Sunday, July 19, 2015

Building a Wardrobe

Ok, first I will tell you what I wish I had done. Then I will go through pieces of clothing individually and tell you what you need and what you don’t. I'll also leave the comments open so if you have any questions ask away!

In Japan, they have these beautiful shops called recycle shops. I love them. Most sisters do. They are full of cheap clothing (if you find the right one) and it is still in excellent condition. I would get skirts for the equivalent of a dollar here. Now that isn’t every shop but you can still find pretty good deals at an average one. The other great thing about Japanese clothes is that everything is modest. Well, not everything. But I had no problem finding modest skirts and shirts and dresses even. There were three other stores I absolutely loved too; Honeys, GU and UNQLO. Honeys has a skirt that just about every sister missionary ends up with by the end of her mission. A-line, beautiful colors, twirls really nicely and depending on your height hits between mid-shin and just above the ankle. GU and UNQLO have the best shirts. I love their button downs. But, they have great sales. You can get shirts and skirts for around $5.00 American
What I wish I had done was bought clothes for DI and salvation army here for the MTC, and brought some cute things from home too, then at the end of the MTC sent home the cute clothes and brought the DI clothes I wasn’t attached to to japan. That way, you have cute clothes for picture days in the MTC and then you are completely unattached to the other clothes and can just get rid of those clothes as you buy clothes in Japan that are actually cute and modest and much cheaper than anything modest in America.  
So, my suggestion is go out and buy cheap clothes from second hand shops for the mission field, and bring a few cute things too for the MTC and if you want the field too or just send them home. Then, when you get into the field go shopping! BUT, do not buy everything all at once. Make it a mission long process, otherwise you will end up with things you don’t really like and won’t have money for things you love later on.
OK, time for individual pieces..

-You only need one blazer. It is too hot for blazers most of the year. I found mine at target. They lasted my entire mission and were more of a boyfriend cut so they were comfortable too.

-G’s. I had them for summer and every other season. You want cotton or dry-lux in the summer. It is just too hot for anything else. You WILL get heat rashes. And those hurt! I had thermal bottoms too for the winter. Wore them every day. They were the best. The tops are cut a little high so It makes them hard to wear.

-Don’t bother with thermal underwear. Get thermal G’s and fleece lined tights. Fleece lined tights will be your best friend during the winter. You can get them in Japan, but if you are tall they won’t. They don’t stretch like normal tights.

-Do not bring lots and lots of shoes. It takes up space and it’s a waste of money. You will walk right through your cheap shoes. My wing-tips (oxfords) from clarks lasted my entire mission. And so did the black flats I got from lands end. BUT, they both had more of a pointed toe and so I began to develop bunions. Buy shoes with a wider toe/ rounder toe. Round toed shoes aren’t as cute but they are a lot better than bunions and misshapen feet. My feet do not look the same as they did when I left on my mission. My parents had to send me shoes half way through. They got clarks which lasted till the end and then were given to my last companion because they still had a lot of life left in them. Loafers are nice too- As long as the toes aren’t pointed.  Slip on shoes are the easiest. In Japan we take our shoes off at the door.

-Winter boots. You want a pair of nice winter boots. I got timberland riding boots. They lasted through two winters of walking and the tread didn’t even begin to look worn. Those were power house boots. My shoe purchases can be seen here.

-Rain boots. Get rain boots! You can find them in Japan pretty easily unless you are a size 8 or bigger. Then it gets a little harder. I had Hunter packable tours. They cracked less than half way through my mission. But, I would buy them again. They were the most comfortable rain boots I had my entire mission. I went through three pairs.

-Bring lots and lots of peds! But try and get the ones that feel more like tights than socks. I’m convinced part of the reason my feet look so terrible is from restricting socks. You can find them at target I think. I got all of mine from old navy. They were too restrictive. And, as you wash them they get progressively smaller and more disfigured.

-Boot socks. I brought way to many pairs. You only need one or two. If you wear them over tights (which you will because it is so cold) they shouldn’t get smelly.

-Tights. Tights are your best friend. I love tights! I brought lots of colored tights too. Make sure you bring muted colors. Aqua blue or neon orange are not appropriate. I brought dark red, dark green, a muted mustard, navy and gray. I also had a few patterned ones. Don’t bring fish net styles though-that’s trashy and not professional. I also really like stockings. If you are tall, bring your own. You won’t find them in Japan.
*I really loved honeys black tights with a higher denier. I wore them all the time. They were the best and soooo comfy. I got a size LL.

-Exercise clothes. I brought enough tops to work out every day. Guess what girls, chances are you will not go out every day. I only had a few companions who wanted to do that. I would only bring two or three exercise tops plus one t-shirt. And then pring a pair of yoga pants and capris. I got mine at Wal-Mart I think they were Danskin. They are great. I’m actually wearing my capris right now!

-If you want to buy jeans go get a pair at a second hand shop. I didn’t wear my jeans once in the field. But I loved them, so I had to carry them around the entire time.  Everyone wears jeans on p-day in the MTC though. It was a special treat.

-RAIN SUIT!!! You absolutely want one of these. And do not go cheap. You will regret it every day of your life during the rainy season. I got mine at L.L. Bean. It was a little on the pricey side but it lasted and stayed waterproof. I had a few companions who had water-resistant suits (that is NOT the same as water-proof) and one who’s suit decided it didn’t want to protect her from the rain by the end of her mission. Each piece at L.L. Bean is around $70 but they are guaranteed. Waterproof pants are also great in the snow. I used my pants almost all year round. DO NOT GO CHEAP ON YOUR RAIN GEAR.

-Bring a winter coat. I had one that had two layers. You could zip them together and wear them as one warm winter jacket or zip them apart and use the inside layer as a spring jacket. It wasn’t the prettiest thing but it worked great. I gave it to another missionary when I left, it was still going strong.

-Bring winter scarves; Big, warm, thick ones. And gloves. Make sure they are water-proof. And if you are prone to losing gloves you should probably bring an extra pair. And don’t forget hats, or head bands. Those are a must. Head bands work well with helmets and hats are great for streeting.

-You want sweaters. Sweaters are the greatest in the winter and the summer. Bring a few. And then get some more in Japan. They have cute sweaters. I loved sweaters for layering in the winter. And in the summer, I would bring one with me to appointments and put it on when we got to someone’s house so no one could see my sweaty pits.

-You don’t need two pairs of pajamas. One set is fine. Sweat pants and a t-shirt are fine too. Or you can use the workout clothes that probably won’t get used for anything else.

-BIKER SHORTS. These are a must. I never wore them and there were some days I wish I had brought them. It makes riding a bicycle sooo much easier. Make sure they go above your knee. Way above your knee. You look pretty goofy when you can see your shorts hanging down past your skirt.

-Bring shower sandals for the MTC and then ditch them. You won’t use them in the field.

-don’t bother stocking up on hair ties and such. You can find them pretty easily in Japan. BUT, if you have blonde hair or use blonde bobbypins, bring lots. Those are REALLY hard to find.

-Bring accessories. Belts, scarves and necklaces. But don’t go overboard. Just bring a few of each. I brought way to many scarves and could only wear them for a small season. The rest of the year was just too hot. You can wear them at the end of fall and for a few weeks at the beginning of winter. Then, once winter gets going you want nothing but big, thick, warm scarves. During spring and summer it is just too hot for scarves. You can also find really cute accessories here. I loved the necklaces here. Also, if you go to Forever21 in Japan their accessories get market down to a dollar or two. Great deal!

-Polar fleece jacket or sweatshirt. You’ll want this in the apartment at night and during the winter. It is cold!

-Make sure you have a WATCH!

-layers/ shade tops are a must. You can also buy these really nice tank tops at GU and UNIQLO that work great during the summer. They are designed to let heat out. And during the winter they have a line called Heat Tech. It keeps you warm. Both are pretty great. And they come in basics. Shirts, tanks, turtle necks…

-During the summer you will want loose fitting tops. They are more breathable, and you are less likely to get pit stains. Linen is also really great during the summer. Summers are hot, hot, hot. It is really humid.

-The rest of the year you can wear just about anything. I brought basic long sleeves that could be layered with a sweater and scarf and that was my winter wardrobe. I also loved layering with button downs. You can get the cutest button downs in Japan.

-Dresses. Dresses are wonderful in the summer. This dress was great. Lasted my entire mission and was passed onto another companion. Japan recycle shops are also full of vintage dresses. They have $7.00 dress shops that sister missionaries love. We all had vintage dresses.

-Skirts. I love pencil skirts BUT they do not work on bicycles. Nope. Even if you can do it it end up ruining them. Structured pencil skirts start tearing at the split and jersey pencil skirts will develop this odd bulge where the fabric gets stretched over the bicycle seat. But, I would bring at least one for Sundays and special occasions when you want to loot nice. A-line skirts are the easiest. A more narrow a-line skirt is best for bicycles. They don’t require being clipped up. Bicycles are dangerous! They eat skirts. Missions are NOT the place for maxi skirt. Don’t bring them, don’t wear them, don’t be that sister missionary. Skirts are really easy to find in Japan.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

To Bring or Not to Bring

Ok, as a return missionary I can tell you what to pack and what not to pack…if you are going to the Japan, Tokyo Mission.  I will do a separate post for sister’s clothes. There were so many things that I did not need to bring, that I did, and then lugged around my entire mission and then quite a few things I wish I had packed and didn’t and then had to have my parents send me. And that, folks, is expensive .

Ok first DO PACK…
-A pedigree chart (family tree) with pictures too! Or just make sure yours is up to date on the church family history website. We have ipads so you will be able to access it. Familysearch lets you upload pictures too! So if you have them, add them. Pictures make a very boring family tree a lot more interesting and it gives you something to talk about. Family and Ancestors are very important in Japanese culture so this gives you common ground to build on.

-a CELL PHONE. I had friends who told me to do this and it worked great for both my brother and I. Go out and buy a cheap pay-as-you-go phone and put some minutes on it. Then have your parents send it to before you leave. MAKE SURE THEY ACTIVATE IT.  At the airport you are allowed to call home. Everyone wants to use the phone and there are not that many, so you end up waiting in line for a good amount of time and you don’t get to talk to your family for very long. If you have a cell phone you can talk to your parents without having to wait or get off for someone else. It worked great for me!

-Compact umbrella. Go to walmart. They have small umbrellas that are durable and cute! The brand that is the best is TOTE.

-FITTED SHEETS. They tell you not too, I didn’t and it was the biggest pain in the butt. A twin size fitted sheet will fit around a futon just fine. Flat sheets need to be re-tucked in every night.

-TOOTH BRUSHES AND TOOTH PASTE. Bring enough tooth paste and tooth brushes to last your mission. Dental care is not one of Japan’s strong points. You will have a very hard time finding good  tooth brushes (they all look like children’s tooth brushes there) and an even harder time finding good tooth paste.

-DEODERANT. It doesn’t exist in Japan. Japanese people don’t need it. They just smell good all the time. Bring lots. Maybe 4 or 5 sticks.

-first aid kit. But don’t spend lots of money on one. The only thing anybody ever uses really is band-aids and Neosporin. You want strong bug repellent. The mosquitos are vicious. They are black and blue and big and leave scars after they bite! I also found having hydro-cortisone cream really useful. It takes itches away from ANYWHERE.

-sunscreen. I didn’t use much and wish I had. The sun will take its toll on your skin. You are out all day every day during the summer and the sun is strong. There is sunscreen in Japan, but I had a lot of companions who didn’t think it was very good. I don’t know how true that is though.


-If you have a special prescription for medicine you need to bring enough for your mission with you (If it cannot be bought in Japan). If your parents or a doctor tries to send you medicine it will be confiscated at customs, burned and you will never get it.

-bring your own helmet and lock for your bicycle. It will save you $30-$50.00

-what we call a Shokai book. A book full of pictures of yourself and your family! Get one made at shutterfly or a similar site. Albums are bulky and heavy. Put lots of pictures of you and your family and friends. You want things that make you look normal. So trek and EFY…not really the best. Those don’t mean much to anyone who isn’t Mormon. Pictures of you splaying sports, going on vacation and anything with Disney is really good. Baby pictures are fun and having a picture of your baptism opens up conversations to church. If you are artistic include pictures of your art. Pick pictures that you can talk about.

-Make-up. It’s expensive in japan!

-A bathrobe for the MTC. It makes traveling between your room and the bathrooms 100 times easier. 

-If you are particular about pads, tampons and panty-liners bring your own. LOTS. Also this is a side not but girls, use panty-liners or else your G’s get nasty fast. Smiley face stickers are nice too.

-Disney stickers. They are fun to give to kids but hard to find. Other stickers are easy to find..but Disney Princess stickers are hard to find.

-You will have an ipad in the Japan, Tokyo mission. Something I am so glad I had was a SD card converter...I don't know if that is what it is called. Find (and buy) the tool that allows you to take photos from your SD card and transfer them onto your ipad. It comes in handy when you want to send pictures home or when you want to share photos with others.

-Your driving record. It costs money to print and if you go to my mission, and are not a Japanese Elder, you will probably never drive a car.

-True to the Faith, Our Search for Happiness, Jesus the Christ or Our Heritage. You will have an ipad on which you can access all of these. They take up space and way a lot and quite honestly you probably won’t read most of them anyways. True to the Faith is great. But use it from your ipad.
-In your call packet it says to bring “pens, pencils, a notebook, highlighters, and any other materials you think you may need for taking notes and writing letters. “ You do not need to bring a whole supply box full of these things. Bring a few pens and pencils to get you through the MTC. You can get letter writing materials at the MTC in the bookstore or in the free bins placed around your living quarters. And once you get to Japan their writing supplies and stationary is better than anything we have in America. And cuter too.  American pens also do not really work on Japanese paper and vice versa. Weird. Also, if you bring a notebook for taking notes, bring a SMALL one. A Large one is heavy and you probably won’t fill it all up.
-Clothes hangers. They will be in every apartment and I want to say they were in the MTC as well. They take up space and weight! Maybe bring a few to have in the MTC and then you can just leave them there when you leave.
-SUNGLASSES. You can’t wear don’t bother bringing them.

-Passport holder. I still do not know what this is, but it was not missed. I got along just fine without it.

-You don’t need anything special for voltage/plugs. Our appliances work just fine in Japan. And I think will work ok when you get home. So far I’m ok.

-wind-up alarm clock. Those cheap alarm clocks are…cheap. Don’t bother bringing or buying one. Chances are someone will have one in your room at the MTC and then once you are in the field you will never use it again. We all use our phones as alarms. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What You Need to Know About the MTC Based on What I Remember...

Quite honestly, I don’t remember much from the MTC (Missionary training Center). It feels like it was eternities ago.  I spent nine weeks there, during the winter. I was lucky enough to spend thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s there! So, the few I do remember must be the most important things to pass on. Here they are:

MTC food is disgusting. I repeat, disgusting. I did not have normal bowel movements for the majority of my time in the MTC. That was not fun. The day before I went into the MTC I went to Wal-Mart and bought snacks. My favorite snacks I brought were fruit snacks, pop-able popcorn and cans of fruit.
Things to keep in mind:
-If you bring cans of anything make sure they can be opened WITHOUT a can opener, you probably won’t find one at the MTC or in your room
-While can-openers are not redly available, microwaves are, making any microwavable snack (or meal) a possible
-You spend all day every day in a class room. It is nice to have snacks.  Make sure they aren’t messy and don’t leave crumbs because those snacks are not allowed

2.       I brought a polar fleece blanket and it was wonderful! They don’t provide you with much bedding. In my zone there were a comforters that who knows who left that got passed around as missionaries left the MTC for the field.  

If you are going into the MTC during the winter it is bound to happen. It’s cold, a lot of people aren’t used to Utah’s horrible weather and you are interacting with lots of lots of people in close quarters and touching things hundreds of other missionaries have touched.
My companion and I were fortunate enough not to get sick while we were in the MTC. And I’m going to give all the credit to Doterra oils. I would rub On Guard onto our feet every night (haha) and we would take little pill capsules too with a mixture of oils I concocted to keep us from getting sick. It worked!
Want to know my secret blend??
-On Guard
-Oregano (just a little)
**And I would add Frankincense into mine because it makes my body happy

4.       The MTC book store has everything. 
Don’t bother bringing lots of pens and pencils and notebooks and what not. Not worth it, or the weight it takes up in your suitcases.
Unless it has changed, this is what the MTC Book store has:
-All the greeting cards you could ever want. I actually bought a few to send to people once I was in the field. I wish I had bought more. Some of them are pretty funny.
-A very LARGE variety of highlighting and scripture marking toold. They’ve got crayons, colored pencils, markers, dry highlighters, pens in every color and more
-Office supplies like pens (ball point, felt tip and liquid), pencils, markers,  flashcards (in multiple sizes and key ring options), boxes to put your flash cards in, loose leaf paper, notebooks, binders, erasers, scissors, rulers..there is a lot.
-Scriptures and scripture cases and other gospel related materials in a variety of languages as well as study books and tools for some languages. The more obscure your language is though, the less they have. The Japanese section was ok.
-Journals. They have a pretty nice journal selection.
-Candy and Snacks
-Toiletries, stockings, hair spray and shampoo, pads and tampons, and a few odd things like a tongue cleaner. Basically it’s like a mini drug store. They don’t have every brand of each item but they have enough to get you by.
-T-shirts and MTC clothing!! I recommend the MTC sweatpants. I don’t remember how much they cost but I wore mine almost every day of my mission. Best purchase ever.

-SD card converter. I don’t know it’s official name but you put your camera’s SD card in one end and then the other end plugs into the USB port of a computer and then you can send pictures home! I’m guessing it probably comes in handy in the field too.
-MTC sweatpants or a sweatshirt or shirt. Get something to remember your time in the MTC!
-If you are going English speaking or are learning a more common language like French or Spanish buy things like the Book of Mormon easy reader, a miniature hymn book for yourself and maybe a few to give to investigators too, and a smaller version of your scriptures in whatever language you are learning. They give you a standard size book of Mormon..that is heavy and a pain to carry around. Get a small triple combo. 
If you are going to someplace like Japan then…

-Mini hymn book in Japanese and maybe one or two for your future investigators (they were always out while I was at the MTC)
-Small triple combo in Japanese

7.       Tell your parents about Dear Elder. It’s free and it is sooo nice to receive letters from family and friends. Cookies are pretty great too.

8.       The MTC has some deal with UPS or Fedex…or whoever. The point is YOU CAN SEND PACKAGES FOR DIRT CHEAP from the MTC. So, at the end of your stay, when you realized you over packed or you want to send home your letters you got, clothes you won’t wear, or study materials or books you got send them home. It is soooo cheap. And so worth it.

9.       HAVE FUN. Relax, don’t freak out. The MTC is not as bad as you might think it is. It’s actually pretty easy. It’s the easiest part of your mission, but then  in some ways it is also the hardest. Just remember to be obedient, find ways to serve your companion and others and always, ALWAYS seek the spirit and be obedient to the Spirit. Do that, and you will be fine.

Friday, June 19, 2015

"It's not goodbye, it's see you real soon"

Hello from America! This is my final email. I’ve been back from Japan for a week now but, I wanted to send out one last email.

Here’s what my final week in Japan consisted of:

On Monday we received transfer calls. I was, to everyone’s great shock, transferring back to New York haha. Kubota shimai gets to stay in Kumagaya though. Yay! It is staying open! And I’m sure her and her new companion are going to see many, many miracles this transfer. Oh, I did write about Monday already…Ill add some pictures from the English Garden we went to with Takahashi San.


Tuesday was basically a run errands day. I had to get my suitcases sent off, sister Kubota wanted pieces from my bicycle so we asked the Elders to switch them over for us and then there was lots and lots of calling! We had to tell everyone about transfers and that Kumagaya sisters was staying open. Everyone was so happy.
That evening we went and visited the Kubotas one last time. Sister Kubota (not my companion) was really struggling with some concerns she had, actually we came with a little message planned and as we were sharing it I just felt like we needed to ask her what was wrong. It reminded me of almost a year and a half ago, where in the MTC, I felt the exact same thing during a lesson. So, I waited till my companion finished sharing her thought and then asked Sister Kubota what was wrong. She told us and so we had a special moment where we got to really teach to her needs. Well, kind of..there wasn’t an easy fix solution for her problem but we shared Helaman 5:12 with her and promised when she relies on Christ to help, he will and we can get through anything.
Here is Helaman 5:12 I love this scripture! I’ve used it a lot all through my mission. “And now, my sons, remember, remember that is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, ye and, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storms shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fail.” What an amazing promise  “a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fail”. We arentt promised that all our problems will go away, or that Christ will take care of them for us. But, if we rely on Christ we are promised we shall not fail. Satan is going to send his whirlwinds. It doesn’t say if he does, or maybe he will but WHEN. And if we are prepared, and have built our foundation of Christ we cannot and will not fail. 

Wednesday was transfer day!!I woke up at around 5:00 to finish packing and to get ready to go. Aroudn 8:00 we went to meet her new companion at the eki. Grabbed some of their things and headed back to apartment. Made a last minute trip to a corner store and then the Ishida family picked me and Sister Kubotas new companion’s old companion up and brought us to the eki. And then, we were off to the mission home. Naturally, we had a problem. Our train was cancelled..when does that ever happen?? Luckily we had help from a really sweet Japanese couple and then finally we made it, a little late to the mission home. And I was reunited with My Dopp shimai for our last few     days in Japan. I love her so much!

That evening we tried to visit one of her friends from an old area, no luck. But, on our way back we got to talk to this really funny old lady. She kept saying she was gonna leave, oh and the whole reason she stopped us in the first place was because we were beautiful. My favorite moment was when she would tell us numbers. She would hold fingers up to go along with the numbers BUT her fingers never matched what she said. Sooo funny. Then we finally said good-bye to her and headed to dinner, got yummy hamburgers and then we headed off to eikaiwa in the city. That was fun too.

The next day we headed to oyumino!!! Dream come true. I was able to see all the wondereful sisters from Oyumino. If I ever where to live in Japan, that’s where I would live. They are a family, my family. I love them so much.
That evening we had our final dinner at the mission home, had the opportunity to share our testimonies with the other returning missionaries and then it was off to bed! The next day we had breakfast and then before I knew it I was on a plane heading back to America. We landed in Georgia. Talk about culture shock, everything was so big, and everyone was so loud and rude. I was reading to hop back on the next plane to Japan.  

Some funny things Ive noticed/ experienced  since coming home:
1.       Everything here is either too sweet or too salty..blah!
2.       The ceilings are much farther away from my head
3.       Some things are just easier to eat with chopsticks
4.       Everything is so loud!
5.       When we were leaving the airport I had this frightening moment of “Daddy you are driving on the wrong side of the road!”
6.       At church while in the bathroom someone walked in and I nodded to them..we don’t nod at people in America.

     And LARGE has a whole new meaning in America!!
I ordered a large smoothie at the airport without even thinking what size it would end up being!
I can’t say it’s good to be home...I haven’t decided yet! But I can say that I am soo grateful for the last year and a half of my life. It was the farthest things from easy but I don’t think I would’ve learned or grown or changed in the ways I have if it had been. I love japan. I love their culture. I love the people. They are so busy trying to become westernized but I think we could learn a lot from them. They are kind and sweet and are willing to do just about anything for a stranger. They have a rich culture and beautiful beliefs. It became home and I am going to miss it so much.  But, I’m very grateful for the time I did get there. I’m grateful that I was able to share what makes me happy and was able to watch it bring happiness to others. God is our heavenly father and he loves us. Each of us. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we are from. And I’ve been able to see and experience that for myself. The gospel is for each of us. Doesn’t matter who we are. And The gospel brings us happiness. Im happy because of it. And while I may not be a missionary any more I wont ever stop sharing what makes me happy.

I love you all! Thank you for following me on my year and a half adventure. Hope to see you soon!

Love, Kirstin

Monday, June 15, 2015

Safely Home

15 June 2015, Rush, New York, USA

This is perhaps the final entry that the editor will make to this blog. Sister Molinari has returned home safely after having honorably completed 18+ months of full time missionary service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Sister Molinari and her mother. Grandparents to right.

She returned home very late Friday evening after about 14 hours of air travel and 5+ hours of layover.  She traveled back in time to arrive in Atlanta the same afternoon, a little less than an hour BEFORE, she departed from Tokyo!  

On the way home, we stopped at the stake center where she was released from full-time missionary service and became Kirstin again. Well, after this experience, she will never again be the same Kirstin, but at least she can be called Kirstin again. 

With grandparents and Uncle Mark
It was a long night for us as she started unpacking and sharing stories about people places and things. It was a long night for us, but even longer for her. She never went to sleep, since the sun was just about up and she wanted to go running and “needed to study”!

I will now relinquish control and maintenance of this blog over to her. We expect that she will make a final entry soon - once she wakes up!
It is good to have her safe at home.
Sister Molinari and her family, brother Nicholas, father and mother.

With "little" brother Nicholas

Happy with berries!
Happy family
The unpacking begins.

I am interested in hearing what you connection is to Kirsitn and this blog, particularly if you are from countries outside of North America. There are a number of followers from Russia, Poland, Ukraine, France and Turkey. I am curious to know how you found us and what attracts you to the blog.

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below that you care to make about her mission to the people of Japan, on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on being a missionary or if you'd like more information on the church.

Thank you for your interest.

- the editor (and father) Gary Molinari

Monday, June 8, 2015

Just Another Wonderful Week!

8 June 2015 Kumagaya

Transfer calls were today! And guess what!? Kumagaya is staying open! Sister Kubota and I shouted for joy. We were so worried Kumagaya was closing! But it's safe!!!! Yay!

Today we spent the day with takahashi San from Sakado. It was so fun. I love her so much. We went to an English garden, had a picnic and took lots of pictures as we walked around. I forgot my no pictures. Sorry!

This week I also got to see Fukunaga Shimai and Kikue from Sakado too. It was so fun. I'm so happy I was able to see them. I love my Sakado friends so much.

Follow up from last week's big story...the owner of the dog we found came to church on Sunday! Yay!

Funny stories of the week: We were watching a movie with one of the church members who hasn't been coming a lot and at the end Sister Kubota says "I just love that movie. I cry every time I watch it...I've only seen it once." It was sooo funny.

Last night while I was praying sister Kubota randomly says "amen" and then she says "wait you didn't end yet, I don't know why I just said that." I quickly finished the prayer and then cracked up. She was a little tired.

This week we had a little extra money so we decided to go out and eat. We didn't know where to go so we asked the elders for their opinion. They asked what we wanted to eat and I yelled "MOOT!" I was trying to say meat but that just didn't come out..oh English...

We got to meet with our new investigator we found a few weeks ago twice this week. She is awesome! She loves christ so much and just wants to find truth. I can't wait to see what happens with her.

The theme of this week seemed to be truth. What is truth? How do we find it? How do we know when we found it? Truth is such a large abstract concept and so as we talked about it this week I noticed something interesting. Because truth is just so big we all expect big answers, A giant aha moment. we want truth to smack us in the face, scream and yell and say "here I am! I'm truth!" But, turns out that's not how truth works. We need to go to the source. And the source, whether you believe in him or not, is God. Ask and ye shall receive. That's his promise. And God always keeps his promises. But because we live in a hectic world, full of junk and noise we miss out of those answers we receive. Also, I think we all hold the truth, it's within us, it's just a matter of whether or not we choose to accept it and act upon it. It's like giving a present to someone. You give a present to someone because it makes them happy, you want that person to feel your love. It's no fun to give a present to someone who doesn't react. Or who isn't going to appreciate it. Chances are, you'll stop giving present s to those people. Same with truth. We are surrounded by it, it's within us. But, if we aren't gonna do anything about it, we'll stop noticing it and God will stop sending us signs of truth. People who have found truth and then decided they don't know anymore, think it is because they lost the truth or didn't know really what it was from the beginning. But, truth comes from God, God does not change, which means truth does not change, but, we change which means how we view truth changes. A question I posed this week, as we were teaching was "have you changed?" Because God most certainly has not.

This week was really fun. We got to spend a lot of time win members and hose we are teaching. We had so many prayers answered. Even little prayers. Sunday night we didn't have anything planned. Sister Kubota really wanted to teach. We called lots of people and no one picked up. we headed over tot the church to check our Facebook messages and decided to call our new investigator who hadn't been able to come to church that day. So we called and she asked what we were doing, we told her we were at the church and she said she was coming! Prayers, said and unsaid are answered. And we had a fun time together, singing hymns and then reading from the Book of Mormon. It was a really great way to end the night.

Sunday we had a little bye- bye party for me. That was fun. Sister Kubota and I sang and I didn't cry. So I'd say it was a success.

I love Kumagaya! I love sister Kubota! 

Love you all!

Sister Molinari

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


1 June 2015 Kumagaya

We had an amazing week this week. Lots of miracles. I love Kumagaya! And sister Kubota. We have so much fun Together. I'm so sad I don't get to stay in Kumagaya longer. I feel a little jipped. The ward members are so great! I love them. But there is also so much to do here. It's not fair I have to leave!

On Wednesday we had district meeting. So much funny. The zone leaders came. One of the zone leaders used to work at Abercrombie,as we were talking about that it came out that he used to be one of the guys who stood out shirtless in front of the store. As he is telling us this his companion says " you know, when I walked by those guys at the mall, I never thought hmm he could be my companion some day." Everybody cracked up. It was soooo funny.

Then, as we were walking out we said hello to this old man. For whatever reason he decided he just wanted to talk to sister Kubota, who could not understand his old man nihongo. I kept answering his questions but he insisted on only speaking to her. Finally he got frustrated with her being unable to understand him and told her to go home and practice her Japanese and then dismissed her. We got a good laugh from that too.

Friday we had a zone blitz. We got together and ate lunch at one of our friend's restaurants. We broke ordering records. Her boss was very excited. And it was so fun to see how happy she was because we had come.

During the blitz we visited some members who have not been coming to church. This week we were able to get a hold of/ meet with two who sister Kubota and her last companion could not get a hold of. I love both of them. They are really wonderful girls. I'm excited to get to know them better is week.

On Saturday there was a giant earthquake. Everyone was talking about it. Everyone posted about it on Facebook. But Kubota Shimai and I....we didn't feel it. Hahaha. We were biking home. And had absolutely no clue it happened until the next day. So if you were worried about us, or worries we are safe, we didn't even feel it!

Sunday was super awesome! It was our big Sunday challenge day. We didn't have anyone showing up...we sure tried though. Then one of the members who haven't been coming to church came A little late. She had missed her train and had walked at least two miles to get to church! I was so happy to see her! So happy!

We had a delicious meal after church with all the members. Went home made some calls, made paper swans and then headed out to dendō! We both felt like we should go in the same direction, so naturally we did. We rode a bit, locked our bikes up and set out to do some housing! Well, we didn't get very far when we saw an eikaiwa student.

She hasn't been coming recently. But, she drove by us, saw and then started telling us how she had lost her dog during the earthquake the day before. He'd been missing for almost a day and a half. They couldn't find him. After telling us she took off again. I decided we needed to find that dog. Luckily, Kubota Shimai had decided the same thing. So, we said a prayer and started wandering around. There was a large cemetery so we decided to look in it. No dog. I felt like we should get back on our bikes so we went and got them, and then I took a few turns based on what felt right (followed the promptings of the spirit) and we biked past a lady walking a corgi. Sister Kubota stops and asks the lady if that's her dog. It wasn't, it was the dog we were looking for! Ah! So we took the dog and reunited him with his mother.  Who was soooooo happy. Soooo happy. It took a little bit to find her house, we didn't know where she lived, just general area. But luckily the corgi knew so it was all good. She couldn't believe we had found it. Today we are going back with her to the lady's house who found the dog. I'm glad. The lady seemed a little heartbroken to say goodbye to Ketchupu. I don't blame her. He is the sweetest dog ever.

So what lesson can we learn from this story? Ask the missionaries. They can help.

I'm so grateful our prayers were answered. It made my day and a lot of other people's day too. Heavenly Father loves us and he is just waiting to help us.

After that we went and had dinner with the Ruichi family. I love that family. They are amazing! They are such a happy family. We had so much fun with them. And then as we were leaving they gave us two bags full of goodies. They will receive lots and lots of blessings for sure. They are always helping the missionaries.

I love you all!

See ya real soon.

Sister Molinari