Sooo transfer calls were last week and...........................
..................I am still here!! Its now just me and Hawkins Shimai again here in Okinawa! We are both so happy to be here together for the Holidays and for this area. One of the biggest (or THE biggest, I'm not sure) Church building in Eastern Asia is being built here for the Military branches and the Japanese ward. It will be finished in December so we are happy to be a part of that as well!
We had a great first lesson with a lady who has been coming to Eikaiwa (English Class) for a really long time. A few weeks ago we gave her a Book of Mormon and then she missed a few weeks and then we were able to teach her! She had one experience in her life where she really felt like she got an answer to her "prayer". After we taught her about the Book of Mormon and prayer I was thinking about how ABSOLUTELY different it is teaching someone without a Christian background AT ALL. They don't understand the image of God or who he is. They tend to think he is angry and only loves those who are good. They have little or no idea of what prayer is. As we were teaching Sumiko about prayer she was scared and didn't want us to pray when we asked her if we could. After we finally did, she apologized and said, "Oh, that's what a prayer is!" She then realized it wasn't scary. As we explained to her that God is our unconditional loving Heavenly Father and He loves everyone even when they make mistakes. At first she didn't really understand that, she couldn't wrap her head around it. But then we asked her about her children, who are now grown, and asked about her love for them. She started to cry and she began to understand who God was and that he loved her EVEN more than she could comprehend. She explained to us that through her life she said "prayers" not really directed at anyone in-particular, but prayers of gratitude for her health and the health of her children. At the end of the lesson we invited her to pray, but to our surprised she quickly refused! She was too nervous and didn't understand. We went over the steps given in the pamphlets but still she wouldn't pray. We asked our member joint to offer and quick prayer and then Sumiko could go next. After she heard that prayer, her understand of what a prayer actually was began to increase. She did finally pray! Although it was short, she offered a heartfelt prayer to our Father in Heaven. We just need to learn to takes things slow here, one step at a time. She is awesome! Keep Sumiko in your prayers!
Andrew was baptized on Saturday. He was the one that was taught in NC! We have really gotten close with his wife, Justien over the past few months. It was such a fantastic baptism! The weather was absolutely perfect! It was on a beach in the East China Sea! What I loved so much about the tone or theme of this baptism was how we focused on covenants. Andrew made his first step, or first covenant in his journey! There next step will be together in the temple. At the service, we were all looking forward to the temple. They have decided to be sealed in the temple in December of next year. They are working together to grow closer to our Heavenly Father.
I decided to spend a lot of time uploading pictures in stead of writing today! I had a wonderful week! I am so full of gratitude to be serving a mission! Especially on this beautiful island of Okinawa! I am grateful for my loving family and my mission family. My mission "mommy" my trainer, "died" meaning she finished and went home. I am grateful for the wonderful example she was! Say hello to Black Shimai if you get the chance! I am so grateful for the plan of salvation. I am grateful for the knowledge I have of our loving Father in Heaven. I am deeply grateful for the sacrifice of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ! I am grateful for the atonement. I know that through the atonement bad men can become good, and good men can become better. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon, where we can find the answer to all of life's questions because the "words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." (2 Nephi 32)
Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!
I am thankful for you!!!