So my mom's the coolest and she mails me letters with excerpts of my other missionary friends' letters home. It's the greatest because we get ideas for missionary work from missionaries serving in Peru, Taiwan, Chile, Argentina, Korea, the USA, England and Guatemala! When it comes down to it, we're all children of our Heavenly Father. We all have the same spiritual lineage. Everyone can be touched by this message because it's true, and our souls respond to truth. The point of the matter is that this week there weren't so many new ideas in these letters. So, in the case that some other mom is copying and pasting these to her own missionary, this week I wanted to write my email in the form of helpful tips for missionaries.
1. Get lost at the Train Station
This week we were lucky enough to attend a conference with Elder Nelson and Elder Evans! The only bummer was, they moved transfer day to the day of the conference. At this conference, I met my new companion, Sister D. for the first time. She had only served in the city; she had no idea where Koga was. So there I was, only having lived in Japan for three months, I'm sent to the Japan Tokyo South mission for this conference, and President Budge expected me to get back to my apartment no problem. Of course we got lost! But, as we boarded our third train, after wandering and boarding the wrong trains and a lot of frustration, we discovered a member and her daughter boarding the same exact car as we were. The fact that we were on the same train alone blew my mind, but the same car?! Get lost at the Train Station, missionaries. Miracles happen.
2. Forget Stuff at Home
In Japan, the garbage disposal system is very inconvenient. It's the only thing keeping me missing home every now and then; taking out the trash. You have to sort trash here and take it out to some far away place where twenty other people are taking out their own trash and it's rather a depressing experience. This morning, we bagged up all of our trash, loaded our bikes and then took off. It wasn't until we reached our garbage disposal location that I realized I'd forgotten the key. Sister D. seemed to me to have indestructible patience because all she said, at 6:30 in the morning in her sweats was: "It's okay. It's a miracle in the making!" Well she was right because as soon as we pulled up we saw a less active member. We caught her right before work! This woman who before, would simply explain that she was busy and turn away, let us teach her in our sweats. When we told her there would be a baptism in Koga, she asked whose baptism it was and demanded the back story. She clung on our words. This woman wouldn't make time for President Monson himself but she listened to my broken Japanese. Please, God's timing is different than ours. Leave stuff at home.
Today we didn't have nearly sufficient plans. We wandered around and wondered what to do. I felt embarrassed, I knew that Sister D. had come from the city, and probably had plenty of daily appointments. I didn't want her to think that I was a lousy missionary, so I got a little desperate. In hindsight, however many appointments one teaches has nothing to do with the value of the missionary. But anyways I just prayed to God the whole time. In those moments, He showed me where I ought to go. Images of places I'd been came to mind. We visited one of our busiest investigators and she was home. Then God told me to turn around the direction we'd just come. On the way, we saw another less active. Before she'd told us to not come back to her house but today she stopped and talked to us! She complained about her current circumstances, but seemed genuinely happy to see us and talk to us. It was the most I'd ever talked to that member since I've been in Japan. After that, I got the clearest picture in my mind of a single woman, sitting at a bus stop, just a little bit aways. We headed there
Earlier in the week, Sister D. had shared an experience with me. She told me about an old district leader who insisted that everyone picture exactly who they'd like to meet before starting the day. The act of having a perfect picture in your mind of who you'd like to share the gospel with that day would lead you to find them. I loved that idea.
So we rode on, chasing a picture in my head. When we got to the bus station, of course there was a woman there. Her husband had died six months ago of a sudden heart attack. She told us about how terribly lonely she was. Sister D., who lost her grandfather three weeks before her mission, was able to testify that she would see her husband again. We gave her our phone number. Elders and Sisters, you have to wander around some days.
4. If there is any sort of activity going on at the church, do a church tour
We'd just gotten done with a lesson that went alright. The introduction of a new missionary had sort of scared our friend. But, when we invited her to church, she suggested we all go together so she could know the way. I went way too fast-turns out I can't ride my bike slow anymore I've apparently only got one speed: Godspeed. The whole time she shouted: "Berry chan! Hayai!" Which is Japanese for fast. But when we got there, the young men were still having their activity at the church. A member pulled our friend into the church, taught the Restoration in the fastest Japanese I've ever heard, and committed her to come to church the next week. Then two more members showed up, and were right in the thick of the action too. She was so happy. She said she was feeling a mysterious feeling she'd never felt before. Sister D. jumped on the opportunity and told her it was the Spirit. It was gorgeous. Give church tours during activities! That's a member present lesson without even trying!
Well that's it for now Full-time and Part-time missionaries! I love you all, I'll see you soon!
Love, Sister Goldsberry
|English-Teaching books and her Trainer. She's done with her mission. Her parents came to pick her up.|
|There's no explanation for this one, my guess, a little kid at Church drew this picture of her|
|New companion, I think it's safe to say they already like each other|
|P-Day with other missionaries|