Monday, July 17, 2017

Debt is bad.

Ushiku Transfer 9 Week 2


Week 2? It's going so fast! Ahhhhh!!!

Ward Missionary Pictures
So this week started off a bit rough. On Monday, after writing emails, we decided to go to Nitori (the furniture store) to buy Carbon Monoxide detectors and try to return some 600 yen (about $6) blinds that we didn't need for our apartment anymore. Well we got there and all was going well, but then they tried to swipe Sister Honda's card. It turns out that instead of just giving us the 600 yen back, they voided the entire transaction and were trying to charge us for the entire transaction minus the blinds again. The only problem was that the transaction was about 17000 yen and Sister Honda only had 88 yen on her card left. This led to a lot of confusion as they kind of tried to explain this to us, but not really. They called the credit card company, and we called the Commissarian to talk to them (but they just ended up asking him to come from Tokyo to pay for the transaction) and in the end, we had to pay for it with personal and emergency fund money. Luckily we had exactly 18000 yen between the two of us. That was a miracle. (Just that morning I decided to pull out 10000 yen in personal money even though I wasn't planning on buying anything. I had no idea why I did it, but later at Nitori I was very glad that I did).

I learned an important lesson that day. Don't get into debt.

I mean we had money, we weren't in debt, but when we got reimbursements over the next two days it was a pain to have to divide up what was actually personal money and what was emergency fund money. Just don't get in debt. Nothing good comes from it. Debt is bad. Even if you do it so that you can have plates and lights in your apartment. Don't do it. ^^

So that was our practical lesson learned from the week. :)

Natsu Masuri (Summer Festival)
This week we also tried to visit a college that is in our area. There are tons of young people over there and there is so much problem. The only drawback is that its really hard to get there by train, and biking takes 1 hour, with almost no one on the streets. And its now summer. The day we went, we were just trying to find an English club of some sorts and we didn't have much success. I was getting a little down thinking that maybe we had wasted our whole day. Then, as we were leaving, a student on his bike passed us and asked "Are you from the Mormon church?" Turns out that he is a Less Active member who comes to church every now and then. It was nice to just talk to him and here a little bit more about the college. We told the Elders later in the day and they decided to try and contact him again, so little miracles came from it. Yay!!!

Later that same day, we decided to do some housing and we saw so many little miracles! We were able to give away quite a few pamphlets and have face to face conversations with many people. Usually people just talk to us through the intercom doorbell and don't actually come out, so it was great to talk to people in person. One dad that we talked to kept straightening up in surprise whenever we mentioned Jesus Christ. It was pretty funny. It felt really productive though so that was good.

Our District
Right now, we are in a big finding phase because we only have 1 investigator. We are trying all sorts of things to find investigators. We tried the college, some housing, we talked to the Relief Society President and the Young Women President about people we can visit and who we can help, and most recently we went through the Elders' old investigators. We found all the females and sent them to ourselves. Many of them have a lot of potential, and the only reason they were dropped was because there were no Sister missionaries and the Elders were focusing on men. We sent almost 100 former investigators to ourselves, so we are excited to go through and see miracles from that.

One amazing miracle that we saw this week though was that we met this woman on the street who actually knew a little bit about the church. She remembered going there when she was really young and playing with the missionaries while her parents took the lessons. As we talked to her, I just saw so much light and potential. She lives in the Tokyo South Mission, so we could only give her a flyer and hope that she finds the missionaries, but I really really hope she does. I really felt like she was prepared for the gospel. I hope that she takes the chance to find the missionaries and open her heart to their message.

Another miracle happened on Sunday. In between the Japanese church meetings and the Portuguese church meetings we had 2 hours stuffed with lessons and meetings and talking to members. We hadn't planned for lunch so we were starving and Sister Honda was so hungry that she started searching through our fruit basket for food. Well we had one last meeting with the Young Women President and when we walked in, they were having a shoukujikai (potluck party) and they started giving us tons of food. It was such a miracle. I was so grateful.

Also, we had a dinner appointment at some Brazilian members' house and I got to eat Brazilian beans and rice and salgados (fried dough filled with meat)!!! Then today at our Summer Festival they had Guarana (Brazilian soda) and I almost cried. I was so happy!

Putting furniture together (cabinet took 2 hours)
Lastly, this week our futons, desks, table and chairs and kitchen cupboards all came, so we spent a lot of free time and meal times building furniture (luckily Sister Honda is an IKEA expert). As we built the furniture, we listened to some Conference CDs from 2010 that we found in the things that the Honbu Elders brought us. One talk that really hit me was one about pride and the priesthood. I don't really remember anything specific, but I do remember thinking a lot about pride.

I had many expectations when I came to Ushiku. I expected to work hard, but I also expected that Heavenly Father would have everything set up for us an that this would be just like any other area, with many investigators already and waiting for us. That was not the case. It is definitely a challenge to not be finding anyone. It's hard to feel like you aren't being successful, that your day may not have been effective because you didn't find anyone. It's hard to see the progress being made and feel proud of everything when there aren't many tangible fruits of your labor.

However, that being said, I think I came with a lot of pride. I thought that I could do this all on my own because I knew just a sliver of what Ushiku was like. Truthfully, I don't know much. Sister Honda and I are both just figuring these things out together. Of course there are going to be mistakes. Of course it's going to feel like we aren't being effective, it is because we aren't. We don't know enough to be effective yet. Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to know enough to be effective.

This past week had its rough patches, but I think that those challenges were necessary to help us to learn about the area and find the resources to be more effective. After that rough day at the college, we called some of the past Elders who had served in Ushiku and worked at the college and we received a lot of valuable information. Would we have done that if we hadn't had a subpar day? Trials are truly there for a reason. Heavenly Father knows exactly how to teach and help us.

One thing I recently learned about the way Jesus Christ taught was that he sometimes let people make mistakes so that they could learn for themselves. This is something I have a really really hard time with. All my life, I've known a lot of things, useful things, random things, important things, things other people don't normally know. I have always struggled with wanting to just tell people what to do and why they should do it. But that isn't how Christ taught. He let people make mistakes and from those mistakes, they were able to learn so much more. It is something I have been trying to work on not just in teaching investigators, but also in the way I try to teach others around me. Most importantly, I'm trying to apply it to myself. Making mistakes isn't a sign of failure, it is a sign of progress. If we didn't make mistakes, we wouldn't be using our agency to make choices and thus would not be fully embracing our Heavenly Father's plan for us. So embrace the mistakes!!!!!

I really hope you all have an amazing week! Love you all!


Black Shimai

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