Saturday, January 31, 2015

Oh my goodness, next week is Transfers!

26 January 2015 Sakado

Mt. Fuji at sunset
I think with each transfer I get a little more nervous! Generally I think the opposite happens from what I expect. haha. I loveeee Sakado and I love Sister Bettridge. So, I'm a little nervous.

In other feels like spring here! Except when it doesn't. We have had beautiful sunny days all week. But on Thursday it was freezing cold, and reminded us all that it is indeed winter. It really feels like spring is trying to come. But, according to the locals, February is the coldest month of the year. I am so not looking forward to February. I remember being pretty cold last February. But, there was also lots of snow on the ground. We'll see.

I'm just going to continue to write fluff paragraphs cus I don’t remember what happened this week. I think I've hit that point in my mission where every week just seems the same, and it makes it very hard to write about! We see miracles everyday and laugh, lots and nothing ever seems to go according to plan.

Last week we taught a lesson to a less-active who did not seem the least bit concerned that she doesn't read the scriptures or pray. She told us she has so much faith she doesn't need to. We told her we needed to, they are commandments. Still nothing.

This week we came ready. And by ready, I mean we had a lesson planned that didn't go at all like planned. But it went perfect. We asked if she and read the Book of Mormon, she said she read a little (which means not much, a few verses) We went over the story and I pointed out a few good places. One spot was about Christ and His atonement. Sister Bettridge talked about how the atonement is a blessing and a gift. Then I added we didn't need to pay or do anything , Christ performed the atonement for us. But, because he did that for us, we should do something for Him: follow His commandments: read the scriptures and pray. We read some scriptures out of the Book of Mormon and the bible about each and then reinvented her to pray and read this week. She was much more excited to this time! It was such a good lesson. The spirit was there for sure. We walked out feeling so good. I was so proud of sister Bettridge! She is a great teacher, and so willing to try and speak!

On Sunday we didn't have anyone coming to church, that we knew of, but N San appeared! It made me so happy! I love her! She is so sweet and kind! We are in a hard spot with her. Her husband is very Buddhist and against her joining the church. She loves it. But, she makes these sad comments sometimes that just sound like she has accepted she won't ever get to be a member. And she lets those thoughts replace her faith! We had a crazy lesson after church; she had read ten chapters of the Book of Mormon this week! And naturally she and questions. Hard questions. But we got through them. I'm so grateful for the understanding of the Book of Mormon I've gained since coming on a mission. If I didn't understand what was in there, there is no way I could answer some of the questions we get, in Japanese! Sometimes the Japanese translation is a little funny. Things don't come out quite the same as they do in English. Or different words, while correct, do not mean the same thing. It can make reading and understanding the Book of Mormon hard!

Sister Bettridge and I read out of the Japanese book of Mormon every day. It's helped us both a lot. People are wowed when she reads. I feel really blessed too; I can generally understand what is going on. Some verses I understand perfectly, others...the longer the verse gets, the harder it gets for me. But usually I get it. I can find scriptures I'm looking for and read pretty easily out loud too. Mission blessings!

I received a phone call today from someone serving in my old area Sanjo. I'm just so full of joy right now. So many of the less-actives I'd been working with have come back and Yasuko San has a really solid baptismal date! Please pray for her. She has been in and out of the hospital so going to church, let alone being baptized has been very difficult. After they set a date she asked if I could Skype in! Ahh every time I think about it it makes me so happy I almost cry. I am so excited for her! Please pray that she will have the strength to do it!

Ok funny moments of the week.

While visiting a less active we were given fruit juice and cookies. She gave it to us in a plastic bag and was concerned that we might want a paper bag. She kept asking if the plastic bag was ok to which Bettridge shimai replied "mmm oshii!" Which translates to “delicious”! Our less active said really? And I burst out laughing. It was so funny. I think our less active might be on to us having a hard time understanding her hahaha.

Also, just today, on our way to church a mother and her screaming child walked onto the train. I had some candy in my bag so I figured I'd offer a piece. The mother said no thank you so Bettridge Shimai starts digging in her bag for stickers. She kept searching and searching and finally pulls them out. She then pulls off a smiling face and starts to stick it onto the girls hand, the girl and mother were not looking and I grabbed Sister Bettridge's arm and said, “You have to ask!

Hahahaha we probably just looked like a couple of gaijin (ed. note: non-Japanese) creepers! I laughed all the way to the church. Sister Bettridge didn't see anything wrong with it. And I guess I made her feel like a creep too. She said "it didn't seem creepy to me, till you pointed it out." I told her "that's probably what the creepers say too." And then we laughed.

We do a lot of laughing. Sometimes my head hurts after we are done laughing. I haven't laughed this hard in a while.

I love you all!

Sister Molinari

Ed. Note: For all you loyal followers of "Sister Molinari's Adventures in Tokyo" - sorry for the delay in posting this entry. The Editor started classes again this week and time management was a bit of an issue. 

Monday, January 19, 2015


19 January 2015 Sakado 
Sister Bettridge and me at the Tokyo temple

This week was pretty busy. We taught lots of lessons and had lots of fun. I'm so grateful for the weather here! It's been sunny all week except for one day (on which it poured rain all day). It feels like spring is coming..but I think we still have a while... I'm so grateful we have made it this far into January without snow! We just need to make it to the end of the month..and then through February and then there really isn't a threat of snow anymore and it will start to warm up. So excited for the warm weather! Cold is just not my thing!

So, on the day that it poured rain we had FOUR lessons. Go figure! Poor sister Bettridge didn't wear her rain boots, so by our second appointment her feet were soaked. One of our investigators gave her tights to change into. I got a good laugh when she had changed into them...they were cheetah print! That lesson was really great though! We talked with Takahashi San about how the gospel blesses families and we were each able to share experiences from our own lives. I was able to really relate with Takahashi San and it just made everything even better! We challenged her to share our message with her daughter! And while she insists she is Buddhist she is willing to share with her daughter! The spirit was strong during the lesson. We left so happy! I love sister Bettridge! She is an awesome companion and partner to teach with.

Our final lesson that day was with Yuko, from Eikaiwa (ed. note:English class). We got on the topic of pioneers and told her how in Utah. Pioneer Day is a giant holiday. I said there are fireworks and parades and ...then I get cut off by our investigator "pirates!?" Her eyes were huge! "No, not pirates..parades!" We all laughed about that. We got home sooo ready to go to sleep that night. Phew! What a day! 

Other highlights of the week...

We got to participate in a mochitsuki. It's were they make Mochi, which is made of rice. You take a giant Mallet and slam the rice! There are huge mallets and then there are little ones like in the picture. I tried. You wind up your mallet and expect to hear a huge thud when you hit the Mochi. But instead it makes this pitiful little noise cus the Mochi just asorbs all your power!  I LOVE fresh Mochi. It is delicious. I couldn't get enough. 

I played the violin for the first time in years this week...and I could do it! Sister Bettridge and I want to play a song in sacrament meeting, and we found a flute-violin arrangement of “Hie to Kolob” (ed. note: this is a hymn arrangement of a famous Ralph Vaughn Williams’ melody from “5 Variants of Dives and Lazarus”). We think it would be a really awesome way to get more of our friends and investigators to come to church, I wasn't really sure if I could play but I was able to! I felt really blessed! I felt like I was receiving help! Hopefully I will feel the same way after we perform! 

I love the members in Sakado! Throughout the week they all did little things to help us. They contacted investigators for us, gave us rides and dropped off treats to us too! We are so lucky! 

My Japanese struggled this week. I had a very hard time getting anything out! But, it's ok that usually means I am about to level up. Which I love! Sister Bettridge and I just laugh when either of us goof. And it happened quite a bit this week. I think the nihonjin might think we are a little odd though...on Friday we were in the train heading for ping pong night and we were talking to a lady, Sister Bettridge tells her we are going to eikaiwa and I nod and then stop, look at her and say no we aren't we have ping pong tonight! It wasn't really that funny but, in the moment it was very funny. Sister Bettridge was mortified and we broke into giggles. Needless to say, the person we were talking to did not come to ping pong. 

While housing one night, we rang a door bell of a house that had a giant window. From the end of the driveway (cus that is where the bells are), I watched a child go and answer the voice box. Sister Bettridge introduced us and I watched the girl look at her mother who motioned to her to go back to the box and the girl says "kekko desu". They weren't interested. The little girl then looked at the window to see who we were and saw me looking in! I did the only thing I could think of and waved. Then her mother came to the window, so I waved some more. Sister Bettridge came over and waved as well. Boy was the mother embarrassed. But, we had a good laugh. 

The next day at ward conference we were advised by some of the stake leaders that, when housing we should not use good Japanese. If we sound like struggling foreigners they will take pity on us and listen hahaha. I am excited to try it out!

Well, that is all for now. I love you all. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Great Week!

13 January 2015 Sakado

This week was great! We had a lesson everyday! And I feel like we really accomplished a lot. We saw so many miracles and met some really great people. But, because iPads are terrible my original email got erased and due to a lack of time you will get a short version. Sorry! 

Today was temple p-day. I'll send those pictures next week. It was so fun getting to see all my companions. They will all be home within the next two's so weird...
Last Monday we spent most of our p-day with the Itōs. They are a couple in the ward. We had so much fun. We went out for sushi and then went to a giant Thai shrine. It is the biggest one in Japan. It was beautiful !!!!

Ok. My two favorite miracles of the week; First, on Saturday we had our lesson fall through. We had so many things that needed to be done I had no idea how we were going to do any teaching that day. After kids eikaiwa we did some planning with the members and headed home. I was still puzzling about what we could do. And there on our door was a note saying look in your post! So we looked in our post and there was a letter, from our upstairs neighbor, asking us if we would come teach her today. What a miracle! We got a lesson! 

Then Sunday I was dreading the question in DCS "who do you have coming to church today?" Because I was pretty sure we didn't have anyone. We had two people we were going to call as last attempts after the meeting but that was it. No one could come this week. We were told over and over "isogashii". After DCS we called our two maybes. Neither answered their phones and neither came to church BUT right before church started, literally minutes before, we had three people walk in!!! Wow! What a miracle! But, through both of those miracles I was reminded of something. We only are expected to do everything we can! Heavenly Father takes care of the rest. We did all we could (well, I feel like I could do more but that's besides the point...) and Heavenly Father took care of the rest for us. During church I just felt his love so strongly for us and while I want to do better and try harder next week I really felt like we did good this week. We weren't perfect. But we did ok. And it was really nice feeling that.

I love my companion. I really hope it's not a one sided thing. I'm really loving being companions with Sister Bettridge. She really keeps me aiming high, and I don't think she even knows she is doing it! And then there's the whole hey look at all my weaknesses thing, I'm still enjoying that too. We are totally on equal ground, I just happen to have been in Japan a little longer. Honestly, I feel like I am the one being trained. Retrained to rely on the lord. Retrained to be a real friend, not a robot. And a lot of other things too. I'm just so happy every day. It's great. 

We had exchanges this week too. They were great. But, I'm spent the whole time worrying about sister Bettridge in Sakado. She's like my baby! So, the rule of exchanges is something, if not everything, always goes wrong. It's inevitable. So while I was on exchanges I got separated from my temporary companion! Haha I rode the train to another station and then just sat and waited for her there. It was funny being on the flip side of what happened to sister Bettridge and I. And much less stressful because I was not at all concerned about being found. But, it was still funny. 

I love being here and I loveee my companion. She is the best. I feel so lucky and I'm trying to be grateful every day. It's really great. Sister Bettridge and I are going to see miracles this week. I just know it. 

Love you all! 
Sister Molinari

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!

5 January 2015 Sakado
Happy new year everyone! Did you all make New Years goals and resolutions? I didn't. I've got lots of ideas but, because it still doesn't feel like Christmas happened I feel no real urgency to make any goals... But that really isn't a big deal. As a missionary you make goals, and adjust goals, and make more goals all the time. So' no worries...I’ve still got "stuff" to work on. 

This week there was basically no dendō! No one was interested! They were all busy because of sho gatsu or the New Year. We went housing, and called all our friends but everyone was "isogashii". Oh well, we had a really, really awesome week despite that. The members all invited us over and we formed lots of good and better relationships!

I seriously love Sakado and its members. This is a wonderful area. Sister Bettridge is lucky she got to be here as her first area. And I'm lucky I get to be her companion! Last night, we were finishing up weekly planning and we just ended up going on and on about how great one another is..are and we get a call from our district leader. I'm thinking why is he calling now we still have time before we need to call him...but we didn't! We had gone right through daily planning time! Haha oops! Luckily the day was already planned out! 

Last Monday we had a really great lesson with Takahashi San. I just love her! She wasn't too busy for us. She had a friend over and so we got to teach both of them. We ended up teaching the restoration. Sister Bettridge was amazing! She knew how to say so much. And at the end she bore her testimony for both of them and she had their complete attention. The lesson was great for many reasons but, it was really a good reminder that the gift of tongues is real. Sister Bettridge who has only been here for three weeks can say sooo much, every week she improves. I'm afraid I won't have anything to teach her next week! And I found myself being able to say all sorts of things I didn't know I could. It's wonderful. When Heavenly Father needs you to speak, as long as you open your mouth, he fills it. 

Tuesday we spent the whole day finding. With not much luck. Sister Bettridge really wanted to sing to someone. But, everyone told us they were too busy or not interested before I could even begin to ask if we could sing. Finally it was time to come home and right as we were leaving the neighborhood we met a lady who struck up a conversation with us because Sister Bettidge was carrying her flute case and this lady played flute too! We chatted for a while and were able to sing! We sang “I Am a Child of God” and the lady and her friend, who came and joined, loved it. We invited them to church! I'm not sure they were at all interested BUT Sister Bettridge got her wish! Heavenly Father is mindful of each and every one of us and grants us the righteous desires of our heart. It was a fun day. 

Keiko and us
Wednesday we spent most of the day cleaning. I love cleaning! In Japan you spend the days before the New Year cleaning. You get all the bad out before the New Year. So, because December 31st and January 1st are not productive dendō days we had a mission wide cleaning day and the next day was a mission wide read the Book of Mormon day. Our apartment is much cleaner now. I'm really enjoying it. We were also taken out to lunch by Keiko. She took us to a fancy buffet. Everything was healthy and delicious. It was great! We had a lot of fun. I really love Keiko. And I just have so much respect for her! I love how much she loves the kids she teaches. She is truly concerned for each of them and wants each of them individually to succeed. Just like heavenly father! Haha lesson idea!  

If you didn't like your fortune, you left it behind.
There were fortunes inside.
We went to bed at 10:30. It was quite the New Year's Eve haha. 

Thursday we didn't really do much Book of Mormon reading...maybe four hours total. We had a member take us out to a traditional Japanese lunch and a shrine afterwards. It was soo fun. Sister Bettridge might have eaten more 'traditional' Japanese food this last week than I have in quite a few transfers combined...or maybe I'm just used to it I need someone to announce when its traditional to be aware of it..maybe that one. I’m really grateful for sushi. If I had to eat as much cooked fish as we did raw fish this week, I would have been a happy camper. Cooking fish just brings the ocean taste out in them..blah! I think the raw fish might be growing on sister Bettridge...maybe..
Sea bugs
That evening we went over to another member’s house. We ate some crazy things! Most was ridiculously delicious. But then, Sister Itō came out with a plate full of bugs! Bugs from the ocean! They looked straight out of Jurassic park or Star Wars. And yes, I ate some. Just so I could send this picture home and say I ate it! It wasn't that bad, I liked it a lot better than shrimp for sure but I just couldn't get over what it looked liked to eat lots and lots.

Friday we had a mission conference. Everyone but the Niigata missionaries were there. Soooo fun. I got to see almost all of my companions. I love them all so much. And we watched “Meet the Mormons.” I loved it! If you haven't had a chance to see it you should go see it! It should be playing at the Hill Cumorah visitors center in Palmyra soon. I loved each of the characters. They each have such amazing, and some very normal, stories. I wrote down my favorite quote...but I forgot my notebook so..I can't share it. Sorry! 

Saturday we went to members houses too. Our dendō shuni, or ward mission leader, arranged for us to be fed for lunch and dinner. What a great guy! We had lots of fun. 

This week I started mixing up my he's and she's. Sister Bettridge finds it really funny. I sound like a nihonjin. And today, we went out with members for lunch and I couldn't translate someone back to English. I couldn't think of the word and the members thought that was really funny. Oh noooo, my English is going..

...oh well. 

Sister Bettridge and I were having a conversation about patience yesterday. And I told her how one of my transfers I prayed for patience almost every day. But it never felt like anything happened. It reminded her of a movie, in which was said "maybe when we pray for patience God just gives us more opportunities to be patient." There was my problem! Along with lessons on patience I’ve learned so much this year. I can't believe it's already over! I'm excited to see what this year brings. Maybe I'll make some New Years resolutions this week... I'm so grateful I get to be a missionary. It's been great. Even when it hasn't been, it's been great. 

I love you all! 

Sister Molinari