Our pet bat and miracles in lightening

Hello wonderful family,
Japan is getting very hot, maybe about 100 degrees or so and so humid you always feel wet. You get out of the shower and you just stay wet all day. Great feeling.  We just figured out how to work the AC and it makes a world of a difference.  There have been lightning storms just about everyday too.  We will be knocking on doors and being like "I'm not scared" and then all of a sudden "BOOM!"  and we are clinging to each other instantly.

This is kind of random but this week we walked outside of our apartment and we saw this little creature crawling around.  It was about one thousand degrees and as we got closer we realized it was a bat. It was actually really cute, it had the face of a brown lab/pug and the body of a bat.  I've never seen one so close. I couldn't really make out the eyes, but he seemed to have a hurt wing or something because he was crawling around instead of flying.  My neighbor Shibayama-san who I have been inviting her toEnlgish class everytime I see her for the past four months, finally I invited her again this week, and she said yes!  She didn't know the way to the church so we walked her there to and from  and she was so grateful that she brought us over a whole watermelon and cheesecakes the next morning.  She is so wonderful.  I met her in our elevator and we've been friends ever since.  She is a widow since last year, but you wouldn't know that talking to her because she's so jolly and makes me feel good because she laughs at everything I say. I loved teaching her. Anyway, when I saw the bat, I remembered the watermelon.  I'm not sure if it was a fruit bat, but we went back inside and got it a tray of water and a piece of watermelon for him since it was so hot.  We pushed the tray towards him and poured a little water near him since bats like cool places Sister Tan said. Anyway he lapped up the water and seemed to enjoy himself.  He ended up passing away, which makes me sad to think about too much but Sister Tan said that it was nice of me to give him his last drink of water.  Anyway just a little out of the ordinary for you.

It has been so hot that not too many people are out on the streets.  We have been brainstorming "where do people hang out when it's this hot?" We tried to dendo(proselyte) in the nearby parks but sometimes no matter how long you have been a missionary it can still be awkward, starting sentences like, "so is that your child?" (pointing to a child on playground) Sister Tan and I were clearly not there to play on the monkey bars, so sometimes you just have to cut right to the chase and tell them why you're there, there's no beating around the bush.

We decided to try proselyting near the entrances of the mall one day so we had akubarikai (handing out English class flyers).  We stood right by the door so every timepeople would come in and out we would get a refreshing breeze.  That was nice. I'm pretty sure I have head about every excuse in the book by now, I heard this one that day, "I have to go feed my cat".  It's okay though, I know we are successful when we invite. 
  Some of our best work lately has been in lightning storms.  I used to be kind of scared of storms but now I feel when we work in lightning storms Heavenly Father showers us with blessings. It's funny thinking back on the begining of my mission because I was so affected by my environment.  I was wearing all that rain gear and rain boots and I used to just feel so self-concious like I looked like a fisherman, and now I just put it on and I don't even care what I look like or really notice the rain.

We had an appointment this week with these two cute high school girls and their mom, Shigemitsu-san who we met last week and she wanted to introduce us to her daughters.  She said she has OCD and makes monsters for her job.  She's the sweetest lady.  We met at a little pizza cafe and taught them the restoration along with a little English.  The girls liked the word "amen" we said after our prayers, andafterward they wanted us to do a photo booth thing with them called Policula, so they said "let's go do policula" "amen!".  Really cute.
After we met these sweet girls it of course started pouring, but luckily we had all our rain gear with us.  We biked to a different side of the train station that we don't usuallygo to, and no one seemed to want to talk to us, so we stopped behind some vending  machines to say a little prayer that we could find someone.  We biked along and stopped people but it was getting to be dark, so we started heading home but kept talking to people on the way.  When we went through this tunnel and when we came out we said hello to this lady wearing a face mask huddled under her umbrella.  She stopped and started speaking to us in English. She took off her mask and introduced herself as Fang.

Fang is Chinese and used to live in Canada. We talked to her for about 15 minutes and then she asked if we wanted to move back in the tunnel to talk longer because we were soaked.  She told us her life story and how she lives in fear in Japan because of a problem she had with the police several years ago where she was falsely accused.  She said she always feels discriminated against by Japanese people because she is Chinese and rarely goes places alone because she always feels someone is following her.  After talking to her I asked her if we could walk her home. She was so grateful and we were able to teach her the restoration on her doorstep. We told her how sometimes this life isn't fair, but that in the end all things will be made right. We promised her she could feel peace again in her life through prayer and through reading the Book of Mormon. She was just so grateful and she said that her heart felt warm. We set up an appointment with her for Saturday and she said she would bring her husband too.

When Fang came to the church on Saturday we were so happy because its about a 40 minute bike ride in the hot sun, and she was there! Chinese people are amazing.  She was wearing all black and we kept insisting she have a drink of water but she declined.  We invited Koume Shimai the ward mission leader's wife for our lesson. We planned to teach her about the restoration but it soon went back to her concerns about discrimination. I shared the scripture, in Mosiah 7:33 about how God can deliver us from bondage and then tears started streaming down her face and she told us how she has a hard time believing God can help her because when she was falsely accused, arrested and taken to jail she was praying the whole time to every God, but he never saved her. It was really intense, and the whole time I kept praying in my heart to know how to comfort her.
 She wants to go back to her country or move but her husband is Japanese and she loves him and said she can never leave him. We listened to her mostly and told her that God does love her and did answer her prayer, because she met us.  And not only that but she was an answer to our prayer, we had been praying to find her.. She told us, "Sometimes I don't want to live, but I have to live because then they will be laughing...That day you took me safely to my home, that day I had no hope. I thought no one in this world cares about me. And that day, it was raining so hard, it was like a shower, but that day I felt, it is good to know that someone still cares about me in this world. That's why I came here today". Sister Tan shared a little about Joseph Smith and some of the terrible things that happened to him. We told her he also went to jail as an innocent man and was persecuted his whole life. We told her about the atonement and how we can make a choice to be happy and that this Gospel is the answer shes looking for.

  I also felt impressed to tell her about Priesthood Blessings that she can receive to feel peace and comfort. We promised her that this church is a safe place, and she said she felt comforted there. We ended our lesson and gave her hugs and she seemed so happy. She said in her prayer "God I am thankful for this day that I have a chance to save my soul". Meeting Fang was such a testimony to me that God really does put people who are prepared to hear this Gospel in our path. It's a scary thought to think that we could have passed her by. Just by saying hello, you can open the doors to help guide people to the Savior who can alleviate their heavy suffering. I will never forget this experience.  More than the words we say, how we treat people and the love they feel from us will draw them to Christ.

We had family home evening with  Fukuda Shimai in our ward and her friend were teaching, Akutsu-san and her children.  It felt so good to be around a family.  I love little children and how simple they are.  Easy to love and quick to love you.  All the children participated and we had dinner, a game and then we taught a lesson on prayer to the children and Akutsu Shimai. Unfortunately Akutsu Shimai's husband wasn't able to come but he does want to meet us and have lunch together. Akutsu-san's children were really interested in the Book of Mormon so we want to get them an easy reader Book of Mormon. Sister Tan and I did a role play where she was Heavenly Father and I was a child and we made a telephone out of cups and string to talk to eachother on.  We did an example of how our prayers shouldn't be-- just asking for favors and complaining, and hanging up before he can answer us. and then a better prayer--one full of thanks and then telling Heavenly Father what is on our mind and asking for his help after we have thought about it ourselves.. The kids really liked it and Akutsu-san seemed to really understand. Her daughter who is 8 years old also seemed really interested and during family home evening when it was her turn to share what she was grateful for, she said, "I'm grateful I was born into the Akutsu family". I think it was really good for Akutsu Shimai to see and feel what it is like for the Gospel to be taught in the home and the joy that we can have.

Our other wonderful friend is Daiki. He is the one who is about 30 and looks like he could be in the Beatles.  He is unlike most Japanese people because he always is telling us we need to take it easy and take it slow.  Most Japanese people are go go go, the more the better, but he is like a minimalist.  He just temporarily moved to another prefecture, Nagano, so we have continued teaching him through skype / having phone lessons. We taught him last night about the commandments and he especially asked about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. He said that he wants to be "clean Daiki" and he told us that right now he is so confused about his life, his job, and he has many mistakes he has made, but he wants to be clean. He is so sincere and his desire is so pure. We contacted the Nagano missionaries so he will be going toEikaiwa and church there this month.  His prayers are really sincere and I can tell he knows he is talking to his Heavenly Father.   Last night I was telling him how Baptism can help us become clean again and he said "who is this baputesuma, how can I talk to this Baputesuma?"

It has become so apparent to me how much the Gospel can help anyone regardless of their stage of life, that no matter peoples circumstances, they all if they look closely enough feel that something is missing. I really feel the prepared people are the humble ones, people who are confused, scared or just needing more of something good in their life. I love these people so much. My time is so short here in Japan lately I keep worrying that I need to do so much more for them but I am only one person with so many weaknesses.  Im trying to just take it one day at a time and make everyday count.  I love this mission. Its such a strange thing, I have never been so tired in all my life, but at the same time I never want to stop.  And Ive never felt so alone sometimes, but at the same time Ive never felt so close to my Heavenly Father. And I've never felt so aware of all my weaknesses, but I have never felt so strong.
Love you all so much


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