|Fall day in Ushiku|
I have learned so much about love. About how our capacity to love just keeps increasing and increasing as we let more people in. I have learned about change. We can all change no matter how impossible it may seem, if we rely on the Lord and truly desire to change, we can and we will. I have learned more about the Spirit. I am so grateful to have the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit guides me in everything I do each day. He has guided every single step of my mission.
|Sushi feast with the Takanishis|
The Spirit has comforted me so many times. Just like all missionaries, I've struggled with doubts, fears, sickness, frustration, and lack of faith. The Holy Ghost has always been there to comfort me and help me pick myself back up and press forward.
I have also gained a much stronger testimony that this church is true. There is nothing that brings me more joy than knowing that this is the true church of God and sharing that with everyone else.
Thank you all for reading 18 months of Sister Black's emails. I'm sure sometimes they were long, and disorganized, and I used the word "miracle" waaaaaaaaay too much, but it means a lot to me. My parents have told me that many of you have enjoyed reading my blog. I hope that you were able to feel a bit of the joy and Spirit that I have felt on my mission. I look forward to seeing many of you in the upcoming weeks.
Before I close, shall we go through the crazy miracles from this past week? ;) (MIRACLES)
On Tuesday we had the chance to go to an English class with Mei and Ryouka-chan at their school! We got to do a bunch of conversation with them. Their British English teacher came too and I think he was so excited to be able to speak to native people again (aka people who would understand his jokes) that he kind of took over. Whoops! They had fun anyways and on Sunday, Mei came all the way to the church to give me a goodbye letter, it was so sweet!
|Meal with the Matsubaras, Koikas, and Matsumotos|
Wednesday was the start of our new Eikaiwa Basic class. We took a break all month to do finding specifically for this new class and all of us (including the Elders) were really excited. We set it all up, had new name tags ready and everything and then.........no one came. Not even one person. We were so sad. We waited and waited and waited and prayed that even just one person would come. Then in the last 15 minutes, 4 boys came in looking for ping pong. Well we don't have ping pong on Wednesdays, we have English so we invited them in and we had a short English lesson. Miracles!!! People showed up! And they said they would try coming again in the future! Yay!!! Heavenly Father answers prayers!
|Young Women of the ward|
That night we went over to a member's house to eat lots of yummy sushi and teach her nephew about baptism. I don't know how many of you have tried to teach a 7 year old boy something but it was way hard. We all rejoiced when we finally got through to him and he told us that "Yes I do want to feel the same happiness that I feel when I play video games every single day of my life." Whew.
Sunday is a day that I will never forget. Because it was fast Sunday, the Bishopric couldn't ask me to give a talk, but they did ask me to be the first one to bear my testimony. I got up there and I lost it. I just couldn't believe that 18 months had passed already and that I had been lucky enough to serve in this amazing ward. I tried to bear the most sincere testimony that I could and I really felt the Spirit. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone after that as well because this time feels more final. I have loved serving in Ushiku Ward so much. I have been working with people in this ward for over 9 months now and it holds a special place in my heart.
|Party with the Portuguese branch|
As you can see, it has been a very blessed week. It was truly an amazing week. I only have a few more days here in Japan, but it will always be in my heart.
わたしはこの教会が真実だと知っています。神様が皆さんを愛していることを知っています。この一年半の間にわたしがその喜ばしいメセージを分かち合いました。そのことによってたくさん幸せを感じました。日本に伝道の機会に心から感謝しています。イエスキリストはわたしたちの救い主だと知っています。キリストの贖いによってわたしたちが毎日より良い人々になることができます。(I know that this church is true. I know that God loves everyone. During this past year and a half I have shared this joyous message. Through this, I have become more happy. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve in Japan. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that through his Atonement we can become better people every day).
Eu sei que O Livro de Mormon é verdadeiro e que nos podemos buscar mais felicidade quando nos lemos este livro todos os dias. Eu sei que o profeta Thomás S. Monson é o profeta para nosso tempo. Está igreja é verdadeira. (I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that we can find more happiness when we read it each day. I know that the prophet Thomas S. Monson is the prophet for our times. This church is true).
I know that it is through the power of Heavenly Father that I have been able to serve this mission. I know that he loves each one of us personally and that we can find greater joy and happiness through living his gospel.
I love you all so much. Thank you for joining me on this 18 month journey. I will see you soon!
For the last time...