Monday, November 25, 2013

A Tragedy, Our Savior's Unconditional Love, and Our Responsibility to Reach Out in Love

Meus Queridos Familia e Amigos!

Happy week of Thanksgiving!!!!  I just want to say how truly thankful I am for every single one of you and all that you have done for me, whether you knew it or not! Every one of you has impacted my life in a way that has shaped who I am today. I am truly grateful for the privilege of knowing and having every single one of you in my life.  I am so grateful to be on a mission, to be in this area, at this time, in this mission, with these amazing people and missionaries. I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow and become more of the person I want to be and to be able to learn so much more about my Savior and the true power of Our Heavenly Father and His Love and plan for each of us.  I am so grateful for this amazing church that I know has the fullness of the Gospel and the Restored Priesthood on the Earth again. It's the greatest blessing I have in my life, the knowledge of this truth. 

Also, Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!!!!! I don't even know how many years hehe. I Love you both soooooo much!!!! and I'm sooo grateful for both of you and, seriously, all you do for us!  I never truly understood how blessed I am! Tell Emily this, cause she'll miss it when she's gone!  haha. (aka do your chores now) hehe. 

So, I guess I will just get it out here right now. Dad, you can put this on the blog or not. edit it or whatever you feel is fit, but I just want all you, the familiy, to know what's been happening this week. I don't know how publicized it is, probably more so in the LDS community, but it's been much publicized here in the Henderson/Vegas area. There was a young man, 26, named Scott Bybee who was a less active member in our Royal Mesa YSA Ward.  Scott was the sweetest, kindest, funniest guy.  He suffered from a number of difficult mental hardships including depression and bipolar disorder. We had a few dinner groups with him and had been meeting with him a bit.  Hadn't seen him for a while, but we texted him and asked how he was, we hadn't seen him in church for a while and he said he was having a real hard week. We set up a time to see him Tuesday night. We were on our way to his house when we got the voicemail message. A little less than an hour before, Scott went to the Las Vegas Temple, walked into the atrium and committed suicide. 

In church this Sunday, the bishop called a meeting in the 3rd hour and talked a lot about it and how we can learn from this and let this experience help us instead of hurt us. We talked about how his depression got so bad that maybe he just couldn't progress any more in this life, but now he can.  I don't know.  It was a lot to take in. but all I can say is that I know Scott is an amazing young man and had such a testimony of the Gospel and always tried to do what was right. The truth of the matter is, we never know the trials of others or what they are going through.  Especially in this time of year, but for every time of the year, be thankful for those you have around you. They are given to you as blessings to be those angels that will be there for you and lift you up when everything is falling down.  Don't ever ignore that blessing!  And even if everyone else abandons you, there is one who never will.  Our Savior has felt it all,  He's fallen below us all, and has risen above it all, as well, so that we don't have to do it alone. I know this to be true. and I know that we can't know everything behind everyone's story.  But we can know that each person goes through their own struggles. It's not our job to necessarily know their struggles. but it IS our job to help them through it. to love them  no matter what.  Unconditionally!

I love you all so much, and I know how loving you all are to all those around you, but sometimes, that's just not enough! We have to make sure that everyone around us KNOWS that we love them. Don't be afraid to reach out to those in need. or just to reach out. You never know just how much of a difference this can truly make. We are never alone, neither should we be. we're put here on this earth TOGETHER  to help each other get back to our Heavenly Father TOGETHER.  It isn't a competition.  It's a group effort.  I love you all so much, and i want you all to know this. 

I know the power of the Atonment is real.  I know that my Savior lives, that God lives, and that He has given us this Church to help us all return to Him.  I know that there is no other way to true complete happiness than by Jesus Christ . I know that He is there for us no matter what and that through His Atonment, we can overcome all things.  I am so grateful for this gospel and for my Savior and my family who has taught me these things since childhood.  Thank you all for your prayers and love and support!  I love you all sooo much!  You are ALL in my prayers always. 
Com Muito Amor,
Sister Yoshimoto

AND:   Please read: "Like a Broken Vessel"  by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. 

ps. what ever happened to Adrian? That one investigator who was super logical and went to church every week sitting on the right near the front?
pps. i might need some coats from DI.... IT's gettin cold here!! :(( i already bought a scarf and hat so i'm good just need a good jacket. thanks sooo much!
ppps. transfers!!! Sis Jensen-Coon and I are staying here in the YSA! woohoo!! 
pppps. we just got a BUNCH more VISA paperwork to fill out. apparently we need to do a bunch of FBI Background checks now too.... sighh. more paperwork haha. :P 
ppppps. LOVE YOU ALL <333

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Almost 6 Months Has Passed Already

November 18, 2013

Oiii!!!! Como Vao??

This week has gone by SOOO fast! I can't believe the transfer's almost over already! It's been whizzing by! haha. Kind of fun, but also really sad! Wanna know what's super weird?  In December, I'll have been out for 6 months... 6 MONTHS!! THAT MEANS I ONLY HAVE A YEAR LEFT!!! :((( SOOO weird... I feel so strange.  I feel like I just came out last transfer!! What...

Anyway, Updates on Ricky.. :( He is a little upset because he thinks we told a bunch of people about his situation.. which we didn't--we only told those who could help us (give blankets or a place to sleep). but some of his friends from high school (people we wouldn't know anyway) found out and he thinks we told them (even though his other friends knew about the situation too and probably told them...) but yeah, it's really sad. he's a little hurt and angry and so he asked for some space... we're going to go over there again next week when he should be getting a job so he can go out more or something.. but yeah.. it's really sad :(

But we have picked up a ton of new people!!! SO MANY PREPARED PEOPLE are coming out of nowhere!! It's amazing!! This amazing referral from bishop--a lady called him and said her grandaughter wants the lessons--she has gotten into some crazy stuff and almost killed herself with hard drugs and stuff and is alcoholic and all that, but she just felt impelled to come to church and asked her grandma how she can become closer to God. So we're meeting with her everyday at 5 to help her overcome her feelings of guilt and loneliness and all the effects of her lifestyle so we can help her learn how to use the Atonement in her life. It's really an amazing miracle. I can't even imagine how I would be able to help someone who's gone through this without the help of the Savior. IT's so comforting to know that I don't have to know what she's gone through to empathize, because our real job isn't to counsel and comfort, but to help her find her Savior so that He can do it--because he is the only one who truly can. "He has the power to heal broken hearts, minds, and souls." heard that in conference?  I don't remember. but I love it. because its so true.

Dad, that's soooo amazing about that priesthood blessing for that guy! WOW! What a miracle. I love how every once in a while, those tender mercies present themselves and we can really truly see the power of God! He knows exactly what we need whether they are big or small miracles, someone in conference said God only works in Miracles. and we can see Him in everything that happens if we can find the miracle in it! But what an amazing experience! What a faith builder!

I'm SOOO excited for everyone in the WARD!!! Wow!! 10 missionaries out! How exciting that Elder Jepson came home!! Weird!!! That seriously shocked me so bad! I feel like he just left! Then I realized its because I've already been out 5 months..... weird. time just flies so fast on a mission... it's really sad :( but its okay, because next conference, they're going to extend sister missionaries to 2 years. trust me. they were going to do it this conference, but I think they forgot. so, next conference. :) woohoo! what a blessing hahah.

Anyway, I hope you're all doing well! You are all in my prayers always! I pray that each and every one of you will get those missionary moments in your life because they are the best moments in life.  The chance we can finally share the best thing we have with everyone! It's the chance we have to play a part in saving souls!

I pray for each of you! Love you alll!!!
Amo voces!!!

-Sister Yoshimoto

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Work Is Starting to Take Off!

November 11, 2013

 This week has been a miracle week, however! It's been soooo great! Really just working and persistence has finally paid  off! We had 2 ish investigators when I got here and this week alone we got 3 new and 3 or 4 very good potentials, 3 of which we are seeing today! We've had great break throughs with our Less Actives and struggling members, and more getting to know the members of this ward! It's been a very good, productive week! :)
Ricky was finally let back into his house! It was a miracle! He had been sleeping outside for a while and we would go over every night and just share some uplifting scriptures and give him water and blankets and what ever snacks we could find for him. (I Don't remember what I said last week about him) but then one night we had a big talk with him about courage and the Atonement and how the Savior has already gone through everything that Ricky is going through right now (He was depressed at this point, understandably) but the biggest difference is that He went through it, AND overcame it! And that's how we can over come it too! He knows HOW to overcome it and will help us do that if we ask Him and let Him help us! So we shared some scriptures about strength and 1 Nephi 18 about how Nephi's family tried to kill him on the ship, yet he overcame it with the help of God. And we had him read those scriptures and pray and ask Heavenly Father for comfort, strength, and courage as he prepared to talk to his dad.  

That night he called us and said he was back  in the house and was going out to dinner with his dad right then. He said he prayed and read everything and was able to have the courage to say what he needed to and his dad started talking about how stress at work and the stress/pain of the year anniversary of his mom's death and his boss being a jerk to him all kind of built up and he took it out on Ricky. They talk more now and Ricky has some lists of things he has to do everyday still, and his dad is still pretty prideful and crazy, but this was such a huge miracle step!! Ricky's testimony of praying and reading shot up! It was such a miracle!  Our next step is talking to his dad.   Ricky can't go to church if his dad won't let him and keeps him cleaning so we need to talk to him and let him know what we are trying to help Ricky do and how it can help him as well. woooooh, praying and fasting for this one, fersure!
Thank you all for your prayers and support for Ricky. He's seriously the most amazing guy ever.  Breaks my heart but I have learned sooooo incredibly much from this experience alone.
The Gladys Knight performances were SOOOO amazing!!!! ahhh! So good. unfortunately, none of our investigators made it..  Darn flakey YSA... but we got really good people there--those who were less active or struggling members.  It was a great experience. I am obsessed with the music haha! and Brother McDowell's testimony.... oh man. what a power house!! It was just so great.  I wish it would come back to SJ so EVERYONE could go.!!!!
Mom! I did get the package! And it was PERFECT! the persimmons were seriously PERFECT! not even close to too ripe!  It was amazing.  What a blessing ! :) soooo good! Sister Jensen-Coon tried one but she could only eat like a quarter of it at a time haha. Too funny.  She got weirded out by it. but mmmm I ate like 1 a day when I restrained myself hehe. But it was super good. We also got the White Rabbit and ginger and Pocky and Yanyans! :) THANK YOU SO MUCH!  It was fun having sis Jensen-Coon try them all. hahaha. the ginger is a fun one for people to try :)
I did get Sister Stevens' card! Thank you so much Sister Stevens! Sorry I didn't mention it before! I must have forgotten to reply--transfers were crazy. but that's no excuse! I will write back soon! I just got emily's email! I will write a letter today! Tell Kei congrats!!! That's awesome!! I can't see her being a waitress! I would love it!!  But I think I would snap at rude people too much haha. jk. I'd just talk bad about them in portuguese--with a smile :) haha JK I WOULDNT CAUSE THAT'S NOT WHAT CHRIST WOULD DO!
Anyway, wow, this email is allll over the place haha. Anyway, I got letters from the Bertagnolli's and the Garrett's as well. Thank them so much for me! I am soooo excited for all of the outgoing missionaries! How amazing!!!! It's sooo exciting just knowing how everything I am doing right now, they will be doing as well, with different areas, different people, different kinds of work, yet the same work, same message, same spirit. I'm so excited for them all. This will be the most gratifying, hardest, most spiritual, most amazing self-discovering adventure of your life! :)
I love you all and hope all is well at home! I'm super excited for mom's chayote! Looking good!!!  Those tomatoes! hahah! can't win em all, huh? use rusty's poop for fertilizer or something. idk how that works haha. but how's the other plants??  How exciting! you're own little garden!  When does it get too cold to garden there??
You are all in my prayers every night! LOVE YOU!!!!!
PS The ward is doing better! people are working with us, still flakey but they are getting there! Gotta get them excited!!! People are excited when we are excited!!!!
-Sister Yoshimoto

Monday, November 4, 2013

We Missed Sleeping in for the Daylight Savings Time Change!!!


How is everyone at home!! This week has been a fun week. We got to go to the mission office for Halloween! haha!  Sooooooper fun! All the missionaries inv alley (not in AZ or CA) got to go to the mission office and watch Ephraim's Rescue.  It was SOOOO good.  Oh man..  Like a 2nd part to 17 Miracles which is probably one of my favorite movies.  Oh man, I recommend ALL of you to go and watch those two movies. AND the Joseph Smith movie.  They are soooo great.  Top 10 movie list for sure!  It was such a good experience.  Then we got to have little snacks and talk with other missionaries, then go home. we got home late cause the movie went long and we didn't get home until almost 10 and didn't get to sleep til 11. MAN we were POOPED!   hahahahhaha. 11.... That's a missionary party.  hahaha.

Sooo..... saddest news ever.. We missed the daylight savings time... -_____- so. sad. haha. we got sooo many reminders and I even set my watch to the right time but then our phone alarm went off and it said it was 6.  Time to get up!   But I was like WHAT it's still dark!  There's no way!  So we got ready and then hours later, we had ward council at 11 and got there and were waiting and were like ... oh man!   No one's here! There, were a few people from the other ward , but we were just waiting then I looked at the phone and it said 10...... it didn't update until like 8 am!!   Oh my gosh!  I was so mad! (not really) but really.... hahahah. I was like NOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo. I was looking forward to that extra hour of sleep for SO long (2 days)--and just like that.... gone. slipped through my fingers. no more...... just a "spring forward" to look forward to... hahahaha. Oh well. haha.  Gotta wait til next year!   haha.  Life's simple pleasures.

Anyway, that was the funny story for this week. Other than that, the work has been tough. We have SO many appoiintments set, but young single adults are sooooo flaky!!!  So we end up having like 15 appointments for the week set with investigators or potentials, and end up only getting to really have 3 or 4 really go through ):  It's hard. but we've been able to really concentrate on finding and contacting and really talking to everyone. Iit's been really amazing.  We had a great training on talking to everyone!  That quote that the Bertagnolli's sent me from Marcus was EXACTLY what they said--"If you want to baptize some people talk to some people but if you want to baptize everyone, talk to everyone" We got a training on how if we aren't talking to everyone, we are temporarily thwarting their salvation and their spiritual blood is on our hands.  There was a super powerful quote .. lemme see if I can get it right-- "Any excuse we use to not talk to everyone is a justification for sin and a direct result of our fear, our lack of faith". something like that. that hit me sooo hard!  My fear of talking to someone who looks mean or who is walking away and seems busy, is basically a sin on my part.  It's me allowing the fear of man and my natural man to overcome my faith. This week we've been able to really put our faith into action as we tried our best to talk to EVERYone we saw, despite the situation. I realized this is something so much more important and so much bigger than myself and my silly fears. I'm truly learning how to cast my fears aside and stand as a representative of Jesus Christ. And boy, the miracles we've seen--people who are truly intersted, or those who aren't at first, but as  we continue to talk to them and just testify, they start asking questions and even if we don't get a return appointment, they've been able to have some answers and know that we do have something more than just a church, but the True Church with all the answers and the real path to happiness.  It's really quite amazing, just sitting back and thinking about how deep, yet so simple this church is.  It's God's true church.  The only way back, with His plan, completely laid out for us, yet so few take the time to try it out. How much they're missing out ):

One of our investigators, Ricky, the one where his mother died of cancer last year and his nephew has cancer and he has 3 tumors in his brain. His dad is so angry and mean. I don't remember if I told you about him already, but its so sad to see how hurt his dad really is and how he lets it eat him up from the inside out and how it affects his son. Ricky is so worn down by his hurtful comments and you can just see how much pain and anger is built up in his dad and he just takes it out on his son.  It's sooo sad...  His dad kicked him out a couple of days ago, and Ricky's trying to talk to his dad, but he won't listen. and His birthday is today! We bought him a card and little cake. We're excited to give it to him :)  to let him know we remembered and still care. He was sleeping in his dad's old car in the back last night where the windows are stuck open and it's like 40 degrees outside and all he had was a little sweatshirt. so we found him a sleeping bag... it's so sad. its times like this I wish we could do something more to help :(   We are just praying and fasting and telling him to pray.  It's so hard to see things like this happen, but I am so excited to teach more about the Atonement so he can truly understand how much he is loved. and his dad, too!!!  We are trying to talk to him as well.  We'll see how it goes. 

So, I have no time left haha. but I love you all and jussssst got the letters today! I will read them today and reply soon!  I guess they were all still being forwarded to Kingman :( sorry!!!  Love you all!!!!! 
You are all in my prayers!   Keep me in yours!
Ate Logo!
-Sister Yoshimoto!