Last Monday we had lunch with Saito Shimai and a Japanese professor at BYU, Brother Watabe, it was great!!! I am so grateful for the strong members here in Japan. Brother Watabe’s father was the first member to be baptized in Sendai. He told us a little bit about his family and his conversion story and it was beautiful. He was an incredible pioneer for the church! As I reflected on his father’s conversion story and how it led to the opening up and thriving of the church in Sendai, I’m sure those early missionaries had no idea of the impact their influence would make on so many members here in Japan.
On Wednesday, we had a combined mission conference in Kichijoji with the north mission. Elder Nelson and Evans came and spoke to us and it was AMAZING!!! We knew they would be talking to us about digital kendo and online proselyting and what to do and what not to do, but after coming out of the meeting it was not just about online proselyting as a full time missionary, but properly using technology in our whole lives. They discussed the plague of pornography and how it is sweeping the world. We are exposed to it everywhere. We don’t even have to choose it, but it finds us. They discussed how we have been using technology even before our missions and how the church is granting us the privilege to work with iPads now, not only to help our missionary work, but also to help us develop patterns and habits utilizing technology for the rest of our lives. The Church always has a bigger vision and broader scope than anything we know. Elder Nelson talked with so much love and hope, in us as missionaries. Elder Evans quoted Elder Ballard and said how we need to make sure we are not slaves to our devices but they should be servants unto us. Throughout the whole meeting, the Spirit was so strong and I know that these men are truly called of God in helping direct his work. Elder Nelson also reminded us that we are not hastening the Lord’s work, but the Lord Himself is hastening HIS work. I am so grateful to be a part of something so much greater than myself and to share the beauty of the gospel with the people of Japan. As Elder Nelson spoke and testified of Christ and the work we are doing, it was as if he spoke individually to each of us. There is no doubt that he is an apostle of the Lord truly called by God Himself.
On Saturday, it was my favorite and greatest sister, Nicole’s birthday (if you know her or don’t know her, do me a favor and give her the biggest hug and wish her Happy Birthday for me!) Oh and we went to Kamakura with a couple of members from our Ward and our friend Kiyoko. It was great, the beauty of Japan is breathtaking and no doubt confirms that this all could only be created by a loving Heavenly being. We had a great time with our friend Kiyoko, and our Ward members. One sweet miracle was Kirigaya Shimai, a less active we wanted to visit this week, came and we were able to talk with her and she has such a strong testimony and desire to go to church, but work is an obstacle. It was a blessing to be able be with her and her sweet son. After we watched The Testaments with Hikari Chan, Take Kun, Tom, and Kaneko San. Everyone loved the movie and I was able to talk to Kaneko about Jesus Christ and the last scene and tell her how Christ truly loves her and came here for her. Even though it’s hard for them to grasp because this is all such a foreign concept to them with God and Jesus Christ, it’s beautiful to see the spirit touch their hearts and even though they do not fully know Jesus Christ yet, they are still able to feel the love that this great man has for them.
On Sunday we had a FHE with the single adults and I was amazed at the strength of the youth in Tama and I’m amazed at the strength of the single adults here in this Ward. They are all so faithful and striving to follow the Savior. I was touched by their individual testimonies. At FHE we talked about lessons we have learned from our parents, taken from this months Liahona. As we each shared what our parents have taught us, the greatest lesson I think I have learned from my mother is despite the trials we experience in this life no matter how hard life can be, relying wholly upon the Lord will always bring comfort and strength. I told how my father passed away on Saturday and my mother got up the next morning to go to church like any other Sunday. I remember thinking about how much my heart hurt and how I did not want to leave after all that had just happened, but my mom spoke reverently to me that morning and said how she needs comfort and strength and knew she could only find that in the church. I remember being in awe that this woman who had just lost her husband not even twenty four hours ago, became a single parent to six children getting ready to send one off on a mission in a week, and all the responsibilities and burdens she would be taking on and despite all the reasons she had to be sad and depressed, she recognized that only through relying on the Lord can we weather the storms of this life. I’m grateful for the testimony of strong parents that continue to touch and change my life. I hope his week we can all try to see the bigger and eternal perspective in even the minuscule times of life and realize that our influence is great whether it be a smile on the street, an uplifting post on facebook, love of a parent or being a pioneer for the church, we are all helping the Lord in hastening his work on the earth. I love this gospel and am blessed to be able to share it with my dear friends here in Japan! Love you all!