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