Monday, November 13, 2017

I'm Not In Tokyo Anymore

I'm so happy that Jordan gets to keep in touch with the investigators she grew so close to in Nakano.  I'm really happy for the great news that you'll read about as well.  As always, thanks for your kind thoughts, prayers and general support.  Enjoy her first email from Sanjo.

Coming at you live from SANJO. Well I am definitely not in Tokyo anymore... holy cow. The difference is so real!! The trains are few and far between (they come once every hour, compared to every 5 minutes in Tokyo), and the trains are so sketchy. They are so loud and every time the train stops or starts, it actually sounds like it's going to just break down. Not to mention the doors aren't automatic... you have to open them manually! Haha the 7-11s and convenient stores in general are also far and few between. It's a pretty rare thing to see them, as opposed to Tokyo where you can stand at any given location and see about 5. The people too; far and few between, which is also completely different than Tokyo. It's definitely a lot different, but I'm adjusting and adapting, something that all missionaries have to do and learn.

I've learned on my mission that just because I transfer out of an area does not mean that I'm necessarily done with that area, and I am so grateful for that. I'm also so grateful for technology because it has allowed me to keep in contact with Ryoko, Nabeko, and some of the other amazing people I met in Nakano. Okay... but with that..NABEKO HAS A BAPTISMAL DATE. Wow I was soooo happy when I heard this. And who did I hear it from? NABEKO! In my last email, I told you all that on the train she told us that she wanted to get baptized, well it's now happening on December 17th. Holy cow to say I'm so happy is actually a complete understatement.

On Wednesday, Nabeko was having a really hard time. They said it was partly because of work and partly because I left (how cute is she). So what did she do? She went to the takadanobaba teaching station, a building literally dedicated for teaching the gospel. She went there and found the elders in there. She told them that she was having a really hard day and asked if she could just sit in the there because that is where she feels better and that is where she can feel peace. They ended up saying a prayer with her too and right after the prayer she said that she felt sooo much better and she was so grateful for it. The sisters set a baptismal date with her the next day.

She messaged me on LINE and told me about her hard day and how prayer helped her and how the elders helped her. Then she said, "I'm so grateful I could meet you and the church members." Then she said that she is DETERMINED to receive baptism on her scheduled day. Wow. I'm so happy for her. I'm so happy to know her.

Wow they are amazing! They are so willing to work with us and more than that they want to work with us. They are so dedicated to the church and its so humbling to see. The Sanjo branch is about 20 people and the church is just a little building in a strip mall. There is so much potential with this area solely because of the members. There are so many part member families in the branch and they all have such a strong desire to share the gospel with their families. At church on Sunday, a member came up to us and told us that she wants us to teach her mom and that her mom has been praying everyday and listening to the book of Mormon, and on top of that, the remember also told us that she would set up an appointment with us and another investigator to introduce us. 

Sister Thompson is her name. Dendo (missionary work) is her game. She is fresh out of the MTC and had a bad case of jet-lag the first few days (this is her first time out of America). She is from Kansas City, Missouri. She is so excited to be in Japan and to be doing the Lord's work! We are working hard together and trying to find our way around Sanjo.

Until next week. Read the blue book!
Wunderli 姉妹

1. Picking up our beans (new missionaries)
2. Back to the rice fields and the classic name tag pic 
3. I love Japan and the restroom signs in Sanjo
4. the branch presidents family. Wow I love them so much.
5. Last pday in Tokyo with my bff. We just had to try these on. 
6. What in the creme brulee crepe
7. byeeee Tokyo

Feel free to share any thoughts, questions, or comments in the comment box.  Thanks for reading and your prayers, emails, and snail mail.  Jordan really appreciates it - as do we.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Church is True

Well Jordan has been in Nakano for the last five transfers.  We got the word on Jordan's last transfer and she will be serving the last 6 weeks of her mission in...

Is she staying in Nakano or is she going to be serving somewhere else?  Read on and find out.  It was another challenging week but I think she got some good answers and had a fair amount of good stuff, too.  Enjoy this week's adventures with Jordan on her mission.

If I'm being completely honest, it was another hard week, but I also had so many of those, "wow the church is true" moments, so that is what I want to focus on.

After Ryoko cancelled her baptism the day of, and after a few days of hardly any contact with her, she messaged us asking us if we could meet. She apologized again for canceling her baptism and then she told us how much she loved this church and Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. She then said that since her parents are Buddhist she is trying to be Buddhist. We found out that she still hasn't told her parents anything at all about her even learning about a Christian church let alone being baptized into one. The more we talked to her, the more we realized how strong her testimony is and how much she wants to follow Jesus Christ. She told us that she wants to keep reading the book of mormon and praying. She told us that lately she has been having a hard time deciding what to do because she feels like all the decisions she has to make are big ones (she is 22 and about to graduate college). As she was telling this to us, and kind of letting her frustration out, she stops and says, "I think the reason God is giving me all of these hard things is to make me stronger and so that I can learn." SHE GETS IT. She completely gets it. She then went on to say that the only time she feels strong is when she's with us and feels that peace. She even showed us her favorite scripture in the book of Mormon that helps her - Alma 34:40. The only thing holding her back is her family. She loves her family so much, so she doesn't want to be baptized without their approval, but she is terrified to tell them.

Nabeko is so prepared. She doesn't know anything about God or Jesus Christ or anything involving religion in the slightest, yet somehow she just gets it. We had a lesson about baptism with her this week and were going to commit her to be baptized, but then she really opened up about how she doesn't know how to make decisions for herself. She explained that her whole life, she hasn't has to make any decisions. She is from China and moved to Japan 2 months ago, and up until then, her whole life had been decided for her. She told us that the Chinese government controlled everything they did, and if it wasn't them, it was her parents. She is really struggling with just making any decisions right now, so we are helping her to make her own ones, and because of all this, we didn't feel right about asking her to be baptized on a certain date, even though it is still her decision. However, throughout the lesson, she would reference her getting baptized. She would say things like, "If or when I get baptized, it's going to be hard because I love drinking alcohol."
Well fast forward to Monday night (she had come to church on Sunday too), she hung out with us a little on p-day because I was transferring. On the train ride home, we were all just goofing off and having fun and then she gets serious and she says, "I think want to be baptized. I want that same light that you two have and I really like the way I feel when I'm in the church." She told us that she needed some time, but she really wants to get baptized. She even told us that she's been trying to stop drinking alcohol!! This is amazing!! She loves alcohol!! Also, we haven't even taught her the word of wisdom, so she doesn't even know the blessings of keeping it! She just knows you can't drink alcohol from a member who told her. On a completely different note, when she saw that sister Morelock and I were stressed about something, she told us that we needed to pray. You're right, Nabeko! She amazes me.

This whole transfer I had been feeling like I would be transferring (I mean I've been in Nakano for 5 transfers so....). I didn't know where I would be going (like every missionary), but this last Friday night, BOTH Morelock Shimai AND I had a dream that I was going to be transferring to Sanjo. We had transfer calls a couple days later and it turns out that I will in fact be going to Sanjo!! We also later found out that the assistants and President Nagano had solidified that I was going to Sanjo the night before we had the dream. Crazy, right?

Now Sanjo hasn't had sister missionaries recently so I will be reopening the area, whitewashing (missionary term, me and my companion have never been to the area and know nothing about it), and I will be doing it with a brand new missionary! I'm training!! Sanjo is in my first zone that I was in when I came to Japan so I get to go back for my last transfer. I'm pumped. This zone is also the coldest zone in the mission so yay.

I'm so grateful for a daily dose of testimony builders and tender mercies. Through the highs and the lows, I just love being a missionary. Next week I'll be reporting live from Sanjo, Niigata. The church is true. 

Wunderli 姉妹

1. This store though.
2. Thus is nabeko. She loves drinking plain tomato juice with every meal.
3and4. Just missionary things 
5and6. Last Sunday in Nakano with my two favorites: Ryoko and nabeko.
7. Last English class with my two favorites 
8. I love the Nakano young women ❤❤ they all want to go on missions!

As always, thanks for your positive thoughts, your prayers, your snail mail and email.  Jordan really loves them and appreciates do we (her parents).  There's not many of these left.  The time is drawing close to when I'll get to see her again and give the biggest hug I can possibly give someone.  We'll be back next week with more.

Monday, October 30, 2017

He Knows...

Jordan has always been strong.  She was strong in her work ethic when it came to working out for swimming and improving every season.  She was strong when she had some pretty tough hurdles to overcome in high school.  She was strong when she made her decision about the role the church would play in her life as she entered college and she has been unwavering in her commitment to work hard on her mission since she made the decision to go.  This week and what she went through will make her stronger, even if it's not a good thing to have to live through.  I'd say to enjoy reading her email but this isn't the kind of email that's very enjoyable.  Thanks for reading.

I'm going to just cut right to the chase; this week was probably the worst week of my mission. It seemed as if I literally fell from cloud 9. While missions are the best thing ever and there are so many happy times, there are also some really heart breaking times. This week was full of those heart breaking times.

When I was on Cloud 9:
On Tuesday, we went to dinner with Ryoko, a member and another investigator and it couldn't have gone any better!! They all became bffs and made plans to hang out again! Fast forward to Thursday and Ryoko passed her baptismal interview with "flying colors" according to our district leader. We planned the baptism with her after the interview and she was so excited. She filled out the baptismal form right then and there! Fast forward to Saturday and Ryoko comes to the ward Halloween party. She had so much fun with all of the members and fit right in. What could go wrong?

Fast forward to Sunday. Sister Morelock and I get to church a few minutes before missionary coordination meeting is going to start, and we open our tablets to the most heart breaking message we've ever received. It was from Ryoko, saying, she can't be baptized today. She said she feels the need to follow her parents because she loves them a lot, so she needs to be Buddhist. She told us that she loves Jesus Christ and heavenly father, but she needs to follow her ancestors. She needs to be Buddhist. We were completely shocked. We've talked about her family before and she's never had a desire to be Buddhist.
From there on out everything became so much harder. We went out and smiled and greeted all the members. We had to tell everyone the baptism was canceled. We had to be nice when someone asked us that day, "how is the work? Do you see any baptisms? How many baptisms have you seen?" We had to report on the baptisms and confirmations that took place in our zone. Everything just hurt a little more. 

I can't put into words how hard this was. I can't put into words how I felt.  However, through all of this hard there is good because we have the gospel. I'm grateful for the things that I learned and am still learning through this experience. I'm grateful for the simple truths the gospel has such as, Jesus Christ knows exactly what I'm going through; He knows. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love Ryoko. I don't know what's going to happen with Ryoko within the next week, but I have complete faith that someday, maybe not this week, or next week, but someday she will get baptized.

Sorry for my somberness and not-too-happy of an email today. Now you have a glimpse into what every missionary feels at some point: heartbreak. And let me tell you, this heartbreak is the worse kind!

"Jesus, who suffered the most, has the most compassion for all of us who suffer so much less," Elder Bednar. He knows. 

Wunderli 姉妹

Today I'm grateful for Yagi kyodai, zone p-day, my district leader's personal goal pray for Ryoko all the time, cream puffs, and avocado socks. 

1. Zone pday @ harajuku 
2. This ice cream doesn't melt! Even in hot chocolate!!
3. Puri kura land 
4. Harajuku 
5. This is normal in Japan 
6. Halloween party
7. The look of satisfaction after they won the mummy wrapping contest
8. Missionaries aren't allowed to dress up in costumes so we switched name tags and became each other 
9. I love Japan 
10. Puri kura with my favorites

After this week, Jordan can use the support of your positive thoughts, prayers, emails and snail mail more than ever.  Thanks for reading.  Hopefully next week will have happier news including some good progress with other investigators.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Coming Out With the Win

Just a short email this week since she had a late p-day last week but there's still lots of good stuff in it.  Thanks for reading and ENJOY.

Long time no see ね? oh did you all know that sarcasm is not a thing in Japan? One time I said long time no see to a member that I just saw as a joke and they didn't get it at all, in fact they thought I was going crazy. So there's that fun fact for you. Anyway, this one will be a short one because my last P-day was just a few days ago soooo not toooo much to say.

Busy, busy, busy.
We have been crazy busy lately. We are literally working from the moment we make up to the moment our heads hit our pillows. Even on pdays!! I'm slowly dying, but I'm dying happy so it's okay :) 
Here's a glimpse into our pday mornings:
6:30am get up and get ready and bike to church
7am weekly call in with sisters
7:30am weekly call in with sisters
8am district leader weekly call in
8:30am district leader weekly call in
9am district leader weekly call in
9:45am Tokyo west weekly call in with the assistants
10:30am Tokyo east weekly call in with the assistants
Sooo many calls and this isn't even half of it :`( gotta love it :)

Okay not the game day you're thinking of ;) but go utes. For missionaries, our game day is church!! We spend all week trying to get our players ready for game day or our investigators ready for church. Sometimes the players play a bad game and we, as the coaches, are pretty disappointed, but sometimes the whole team plays way good and we win the championship bowl. Yesterday, the second one happened. WE HAD 4 INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH. We were so busy; sister Morelock and I had to go on splits and we were just running around trying to get members to talk to our investigators and also making sure our investigators were getting taken care of. It was amazing.

Also, there was a baptism for the Elders' investigators after church and 3 of our investigators stayed for that. One of the investigators said that the baptism was "magical." This Sunday was her first time ever at church and she loved it. Nabeko (our Chinese investigator) loved church and the baptism and stayed after we even left to have dinner with the members. And then there's our MVP, Ryoko, she loved church and the baptism and is so excited for her baptism this coming Sunday. She told all of the members that she was getting baptized next week, and she talked to the bishop for 20 minutes about her job. Her baptismal interview is this Thursday and if all goes well, her baptism will be this next Sunday.

Choose the right y'all.
Wunderli 姉妹

PS. I'm safe from the "super" typhoon. Haha it was just a little more rain than usual. Nothing we couldn't bike in ;) 

1 and 2. My favorites 
3. Dominos pizza. Tastes like America. 
4. The "we all hate natto" club at English class

Thanks for reading and thanks for your support.  Jordan really appreciates your kind thoughts, emails, snail mail and prayers.  Keep them coming so that she has the strength to finish strong.  Back with week.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

My Tribute to My Eternal Friend

Well this is WAY later than normal, but I'll let her tell you why in the email. Today is a very COOL day because two months from today, my Jordan will be home.  I can't wait.  Time hasn't slowed down yet, but it will, especially as we get within a couple of weeks and I anticipate that last day to be MURDER.  At any rate, this email may be among my top 3 favorite of hers if it's not my favorite because of the tender mercies she listed.  Thanks for your support and enjoy reading it.

Gomen (sorry) y'all! This weeks email is wayyyyy late. We didn't get a pday at all on Monday and when we told our district leader that he told us to take another day for pday. The only problem was we had exchanges the next day, interviews the day after, a lesson and weekly planning the next day, MLC the next, and then by that point having a pday would be pointless. So today, Thursday, were squeezing in some pday hours.

Ryoko, Ryoko, and more Ryoko ♡♡ 
Basically this whole email is just going to be me telling you all how awesome Ryoko is so bear with me. We've had three lessons with Ryoko this week and she is right on track for her baptism next week.

•Lesson 1 - The Word of Wisdom: Before we even taught the word of wisdom, she knew that it was a commandment to not drink coffee and tea and she told us that she didn't know if she could do it. We told her not to worry and that we would talk more about it today. We read D&C 89 (the word of wisdom in the scriptures) with her and after we read it, we asked her, "What do you think?" She looked down at the scriptures with wide eyes and a smile on her face and tells us that she knows she needs to do it. We asked her why and she said that God has asked us to do it and he will bless us if we do it. She then said from now on she would keep the word of wisdom.

•Lesson 2 - Law of Chastity and eternal marriage: She didn't know that you could kiss, hold hands, have a boyfriend, etc., until the end, but still was willing to keep it. Is that some strong faith or what? She said that she thought the law of chastity was so important. She wants an eternal family and soaked up everything.

•‎Lesson 3 - Law of Tithing: Agreed to keep it before she even knew what it was because "it's from God." Her only question during this lesson was, "how can I and how often do we pay tithing?"

Ryoko has been keeping all of the commandments, praying everyday, reading the book of Mormon everyday (she even asked some members what chapters they would recommend to read), and this next week she will have her interview to be baptized. The only "problem" we've run into with her is church attendance. She loves church and wants to go, but it's been so hard with her job.... sooo what does she tell us?! She is looking for a new job so that she can get off work on Sundays for church and to get off Fridays for English class. What. Yep. That's Ryoko in a nutshell. I can talk about her for dayzzz.

Tender mercies from the week:
• We had a dinner with an investigator and a recent convert (we secretly want them to get married) and in the prayer the recent convert said, he goes, "I really want nabeko to be a member so please help her to get baptized." :`) melts my heart.
• ‎We had 3 full day exchanges and we are still alive.
•‎ Managed to learn so much about the sisters and myself on exchanges.
• Had interviews with President and sister Nagano.
•‎ Found 10 new investigators :)
•‎ I tried pig ear. Taste was good, texture was weird.
•‎ A girl that we had just met bought us ice cream and then became a new investigator. I'm tired, but wow I just love being a missionary. LET'S GOOOO DENDOOO! See ya in a few days! Read the blue book. BYEEE. 

Wunderli Shimai 

1. Shibuya 
2. Nakano
3. Lesson w/ Ryoko ❤❤
4. The investigator who bought us ice cream
5. Guess who??
6. They're going to get married
7. Pig ear
8-12. #nofilter
13. Weekly planning in 45 minutes in a cafe
14. I love these filters 

As always, thanks for your support for Jordan, especially your emails, snail mail (she LOVES that), and prayers.  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.  I'll be back next week with more.  

Monday, October 9, 2017


Lots of good stuff in this week's email.  Jordan was hit a bit hard last week with the tragedy in Vegas - she lost at least one friend that I know of and had some others who were injured or otherwise impacted.  It was a bit distracting but she told me that while she's looking forward to coming home and getting back to a normal life, she also wants to redouble her efforts and finish her mission strong.  She has such great resolve and her heart is in the right place.  Thanks for reading and enjoy.

What a miracle-seeing, conference going, delicious food-eating week it's been. I know I say this a lot...but....I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.

Here's a glimpse into my life this past week:
愛するRyoko: Wow she is doing so good. We were finally able to have a member come to her lesson! We started teaching her the commandments and it couldn't have gone more smoothly. First of all, the member that came is literally perfect for Ryoko. They are going to be best friends. It's been decided. They have the same voice, say the same things, have the same hobby, and Akira (the member) even served as a missionary in Ryoko's hometown. Doesn't that just sound like a recipe for best friends? So anyway, the lesson... well we taught her the simple commandments, one of those being prayer, and Ryoko, not the member, but Ryoko bore her testimony on prayer!! She said she loves the peaceful feelings she gets when she prays. Next was the book of Mormon.. Ryoko has been struggling with this one, but luckily Akira had the perfect explanation of the book of Mormon to go along with such a sincere testimony that made Ryoko want to read it. We talked about baptism and confirmation, which we has talked about before and we asked Ryoko if she had any questions and she goes, "just one.. How long is the prayer for the confirmation?" She sighed with relief when we told her that it's only around 3 minutes hahaha. Ryoko said the closing prayer and in her prayer she told her heavenly father that she wants to repent more and to keep the commandments and asked for his help. Wow. Her prayers get me in the kokoro (heart) every time.
Miyuki: Holy moly, it's always an adventure with Miyuki. We were again not able to meet with her this week because she was too busy to meet. But the good news is she came to general conference the whole time on Sunday and loved it! In between sessions, we had lunch with a ton of members (the whole YSA group provided lunch for the missionaries and our investigators). Well during the lunch, members had to introduce the investigators after talking with them for a little while. The member that introduced Miyuki, said that Miyuki said that she's excited to get baptized. Hahaha oh miyuki. We have to meet before you do that! She has a strong desire, but is unbelievably hard to meet with. Pray for Miyuki.

God's timing:
There we were, at lunch with an investigator and it went an hour longer than anticipated. We didn't know how we let that much time go by!! We quickly ended our lunch and went to pay for our food. Well that was when I ran into Kirin. If anyone remembers Kirin, props to you because it's been awhile, but Kirin is Chinese and she's 22. She is super interested in the gospel, we had a lesson with her and she said she would read the book of Mormon. The only problem was, the day after that lesson, she went back to China for 3 weeks and then we were never able to get into contact with her after that. But now here she was! She recognized me, ran up to me and gave me a hug! She told me that she wanted to meet. So we will be meeting with her next week. But if we had left the restaurant any earlier, we would've missed her! God's timing! Also, we originally weren't going to go to that place to eat. Our investigator originally wanted to go to somewhere else, but then found out that place was closed for lunch (what kind of place is closed for lunch?), so she picked this one instead. Craziness. 

Other highlights that I don't have time to go into detail about: 
We also had zone conference and general conference (we watch it a week late because we have to wait for translation) this week and both were so spiritually uplifting. Also, all of our other investigators are doing great! We had 3 people come to church this weekend, woohoo! I also had sushi bowl again incase you were wondering. :)

Love you all, but God loves you even more.
Wunderli 姉妹

1. Tokyo zone conference.. dang I'm short
2. Comp pic ❤
3. Instead of parking lots for cars... Japan has parking lots for bikes 
4. Two on the right are Bffs Ryoko and Akira.. How cute are they??
5-7. We went to a members house for pday and to sue taught us how to paint with ink. So cool.
8. By yours truly :) 
9&10. You can buy the weirdest things in Japan.. like individually, peeled corn, and a notebook that is also a pillow. Love Japan :`)