Monday, July 30, 2018

The Epi Pen Retreats to Fight Another Day πŸπŸπŸπŸ‘‹

Konnichiwa minasan!

So we had a koukan this week with the Kobe shimaitachi and that was fun. We finally met up with Nakamura-san again and taught him about the atonement of Jesus Christ and prayer. Interestingly, in previous lessons he had been really kind of jaded and not super willing to even want to believe because he thinks ojii-chans can't relate to religion, but this time we focused on sharing experiences and just testifying really boldly, and it actually made all the difference. He prayed for the first time and he said he wants to practice more. Honestly the only way to teach is through testimony. Any other way just gets in the way of the Spirit. 

Also we got to do a real proper service project! Wilkin Kyoudai asked us to help him weed his backyard (it's literally a jungle out there) so we went, and took a whack at pulling the forest of weeds. A great many rolly polies were very distressed by our aggressive removal of their homes, but none were more distressed than the two ground wasp nests we accidentally unearthed. The first one was uncovered by Wilkin Kyoudai. His glove was thrown an an impressive twenty feet over the fence in his adrenaline fueled reaction to bring stung by the little buggers. All seemed to calm down though and we went back to work. But alas this was not the end of our troubles. As we were going at it, I unearthed another nest, getting stung twice in the process. This time we sought shelter inside because the wasps were very not pleased with us. Now Idk how many people are aware, but I happen to be allergic to bee stings, which has now caused my hand to closely resemble a small balloon. I've lost sight of my knuckles. Benadryl is proving to be not particularly helpful. I was also subject to a solid two hours of being fussed over by like twenty members at church, and while I deeply appreciate the concern, I'm pretty sure it just made things worse and also I had to miss the dendo meeting third hour because of it. Not fun. My hand hurts. Wilkin Kyoudai is okay though so that's good. πŸ‘

Also we talked to Fukuchi Kyoudai (he used to be bishop) about how past missionaries have found success, and his main advice was kaiin referrals and service (yappari). It seems to me that people have lots of friends they're trying to dendo, but either they're too scared to invite them to meet with us, or they just feel they're not ready. But kaiin brought a couple friends to our Hawaiian night activity and we were able to swap LINEs with one of them. Slowly but surely. I think we need to be more bold with them.

In other news, I kind of accidentally made friends with Souta-kun, one of the youth in the ward. (still not really sure how that happened, I have literally only talked to him like twice) He's going to be 18 soon, so we want to help him get more pumped up about the gospel and dendo so he can go on a mission. He could be a way good missionary if he makes that his focus. I really feel like one of the keys to this ward's future progress is going to be the youth, but I'm not sure how to help them out just yet. Japanese high school is apparently the literal most awful. Like that's the path to outer darkness right there if I ever saw it. But supporting youth in the midst of their bondage to school and cram school and clubs is on the list of goals now, so woo yay for direction.

We also got to go to a natsu matsuri (summer festival) at one of the Shinto shrines on Wednesday after eikawa! Straight up y'all, it was probably the most Old Testament thing I've ever experienced. I'm in a land of a lost tribe of Israel yo. Even the shrines look like the ancient tabernacle that Moses and the Israelites traveled with. I'm attaching videos so you can see for yourself. 

But yeah I think that's the basic gist of the week. Doing our best, but also slightly dying from wasp poison and also a cold.

愛しています! πŸ’•
Sherwood 姉妹

1. Way cool hula performance by one of the members
2. Us doing the hula to Pearly Shells
3. Lion dance at the matsuri
4. Explanation of how Jewish Shintoism is by me

1-2. Normal hand versus balloon hand
3. War picture of us with our battle scars
4-5. Hawaiian Night dessert table yo (so many pancakes but not a single haystack to be found) 
6. Still of us performing 
7-12. Marching with the shinto version of the ark of the covenant "γγƒΌγ‚Œγ„!" ("whoosh" Idk either. I asked why we say that whenever the flute stops and no one had an answer) 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Great☀️Flaming ☀️Balls ☀️Of ☀️Fire

Konnichiwa minasan! 

It's been really hot this week. Like 90°F weather. Now I realize that this is nothing in comparison to Arizona but you see in Arizona the humidity levels are -40% so 117°F weather is fine. In Japan, the humidity levels are 4000% percent. Therefore it feels like you're swimming in a 300°F pool the moment you step outside. Shade does nothing for you. A solid brick of ice water bottle becomes water in less than 30 minutes. No one is outside. If by some miracle they outside they look at you like "why are you preventing me from going inside where I won't melt" when you try to talk to them. If I don't send an email next week it means I've died from heat stroke. I want the typhoon back. 

As for interesting and astounding progress made by our investigators, there is not much to report. Natsuki is still floating in the doldrums of "I'll just wait til I'm twenty to get baptized" and Kunitsu-san is taking a nap in the plains of "maa I just haven't gotten an answer yet". Low-key (high-key) I want to pull an Alma and cry repentance with the voice of an angel and be all "do not procrastinate the day of your repentance the time to act is now" but we can't always have what we want, ne. 

But maa anyways Sunday was probably the most effective day this week. We tried to visit Nakamura-san (no dice) and then biked up Mt. Everest to visit Ooba Shimai. I cried and also lost all ability to breathe due to biking up Mt. Everest in 90°F weather. But anyways by the tender mercies of the Lord Ooba Shimai was home and talked to us for quite a while. Turns out she has a literal pet owl. It was way cute. Fun fact: owls don't hoot. They actually sound like a 1 year old baby saying "ow". She also gave us some way good black bean tea and chocolate. She's a way nice lady. #kiseki 
Then we biked about halfway down Mt. Everest and visited this waaaaay nice less-active guy who hasn't seen missionaries in 30 years (probably because he lives on Mt. Everest) but he was down to chat for a sec and gave us some mugicha cos the heat probably would have killed a small cat. #kiseki We invited him to our cool Hawaiian party this weekend. 
Then we visited a potential potential investigator named Matsumoto-san. She's way awesome. Gave us lassi and invited us inside. She apparently is way good friends with the guy who runs the indo curry place in Okaba and told us his whole life story and basically long story short we got a referral (technically). Also turns out she has a TON of way old family photos (literally no one has old family photos in Japan) and she showed us this way huge scrapbook of them all and told us stories about it and said she wants to be able to put it all on the computer so now we have a solid family history investigator now. #kiseki 

But anyways. Completely unrelated but Smoot Kaichou directed me to 2 Peter 1:5-10 a couple transfers ago and hey its interesting so why not share. Basically 2 Peter 1:5-10 is the literal stairway to heaven with a way cool promise y'all. Now, I don't know how many of you are aware of this, but there's like a literal actual thing called making your calling and election sure, or obtaining a more sure word of prophecy. (see: 2 Peter 1:10; D&C 131:5-6) In the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 

"After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints...
Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions—Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn"

This is the goal of every disciple of Jesus Christ. To truly know Him and attain an assurance of an inheritance with Him in His kingdom on high. Is this easy? Not even a little bit. We may call attention to the incomprehensible tribulation that Joseph Smith and the prophets of old endured. "Deep water is what [we] are wont to swim in" as Joseph Smith so eloquently put it. (impressive for a young man with a third grade education, ne? The Spirit truly is a mighty teacher) Nevertheless, as disciples of the Lord God Almighty, this end is possible in and through the grace and mercy of Him who bore all things. 

Oh the joy of this calling I am privileged to have been entrusted with. As a missionary and servant of my Lord and Savior, it is my duty to bring the children of God closer to this end which is most precious and desirable of all things. There is no nobler work to be engaged in than this of the gathering of the Lord's scattered people into Zion. This joy is what enabled Christ to endure the infinite agony of atoning for the sins of the world. It is what enables me to continue in the days that seem endless and when I feel like I might actually melt in the heat or drown in the depths of emotional anguish. One day I will see my Redeemer in the flesh. And not just after the days of my probation are finished. No, I am determined to make my calling and election sure and join the ranks of the Lord's noble and great ones in whose footsteps I am wont to follow. And in doing so, become a living epistle of the Lord Jesus Christ, Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the Lord God Omnipotent, here to bring the world with me to His presence. 

This is my commission. If you've been baptized a member of His Church, it's your commission too. How great is our calling! 

愛しています! πŸ’•
Sherwood 姉妹

(gomen pictures won't load this week) 

Sister Sherwood wasn't able to send pix with her email, but she loaded a couple to Google Drive for me to share. However, I don't have any captions for them.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Achievement Get: Evil Spirit Encountered πŸ‘»

Konnichiwa minasan! 

Well it's been a long week and I am very tired. 

Sofiah: she's a way nice lady we met on Tuesday. (the fruits of typhoon phone dendo are rich) She moved to Japan from Indonesia and is friends with Naganuma Kyoudai. She's way cool and let me just say it's nice to teach people with a Christian background. It makes our lives easier. Her faith is way strong and family is really important to her. She's really busy for the rest of the month, but we have an appointment with her on the 7th of August so our plan is to message her every so often until then because we swapped Facebook with her. (all of her posts are in Indonesian tho lol)

Kunitsu: we met with her Tuesday evening and we're beginning to think that she's not reading the Book of Mormon as much as she says she is because her levels of understanding are suspiciously low. Currently the plan is to just continue on with the lessons and read the Book of Mormon with her as we do so rather than trying to keep drilling daily study like beating a dead horse. We'll see how it goes. 

Natsuki: She's 100% ready to get baptized and it's immensely frustrating. Why? Because even though we've been ganbaruing for ages, because her mom is still really hantai she wants to wait until she's 20 to get baptized, which, for obvious don't-procrastinate-the-day-of-your-repentance reasons, we're trying to discourage. But I don't really understand her situiation. One, because we still aren't able to meet her mom, and two, because I can't understand Japanese and not only am I currently the only one in the Kita Rokko Dendo Squad who isn't fluent in Japanese, I'm also the only one who speaks English fluently. Annoying. 

Kusaka: Okay so this was actually insane. Privette Shimai and I went to visit this former investigator on our koukan and I'm like 90% sure we encountered the influence of an actual literal evil spirit. Kusaka-san is a perfectly nice lady, but let me tell you her house gave us the weirdest heebie-jeebies when we went there. The bajillions of fish in the genkan didn't help. At first we thought it was just weird but then she started talking about how she can't go anywhere or meet with us because there's this mysterious group of nihonjins who're watching her and gossiping about her and can see everything she does even at that moment in her house. Privette Shimai and I were way spooked. It was dark and scary. We offered to pray and ask for a special blessing on her house and she was like "yeah sure" but she wouldn't let us do it inside, we had to pray on her porch. It was way weird. I'm pretty sure here house is actually possessed. But then on Sunday Hattanda Shimai and I visited her again with Ooshima Shimai and the fuinki (vibe) was 100% different. She didn't talk about the weird mystery group at all and was relatively normal. I wonder if she didn't talk about it because Hattanda Shimai and Ooshima Shimai are nihonjins and the weird evil mystery group is composed of nihonjins...wakaranai. Idk what the protocol is for literal demons. 

In other news, we had zone conference this week and it was great! We received a new Book of Mormon reading challenge focused on the Savior! Here's how it goes in case anyone wants to do it too! 

Read three chapters a day and mark
Red - roles of Christ
Dark Blue - words of Christ
Green - attributes of Christ
Light Blue - doctrine related to Christ

Also our new Eikaiwa program is on its way to becoming a thing that's happening! I'm excited. Also the mission is starting a new online proselyting campaign and I'm way excited cos all the services we provide are gonna be in one place on a cool website that's an extention of More to come as that happens. 

Also let me just say I love the Okada family they're great I love them they spent $80 on us after our lesson with them so we could eat at a buffet together. Best members ever. They saved our tummies. We are eternally grateful. 

Also there was a funeral in the ward on Saturday. It was interesting. Very different from the funeral I recently went to in my family. At my great-grandma's funeral I made the joke that my dad's family puts the fun in funeral. I mean, it wasn't anything even remotely like a sad event whatsoever. Everyone told stories about grandma and how cool she was and how she's probs giving grandpa an earful for leaving her so early. All the family got together and ate dinner and chilled and I got to meet the Guatemalan side of the family that I had no idea even existed for 19 years of my life. I figured that was just normal for LDS funerals. But this one wasn't really like that at all. It was like way serious. (granted that's part of Japan culture but still) Then again, the responses of the family members who were active and those who were less-active were suuuuuuper different. The members were sad, but like maa there was still hope and light in their faces, but the non-members were like super crazy grieved with zero hope whatsoever. And then on Sunday it was like nothing happened. Everyone was all happy and smiling again. The Plan of Salvation really is the only thing that gives people lasting happiness. It's way sad when people don't know about it. But hey that's why we're out here. Gonna spread all the joy. 

愛しています! πŸ’•
Sherwood 姉妹

1-3.) koukan with Privette Shimai (and the biggest spider I've seen in my whole life) 
4.) Hattanda Shimai got a ridiculous amount of Popsicles in the mail
5.) the dream team aka me and Hattanda Shimai
6-7.) festival dendo with Rina chan (I understand all the animes now. Festivals aren't this cute fun thing. It's like a fourth of July festival level of crowded nonsense) 

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Sunday, July 8, 2018


Konnichiwa minasan!

You may have heard on the news but we had a way fun super typhoon out here in the Land of the Rising Sun! 

Bad news: there was lots of flooding and mudslides
Good news: not in our area. We are perfectly safe. All the missionaries and members in the mission are safe. 

But yeah we did lots of phone and LINE dendo this week due to rain the size of elephants falling from the sky. Luckily, Kita Rokko didn't have any damage at all really, everyone just stayed inside, so we could get lots of work done through the phone and everyone's okay. We even found two new investigators through the phone! It was crazy. #ε₯‡θ·‘ 

I got to koukan (go on splits) with Jones Shimai on Tuesday because our companions are Sister Training Leaders and they had to go to the Mission Leadership Coordination meeting so that was way fun! She's way awesome. We met a way cool couple at McDonald's and I think Jones Shimai was really happy that they liked talking in English. She said she wants to be just like me and I'm just over here like pls do not be me I have actually zero idea what I'm doing and I still miss Matsuyama too much you gotta go your own way my friend. I think the koukan was good for her though. We had a lot to do from hula dance practice with Naganuma Shimai to helping Kurose-San weed her garden. Jones Shimai had a lot of time to just kind of talk to me and tell me her thoughts, which I hope helped her. Turns out we have a lot of the same interests, which is fun. I hope she's doing a bit better now.

We did a practice baptismal interview with Natsuki chan and she passed with flying colors, just as expected. Her faith is so strong, and she has all the right reasons for wanting to get baptized. The only thing standing in her way now is the fact that her mom is hantai. 😒 We fasted with her yesterday and discussed a couple different ways to help bring her mom around, so hopefully she'll be able to make her date on the 22nd. The Hiranos have been really helpful in fellowshipping her, which I'm really grateful for. That family is the best. I want to work with them more because they're all very on fire.

Also woo EnglishConnect, the new Eikaiwa program is a thing now! We're in the process of trying to get that going asap, so we've been meeting with our dendo shunin fairly frequently. (he is also the best, just FYI. I'm so sad he's moving next month) We also talked to him a little about how we can better work with the ward, and not gonna lie I did not understand very much of that conversation because it is only I who is not fluent in Japanese, but long story short we're not sure how to balance the directive to open our mouths and also the directive to work as closely with the ward as possible. Probably I am not the best help, but I am also very much at a loss for what to do. I really feel like there's a more effective way for us to be working right now and I've been trying really hard to seek revelation on it, but I feel like I don't have anything and it's really quite frustrating actually. The situation here is very paradoxical and I don't know what it is I'm missing, but we're working on it. 

Also we keep meeting members here who love dance, interestingly enough. I miss social dance y'all. We've got a fun Hawaiian Night planned that's coming up soon and after that we're gonna try and set up a dance party with Hirano Kyoudai who apparently is way good at ballroom. #didn'tseethatonecoming 

Until then, we're staying dry and making those miracles happen! 

愛しています! (*^^*) 
Sherwood 姉妹

19ζ­³ 20ζ­³

1-6.) pictures of the Rain from one of our investigators!
7.) this HiChew was a weird flavor. A Vietnamese lemon.

Gomen pictures are few and far between because of the typhoon

Monday, July 2, 2018


Konnichiwa minasan, 

Plot twist we had transfers and now I'm in Kita Rokko with my new ai suru companion, Hattanda Shimai. She's Japanese and an STL. She's way cool. And brilliant. She's better at math than my dad. Not gonna lie, I'm still kind of very upset to be taken away from my beautiful angels in Matsuyama who I love, and I wanna go back really badly, but I'm in the process of getting over it. It's fine. I've received so much love from the members there. Daisuke even said "ζ„›γ—γ¦γ‚‹γ‚ˆ" for the first time ever. Bagoyo Shimai is a mom now, training her precious baby bean chan Moffat Shimai. Matsuyama is in good hands. πŸ‘πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ My oniichans (Katsu and Yuudai) are stepping up in my place. I'm so proud of them 😍

But anyway Kita Rokko is way interesting. It literally poured harder than I've seen in my entire life on Friday. And we were on foot. We were swimming in the air. I have video evidence. Gotta love living on an island. 🏝️🏝️🏝️🌊🌊🌊

We met with Bishop Ooshima before FHE on Saturday to get a feel of what he wants us to do. The vibe I get is he wants the members to be more unified, but I'm still not entirely sure what he wants us to do to help with that other than making member missionary work goals with the "100 Ways to Dendo" list that we made at the request of Renlund 長老, (Japanese is hard) but we're going to continue that meeting later this week so it's fine. Bishop is way strong. I can tell because everyone here supports him. After all, that's where all power comes from: the sustainment of the people you lead. 

As far as investigators go, Natsuki-chan became a shigansha yesterday. She's way cute and faithful and we help her with her homework everyday. And by we I mean Hattanda Shimai. Apparently high-schoolers here do harder math than I've ever done in my whole life and also they study the Japanese equivalent of Old English (like what Beowulf is written in. Like not actual English) so I'm actually useless in that endeavor. We love her, but her mom isn't super down with the whole idea of baptism. We're going to fast and pray with her and the ward next week in hopes that her mom's heart will be softened and she can be baptized. She's a fairly quiet person, and it seems like she's really solid in the commandments and wants to follow Jesus Christ, but I don't know how well that will stand up to heavy outside pressure just yet. This thing with her mom is probably going to be her big challenge of faith that determines whether the seed has strong roots or if it'll just be scorched by the sun.

It seems to me that Kita Rokko has the opposite problems that Matsuyama had. The members  are super strong, but I don't feel very trusted by them just yet. The feeling I get is that because they're so on fire, if they suspect that the missionaries aren't as fired up as they are, they'll draw back and just try to dendo all by themselves. But hey, I'm willing to step up to the plate and show them what I'm made of. Our current plan is to start with Bishop our dendo shunin, the family history consultant, and the rest of the Ward Council. If we can really get them to trust us, then it'll trickle down into the other members as well probably. In the meantime, I'm having to go out and house and street again and while I genuinely don't feel like it's effective, I'm willing to do it if it means it'll make the members trust enough to help us make appointments every day. πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ

More to come as the miracles pour down like how the ocean fell from the sky on Friday! 

愛しています! (*^^*) 
Sherwood 姉妹

1-2.) Planning and ice-cream with Yuudai 
3.) arm wrestling at FHE. Fujikawa Shimai destr o y e d me. 
4.) mom look at this way old corvette! 

Sherwood Chourou - Week 38 in Japan

Konnichiwa! We are back to the slowish days once more. We've been dendoing and teaching plenty, but nothing outstanding has arisen ...