Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26, 2012

メリクリスマス!from Japan!!!!
Here is great pic of my companion and I with our mission president slash santa. I love him!
Okay so I just talked to the fam via Skype so I will keep this short. Merry Christmas!!!! This year was a little different than last, my Christmas was mostly a normal day of missionary work. BUT I realized a few things. I am so blessed to have been able to spend Christmas without all the lights and presents and parties and food and such. Instead I was privelaged to spend it with just me and my Savior Jesus Christ. Helping the very Son of God whose birth we celebrate, The Shepherd, bring His sheep to the fold. Now what could get more festive than that?!
Christ is born! He is the ultimate gift from our Father in Heaven. He loves us with a perfect love we may never understand but certainly every person on this planet can feel. It is real and I KNOW that.
Love you all!
Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012

I know this is SO lame and literally one sentence but I legit don't have time so SORRY! Went to the temple, played with Mano shimai (my senpai in the MTC) because this is her last transfer. (SO WEIRD) Went to Shibuya and re-kindled my LOVE for that place. Seriously I am obsessed with it. Oh yeah and I went to the Yokosuka base on Tuesday and I got a nice huge BOOT to walk in so it's a miracle! I can walk!!!! Also there was a Taco bell on the base and I was literally hyperventilating all over the place when the sweet military missionary couple who picked me up from the station took us there for lunch. Didn't know what to do with myself. All in all, I can walk! Which means I can DENDO!!!!! I am happy. Oh yes and the attached picture is of me infront of a purikura "mecca" as it says and it was called Las Vegas so obvi I had to take a pic.
The Church is True!
The Lord is DEFINITELY hastening His work!

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

So this past week may or may not have been one of the longest of my life. Yes, I have been stuck in the apartment. ALL the day long. Except for going to church and to eikaiwa and stuff. So I was thinking last week after the accident, God has a purpose for all things, I am going to make the best of this situation and do with it what God would have me do. SO I got our cell phone and I called the world in our ward and asked the bishop and ward mission leader and stuff for permission and we were able to get 8 different sisters in the ward at different times during the week to come and do splits with us so that my companion could go out and dendou with one member and then I would stay behind at the apartment and talk with them about Preach My Gospel or how to introduce their friends to the church or I would practice teaching lessons with them. It was so amazing to see my ward come together and help us out like that. The picture I attached is of me and two of the members who came. I am laying in my bed (yes it is mobile because we sleep on futons) that we brought into our study room and I have been imprisoned in it.
So I have been working with Sister Budge and the mission office to figure out another hospital to go to and we figured out that we had to go back to the hospital that I first went to to get a reccomendation from the doctor and to get copies of my xrays. When we went the doctor checked my foot and my pain had spread so he had me take another xray. When he looked at the new xray he said the bone is fine. Of course xrays can only see bones and not ligaments or tendons so we aren't sure about those. So Sister Budge contacted a doctor on the American military base who is actually a member of the church and he then called me and we set up an appointment to go see him tomorrow. So tomorrow I will go to the military base in Yokosuka.
So, I am in high spirits. My pain is almost 100% gone and I am hoping for a very speedy recovery so I can work HARD until the end of my mission. Christmas is coming up and I want to get out there and start caroling again!
Thank you for all of your love, care, and prayers!
Love you!!!
p.s. When I get home, remind me to tell you what I received this week as a Christmas present from and Eikaiwa student.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2, 2012

Okay so let's start with the good news. Prayer works!!!! Thanks to all of the prayers on our behalf, we were able to have a REALLY cool experience the other day.
Tuesday we woke up with an extra determination and faith to dendo (do missionary work). We literally felt and extra zeal for the work and we know it is because of the many heartfelt prayers that have been offered on our behalf. One of our goals this week was to talk to every single person, no matter what, at all costs. So Tuesday we set out literally running to catch up with people so we could make sure we could talk with them. Before we left the apartment we also decided that since "you get what you go for" today we wanted to go for giving out many copies of the Book of Mormon. In about an hour and 45 minutes from when we left our apartment, we had given out 6 copies of the Book of Mormon. It was amazing. Almost everyone we offered the Book of Mormon to to read more about Christ, accepted. By the time we returned to our apartment, we had given out a total of 8 copies of the Book of Mormon! Also as we were walking by the eki (train station) to catch a bus all the sudden we heard a woman's voice say, "excuse me, are you Mormon missionaries?" we both turned around surprised, and were approached by a woman who told us she has met a Mormon from her work before who gave her a Book of Mormon and this is the first time she has seen sister missionaries. She ran off quickly after we were only able to hand her a chirashi (flier) but we pray that she will call and we will be able to meet her again soon. There is power in the Book of Mormon! It is true! Thank you for all of your support and prayers!! Seriously that was one of the best days ever. Where I had no time to think about anything but sharing the message of the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ and I felt the kind of joy that in indescribable.
So that was Tuesday. Let's move on to Wednesday. It was a little bit rainy outside and my companion and I had to take a bike ride to one of our investigators houses but first we had to stop by the church. We hopped on our bikes, and I (like an IDIOT) put my umbrella on my bike handle. Well, you can probably guess what happens next. Umbrella gets stuck in the wheel, the bike does a full on flip forward, I flip with it, my face skids along the asphalt, I sit up, and my companion rushes over and we look around, see I'm okay and then the first thing I say is, "take a picture" and then we start laughing our heads off. Hence the first attached picture, bike in the background. Minor scrapes and bruises. My first real bike wreck on my mission. I made it over a year! Woo!
Now this is the story that you need to not freak out about. Okay so two days later, my companion and I set out on our bikes in the morning to go see a less active girl's school music performance. It is about 8:15am. We are riding down the hill pretty near our apartment coming up towards a light. I am leading, the light is green, we are going full speed ahead. We get to the intersection (we are riding on the sidewalk) and out of nowhere comes a man on his bike turning to go up the hill. We collide head on, I fly off my bike, land really wrong on my ankle, slam my head into the ground (thank you now dented helmet), sit up in excruciating pain and the man and my companion come running over. This time there is no laughing involved. They are yelling are you okay are you okay?! In a mixture of Japanese and the man's broken English because he thinks I don't speak Japanese. I reply with I AM NOT OKAY. I am sobbing. My ankle feels like one thousand stabbing knives plus a steam roller. He asks me first if I understand Japanese. Then he tells me to try to take my now completely broken boot off (thank goodness I was wearing boots) so I try and feel something POP out of place then back in. Weirdest sensation ever. So I quit trying and make them take it off for me. We take off my socks to reveal my already HUGE ankle. There is no way I could even stand up. So I call the mission home, they tell me to call a member to come so I do and the man (who is thankfully 100% okay and so is his daughter who was riding in the child seat on the back of his bike) asks me if I want him to call an ambulance. I of course say no because I don't want the church and or my parents to have to pay any more money then needed. He calls anyway, the ambulance comes and I tell them it is okay I will just ride with the member to the hospital. The police come, I am still sitting on the pavement in undescribable pain, filling out papers and talking to my mission president and such. As everyone is making 100 phone calls and filling out 900 pieces of paperwork (it was probably no more than 20 or so minutes but it felt like an hour to me) anyway, I grab my purse in which I always carry stickers to give little kids and ask the little girl if she wants some princess stickers. She takes them with joy and then I FINALLY get into the car to go to the hospital. We get there, they put me in a wheelchair. (picture number 2) and I wait. We get an x-ray, I wait, they tell me its not broken (which is a 100% miracle from above), but I can't understand all of the other medical diagnosis Japanese I  have never quite gotten around to studying so I am pretty sure it is just a really bad sprain but not positive, I wait, then they put a half cast thingy on it and made me stand up and put my ankle like normal while it hardened. (worst pain EVER), I wait, then they take me to rehabilitation to learn how to use crutches while two members, my companion, and the elders in my area are watching. (this was all SO Japanese it hurts). Then I wait, still in horrible pain. As I am sitting down waiting I start talking to the lady sitting next to me and ended up giving her a copy of the Book of Mormon. I don't think she really was happy with her life. I told her if she read the Book of Mormon she would be happier. Then they give me my perscription for the legit childrens tylenol strength pain killers. Then I finally got to go home and it is about 2pm now. It was all very dramatic but fast forward to right now, I am stuck in my apartment for the next couple weeks. I think my ankle is sprained but still not positive. I am trying to figure out what the Lord is trying to tell me in all of this, and I feel so bad for my companion who has to wait on me hand and foot.
That's my story. I am so dumb. I am glad I had a helmet on. Don't worry about me, I am pretty sure with all of the praying going on for me, I will be back and dendoing in a jiffy! The Lord has a plan. I am not sure what it is but I am determined to find out!! I WILL make this work our for the best.
Thank you for all the prayers!!!
Again, please don't freak out. I am fine. You know I have to write things in a very dramatic way.
ps picture 3 was taken today. (still got my summer tanline! woo!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!
Let's start with my Thanksgiving. Well, the day before we had Eikaiwa and I had all the students (which was only 4 this week for some reason) make turkey hands and write what they are thankful for on each feather. Then the next day on the real Thanksgiving we had our activity called Outreach that we have every week. It started at 6:30. We waited until 7:15 until someone finally came. Yep only one person showed up but we made turkey hands anyway! Then my companion and I thought, this can't be what our Thanksgiving consists of! So we went to a nearby grocery store slash mall and ate a nice fast food Japanese meal at the food court. Then searched the grocery store for something that resembled pie. So that explains the pictures. One of me and my apple pie fritter thingy, one of my companion and I on Thanksgiving at the food court, and one of our Eikaiwa class and their Thankful Turkeys. All in all, it was a pretty good, very missionary Thanksgiving. And I am grateful. Since it has been Thanksgiving week we have been going out and talking to everyone as usual but we have been asking them what they are thankful for. (after taking the time to explain what Thanksgiving is because they have absolutely no clue). It has been pretty interesting to hear all the different answers. Some people look at us like what!? I have never thought of that before! Most of them say things like, family, the fact that I am alive, the fact that I am healthy, the fact that I have a home to live in.. etc.. Then we ask them who is to thank for those things and if it is important to say thank you. That is when they really are befuzzled and don't know what to say. Then we teach them about God. I feel really grateful to know that there is a God above who is to thank for all of these amazing things we are given. I am also grateful that every single day, many (and as a missionary especially I mean MANY) times a day I go to Him in prayer and thank Him for all that He has given me. I love Thanksgiving!!!
Now that it has become the holiday season, we have started to go caroling and sing Christmas hymns for people! That is my FAVORITE part about being a missionary during the holidays. On Sunday after church we gathered as many members as we could and went down to the nearest mall, stood out in front of it and just sang all of the Christmas hymns while a couple of people handed out fliers for the Christmas Party that we are having in our ward to people passing by. While we were singing I thought, can you imagine this happening in America? Like picture the missionaries after church one day going around to all of the members and being like hey, do you have time right now? we want to go sing Christmas hymns in front of the Galleria Mall, you down? Because that is 100% what we did and a bunch of members came too! Needless to say, Japan is a little different than America but I dunno maybe you should call up your local missionaries, see how they feel about going and doing that... Another thing that our Stake is doing that I have never heard of being done in America: they call it the 40 day fast and it is literally just that. Every single day for 40 days someone or some people in the stake fast for missionary work. So for 40 days straight there is someone fasting for the work in the area. Along with that, the missionaries send in emails every night of the miracles they are seeing and then every single morning at exactly 7:29 am (why that time? idk) the stake president sends out an email to the whole stake writing about the miracles the missionaries saw and the testimonies of the members who were fasting and their experiences, etc. HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?!?! Like I know this is horrible to say but I certainly did not think about the missionary work in my stake that much at ALL. I've repented don't worry. haha All I have to say is you would be AMAZED at how involved the members are in missionary work here. Especially in this stake.
Also with the Christmas season well on it's way, my companion and I took the liberty of buying a tiny little tree for our apartment. It is not much, but very festive and we love it.
Happy holiday season!! Take this time to spread the joy of our Savior even more than normal!!!!
maybe start by sending this: amazing link to someone you love!
Love you all!!!!
love love love

Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 10, 2012

Greetings all,
One foggy morning in Japan. This usually happens the day after it rains. It was especially foggy this day though. I took this picture when we went outside in the morning for exercise.

Some of the sisters whom I LOVE, We went to the temple today! We didn't make it into the missionary session because there were already too many people so they put us into the brides room to wait. Don't doubt I took that opportunity to do my companion's hair in a 90's prom up-do. It was fun. anywayZZ.. TWO of my previous companions are going home next week. I can't even believe it. It was so sad to say goodbye to Mizoguchi shimai because she lives in Japan and I won't be able to see her as much as my American companions. I totes cried. but you could have guessed that without me saying it.
This week I got a letter from a girl who I met in my first area. I believe I talked about her a long long time ago she was less active for a while.. She is one of those people I met in Japan and just KNEW that we told each other "see ya later!" in the pre-existence. BUT  Anyway, she sent me a letter and SHE IS GOING TO SERVE A MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Literally sobbed upon receiving that letter. I LOVE HER!!!!! I am so happy for her! AHHH!
Anyways... so two days ago we had our ward PRIMARY PROGRAM and if you know me, you know I look forward to this ALL year long. I have been waiting a year to hear a primary program with Japanese little children and boy did it prove to be everything I ever hoped for. Hilarious. I was dying and I really wish that I could share with you some of the funny things that the little kids said but it just would not be funny in English. Let's just say children are the same all over the world. They scream sing here too.
This email is so lame but we never have time on transfer weeks or temple day. Today was temple day. Please forgive!
Exactly 6 weeks until Christmas!!!!!
LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
p.s. I found this quote on a gift bag in a convenience store today: actually I just attached the pic but in case you can't read it it says, "We're sleepy." then on the bottom it says, "but if you like having a good time wake us up. You lead us a fantasy world." that is what I like to call Engrish. it's the best.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012

OKAY so today for P-Day we went to a Japanese temple so I legit have no time to email. Please forgive me!

First things first. I would like to request the CD Popcorn Bopping. Remember that one? I got it before my mission to jam out to but then didn't take it. But this just in, we are allowed to have it for morning exercise. I would like to teach my angel companion some sweet moves so if you would be so kind, please send that gem of a CD! :)
Next item of business, jkjk this isn't a meeting. But I'd like to explain my subject line (True Life: I Need to Learn to Speak Spanish). So our area has a gajillion Peruvians and Brazilians in it. I don't know why, but it's true. So we have a bunch of Spanish speakers in our ward and we meet Spanish speakers all the time. Even though I took Spanish in high school and all, since learning Japanese I have forgot most everything. I know, sad. Well one of the elders in my area is from Brazil so he speaks Spanish and Portuguese. So today the elders asked us to participate in their lesson with a Peruvian girl that one of the members in the ward referred. Needless to say, I didn't understand much. I felt like I was on my first transfer again just sitting there and smiling and nodding my head. The cool part is, even though I didn't understand the language that was being spoken, the spirit was SO strong. Like I didn't know what was really happening but I was literally trying my best to keep from crying. I didn't say a word but towards the end of the lesson after the elders extended a commitment to baptism she turned to me and asked me if I too would promise all of the blessings they were promising. After the Spanish speaking elder translated the question, I could just say, "si" and then I started CRYING. I was dying. Then the elders were like, you can say whatever you want, we will translate it. So all I could get out was that I don't know her very well at all and we don't speak the same language but I could feel SO MUCH love for her. Then I said "te amo". Haha But lately I have been praying to more understand the pure love of Christ and my prayer was CERTAINLY answered through that lesson. Prayer ROCKS. I love it. Also I asked my mission president if I could study Spanish too. Caleb, Melissa, Lynnette, any ideas?
Halloween: Didn't do anything Halloween-y. Except eat candy the elders gave us.
This week we did splits with another area and I went to a place called Kiryu. When I was there I met a Japanese version of CALEB. I was dying. Personality and all. THE SAME. I told him. He wants to meet Caleb. We took a picture together too. He served in California on his mission, Riverside. In the "ghetto" as he put it.
Today is Lexi's birthday. I realized it when I looked at the date this morning during personal study. Shout out to my babygurl!
On this past Thursday we started an activity in our ward called "outreach" where we have pretty much and FHE type thing and play games and stuff. It was our first time doing it and it went SO well! So many people came! And it was one of the little girls in our ward's birthday so I full on got to do her hair and make up. It was so fun. Who knew those kinds of talents could be used on a mission too?!!
LOVE from the Land of the Rising Sun

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012

Dear Family and beloved friends,
TELL me this child does not look like an Asian version of Elora. I even showed her a picture of Elora and she agreed. I was dying. She reminded me SO much of her!

This is me sword fighting with one of our investigator's children. These kids are INSANE. They run around tirelessly literally 24-7. I love them.

This is a picture of some of the shimai brushing our teeth at the mission home when we stayed there the night before the all sisters conference.  

Today I taught a group of Jehovah's Witnesses the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was cool. It is so true that people can contradict anything you say but nobody can contradict a testimony. I love that. My testimony is something NO ONE can take away from me.
So on Friday we had an All SISTERS Conference. Where all the sisters in the mission came and we had lots of fun being girly. It was so nice. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in a pool of 10-21 year old BOY. My companion and I along with some other sisters who live far from the mission home where the conference was to be held came in the night before to have a sleepover at the mission home. It was SO fun!!!! We helped Sister Budge prepare things for the next day and we talked and laughed and practiced our musical number for the next day. Then we went to bed and woke up in the morning and a few of us went jogging together. While we were jogging we saw a park so we went to it. Just in time to find a park full of senior citizens (and we're talkin Japan so some of them were well over 85 years old) and they were all doing what is called "radio taiso" which is a little exercise program that people get together and do in parks ALL over Japan at around 6:30 every morning. It was so adorable I was dying. Obviously we joined them for the rest of their workout. Then we went back, got ready, and had an amazing conference complete with an exercise class to none other than jazzed up hymns. Those kill me. We also had a testimony meeting at the end which proved to make me become a hot mess. One of my companions is going home after this transfer (Stevenson shimai)  and then the next transfer another one (Mano shimai) and then the next transfer my MTC companion (Edstrom shimai) and then I go home! AHHH! It just kind of hit me when they were bearing their testimonies that I don't have much time left and it is gonna come quick. I just love it here so much I am terrified of going home. I LOVE being a missionary.

Okay so yesterday we were housing and inviting everyone to our Eikaiwa Halloween Party that is on Wednesday. We knocked on one lady's door and started talking about God and Jesus Christ and her life and such. We taught her about how through Jesus Christ we can overcome ALL. Then before we left we asked her if we could sing her a song. We sang her I am a Child of God and by the end of the hymn she was literally sobbing. She for SURE felt the spirit. Then I testified to her that she was feeling God's love and she is never alone. I really could feel His love for her. It was amazing. She just like fell into my arms crying. It was a really awesome experience. We are going to meet her again next Sunday. There are too many people in this world who don't know that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them. THAT is why I am on a mission. Just one of the many reasons.

Next week: Look forward of a recap slash pics of me teaching the Thriller to the Eikaiwa students. (thanks to my babygurl allycat)

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Here are some more pictures Ariel sent home from October!

"Here is a glimpse of what missionaries indulge in when they get a very rare opportunity to go to costco. I now eat something with a tortilla almost daily and I'm LOVIN it."

"This is a picture taken when we went grocery shopping. A completely normal thing to find in every single grocery store and sometimes even convenience stores."

"Japanese people haven't quite gotten the jist of what Halloween is all about I guess. Bless them. They'll get it sooner or later."

"At the conference broadcast. From left to right: Me, Champenois shimai, Tsujigo shimai, Ogita shimai."

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012

Hello familia, (that's Spanish)
Var generalkonferencen saa vidunderlig at det fik jer til at kaste op over det hele? That's Danish for: Was conference so wonderful that it made you throw up all over the place? (I love my companion) But seriously conference was THE BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE conference so much!!!! We watched it in a little room for people who wanted to watch in English. It pretty much consisted of only missionaries and like 2 other members and a couple investigators. An overlying theme I noticed about conference was about BEING disciples of Christ. Like we study, pray, go to church, go to seminary, institute, other activities, etc all to learn about Christ but if we aren't taking that knowledge and going out and doing what the Savior would do, what good is it for? Nothing. As I write this email I look into the eyes of the picture of Christ I have on my desk and I see all the love and kind word and deed from the creation of the world and I think, how lucky am I that the Savior of all mankind knows ME. He loves ME. And I can honestly feel that love. Everyday. Despite my weaknesses, He loves me. That ROCKS. And how bout the fact that every single person who has ever lived will have the chance to know that very truth for themselves? that ROCKS too! I feel so lucky to be a tiny little part of helping someone, anyone, know that divine truth. Kinda like in the Book of Mormon where it says in Alma chapter 26 vs. 30 "and all this, that PERHAPS we might be the means of saving some soul." I work my hardest every single day that PERHAPS even ONE soul might come to know that they have a Savior who loves them. And it feels good!
So this picture is of some squid pasta I ate today. You may wonder why it is black. Well that is simply because they use the ink to make the sauce of course! yum! Actually it was pretty delicious! It just made my whole mouth black. The lady we came with had it too and her entire mouth, teeth, lips, the works were BLACK. It was very hard for me to focus on anything she was saying. You know you are a missionary when you find yourself eating squid pasta because the lady you are with insists upon you trying out the Japanese cuisine. We are missionaries. We can't say no.

So my companion and I are opening an area, like I said in last weeks email. We have been working to get some new investigators and last night we went and visited a family who are potential investigators and we were able to make an appointment for them this week! woo!
Okay so I just remembered this story and I thought it was funny so imma write about it. Maybe probably you had to be there. ANyway,,,,,,, We were at District Meeting this week and we were all choosing which Christlike attribute we wanted to work on as a companionship. Then we were going around and sharing what we chose. Ok so first you have to know that my companion when you first meet her seems like this quiet, sweet, tender little lamb who would never even think of sarcasm. Also keep in mind that we are both new to the district so nobody knows what my companion is like. Also we are the only sisters in the district. Anyway we get to the District Leader and his companion and he explains that he and his companion decided they have no virtue so they were going to work on the Christlike attribute of virtue and my companion goes, "Do you need us to leave the room to help you out?" hahahahahaha there was a 5 second complete silence like, uhhhhh what's that, shy girl from Denmark? hahahhaha Then I had to explain that my companion seems harmless but she comes out of nowhere with these sarcastic comments. I thought it was funny. I hope you did too. Sometimes I worry that my stories don't register. If they don't, wait till I get home, they will for sure be funny told in person.
Okay love you!!!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012

CONFERENCEWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like I know that probably no one reading this email is as excited as me about this butlike I LOVE CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!! I also know that you have all already watched it since in Japan we have to wait a week for it to get all translated and stuff. BUT let's just say excited in an understatement. And yes, I already heard that ELDERS CAN LEAVE AT 18 AND SISTERS AT 19!!!!!! Cool. tell us that 3 years too late. haha but that is really exciting because I think a lot more people will go on missions now! Even though I didn't think the elders could get any more fetus then they already are. This will be interesting. You would think that is the biggest news I have this week but NOPE you are wrong! I feel like SO MUCH has happened I just don't know where to begin! Let's start with the reason that I am emailing on Wednesday instead of Monday. Well, my companion and I got a call on Friday morning of last week thinking that the mission office was just going to tell us that we are both staying in our area and staying companions. Usually when you are training you don't transfer so you can train your companion for their first two transfers. Well our mission president calls and and he is like, well Sister Swainston you probably think since you're training and stuff you won't get transferred right? I was like yes..... And then he was like, well you're WRONG! You are getting transferred! And then I screamed. Yep full on in my Mission President's ear. I apologized for that later.. anyway, turns out BOTH my companion and I got transferred out of our area to open a new area where sister missionaries have never been. We call it "white wash" in our mission. So not only did I have to transfer and leave my beloved people of Hodogaya and say goodbye to my friends (pictures attached are of us saying goodbye- one of them is of the single adult girls and one of them is one of the young women in my ward whom I LOVE) and get the area ready for two elders to come in who know NOTHING about that area at all, but I had to teach my first transfer missionary companion how to transfer and all the procedures and stuff and then we hopped on a train to go to our new area called Yachiyo. We got here and were welcomed with open arms! Apparently this ward has been begging for sister missionaries for a long time. Our bishop met us at our new apartment (in his white hummer) and then took us and the elders in this area to COSTCO!!!! I was dying. I got tortillas and costco rolls and I am in heaven.

Also I forgot, the day before we left Hodogaya we had a lesson with a CUTE little 16 year old girl that we are teaching and we made a baptismal date for her for next month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is on the bottom right hand side of the last picture that I attached. I fully plan on going back to Hodogaya for her baptism!! I love her!!!!  

Well, there are I think 1000 more things that I am missing but I think that is the biggest news for the week. I am in a new area, brand new apartment, (it's yellow) and still Sister Champenois as my companion. Kickin it. Well, gotta go! We are going to go visit a Potential Investigator we met housing yesterday! Livin the life!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2, 2012

Yes. We had a typhoon. Yes. I am alive. It was nbd.
This picture was taken today when a bunch of the shimai from our mission went on a little outing together after going to the temple in the morning! And where did we go? Yes of course we went shopping at none other than Forever 21 in downtown Tokyo. I seriously LOVE this city!!!!! It is the bomb!!! And have I ever mentioned that I LOVE the sisters in this mission?! Well, I do. So much.

Okay so this week we have had a lot of miracles!!! We have been working really really hard to find new investigators lately and for a while we were having no luck at all. It was pretty disheartening I am not going to lie but as the Lord knows the exact formula of challenges and obstacles we need in order to grow in the exact way that we need to do it, I am all the better person for it. It is kinda like when you are going along in life and one sucky thing happens and then all the sudden 100 other sucky things happen two seconds later and you're like ummmm I am pretty sure I didn't order these things. BUT when all is said and done, you are on your knees thanking the Lord for what you have learned in a way that you wouldn't have been able to learn otherwise. (does that make sense? please pardon my grammatically incorrect sentences). Anyway the other day my companion and I were at the train station waiting for the elders and I was standing next to this girl in high school. Of course I started talking to her and I found out that she likes cooking. It just so happens that I had mom's cookie recipe (thanks mom!!!) written in my planner because I made cookies a few weeks ago for an activity. So don't doubt it, I stood there and wrote out mom's recipe on none other than a church flier. I gave it to her, invited her to a fall festival we were having in our ward and then the elders got there so we left. It was one of those finding situations where you just pray that they might call or show up but there is no way for you to contact them again. Fast forward 2 days later and we are at the fall festival at our church. My companion and I were making pancakes (which by the way were all the rage) and all of the sudden the girl from the station walks in!!! She came up to us and it was one of those moments where you meet one of the 100's of people you talk to on the streets for the second time and you panic a little bit like, where did I meet this person, who are they? I don't remember anything! But, after pretending I knew and talking a little bit I remembered. Thank goodness. Anyway, she brought a friend and we gave them a tour of the church and they BOTH became new investigators! It was SUCH a happy day!
Also a couple of days ago we were housing (knocking doors) and we met a CUTE little family of a mom and two little girls and they became investigators too!!!! So exciting!! The little girls are really excited about the whole being an eternal family thing. It is adorable. I LOVE THIS WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am praying for all of you! Keep on keepin on! Just when you think you can't go on any longer, just hold on a little bit longer and it is AFTER that trial of your faith that you will see the blessings! Maybe in the form of a family wanting to hear about how they can be together forever, maybe not.. ;)
ps: awkward moment of the week:
 Phone conversation with a member this week:
us: "brother soandso, is there anything we can do to help you?"
him: "yes, I would like you and your companion to give me a massage at church on sunday."
us: "uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh nope! We'll get the elders right on that!"
him: "no I want you and your companion"
likewhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattttttttttttttttttttttttttt??????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #notfunnybrothersoandsojustcreepyonly
(no need to share that one with the ward mom)

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012

Today in Japan is a holiday in celebration of old people. Or something like that. So there is this old folks home that we go to about once a week and I am OBSESSED with these people. They are ANGELS. Every time we come they treat us like celebrities and thank us like 100 times for coming and for coming to their country and for learning their language and so forth. It is so tender. They always ask us if we have boyfriends and then tell us to marry a Japanese man. Actually everyone tells me to marry a Japanese man. Then they always ask us to sing hymns to them. They like Love at Home a lot. They always hum along even when they don't know the song at all. AND every time we come they see us to the door. All of them. Even the 99 year old grandma with her walker. Then they wave to us and tell us to come back soon until they can't see us anymore. They are all sooo funny and interesting! This picture is one we took today with them. I love Japanese people.

Okay so last week we were housing (going door to door) and we went to this one house and no one answered and it sounded like there was a shower on inside the house (yes the houses are small and the walls are paper thin so that you can hear if they are in the shower or pretty much doing anything). Anyway they didn't come to the door so we left and about 30 minutes or so later we came back. I had my companion ring the doorbell so she could do the talking and get some practice in. She rang the door bell thing (I guess you should know most homes in Japan have intercom speaker things with cameras on them) and the man on the other side started speaking really fast in Japanese and my companion said thank you and then we started walking away. I was wondering how my companion understood so well to know what to say back so I asked her if she understood what he said. She was like yeah I understood so of course I was like, okay what did he say? And she was like I don't know exactly what it was but he said he wasn't interested in hearing our message, that he is Buddhist or something. I laughed and then informed her that what he really said was that he had just gotten out of the bath and he is still naked. HAHAHAHAhahahaha We both laughed real hard at that one.
Life is good, it is starting to get cooler. Soon I will send a picture of my tanline on my feet from my shoes. I am so proud of it. My companion eats her toast with butter and slices of bananas on it. And she drinks more milk in a day then I do in a week.
That's all!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2012

hilsener familie!!!!! (Greetings family!!) again, Danish
So for pday this week we had Zone pday and we all went to an island called Enoshima. It is the only island that we as missionaries can go on in our mission. It was awesome. I LOVED being by the ocean and feeling the fresh sea breeze. So the first attached picture is of our zone on a random bridge on the island. There are a lot of red bridges here.. Can't tell you why. 

Picture number 2 is a picture of my companion and I in front of the ocean. That's as close as we got! Don't doubt I wanted to jump in! 

Picture number 3: you know you are a missionary in Japan when you find yourself cleaning a shrine to ancestors in a less active's home. That's the kind of service I did this week!

So on Sunday one of the young women in our ward brought her friend and so we got to teach her friend during Sunday School time. We taught her a lesson about the Restoration of Christ's church and it was AMAZING. Every time I teach that lesson it reconfirms to me that we are a part of the restored church of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. That we have the keys to exhaltation. That ROCKS. Anyway, the spirit was really strong and I loved testifying to her that she found the answer to all the questions she has been wondering about what her purpose is here in this life. She is an angel I love her!
And before I go because I don't have much time, surprise surprise I know..., fun fact about my companion! (I think I am gonna have those every week for the next little while, she is SO interesting, I just sit and ask her questions like all day I love it) My companion can count the amount of times she has been to McDonald's in her life on two hands. Yep. True statement.
Anyway... Have a great week!!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012

Hej!!!!!! (that's hello in Danish)
Yep you read it right! My companion is full on from Denmark! Luckily she speaks English. She is 21 years old, she likes puppies, plays the flute, speaks 3 languages and is working on Japanese as her 4th, has 8 people in her family, hates peanut butter (yeah I'm still confused about that one), accidentally pushed the emergency button at the bathroom in the train station today (that was funny), and she is an angel and a half. Her name is Sister Champenois and she is a Mormon. (if you got that reference, you're a nerd, and we are friends.) We have had many adventures this week as I have started to help her adjust her to missionary life in Japan. (even though I feel like I got to Japan 2 seconds ago)  It was a week of many firsts. My first time training (obvi), her first time being in Japan, drinking mugicha (wheat tea that EVERYONE drinks here, don't worry we're allowed to drink it), eating natto, using chopsticks, sending a text message (yep, true.), and a lot of other things I can't think of. But seriously I have learned SO MUCH in just these few days we have been companions. Champenois shimai has SO much FIRE for the work and love for the people. I have been humbled so much and I know I will continue to be humbled again and again. I am grateful for that opportunity. Training makes you realize your weaknesses and strengths all at the same time. I also feel like I am learning a lot about motherhood. Who would have known a mission would be so good to learn how to be a mom?! haha
So this week we went and visited a family in our ward named the Koyamagishi family. I am obsessed with them. They are hilarious and we were talking about how much English they know and the Dad was like, all I know is "you're nose hairs are sticking out" and then he laughed and said he loves saying it to the Elders because they always cover their face and run to the bathroom. It was really funny. Maybe you had to be there.. haha ANYwayzzzz, they have two little boys who are ADORABLE. We went and had dinner with them and then had a lesson about how we can prepare to go on a mission by putting on the whole armor of God. The little boys were so excited about going on a mission and showed me their little piggy bank of about 30 dollars that they have saved up. When we asked them what we need to do to prepare for a mission one of them was like, uhhhh learn how to iron? and the other was like, uhhh be able to wash dishes by yourself? it was sooooo cute!!!!!!!!! I just love seeing the future of the church and how their parents are doing their best to raise their kids right. There might be some pretty weird slash different stuff about Japan but the church and the gospel and the moral values that parents want to teach their children are definitely the same. I love that!
Okay so the pictures explanation:
Picture number one is of my companion and I right after we became companions at the mission office in front of "the bush" where everyone gets their picture taken when they enter the mission. This is the day when I went to pick her up from the mission office.

Picture number two is of my companion's first night in Japan taken like 10 seconds before we went to bed. As you'll notice I have a robe on. Some things never change.

Picture number three is of my FIRST CAPRI SUN IN OVER A YEAR. I literally almost died. And that is an understatement. There is a military missionary senior couple in our district that have access to the military base so they brought these to District Meeting. They are angels from above!!! Which brings me to my next point: Happy Labor Day!!!

Today for p-day we celebrated Labor Day by going to the military base and having a barbeque with the English Military branch. It was delicious. ANY chance I get to have a nice hamburger, a chocolate chip cookie, and loud Americans, I relish in.
Welp, that was my week! I love this work! It's the best!
p.s. good news, one of our investigators who is this old man that we met housing, got new teeth!!!! We went to teach him a lesson yesterday and he opened the door and without even thinking I said "he has teeth!!!!" hahaha I was so surprised! Usually he has none so it was quite the change. My companion thought that was rather funny... okaylikebye

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27, 2012

Another transfer has passed, I have officially been on my mission for one year, and my new companion is currently on a plane on her way to Japan from the MTC! A big week! Picture #2 is of me beating out my companion's futon which are the beds (more like little mats) that we sleep on. Picture #1 is of how I celebrated my 1 year mark. Ate some ice cream. Looking back at the last year of my life and especially reading my journal entry from exactly a year ago, I realize just how different I am now. I feel like I knew nothing except that I love my Savior. Obvi thats good I knew that but I feel like other than that I was clueless. I feel like now I have a much clearer idea of what I want and what is really important. I am so excited that I still have 7 months to give my ALL to these beautiful people to help them come unto Christ.
This week I gave one of my investigators a piggy back ride. Facer shimai has the picture so I will have to send that at a later date but believe me when I say it was hilarious. You would have to know the investigator but I was literally crying laughing. I haven't given someone a piggy back ride in FORevzzzz. It was so funny!
So I don't know who I will be training yet. We will meet all the new missionaries tomorrow and then our Mission President will decide who we will be training. So next week be looking forward to see/ hear about my new companion!!!
This work is the best! It's all true!!!
Love you!!!!!!!!!!
love love,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22, 2012

Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Life ROCKS!!!!!
No time no time sorry sorry! I'm doing the fastest email time of my life okay so here goes!
Picture number one: I'm obsessed with this picture mostly because I am obsessed with the people surrounding me in it. The one on my right is none other than our BISHOP. I LOVE THIS MAN. He is hilarious. Full on witty. And the other one is one of his couselors. They both ride their bikes to church every week. They are the bomb. We all had to take pics in our helmets. We're so cool.
Picture two: This is my current district. Each and every one of them so unique it hurts. I love every minute of District Meeting every week. It is like prime time television except a little more spiritual and no commercials or Ryan Seacrest. Love it!
Picture three: This is me at our local grocery store in the fish section that is bigger than all the other meat sections combined times 2 maybe. Anything you could ever imagine that comes from the ocean. What a dream. You may or may not notice but it just so happens that one of our investigators has a daughter who just so happens to do eyelash extensions. Don't doubt I went and got my eyelash extention on for p-day. That. Was also a dream. Told you I'd find them here. That pic is for you Jaycee.
Anyway, I'll let the pictures talk for this week. I love all of you, I love this work, and most of all, I love my Savior!!!
Until next week when I will most likely have a new companion!
love love,

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012

Jungle fever as in we seriously live in a JUNGLE as you can tell by the picture of a spider I included. That was taken very close to our apartment in the entrance to a park we have to ride through to get to our church. This park is more like a jungle. The other picture I included was taken at an all mission conference we had a few days ago. The featured elder is my second cousin I never knew I had, Elder McGahan. Small world eh? Anyways he was confused when I marched right up to him and was like hey! we're related!!! I love doing stuff like that.
Sooooo this week...
Like I said we had an all mission conference and I LOVE those. It was the first time we have been all together since we got a new mission president. We did all kinds of things that if I wrote them you would think, what a DORKY missionary thing but I was eating up every second. If you would like to catch up with the details and much much more, feel free to visit japantokyomission.blogspot.comour new mission blog! There you can find all sorts of goodies! Just in case you would like to stalk me more! Anyways, I love mission conferences because they remind me that I am not alone and I have an army of thousands of missionaries around the world working towards the same GREAT cause. Not to mention I have the Lord with me every day. #luckily
We also had a ward activity on Saturday that was SO fun! It was a curry competition. Where everyone makes curry and brings it to the church and we EAT! It was delicious and SO fun!!! Especially because a couple of our investigators came and brought their WHOLE family! Activities are such a great way to help investigators realize how much of a family each ward is. I really love it. Also, as the third picture explains, we played a game where you get blindfolded and spun around and then go try to whack open a watermelon with a stick. Genious. I don't know WHY we don't play this game in America it is the bomb. Go ahead, try it at your next party, it'll be a hit for sure!
Believe it or not, sometimes missionary work is hard. I know, shocking right? Well remember the investigator I told you about last week? She called us before church yesterday and told us that she wouldn't be coming. Later we found out that it was because she didn't want to go because she doesn't understand Japanese. It is an understatement to say I was devastated. I was sitting in sacrament meeting just wanting to sob. BUT as I was praying during the sacrament I knew that no matter what happens, number 1: I have a Savior who is there for me and knows EXACTLY how I feel. number 2: I have to be strong and continue to brighten the day of everyone I come in contact with because I am a representative of Christ and that is what Christ would do and number 3: I feel like I have said this so many times but, the Lord has a plan for each and every one of His children. That includes Chou san and every other person I have ever met in Japan and every single person reading this email. He loves ALL His children. I feel SOOOOO grateful that I know that truth. I feel SOOOOOO grateful that whenever I feel alone I can get on my knees and remember I am NEVER alone. It hurts my heart to think that not everyone has that knowledge and THAT is why I am on a mission. I love it. I love Japan. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Remember, through love, we find happiness, through the love of God we find joy evermore.
I LOVE you!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 7, 2012

This week was literally the bomb!!!!!!
Okay so we have an ivestigator named Chou san. She is the bomb. This is her story... My companion met her a few transfers ago on the street. She came up to my companion, saw her nametag that it said Jesus Christ and said to her "Jesus Christ, amen!" and then told my companion she wanted to learn and they exchanged numbers. Since then we have been trying to get in contact with this woman. We would call her ALL the time and she either wouldn't answer or couldn't understand a thing we were saying because she is Chinese and can't speak Japanese very well at all (don't doubt before my mission I thought Chinese and Japanese were like the same thing too). So we got one of our Chinese members to call her and even then it took a few weeks before we could finally get a meeting with her. So we met with her and our Chinese member and it was like a Japanese to Chinese to English translation game. We told her our purpose was to help her come unto Christ and asked if she wanted to meet again and she said yes but she would call our Chinese investigator when she wanted to meet because she is really busy which usually means "call you never".
BUT we had hope and patiently waited a couple of weeks until..... she called Qiu shimai!!!! (that's our Chinese member's name). We were by the train station one day about to get on our bikes to ride to visit a less acive and some potential investigators when we got a call from Qiu shimai. She told us that Chou san called and wanted to pray together so she was coming to Qiu shimai's house. She asked us to come over and of course we hopped on our bikes and got there as fast as we could. (despite my directionally challenged self which is a whole nother story in itself). So we get there and are soaking wet not from rain but from sweat and we wait. Well Chou san ended up not being able to make it but she told us she could come to church the next day when before she said it was too far!
Fast forward to the next day... we went and got Chou san from the station for church and she was literally giggling with excitement. We got to the church and sang a few hymns together before it started and she LOVED it. The first hour of our church is Relief Society so we started there and Chou san understood with the help of Qiu shimai translating for her. Fast forward to Sacrament Meeting. We were sitting down waiting for sacrament meeting to start and Qiu shimai taps my shoulder and is like, Chou san wants to get baptized! She said she wants to become a member of our church. She says she has been searching for a church since she got to Japan 5 years ago and today she feels like she found it. Of course this is literally the thing every missionary wants to hear. She started asking like who she needed to pay and exactly when she could get baptized, like how soon. Anyway we went on with sacrament meeting and it was fast and testimony meeting and the spirit was SO strong. Chou san was literally balling. After it was over she wanted to make a day to be baptized so we told her we had to teach her the lessons and stuff first and she was like okay I'm free whenever. Teach me. So we set up a lesson for almost every single day of this week and proposed for her baptismal date to be in 3 weeks and she was like no, I want it sooner. So, we have a baptism with Chou san in a week and a half!!!!!! We had her first lesson on Monday and Qiu shimai ended up not being able to come so literally by a MIRACLE we were able to teach her the first lesson. Ahhh!!! I wish I had time to tell more but obvi our schedule kinda filled up this week so we didn't really have time for p-day. I will tell more next week but just know that God is in the details!!!! I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS WOMAN!!!!!
I love this work!!!
I love my Savior!!!!
love love,

ps if you didn't guess the picture is of my companion and I with Chou san. The room that we are in is our church's chapel. That was the night we taught her her first lesson. She was like jumping up and down excited.