Monday, March 30, 2015

the goods are in the gospel

my cutie pie peeps. you know, you might see me earlier than you think because i feel like i might die or run home due to an overdose of nerves. transfer calls were a week early because president and sister yamashita are going to general conference in slc! I am transferring out of my bean area. so sad, i love this place, i LOVE the people here. they have become my family! It will be very hard. but i would rather have to say goodbye a thousand times than to have never have met these wonderful people. I will be transferring to Shizuoka! All i have heard is that it is super hot. I hope we didnt miss the Sakura! My new companion is Sister Stewart, she is one transfer below me. WHAT. I dropped the phone after that and started bawling. haha maybe a little dramatic. Super nervous to say the least. I dont feel like i would be confident leading everything even in English, let alone japanese. But i am excited for this new opportunity. This will really test my faith and obedience and commitment to the Lord. I have no faith in myself. But I have faith in Jesus Christ. And maybe that will be enough for now.

Started off the week with a comp exchange in Kanazawa. We were booked with apts all day, had so much fun and had great experiences. Sis training leader gave training and it was exactly what I needed to hear. It was a tender mercy- she was not talking to me, i felt like the Lord was talking directly to me. I have a testimony of revelation. God truly speaks to His children and loves each one. We talked about consecration. Becoming more like Christ is as easy as changing your mind. AFter that, small or great changes in your very nature will occur. We talked about being completely dedicated to the Lord. If anything is keeping us from being one with Christ- get rid of it. There are enough evil influences in the world already, dont let your natural man be another barrier to overcome! We talked about developing moral discipline- integrity. We talked about our judgement day. And when we stand at the bar of God, there will not be one person waiting to condemn us on how skillfully we tried to share the message of Jesus Christ. But rather, they will thank us for any effort to bring them to the Savior. It was a great spiritual boost and I was pumped to get out and get to work after that.

The Tamadas (old bishop and wife in the ward) took us to the World Heritage sight which was sooooo cool. super nice of them and we just laughed and laughed and had fun together.

Shimizu is still doing super great. However, we did push her baptism back until next week because she really wants to see a baptism before she gets baptized. The good news is, 8 year old Nozomi chan will be baptized on Tuesday. So next sunday is the day. We bought her some gum that helps with addiction to nicotine. Hopefully that helps. She is soooo filled with the spirit lately, you can see it her eyes, in her actions, in her nature- she has changed. it is awesome. cant explain it in words. very special. Yesterday at church, Ikemoto shimai finally got work off and was able to stay all 3 hours and for the fireside after church. In gospel principles class, she said she had been reading hte book of mormon and bought a journal to write down thoughts as she read. WOWWW you go girl! everyone was smiling ear to ear watching her share her thoughts about growing in the gospel. She showed me her book of mormon all marked up. love her.

funny story--a 22 yr old guy we found housing came to church yesterday. we think he has so much potential, really excited to see what happens. but he left and 5 min later texted us and asked us to come out to the parking lot. we go out and hear, 'tasukete! tasukete!' so we run over and his arm was stuck in his window. he tried to reach in to unlock his car and his arm got stuck. we laughed so hard. good times.

there are so many fun, crazy times on the mission. but like the title--the goods are in the gospel. one of the best parts of this week was church. President and Sister Yamashita came to our ward! Super rare! But it was so so fun. we had 4 investigators at church and they all got to meet them. in sacrament mtg, they introduced themselves as the missionaries parents, and they 'have wonderful children.' i loooove them so sad they will be leaving soon. after the 3 hour block, they gave a fireside. it was sooo good. The happiest and best times in life are when we include Heavenly Father in the details of our lives, and this meeting, feeling his love and spirit was one of the best times of the entire week. These are the moments we will remember!

I studied the 4th missionary again this week. life is happier and easier and worth it when we give up our desires and our will to the Lord. with anything in life he says this, 'Dont think you cant do this. Often we are deceived to think that hte gospel is harder than what it is. Life is hard, not the gospel.You can do this. Do you hear that? You can. If you dont, it will only be because you chose not to,not because you cant, not because it is too hard. The gospel way is actually the easiest way. This way opens the heart to the Lord, and His power then flows freely without compulsion or constraint. There is no aspect of the gospel of Christ that is beyond your compacity. not nearly. you not only can be changed to become more like Christ, the whole of the plan of salvation is designed in favor of your success. It favors not only your success but the success of each and every one of Gods children. Everything has been organized to maximize your opportunity to succeed.'

I am out of time. But we CAN succeed with the gospel. God doesnt want us to fail nor will he let us fail in anything as long as we surrender to Him. Live life HIS way. Its a lot better. Its a lot happier. Its how we are supposed to live.

I love you so much. have a super week. Happy Easter!
Love, Sister Wilcox

Thursday, March 26, 2015

bringing the world his truth (Letter from 3/22/15)

This week was craaazy fast. unbelievable. but so so great.
We had a special mission conference, rode a bus for 4 hours up beautiful snowy mountains and cute little japanese villages down to the hot and humid city of Nagoya. Elder Evans from the 70 came and did a training on iPads. It was a wonderful and uplifting meeting, and also very interesting. The reasons behind getting iPads in the mission is truly inspiration from the Lord. Elder Evans said that the Lord is bringing iPads into this mission and missions around the world to not only give us a tool in hastening the work of the Lord, but also to train the young people for when we go home after our missions. I was especially grateful for this training because I was addicted to my phone before my mission, and i dont want that to be a priority after my mission. Isnt that interesting that the mission is wonderful for so many purposes, even technology training! Elder Evans said to take electronics away from us is not going to solve the problem. We are going to be living in the world, and be exposed to worldly things whether we want to be or not. We therefore need to learn how to be in the world but not of the world, use this technology to aid us in accomplishing our purpose here on earth, not hinder our advancement in enduring to the end.

Yesterday, Shimizu, Kon chan, and Airi chan came to church! Shimizu is having such a hard time quitting smoking. She has done great though, she has committed to everything else and has stopped drinking coffee and tea, but tobacco is going to be tough. Her baptism is next week, please keep her in your prayers. We love her and her two little boys so much, this would be such a blessing for this cute little family. Kon chan has been to church 4 times now, more than many of our investigators! She loves church, she is just so busy during the week that we cant ever teach her! And how cool that she is bringing her friend! What an example. We think she is recognizing the spirit of the Lord at church, she says she is happy at church. Her parents said she can come as long as she wont regret it, she said this is something she wont regret. love love love her.

Mineta Shimai and I were asked to go to Kanazawa (about an hour away) for youth conference and do a role play in front of all the youth. they called President Yamashita and he gave us permission to go, im so glad we went. After our role play, all the youth did their own role play. As we were walking around the room watching them teach "investigators", i couldnt help but think about and feel the love Heavenly FAtehr has for each of his children. They all had such enthusiasm as they were teaching, some were sharing scriptures, others were testifying, ah the spirit was so strong. It was a testimony builder to see so many young people fililng their time with such wonderful things. The Lord is hastening the work, we must be worthy of His spirit to know how to help. We often talk of the incredible power of the adversary and how wicked the world is becoming. The adversary is working harder because the work of the Lord is becoming greater. We are bringing the world His truth, and we can and are conquering Satan. I hope we can all do our part in building the kingdom of God. We cannot fall behind and we cannot yield to Satans temptations. The Lord needs us on His side. I love you all so much. Im sorry this email is so short, hope you have a great week.
love you lvoe you love you!
Love, Sister Wilcox

Ai suru kazoku (letter from 3/15/15)


i forgot to tell you! last week our cute recent convert Ikemoto Shimai spoke in church! She did such a good job, she was so nervous, but she had such a sweet spirit about her. it was a neat experience.

This week started out..rough. super rough. Mineta Shimai found out her good friend from home passed away on monday. She cried all day on her futon, it was so sad. Sad to see her struggling so much when she is trying to do so much good. Then she woke up the next day with a fever and sore throat. She was sick for the next 2 days, we couldnt leave the apartment. Very lonely and hard week for her i think. She is a strong girl though and the rest of the week, we jumped right in where we left off and it ended up being a great week.

We visited Shimizu one night. Her baptism is in 2 and a half weeks so we felt like we needed to talk to her about the word of wisdom. The first time she came to church, they talked about WOW in gospel principles. She has a smoking problem and really likes coffee and tea. We were so nervous haha i think we said more prayers that day than any other day on my mission. The spirit needed to be the teacher or it would be very hard to help her understand the blessings she can receive from following this commandment. She answered the door and seemed soo happy. she was super genki! That was such a blessing! She said she had been reading the BOM and praying. I know that has made all the difference. So amazing to see how the Lord can change people! We talked about and committed her to follow the Word of Wisdom, she said she understands why we have it, and she will try to keep the word of wisdom. BAHHHH YES! Such a miracle! After leaving her house me and Mineta laughed and cried and prayed because we were so happy, the Lord had surely answered our prayer. The next day, we drove 30 min away to a members house for dinner with her. A bunch of ppl from the ward were there, and we were able to teach her lesson 3. The next day, she came to church with her 2 little boys. Please keep her in your prayers. she is so ready and so prepared. I dont want Satan to influence her at all in this righteous decision she is making to be baptized!

Kon chan also came to church! This is her 3rd time, she loves church! She is so awesome, we love her!! She said "next week i can only come for an hour :(" okay thats GREAT come for an hour! haha she will be a great member soon. :)

We tried to visti Ruri twice, then we called her on Saturday and she couldnt meet with us. :( she has to work everyday now, even saturdays. Makes me so sad! She is so busy, i hope i hope i hope and pray that I did my part in helping her come unto Christ. Sometimes I feel like we could hvae done more to help her, just dont know how. I really feel like we have tried to get direct direction from the Lord on how ot help her receive the gospel, we cant do His work without involving him and doing it His way. We will keep doing our best and working hard to soften her heart.

We had ZTM this week- Mineta and I were assigned to do a little training on Righteous Routine (personal, comp and language study, teaching, and planning), and thinking about our investigators at all times. We did a little role play- i think it went really well. Maybe you could do it in your mission prep class- mom and park!!

We made a little "cup telephone"- (2 cups with a string connecting them.) We had one person up on the stage with the cup to their mouth- telling us "revelation" for our investigators. He represented Heavenly Father. Then we had the cup to our ear, and during personal or comp study, if we started thinking about other things, or talking about other things, the cup would be put down. Riding our bikes, and singing disney songs instead of thinking and praying for our investigators, the cup would be put down. The string represents the Holy Ghost. God speaks to us, and through the Holy Ghost, we are able to know what HF would have us do for our investigators. If we dont have the cup to our ear, we cannot receive the revelation that is necessary for our success. We were going to sing Each Life that Touches ours for Good, but we ran out of time. Anyway, it helps remind me to always have a prayer in my heart, to be virtuous in deed and thought, and always be in tune to the spirit with the cups to our ears!!

hey also..park and jare- i want to challenge you to read the book of mormon. See if you can do it before your birthday!! It is powerful. If you put that first before other things, you will see more blessings flow into your lives. Ezra Taft Benson said:

"Often we spend great effort in trying to increase the activity levels in our stakes. We work diligently to raise the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings. We labor to get a higher percentage of our young men on missions. We strive to improve the numbers of those marrying in the temple. All of these are commendable efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom. But when individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow."

I have a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. It is a powerful witness of our Savior Jesus Christ. Our friend who gave us the incredible gift of the Atonement. Please please please gain this witness for yourself. It is necessary to endure the fiery darts of the adversary. We have the tools, let us use them. "Yesterdays meal is not enough to sustain todays needs." Feast on the word everyday!

I love you so much. Heavenly Father loves you with a perfect love, which we cannot even fully understand.
have a great week!
Love, Sister Wilcox

かんぜんなせいかつおおくるとわしあわせにせいかつすることです。(Letter from 3/8/15)

Oh my. My heart is so full this week. It has kind of been a joke between Mineta Shimai and I that our `hearts are so full`..but this week has been a tender mercy and a turning point for me. So many wonderful experiences that I will cherish forever.

I have been in Toyama for almost 4 transfers now. I wanted to stay because of our investigators, so I asked President Yamashita if I could stay. I think that came from the spirit, because I think the real reason I stayed was for my companion. We could have worked better together, I could have been more patient and loving. So this transfer, I made it my goal to be more Christ-like towards her. I dont want you to think by me telling you this that i am putting myself on a pedestal, I hope this can encourage you that through the help of the Savior and the Spirit, we can change anything about ourselves that we dont like in order to be more in harmony with the spirit. Everyday this transfer, I have made a different goal to strengthen my companion. A simple note, making her breakfast, making her laugh, complimenting her, speaking more japanese in the apt so she feels more comfortable, etc. There has been such a great change that i am so grateful for. We have become such great friends and i love her! We laugh all the time and we really have so much fun together. I have learned so much good from her this transfer because i have chosen tosee the good. With a prayer in our hearts, more positive words and actions toward each other, and the spirit with us always, we have seen so much more success. We are so much happier and therefore can share more happiness with others. And i know that is a direct result of having the spirit, the love of God with us always. "To live perfectly is to live happily. To live happily is to grow spiritually toward perfection." I testify that the Atonement is something we have access to, Jesus Christ has given us the power to change our hearts, and for that I am so grateful.

We had another lesson with Shimizu san at a members house again! It was PERFECT! We had a nice dinner, then the dad played with the 2 little boys, and the mom and prepared a room before hand for a lesson. I was so impressed and grateful- the clean atmosphere made it easier to feel the spirit. We taught the Plan of Salvation. There was a point in the lesson where the spirit was so strong and so joyful, I wanted to just say, `Oh come here you guys!! Gimme a hug.` haha ya know?? It was just so happy and satisfying to be giving someone the opportunity to feel the spirit. She was not able to come to church because she had to take her boys to the hospital. We heart attacked her door while she was gone, she texted us later and said when she saw that, she cried. She said she felt love from us and from God. Its amazing that with our little efforts, Heavenly Father can turn them into wonderful spiritual experiences.

Kon chan, our 16 year old inv came to church! And she brought her friend! What a cool example. We was so impressed with her and grateful for her. We gave a church tour and she was telling her friend about church. Very cool. They said they are coming again next week!

I hope you can each feel the spirit everyday. Put your self in a position where the spirit can touch your heart. That is his job. (`You had one job`..haha sorry.) He has been doing it for a long time and is very good at it. But we need to choose to do our part. Progression is tied to our agency and if we choose the good, we are going to have help along the way. Heavenly Father always wants to help.

I love you LOVE YOU. Have a great week, do something fun. Life should be fun. :)
thank you for your love and examples.
love, sister Wilcox

Yapan (Letter from 3/1/15)

The weather is starting to warm up, not so much snow its faaaaabulous!
This week we had another shokujikai--we at dinner and had a lesson with Shimizu san at an investigators house! I wish we could do that everytime, dendo with the members is so important! We taught her the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson, she asked about baptism...we had not even talked about Baptism! We explained the wonderful blessings that come from Baptism, and she accepted a baptismal date! SHE IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON MARCH 28!!!!! She is an incredible person, and it is so neat to see the change the gospel brings, such a GOOD change that allows perfect joy to flow into our lives. Please keep her in her prayers!
Akiho chan (member that just got her mission call to Sendai!) did dendo with us again this week. She is so awesome. Park you should call the elders and ask to go out with them- they would love it and you would love it! Ruri couldnt meet with us again this week. :( It is so sad- she is so busy! So hard. We had a lot of member lessons this week, it is awesome to see the strength and faith these people have. I want to be more like them.

ALSO Bongo san came to church again this week! We didnt even call him, he just showed up. His wife had to work again, but he is really progressing which is exciting!! He tried to read the BOM but cant understand the english very well, we said we could get him a french BOM and he was so excited! The members love him, he already has a light and people are drawn to him!

This week i read end of D&C and pearl of great price. its so amazing right?! Joseph Smith really was incredible. I know He was a prophet of God. Everyday I have a firmer belief of the truthfulness we teach and live everyday! This gospel is true! and I love it. I love you all so much! sorry for the short email this week. I am praying for each of you, love love love you
love, Sister Wilcox

True LOVE (letter from 2/22/15)

WOW. this week. I loved this week.
Truly, this was the best week of my mission. (for selfish reasons)..but this week I have been so spiritually strengthened and almost spiritually exhausted- its hard to explain, but I feel like a different person, finally feeling like I canchange and make small steps in becoming more Christlike.

I want to send you some of my journal entry from this week:
"Today was incredible. This Lord really is on my side. I cant express the feeling in my heart on paper. My heavenly friend, my Savior Jesus Christ, my Father in Heaven manifested their love to me and all the missionaries here through the voices of their servants- Their representatives, prophets, seers, and revelators. Elder Ballard, Bishop Stevenson, and Ronald A. Rasband came to our mission. We got to shake each of their hands- afterward Elder Rasband said, `You just had a personal interview with an apostle of the Lord. He can look you in the eyes for 5 seconds and know everything about you.` Wow! I thought, `What if the Savior looked me in the eyes right now- what would he see?` I shook their hands, then shook President Yamashitas hand. He said `Did you talk to Elder Rasband?` (In my interview with Pres Yamashita I told him Elder Rasband was over my dad and that I had met him.) It meant a lot to me that although Pres Yamashita had so much going on, he still remembered that and asked me about it. I dont think Elder Rasband recognized me. When Elder Ballard got up, he said `Its hot in here, can we open a window?` Elder Ballard and Elder Rasband both said `this will be the best day of your mission.` ...Honestly- it was! There was so much love. The missionaries from the whole mission all arrived early, it was so fun to see all the eternal friends i have made. Its so easy to love missionaries- to know that we are all struggling with the same things and seeing the same miracles. Powerful. some elders sang `brightly beams our fathers mercy` for a musical number. It has become one of my mission songs. "Some poor fainting struggling seaman, you may rescue you may save."
Anyway, the conference was incredible, i will write you a hand written letter and try to explain what we learned from these apostles. Its too good not to share!

But the best part of the conference, the thing that I feel has literally changed my heart, my desires, my thoughts and even my actions, was when President Yamashita spoke to us. He was not supposed to speak, but before the closing prayer, Elder Ballard got up and said, `its not very often that all your missionaries are together.` So he invited Sister and Prez Yamashita to speak to us. Sister Yamashita got up and said `I love you so much` in her cute english, and bore her testimony. It was so sweet. Ahh i wish i could have recorded this moment so bad. It was SO SWEET. President Yamashita got up, and as he spoke, it was like this spiritual wall just hit me! I felt like my heart and my eyes had been opened to feel what real, pure love feels like. There was not a dry eye in the room. He started speaking to us and all of a sudden we were all a family.

I don`t think anything in this life could have brought me closer to Christ than serving a mission. Giving my time, my might, my heart to serving the Lord; To really try to figure out the will of the Father, it requires us to be close to the Holy Ghost- which manifests the reality of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christs love. And as i have served, and continue to serve, that love becomes a part of me, and I want nothing else than for others to feel that love. My priorities have changed on my mission- and those priorities are more centered around Jesus Christ. Its the love that has changed me- its all about LOVE! :)

This week we were able to see Ruri! Finally! We went bowling with her. I really want to go to her house this week and try to have a lesson. See how the book of mormon and prayer is going. Kon chan just texted us and asked if she could come to church this week!!! AHHH how cool is that?? She is so solid. She is someone who wants to do the right thing and has her priorities straight. She shows us so much love.
Bongo san came to church yesterday! He said he would read the book of mormon and see `what this church is all about.` :) They are such a nice family. Im grateful to know them.

Im sorry this email was so long. I feel so much spiritual power and i wanted to share with you and hopefully help you feel the spirit as well. Elder Ballard taught that every single day we need to let our minds go to Gethsemane. As i have been seriously thinking about that, it has given me peace and appreciation that i am so grateful for.
I love you so much. You are each children of our Heavenly Father. I testify that that is true.
Love love love you.
Love, Sister Wilcox