First thing-This last week has been rough for me. The whole week Kashiwa Shimai hasn't seemed too happy. I can tell that she hasn't been really wanting to work and talking and testifying to peole has been really hard for her. This has overtime started to affect me as well and my desire to love people has dwindled a little bit in the last week. Last night we came home and I had to call the zone leaders to report on the week (like we always do), and they asked me how my relationship was with Kashiwa Shimai (like they always do) and I told them that she is still struggling to open her mouth and talk to people and that it has been affecting my effectiveness as well… After I got off the phone with them I came back into the room and her countenance had totally fallen and she looked so sad. I sensed that she knew I was talking to the zone leaders about her on the other end. She doesn't speak English, but her understanding is getting really good. I felt way bad. I didn't say anything mean about her, but with the language barrier I think she assumed I was talking bad about her. I waited until the end of our planning session to ask her if everything was okay..she said she was 'just tired' which I knew was a lie so I kept prying..she wasn't opening up so I began to apologize for the crappy week that we had and that I want us to be able to work more effectively together but that she needs to start opening her mouth more because I need her! I can't do it all by myself..nor do I want to. She has such a powerful testimony and she can teach sooo well! The sad thing is that she doesn't see her strengths, only her weaknesses. I began to cry and apologize for all my weaknesses and that I feel bad she has to be stuck with me haha…but she finally opened up and began to cry also..the first words out of her mouth were..(in English) 'I hate myself'. I sat there intently listening to her as she told me how she has no self confidence and that it is so hard for her to talk people when she automatically assumes that nobody likes her. Its something that she has struggled with since she was young. And then she said to me…'I don't think you like me…' I immediately ran over to her desk and hugged her so tightly and told her over and over 'Aishiteimasu, aishitemasu!' (I love you, I love you!) She apologized and said that she knows that that isn't how people really feel but that's what she tells herself and overtime she has just begun to believe it. I continued to tell her that its a huge fat lie of Satan to believe that nobody loves her or likes her. We had a good cry session and we resolved any weird tension that was between us before.
Heavenly Father has been teaching me one overall lesson since the moment I came back to the church, and started my mission…The lesson is this LOVE. Love those around you at all times. Love is what the world needs. Not just any kind of love…but the pure love of Christ. Charity. The pure love of Christ is what converts souls, its what changes human nature. My sweet companion Kashiwa Shimai has gone most of her life not feeling loved by those around her…and has probably never felt the overwhelming love that our Savior and Heavenly Father have for her either.
I have felt time and time again that my purpose in this mission, and perhaps my mission in this life, is not just to bring souls unto Christ through the ordinance of baptism, but it is to love people so purely and so genuinely that the only thing left for them to do is to take upon his name through that covenant of baptism. I want to be able to love people so purely that there is no doubt in their mind that God exists. Not just on this mission, but for the rest of my life. Truly we are his hands in helping people come to the knowledge of his existence. We can do this through showing people the love that God has for them. It is there. Its real. It changes lives. And we are also changed in the process and we express it to those around us.
Wherefore my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faith. Wherefore, cleave unto charity which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail- But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth FOREVER; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Moroni 7 46-47
I am so grateful for this mission experience. There is a reason why I have had 10 companions on my mission and not 10 baptisms. I have been sent here mainly for the friendships and experiences that I have had with my companions, who in their own unique ways have all become my sisters. I love each of them so much. I am grateful for the gentle reminders of our loving Heavenly Father. He keeps guiding me and letting me know how close he really is to me, and to these people.
I love each of you, and I am so grateful for a plan of salvation that enables all these friendships and relationships to last well beyond the grave. Heaven just wouldn't be heaven without a family. I love you all!!!
Until next week :)
Love, Sharp Shimai