Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hello Everyone!

24 February 2015 Sakado

Spring is just around he corner here in Sakado. It's been cold but not as cold as usual and when it rains it smells like spring. It's not cold winter rain. Who knew there was a difference right? This week we had some really cool finding and teaching experiences. It was a fun week.

On Monday we went with one of our investigators to visit her friend who wanted to meet us. His name is Yutaka San. He is a cowboy nihonjin (I didn't know they had them here) and I guess he is a little famous. We had dinner and talked. He and his friend, that was there, asked lots of questions about the church, and we were able to boldly answer each one. They were all wowed. Then we got to sing. We had prepared a few hymns for him, as a miyagi or gift, and then we sang some Christian and country songs with him. I felt like Heavenly Father was helping us sing. I don't think I've ever sung like that before. I was able to harmonize too and sing along with these songs that I'd never heard of before. And everyone was just wowed. They didn't want us to go. At the end I invited Yutaka San to church. He didn't say yes, but he didn't say no either. I walked out of there feeling so good inside.

I feel like we did exactly what we needed to do and we had an impact, and so did the Spirit, on each one of the people there. I also felt a little bit like a celebrity, so I enjoyed that too. We met with our investigator yesterday, and a week later, Yutaka San is still raving about us. He wants us to come again!

Right now we are working with to less active members. Both are adorable little old women. I love them each. And both are finally progressing! We visited one of them Sunday and she just said the nicest things. I smiled all the way home (about a 40 minute bike ride). She told us that we had a light and our light was filling and changing her heart and she just loves us and is so grateful we come every week, rain or shine. She wanted to write a haiku for us, but she hadn't written the right one yet. She also said that she wants to come back to church! She isn't ready yet, but I can feel it, she is gonna come back soon! I am so happy. She has a hard time hearing us. So we teach her through songs. We give her scriptures and share our testimonies with her. It's really special. I love it. And her!

We had a lesson with someone new this week! .She was one of the other sister's investigators. But, we aren't really sure how much gospel she has heard. Anyways, we called her a bunch of times, she was busy, or there was always something but finally we made an appointment to meet with her! She was a little weirded out that we had her number and such but after a little bit of explaining, it stopped being weird and we were able to have a really awesome and powerful lesson on the Book of Mormon. We told her about that and prayer, shared scriptures, asked inspired questions and gave her a Book of Mormon, in her own language. She was so excited when the book was in Korean! She definitely could feel the spirit, and she wants to meet again! She invited us to come learn Japanese with her too! So I think she really does want to see us again.

Our Saturday, didn't go at all as planned. Well, the beginning did. We had kodomo eikaiwa with a huge turn out again-around 15. And new faces too! Then we headed for lunch and had planned to spend the rest of the day finding. We were heading outdoors when we received a call from one of our members. She needed help setting up for the activity the ward was having that night. So we changed plans, and headed to church.

On our way to church we ran into this really odd man in the train. He was gaijin (ed. note: American) as well and wouldn't leave us alone. He said something about how we needed to stick together and wanted to take us out for drinks. I told him we didn't drink. So he asked about dinner. He was creepily persistent. I finally told him about our rule we have as a missionary, we couldn't go out with him, and if he wanted to meet our male missionary friends they would be more than happy to go out with him. He said "no! I want you!" I told him we couldn't, apologized and said if you want to see us again you can come to church. Then we left.

We got to church and helped set up. It took much longer than anyone anticipated.

After, we were invited by the bishop and asked to help with the activity so, we ended up staying for part of it too. While it was fun, I just really wanted to go finding. We had big plans for the day. So after we had dinner and dessert with everyone we decided to take off. And I'm SOOO glad we did. We just did train dendō for the rest of the night and had some really awesome contacts! Sister Bettridge is a pro. We were trying to place Books of Mormon so that's what we talked about. Sister Bettridge bore her testimony to one lady and she started crying! But then started apologizing cus she did not believe in any of that and quickly got off the train. I am positive she felt the spirit. But, it seemed like one of those "I know it's true I can feel it but I don’t want it in my life" moments.  It ended kind of terribly but, I think it was a seed planted for sure.

Then we talked to another girl, who actually spoke really good English. She missed her stop while we were talking to here so I figured she had to be a kinjin (ed. note: “kindred spirit”, I think). She loved to travel so while sharing about the Book of Mormon and church we related it to a road map. If you don't have directions you get lost. The gospel is our life directions. She wasn't really interested I think. But she may come to eikaiwa!

On our way home, well actually while waiting for our train home I saw a girl sitting in the bench. She was dressed really well and on the young side. I thought maybe we should talk to her, but then thought she is less likely to be interested that someone else and we need to make our last contact count, we hadn't given a single Book of Mormon away yet!

Well, through a series of small, probably not really coincidental, events we ended up talking to her on the train. She was so prepared. I don't know what will come out of it, but if nothing else she was prepared to talk to us. She had traveled in Italy, and had visited many Christian churches. She knew a little bit about Christianity, she could tell us when she had felt God's presence in her life and she gladly took the Book of Mormon Sister Bettridge offered her. I'm so proud of sister Bettridge. She doesn't even need me. She is just awesome and so willing to open her mouth and share the gospel. She is really amazing. She is gonna do amazing things as a missionary. I love her!

Yesterday we had a giant conference and Elder Ballard came and spoke to us. It was sooo good! But I have no more time. I'll write about it next week.

Funny stories of the week:

One of our members came to the ward party after going to the dentist. We aren’t quite sure what the dentist gave him, but he was pretty goofy. He walked in and just didn't look much like himself. I didn’t think much into it until the Elders started snickering. His cheeks were super swollen and occasionally he would just giggle to himself. It was pretty funny. I'm not sure anyone but the missionaries noticed though!

This probably isn't funny to anyone but me but, one day this week during study I whacked my foot on the table. It hurt! And sister Bettridge laughed. That hurt a little too. Then that night after planning we both kneeled down and she said "I'll pray!", bowed her head and bonked it on the table. I lost it. I'm laughing right now. It was just one smooth motion. She so gracefully hit her head. And it made such a loud noise!

Ok that's it for this week.

Love you all!

Sister Molinari

Monday, February 16, 2015

What a Week!

16 February 2015 Sakado

Happy Valentine's Day! How was your Valentine's Day? Ours was filled with chocolate making and delivering, secret heart attacks and so much love. Our members love us! And we love them! And me and sister Bettridge...well, we couldn't be happier.

So this week....what a week! One day it was really warm and then the next it was freezing cold! The winds were so strong yesterday that, when they were blowing at our backs I didn't need to pedal! I just got pushed along. Crazy!
Back to the chocolate making...we tried to make chocolates with the Elders but stove wouldn't work in the church so they ended up taking the chocolate home and making it. Saturday we saw the finished product...it was terrible! Just terrible! They had burned some of the chocolates so they wouldn't drip and had made these weird pancake things out of them. And then they ran out of heart molds so they dumped the rest of the regular chocolate into an ice cube tray. Those pieces looked like dog food! We did not want to have those out. So we took the chocolates home and fixed them. We re-melted the ice cube tray chocolates and made hearts with them and then in half the batch I put peppermint oil so they were very yummy! Everyone thought we bought them when we handed them out Sunday. We also made truffles with the young women in the ward so we were able to give out some truffles with our assorted chocolates. Needless to say, we are now chocolate making pros.

On Friday we had a zone meeting and they made a goal for us to hand out this giant number of Books of Mormon as a zone. Honestly, I wasn't too thrilled. Another number. And, I could just see Books of Mormon being handed out to people who didn't even really want them, just for the numbers sake. But, I made a goal to support my leaders probably half way through my mission, and so I decided I would give it a try. On our way home we handed out two Books of Mormon! And they were quality contacts. Both women seemed genuinely interested and I felt so good afterwards. I also felt like Heavenly Father knew exactly what I was thinking. And because of my concerns he put really awesome people in our paths to find, talk about the Book of Mormon and then give them out! It was great!

Sunday we had a goof handing out of a Book of Mormon. Sister Bettridge and I were talking to this lady and she was super nice. We talked a little bit about how we were missionaries and Sister Bettidge handed her a Book of Mormon too see. We only had five minutes before the train got to our station and when the doors opened the lady was still holding the Book of Mormon. We hadn't even explained it or anything but had to run off train! I said I'm so sorry! And then we sprinted off. The lady looked a little shocked as the train rode away. I hope she reads it! We got a pretty good laugh.

Sister Bettridge got pink eye just in time for Valentine's Day. Hahaha all the nihonjin would stare at her like she had a disfigured face. It was pretty funny. I gave her some essential oils, and she did some home treatment too and now she is all better! Yay!

I forgot to write this last week, but, we sang in church and after church last week we were told by one of the members that her daughter couldn't stop looking at us! She was one hundred percent focused on
us. She kept asking if we were princesses! How cute!

Ok, I want to type more, but my iPad is being dumb. Sorry!

I love you all!

Sister Molinari

Monday, February 9, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

9 February 2015 Sakado

Well this week felt like multiple weeks put together. I can't believe we just received transfer calls last week. I'm so happy to still be in Sakado. I just love it here so much! The ward members are amazing. Each week they seem to have more and more dendō Fire. It's great! We've been doing cookie runs a lot...i think it helps. This week we are with the members a lot, we were going to do some mogi lesson and had members drop by with food. I love our ward! 

On Wednesday the rest of the mission transferred. We thought we would get to stay home and have a normal Wednesday, travel free but nope! The new sister coming to kawagoe got appendicitis, so we went all the way to the mission home to get the sister who was staying in kawagoe, one area over, because she had to drop of her old companion there. Haha..I don't know if hat made sense. The point is, we traveled far! And then we came back to our area with an extra sister! Sister McCallsiter. She is an amazing missionary. She goes home at the end of his transfer, along with most of my companions and Sister Orton my trainer! Wow! Where is time going! We had lots of fun together. But I was really glad to go back down to two on Friday. Three is hard! And I just love sister Bettridge  so much, I want her all to myself! 

On Friday, as we were leaving to drop sister McCallister off at the other sisters in our zone's area we saw our front door! It had been heart attacked! One of the memebers had stopped by the night before to give us food and sweet little notes and after we thought she had left, stayed and heart attacked our door! It made me sooooo happy! I'd been a little stressed with the whole dendōing in three. It really made my day! 
We got heart attacked!

Saturday was a day full of miracles! Saturday morning as I started study I was thinking about how we didn't have any lessons planned, and getting one seemed a little impossible because we had to finish weekly planning and all sorts of other things. Before we study we always pray, and so I asked Heavenly Father to help us have a lesson. After study we left for kids eikaiwa and one of our friends was there! She comes to regular eikaiwa and is friends with a lot of families in the ward. We had invited her to come to church the next day because we were singing. Well. That's what we thought anyways. Sister Bettridge had accidentally typed tomorrow when she sent the message on Friday. Oops! So she ended up at church Saturday.

It ended up being an answer to my prayer! We were able to go out and get donuts together and talk about the scriptures! It was really fun. Also, this is kind of funny: after kids eikaiwa we said lets go get donuts and she said ok! So we all biked to the donut shop. Except, when we stopped our friend just kept biking. We weren't sure if we should follow her or not. So we waited, and waited, then decided we should call her. While we were waiting, Ro walked by. We told her what had happened; we thought it was pretty funny. I think Ro just thinks we are star age sometimes though. Finally we made contact with our friend. Turns out she had thought we meant get donuts in the future, Not at that very minute. She was free all day though so she biked back and we had a good laugh together. 

Then that night, we knew we didn't have anyone coming to church the next day. We had invited lots of people but, for one reason or another they couldn't come. So before we started planning for the next day I said a prayer, and told Heavenly Father just that, we'd invited people, but no one could come. Help!

At the end of planning, right before we were about to close we got a call from a member telling us they were bringing a friend to church tomorrow who is super interested! Wow! God really does answer our prayers!  

Last week, I gave the elders two bags of walnuts to crack for me. They were impossible! I figured the elders could do it. Well, last night i received an accounting of their walnut cracking attempts. Two of the elders have cuts and they burned one bag of my walnuts. One elder, while trying to crack a nut, squeezed really hard and it shot out of the nut cracker and hit his companion in the throat. Someone else got hit in the forehead. They were only able to open three, and then one of the other elders ate those. I think while they were telling me about this, they wanted me to aww and feel bad for them but, I just laughed. And laughed. It was pretty funny. I appreciate their effort though. 

Well, we are happy and well here in Sakado. I love it here. It snowed once this week. According to everyone it only snows two or three times here and then it warms up. I'm anticipating spring coming soon. Yeyy!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Transfers!!! Aaaahhhhh!

2 February 2015 Sakado

To be perfectly honest, I had a terrible week this week. Lots of good things happened but I just wasn't happy. But it's ok. I fixed it! As a missionary a lot of your success is defined by numbers. How many people you teach, how many baptisms you have...it goes in and on. And quite honestly none of that matters. As long as you are trying your best and working, it doesn't matter what your numbers are. But, I'd gotten a little caught up in numbers and because of it, I got frustrated and grumpy.

During Sunday school the bishop showed a video of this southern Christian talk show host. She was funny. And everything she said was great. But at one point she says "your worth is not based on the things you do." Duhh I know that. But I guess I just needed to hear it from someone with a southern accent. After class I perked right up and I've been dandy ever since!

Anyways, transfers were today! Sister Bettridge and I are staying together! Yippee! I'm so happy. Soooooo happy! In fact our whole district stayed together. That is so rare here. And it has happened to me twice here in Sakado. Crazy! The sad thing is though, that I will most definitely be moving next transfer. Well...I don’t know for sure...but odds are I will. I've only got two more transfers left, well three including this one. It is highly unlikely that I would stay in Sakado for that long. But if I did, I most certainly would not complain. I love it here. I love the members. I love it all.

Wednesday we had a mission conference. Elder and Sister Aoyagi were touring the mission. They lived in my first area and I was able to eat over at their house a few times. Guess what? They remembered me! And Sister Aoyagi said that her granddaughter still remembers me too! When she told me that, that really made my day. Also, the fact that I could have a real conversation with her in Japanese made me pretty happy as well.

Elder Aoyagi had asked us to look for missionaries in the scriptures and study what they do to prepare for the conference. I didn't have time to really write anything down until the week before the conference but, I had sooo much fun doing it. I started making all these cool connections and seeing how everyone else in the Book of Mormon is connected. It was a little too much fun. I love reading the Book of Mormon! It is the best book ever. I think some missionaries might just say that to say that. But, I'm saying it cus it is true. When you read the book of Mormons with the intent to learn its crazy how much you actually learn. 

On Monday we had a lesson with one of our investigators about reading the Book of Mormon with the right purpose and intent. We showed her our Books of Mormon and she was shocked we had so much highlighted and marked up. She couldn't believe that we found it that interesting, but I think she wants to have the same
experience..so I'm excited to see what happens!

Friday it snowed! A lot. I hate snow. Luckily it's all melted away again. But, we decided to go housing that day, despite the snow. We knocked on 100 doors (sister Bettridge and I like to count). And not a single person was interested in what we had to say. Not one. And I was told some of the rudest things I'd ever heard. That's never happened before. Needless to say it did not help my mood I was in. That evening we had a lesson with Kikue, who I love. Itō kyodai sat in too. We read Joseph Smith history. When we got to the verse where Joseph Smith tells about finding James 1:5 (if any of ye lack wisdom let him ask of God...) it was my turn to read. I started reading and burst into tears! I was just so sad. I know this is true. So true. I don't doubt it. Not a single bit. And I was just overcome with this sadness that people won't listen. It's the key to happiness. It blesses lives in more ways than one can imagine. But no one wants to listen because they are too "busy" or prideful or just don't care. If you had the opportunity to be truly happy, wouldn't you want it? Well, I cried all through the rest of the lesson. Despite that though it was a really great lesson. Kikue believes it! And she loves the Book of Mormon. 

I can't think of anything funny that happened this week. But I know there were lots of funny things. Sister Bettridge saw her first man peeing on a wall...She's still talking about it. Hahaha. Also during a lesson our investigator was telling this hilarious story about her dog eating some mans dentures. Sister Bettridge was laughing along and so I figured she got it. After, she asks “why is that so funny?” She hadn't understood but she thought our investigator's faces being made were funny so she was laughing. When I told our investigator that, we all had a really good laugh.

Ok well, that's it for today.

Love you all!

Sister Molinari