Monday, August 4, 2014

Wow, What a Week!

4 August 2014 Sanjo

I love the sky in Sanjo!
I feel so blessed and incredibly lucky to be here in Sanjo! I haven't gotten over how beautiful it is up here, miracles continue to happen and despite the hot weather and inevitable sweating that comes from it sister Skabelund and I are having tons of fun. I've gotten in the bad habit of riding my bicycle with my mouth open. In part because it's hot and I'm often panting and in part because I can't help but smile/ my jaw drops open because of the beauty here. I've had one too many bugs fly into my mouth this week lesson learned.

My favorite miracle this week was a lesson with one of our investigators, Kobayashi San. She suffers from depression and has known the missionaries for a very long time. We met with her, and this lesson was going to determine if we should keep meeting with her or not. Well, after the lesson, I'm excited to say we will keep meeting with her. We started the lesson by singing I am a child of god. She really liked it. We were planning on re teaching her that we are all children of God. He loves us and he wants us to succeed in this life. In order to do that he has made a plan for us! So I am a child of god is a perfect song to lead into that.

But, what Kobayashi San likes from it was the chorus :
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.

She said she really wants that help and guidance and direction in her life. She wants courage and she wants to stop being a burden on others. We told she could; through Christ and his atonement. Our lesson plan was quickly derailed and we talked about Christ instead. But it was perfect. During the lesson both Skabelund shimai and I had a strong impression to invite Kobayashi San to baptism. So we did. She didn't say yes, but she didn't so no either. I'm excited; I think we are on the right path. The gospel could bless her life in sooo many ways, and I think she understands that. She also understands baptism is a big deal. And that is more than ok with me. At the end of our lesson she told us she felt so much better and happier than when she had come. She walked out of ready to face the world.

After the lesson was over, sister Skabelund and I decided Kobayashi San should be a priority. The next day during district meeting we got a call from Kobayashi San. She was headed to work and was really nervous. She called us because she knew we could make her feel better.

This week we had exchanges. I got to go with sister Clark to Nagaoka. Sister Clark was companions with Dopp shimai a few transfers ago! We had a lot of fun. Sister Clark knows the perfect balance of work and fun, and understands that having fun isn't a bad thing. I love her Japanese too! It's very simple, nothing fancy, but she uses it well.

It was inspiring. It was a good reminder that I don't need have fancy Japanese to have an
effect on others. Sister Skabelund has fancy nihongo and i realized I've become very self conscious of mine. But, I don't need to be! I made a goal to speak more. And so I've been trying.

Right after we split for exchanges we hopped on the train and found what we proudly refer to as a kinjin; someone who is excited and ready to hear our message. She was college aged girl who was soooo excited to go to church. She was even willing to pay to get in! I'm excited to hear what happens with her. The nagaoka sisters have an appointment with her this Friday!

Last Sunday we found Yokoyama shimai (An inactive member who hasn't been to church in 60 years). She told us who she remembered from church there were two names. One was a Takizawa shimai. On Saturday we found her!  She doesn't want to go to church because there is no one her age. I'm really hoping we can get her and Yokoyama shimai together and then they can come back to church together. Each of their husbands have passed away, and they are living all by themselves. They'd be great for one another, and the gospel would be great for them again.

After visiting Takizawa shimai we left ready to go to the fireworks in Nagaoka. It was a ward activity and we were catching a train with them to go. Well, sister Skabelund hops on her bike, ready to go and looks back at me, who is rifling around in my bag looking form the key to my bike. It wasn't there. And there was no way my bike lock was coming off. Sister Skabelund didn't know what to do. I picked up my bike, lifted it over my shoulder and said let's go. My bike is a beast of a bike, it's huge! And I carried it for about a mile, from where we were to the station. It's what we call the walk of shame. It was a very, very long walk. I have bruises all over now, but, I did it! We had told the members and other missionaries to just leave without us, we would meet them there, but when we go to the station they were all waiting for us! I love my district and church members. They are the best. I was a very grateful but sweaty mess. On our way to the station sister Skabelund and I joked about how I just needed to one up her bicycle story. It was funny. Hopefully the one-upping in done though...I don't know what could happen next....

Fireworks were amazing!!

The show in Nagaoka is one of the largest in the world and five hundred thousand people come to the festival! It was packed! It as fun looking around  to everyone gathered. A lot of the girls were all dressed up in their yukatas and all the old women and men were in traditional ones as well. There were quite a few couples who went dressed in traditional festival wear as well. I loved it. Sadly, It was the most drinking I'd seen in Japan and there were some characters there too.

We watched the fireworks from the bridge. They were HUGE; so big and so colorful. It was one of the best ward activities I'd been too. It was fun. I'm really grateful that we got to watch them.

Sunday we had another miracle lesson. We surprise visited an investigator of ours and ended up teaching one of the most unique lessons I've ever had. We sat outside, she was on a Chair and sister Skabelund and I were on the ground on little rugs. The wind was blowing a storm in, and we were surrounded by rice fields and the sounds of cicadas. We were also accompanied by her very large cat. It was picturesque and we felt the spirit so strongly too. She is the sweetest little old lady. She has a pure heart. She believes in god and when we asked what she wanted to learn on Wednesday she said the commandments so she could be more obedient! We talked about soo much and she believes it all.

I still love my companion. I just feel so lucky to have her. I'm so grateful to be here and work with her. And I love the miracles Heavenly Father is blessing us with and allowing us to be a part of. It's fantastic.

I love Sanjo!

I love being a missionary!

And I love you all.

Sister Molinari