Monday, May 26, 2014

Short Letter.....sorry!

26 May 2014 Oyumino Chiba

Usually today we would have receives transfer calls. But, due to the two-mission conference we had this week end, we will have transfers next week! I have no idea what is going to happen! Ah!

We have a new investigator!!! She is awesome. She just wants to learn everything and her biggest goal in life is...well second biggest goal is to become more spiritual. Her first goal is to work as a volunteer.

Our first lesson we talked about soooo much. We would just hop from topic to topic. She just had so many questions. It was great, I was a little afraid we were gonna overload her but she couldn't wait for the
next lesson. And we had one the next day!

We had invited her to pray the day before so we asked her if she had and how it felt. She said she felt peaceful, she loved it. She also told us that she didn't say amen. Thank you seemed more polite to her.
Next time, she will hopefully be using amen though... We also gave her a Book of Mormon. We had read out of it and were telling her how much we loved it when she asked "can I get this at a book store?" We told her probably not. She seemed pretty disappointed until we told her she could have the one we'd been reading out of. She was soooo excited and so grateful for it.

She is really amazing. She was an alcoholic but went through a program and hasn't touched it since! Teaching her is amazing too. Gift of tongues is real! I have the ability to understand everything she asks
and can answer most of it. It is soo exciting. I can't wait to teach her again this week.

Funny story of the week: we wanted to show our new investigator the restoration video (it's about Joseph smith) but it isn't on gospel library in Japanese for some reason. So we called a church member to see if we could borrow it. We could! We went over to pick it up and as we were leaving sister Hubner says in Japanese what translated into "probably, once we are done watching it we will give it to our investigator".

The member just looked at her shocked and then said "so desu ne..." I was shocked too! I couldn't believe she had just said that! And so I looked at her and Kobayashi Kyodai looked at her and them she realized what she had said and said oh no! That's not what I meant! And I said sorry Kobayashi Kyodai we are just gonna give your CD away! And he starts laughing really hard. I've never seen him laugh so hard. We said goodbye. He was still laughing as he walked back into his house. And I was still laughing as we rode away. It was soooo funny.

I left my mission this week! We traveled into Tokyo south mission. It was a long train ride. But totally worth it! I got to see my dear Dopp shimai and everyone else from my MTC district. It was a joyful reunion.

And of course the conference was amazing too!

A few missionaries were selected to sing a special musical number at the conference. I was one of them! That was really special! And then...oh actually before that we got to shake hands with Elder Cook, Elder Maynes, Elder whiting and their sweethearts. Then after that we sang and then we got to hear from all 6 of them. Elder Cook started by saying that as general authorities and area presidencies they have to travel a lot. They have a lot of assignments and duties. But when it comes to missionaries he said "visiting missionaries is like dessert". That was very sweet of him to say. And you could tell he truly meant it.

Ok here were my favorite parts:

Elder Whiting: Talked about 2 Nephi 25:17 and said sometimes, as missionaries, we are so focused on the work we forget about the wonder. We need to "rejoice in the wonder."

Sister Maynes: my favorite part of her talk was when she said "the work is demanding but the impact is everlasting. "

Elder Maynes: Was amazing! I loved everything he said. The message was that we need to focus on the one. Because we don't know the impact the one will have.

Elder Cook: Said a lot of great things. And quite a bit of his talk was a repeat from what I had heard in the MTC. I even flipped back in my notes to make sure I wasn't imagining it. But, the crazy thing was completely different things stood out to me this time! What I took out of it this time was that things will happen in the future that you need to be here, now, in order for them to happen. What we do here is directly affected to what will happen in the future. Wow!

Gosh, I don't really have a lot of time. And we had a lot of fun things this week.... We had a music festival and an international night. We met a lot of great people and this upcoming week is going to be sooo busy. It's full of lessons! Yay!

I'm so grateful for this gospel. It has blessed my life in so many ways and now I get to watch it bless others. It's amazing! I know Heavenly Father loves each of us and, whether we see it or not, has a big hand in each of our lives. He cares for each of us individually. And knows us and our needs, hopes and desires.

We are so lucky!

Here are a couple of turtles we saw sunbathing.

If you look closely, here are some cute ducklings we saw this week.

Ok, maybe I'll send a better letter next week! Sorry!

Love, Sister Molinari

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Konbanwa! (earthquake!)

19 May 2014 - Oyumino, Chiba

 So like every other week this transfer, it has flown by! 

And this week is a blur. So I'm going to tell you about my favorite day this week. Which was Tuesday.

Tuesday was temple p-day. And it was wonderful, as usual. Something exciting happened while we were inside too! AN EARTHQUAKE!!! It was a pretty big one. A high 3. You could see the building shaking. But, I wasn't worried. Sister Hubner on the other hand....

Hubner shimai and me in front of the Tokyo LDS Temple

Look what I found, in Japan!
Dopp shimai and I had a joyful reunion. I just love her so much! And she is such an amazing missionary. I wish I could just attach her email to mine so you could hear how amazing she is! This month is super special too because I get to see her twice! This upcoming Saturday we have a very special 2 mission conference! Tokyo mission and Tokyo mission south are combining for a conference. Elder cook is speaking! It's going to be amazing. I'll tell more on that next week though!

This was a gift from a girl we just met this week.

I cheated while I was folding it haha so it's longer! It is from the girl I met on the train Tuesday! She wants to take me to the summer festivals and that is what you wear!!! (ed note: I mentioned that the bow will match her yellow rain boots!) No, no, no. No rain boots! They wear those funny socks and chunky wooden sandals! But that isn't mission approved for sure so I'll have to wear my black shoes or something.

This is a lie. There aren't really alligators in there, are there?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rainbows Are A Sign From God

13 May 2014, Oyumino, Chiba

Another week has flown by! And are almost at the end of the transfers!!! It's crazy. 
We get transfer calls in two Mondays!!!

Everyone thinks I will be leaving since I've been in Oyumino for 3 transfers. 

I’d be perfectly happy staying here. I'm excited to see what happens!!

So this week was full of miracles!
On Monday to Tuesday we had exchanges. I got to go to Chiba and dendō there with Sister Carlile! She was an answer to so many prayers! And we had so much fun!!! We actually spent a lot of time looking for people. Chiba was DEAD. No one was there! It was still golden week so we are thinking that's why no one was home. Everyone was on vacation!

So, we were looking for a less active member and thought we had found her house. Turns out she had moved a day or two earlier! Luckily the guy who was still there had her phone number. He called her and they proceeded to speak in CHINESE. In that moment I became very, VERY grateful for the language I need to learn. Chinese sounds 100 times harder! Oh my goodness!

Later in the day we were heading to a dinner appointment and on the train we talked to soooo many people! One girl we spoke to invited herself to church! It was amazing! We had dinner with a family from Chiba ward (church). They have the cutest kids!! The little boy LOVED taking pictures of himself too. He posed and everything. It was great.
That night I returned to Oyumino and reunited with my companion. The next few days we saw soooo many miracles! We had made a goal to bring 6 people to church! And throughout the week we found them! While walking home one day we saw this lady staring at us. We were about to walk by and I decided we should talk to her. So we did! And it was such a miracle! She told us she'd never been to church and we asked if she wanted to come and she said she'd love to! She gave us all her information and said she'd see us Sunday! Wow!

We also have been meeting with a lady from Uganda and her daughter. I absolutely love her daughter! She is 4 and the cutest thing ever. Her mom speaks English and a little Japanese. She speaks only Japanese!

I'm not quite sure how they communicate. But it works. We met before eikaiwa and got donuts. It was lots of fun. Since they were coming to church with us on Sunday we decided we should tell her what she could expect. As missionaries we have these short little booklets about different things about church. In the back of each of them there is a “about church section.” So we referred to that. After we talked about church she proceeded to read the ENTIRE booklet! She just tore through it! Her daughter was acting all crazy and she was completely oblivious to it! It was amazing.

So Saturday comes around and we are calling people to confirm they are coming tomorrow, and that they know where to go. One by one they all fell through. It was so sad. Earlier that night we had visited Murai San. She had told us she couldn't meet with us anymore (and wasn't coming to church either). We were down to only one person coming to church!

One person at church ended up being the perfect amount! She stayed for all 3 hours!! I think it might have been a lot to take in for the first time, despite preparing her for it. But the ward members were awesome! They planned their lessons to help her understand and feel included and everyone came and said hello and made her feel welcome.

We walked her to the train station and asked what she thought. She said it was interesting. She also told us she was going to be in our music festival in 2 weeks! And that when she has time (not in a making excuses way has time) we can get together and talk more about what she learned at church! Sister Hubner and I were sooo happy!

Today was full of miracles too. But I have no time, 

so you'll just have to wait till next week to hear about them! 

This is Sister Palmer. She saw my boots
last transfer and thought they were sooooo cute, 

she asked her family to get her a pair.

Today at the temple, we were "twinners"!
I love being a missionary. I'm so happy. I love Oyumino and I love being with sister Hubner.

And I love you all!

Sister Molinari

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Golden Week!

5 May 2014 Chiba Japan

Hello everyone! 

Happy golden week! And Happy kids day! 

It's a holiday weekend here!!!

Ok so this email will be a little different. I tried to do a little journaling as the week went by but only made it to Thursday. But all you lucky ducks get to read about those three days! 

This week was pretty great. 

Our mission president is always pushing that we need to expect miracles. Well, of course I expect miracles, I’m a missionary.

We see miracles all ye time. BUT this week I decided I needed to actively expect miracles. It was amazing! I received so many mini promptings of where we should go or what we needed to do. One night in the middle of baking cookies I felt like we needed to drop everything and go visit someone. So we did. And although the girl wasn't home, her parents were! And the dad really liked us! (That's a little rare in Japan, usually the women like us and the men are against the church). We chatted with them for a little while, told them about what we did and about the church and they said they'd give their daughter a message for us! They also told us her schedule so we could come back some other time! There were many more little miracles throughout the week. 

Tuesday we got to meet a church member’s friend who she'd been trying to introduce us to for TWO transfers! We ran into a lot of people from eikaiwa out on the streets and in trains and the biggest miracle of all might have been that the sugar cookies I made turned out yummy! Sugar cookies are basically impossible to make here. Not only do we not have a stove but we also don't have some of the ingredients!! But, I prayed over them lots and we received rave reviews about how "oishi" or delicious they were! are the days...

Sports day 4/29
Today was our stake’s sports day. We went not knowing what to expect and ended up having a blast! There were easily a hundred people there too. It lasted 6 hours!!! We planned to leave early but Sato Shimai decided I was the key to victory and we stayed the whole time. Sport games in Japan are completely different than America! Ours pale in comparison. We did quite a few, and I managed to place in both. Haha

I was a steady 3rd in individual sports and in the team sports our team always took 1st or second. Our team being - Oyumino ward. I think there were six or seven wards all together. Ours was the smallest.
Here is our ward team - Oyumino
My favorite event had to have been...I don't remember the's this game where 7 bamboo poles are placed out in a center of a field, the teams line up on either side of the edge of the field and then, when we are given the "go" you need to run and grab a pole, bring it back to your side and then go for another one. Sounds kinda lame right? WRONG! There are only seven poles and you need 4 to win. Our team usually got 3 on our side with no problem; the fourth pole was he challenge. It was only the women playing and the men didn't even get to play! I think they decided it was too intense hahaha. 

There were essentially  fights to get those last poles! People who fall over or hang on to the pole while being dragged by the other team! It was great fun! I actually ended up with quite a few bruises and a couple scratch marks on my fore arms! At one point I was trying to grab a pole and 3 people were pulling against me, we kept inching towards their side, and deciding there was nothing else I could do, I grabbed tight to the bamboo pole and dropped to the ground....only I didn't drop to the ground, I didn't even begin to weigh enough for that to work, and after being held up in the air, feet dangling above the ground for a few seconds, I tried something else. Eventually, back up came, but it was to no avail...the other team got the pole. In my defense one of the other girls I was up against is training for the Olympics. I'm quite proud of the fact that I managed to hang on to that pole for the little bit I did! Oyumino team came in second; her ward came in first in that event.

My other favorite event...well, rather favorite story from the day had to have been the three legged race. Hubner shimai and I were built for it!!! We are perfectly the same height and our hips hit the same place. So it was a three legged relay actually, we got the baton passed to us and we took off! It was so easy! We were doing great! So we decided to speed up, except I think our bodies weren't the biggest fans of that idea. After 5 hours of the-best-performance- we-could-possibly-muster we were pooped. And someone's...or maybe both our legs buckled, hahahaha and I landed on top of Hubner shimai! 
She has the bruises to prove it too! We tried to get up but we were just laughing to hard. We were probably two feet from where the baton needed to be handed off! Soooooo close! But we couldn't get up!

Finally we gained some control, stood up and promptly fell over again. We stood up once more and hopped to the end hahaha and passed the baton off. It was great. Super funny! And the ward members loved it.
Missionaries at sports day
At the end of the day they announced the winners. And Oyumino came in third!!!! They'd never placed before!!! And I'm going to not-so-humbly say it was thanks to the missionaries!! We joked all the way home about how the ward members can't say we've never tried hard for them now!

The next day....(4/30)
Sooooooooooo sore today. I could barely move. It was horrible! I have a testimony of the section in the white handbook that says to avoid extreme sports now. Demo, that usually wouldn't be considered extreme to me...just goes to show how out of shape I am! Yikes! Hubner Shimai and I both keep discovering bruises in random places as well!

Today was super fun! We went and delivered the cookies we made to about half of the people on our list. The ones who were home were so grateful! One of the people we visited calls me gaijin San. I think it's hilarious. He's calling me foreigner, but adds a title at the end haha.

Funny parts of the day:
On our way to meet Hana and Miku at Mr. Donuts a man came up to us and said hello in English. We get that a lot. Demo (ed note: but), what happened next was a first! He started babbling away about English but in Japanese. I could barely understand him but I found nods and the occasional "Ii ne" or "so desu ne" worked wonders. I however could understand more than Hubner shimai haha. He kept telling me she was cute but he was afraid she thought he was a little strange. 

After a few minutes, and the man getting closer to me, I could detect the tell tale signs of alcohol. He smelled like it for sure! And his babbling supported my theory as well. I thought he was hilarious, Hubner shimai was a little uneasy. Especially when he flexed his arm and asked each of us to feel it! I couldn't stop snickering. It was so funny. He said good bye multiple times and then would start a whole new conversation. Each time Hubner shimai tried to say we needed to go meet friends he would lean over to me and whisper who knows what about her to me! This made me laugh as well. Finally, after inviting him to tonight's eikaiwa class we were able to make our escape and continued on to Mr. Donuts.

I LOVE Hana and Miku. They are the cutest! One works at Disney and the other did (kana). I'm not sure if she still does or not. We got donuts and chatted about Disney and shared pictures and it was lots of fun. They each took turns telling me I could be a princess in Tokyo Disneyland as well. My response "demo, Tokyo Disney auditions wa musukashi desu ne!" They have complete faith in me though haha. We even got to tell them a little about temples and eternal families. That was fun. I don't think they quite understood, but they listened intently and oohed and ahhed at the temples we showed them.

Eikaiwa was fun. We did emotions tonight. We sang "If you're happy and you know it." It's one of the few songs the kids got into. I'm excited for tomorrow night! Then we combined with the adult classes at the end for a game. We played telephone.

While playing Telephone i was in charge of the sentences. My first sentence "I am very happy today was too easy" so the next sentence I chose was "turtles are cute." Nihonjin can't say turtles! Hahaha so No 
one got it. 

This is what each team came up with:
Team one said buttrescue
Team two said to be cute
Team three said true heart so cute.

I was laughing so hard. Buttrescue definitely took the crown for funniest. All their faces were great too.

Well, that's all for now. Next week is Mother's Day! Make sure you express your love to your dear sweet mothers. You don't realize how much they do until you're out doing it on your own. 

Be very VERY grateful!
Happy Mother's Day, Mummy!
Here are some flowers for my mother.

Love you all!

Sister Molinari