Monday, January 18, 2016


Alright friends and family don't get mad at me. I know I've become a worse email writer. One would suppose I should get better as time goes
on. BUT CITY LIFE IS SO BUSY. I'm living with four sisters again, just
like I was my first transfer. Let me tell you, it just makes for more
mess. I have no real excuse as to why I didn't send emails last week,
but I can give you what I wrote last week and give you an update on
this week.
Last week:
I don't know how I did it. I survived these past five days in Shibuya.
Please, do yourselves a favor and Google places like "Hachiko square",
"Roppongi", and "Harajuku." These are the beautiful city sights I get
to see on a daily basis. As you're looking at pictures of these
places, picture me, and my purple bicycle, riding right alongside
taxis and motorbikes, semis and cop cars. It's an absolute dream come
true. Our teaching pool isn't quite what I imagined; we have our work
cut out for us. I am known for pumping up areas and what's stopping
this area of beautiful Shibuya from being a garden spot of the
So I've come up with an analogy for my mission so far. Here it is.
When I arrived in Koga it was as if I was standing at the edge of a
cold pool. I knew I was inexperienced, I knew no one would judge me if
I took my time easing into the water. I had heard of "swimming", asked
my dad about it, but never tried it until now. For whatever reason I
just jumped in and started moving around. The water was still cold,
colder than I could have ever imagined, but I was glad I had decided
to jump in at once. I knew that if I hadn't, I might have changed my
mind and given up on swimming. Eventually, as I immersed myself deeper
and deeper I got used to it and my muscles warmed up. I swam better as
time went on. I enjoyed my own, quirky, stroke.
Then my hour in that pool was done. I was called to a whole different
pool in a whole different language full of completely different
people. At the edge of this pool, the coldness of the water, my
companion, and the complete and utter lack of preparation was enough
to make me hesitate. I stuck a toe in. I needed the cheers of you
guys, my friends and families to encourage me to walk in deeper and
deeper. I honestly think in the end it hurt more. I spent more time
suffering in the cold than I did when I jumped in. But eventually,
after an embarrassing amount of time, I started swimming again. My
time was cut too short and suddenly I was in front of the pool of
Shibuya. Family I'm already in ten feet deep. I'm deep enough in this
pool I can't even hear your cheers from the outside. I'm still not the
perfect swimmer, but I've got a year of experience under my belt. I
know that my time is short in this pool.
But it's in the bag. I'm not resurfacing anytime soon. Not until The
Lifeguard calls me out. Till then,
This week:
It was the worst.
We taught no lessons. Yes this is one of the biggest cities in the
world but when I arrived we had no friends to teach. We would continue
to have no friends to teach this entire week. That meant a lot of good
old fashioned stopping people on the street or on trains and getting
rejected hundreds of times. It was rough. By the end of the week we
only had the contact information of like three of these people we
I got lice. HOW GROSS. Holy molly seeing that first creature was the
scariest experience of my life. The horror. Worse than any horror
movie because even if you close your eyes THEY'RE STILL THERE.
I was in the shower, with my special lice shampoo washing away all the
critters and everything just hit me at once. I realized how sore my
body was, how low the bags under my eyes hung, how exhausted I was.
And I thought: Why? I haven't kept anything for myself this week. I
haven't even thought about myself. I forgot myself and got to work and
I got lice instead. I didn't even email for my full hour and a half
and God bestows lice on me. Where is His mercy?
I thought about going home and treating myself to massages and hair
treatments for an entire week but for some reason when I came out the
shower we just went back to work. We still had little success that day
and I cried myself to sleep that night.
But what a Sunday yesterday was. Two Peruvians walked into church for
the first time without having met any missionaries. A long time
investigator came to church as well. The brother of a recent convert
in the ward came to church for the first time after a simple game of
basketball with us. We received the number of a Brazilian woman who
had been investigating the church in Osaka and was ready to meet again
with us strange new missionaries after a phone call in her native
tongue. It was quite literally the first day on my mission that I
spoke English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese all in one day. And I
know it will not be my last day doing so. That day too on our way to
and from church we met cool friends actually interested in our church
and not just English class. We came home and kissed our filthy
apartment floor, thanking God for allowing us to represent His Son in
Shibuya, Japan.
I believe God pushes us and pushes us to our farthest point. But we,
selfish creatures, never know our farthest point because we've never
tried. Who wants to suffer for free? But I know that right before we
crack, God pours the blessings on our pitiful, lice infested heads.
He's done it time and time again to me. I think He does it to remind
us that He is God and we are nothing. Because when it comes down to
it, my mission is not about me, it's about "the Lord, His work, and
Heavenly Father's children." (Elder Renlund, October 2015 Conference)
I know that I do not speak four languages for me. God didn't teach me
four languages so I could brag, or get a nice job, or talk to my
Brazilian and Japanese companions. I was blessed so that I could bless
others. I know four languages so that I could teach this message to
nearly everyone in their native tongue. It's about God's children here
in Japan, and it turns out a lot of them are not Japanese. They had to
send somebody, God sent me, and I'm bringing them back to Him one at a
time. I'm signing out for this week with several appointments
throughout the week whereas last week we had none,
See you soon,
Sister Goldsberry


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