Friday, August 18, 2017

Flying Cockroaches (with lots of good news)

As I mentioned in the blog post last week, I might be a little late with my post this week do to our vacation in Canada.  While I got to enjoy reading Jordan's email when it came (it came about a day late due to how busy she was with transfers and such), I wasn't able to get to the blog until now - sorry.  We got back late last night and I am happy to share a BUNDLE of good news with you.  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Well well well.. We had transfer calls today and I'm staying in Nakano for another one. My new companion will be Sister Morelock and the funny thing is, she was Sister Her's companion before Sister Her became my companion. She is from Hawaii and is really tall; that's pretty much all I know about her right now so more to come next week about her.

Okay okay, this week was great. We are continuing to work with the amazing investigators that we have, as well as being blessed to find a few new ones. We also had an American party after eikaiwa and we (the sisters) taught everyone how to shoot a gun (a nerf gun, but a gun nonetheless). They all loved it and the Bishop's wife was actually surprisingly good at it. We also had a water balloon fight with the young women this week - nothing bonds people faster than throwing balloons filled with water at the other person. Other than that we taught lots of lessons!

Investigator updates:
•Miyuki: Miyuki is the miracle lady who came to church and loved it even though she was super confused. We had a lesson with her where we talked about what we as missionaries do and who God is. She loved it and just expressed her sincere desire to find out if God is there and to learn more. She told us she's going back to her hometown to visit her family for a couple of weeks (way sad because it means we can't teach her for a couple of weeks), so we gave her the plan of salvation pamphlet for some reading on her long trip. She messaged us that same night and told us she read the whole thing, and that she wants to do family history so she can take her ancestors name's to the temple to help them become clean again. I was in shock. When I read Google translate, I thought that it messed up on the translation, but when I checked it, it was indeed right. Woah. We told her that we would teach her the steps to get there when she comes back (for example she had to get baptized first), but she really wanted to get started on family history and the process so we sent her the website.

•Uyen: From vietnam, 17 years old, moved to Japan 3 years ago with her family, fluent in English, Vietnamese, and Japanese. I love uyen. We were able to meet with her and talk a little bit about the same things we talked about with Miyuki and she just loved it. We also talked about the Book of Mormon (we had previously given her a book of Mormon in Vietnamese). She said that she really wants to read it and that her dad saw it on her desk and said that she should read it and he wants to read it after. She told us that he is really interested in the church and so is she so were hoping that will be able to teach him as well soon.

•Akane: This week I really learned about teaching to the needs of the investigator. This message is the same in the sense that the doctrine is the same, but how it works with people and how it applies to people makes the gospel so individual and so personal for everyone. Akane loves music and movies so we decided to watch the restoration together and we sang a few hymns together. She loved the lesson and felt like it was exactly for her. I feel that during that lesson she was really able to see the gospel in a way that was closer to her. We taught her the restoration last week as well, not in the same way, and she just didn't connect with it like she did today, and that connection (the the feeling of the Holy Ghost) is so important. On Sunday, she came to church for the 3rd week in a row and she even brought her daughter. Her daughter will also be coming to the next lesson.

Erika is Engrid's daughter (recent convert from kumagaya). She was baptized this past Sunday and thanks to modern day technology, I was able to Skype in and be there for the service. It was a beautiful service and I am sooo happy that she was able to make this step to follow the savior. Engrid was also in heaven during the baptism and had the biggest smile on her face the entire time. The next step is for them to get sealed in the temple for eternity! I'm so happy for them. The gospel truly does bless families.

Just Japan things:
- The cockroaches in Japan fly. There was a humongous cockroach in our apartment and when we tried to kill it, it flew around the room. We spent 30 minutes trying to kill it. Not to mention, we got a little scared when it started to fly...
- There are earthquakes all the time here. I can't even count the amount of earthquakes I've been in. We will just be studying and then our whole apartment starts to shake and we're like hmm, another one. They usually only last 20 seconds or so and we've gotten pretty use to them.

Until next week my friends.
Wunderli Shimai 

1. I ❤ Nakano 
2. Erika's baptism (President and sister Nagano went)
3. DISTRICT LUNCH sushi woohoo 
4. Uyen💕
5. Post-waterballoon fight pic 
6. Just loading the nerf guns 
7. Our cute little kitchen

 There you have it.  I hope you enjoyed her email 1/10th as much as I did.  I'm excited to go visit Japan and meet the people she got to teach and the ward members whenever we go - possibly next year or in 2020.  As always, thanks for your support and prayers.  She loves all the emails even if she doesn't have time to respond to all of them. I'll be back at the regular time next week.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Rockstar Investigators

I love it when I read emails like this from Jordan.  It sounds like this was her best week yet on her mission.  Lots of great stuff happening with a number of investigators.  I want to play guitar with the one investigator.  :)  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

What a week. Honestly I'm overwhelmed with how much there is to write about. I want to tell you all of it, but I just can't put it all into words. This week we were blessed with so many people to teach. We were able to see God's hands in so many individual lives, including our own. 

I'm just going to give you all a brief run down of all our investigators. I just seriously feel so blessed right now because when I came to this area a short 3 months ago, we had no one to teach and now God has blessed us with so many people to teach. 

•Akane: Remember the cool miracle I told you about last week, about the mission school student who came to church when we weren't there? Well we had a lesson with her this week and we were able to teach her how to pray to her Heavenly Father and then hear her first prayer to him. There is so much joy in hearing someone's first prayer. She also bought a dress just for church (she didn't own a dress before this), and wore it to church in Sunday. She said she absolutely loves church and wants to bring her daughter. On the flip side, Akane also loves rock and playing the drums. There's a drum set at church so she comes to the church to play sometimes and we get to be her groupies. She is so cool.

•Amparo: Probably the most frustrating lesson of my life was with dear Amparo this week. Amparo is from Columbia but she has lived in Japan for 33 years (she's 55). She is fluent in English, Spanish, and Japanese. We met her at one of our English classes that she came too. She is a hard core Christian and is in love with the bible. Sometimes teaching people with a Christian background makes it easier, but sometimes it makes it about 10x harder. Amparo told us that she's interested in the Mormon church and so we met her for a lesson and introduced her to the Book of Mormon. She would reject most everything we said and was convinced we didn't need the book of Mormon. We then used scriptures from the bible to testify of the book of Mormon and vise versa and by the end of the lesson she said she would read the introduction to the book of Mormon, would meet with us again, and she's going to bring her daughter. I left out more of the frustrating side of the story because well it would take too long to write, but let's just say I'll be praying for more patience before the next lesson.

•Miu: I also mentioned Miu not too long ago, but we haven't been able to meet with her for a couple of weeks until this week. She is 19 and the cutest thing ever. This week we had a lesson thst explained more of who missionaries were and she thought it was the coolest thing ever. She told us that she wants to become like us. She said she really wants to learn about Jesus Christ (before she came to church a couple of weeks ago, she had no idea who He was). We were also able to teach her how to pray and hear her first prayer as well.

•Sara: Sara is the referral from the assistants that we received a couple of weeks back. We were able to teach her for the first time this week. She first messaged us and asked us if we could meet up for dinner so we got dinner and then we watched the Restoration with her. After the movie she said that she wants to read the entire Joseph Smith History, so she is currently reading that.

•Miyuki: Prepare yourselves for a miracle. Miyuki just randomly showed up to church on Sunday. She had no idea about anything revolving Christianity or God or anything, but showed up and stayed for 3 hours of church. During the 3 different meetings, i would ask if her if she new what a word meant, (priesthood, prayer, the millenium etc.) and she would look at me and just shake her head. I would give her a brief definition and then she would thank me. When we were talking to her after, she said she was confused about a lot of things, but she just felt so good that it didn't matter. She said she wants to continue coming to church and we are meeting for a real lesson this week. 

•Kirin: Kirin is from China and she is 22, and she is living in Japan for work. I mentioned Kirin a few weeks ago and how she was so prepared and willing to meet with us again. Well she proved my point yet again. She just accepted everything we said. We talked about the Book of Mormon and she said that she would read all of it. She speaks fluent English and asked what our church's name was in English and goes, "Oh so you believe in the last days?" We said yes and she said she does too. After we explained the book of Mormon, she goes, " Oh so this book will prepare me for the last days and to meet God." She is seriously so prepared, the only said thing is she is going back to China for a short 3 weeks, but then we'll meet with her again. 

Sorry for the extra long email this week, but I just had to share about the people we are teaching. I love each one of them so much and I know that they are all daughters of God. There is no greater joy than sharing this gospel, so please share it with someone. 
Wunderli 姉妹

Too many pics for descriptions, but we went to Korean town which was cool. Also we went and saw fireworks and there were so many people there. Yup basically it. 

Thanks again for reading.  I hope you enjoyed that 1/10th as much as I did - I have the advantage since I'm her father.  As always, thanks for your support via your kind thoughts, prayers, snail mail and email.  She loves and appreciates them all.  I will be on a family vacation to Canada this coming week so next weeks email may be late depending on our schedule and internet connection but I will get it up sometime.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Apartment Lock-down

It's that time of week again.  I'm a little late because I'm traveling and had a few appointments for work.  Nonetheless, it's my favorite time of the week and I love sharing Jordan's experiences with the world - or a teeny, tiny part of it anyway.  :)  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Hello, hello, hello my favorite people. How y'all doing? This week was great, but that's only to be expected, after all, I am a missionary!

Sadojin (person) say what:
This week we had another new student (Eri) come to our English class. I was talking to her after class, just trying to get to know her, and asked the typical, "Where are you from?" question that everyone asks. Usually, they tell me and I have no idea where it is, so I spend 5 minutes on the Google maps app looking up the place. Well with Eri's answer there was no need for google maps. She said, "Sado, in the Niigata prefecture." WHAT. I flipped out. Holy moly. I have never met a person who's even been to sado on the mainland let alone who is a native sadojin. I told her that I lived on sado for 4 months and she got so excited. We talked and bonded over sado stuff for a solid 15 minutes and basically were instant best friends. She is coming to eikaiwa next week and now that were best friends, I'm going to do her a favor and introduce her to the gospel. Isn't it just so cool, how God knew that I needed to be on sado and now in Nakano, and the time I'm in Nakano, I meet someone from sado who I can relate with? He really is all-knowing!

Apartment lockdown: 
Her shimai has been sick so on Sunday we were on strict orders to not leave our apartment, which means we also missed church (my first time on my mission, sad face). We were pretty bored the entire day and we also had no food so we got real creative with all of our meals and had to eat some of our emergency food... anyway by the end of the night, we were feeling pretty unaccomplished and frankly just plain bored. We get a call from one of the Elders in our area and he told us that one of our eikaiwa students had come to church. Not only did she come to church but she stayed for 8 hours (ended up going to both the family ward and YSA ward), and went to the baptismal service that another pair of elders had in our area. She loved it and all of the Elders and a few of the members fellowshipped her super well. They even set up an appointment with her for us on this coming Wednesday, right before eikaiwa! Holy cow I'm so grateful for the Elders! Sister Her and I felt so amazing after this, it was the biggest tender mercy ever. We felt the unity of our district and more than that we felt the blessings from it.

Investigator updates:
•Sarah: We were able to meet with her for the first time and talk with her a lot! She told us that her favorite part of the Mormon church is sacrament meeting. What a good answer. We're going to have our first real lesson with her this week.
•Aya: We have been in daily contact with her, but because she for some reason has 3 jobs now, it's been impossible to meet with her. Pray for her!
•Miu: She has also been super busy but we should be meeting her tomorrow.

Just Japan things:
-There are no emergency rooms in Japan. Instead, if there is an emergency, you just have to go in and wait your turn, or if it's not during the hospital's open hours, then you have to schedule an appointment.
-Kids dread summer vacation here because instead of getting a break from school they actually get an insane amount of homework so it's not even a break.
-No one says "I love you." It's not even common among family members or couples to say it.

Have a Wunderful week. Read your scriptures!!

Wunderli Shimai 

1. MLC 
2. Dinner with a member ❤
3. Senma. Holy cuteness. 
4. MLC=sleepovers with my bff mod shimai 🤗
5. Ramen
6. Eikaiwa 
7. Eri. I'm visiting her in sado after my mission.
8-10. Another member and holy cow she's good at drawing. These are beautiful!

I loved this email - lots of great stuff in it.  I also loved the pictures and the artist is amazing.  Thanks for reading and thanks for your support via kind / supportive thoughts, emails, snail mail, and prayers.  As always, feel free to leave questions or comments in the comment box.  Make it a great week.  Back with the next "episode" a week from today.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Day In the Life

Spoiler alert:  It wasn't her best week.  That said, she persevered and she tried to find the positive.  Our challenges make us stronger and if we have the right attitude and perspective, we can learn from them and that's what she tries to do.  Thanks for reading and enjoy:

This week was hard, still great, but hard. We worked so hard this week and really just tried to use our time as effectively as possible, but we just didn't see a lot of "success." But I guess that's life sometimes, right? We just gotta learn how to keep going even when it is hard. 

Discouragement vs. Disappointment: 
This week we had almost all of our appointments fall through on us. Wednesday was an especially hard day. We had appointments scheduled with 2 new investigators, a less active, and a member. Each of them canceled on us. Sister Her and I were so disappointed, but we were determined not to get discouraged. Why? Because when we get discouraged, that's when our faith weakens and that's when we're really in trouble. We kept our faith high and to every "No," or mean face that we got or every time that we just got straight up ignored, we just went on, smiling, to the next person ready to share our message. It didn't work. We didn't find any new investigators. Were we disappointed? You bet! Were we discouraged? Heck no! We were eating dinner when we get a call from the assistants. They tell us that they are going to refer their investigator to us because they think that she will progress more with us. Holy cow what a phone call, what a miracle, what a tender mercy, what a happy moment. We had kept our faith high, didn't get discouraged, and because of that, we were able to see a miracle. 

Sarah (the referral):
We already new Sarah pretty well because the assistants are in the same ward as us, so we have gotten to see and talk with her a fair amount. She is actually already one of my favorite people, and I've been secretly hoping that this would happen ever since I got to Nakano! Sarah is from Taiwan, but now lives in Japan. She originally met the missionaries when she was looking at the Tokyo temple and decided to go into the church next to it where there happened to be missionaries there right at that time. She then told them that she wants to learn more about Jesus Christ and ever since then she's been taking the lessons (this was a few months ago). Recently, she's began to plateau and the elders haven't really been able to figure out the problem or concern, so they thought that maybe we (the sisters) would better be able to understand her female emotions and thoughts. Holy cow I'm so excited to start meeting and teaching Sarah. 

Just Japan things:
I realized I haven't done a cultural segment in awhile and boy are there some good cultural differences that I just have to tell you. I love Japan and being able to experience a different culture!!
-no one says "how are you?" The translation is "genki desu ka?" But only the missionaries say it and people look at you a little funny and then chuckle when you ask it. 
-people hate getting tan here and I'm pretty sure they will do anything they can just to not get a little darker. They use umbrellas when it is super sunny outside and everyone either wears long sleeves (yes long sleeves in the summer, I was confused too) or short sleeves and then they buy these sleeve things (that they sell at the dollar stored here) to put over their arms. 
-there is no way to say "I miss you," or "I miss so and so," in Japanese. I actually asked one of our investigators how you say it and she said that there really wasn't a way. The closest thing is saying "Kazoki ni aitai," or in English, "I want to meet my family."
That's all the cultural facts for this week. Stay tuned for more fun facts about Japan next week!! 

Say your prayers peeps. 
Wunderli 姉妹

1-5: just some pretty Japan scenery, enjoy
6. Exchanges = sleepovers 🎉
7. When your bike chain falls off and you have to fix it
8. Movie night with the youth and bishop 
9. Okay okay sorry this is so scary. These are Japanese face masks... mine was suppose to be sully from monsters Inc. Even though I actually look like a serial killer... and sister her was suppose to be chip or Dale not a clown. Major fail. 

As always, thanks for reading and thanks for your support whether it is a positive thought, a prayer, or communication via snail mail or email.  She loves them all.  Hopefully this week will be a better week.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Kumagaya's Back

It sounds like Jordan's week was fantastic and I love it when she has such great weeks (don't we all want that for our loved ones?).  She wasn't supposed to be able to go to the Temple again before it closed for an extensive remodel but it was awesome that the mission president let her go with a member from her previous ward; what a great experience for her.  I'll let you read all about it.

What a wunderful week it's been here in Nakano (aka the promise land). I love Japan. I love being a missionary. I love Jesus. Okay anyway...

New investigator:
We were on our way to visit a less active and felt prompted to stop this mom watching the trains pass with her little baby boy. We started talking to her and found out that she actually just got back from living in England for 6 years and she is fluent in English. We talked to her about her family and her life and the gospel got brought up. We asked her if she would want to live with her family forever and she said yes! We told her that she could and she looked so happy. We told her that the church building that we go to was pretty close and then she asked if she could have a church tour!! We said yes, set up a return appointment, and exchanged contact information. She messaged us later the same day, saying how excited she was. The church tour is this Wednesday and we're praying so hard that it will go well!

So here's a brief background on Miu: She came to the Jenny oaks baker concert a couple of weeks back and we met her through Momoko (another investigator/English student). She couldn't come to English class this week because she had work so she asked if we could have a private one on Sunday we asked if 3:30pm at the church would work for her (conveniently right after church) and she said yes. We then asked her if she wanted to come to church since it was right before anyway and she said yes!! She ended up coming to the whole 3 hours of church and absolutely loving it and we set up another appointment with her for this next week. We also talked to her about America and she kept saying how she wants to go to prom and how she wants to ride a yellow school bus haha oh how I love people who aren't from America. Never thought yellow school busses were cool until now. She also had never heard of Jesus Christ until Sunday school class. This just amazed me! But I'm so excited to help her come to know her savior.

Kumagaya reunion:
Engrid got her temple recommend and on top of that I got to go so baptisms for the dead with her in the Tokyo temple for her first time! What a happy moment that was. It was sooo good to see Engrid again and she is just doing better than ever. She is such a big example to me and she just kept saying how much she loved the temple and wants to come back before it closes to do her own family's names. Along with getting to see my 2nd mom, engrid again, I got to see a few other kumagaya members as well that came to support her. Holy cow, it was such a happy reunion. Kumagaya definitely holds a special place in my heart. I feel so blessed to be in Japan and to get to know all of these truly Christlike people aka the members!

Kobayashi Shimai: 
One of my favorite parts about being a missionary is getting to know the members. I seriously love the members so much. The members here are such an example to me in all different ways, but it just truly amazes me how they really make the gospel the center of their lives. We met with Kobayashi Shimai this week. Kobayashi Shimai is a mom of two kids in the Nakano ward. Her husband isn't a member, but she brings her kids to church every week and really just lives the gospel to the fullest. She also loves the backstreet boys, in sync, and new kids on the block. Did I mention how much I love getting to know the members? Haha she cracked me up. I told her that we will go do karaoke together after the mission and sing some backstreet boys songs (I actually don't even know if I know any..). She is so cool.

Lots of other good things happened this week, and lots of tender mercies were seen, but this email is already getting long and I have to have some stuff to tell y'all in person ;) So until next week! Read your scriptures peeps.
Wunderli Shimai 

1. Celebrated 1 year as a missionary with my favorite coconut drink and ordering dominos pizza for the first time in Japan (let me just tell ya..its way easier to order pizza in English)
2. Backstreet groupie aka Kobayashi Shimai
3. Temple with Engrid ❤
4. Went to the international store after the temple. Also got a burrito. Life is good. 
5. Shibuya 
6 and 7. The coolest Disney store ever. It's Andy's room from history!
8. Heaven on earth. 

Thanks again for the support you give Jordan by reading her emails (the content of the blog), remembering her in your prayers, and mailing / emailing her.  Feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comment box.  See you next week.