The Most Unmissionary-like Things that I've Done on My Mission that Made Me Feel Like a Missionary
Hello family! Brothers and sisters, MERRY CHRISTMAS. For me it's felt like Christmas ever since Sister J. got here; she's the greatest Christmas present I could ask for.
Wednesday marks A YEAR since Sister J. and I arrived in Japan. In some ways, it's gone by so fast and in others it hasn't. I remember horrendous days before I enjoyed knocking from door to door and choking on my Japanese. Even though I've come to love housing and my Japanese has improved tremendously, in my head, I'm still living those rough days. I never really left Koga. I never really got the hang of missionary life. Being with Sister J. has given us new perspectives. This is Sister J. first transfer being a co-senior companion. All of her companions have been much older than her in the mission. We can see how much we've changed. We can exchange stories from our mission experiences for days which makes us feel like this year has been a lifetime. We both have a countdown looming over our heads and it's going at the exact same pace which makes it all the more noticeable.
With all the "experience" I've got, I'd like to write down a few when I really felt like a missionary. In all of these moments I wasn't doing anything near what I thought I would be before my mission. These experiences though don't really give me "experience" because I still down see myself as an experienced missionary. I would say they were perfectly prepared random miracles I got to sit in and watch.
This week, with help from her seventeen-year-old daughter, I cleaned the house of a recent convert while she was at work. What an intimate experience that was! I knew that there was no one else in the world who could do that for her, let alone WOULD. I knew I was meant for her and she was meant for me. As we were on our way out, we bumped into that daughter of hers.
"You really did it!" She squeaked. If that house spiraled back into a disaster area tomorrow I wouldn't even care because at least that recent convert would know that I was her friend and I cared. Her daughter would know that she can trust Mormon missionaries' word. We said we would and we did. Her face was worth it. Heck, the way that house smelled afterward was worth it.
In our mission, our mission president suggested we offer tutoring services. I barely survived my Calculus class myself so I kept to my boundaries and began teaching kids to play the piano. So random! But we were in the pinkest room I ever saw with an adorable Japanese girl teaching her how to play "I Know that My Redeemer Lives." She whined to us between practice that she actually hated pink and wanted a blue room. We cooperated with her mom, not a member of our church but definitely a member of our faith, and decorated it all with blue curtains, sheets, pillows, rugs, and things while she was at school. She came home from school grumpy, almost even more upset to see us because she knew it meant sudden piano practice. This little girl, who lives in the middle of nowhere, drudged up the stairs, saw her new room, wheeled a circle and squealed: "I knew she was my favorite missionary!"
To celebrate, she played they hymn we taught her by memory in her new room. She wrapped me up in a hug tighter than any I have received from any Japanese girl ever.
I remember once a member cancelling on a lesson because her husband's relative was in the hospital. He wasn't a member, and had just been in an accident. My companion suggested we write him an encouraging note on the whiteboard of the church and take a picture that this member could show to his relative. I thought it strange because we had never met him before and I didn't know how he would take a picture of two young foreigners. Maybe a week later, this member told us that he adored the encouraging note, recovered fully, and wanted to meet the missionaries. What a random, small thing that had such a large influence!
The leader of Young Single Adults in the biggest Ward I ever served in asked us to pitch in to make pot stickers for an event the next day. Really, all the YSA of that Ward were supposed to come but they cancelled and this guy knew he couldn't make all those pot stickers on his own so he called the missionaries. We invited a friend we'd never met before to join us. She was just a name and a phone number in our records. But she came! We made pot stickers and laughed and showed her the church. Now she has a baptismal date for Christmas Day. We made pot stickers! That's it! So silly but so influential. There are so many more moments just like these. I love being a missionary! At the beginning of my mission I hated riding our bikes out in the middle of nowhere because I would get anxiety. If anything were to happen to us, I thought, no one would ever know because nobody knows about this area except for us and God. Now, I love that feeling.
I'm riding out to the ends of the earth to see people that perhaps nobody else would bother to meet. My friends are people that not everyone will get a chance to meet. Fact is they live in the middle of nowhere. Nobody but God knows who they are. Now that I do, I consider myself pretty lucky. I love country side areas more than anything else! I adore being the evidence of God's love to people who feel forgotten, lost, and out of touch. I will ride my bike wherever for however long just so I can learn the name of someone who lives twenty four miles away from my temporary home and teach them the gospel. It's the only time in my life I'll be able to. Of course I'll find diamonds in the dusts of America but what an honor it is to do it in Japan. I love you all and I'll see you soon,