Monday, July 24, 2017

Tender Mercies

Ushiku Transfer 9 Week 3


Summer Festival
This was a crazy week! We started our week with a Natsu Matsuri (Summer Festival) at the church on Monday and so many Kodomo Eikaiwa students came. It was so fun! We got to build better relationships with many of them. They also had a Brazilian food booth so I got to drink Guarana again and I almost died. They gave me an extra can at the end of the festival and it made my day.

Brazilian Hot Dogs
One little miracle from that festival, was that we went upstairs where all the games for the kids were and a Kodomo Eikaiwa student's grandma was sitting just watching everyone so I started talking with her and we had a great conversation. At the end she said she really appreciated me coming and talking to her because she felt pretty sad that she couldn't join in because her back was really bad. It was just a small thing, but I am glad that Heavenly Father was able to work through me to comfort one of his children.

Tuesday and Wednesday were crazy days because we went to Matsudo for Zone Conference and Exchanges. Wow, it was so weird being back. It almost felt like a dream. I'll start with Zone Conference.

President Nagano gave a really important training about having the Spirit with our companionships always. Sister Honda and I were talking about this afterwards and so we decided to do a 40 day fast, basically 40 days where you give up anything that would cause the Spirit to leave you such as reading emails during the week (even though it is allowed) or exact obedience to specific rules. We started on Saturday and on Sunday, during a lesson that we were losing control of, Sister Honda suggested that we sing "I am a Child of God" and as we did the Spirit was so powerful, more powerful than any other time that I have sung that song. It was amazing. I really appreciate this training that President Nagano gave because it gave us the push we needed to become even more consecrated. Since being together, Sister Honda and I have marveled a lot at how fast time goes. We know that it will only go faster and we really want to become the most consecrated missionaries we can be so that the Lord can work through us and really help his children.
Zone Conference

Another miracle from Zone Conference was a short conversation that I had with Sister Nagano during lunch. During that 5 minute talk, she said 2 things that really really helped me.

We don't expect you to see miracles right away. She doesn't, the Assistants don't, President Nagano doesn't. That really just took a lot of stress off of my shoulders. When we were setting up our apartment the first two weeks, I felt a lot of stress because I felt like everyone expected us to find all of these prepared people right away. I wanted to prove to everyone that there was a reason why the Ushiku Sisters needed to be opened. But it isn't like that at all. We really are laying the foundation. We are laying the foundation for the relationship between the Sister missionaries and the ward and the foundation for how missionary in this area progresses.

Training at Zone Conference
They could have sent any Spanish speaker, but they sent you. This past week we had a long conversation with the Assistants about the boundaries and limitations for the Ushiku Sisters. The Ushiku A Elders have many exceptions so that they can travel around and teach Brazilians and Spanish speakers, but the Ushiku Sisters do not have those same exceptions. So it kind of made me wonder why I was here if I couldn't do much to help Brazilians or Spanish speakers. I think I learned a lot though from Sister Nagano's simple phrase. I am by no means the best Portuguese or Spanish speaker, I am still struggling a lot with both (especially now that Japanese is fairly natural now) but Heavenly Father doesn't need me to be here to find and teach all the Brazilians. He needs me here to support those Spanish and Portuguese speaking members and investigators and help them feel the Spirit at church so that they can continue to follow Christ. He didn't need a fluent speaker here to do that, he needed me.

So yeah, that Zone Conference really helped me.

And then we went on Exchanges. Oh my goodness, it was probably the funniest thing ever.

So I went on exchanges with Sister Shim, my former companion, in the same area that we worked together in. Hahahahahahaha it was so nostalgic. (Sorry it sounds better in Japanese... natsukashii)

A member gave us mango popsicles
The first fun thing was that we went and taught MISSION SCHOOL!!!!!!! It was so funny sitting at the front desk and greeting everyone and each student would come in and say hi and grab their name tag and then they would do a double take because Sister Black was back! I really wish I had taken a video of their reactions. They were so funny! I laughed so hard! It really meant a lot to me though that everyone was excited to see me. I love them so much and it means so much to know that I mean something to them too.

After Mission School, I got to surprise a member too. :)

I think this exchange was really hard for the Elders, both sets of them. They would keep seeing Sister Shim and I together and their first reaction is "Oh year, Sister Black and Sister Shim, that's totally normal" and then they always had to do a double take as well. Ahhhhhhh I just love Matsudo so much!!!!!!!!!

On the second day of exchanges, we were planning and Sister Shim just turned to me and said "So Sister Black, who do you think we should visit today? Who needs to see you today?" I was a little surprised, but I thought about a less active Young Woman, so we tried to visit. She wasn't home, but we were able to do some good finding together.

I loved being companions with Sister Shim again. She helped me so much with some things that I had been struggling with. It was so weird but nice to be back in Matsudo for a short time and I walked away with more energy and desire to help Ushiku improve too. Ushiku has so so so much potential! It can do it!!!!

As for other miracles this week.

Sister Tobe and Kazumi-san
We went to lunch with Sister Tobe and one of her friends, Kazumi-san (who Sister Shim and I actually met about 2 months ago when we were helping Sister Tobe out) and it ended with her becoming an investigator! She wants to study English and said she would be willing to listen to the lessons too. Yay! Sister Tobe has been praying for this day for 16 years, so she was so so excited. After dropping us off at the church, she came in and asked if we could all pray together. She started crying in the middle of her prayer because she was so thankful. We are really excited to start working with Kazumi-san too, she has so much potential!

The last miracle of the week.

I taught Gospel Principles Portuguese. Oh it was rough, but Heavenly Father helped me. Let's give this some context. I studied Portuguese for only 3 months, then went on to speak Japanese for 9 months, including having a companion that I spoke almost all Japanese with. I have not studied or spoken much Portuguese since. So I was a little scared going into this lesson, because now when I speak Portuguese a lot of Japanese accidentally slides in and it makes my speaking really slow.
I caught two fish on P-day, but released them.

However, the Lord provided a way. I split the class into groups and they each presented about their section and it was great, then at the end I shared a little analogy that they all loved. During this whole class I was praying in my heart so hard that if nothing else, the students would be able to feel the Spirit. There were 2 investigators there and I just wanted to teach them and help them understand everything and it was frustrating that I couldn't. However, at the very end I bore my testimony and as I spoke I prayed so so so hard that they would all feel the Spirit. As I bore my simple testimony, I felt the Spirit fill the room. I know that if nothing else, they felt the Spirit and that is the most important thing. I am an imperfect person, but with the Spirit, I can do anything.

It was an amazing week. I can feel the Spirit more strongly in our companionship and I know that we will continue to grow and become better every day.

I am thankful for all of you! Have an amazing week!


Black Shimai

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