Sophia's baptism!

This was by far my favorite week of the mission.  It was filled with so much joy! Every day lately I have been trying to look for tender mercies.
"If we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget me nots that are here all around us"- Dieter F Uchdorf
There are so many little things Heavenly Father puts in my path that I KNOW are just for me. Yesterday I ran around the block in the morning and he put a big golden retriever in my path that reminded me of Ruby. Sweet little face and soft ears, I held his head in my hands and said hello just like I do with Ruby. The day before that we biked about a half hour away to someones house who wasn't home, but in their driveway I smelled a familiar smell. I breathed it in closer and in fact it was a beautiful smelling Plumeria! This calmed my heart, and reminded me of my sisters and Hawaii.  I felt like God brought me all the way across town just to tell me he loves me through this little flower.  I see everyday how he brings us to certain people and places for reasons we don't always know of at the time, but in the end serve a greater purpose.
This was honestly the best week of the mission so far. We saw miracles everyday. Our friend Sophia who we've been teaching this past transfer was baptized yesterday! I felt the spirit so strong when I saw her be baptized. It has been so exciting to see her grow!  Her testimony is so bright and she just seems so happy! The ward was so awesome helping her feel welcome and loved. I braided her hair in the bathroom right before she was baptized and it kind of made me feel like her mother or something. She is such an amazing girl, and wanted to find the right church for 6 months. She was searching and now she says she doesn't worry about anything.  It was a great privilege to be there with her on her special day.

This week I saw what a change in attitude makes. I was feeling recently just very inadequate in many ways, but I decided, a few days ago, it doesn't matter if my Japanese is not the best, I can still do MY very best! So throughout the day over and over I would ask myself that, “right now am I doing my very absolute best? Using the best Japanese I know, and showing the greatest love I know? Am I doing my best to show love to my companion?” Somehow focusing on these type of questions, I felt like I couldn't feel discouraged, because when you do your absolute best, I truly believe it evokes the power of Heaven. Heavenly Father sees how your trying to use every part of you and he blesses you in turn with miracles, which motivates you to keep it up!

I realized I need to be more patient. I sort of always skimmed over that attribute because Ive always thought of myself as a relaxed, and patient person. But lately I see that true patience, means having patience with yourself.  When Christ says to be patient and forgive all men, I think we forget sometimes that includes ourselves. And with others, don't wait for someone to be kind or patient, or talk to you, be the first one! When you are kind, patient and giving, with time they will be too.  Lately I started viewing every action I do like a domino. If I falter, or fall down, you cant help but knock others down with you. And the opposite is true, if you are bright and try hard, where you stand and all around you will be light too. So the times when its hard, or when I feel alone, or frustrated because no one understands what I'm trying to say, I try to recognize right away, its uncomfortable, but that means I'm just growing.
  I've been studying humility lately, and I think it just means you are not afraid to be taught. It doesn’t mean you are a doormat or let others push you around. Being humble means respecting yourself enough to be taught. Being on this mission is like a flash light, shinning into every crack of my life.  Everyday I ask Heavenly Father to change me, and help me learn, and I realized this week, it is a very foolish thing to do, to ask for this and then not see how he is trying to help me. 

Everything we do is a small thing, but that doesn't mean it's not worth doing. This week we sang to an older lady whose son had passed away. It was such a small thing, singing to her in her doorway, but I felt such a peace and she was so grateful for it.  The little things ARE the big things. Once you realize being a missionary just means being a good friend it's easy!  This week we had a lot of fun with our friends we're teaching.  We made crepes together, and said hello to every person we passed on the street. I learned this week that the keys are these: be like a child, do your best, be yourself and love!
Recently we are always meeting mothers so we made this little kids' English class because everyone here seems to want to know English. It was a bit chaotic because the average age was two but it was really fun! I totally felt as if I was planning a Sol and Coco's Birthday bash.  Kai Shimai made medals for the kids to wear, and we made little stations and games. Also I included a picture of a man who is like the ice cream man, except he is healthy (he sells tofu on foot)   Its bizarre and wonderful!  He walks around the streets and blows a horn that sounds like "toooofuuu!"  Kai Shimai bought a few packages. 

Anyway, attitude is everything! It has made a world of a difference for me. I hope I can work hard everyday and do things Heavenly Father's way, because that truly is the easiest way. When we do, he blesses us with everything we need.  
"And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness!"  2 Nephi 5:27
I know this gospel= happiness!
Sending hugs and kisses to everyone!!!! I love you each so much!

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