Well, this week has been quite a bit more spiritual than some others, so, this letter might be a little long-winded... sorry...but before I tell you all that, I just want to say that the best letter award this week goes to gramma Brame! That sweet woman!... But... all the same... thank you to everyone who wrote me this week. I love you all so much. You're all amazing =)...but not quite as amazing as gramma Brame =)
This week I started working out in the morning with sister Lane... oh my gosh, if my bike doesn't kill me, sister Lane's work outs will. I worked out with her once and I couldn't even walk straight for the next THREE days! But it's good... I'm getting waaaaay flexible, which is also a miracle... I can almost do the splits now...
Also this week, I ate a Japanese peach! Oh my GOODNESS! Best, juiciest, sweetest peach ever! I don't think when I come back to the states I'll ever eat another peach again. The fruit here is soooo good. But soooo expensive. Totally worth it though. I tried to make a peach milkshake this week... and I accidentally didn't screw the blender together right... and when I went to pour the milk in, it all poured right through the bottom and all over the kitchen table! I was pretty upset... sister Lane even took a picture because I was so upset... but now I know! And since that little incident, I have become the designated milkshake-maker! We looooove milkshakes over here in the Fukuoka shimai apartment! Last night I made a brownie milkshake!
Also... I got sister Lane to eat a raw egg this week. Haha... it's so funny. She's still so American! She's afraid to eat everything! It's so cute! But Sister Andaca and I are still trying hard to get her adjusted to eating Japanese food so that when we go to our investigators' houses for dinner, she won't spit her food out right in front of them... as has actually happened before =) Oh gosh, I just love sister Lane. Training with Sister Andaca is a lot of fun... and Sister Lane is very loved =) Don't worry, everyone! We'll get her adjusted to this place in no time!
On a more spiritual note...this week I gained a testimony of fasting =) I have never really felt the power of fasting before... but last week we had to drop quite a few of our investigators... we went from about 8 to only 2, either because they dropped us or we dropped them. We've been working so hard... We are out in the sun for sometimes 3 hours a day street contacting because we just don't have many people progressing right now, and the members are so afraid to give us referrals! Not because we're bad missionaries... but because here in Japan, if you're a Mormon, it's kind of your secret life... it's like everyone is an undercover Mormon secret agent... and they don't want anyone to know... So... I fasted for new progressing investigators- halfheartedly... kind of just because I didn't think I'd actually receive an answer but needed something to fast for.
The next day, we got 4 referrals. 4!!! We met with 2 of them this week and now they are both progressing investigators! One is a really sweet girl from Ghana, named Coco and the other is a Japanese woman names Mayumi! We are meeting with the other 2 this week and are so excited! Wow, can you believe it!? Heavenly Father actually listens to us when we fast and we're not just starving ourselves!
Another blessing happened this morning...
I woke up this morning kind of sad... I was really sore and tired and discouraged. I was praying and wondering "Heavenly Father... why do you feel like you have to break me? All I want is to just be a good missionary... People always laugh and point and yell at us and no one wants to listen... I always crash on my bike... the elders are acting like dumb hormonal teenage boys... what more can I do!? I'm trying so hard!" So I rolled out of bed... and worked out with Sister Lane and then went into personal study... While i was studying, I randomly came across this scripture, D&C 97:8 "Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me."... Wow...
I realized that the only thing that is important is whether or not the Lord accepts me... Why am I worried sick because people are laughing and pointing? The only thing that matters is whether or not I'm good enough for Heavenly Father- and if I'm sacrificing and trying to be obedient, that's all that matters to Him!
So my heart changed a little bit... You know how horses have to be broken before they can be tamed? I guess that's what Heavenly Father is doing to me... I'm pretty hard-headed and prideful, so it's going to sometimes take a lot to break through it all... but I'm ready to be humbled and broken, so that I can come unto Christ and more fully be enfolded in His grace...
Last week I got this really funny bag. On the front it says, "If the result is beauty, the method is justified!" I just bought it because it was only 100 yen and I thought it was hilarious, but this morning when I looked over at it, I realized... Heavenly Fathers method is hard... but His result will always be more beautiful, so His method is justified! So... I'm ready to be beautified! Beautiful soul, beautiful mind, beautiful heart! I'm ready to be broken and beautified from the inside-out!
These missions are amazing... I finally feel like I know why I'm here... to get past myself and find a new me- a better me, who can finally reach out and help other people...
Ah, life... gotta love it. What on earth am I going to do with myself when I get home?
Anyway... this is a really long letter, so I think I'll end it now.
Love you all! Don't forget about all the missionaries who really need opportunities to teach! Share your friends and they'll love you forever!
Ok, bye for now! 愛していますよ!