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.

Monday, July 10, 2017

1 Year

Well on Thursday of this week, my baby girl will have been on her mission for one year.  I'm very proud of her work / service that she's performed over this time.  I knew she'd be great because she has such a great attitude and she works really hard.  Japan is lucky to have her and she's lucky to have this opportunity - it's a win-win.  I'm really excited that they have two investigators.  Hopefully they will gain a testimony and decide to get baptized.  Enjoy this week's blog / email.

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July! I love America and I love you all!!

Two flat tires:
At the start of this past week, I got a flat tire two days in a row. One of the days was p-day so we had to take a good chunk out of p-day to walk in the dying hot heat to take my bike to the bike shop. It was pouring rain when I got my other flat tire. This time we had to walk about 30 minutes in the pouring rain to take it to the shop and when we showed up to the church afterwards, my companion and I looked like we had just gotten out of the shower...with our clothes on. There's not really any lessons that I learned form this, just fun mission experiences that I'll remember forever.

Momoko is another English student from the teaching station. She comes every Friday to learn English and is really good, diligent and dedicated. This week she became a new investigator!! We went out to dinner and ice cream with her and talked to her about her beliefs. She told us that she believes in God and that she prays everyday. We were able to relate it to our church since what she does is more part of the Shinto religion. We asked her if she had interest to learn more. At first she said that she was was really busy this next week, but wanted to learn more. We felt prompted to say that even if she made time for short 20 minute lessons she would be blessed, and she got so excited and pulled out her agenda and scheduled us in for Friday at 6pm. The thing I've been realizing with talking to English students is that the gospel will come up with whatever conversation you have. The gospel is our lives, so naturally, it will come up in conversation. It makes conversations so much easier and natural when you just realize that all you have to do is really be yourself and almost, as if by default, the gospel will come up, the light of Christ will shrine through.

During Aya's last lesson Sister Her and the sister that she was on exchanges with committed her to meet with us once a week. She's busy with two jobs and barely has time to sleep, let a lone time to meet with us. However, we know that she won't be able to progress if she doesn't meet with us, so they committed her to meet with us once a week and she kept that commitment!! She told us that she was really busy this week and probably wouldn't have time to meet, then on Friday, we messaged her and asked her if she could meet us at 8:30pm at the church. She originally told us she couldn't and so we made other plans. We got a call from her at 8:40pm on Friday and she said that she had finished work early and she was at the church. We, however, were a 30 minute bike ride away from the church and couldn't make it. We were devastated because of how hard it is to meet with her. She ended up going to the sports night at the church and having fun there, but we were so sad we couldn't teach her.
We messaged her the next day and asked if there was anyway we could meet with her (we still hadn't met with her this whole week). She messaged us back and said she couldn't and told us that she has an interview for a 3rd job at night. Wow Satan is really trying hard to get her not to meet with us. She messaged us again a few hours later and said that she actually can and that she moved some stuff around. She made time to meet with us twice this week even though she's insanely busy because she knows how important this is! This is salvation!! We met with her and were able to teach her about the Restoration and at the end when she was reading about prayer and the Book of Mormon and through those two things you can know if it's true and thus our church as well is true, she said, while pointing to the pamphlet with a smile on her face, "This is what I have to do! I will do this!" Needless to say I'm so happy to see that even though Aya doesn't know a lot about this church and even though she's crazy busy, she knows the importance of it and she's following that feeling. What an example of faith she is to me.

1 Year:
This next week I'll be hitting my year mark as a missionary and it's so surreal. I'm so grateful to be a missionary in Japan and I'll be serving with all my heart, mind, might, and strength for these last 6 months. Have a righteous week! 

Wunderli Shimai
1 and 2: takadanobaba at night 
3. Miki Shimai ❤ one of my favorite YSA members 
4. Modersitzki Shimai and mango lassi,  two of my favorite things 😁
5. Jenny oaks baker (Elder oaks daughter) and her family performed a concert this week and we got to go and wow it was amazing. I love music and how strongly it brings the spirit. 
6. When you see it...
7. No better way to celebrate the 4th of July than eating corndogs from your local 7-11. Let freedom ring. 🇺🇸 #murica 

As always, thanks for your positive thoughts, comments, prayers, snail mail and emails - Jordan loves them and really appreciates the support.  Feel free to share your thoughts or ask questions in the comment box.  Back with more next week.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Raw Horse Meat...

Another week has come and gone and this week was filled with a lot of exchanges which means chaos (see below).  I'm proud of how Jordan handles challenging situations and how she is open to new experiences and goes with the flow.  That along with her creativity is a big key to the success she is having.  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Another transfer ends, and another one begins. I am now a transfer 8 missionary. What. The. Heck. Well the good news is that I'm staying in Nakano with Her Shimai!! We're the only companionship in our zone that didn't many changes happening this transfer and so many missionaries going home!! 

Exchange chaos: 
This week was absolutely filled with exchanges. We had 3 exchanges this week and now I'm absolutely dead!! On Tuesday, the Urayasu sisters came and I got to be companions with my MTC companion, Kema Shimai!! Then on Thursday, we went to Senzokuike and I went on exchanges with Schuh Shimai who is a transfer 2 missionary and she's from Brazil. Last but not least, on Friday, the Koiwa sisters came and I went on exchanges with Robinson Shimai. It was actually Robinson Shimai's first exchange so it was so fun to go with her!! Exchanges are amazing because we get to learn so much from the other sisters as well as just get to know them better!! The only sad thing about exchanges is sometimes you miss out on lessons and cool miracles. This time it was a lesson with Aya! I heard it went super well and Aya committed to meeting with us once a week even though she's crazy busy with work. I'm sad that I didn't get to be with her and participate in the lesson, but I'm also so thankful that she was able to meet because she's been so hard to meet up with. 

Saki San: 
Saki is the person who did a homestay in Las Vegas a few years back and had lots of good experiences from that. We were able to meet with her this week and we really just testified on how this church can bring happiness to her family and strengthen them. I feel like the spirit lead the entire lesson which was so amazing to witness. She told us how her husband works from 8am to 2am everyday and that she never gets to see him. She asked how Mormons did it because "they always seem to have enough time for their family, but they're still rich." We told her it was because our first priority is God and our families and then work after that, but since we put God first, he blesses us. She thought that was really interesting and really seemed to want to learn more. We really just centered the whole lesson on her family. At the end, we invited her to learn more to which she said that she would talk to her husband about it. She messaged us the next day and said that she's very grateful for meeting us and us making time for her, but she doesn't feel like she should learn more right now. Her mother is a Jehovah's Witness and her husband is Shinto, so she doesn't want to choose a different religion than them. We were so sad, but we know that this is all in the Lord's hands and that eventually saki will want to hear this message. 

Inviting Ai:
Ai is a English student from the takadanobaba teaching station and we met her for lunch this week. She told us about how she wants to travel all over and we just got to know her better. She then asked a little bit about missionaries and so we were able to tell her why we were in Japan and what our purpose is. We invited her to learn more and she said, "Yes, thank you for asking me." That's when it really clicked that literally all we have to do as missionaries is invite!! It's so simple and it says it right in our purpose, "Our purpose is to INVITE others to..." I always new that this was my purpose (I mean I had to memorize it in the MTC, but the simplicity of it was made clear in that moment. I'm going to invite everyone and if they say no, we move on and if they say yes, then we help them. 

-Aya came to church! 
-We had the most members at mission school this week.
-We got to visit the bishop and his family at their house and share a message. 
-We ate raw horse meat, and lived to tell the tale. 
- We haven't died from the humidity yet!!

Be on the look out for all the tender mercies you have! 
Wunderli Shimai 

1. Nakano 
2. Our bishop is the one in the middle, what a cool cat
3. The bishops family!! I fit right in 😊
4. Exchanges = sleepovers 
5. Raw horse meat - it's a delicacy in Japan so we had to try it, tastes like chicken!! Just kidding, it didn't really taste like anything actually..
6. The Dibbles (the office couple) , they took us out to sushi and it was sister dibble's first time ever eating sushi!..she didn't like it. 
7. Caution: not real sushi, gummy sushi made out of powder and water. Wow it fascinated me. 

That's all for now.  As always, thanks for reading and thanks for your support.  Jordan really appreciates the kind thoughts that are shared with me that I share with her, your snail mail, email, and prayers.  Keep them coming and than you so much for them.  Make it a great week.