called our mission home's number) and they directed her to my cellphone! When I called her back she answered and expressed how if she had time this Sunday (as in yesterday) she would come to church! Sister Nelson and I began a fast right away that she would be able to find time and come to church. She sounded like she really wanted to come on the phone so I was confident that she was really going to come. After a day of fasting, and lots of prayer that Heavenly Father would send her back to us, Sunday rolled around and guess what!!!...she didn't come. We waited and waited and waited...she never came, BUT, I kept thinking...there is a reason she didn't come, maybe she'll come next week? When relief society ended and we were about to go home, one of the relief society sisters came and found me and said that a woman named...SHIRAISHI San was looking for me out in the hall!!!! SHE CAME! :) :) She missed church! But she came!!! She was able to meet a lot of our branch members and branch president which was such a blessing. He is American and can speak fluent Japanese. He was able to translate some of the things that she said to him after she left. But while she was there I talked to her for 15 minutes about our experience that we had the other day on the street and she expressed HOW happy she was when she met us. She said she was so impressed at how good my Japanese was after only being here for a year and a half...I had told her Tuesday night that we serve our missions for a year and a half, not that I had been here for a year and a half, so when we told her I had only been here for like 3 months, and Nelson Shimai had only been here for 2 weeks, she was even more blown away...which is so funny because when we talked to her, it wasn't us, it was the gift of tongues haha, so I can understand why she thought we were 'so good' haha, we aren't . It was Heavenly Father for sure. Anyways, long story short, we invited her to come to church next week and she said that she would be in Tokyo so she couldn't make a promise. She also said that she didn't want to join the church because she is Buddhist but she wants us to teach her. Which is such a miracle. She felt the spirit so strong when we talked with her, and she has no idea what it was, but she wants more! Right now she thinks she doesn't want to join the church...but the spirit is obviously working on her. So I pray and hope she doesn't reject the promptings of the spirit as we begin to teach her.
I learned such an amazing lesson from all this.
1. I learned the importance of opening my mouth and declaring a bold and fearless testimony. Had we not had the courage to stop her, she never would have felt the things she felt and be exposed to the truth.
2. My testimony of prayer and fasting increased so much. Heavenly Father ALWAYS keeps his promises. He tests our patience and our faith, but if we endure in faith, he will ALWAYS come through. She showed up :)
I read some POWERFUL scriptures with Nelson Shimai last week about declaring the Gospel:
We studied these on page 158 of Preach my Gospel under "scripture study"
what does the lord say about opening your mouth? what should you teach? what are you promised?
I can't go through them all, but here are the scriptures
D&C 24:12, 28:16, 33:7-15, 60:2-3, 7-8
These scriptures came into my heart with so much force when I read them. Please read them if you have time! They applied to me specifically as a missionary, they are so amazing. But they apply to all of us as members of the church as well. We all have the same commission to bare the truth of the gospel to the world as members of Gods true church!
We saw many other miracles this last week. Our investigator Izumi San is doing well, we had a REALLY powerful lesson with her last week. We taught her the Restoration, and she felt it so strong. We were all crying. She is still really struggling committing to come to church and baptism, but its because she feels like her family will fall apart if she does...her and her husband are already having huge marital problems, is she joins a church without him then it will separate him more. So i understand her concern. We are going to try to start working with him too, I will let you know how that goes.
I am so grateful to be here. This last week I really learned how God truly does keep his promises when you are obedient to his commandments at all times. Stay faithful and rely upon prayer. Before I became companions with Sister Nelson I thought I prayed a lot, but she prays probably 100 times a day ha, she is so amazing. She has taught me to do the same. And my testimony is growing stronger and stronger of how much he really does hear us. Please pray daily...never cease to pray. Always keep a prayer in your heart.
I love you all. Until next time :)