- Sunday, December 13, 2015

November 15 & 22 - Osaka Area

November 15 

This week has been pretty eventful. For one thing, we finally hit the
goal that the mission has been pushing.  20 lessons in a week! I've
been working towards it for a while, but this week we really really
really worked hard, and made it just barely. I'm so proud of me and my
companion, and hopefully we can keep it up. Hopefully if we can
continue to teach this many lessons, we will have some investigators who
can really progress towards becoming members and finding that
happiness that the gospel brings.

One funny thing that happened this week is we met one of the members
like we do every week, this time she decided to show us all of the
pictures that were on her phone. Over the last year she has taken
around 300 photos of her cat, Peeta. And nothing else. There were so
many pictures of her cat. The best was when she had a picture of her
cat dressed up in a Halloween costume as a cat. My companion was
trying really really hard not to just die rolling on the floor with
laughter. It was a struggle.

Also, this week we had a special problem where we had a lot of of food
but no place but no weight but no way to bring it home. We tried to
fit all of the two bike baskets, but there was clearly not enough
space for the mounds of food we had. That is, until my companion had
either a genius or a ridiculously dumb idea. She grabbed her cheap
jacket belt and tied a mountain of food into my basket. It was very
precariously strapped together, and the plan was to bike very very
slowly back to the apartment and if anything started to fall my
companion would shout out really quickly to stop the bike and save the
food. It was maybe not the safest of ideas or of bike rides home, but
we managed to make it in one piece.

November 22

This week we saw lots of miracles. It was really amazing.

First of all, we were finally able to get a doseki for our investigator who just moved in a few weeks ago, I Shimai. It worked so well. She just moved here, and doesn't have any friends. At the same time she has a three month old baby that she's taking care of, and is planning a really big ceremony for marriage (but she's already had the marriage just like the ceremony). Not really sure, sometimes I don't understand Japan, but what this added up to was a lot of stress for her. What's more, when we came in with the member she was kind of sick. Her voice was really really hoarse and she was in her PJs still. She looked super super stressed out. The member and her were meeting for the first time, but this amazing member asked her (seeing the situation) if there's anything she could do to help. This investigator paused for a second and started hesitantly ask if the member would drive to buy her some medicine. (Remember, this is in JAPAN. JAPAN, where I have seen old grandma's firmly refuse any help while they are trying to snow shovel their driveways by themselves with a SPATUALA) This investigator doesn't have a car right now (Osaka drivers are crazy, and the roads are really narrow. It's kind of scary to drive sometimes so it's not too uncommon) and as you can imagine, it's really hard when you're sick to walk to the store to buy medicine with a three month old crying baby at the same time. The member quickly agreed to do that and returned after no time. This was the start and amazing relationship between them. Expecially starting the lesson, the member helps so much. She explained a lot of things that are very complicated, and actually it turned into a lot about how to deal with the stresses of being a mom. Being a first-time mother alone in a new city without her own mother to help her know how to be a mother, this investigator was feeling very stressed out. I think this member provided exactly what the investigator needed right now, and it was a huge blessing. The member also set up an appointment for her at her house to eat lunch together with other members who live really really close and also have kids around the same age. Gold.

Also, do you remember the investigator we found with the two twin boys who kind of fell off the map? We were able to talk with him again, and he still has a lot of interest. He said he wants to research Christian religions right now particularly for his kids, and so was still interested in meeting with us. The only problem is that he doesn't have enough interest that he will set very firm appointment yet. We just keep kind of setting appointments until he'll finally manage to keep one. We do want to teach him, but it might take a little time to get to that point. (We have his phone number now though, so no more no contact)

On Wednesday it rained a lot. So much rain. On the way we met person from Indonesia named Linda. We just talked a little bit and exchanged numbers before she had to run to college. It turns out she normally bikes, and we only met her because it was raining. This isn't the end of her story, but I'll get to the rest of her a little bit later in the email, so bear with me.

 On Thursday we had lunch with that I Shimai (the first investigator) and her member friends. It went so well. I'm really really excited to see her progress, she is really strong right now and she really loves the gospel. She just wants her husband to be able to receive that happiness with her. We went up to the member's apartment where the view is amazing and she is seriously like a professional chef. It was just perfect, we barely had even say anything. When you work with members it really does bring miracles.

As we were doing SKK later that day we noticed we received an email from a former investigator who we emailed around two months ago. She asked us if we were doing any sort of Thanksgiving thing, and said she would love to join. There wasn't really a ward Thanksgiving thing going on, but instead a thing with the members so we decided to see what we could do and then email her back. However much to our surprise around two hours later she walks into the room we were planning in. That's right. In the church. When we were planning. Out of nowhere. It was really really random and surprising. We talked with her for a while, and she told us a lot of her worries about her job. After just trying to be her friend for a while, she expressed a desire to start coming to church. Afterwards she asked us where we would be going and we told her we would be doing something called housing where we just walk around and try to find anyone who might be interested in her message. Her face got really really excited and she started reading her fingers around (she was eating pizza) and when she finished chewing she asked if she could come with us. We were really surprised, but I couldn't think of a reason why she shouldn't, so we told her to go ahead and come with us. So we went housing together. With an investigator. That we met two hours ago. She was actually kind of helpful. While we were talking to people with her she asked this one person who didn't show too much interest at the start a lot of questions, which gave us the opportunity to bear our testimonies again, and he also became an investigator. He has weak interest, so I don't know how long he will listen but I think it was amazing how we were able to touch his heart with our testimonies. After that she really wanted to house an area that she had moved out of. So we figured that we knock on any door, so why not the door where she used to live. Lo and behold, someone answered, and lo and behold it was Linda. That's right, Linda from the other day. I was afraid she would think we were stalking her. Actually she was really really nice and happy to see us so hopefully we can start meeting with her too because she said that we could come over anytime. As she was leaving for class right after she had a some candy bars and gave us all hugs. It was really cool. 

The next day on Friday we had two appointments scheduled. Each appointment we went to brought a referral. First one was a mom who also wanted to come to the normal moms English class and have us teach her son too, but she was very willing to hear us talk about the gospel, and committed to try and read some of the book of Mormon. I hope she does, because I know that if she does she'll feel something special. 
Afterwards we went to our friend Wilma's house to teach her and her daughter. But instead of teaching her and her daughter, we ended up teaching her and her friend and her friends daughter! They had a lot of questions about the plan of salvation. In particular, they really really really wanted to know what age we will be when we are resurrected. This was a very important piece of information to them. I explained that we would be a perfect state so probably not too old or too young, but they wanted to know the exact age. This was not a test, this was an honest question. I have no idea, I told him we should pray about it and maybe they would get an answer come up with that I had no idea. However it is a very good lesson, and they said that if the book of Mormon was true that they would be baptized. Luckily for us, the book of Mormon is true, so it's only a matter of time and effort.

On Sunday as we are biking to visit less active I saw the person on the road and I just knew I needed to stop her. So I did, and she started talking to us about the fact that were foreigners and asked us if we teach English. Normally I would talk to that person about English, but for some reason I just knew that I should get her to come to the church of me. So I talked to her for a little bit, and asked her if she come to church with me. She seemed a little confused, so I asked he if she had some time right then. She said she did, and I asked her again she if she would go to the church with us. She said if it wasn't too far from the station she woukd. It is a a five-minute walk from the station. So we walked with her, to the church and it was really really cool. She talked for forever, but she agreed to meet with us, and halfway through the lesson she turned around really suspiciously and said "did you know that I would be walking right there right at that time and planned to stop me?" We said that of course that wasn't the case because that's kind of impossible but whatever. When she heard that she asked unbeilivingly, "so it was a coincidence?" We assured her that it was in fact a coincidence. What she said next warmed my heart a little bit. She said that "it must've been God, he must've known I was worried about some things." I love that.

And then today, for preparation we went to the planetarium. I love planetariums. I love science. Afterwards a recent convert just took us to a really really high ferris wheel really really in the heart of Osaka, so we can see so many tall building and really far. It was raining a little bit, so it seems further on a normal day, but it was really really really really really cool. Little bit weird too, since it was the same area that I had been three years ago on my school trip to Japan. I want to the same hallway I walked through with high school friends, so is the kind of weird feeling, but really really fun.

I love this area. I hope I get to work here for a long time. 
Love you all!
Know that I know that this gospel is true and I know that God helps his missionaries when they do his work and not just as missionaries but his members. I know he loves us, and knows how to help us better than anyone.

Sister Williamson

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