Monday, June 30, 2014

Sick Week

30 June 2014 Oyumino

This week I got sick. And I'm blaming being sick for not remembering anything about this week...I can't think of anything...mmmm....

As the week went on my voice got worse and worse. Right now, only half my words are audible and that half isn't even always understandable. All the nihonjin take pity on me though...but despite their pity, they aren't interested in the gospel and our message.

Oh, I remember a few things.

Ok, this week we made cupcakes! And for frosting I used Mama's (my grandma) recipe. All who received cupcakes reported back that they were delicious! We made them with a member. Nihonjin have small ovens, and I have small cupcake holders so, what in America takes less than an hour, turned into an almost all day process. I felt sooo bad. We took up so much of her day. But she didn't even mind! She kept telling us how much fun she was having.

After the cupcakes were done we went over to Satou San, one of our investigators, house and delivered cupcakes with the member. They hit it off instantly! And Satou San was so touched that we'd thought of her and brought cupcakes. It was perfect.

Later that week we got to teach Satou San again. We had exchanges that day. So I stayed in Oyumino and sister carlile came here and Hubner shimai went to Chiba and dendōed with another sister missionary.

We had a blast!

The day was over so quick! I couldn't believe it!

But, back to Satou San. We taught her together and it was a good lesson, but at the same time a little sad. She told us that she is pregnant! The doctors are afraid the baby is going to come early so she has to stay in the hospital until November! She assured us she would continue studying the Book of Mormon. We had planned to teach her more about Joseph Smith but Sister Carlile suggested we show her a different video called “Because of Him.” It was so perfect!


As we were talking you could feel Satou san had fears and worries about what was going to happen. After the video there was this beautiful peace. She had felt the spirit!

Because of Christ we don't have to worry. He is here to help. He suffered for each of us and knows exactly what we are going through. And Satou San could feel that. It was a really nice lesson. We don't know when the next one will be either.

Funny story of the week: while housing this week we met a pretty strange man...but he wanted to come to church so we tried talking to him. He was so hard to understand! His first word or two was clear and then he would trail off andkvnfnfjfkfkf, was pretty hard to understand, but funny. It was a rainy day and I was wearing my rain coat. I started fiddling with it or something and leaned a little to the left. As I was doing this, water started pouring into sister Hubner's shoe! I was pretty confused! I didn't know where it was coming from! Neither did she or he.

Then sister Hubner realized the source. The hood of my rain jacket had filled up with rain!! And when I leaned over it poured out of my hood and right onto and into Sister Hubner's shoe! This was extremely funny to me. Maybe a little too funny..I couldn't stop laughing. I tried a couple of times, it didn't work. And the man we were talking to looked so confused, and the situation was just so funny I started laughing even harder. At that point the man asked Sister Hubner if she was my mother. Boy did I lose it then!

Ok, this was a sad email. Sorry. When I can't breath through my nose my brain doesn't work as well as usual, I’m convinced.  

Once again, I'm so grateful for all the emails I got. I love them! And if I didn't respond this week, I will most certainly do so next week.


Sister Molinari

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Over the tracks.

23 June 2014 Oyumino Chiba

I opened my email this morning to sooo many emails from friends and family!! Made my day! Thank you!!!

Rainy season is turning out to be not so rainy. The occasional rainstorm cools down the hot temperatures too. It's a blessing.

This week we went to the Young Women's activity. They were having a pasta party. I was soooooo excited! But, when we got there I saw we were NOT making normal pasta. The first pasta that we made was spaghetti with dandelion greens, tuna, fish flakes and smashed Japanese radish (daikon). Second was cold pasta with muscles, tomatoes, summer squash and something else... And third was my favorite: fish egg and cheese pasta. Yummy! The other two I didn't really care for. Our friend, Haruno chan went! She has gone to the last few. I don't think we will need to go to accompany her to the next one. She seems to really like them and would probably go regardless of if we came or not!

On Wednesday, I decided we should go someplace in our area we hadn't before! It was supposed to rain that day, but I was sooo sick of sticking close to the apartment because of the rain. It feels like a waste of time to me. So we walked about half an hour-forty five minutes out, and crossed the train tracks. It was like stepping into a whole new world!

No one knew who we were. Quite a few people would ask if we were Jehovah's Witnesses. We would very quickly respond "chigau" or different. We did a lot of housing!

At first it didn't seem like it was going to be very effective. There were quite a few, what we call, "bukyo houses"; old, old, old, but very beautiful, houses with people just as old living in them. When they hear "watashitachi wa kyokai no boulenteer desu. Matsu jitsu seito iesu Kirisuto kyokai." They just smile at you, wave there hand and say "bukyo desu." The minute they hear church they stop listening and tell you they are Buddhist. So after probably 20 minutes of that we stumbled upon this cute and fairly new neighborhood. We had much better luck there! In fact, two of the people we talked to while housing that day came to eikaiwa (ed. note: English class) the next! Yay!

While there we also met a pretty interesting fellow. While talking with an obachan (ed. note: old person), who wasn't at all interested in anything we had to offer, I noticed this man walking down the street. He had a shirt that barely covered his belly and he was carrying a whole bunch of very long bamboo poles and wood planks. As he walked up the street he said hi to everyone.

Then, he got to us. I think he said something to us in English and so we replied. Then he beckoned everyone in the street to come over so THEY could practice their English as well. We ended up with two mothers and their children and a couple of boys riding their bicycles. It was pretty funny. We were telling him about our church and ended up handing him a Book of Mormon. At one point he turned really fast and hit one of the boys on a bicycle with all his poles!

The boy, all though shocked, was ok. He and his friends biked away soon after that. After a while the man decided we had talked enough and needed to return to his garden. He tried to hand the Book of
Mormon back but we didn't want it back! First, because we wanted him to read it and second because his hands were all dirty, making the book dirty too! We told him he could keep it. Finally he hands it to the young mother who had been standing there and marched away. Now she is stuck with the book. She tried to give it back too. But, she ended up keeping it. We invited her to read it and then continued on our way.

We passed the man working in his garden and he beckoned us over. We ended up talking for a while. We told him about our church some more and gave him a little booklet about the restoration. He almost didn't
take that either. He was concerned that a book, with a picture of Christ on it, had no place in a dirty garden. I told him it'd be ok.

At one point while talking he lifted up his shirt and started to take his back brace off. I got a little worried...what in the world was he doing??? Turned out he was showing us his cancer scars!! They were
huge! They looked more like a bullet and knife had gotten him than cancer. Wow! He also invited us to help in his garden. I really wanted to! But Hubner shimai quickly responded that we couldn't. I thought it would've been fun! She told him however that we had friends (the elders) who could help. Finally, we said our good- byes. He told us to come back anytime he was at his garden, haha.

This week, as I'm sure a few of you have noticed, there has been some activity on my Facebook. Tokyo mission can now use Facebook!! We are only to use if for mission purposes though. So if you'd like to send me a message you still have to do it by email or mail otherwise, I won't be able to respond.

Before our Facebooks went "live" each of us had to go through it and clean them out. Mine took the entire day. That is not an exaggeration. I had hundreds of photos I had to I tag myself in. Ohhh my goodness it took forever. But I'm really grateful I got that chance. There was quite a lot of stuff that, after 7 months of not seeing, I realized didn't really need to be up there. Also, as missionaries we are asked to only have pictures up that reflect standards of our church and of us as missionaries. And, although I didn't have awful pictures of me up there were quite a few pictures of me dressing immodestly that had to come down.

Also as missionaries we don't date. So...any picture that was of just me and someone of the opposite sex and to come down too. There were a lot of those as well. Pictures with brothers and boy cousins also had to come down. I don't know if it's the same in state-side missions that use Facebook...but here, sometimes it's a little hard for the Japanese to tell the difference between a brother and a boyfriend so...we just avoid the confusion altogether. Sorry Kristoffer!

I'm really excited, now that the clean-up is over, to start using Facebook! It's a really awesome opportunity to reach more people in Japan and share what I believe in a different way. The Japan Tokyo and Tokyo South missions are the first international missions that get to use Facebook! How cool is that? It's also a little intimidating...everyone is watching. So, if you'd like to keep up with me on Facebook you are more than welcome to! And you are also welcome to comment and add uplifting and wholesome comments to the things posted. But remember nooo messaging.

We had dinner with Yui chan this week. She is such a rock star! She got baptized a little after I came to Oyumino. Well, recently finding time to read scriptures had become hard. I think we've all been there at one point...or are currently! I know I have been. Anyways, a few weeks ago we taught a lesson on the importance of scriptures and gave her a notebook and colored pencils. We showed her our Books of Mormon and how marked up they are and I showed her my journal where I write things I like from the scriptures and church talks.

This week when we went over she had been reading! And not only reading, but actually thinking about what she was reading too! She had questions for us and showed us how scriptures connected. She was so excited! It made me excited too!

She is such a good example. Even if we stop praying or reading the scriptures or going to church we can always start again! If at first you don't succeed, try again.

We are also doing Personal Progress together (ed. note: this is a Church program for the young women in the church). We started this week. During personal study (ed. note: time set aside each day to study and read) I read multiple talks that made mention of Personal Progress.

Oh, Personal Progress is a program that church has for the young women of the church ages 12 to 17. It focusing on different qualities/ attributes like divine nature (my favorite), individual worth, knowledge...and has projects to complete about each one. It has a Girl Scout like feel to it...but it's different. The focus of the program is to help build up girls’ confidence, faith and testimony and prepare them for the future. It's great.

Anyways, I was thinking about what a great base personal progress gives girls to build up from. But, when you join the church as a single adult you miss out on that! And I really felt like Yui chan could benefit and really enjoy it. So, we talked to the young women's leader in our ward, she thought it was a great idea, gave us a book, and then we gave it to Yui chan. I'm excited. It should be fun. I haven't touched Personal Progress in years. And it is a really neat experience getting to go back through it and really recognize its value for young women. I'm loving it.

Sunday we had a miracle! One of the women we had been teaching came to church with her daughter!! We hadn't been able to meet with her in a while and when we had eikaiwa that week she hadn't been there. We sent her a text the next day telling her we missed them. And she replied back, apologizing for not being there and then said hopefully we will see you Sunday. Hubner shimai and I were shocked!!! We had invited her to church soooo many times and she hadn't come. Then this Sunday she came! I was so happy. I couldn't stop smiling.

At Kamatori eikaiwa (ed. note: English class in a different location) this week we had 22 people in kids class!!! 15 of them were children! It has gotten soooo big. Kid’s class started with 6 or 7 kids on a good day. Now we fill the room! It is sooo exciting! And super fun too! There are also two other classes we have, so all together we had about 40 people come! When I got here we might have had twenty, and there wasn't even a kid’s class to begin with.

It's really great getting to see the "fruits of our labor". I've also created 24 weeks’ worth of lessons, with pictures, handouts and activities and the occasional song for kid’s eikaiwa. It's been a lot of work, but totally worth it.

This week I've felt like my time in Oyumino is coming to a close. It's a little sad. I love the ward members here. And I absolutely love the area. I love the families at eikaiwa. My sister training leaders and zone leaders are awesome. And, although our investigators are far and few between, there are a few I've come to love.  But, if I get transferred I'll be ok with it. President Budge (with Heavenly Fathers help) knows best. And if I get sent someplace else, it is because I am needed there. We will see. Transfers are on July 7th...I think...

I love you all.

Thanks again for the emails!


Sister Molinari

Monday, June 16, 2014

This week...

16 June 2014 Oyumino, Chiba

Wow! Another week has gone by. This transfer is moving quickly, and sadly it is shorter than usual! And I don't want it to end...the end means I might be leaving Oyumino. Oh no! This is my 4th transfer in the same area. It’s RARE. And 5th transfers in an area are unheard of. Ahh!

This week started off really great. We got to have dinner with the Aoyagi family a second time. Elder Aoyagi is an area 70 so it's super special. We had a lot of fun. Sister Aoyagi is the cutest thin ever and she loves using the little bit of English she knows. It's pretty funny. And she finds it pretty funny when I use the little bit of nihongo I know, so we have fun. We had a delicious dinner and then did family home evening! It's only the second time I've done it since coming on a mission. And both times have been at the Aoyagi families home. Family home evening is so fun and so special. Everyone should do it!

We shared a message about being children of god and then shared this video 

This is one of my favorite Mormon messages! I know what he says is true. We are daughters and sons of a loving Heavenly Father. And because of that anything is possible.  It is one of my favorite things to share with others here in japan...and now with all of you!
While we were out finding on day one the parents of our eikaiwa kids drove by us. As he did he he looked out he window and goes "hey ladies". We found that pretty funny. It was a first hearing that in Japan!

On Sunday during relief society we were taking turns reading scriptures. It was my turn and I was told English was ok. I told them no that's ok nihongo is ok. And I start reading. It was probably the second time I have read since coming to Oyumino ward. What a difference! When I finished, everyone clapped and oohed and Ahhed. They were so impressed! I felt so proud of myself. I try to read out of the Book of Mormon in nihongo out loud everyday and it is starting to pay off!

My feeling of success didn't last long though...we divided into groups to discuss how we have been blessed by others magnifying their callings (doing the best in their assigned 'job' at church). Except for whatever reason I thought it was how we had been blessed when we magnified our callings!

So I explained this whole long thing about putting church first and everything else falls into place and how I experienced that before my mission. Then everyone else in my group shared and they were talking about different things. I was a little confused, retread the question and realized I had read it wrong the first time.

The worst part was...the question was in English! Luckily I can do no wrong in the nihonjin's eyes and so we all laughed about it and I was told it was ok.

Another favorite moment of the week had to have been when sister Hubner tripped a kid! We had gotten ice cream with Haruno chan and were heading out of the mall when she tripped him and he went falling to the ground. I was laughing so SO hard. The poor little boy is forever gonna be afraid of Americans now.

A few weeks ago we met this really cool lady of the street. After talking for a few minutes she announced she speaks English, then she invited us over to her house and we went. We had a fun time, invited them to eikaiwa and told them about the Book of Mormon and being missionaries. Now her and her two boys come to eikaiwa every week and we were invited over to dinner...last week I think. She drove us home and as we were driving she asked about church we told her some of the members lived out here. And I said the first name that popped into my head. The bishop's family! Her response: my son has a friend with that last name.

So, fast forward to this week, we find out it is the same family!! Miracle!! At church on Sunday we were talking to the bishop's wife. She told us that the two boys had been talking about the sister missionaries and church! Apparently a lot was said about me too haha...according to the bishop's wife, her son's friend has a crush on me! I was what he talked about the most. Don't worry everyone he is 9. I remember when I was that age, I'm pretty sure I had crushes on the elder missionaries...they were just so tall and handsome...

Well, that's all for now folks..see ya next time...


Sister Molinari

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dendo With a Cat, Running With Investigators and the Rainy Season Begins

9 June 2014 Oyumino Chiba

Hello everyone!

It has been raining all week! Basically non-stop. It's crazy!! 

I totally feel blessed though! Usually rain makes me grumpy. I hate being wet. But all week I have been fine, perfectly content walking, biking and on occasion running through the rain. It's kind of fun!

Tuesday we spent our day in Goi. We had had a lesson the previous week with someone the elders had found that had fallen through, so we went to stop by at the lady's apartment. She wasn't there. We went to leave but ended up talking to someone else in front of the apartment. 

She came home, saw us, ran up to her apartment, went in and then ran down again. We decided to walk around the block and catch her on the other side. We said hello and she literally ran! A few minutes later her very disheveled looking son walked by us too, trailing after his mother. It was quite the scene!

Wednesday was a day full of lessons...or so we thought.. Our first lesson we had went great! It only lasted two hours, instead of three like the time before and we actually spoke about gospel oriented 
things. Her name is Furuki San. We don't know how interested she actually is in learning about the gospel, but she could sure use a friend or two. It sounds like her husband is abusive and she spends all day, essentially locked up inside until he gets home. We sang "I Am a Child of God" for her. It was in English but there was a definite change in her demeanor after we sang. Next time we will song it in nihongo so she can feel the spirit AND understand the words. I really like her. She is such a positive person living in a very not positive situation. I'm getting better at understanding her too. Which is wonderful cus she was sooooo hard to understand the first time we met with her. She also likes to hit Hubner shimai.

During the lesson I told her that wasn't ok and what does she do? Hit Hubner shimai again!! Don't worry, it's more of a slap on the knee type of thing. I think it means she likes her. Sister Hubner actually
gets hit a lot while talking to nihonjin. I don’t know why... After other two lessons for the day fell through. But it was ok, we had a special job to do for the bishop. 

Currently we are trying to either rent a Church building or build a building in Oyumino. There was a lady who was going to rent to us but is a little he sent us to "surprise" house into her. We had no luck. But, as we were going from house to house we met a cat, the cat decided to follow us from house to house. We must've looked pretty funny. We finally ping-ponged into the cat owner's house. I thought for sure she was going to be a kinjin. He cat obviously knew what was up. But, the lady wasn't interested in eikaiwa or church. She did however find it funny that her cat, Brown, followed us around.

We had a few more lessons throughout the week. Nothing too exciting to report on. Lots of rain...

On Sunday I think a lot of the members were surprised to see me! I hadn't even thought to call anyone and tell them that I wasn't transferred! It was so nice being told by everyone that they were sooo
glad I didn't leave! I love the members here so much! They are stellar. Each of them is so caring and willing to help the missionaries as much as they can. It's great!

During studying I found this poem. It was in a talk by elder Boyd k. Packer. I really, really liked it and thought I would share:

           Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
            Thought it scarcely worth his while
            To waste much time on the old violin.
            But held it up with a smile:
            ‘What am I bid, good folks, he cried,
            ‘Who’ll start the bidding for me?
            A dollar, a dollar; then, Two! Only two?
            Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
            Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
            Going for three-- But no,
            From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
            Came forward and picked up the bow;
            Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
            And tightening the loose strings,
            He played a melody pure and sweet
            As a caroling angel sings.

           The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
           With a voice that was quiet and low,
           Said, What am I bid for the old violin?
           And he held it up with the bow.
           A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
           Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
           Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
           And going, and gone! said he.
           The people cheered, but some of them cried,
           We do not quite understand
           What changed its worth? Swift came the reply:
           The touch of a master’s hand.

           And many a man with life out of tune,
           And battered and scarred with sin,
           Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
           Much like the old violin.
           A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
           A game--and he travels on.
           He’s going once, and going twice,
           He’s going and almost gone.
           But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
           Never can quite understand
           The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
           By the touch of the Master’s hand

 (The Touch of the Master’s Hand)

Each of us, in one way or another, are like that old violin. We don't realize our true worth! Each of us are sons and daughters of God; a Heavenly Father who loves each of us individually and unconditionally. 
We are each worth so much! And we should never sell ourselves short!

I love you all. Thank you for the emails, and letters. They are much appreciated!


Sister Molinari

Monday, June 2, 2014

What a Week!

2 June 2014 Oyumino, Chiba

Woahhh what a week!!

We were busy, busy, busy. We had quite a few lessons and we have a few new investigators too!

Today was transfer calls. I'm staying in Oyumino!! Everyone thought I was going for sure. 3 transfers in one area is a long time. And now, at the end of this transfer, I'll have been here 4. I will have spent a third of my mission here! But, I am most definitely not complaining. I love, love, love Oyumino. The church members are amazing, and the people here are soo nice. Maybe not always interested, but nice. Shimoji choro is leaving!! I am sooo sad. He was an awesome district leader.

Yesterday at church, we were singing the opening song when I noticed something running along the edge of the pew in front of us. Well, scurrying with the occasional hop. It was a spider!!! Let me tell you, spiders here are a different kind of ugly. Yuck! This one was black and had yellow spots and yellow pinschers (I have no idea how to spell that word) and it was fat and too big for me to be comfortable with it in front of me. Especially since it jumped!

So I quickly shut my hymn book and FWAP killed it. Sitting next to me was the relief society president. She quickly handed me a tissue, I wiped it up and from behind me appeared a plastic bag and I dropped the tissue and spider in and they both disappeared. It was like nothing had happened. It all happened so smoothly and probably within a minute. There had never been a spider...except the bug juice on the back of my hymn book attested otherwise. And sister Hubner and I had a hard time trying to stop giggling. I was also told later by one of the elders that my "FWAP" had been heard through the sacrament meeting room....oops.

I can't even remember what happened this week...I seem to have this problem every week. The mission is just flying by and all the days are blurring together. Umm...? Hmm, I really can't remember.

Ok, here was one of my favorite things we got to teach this week. We taught an older lady about the plan of salvation. We told her that she can be with her whole family again in the next life. We have a Heavenly Father who loves us. And he wants us to return back to him again. She asked; “Why would we want that?” We shared a few scriptures about the joy and peace and happiness that we will have. It was cool to watch her face change from "this is the strangest thing I've ever heard" to "hmm, I like how that sounds".

I am so grateful that we get to return back to our Heavenly Father one day. I'm grateful that our families will be reunited again too. Death is not the end. I know it's not. And I'm so grateful for that knowledge and the opportunity we had to share it.

I have another spider story! Before eikaiwa Hubner shimai and I ran to the bathroom. I really had to go and ran into a stall, then quickly turned around and ran out. Out of the corner of my eye I had seen something scurry into the corner. I figured it was a cockroach and after checking the stall again, decided it was safe to use it. Hubner shimai however, did not like the idea of a cockroach wandering around
and starting searching for it.

Turned out to be a giant spider! It was probably the size of my palm. She became pretty jumpy, peering around corners and checking the bathroom floor. I washed my hands and was ready to go when I realized the opportunity this situation presented.

I grabbed my bag, turned to her and pointing to the ground, screamed. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! She jumped and turned in the air. I couldn't stop laughing. It was sooo funny. I've never seen her move so fast in my life!

I'm laughing just thinking about it.

Ok sorry this was a super lame email. But, I have no more time and we have no internet connection at our apartment right now. So this is the best I can do.


I love you all!

Sister Molinari