Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

28 December 2014 Sakado

How was your Christmas?
It never really felt like Christmas here. It was a little sad. We are still waiting for it to feel like Christmas! Guess I will have to wait for next year. This week was still pretty busy but, because New Years is coming up no one has time to meet us, they are all "busy". So, past and upcoming week will be the calm before the storm! While it is sad not having lots of lessons, it's a blessing in disguise. We inherited the other sisters’ investigators and everything else that was theirs when Sakado area went down to only one pair of sisters. It's been crazy! And it'll be nice to have. A chance to go through everything now and organize! 

This week wasn't nearly as exciting as last week. We got lost twice; once because I wanted to find a short cut (and didn't) and once because we got fault directions. And my Christmas package from my family was delivered to the wrong person! And they sinned for it! So we spent a lot of time having to deal with that. All the members banded together to find it. It was really sweet of them! They also put together a package for me to make up for my lost one! It was full of food and hand warmers! It made me sooo happy. We eventually did find my package. Ito Kyodai did some calling during eikaiwa and by the end of the night he had found the package. When we got home we were met by Ito Kyodai and two met in suits, in a nice car, and they handed over my package. I'm not sure how that package had been retrieved...it had been opened and things were missing from it. But, maybe the person who took it needed those things more than I did!

This week we had lots of Christmas parties to go too. On the 23rd was our ward party. Our bishop renamed it our Christmas celebration. Because he doesn't think it's a party. We are celebrating the savior's birth so it should be called a celebration. I liked he thought. M San came to the Christmas celebration. She fits right in. You wouldn't even know was she wasn't a member! Everyone loves her and her kids. The next day she came to our eikaiwa Christmas party too. She even came early to help set up! 

On Christmas day we went to Keiko's Christmas party for her kids she teaches (she runs an after school program-which I learned the other day she does it for families who can't afford the fancy jukus! How great is that!). It was a fun party. We planned some really fun games and made this goopy stuff. It was like putty but you could stick a straw in it and blow bubbles! Very fun. 
After we went to our bishop’s house and had Christmas dinner. That was fun as well. We shared a message...naturally it was the Christmas story! But it was so awkward. We asked the kids to help and they just wouldn't say anything and neither would the adults! Ahh. At the end we said tonight Christmas is over, but that doesn't mean we need to stop thinking about Christ. We should have him in our hearts everyday! And then we asked them all to think of a way they could remember Christ throughout the year. 
Christ isn't part of Christmas here. I think that's why it didn't feel like Christmas. Christmas in Japanese doesn't even have Christ in it! It is KU-RI-SU-MA-SU. They took Christ out! I'm sure not intentionally, but still they took him out! We need to make sure we don't take him out of our Christmas! I know, from here on out, I will be trying much harder to keep Christ in my Christmas.  

Time for a cool miracle this week! On Saturday we had planned to bring cookies to a member and his family, who had helped us a lot this week. First we needed to go to a seven eleven to get wifi and see on the map where this member was. Well, as we tried to leave, I couldn't find my bike key. It was nowhere to be found! And I couldn't seem to find any of my spares. Oh well, guess that is a sign we needed to walk. So we did.

We tried to stop everyone who walked by. And they all ended up being Jehovah's witnesses! What! We got the address, and realized that it was nowhere near us and that we had to bike. Back to the apartment we went. I still couldn't find my key I'd been using but I did finally find the spares. Off to the member’s house we go!

And I take us on the wrong side of the tracks..oops. So we cross back over and head in the right direction. But, we couldn't find the house! And after looking for a little we had to turn around and go. We had a lesson that night. I was feeling pretty discouraged. We had found no one interested all day! As we headed back to our apartment we stopped at a light. There was a mother and two girls standing there. We said hello but she didn't seem too interested in us. We continued on, we were in a hurry. But, I just couldn't bring myself to ride away, so I stopped hopped of my bicycle and ran back up to her. I told her we were missionaries and would love to teach her! She is from Africa, she came here about five years ago with her husband, Bijoux. We exchanged information and we are just waiting for her call, pray she calls! Sister Bettridge was sooo excited. It was her first real positive contact. Yay! 

Nihongin restaurant meal
Sunday we went over to a member’s house for dinner and we started swapping second language bloopers. Sister Bettridge has already collected quite a few. But she is speaking and trying so I'm so proud of her! My favorites have been "I'm a squirrel" instead of "I'm twenty" and today we told someone the headband I gave her keeps her eyes warm! One of them members told us that she, when she was in the US, would call people on the phone and they would say hello, who is this? She thought they were quizzing her, jokingly, so she would reply "I don't know who this is." I laughed so hard when I heard this. And whenever I think about it I laugh too. So funny. 

Sister Bettridge's first heart attack
Well, that's all for now. 

Here are some pictures.

Love you all! 

It's COLD! You can see Mt Fuji in the background

Monday, December 22, 2014


Sisters? My new companion Sister Bettridge and me
Wow...well, I don't even know where to start. This week was crazy. Absolutely crazy. It feels like multiple weeks were all crammed into one week. Sister hall and I ran around like crazy on Tuesday visiting people and then Wednesday I dropped her off at her new area and went to get my new companion, fresh from America. The sister I was traveling with knew just about as much as I did in regards to getting to the hon bu and by that I mean...not much. Naturally we got lost and I was late for the trainer training I was suppose to be at. But, after a week of training I can't imagine I missed much, nothing prepares you for training. Oh boy! 

Tuesday it tried snowing. Luckily it hasn't tried snowing again. But, we can see snow on top of the mountains now...makes me a little nervous. We went and visited a less active and her son in the hospital Tuesday morning. THe son was getting surgery and she wanted the elders to give him a priesthood blessing. It was really sweet. The little boy seemed much happier after the blessing. After, she walked us out and wanted to pay for us to ride he bus back to the train station. It was raining. We assured her we were fine walking and started our trek back to the station. After a few minutes I heard someone calling my name and turn to see the less active running down the street with umbrellas for us. It was sooo sweet of her! I love her so much! We get to go to her house for Christmas Eve so I am very excited. We are planning something special for that! 

Tuesday night we had an amazing lesson with our investigator kikue. Every time we meet with her we find out a little more just how prepared she is! If only she had more time to meet! At the end of our lesson she told us that she has been studying religion for years and can't find the right one. She doesn't understand why there are so many forms of Christianity and buddism and other religions as well. We told her Joseph smith had the same question and after studying he received an answer! when we showed her a picture of Joseph smith she said she knew who he was! She had studied about Mormonism on her own before she ever met the missionaries! We can't wait to see what happens next lesson. I think she is super prepared and am sooo excited to teach her more. 

Wednesday I met my new companion! She is awesome I love her sooo much. Her name is sister Bettridge. She is 20 and from Utah. And she is already an amazing missionary. I love being her companion. She is so spiritual. And she is just as tall and skinny as me. Everyone thinks we are sisters. Ready for a cool story? So, when all the trainers came in and sat down I sat across from sister Bettridge. She says she thinks she knows me..and she did! She had been following my blog before her mission! So, while I didn't know her, she knew a lot about me. And then, we become companions! She told me the other night, that before her mission she had hoped she would get a companion like me! And now we are companions! Awww! I absolutely love her. She is so patient with me and just loves everything about a mission and Japan. She is so willing to try new things and her Japanese has already gotten so much better and it's already been a week. The gift of tongues is so real. I'm afraid by next week I will have run out of things to teach her in Japanese! 

Christmas cookie making activity
Because she is straight out of America I've realized a few things about myself. First, my English has gotten funny and really slow. I also understand Japanese English very well. I think she needs me to translate more often when a nihonjin speaks English than when they speak Japanese. It sounds perfectly normal to me! But I guess it really doesn't sound like English hahaha. I also learned that I am a terrible translator. As I've learned Japanese I tried to keep English out of it so a lot of the time I don't know how to translate something and so I do it in a weird round about way. Ah! But, I also realized I know a lot more Japanese than I've given myself credit for. And I can translate. That was a delightful surprise! 

So this weekend was absolutely crazy, we had so many appointments cancelled, and emergency appointments come up, a baptism cancelled, lots and lots of traveling and the climax of our crazy weekend was as we were headed homeSaturday night. On the train we started talking to someone, our stop came, we handed the lady we were talking to a flyer and I walked off the train but, sister Bettridge did not get off fast enough! I realized what was about to happen so I step back in and try to jam myself between the closing doors...well, the doors didn't care that I was in the way so I get squished back out, nihonjin are staring in horror as I get closed in the doors and then as they realize my companion is stuck on one side of the door and I on the other. I yelled to her to get off at the next stop and then watched the train ride away. Then I stood on the platform and cried for 8 minutes until the next train came. I was afraid that she hadn't heard me and was going to end up in ikebukoro! I prayed really hard and finally the train came and I was so relieved when I saw sister Bettridge waiting for me on the platform. We just hugged for a long time and I cried and apologized and then we went home. Worst trainer ever. Who loses their companion on their third day in the field?!?!? Yup, that's right me, sister Molinari!
Christmas cookies

Crying cookie? Missionary cookies

Luckily she still loves me, and things have finally slowed down. Today has been a wonderful relazed pday. And I look froward to a Week where no one gets lost on trains. I love training. It my opportunity to get retrained really. I've become painfully aware of all my mistakes and I'm just so grateful I can repent at the end of the day and start over. I love having a companion straight from the MTC. She is so full of fire and is so ready to work. And I won't let her make the same mistakes I made with Japanese. I remember all to well, my first months in the field. And I really want to do everything I can to make her first months great. 

I love you all! 

Merry Christmas! 

Sister Molinari

Monday, December 15, 2014


15 December 2014 Sakado

LDS Tokyo Temple
 This week was awesome! So great. I've been sick and poor Sister Hall has been dragging me around all week, but despite that it was still awesome. There were so many miracles and I just am so happy. I love Sakado. I love being a missionary. 

This morning was crazy! We had transfer calls. Oh my goodness, I was so nervous I forgot to eat breakfast! We just kept waiting and waiting for the call and it wasn't coming and we had an appointment we had to go to! As we were walking out the door the other sisters’ phone rang! Ah! We put it on speaker and all four of us got our calls together. Elder Egbert, the assistant, just talked for what seemed like forever! Oh it was awful I just wanted to know what was happening! First was Sister Christensen and we all knew where she was going...home! Then her companion Oshimi shimai was next. She is going to Niigata! Sakado is down to only one pair of sisters! Ah! Next was Hall shimai and she is transferring! Then finally me. I was staying in Sakado! And I'm training! 

I'm still in shock. Me and my new companion just inherited all the other sisters’ investigators! And I‘m training! Ah! Also, I'm really going to miss Hall shimai. I learned a lot from her! 

After transfers we met with Takahashi San and just had the funniest day ever. She took us to this beautiful spot in Sakado where you could see mountains all around (including Fuji san) and had us sing amazing grace, then we went to a flower shop and then she took us to two shrines and got us lunch. While deciding where to take us for lunch she told us this "I really want to get yakisoba but there is not meat in that, just cabbage and carrots, and Sister Molinari needs to get fatter so she needs meat." We ended up going and getting katsu which is meat. It was delicious. Hopefully I don't get fat though. We laughed and had so much fun. It was really great. 

Ok. Time for miracles...
So the Christian lady I told you about last week, who didn't seem like a fan of church, called us this week and asked if we could meet. I was expecting to get chewed out a little... But that didn't happen! She told us she is looking for something and what she felt at church she hadn't felt before/ in a long time. She came to church again on Sunday! And she told us she has three friends she wants us to visit. And during lunch her friend appeared and she invited her to come to church and when the friend said no she couldn't she told her if she doesn't come once she won't know what she is missing. She has only come to church once and she is already inviting other people and doing missionary work! Wow! 

The other lady that came to church, Morisaki San, was able to meet with us this week! We were able to teach her more about prayer (she hadn't prayed) and the Book of Mormon. We had an awesome doseki, Nohagi shimai, who just did an amazing job talking about prayer and the Book of Mormon. Morisaki San was very nervous about praying. It seemed like she really believed she would be praying to someone so she wanted to do it right. I thought that was so cool. What faith! Saturday night we called Morisaki San and we followed up on prayer and reading the Book of Mormon. She had done both! She has been praying everyday and she said she has become genki! It makes here so happy! We really can receive answers and feel God's love when we pray! I have felt it and so has she! 

Park near temple
Sunday was crazy! Sister hall and I have been planning a surprise party for the two missionaries who are going home this week, and for Ro for her birthday and our ward mission leader who is going back to America. Oh it was quite the fiasco. Multiple people thought they were the ones who planned it and after being invited to the party I planned, multiple times on Sunday, I've decided I'm never going to throw a surprise party again. Nihonjin just don't keep secrets very well. There was just too much going on. Everyone was trying to distract different people and then ultimately the surprise was blown when an investigator who does not like coming to church walked in. Oh what a mess! And then once it finally got started we thought it would be smooth sailing from there but nope. A member and I went and got the cake for the birthday girl, walked back into the room and started singing, everyone joined in and then we realized the birthday girl wasn't in the room! Everyone got a really good laugh at that. All in all it was really fun. And everyone who we threw it for was really grateful. So I'd say it was a success. 

I feel like I experienced a lot of personal growth this week. Nothing big, but little things finally clicking into place. I feel like I'm being set up for a really awesome rest of my mission. I'm excited to see what it holds. I really do love being a missionary. It's wonderful. 

I love you all! 


Sister Molinari

Monday, December 8, 2014

Deck the Halls!

8 December 2014 Sakado

District meeting this week
(I look sooo sick so don't look at my face too closely..
instead admire how long my hair is getting)
Wow! Another week gone. I don't know where my mission is going. It's just flying by. 

This week was freezing cold. But there is still no snow so I am very grateful. 

As Christmas is getting closer we are really seeing miracles. What a great time to be a missionary! Well...aside from it being freezing cold. 

Last week I mentioned finding two people on the train who said they would come to church. And guess what they both did! How it turned out was a little funny. The Christian lady, I think thought church was a little odd. It wasn't what she was used to so I don't know if she really wants to come back. The other lady loved it! She had never been to church ever. And her family is Buddhist so I don't think it was something she would ever do. But she came and during relief society she started crying and didn't stop for a while. We had a lesson with her after church and taught about Heavenly Father and prayer. The member who helped us out talked about how her family was Buddhist when she joined and her mother was super against it but bore a very powerful testimony on many things; Prayer being one of them. Prayers are answered regardless of who we are, or where we are. We are meeting with her again on Tuesday! I cannot wait. 

But Sunday just gets better. The mother with kids who I've talked about a few times came to church too. M San. She couldn't come to all of church so she said she would arrive about 11:30. And then. We got a call saying she would get there at 12.. so late. But, as we went to the eki to pick up another investigator, before church, we saw her and her three children walking on the street towards the church. It felt like a movie moment. One of the ones where there is a big explosion and then the main character walks out through the smoke and you think "yes! They're alive!" It wasn't as dramatic but we were just soooo excited to see them.

After church M San came up to me and said "there is a power here! Something you can feel. At the other Christian Church I went to I did not feel this!" She was so happy. And her kids love church too! I'm glad she is able to come to church and have a spiritual experience. We got to meet with her this week as well and have an awesome lesson on the plan of salvation. She said she's worried that she will be all alone after she dies. It was really great telling her we can have an eternal family and live with them again. We won't be alone! I love teaching her! 

We had a lesson with Takahashi San this week. It started raining while we were there and she didn't want to send us out in the rain so she got us all geared up for the rain. I ended up in this giant white suit that wasn't at all water proof and Sister Hall had plastic bags draped over her and stapled together. Oh we were laughing so hard. While it started out as a serious thing I think Takahashi San found it funny as well and tried to make us look as silly as possible. We were quite a sight riding away on our bikes. I kept my white suit on. I thought it was pretty funny. I looked like the Pillsbury dough boy. I have pictures but I forgot to bring the cable to put them on my iPad...sorry! Next week. 

Sister Hall and I got to give a training on using the new Christmas video in our district meeting. We've seen a lot of success from sharing it. We broke sharing e video into five easy steps. It seemed a little silly because it's such a simple thing to do. Step three was "SHARE IT!" When I said that, someone made a noise as if they wanted to say "well duh." Then I continued. I said that when we share all our attention should be on the person at the door. It doesn't matter how many times we have seen it. If we are distracted they will be distracted too. And then I shared what I do. While someone else is watching the video I pray for them. I pray that they will feel the spirit and their heart will be open to the wonderful message we want to share with them. Sometimes as missionaries I think we get so stuck in the routine of what we do. Or we feel like we've been out for a while, we know what we are doing. I'm guilty of that. Or, that we just aren't good enough. I've really come to appreciate the simple things as a missionary. And I'm trying to be content with what I have. Miracles don't need to be big and grand to be a miracle. And a simple prayer can go a long way. Having ten investigators at church doesn't make you a good missionary and having an impressive vocabulary (regardless of what language you speak)'doesn't mean you are a good teacher. This is Heavenly father's work and he won't let us fail. If we are doing all we can do, big or small, then that it enough. And we don't know how big of an impact the small and simple things we do will have on others. 

Actually that reminds me of this Mormon message! 
Wow what a tangent sorry! 

We had a Christmas concert this weekend. It was really fun. It was all missionaries who performed. There are so many talented people serving in my mission! We went with our friend Chieko. I think she had a really good time!
This week we ate dinner at a member’s house. She always makes delicious food! But this time she put squid in the meal! I had been thinking to myself a few days earlier that I hadn't needed to eat anything odd in a while...well, that problem was resolved. Yuck!

I'm still sick so it's made speaking in nihongo a little more difficult. But it was probably really fun for Sister Hall to listen to. I told someone my brother was "high five" instead of twenty. Sister Hall made her usual carrot/ people mistake this week. It was a really good sentence too....something about the trials carrots have to face while on this earth. Oh Japanese....I don't think I'll ever really be able to speak it. 

Ok, we had a pretty regular week. I can't think of anything else exciting. 

I love you all! 

Merry Christmas season!

Sister Molinari

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Happy December!

3 December 2014 Sakado

I love December. Especially in Saitama. It's cold and rains a lot BUT the leaves are changing beautiful colors, there are still flowers blooming and best of all there is NO SNOW. Who is happy? Yup, that's right, this sister missionary. 

This week we were so busy I don't even know what we did. Oh boy. Remembering things is so hard these days. The days blur into weeks and the weeks into months. Time is flying by. 

This week we dedicated a day to less-active hunting. We biked over an hour away, in the rain. I was sooo cold! I couldn't feel my hands by the end of the day. And we didn't really have much luck. 2 less actives had moved. One had died. And the only one we actually got to meet just didn't really feel like coming to church. I think she might come to church soon though...maybe just for fear that, if she does not, I will reappear on her doorstep.

As we were talking to her I just really wanted to testify powerfully to her about something she needed to hear. But nothing was coming to mind. So instead, I just gave her one of my looks. I think that worked just as well. It was a combination of what you're telling me is really sad and I know you know this is still true. It made her a little nervous. 

We got to end the night really nicely. We had a mogi lesson with the Nohagi family. They are the best missionary family ever! They have two children preparing to go on missions and the parents are always willing to doseki. They invite the missionaries over for dinner all the time and every now and then Nohagi shimai drops off treats at our apartment.

Anyways, back to the mogi lesson. We had dinner and then did a practice restoration lesson in Japanese. Honestly, it wasn't going to well. And then, probably at the low point of the lesson, Brother Nohagi asked us how we got our testimony of Joseph smith. Sister hall looked at me and so I told them. And thankfully, it changed the direction of the lesson.

I've been a member of this church my whole life and I think I always accepted that Joseph smith was a prophet, that he actually saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and that he translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. But, I've also had confirmation for myself that those things are true. That was a little hard to explain in Japanese so I read out of the introduction in the Book of Mormon.

My favorite pat of the Book of Mormon is before it even begins! It reads "Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” I read this in nihongo to the Nohagi's and as I neared the end I started crying.

I know this is true. I know it is true because I have put it to the test and have seen the results. And if Joseph Smith was willing to give up his life for this book and the gospel it must be something really special. He could have so easily said "just kidding" and walked away. But he didn't because he knew it was true. He knew what he saw and he believed in it. And I do to. It's why I'm in Japan.

Missions are hard. They are a lot of fun too. But hard. And if I didn't know this was true, I would be home. Because it would not be worth all the hard I've experienced. Living the gospel has changed my life, I wouldn't be who I am today without it. And I'm so grateful for that. So, I needed to share it. 

I left my planner at home..so I don't remember what else we did...we had lots of lessons and our investigators are slowly progressing. It is amazing to watch as people, apply the gospel in their lives. Change. Little by little, but change none the less. They are happier. More full of hope. More full of love. They have a twinkle in their eye. Maybe they won't ever get baptized, but, they have come closer to Christ. They have his love. And to me, that is success. 

Today was temple p-day! I got to see my beloved Dopp shimai. I love her so much! I’m so grateful she was my companion in the MTC. She is an amazing missionary and a wonderful example to me. I'm so lucky!

This week while riding the trains we found two people who are going to come to church on Sunday! One lady lives by a church and has always wondered what it would be like so we invited her to ours! She plans on coming! And then the other lady is from Korea and is Christian! I think she plans to start coming every week. Both were miracles. 

Ok that is all for this week. I’m sick...so my brain isn't quite working right. Having a stuffy nose directly connects to how well your brain works. I'm convinced.  

Love you all! 

Sister Molinari


This is the new Christmas video we have been showing everyone! Well...we show it in Japanese but...take a look!