Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sing, Sing, Sing

February 14

Hi friends! Love and miss you all! This week was a little rough - so rough that on a few of the days, we had to eat ice cream. Twice. 

It's very frustrating when people don't fit your little pre-conceived mold of what you think they should do/be. Or even what you think God thinks they should do/be. Here's what God thinks we should do: make our own choices and learn from them. I'm so grateful for agency and all the lessons (even the really hard ones) I've learned as a result of making my own decisions. But man is it hard to sit back and watch people use their agency in ways you know will not be optimal in the long-run. But here I am eating ice cream twice a day, which some nutritionists might say is a bad use of agency. 

We've been doing a lot of singing this week - we memorized "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission" and "We'll Bring the World His Truth" (two children's songs about missionary work) in Japanese! Non-stop - biking, walking, getting ready in the morning, even when we go running, we're singing! Definitely helps keep our spirits up. And everything's so much cuter in Japanese. 

I love my companion! She is the cutest and best ever! I'll never be as good of a dancer as her, but we have so much fun together. 

Faith Brings Miracles

February 7

Well, we found her! Unfortunately, she was 100% not interested. This begs the question: why did Heavenly Father want us to go find this lady so bad? I feel like this is a little "microcosm of life" (to quote from a wise, father of mine). Sometimes we are asked to show faith; to do things that are uncomfortable; to prove our discipleship. Not for the end result, but for the affect the process will have on us. 1 Nephi 3:7: when we are commanded to do something, the way is provided. The way was provided, we succeeded, and we saw miracles this week because of this trial of faith! It just happened that the miracle wasn't directly related. 

Our big miracle this week is that Carl, our investigator, decided he wants an eternal family and help from God, so he's going to be baptized in just a few weeks! We've been working and praying so hard for this to happen, and he felt the Spirit enough where he knew it was the right thing! We're so excited for him!

Fun thing this week: we took a giant sheet of paper to the train station and drew out the plan of salvation. We drew a lot of people to talk to us, but it didn't exactly help that some Buddhist men also decided that would be an excellent area to stand and chant loudly. To each their own. We had a great week and are excited for at least six more here in Iwakuni! Love to you all!


Back to the Fold

January 17

Well, I've got another hymn for you! Feeling very musical lately (let's be honest, more like the past 20 years). This is one of my mom's favorites and one my sisters and I like to sing in only slightly-ridiculous tones of voice. My companion and I are also memorizing it in Japanese this week!

  1. Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
    Dear are the sheep of his fold;
    Dear is the love that he gives them,
    Dearer than silver or gold.
    Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
    Dear are his "other" lost sheep;
    Over the mountains he follows,
    Over the waters so deep.

    Out in the desert they wander,
    Hungry and helpless and cold;
    Off to the rescue he hastens,
    Bringing them back to the fold.
All of us are beloved children of our Heavenly Father. This week, we received a referral from a woman who lives about an hour away. We received her friend's name and address and were asked to contact her as soon as possible. We figured out where she lives on the map and decided to go find her after English class on Saturday night. So at 8pm Saturday, we biked out to where we thought she lived and weaved up and down all the streets but could not come anywhere close to where she lived. Five minutes before we had to head in to be home on time, we found a block we knew was close. Excited, we pedaled up the mountain all the way to #69 (she lives in block #75) and couldn't go any further. Utterly dejected (and cold), we booked it back home, only for Sister Fritchen to experience her first bike wipe out and end up with a pretty gross-looking bruise on her face. So that was Saturday. We maintained hope though and decided Sunday we would go find her. So Sunday came around, we had about an hour, and it was raining (and possibly hailing a little, or maybe it was ice). Anyway, it was cold AND wet. We threw on our coats and rain gear and prayed to know if going to find this woman was the best use of the time we had left. We both felt strongly we needed to go find her, so we headed out. 30 minutes in, we weren't even in the area of Saturday night, and had no idea what to do. This song ran through my head over and over again, and even after we prayed again, we knew we had to go find this lady. So we continued on and found where we'd been before, realizing we just had to go kind of around and up the mountain more. We got to 73 with 5 minutes to go. Pedaling furiously, we sprinted up the mountain and found 74! Then...76. Where in the world was 75??? We couldn't give up now, we were right there! We looked frantically for it, if just to find the right block, and couldn't find it. We've spent two hours trying to find this one house which, to me, sounds like an awful lot of time for one person, especially in the dark and rain. But to the Lord, I know it's nothing. I know this woman is one of His beloved daughters who needs the gospel right now. Tonight, we will find her and whatever happens from that contact, we know it will be guided by the Spirit. We are doing all we can and more to bring others back to the fold of the good shepherd. He loves us more than we comprehend, and when we feel a portion of that love for another, we spare no expense in helping them return. 

Other highlights from the week:
 1. Gave an 82-year-old woman her first hug. In life. Everyone get up and go hug someone right now!
2. Our investigator said "I don't need confidence in myself, I have confidence in my Savior!" I may or may not have cried when he said that. 
3. We've received probably 100 Japanese oranges in the past 3 weeks. It's insane and I love it!
4. Friday, I went on companion exchanges with sister Sanders. We were knocking on doors and after awhile saw a cat in the middle of the street. Normally, I think cats are gross… But this one was pretty cute! We decided to call him Beethoven. We went up to a house, talked to the person, and came back down to the street, and Beethoven was there! Then, we went to another house and talk to the person for probably five minutes. Again, Beethoven was waiting for us. We finished where we had planned to proselyte and decided to pray. We went over by a cement wall that is probably dad's heart. We prayed, and all of a sudden, we hear the tinkling of a collar. We ended the prayer really fast and saw Beethoven on top of the wall, staring at us. It meowed, so we meowed back . He followed us for the rest of the night until we started biking home… guess he can't run as fast as a bike. It was hilarious!

The gospel is true! I love you all and am grateful for you! Have the best week!