Dear family,

So I just got my last transfer call today. Surprise I am staying in
Utsunomiya!  I'm really grateful to be ending my mission here in a
place I love.  I will have served 9 months here by the end of this
upcoming transfer.  Half my mission!  We were so anxious for the
phone call this morning.  The anticipation is like Christmas except
scarier.  Sister Tan almost fainted when she learned she's becoming a
trainer this week. She is training a new missionary and transfering
out to Urayasu in Tokyo.  I'm staying here and picking up a new
companion who is still in America at the MTC. Since there are so many
missionaries now being sent to Japan, all the young missionaries are
having to train the brand new missionaries too.  I wasn't sure if
Sister Tan was going to cry or not.  I know she will be a wonderful
trainer. I'm sad to see her go but I feel so lucky we could have made
so many great memories together.  She feels like a sister to me and is
always noticing funny things and writing them down. Her planner is
just filled with all my embarrassing moments.

For instance, since it has been so hot lately it's too hot to sleep with
blankets.  The thinnest sheet I could find in our apartment is a
fitted sheet.  So I've been using that and find it very comfortable. I
always feel like I'm breaking out of a cocoon in the morning. Sister
Tan was in shock yesterday morning when she said she woke up and
rolled over and I looked like I was in a body bag.  She also said it
didn't help that she just woke up from a scary dream.  I made her
imitate it later so I could see, did look pretty scary.  I sent a pic
of course.

We had the best last week together.  Yesterday all five of our recent
converts came to church, Kentaroh, Irene, Hayakawa, Nakayasu Kyoudai
and Usa Kyoudai.  I felt so happy for all of them.  Bringing people
the gospel feels so rewarding. I feel like being a missionary must be
like raising kids.  The joys of parenting I think are when you see
your kids do something good,  or something to improve themselves and
you just feel so happy. These sweet people are like tiny babies in the
gospel, and we teach them how to walk in Heavenly Father's path and
when they do it on their own you just feel so good!

 This week our friend Noriko who is just starting to learn about the
gospel surprised us in our first lesson with her and is just dying to
get baptized! We met her two weeks ago when it had just started to rain.
We were biking back from the train station and were in a little hurry
since we didn't have our jackets with us. Noriko was crossing the
street coming towards us and we were waiting for the other light to
turn green. We were starting to get pretty wet, but as much as we
wanted to hurry home we noticed her peeking out from under an umbrella
with really big eyes. She didn't say a lot when we met her, but she
just kept staring intently at us both.  We started telling her about
who we were and invited her to church.  She kept trying to fit us both
under her tiny umbrella as we told her about church and explained what
we did for all three hours.

She ended up coming to church and stayed for all three hours. At
church she said she was surprised because it was like a school, not
like the churches she had imagined, that it was a happy place where
anyone could come to learn. She said she surprised herself because she
didn't get bored the whole time. She told us that she usually  takes
medicine every day for depression, but that Sunday she felt so happy
she didn't even take her medicine.

She said during our lesson that, that day when she met us she didn't
know who we were. Her first thoughts were that we must be the shoe
sales girls at the nearby mall.  She said she kept thinking- Do I know
them? Why are they talking to me?  She told us normally when people
talk to her on the street she thinks they are strange and she never
responds but she said that day she met us she felt like she couldn't
turn away from us. She is probably about 45 but dresses like she is
12.  She is very precious.

 She told us in our lesson she knows now that God had us meet. We told
her that God knew her and loved her, and told her how much faith she
already has.  We taught her about repentance, and about how we can
become a new person through Heavenly Father's plan. As soon as we told
her the blessings of baptism and showed her a picture of Christ
getting baptized she said "hairitai!" (I want to go in!") Sister Tan
and I were so surprised and so excited for her. We told her of course
she could be baptized, but we have to continue teaching her a few more
lessons first. She said that would be alright and she picked out her own
date, October 27th. The Relief Society President, Sister Karube, just
happened to have with her a woman's baptismal dress that the Bishop
had her purchase, so after the lesson Noriko was able to hold it up to
her and she said she felt so beautiful and pure. She is so excited and
looked like a princess after our lesson, just so full of joy.  It
really was a testimony to me that Heavenly Father does everything. We
just have to willingly open our mouths and we will be lead to who is

On the way to Noriko's lesson we both noticed this very smiley Obachan
(grandma) walking down the street. We didn't have a lot of time, but we
knew this Obachan was really special. We pulled over and quickly
introduced ourselves and told her we didn't have a lot of time but
asked if we could come visit her after our appointment in about an
hour and a half. She said that would be okay and she said, "are you
going to share a nice message?" We told her of course and quickly got
her address. After Noriko's lesson we fond Torishima-san, this lady's
home. She was so happy to see us. When we first walked into Torishima's
house and I noticed a familiar child celebrity, or so I thought.  I
said "oh so you like Harry Potter, so do I!"  As I got a little closer
and with a puzzled look, Torishima Obachan said, this was not harry
Potter but a Korean pop star who she loved.  She had posters of him
all over her walls.  She was kind of a lonely lady but since we had
come to visit her she kept saying,  "I'm so happy I feel like I'm going
to cry".

She is a widow and her husband has been gone for about 20 years now.
When we sang to her she told us how "shizuka" (quiet) her heart felt.
We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and a little about Jesus
Christ. When we told her we could live with God again she said
'someone like me can't live with God'. We told her about Christ and
about becoming clean again. She really liked this idea and said that
she knew we were sent from God. She said she only has a little time
left, so she wants to clean up her heart so she can be ready. She was
the most receptive older lady I have ever taught on my mission. She
was so humble and teachable and even prayed at the very end the
sweetest prayer at the end.  When she was finished she looked at the
picture of Christ and said, "Iesu Sama, Yoroshiku Onigaishimasu". Kind
of like, "Jesus, from here on lets be friends" Sister Tan and I
invited her to be baptized when she knows our message is true and she
said, "mochiron!" ("of course!") We went back to visit her yesterday to
share a scripture with her and to invite her to our ward activity but
she said it would take her at least 2 hours to get ready but she is
really looking forward to seeing the church on Thursday.

I love finding people on the street.  Last night I saw this beautiful
older woman with a Kimono walking towards us so I called out to her
"Kawaii Kimono!"  (cute Kimono!) to get her attention, it wasn't until
this person crossed the street, I realized this person I had yelled
out to was a young 25 year old man with longish hair.  He quickly
corrected me telling me he wasn't wearing a Kimono it was some type of
men's wear, but he was very nice and we were able to invite him to
English class.  I was a little embarrassed that I mistook him for a woman

The one man we are teaching right now, Inamura-san is doing wonderful.
We were so happy to see him pull out his Book of Mormon and Plan of
Salvation pamphlet with all these sticky notes and highlighting. He
even went out and purchased a Bible with a lot of pictures in it on his
own so he can study the references to the Bible from the Book of
Mormon. He loves the Book of Mormon, but said the practical
application is hard for him. He said in his lesson this week, "If
every person knew this, there would be no war".

Every person is at a different level that we're teaching. One lady Fang
said she can't believe in God because her life is so unfair.  She had
us over for dinner this week and told us more about her really sad
life.  She was put in jail, and lost loved ones, and felt that if God
really loved her he would not let such things happen to her.  Now she's
out of jail, but it's as if her mind is still in chains because she
can't rise above all this negativity and see that there is so much more
to life then hanging on to what happened to us in the past.  So many
people like that are conditional.  We ask people if they believe in God
and they say something like, "when I need help, I believe in God", or
"before a test, I believe" or if things are going wrong I don't believe".
 It's very interesting.  Fang is this way, she can't believe in a God
because if he was really there, he would have helped her, she thinks.
It's interesting that people think that Heavenly Father is supposed to
answer their prayers in the exact way that we want.  Fang said she
feels like the world is out to get her. So Sister Tan and I have been
praying about what we can do to help her find some hope.  This week
Sister Tan and I brought her over a little gratitude journal so she
can write down every day the small miracles she sees in her life.  We
have been sending her a miracle we see every day and ask that she share
a miracle a day with us.  She actually did this and we were so happy!
She said she repaired her bike and it only cost one dollar.  These
miracles are small, but like President Monson said, "The journey of a
thousand miles, starts with one step. watch your step".

We had a typhoon today so Sister Tan and I cleaned the house for P-Day.
 Now I think we're going to make an I'm a Mormon video.  Sorry this is
really long, but I wanted to share some of the miracles we saw over

Love you all.

Sister Vail

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