To start off this fab week, Monday night we had a lesson with Anri. Met at the church with her friend Tokiwa who is a member. One of my favorite lessons of my whole mission goooosh Anri is amazing. The week before, we did a mogi lesson with an old couple in the ward- the Imais. We role played the Plan of Salvation, and they helped us so much. Gave us a lot of feedback and helped us get a lesson plan in order to teach simply and powerfully. Cline Shimai and I practiced over and over again. Anyway- we taught Plan of Salvation, and it was really focused on the Savior. When we were discussing resurrection, I was so overcome with gratitude. How wonderful it will be to have a body that feels no pain, no disease, to be perfected and more like our Father. We discussed the Saviors atonement, and what we need to do on earth to reach our goal of the celestial kingdom and access all the blessings Heavenly Father wants to give. We showed the "Because of Him" video--Tokiwa, Sister Cline, and I were all in tears by the end. It is such a powerful manifestation of Christ's love. We asked Anri if she would follow Christ's example and take the first step of baptism in order to begin her journey toward eternal life- she said Yes! It was such a sweet, spiritual moment. Tokiwa said the prayer at the end, and Anri was crying by the end. She gets it! She wants a relationship with Heavenly Father, she wants to follow the Savior. I love being around her, she already radiates the spirit. AHHH love her.
Yesterday, she came to church. She stayed after the 3 hour block while Tokiwa was in meetings, and after we came out of our meetings and lesson with recent convert, we sat down and talked with her for a while. She said ever since the lesson on Monday, she had been thinking a lot about baptism and wants to get baptized. Ahhh she is going to be the best member. It makes me so happy to know that she has felt the spirit and is acting on her feelings. This girls got faith. THEN she told us she was fasting. What? No one told her to, Tokiwa didn't ask her to. She went to INSTITUTE with Tokiwa, they mentioned it there, and she thought "hmm, why not give it a go?" She said she hadn't drank or eaten anything, and had prayed a lot that day. HOW AMAZING IS SHE?! I gave her a talk about the Savior and His Atonement that I had read that week, and she was on the verge of tears. She just thanked us for always helping her feel gods love and caring. The Spirit is working so closely with her, we have said so many prayers of thanks, and know that God is mindful of all His children.
Whiiiiich brings me to my next point. Ohhh my. PLEASE READ "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. I read it in the September 2013 Liahona one morning for personal study. I had prayed so earnestly for guidance on what we should teach Anri next. After reading BOM and PMG, and not really finding what we were looking for, I flipped open the Liahona and found this talk. Not kidding, this talk changed my whole perspective on the Savior, his infinite Atonement, and His Grace. I never really understood grace. I was like the girl in his talk- I know that I need to do my best and the Savior will make up for the rest. But I can't even do my best! I make mistakes all the time and never feel like I am actually doing my best. Well the truth is, the 'Savior paid our debt in full. He didn't just pay it all but a few coins. He paid it all. It is finished.' That doesn't mean we have nothing to do. We have plenty to do- but it is not to pay the debt. Out part is showing our obedience. How comfortable will you be in the presence of God? What did you do that is pleasing in the eyes of God? Well because Christ paid the debt, He in turn gave us a set of requirements. Faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end. "By complying, we are not paying to demands of justice- not even the smallest part. Instead, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did by using it to live a life like His. Justice requires immediate perfection or a punishment when we fall short." God is a God of justice. We HAVE to be perfect. But there's no way that we can be. So Christ paid the price and made up the difference. We do not need to suffer the punishment. "He can forgive what justice never could." Do you see how incredible the grace of our Savior Jesus Christ really is? He literally saved us. Please read this talk! It makes so much sense, and I can't express the love I have for my Savior. He is the way, the life, the light.
Sorry I know this email is long- but one more story. Last night I felt like we were dendoing with Angels. Last night we finished dinner, and had two options. 1) Go to the church, finish weekly planning and practice our musical number for the mission tour. 2) Go out in the rain and try to visit people. Hey. Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach, right? The Savior would have focused on the one- so that's what we did. We threw on our kappas, and started riding to visit "vegetable lady." Our first week here in Gifu, we were in an area trying to find a less active, only to find that her house no longer existed, but talked to a little old lady at a crosswalk. As we started talking to her, she immediately started handing us vegetables from her basket. Haaa then she took us back to her house and gave us more vegetables from her garden. So nice! She had also told us that her husband had just died a week earlier! So we went back to thank her and had high hopes that we might be able to share a little plan of salvation message with her. Well we drop off cookies at her house and had fun chatting, then started sharing our beliefs about life after death and eternal families. She wasn't super up for it, and wasn't super up for meeting another day. We left, and it was a bummer, but I didn't think much about it. Well before we started riding away, Sister Cline was just standing there looking at the house. I asked her what was up, and she just asked if we could go back and talk to her again. I could see she was having a great internal battle right there of whether to go back up or not. "Sister Cline, do you think this is a prompting? Would you regret going back up to the door or going home? Are we fearing God or fearing man?" Sooo we decided to go back up there and let the spirit speak. She came back up to the door and Sister Cline immediately started telling her about eternal families. She was struggling with what to say and she started crying as she was talking. Anyway, long story short, her son came out and got mad at us blah blah so we left. Sister Cline was sobbing. I thought she was going to say something like "this is so hard, Japanese is so hard, I want to go home.." Or something negative. Instead, through her tears, she said "I just love these people so much, and it hurts to see them use their agency against what we know is true." Oh my heart! I love this girl! I had to repent and change my thoughts and attitude- I want to see the world how sister cline sees the world. She has the biggest heart and is so full of charity. Well long story short (jk this is already long sorrrry ha) we started biking home, and stop this cute little old lady on the street. Turns out, her mother was Christian and she went to Christian churches when she was little. We sang I am a child of God and nearer my God to thee right there on the street with her. She said she loves Jesus and would like to learn about Him again. We are meeting with her again on Wednesday. Sister Clines broken heart and wet face from her tears quickly lit up and and we couldn't stop smiling the whole way home. (Ok we were actually both crying of HAPPINESS from this incredible miracle). I felt like Heavenly Father couldn't see sister cline so sad for any longer, after her great desires and faith, He sent a wonderful, prepared daughter on our path. Haha really though it was SUCH A MIRACLE.
Ok AND found the cutest 30 year old housing (the first house we knocked) who wants to hear the gospel, aaaand went to a members house and she had a referral and we taught her and she became an investigator. Blehhh too many miracles lately. Sorry I wish I could just call y'all up and tell you all this great news and we could scream and laugh and cry together. :)
Wow I didn't even tell you half of what I wanted haha. But you get the idea. The goods are in the gospel. And I love the gospel so much. This church is lead by a loving Father and His son gave us a STRAIGHT AND NARROW path to follow. It's doesn't get more simple than that. I hope you all have a great week, and find joy in serving someone this week. You're the best.
Xoxoxo Sister Wilcox