Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"New Year, New Presidents, New Waistbands"

Food and companion exchanges pretty much sums up everything that happened this week.

A sister in our district got her wisdom teeth pulled this week, and since my companion is the district leader, she had to stay home with a poor swollen girl and I got to be on exchanges with her companion. And then our zone-wide exchange for training purposes. Thank goodness we're not a normal mission so that we don't have to do 24 our exchanges! Otherwise I would never get to see my lovely companion.

Speaking of my lovely companion, she is going home in two weeks!!! My second companion that I will send home! Because she is leaving soon and all the people we have taught adore her to death, many many people want to take us out to eat. We have been taken out to eat at The Garden, been fed gumbo, and today we went out to eat at a sketchy looking place called "Charlie Chow's Dragon Grill". I think I legitimately unbuttoned my skirt after a meal one night. 

Our new mission presidents, the Risenmays, moved in this week. All of the Visitors' Center mission presidents got replaced this week, and before they headed over to their respective visitors' centers, they came to Temple Square for a little bit of training and a peek at what exactly we do in VCs. When I saw the Risenmays for the first time at that training/tour, it was weird, because I felt so much love for them instantly. It was really weird. I thought I would need some time getting used to them, but I really am so excited to work with them! 

I've begun reading the New Testament with along with the New Testament study guide, and it blows my mind how much I've been missing. It's interesting to see really how much Jesus Christ did in His mortal ministry. It reminded me of a scripture in Alma 7:12, "And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities". 

The one thing I learned from my New Testament class at BYU was this very idea, that Jesus had to live a mortal life. He lived until he grew to be 30 years old, so that he could experience just what kind of suffering a body of flesh and bones could experience. He suffered all kind of tempations, physical pains, heartbreak, and spiritual anguish, so that his Atonement would mean something. He didn't just suffer in Gethsemane. He suffered all the way leading up to it. 

Jesus Christ doesn't just love our spirits. He understands all of our physical pains and infirmities. 


The Poulsens, our previous mission presidents :'( 

The Smiths, who fed us lovely food at The Garden:

Sister Boehme, (Sister Desjourdy's companion while they served in New Orleans) who made us Gumbo:

Monday, January 18, 2016


Our mission presidents, President and Sister Poulsen, are leaving us this week. They finished their two years of service, and are now going home! This Sunday at church they gave their farewell address.

What was most interesting was when President Poulsen talked about how what we do as missionaries in not just baptism, but repentance and baptism. Since coming out on the mission I haven't had a lot of opportunities in divulging in studying for personal interests, but while I was in the MTC I discovered the gem that is Alma 42. It had been in the back on my mind for a long time, but this week I finally got the chance to pick it apart and study it thoroughly. A brief summation of what I learned is this: We become gods and experience eternal happiness by knowing good and evil, experiencing reward and punishment. That punishment is inflicted by "remorse of conscience", which we innately possess. The purpose of a church is to help us acknowledge and resolve that "remorse of conscience", because without first acknowledging and exposing that pain and remorse (through repentance), we can never move forward and repair. 

Repentance is such a scary word, but really it's part of the process of healing. It's like ripping a band-aid. The band aid feels fine when it's on your skin. You don't have to look at the ugly wound, but it's a temporary fix. Inside your open wound is rotting and pussing. If you swallow your fears and rip off that band-aid, your wound can breathe and eventually heal completely. 

Church isn't our religion. Membership isn't our religion. Making nice friends isn't our religion. Our religion is repentance, it is healing the soul, it is facing the things that are scary and uncomfortable in life, fixing them, and moving on to happiness. It is helping people understand what is right and wrong, and why there are things they do in life that make them sad. It is helping people figure out their conscience which was given from God. It is being the support for others as face their own spiritual monsters. 

Fun fact about why I finally got to study Alma 42: I was talking to two young gentlemen in the South Visitor's center one day and our conversation got pretty deep. One of the gentlemen had the concern that God was important, but religion is not, and that it's just a man-made institution of rules and "sins". I don't even know why I said this, but I said, "If I told you to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon, would you read it? I think you'd like it. It has so much information, and it talks about so many things; the purpose of life, who God really is, and what the heck we're all doing here." 
"What's the chapter?" 
"It's Alma 42. Here you can look at the summary..."
"You know what this makes me think of? Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There's this one thematic question in the book, which is 'What is the purpose of life?' and in the book it says the answer is '42'. Noone in the general audience really gets it, but I guess now we've solved it." 

Sister Takeshige

Zone party last p-day:

I am not very photogenic, but this is the only photographic evidence I have that I spoke mandarin in front of people yesterday: 

Monday, January 4, 2016

"I Am Ridiculously Spoilt"

Sorry World,

I have no real letter for you this week. I am too busy drowning in おしるこ and other goodies that wonderful people from around the world have sent me for Christmas/New Years. 

I had a very happy new years. 

Shoutout to the Kunitachi Ward and the Wolf Family and the Takeshige Family and whoever else sent me stuffs. (including Santa in California)

I love you all.

Sister Takeshige