Sunday, July 20, 2014

Snow, hot, rain! 6/16/2014

Hello all!  

Whoever says Hokkaido doesnt have a rainy season is joking because it totally does. It snowed cottonwood on Tuesday, was blazing hot the next day, and then rained for the rest of the week. Its still rainy today. I looked good in my nice blue rain suit ;) 

I love my new area! Its completely different than downtown city but I like how it feels here. People are nice (when there are people)! Everyone is mostly old and so we are on a search for young people. The elders brought this girl to eikaiwa [English class] the other day-she is 25 and incredible. She lived in Idaho for two years on a study abroad and lived with a Mormon family. She went to church with them, prayed with them, went to the temple (sat in the visitors room), and saw the daughter get baptized. She said she met with the missionaries, heard all of the lessons, and was even invited to be baptized. She was 15 then and needed parental permission and didn't really know what would happen if she got baptized, so she didn't. But she said coming to the church was really natsukashii [nostalgic] and felt like she was back in Idaho. She also said she would be willing to hear the lessons again in Japanese! We wants us to come teach her students English so we may have a chance to do some service as well. We exchanged phone numbers after talking about 40 min after eikaiwa [English class] and will very likely be seeing her again! We were so stoked after talking to her!  

So right now, the investigators in our area are few and not progressing. We have one young couple who I met for the first time yesterday and think they have great potential. We have quite a few old obaachans [grandmas] who are nice and listen but don't keep their commitments. So, this means finding! We spent most of this week finding (visiting old investigators, potential investigators, and non-attending members/NAs, housing, streeting, etc). We visited active members and asked for referrals. Talked to people wherever we went. Visited a lot of people. The usual work. This transfer in particular, Miller Shimai and I feel like we need to put a heavy focus on NAs [non-actives]. When Elder Christofferson came to visit, he told us that 75 percent of the members in Hokkaido are inactive. That is a serious problem. Retention right now is really not happening and to me, that kind of means there is no point in baptizing. Yes baptism is essential, but so is retention. So this week Miller s and I went NA hunting. There are tons of NAs with incomplete addresses, wrong addresses, etc., so we are trying to find them. We tried to visit probably about 15 and met about half. Some were really nice and receptive, others were not. But I know that there is always hope and that people, in the right timing, will come back. A shimai in Moiwa came back to church after 20 years. Others can come back too! And they will!  

Weekly food basket from the members
It was a really good week. I'm still learning the roads (bought a nice big map :) ) and getting to know the members and investigators but things are looking good. Miller s has a lot of dendo fire and a lot of faith. She strengthens me and for that I am so grateful. I'm also extremely tired haha. I'm not using to finding all day. So maybe I fell asleep more than once during our nightly companionship prayers (Miller Shimai: In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. ......AMEN.  Me: Oh, amen!) Haha. But my personal study lately has been really good. I love studying the gospel for an hour every day. It's my favorite part of the day. Here are some good quotes I've read lately.

"Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an effort of once a week or once a day. It is an effort of once and for all." Pres. Uchtdorf 

"The Lord's way is not to sit at the side of the stream and wait for the water to pass before we cross. It is to come together roll up our sleeves, go to work, and build a bridge or a boat to cross the waters of our challenges." Pres. Uchtdorf.  

I hope that all of us will continue to strive each day to become better disciples of Christ and continue to serve those around us. Thank you for all your love and prayers and support. I love you all!!!!!


Sugihara Shimai


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