Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Sister Takeshige's Most Illustrious E-mail"

Fun week. A drunk man sang a song in Navajo to us in the middle of the South Visitors' Center. The wind blew off a 2 meter branch off of a tree and almost killed 4 sisters. 

We saw a lady taking pictures with rubber ducks in the North Visitor's Center. I received letters from my favourite people in the world (thank you Tiff and Danielle). The weather got warm enough for me to wear flats again. 

Took some MTC kids on a tour, and MILANI(ahem, Sister Ho) WAS IN THE GROUP! 

And we had ramen today. Real ramen. Tonkotsu ramen.

Additional picture: 

All in all, a good week. There weren't too many people visiting, and those visiting were really disinterested in talking to missionaries... But we have met the coolest people on chat! Genuine, cool people who are looking for Truth and don't know where to turn to, except the internet. It's a good feeling to know that there is capital T "Truth" out there and that we can find it in within God. I don't know if I've already shared this in an e-mail, but here is a cool thing from the King Follett Sermon (which is my new favorite thing). "When we come to understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us." 

Turn to God. He will unfold all things. He will do it slowly, but He will do it. 

Sister Takeshige 


Thoughts that I have had this week: 
"I need to improve my Chinese." 
"I need to improve my Japanese." 
"We are never on time" 
"Why am I not full of energy in the morning?" 
"Why can't I give the most spiritual tours in the world?"
"Why don't I work harder?" 
"I don't feel like a missionary." 
"Why don't I stop eating oreos" 
"Why don't I have more time to study everything?"

Everything felt overwhelming and all of my imperfections started bubbling up. There were a lot of things that were making me and my companion feel crappy about ourselves. So. many. things. We weren't doing anything outrageously disobedient, but for some reason Satan got a hold of us. 

We set three simple goals. 1: Be on time and 2: stop talking about home, and 3: stop talking about negative mission things. There were no miracles, no immediate! results! but the week ended so much better. The days were still hard but we could go to sleep knowing that we had tried our hardest, and that was enough to lift 30% of the burden. There were moments where I could feel my heart beating from anxiety from all the things we could be doing better; but I kept being reminded that I needed to work on things one at a time. 

In Mark chapter 9 there is a man whose son is afflicted with a spirit. Jesus says to him, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." The next verse, my favorite, says, 

"And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief."

Elder Holland comments (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/lord-i-believe?lang=eng) that we learn from this story the importance of acknowledging what you already have. If we were to all take a second to turn around and reflect on journey thus far, we would know that we could go on for so much more. It is also important to know that it's o k a y to acknowledge our unbelief. This man is begging Jesus for help, because he is lacking. And that's okay. 

I survived this week. I've survived worse weeks. Even though sometimes I'm still not the best or most obedient missionary, I'll be okay as long as I work on it one by one.

I know that you will all be okay too, because you have all been through worse and God is okay with imperfection. The entire purpose of Jesus is to heal our imperfection; and who are we to deny that help? 

On a more lighthearted note, this week was valentines day. What better way to spend your valentines than by being a missionary? Especially a visitor's center missionary? Where we spend some of our time being a part of the free chat service on mormon.org? And we get to talk to all the lonely hearts that roam onto the internet on this very romantic day? I say to you all; there is nothing--NOTHING--more amusing/traumatizing/hilarious than this. 

Here is the winner (prior to reading this chat you must know that the phrase "asl" is used to inquire one's "age/sex/location"): 

Also last night I invented something good. Here is a recipe for goodness in your life:
1. Fill up a microwave safe mug with about 2cm/1in of your favorite kind of milk 
2. Microwave the milk for 45 seconds
3. Put three regular oreos into the milk. Crush until there are no chunks, and every part of the oreo is saturated into the milk. 
4. You should have a gloopy oreo mixture that makes you question Sister Takeshige's health habits. Stick mug back into the microwave for 30-60 seconds. 
5. Take out mug and eat hot oreo mug cake with spoon. Repeat. Steps 1-5 until you feel disgusted with yourself. 

Hope you are all well,
Sister Takeshige 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

True Blue

Sister Chamberlin, my brand new companion, is a fellow BYU Cougar. She lived in Provo for a long long long time before her mission, and surprise; she is NOT going home after this transfer! Yay! I'm going to have friends in this mission!

She has gone through a lot and knows for herself that every single principle that we teach as missionaries is true. It's also neat because even though we encounter argumentative people, she is the most patient and level-headed human being to these people. She knows that our job is not to whip out scriptures and prove people wrong, but to help them feel loved, and understand God. If it is their choice to not open their hearts, she leaves it at that, instead of trying to tell them how stupid they all are. 

She is also great at taking Mandarin tours with me. It can be really really hard balancing language tours because more often than not, your companion does not speak the language that you and the guests speak. But she has had a Japanese-Mandarin companion before, and is really good at picking up keywords in Mandarin and following what we are saying. This has helped me be more conscious of myself and how much I translate. Because after all, we missionaries are commanded to teach two by two. When I include my companion, I feel less critical and frustrated when I don't rely on just myself. Which is what the point of Jesus Christ is. I think I just gained revelation as I write this e-mail why God commanded us to teach two by two. Cool beans. 

Sorry if this e-mail didn't make sense. I think it was more for myself. 

Love you all. 

Here is the adorable Sister Chamberlin:

And her nephew, who came and visited us: 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Stomach Knots and Crannies

Does anybody else have too many good things happen to them, that they get some anxiety and nausea? 

This week, Kimberly from the US and two brothers from Congo got baptised. And also all of our investigators are doing great. They have all called the missionaries in their area and met with them, gone to church, and loved it. What the heck did I do to deserve to be a part of all these beautiful people's lives? 

We talked to a man this week named Eric; he isn't very convinced of the legitimacy of the things we believe in the LDS church, but he said something so beautiful. He said: God exists in all cultures and places, and all of those gods are mighty and high. The common idea of a God is that he sits up in a throne of clouds and watches us try to get up to Him. What a radical and simply beautiful notion that Jesus Christ is one that came down to us. 

In reading the New Testament over again, I have noticed that Christ did not perform miracles just to show us His superpowers. He came to tell us that if we have a little bit of faith and trust in Him, He can magnify all things. In the miracle of the fish and loaves of bread, I was reminded that Jesus Christ didn't just snap his fingers, and feed some hungry people. He asked his disciples to serve; "Give ye them to eat". As the disciples brought what little food they had, and trusted that He would make it work somehow, the multitude were fed. No matter what little we have to offer, that offering is enough for God. He will make it work. 


Wednesday is the beginning of a new transfer (doesn't help the anxiety)! I will have P-day on Tuesday now, so I won't be able to write until then. My companion will be Sister Chamberlin from California (I think). 

French sentence of the week: Je vais m'ennuyer de toi 


Music and the Spoken Word for Sister Desjourdy's last Sunday

Exploring the secret parts of Beehive House

Skyping Kimberly's baptism!

Le francais c'est difficile!

Last week our Iranian investigator who lives in England got baptised despite living a 90 minute bike ride away from church, and this week our French investigator who lives in France got baptised after finding a Book of Mormon lying on a park bench a couple of months ago. A part of me wants to high five myself and do a little dance, but another part of me feels like we have no part in these miracles.

We had a worldwide missionary broadcast-training-thingamajinger and the gist of what I got out of that training was that we only give people the tools of how they can feel the Spirit of God, and then the rest of it is between them and God. None of these are "our baptisms" or "our investigators". These are all of God's children.

"We teach repentance, and we baptise converts." - Elder Nelson, Worldwide Missionary Broadcast-Training-Thingamajinger

French sentence of the week: Je veux marrier ton frere. Merci beaucoup.


We hiked Ensign Peak today!

Sister Thomas and Sister Desjourdy are thinking about why a nose runs, but feet smell. 

The weather is different when you're taller. 

VIP tour of the back of the tabernacle organ: (jk, it's just a civilian tour)

Temple Square fact: there are 11,623 pipes in the tabernacle organ