We have just one week until Tess Shimai's baptism! It is next Sunday, April 6th! It is going to be glorious! I am really, really grateful that I have the blessing of serving in Yamagata and that I've been able to see Tess Shimai change. There is light in her eyes! Its kind of funny that I'm serving in Japan, but I'm helping one of my Fillipino sisters to come back to the fold. But I guess that's how Heavenly Father wanted it to be!
I never told you about my interview with Elder Aoyagi. It was wonderful! When I found out I had been chosen to be interviewed I was kind of excited, but I also cried, because I felt like, missionaries are supposed to love their missions, right? But I don't love my mission yet. And missionaries are supposed to be exactly, perfectly obedient, right? But I'm not. So I felt a little like, whoa, I'm not a very good missionary.
But I got a beautiful blessing a few days before my interview. I loved this part, "Your Heavenly Father has prepared this opportunity for you to meet with a representative of your Savior." I loved that so much. And when I went in to my interview and looked at this humble, kind servant of God and remembered how he was a special representative of my Savior Jesus Christ, I got a little teary, thinking about how part of who Christ is, are these humble Japanese people. I love thinking about Christ being like them, being so humble, but so happy too.
Elder Aoyagi got to know me a little bit and then asked me if I had any questions for him. So I thought for a minute and then asked him what it meant to "lose yourself and go to work/serve with all your heart" and how I can do that, because sometimes I just feel like I go through the motions, without very much heart. This was his answer: "Love the people." Its as simple as that. Love people. He kept saying, "inochi o suteru" which means to throw away, surrender, give up your life. Give it all away! Don't think, don't aim, just shoot! Just do it. Just try and love people. Help someone, talk with someone.
I love something Micail wrote to me a little while ago: You can just love everyone so freely. You have His name on you. It's amazing. Just be right in the moment and love the person next to you and live your life."
This week I had a happy strolling moment. We always ride our bikes here, but this week I got to walk to a lesson with my companion (I was on a split with Ono Shimai) and a sister in our ward. At first I thought the sister in our ward would be driving us to the lesson, but it turned out that we were walking. The sister in our ward couldn't walk too fast, and we were going to be late for our appointment. But instead of feeling all stressed, because there was nothing I could do about it...I just decided to walk slowly and enjoy it. I love just strolling! I loved that moment of walking slowly in the sunshine! It turned out when we got to our investigators house, she cancelled on us...so we turned around and strolled back to the church!
Here is part of my conversation with Micail today online that I wanted to share with you:
Shel, my soul is feeling a little happier. Things are getting better! I have felt so far from Christ, but this last week, during personal study, I have had a couple simple but beautiful moments of really feeling the Spirit and feeling gratitude for Christ and feeling a little closer to Him as I have been reading about the Atonement in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and just thinking about Him and writing down whats in my heart.
Something Spencer taught me before I came on my mission is that we are closer than we think. Sometimes we build up in our hearts and our heads that we are so far from Christ or from loving people or whatever, but really we are closer than we think.
Yesterday at church I was thinking about believing. I feel like I used to be so believing, but then when I came on my mission and it was like, whoa...do I even have a testimony, and I started doubting...and that beautiful feeling of believing sort of died a little bit. But yesterday I was thinking about believing, and really its a choice. Its a feeling. You choose to believe. And then you do. Then you're a believer! And when you believe, your soul is well! I love the feeling of believing! Its trusting in something true and good and real. And it makes you happy!
Mama, can you send me Katie's new address and Amelia Mann's address in Brazil? Thank you thank you for sending me my eardrops! I love you forever! Sorry to make you send another package! I actually found some bran cereal so I am a happy camper! But Thank you thank you thank you Mama! I love you so much! I'm excited to hear about your latest homemaking adventures! I hope you've had a wonderful first week of being home! My soul is happy for you! How is your heart today?
I LOVE you my Mama and my sisters!
Love Kingu Shimai