Tuesday, August 8, 2017

365 days in Japan

Ushiku Transfer 9 Week 5


1 year in Japan
We are officially in August which means that Sister Honda and I have been in Japan for 1 whole year!!! It doesn't feel like I've lived in Japan for a whole year, but at the same time I definitely know a lot more than when I first came here.

To celebrate our 1 year mark in Japan we bought ourselves a feast of some of our favorite Japanese foods and some things you just have to have when celebrating in Japan (aka strawberry cake ^^). It was a party :)

We also had interviews with President Nagano this past week and what he told me really hit me. At first he told me that the only other Portuguese speaking missionary in the area was being emergency transferred out and so I was naturally a little distracted because I didn't know what I was going to do, but then President Nagano told me

"Sister Black, you need to give yourself more credit. Are you listening to me?" I will admit that I was a little distracted, but I focused a lot more on what he was saying after that. I am so thankful for the opportunity that we have to have interviews with our Mission President. I know that he was guided by Heavenly Father to say exactly what I needed to hear in those short 10 minutes.

Favorite Costco chicken
Ushiku has been an amazing area and I love it so much, but it has also stretched me in many ways. President Nagano told me the things I needed to hear to be able to continue on and push myself to do better.

Right after the interview, as we walked back to the train, we ran into Ai-san (the recent convert who just got baptized on Saturday) and we were able to give her hugs and say hi to her really quick. That made my day! It was such a small tender mercy from Heavenly Father. It was so sweet to be able to see her again, even just for a few moments because it isn't very likely that I will see her again while on my mission.

This week we also finally had some time to do finding!!!!! This whole transfer has been full of crazy appointments and running all over the place so we haven't had a lot of finding, but we finally had a big 3 hour chunk where we could just find and it was amazing! We had a list of less actives and former investigators that we wanted to visit and so we headed out.

Girls from the ward

Our first stop was a Less Active named Nagata Shimai. She sounded promising in Area Book, but when we got there we found out that it was the mom's house and that she had no interest. However, as we were walking back to our bikes, we met Nagata Shimai's younger sister, Imamura Shimai (who is also a less active). She was surprised that there were Sisters in Ushiku and she really really wanted us to come visit her. She said that out of her whole family, she was the most open to the church. She really likes the missionaries, but it was hard in the past because there were only Elders and they couldn't come in. She gave us her address and phone number right there on the street and we invited her to Kodomo Eikaiwa the next day. I mean, that was all a huge miracle, but then she actually came to Kodomo EIkaiwa!!! And she loved it!!! And she knew a bunch of the moms there!!!!!!!!! They kept asking her how she found out about the class and she told them that she used to come to this church when she was younger. It was amazing!! It really was an amazing miracle.

This week we also had a chance to go to a baby shower for a Brazilian member. It was a great opportunity because there were many Less Actives and Investigators there so we were able to spend a little time building relationships with them. There was also this one really cute Japanese girl who came with her Brazilian co-worker and she really wanted to learn Portuguese and English, so we showed her the Eigo-no-tore and she was so excited! She and her co-worker started doing it together to learn Japanese and Portuguese and it was so fun. Both of them have so much potential and I really really hope that we get to see them again soon!

Nao Chann and her brother Kota
One thing that was pretty hard for me this week was when some members started talking to me about my Portuguese and how its mostly Spanish and one Sister asked if I used Google Translate to write my messages to her. Normally none of this would affect me, but for some reason it really hit me this week and it made me almost wish that someone else had been sent instead of me. But then I realized, it was literally a year ago when I started studying Portuguese and I only studied for 3 months. I studied Spanish 3 years ago, it is amazing that I am able to communicate with these amazing people at the level that I am. It astounds me when one of the members starts speaking to me in really fast Spanish and I actually understand what she says. What is even more amazing is the fact that I can't use my language study time to study Portuguese or Spanish, so this is all from memory and Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father is blessing me every day and of course there will be hard times, but we can't let those hard times keep us from recognizing the amazing blessings that we have.
One year celebration dinner

I think that the number 1 thing that I have learned in my last year in Japan is that Heavenly Father is always there for me. He has a perfect plan laid out for me and it is nothing like the plan I have for myself. He sees the bigger picture. He sees what I can and will become. He knows the path I need to take to get there. If I could have chosen exactly how my mission was going to be, there is no way that I would learn nearly as much as I have learned. Heavenly Father knows us better than we know ourselves.

One last little miracle. Back in January, Sister Bede showed me this cute little video about the Plan of Salvation. It was so simple and clear and I loved it so much. Sister Bede actually found it when she first came to Japan and when she went home she wanted to make a Japanese version, but she wasn't able to. Well, we decided to write down the entire video so that we could translate it. Eventually that project got forgotten because we both didn't have time.

District Lunch made by Sister Tobe and one of our investigators

Fast forward to today. I recently found that notebook and flipped through it. Today we were supposed to have a lesson with an investigator and we wanted to teach the Plan of Salvation really really simply, but we were having a hard time with it. Then I remembered this video and because we don't have wifi in the apartment, that script saved our lives! In the end, the lesson got canceled, but I was so so grateful to Heavenly Father for preparing that video to come back into our lives before this lesson. I have been wanting to simply my teaching even more and the Plan of Salvation is the perfect place to start. I am so grateful for all that Heavenly Father has done to prepare me throughout my mission. From the little things like this video script to the big things like Portuguese. I am so so grateful that I have a Heavenly Father who I can turn to in times of need. I know that he sees the big picture. I know that he loves me enough to guide me. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.

I love you all so so much! Have an amazing week!


Black Shimai

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