Teaching, visiting using the Book of Mormon

Hello my sweet family,
This week was great.  We had exchanges with Oyama, with some Sister Missionaries near by.  I went with Sister Macarthur who is brand new and only been here for about a month.  She is still learning a lot about Japan, and we got lost a lot together in Oyama but I had alot of fun.  It was great to go to another city.  Sister Kubota came to Utsunomiya and stayed with Sister Tan for the day.  Everywhere we went people commented on how tall Sister Macarthur was, and kept asking us if she was a model.  It's pretty country up here so there are not a lot of foreigners, especially Americans.  We taught a practice lesson to a lady named Nakate Shimai in the Oyamaward.  She had a really modern hair cut, and brought us Korean food for lunch afterward. She was very sweet and spoke French and Korean as well.  We taught her about the restoration which I'm sure she's heard many times, but when she heard Joseph Smith's experience she just started crying.  We all felt the spirit really strong tell us this really did happen. She told us later that she had been having a hard time lately finding time to read her scriptures, but that coming to the church and being with us made her remember her testimony and she realized she needs to slow down and take time for what is most important.  When I was with Sister Macarthur we visited a business called LIME.  They do perspective drawings, making things look closer up or further away but on a piece of paper, they are like illusionists.  We taught two people, Sasaki-san,  who is a fun man in his 50'ies, and a lady named Kazuko, this pleasant woman around the same age.  We chatted and I asked them what image they had of God.  They said they thought there was a God in everything, like most Buddhists believe, a god in the wind, the thunder, water.  We told them about Joseph Smith and that he had actually seen God and that he has a body.  They asked me if I ever had an experience like Joseph Smith's.  I told them I hadn't but that I know that it is all real.  I challenged them to pray about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon for their own answer.  Later that day we rode down a road and met a lady who had read the entire Book of Mormon, Erichan, it was incredible.  We were able to tell her where the nearby church is. 
Lately we have been focusing on using the Book of Mormon more in our teaching.  I love that we can be so close to our Father in Heaven.  On the mission I feel like I can see all my imperfections so clearly.  I want to just purify my life and use Christ's atonement so I can be with my family forever. I love that Jesus Christ invites us personally to come unto him, "will ye now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be concerted, that I may heal you?..If ye will come unto me, and have eternal life. Behold mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me."-3 Nephi 9:13-14.
This week we visited many people.  I had Sister Tan lead us to most of the places, since she will probably become a trainer when I leave. The Sisters are incredible. They just keeping coming, 30 or so at a time.  One of the families we visited are in our ward and the Dad is less active. His whole family is very strong, and his oldest daughter just left on her mission to Fukuoka. We had dinner and then showed them a video from Hastening the Work about member missionaries. They really enjoyed it, and we shared scriptures with them about the blessings that come from sharing the gospel, that when you share the gospel you prepare places for your families in Heaven.  The Dad never comes to to sacrament meeting and their home had a sad feeling in it.  Sister Tan and I were talking about it afterward and we think it's because even though everyone in their family is strong in the church, the Priesthood is missing, because their Priesthood holder isn't active. Our goal is to help these good people come back to church. 
Inamura-san who we met in the morning on our jogs at the park, is doing great! He has been reading the Book of Mormon on his own and said to us this week when we were calling him at night "I tried to read the Book of Mormon today. It is a wonderful Book, but the meaning is difficult. If I can understand the meaning. I think it will be an even more wonderful book". He is really into Buddhism and meditating, and he always says how similar the teachings of the Book of Mormon are to Buddhism. The thing that he didn't understand is  why we don't get another chance. In Buddhism he said that if you don't do well in this life, you start over and get another chance. Tomorrow we are teaching him the Doctrine of Christ and about the atonement so I want to tell him more about the atonement, that That is our second chance. 

So much of the gospel is trust. Learning to trust in Heavenly Father's way rather then your own. We have been trying to teach that to everyone lately.  My favorite part of this week was listening to the conversion stories of IreneeShimai and Hayakawa Kyoudai. Their conversion stories are so different.Irenee's testimony is so strong and she said the main reason she joined the church is because she loved the idea of having an eternal family. Her testimony of the Book of Mormon is amazing. She said its her "daily guide to living".   I feel so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the converting power that it has. I have noticed in our teaching as we use scriptures from the Book of Mormon to guide us, our lessons are much more powerful. Irene said it was the Book of Mormon that helped her resolve all her doubts. She said when we asked her "the Book of Mormon is either true or not true and it's up to you to pray about it and ask Heavenly Father." She did that, and that's when she got an answer that it was all true. Hayaka Kyoudai, listening to his conversion story was a bit different. His motivation for getting baptized is because he always felt so good around the missionaries and members. He said we were all so warm and happy and he wanted to become like us. I want to help the ward members help him develop his testimony and also a deeper understanding of the Book of Mormon. 
 This week we played Indiyaka for our ward activity.  We invited many people but just the ward members were there, which was okay.  Utsunomiyaward is like a family.  Everyone was very sweaty, and had the Japanese towel around the neck look.  The gym we played in had no AC, so we all had a great workout. 
We met our friend Hiromi at this food court in a mall this week and at the train station. She is a really small lady but is really hard to pin down.  She always calls us when she has just a few spare minutes.  We taught her about following Heavenly Father's road he has prepared for us this week.  She gets distracted easily and also wants to learn English at the same time we are teaching her the gospel which can be hard.  She always wants to learn and write down random words like "blood sugar level." The good thing is she said every time she is around us she feels clean, and warm, and I know she is feeling the spirit.  She started crying when she said goodbye to us this week.  She always gives us treats and is very fun to be with.

We played Jeopardy at English class this week.  Sister Tan and I made up all these categories and questions, I thought my questions were so clever, ex: what is small white, and from far away you can't see me? answer:what is salt. Also another question we asked our students is, "what is a female deer?" they all were sure it was "rei, a female deer". Very cute. 
Out of everything we do, I love testifying of Jesus Christ and about his wonderful gospel.  I love Jesus Christ and I know that he lived and died for me and for all of us.  No one can sink so low as to sink below where hisatonement can reach.  Use it everyday!
Okay have to go now, but I LOVE YOU all. 

Sister Vail

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