Konichiwa Ai Suru Kazoku! (beloved family!)
The weeks seem to be flying by. It is beautiful every day here and getting very hot. Sister Rogers says I am like a firefly to the light (only to the sun!) I love it. We had a great week this week. I am a little sick right now but nothing too bad just a sore throat.
We had 11 new Nihon sisters join us and I LOVE IT! We all did a musical number on Sunday, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." We sang in in English and Japanese and when I closed my eyes, it could have been angels.
The Japanese sisters and elders are wonderful. We sit with them at lunch and it's always funny the exchanges we have between the Japanese that I know and the English they know. For example, this week one of the new sisters from Japan, Sister Honda asked me, what my name was after looking at my Id card. I said "my first name is Marni but it's a secret!" Then she was calling me "Sister Secret" at lunch. Funny things like that happen all the time.
But I was thinking about that afterward, being called by my last name, and what that really means when they say my last name, instead of Marni. I am constantly reminded who I represent, not just representing Christ, but also representing my whole family, on both sides.
Its actually very special, since I have arrived here there are moments when I am just positive that there are angels at my side cheering me on. Some of those are you, and some I know are here with me.
I am grateful for both.
I love my District family too. The 8 elders have become like my brothers, they are always doing funny things. We are always fighting over the temperature of our classroom. Sister Rogers finally got fed up and took apart our thermostat and switched the cold to the hot, and the hot to the cold, so when the elders thought they were turning on the cooler, it was really blasting us with heat. It went on for about a week before the elders caught on. They kept saying things like "the shimai have cursed the AC!" I felt bad about it, but Sister Rogers comes from a family of 9, six of which are brothers, and she says if you don't stand up for yourself, they will walk all over you.
What else. I went to the temple this morning. It was wonderful. I felt so strongly today that Heavenly Father knows his children, every single one. He even is mindful of me even that I have a sore throat. When we came out I saw this happy little sparrow diving down to the fountain outside the temple and swooping back up to the sky, and then diving in again. And I remembered that scripture about how Heavenly Father knows even when a little sparrow falls, so how much more aware of us he is.
Oh yes, on Sunday they called me up to give a talk in sacrament. Every week they have a topic, and then right when sacrament starts they just announce to you then who will be speaking, so its always a surprise for everyone including the speaker. They tell everyone what the topic is each week so that all the missionaries prepare a talk in Japanese, but only this week I was sick so I didn't really prepare. But as I was sitting in the audience I felt, hmmm, I wonder if they will call on me this week that I haven't really prepared...and of course I hear "Shimai Vail will speak to us today."
So I just headed to the stand and the topic was "Endure to the End." I just said in the best Japanese that I could that ¨¨saigo made tishinobu (enduring to the end) is simple. Life is sometimes difficult and sometimes it is happy. But enduring until the end means doing the simple things every day. I said that Jesus Christ is my Best Friend and that with Heavenly Father's help we can do anything!
It is so true though. Heavenly Father wants to bless us, and is eager to help us. Most of the time, we are the ones getting in the way of hearing him. I've been thinking a lot about my testimony lately and there have been plenty of times of doubt in my life. Times when I felt to say the words Heavenly Father why has thou forsaken me. And right now I have to say that he has not and never will! In trying times it can feel that way though. But I know all things especially the difficult will give us experience and, like Joseph Smith, said will be for our good. I know that Heavenly Father knows every precious soul and has taken me by the hand so many times and lead me to a safe place. For that I will be forever grateful. I know that we don't have to guess around in the dark if this is true or not. We can get on our our knees and say I am doing everything I know how to do, I am trying to be a good girl, please help me to know if you are there, and he will, not always instantly, but definitely he will tell you that he is.
I know that we are all just ordinary people, but knowing who we are, children of god is such powerful knowledge.
I hope that you all will look for the wonderful things in your life, they are there!
I love you sooooo much!