Monday, December 30, 2013

The Day of the Fruits of Missionary Work!


NOTE from Sister Yoshimoto's father:  Sister Lauren Yoshimoto received word that the first part of the Brazil visa process is complete and she needs a new police clearance letter (which requires her to send a notarized authorization to us so we can obtain the letter from the police department).   The next two parts of the process should be much shorter.  We hope.

Oi minha querida Familia!!!!

Oh, wow..... so I gave the papers to the notary public and hopefully she understood, because she just did the normal notary stuff and said "That's it!"  Soooo, I don't really understand that stuff but it seemed like the notary public understood, so we'll pray and see haha.  So I sent it and we didn't get to go to the post office before 12 noon, so it won’t be there before tomorrow :( sorry... but it will be there by Wednesday, I think. sorry, I couldn't really control where we went for pday because Sis Jensen-Coon was kind of planning the schedule so she could get to some shopping places cause she thinks she's leaving the area ..... haha idk.   We'll see. 

But wow. when Sis Royal called and said my visa is coming through my heart stopped and I couldn't breathe for a second haha ... It feels so surreal that I'm even going to go to Brazil.  I feel like this is my permanent mission and I always say that I'm going and that I'm waiting and will get there eventually, but it never really seems real.  I still feel like it's all a dream.  I'm not even really sure if I still want to go.  It seems too weird and foreign haha.  I feel comfortable here, like I got the hang of it, finally!   I'm still challenged and pushing on here but I feel like I know what I'm doing, which of course means it's time for me to get thrown  a huge curve ball.   Sighh... why does growing have to be so painful ahah.   I'm so nervous and scared.... 

But I want to tell you all a really cool experience I had relating to that.  So, Saturday was pretty much the best day of my mission and I'll tell you why!  haha.   First of all relating to the Brazil thing, we went to the Temple but got there late and had to do initiatories instead of endowments, which was still the most amazing thing.  I felt the Spirit so strongly the whole time,  I just feel like it was exactly the boost I needed, especially since I got the call from Sis Royal the night before so I barely slept thinking about what it means that I'm going to Brazil eventually. I just couldn’t reconsecrate my mind and refocus and I was just so worried and upset almost by it … haha.   But I prayed in the temple to help me just get my mind off of it and let me refocus and be okay with what was happening.   A few minutes later when we were waiting for the next bout of initiatories,  I held the Book of Mormon and just couldn't really focus on anything I was reading. so I prayed that I could be inspired to know where to read so I could learn something.  

All of the sudden, the word Moroni popped into my head and I was like okay, what chapter, and I clearly saw the number 4 in my head and I was like wow, that's specific! cool!   And I went to it and it was the sacrament prayer on the bread.   At first I was like okay.... that's weird.   I even doubted it was inspiration at all or just a random thought popping into my head that really didn't mean anything. (earlier that day I made a list in personal study about what I need to work on and the main one was faith haha) so I decided to read it anyway just in case it was a prompting from the Spirit that I felt so strongly there, and in FAITH  I read it and omg.   I never learned so much and felt so powerfully that this was exactly what I needed, that the Lord knew exactly what I'm going through and was giving me what I needed to overcome it because I was willing to ask and act in faith.  

As I read this verse, I really thought about it and all of a sudden, everything just hit me and flowed to me.   It says: "...witness unto thee, O God, The Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep His Commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen."  It's so simple and straightforward and we hear it every week in church, but the Spirit just overwhelmed me and I knew that I was witnessing to God that I am willing to take upon me Christ's name as I put on my name tag every morning and represent Him where ever I go.  I always remember Him and keep His commandments and in return, I am promised His Spirit will be with me ALWAYS. And in that moment, I realized that that is all I need. Where ever I go, the Spirit is the same, the Church is the same, the Sacrament and the prayer is the same.  No matter where I am, in Vegas or in Brazil, I don't need to worry as long as I represent the Savior and always remember Him and keep His commandments, I will have His Spirit and be happy and guided.  It will still be hard, but I can do it with His help. 

 It seems almost insignificant now when I tell someone and look back on it, but to me this scripture will forever be such a special powerful testimony of how the Lord is so aware of me and answers me through His holy scriptures and how the Spirit can literally teach us anything from anything. 

I am so grateful for this experience. and right after, we went to the Herbine's family sealing. WOW!   The most amazing family I've ever met.  All converts of exactly a year ago and they are all the strongest people I've ever met.   4 kids, ages 10, 13, 16, and 17.  They are THE definition of  true converts.  Wow.  I never felt so amazing than when I saw that amazing family look into each others' eyes as they were sealed for Time and all Eternity in the Temple of God.  Wow. They are the family from Kingman, I don’t know if I told you about them before, but I never realized so strongly in my life how important it is to be married in the Temple.   And how badly I truly want that for myself and for each of you at home.   I'm so grateful we're sealed as a family. I never realized just how much of a blessing it truly is.   WOW! 

That night, we went to Kingman to John Meharg's baptism!   WOW! I WAS SO HAPPY!!  I never saw him so happy!!   It was so short, but I felt so fulfilled and happy and just so darn filled with the spirit!!   haha.  I was kind of his surprise present because they didn’t tell him I was coming and when he saw me he was so surprised and was like SISTER MOSHI MOSHI!!!!! hahah.   I love them so much!!!  I’m sooo excited for their sealing in a year from January!!! yay!!!  I love missionary work.  I named that day the Day of the Fruits of Missionary Work! haha.  Wow. The gospel is just so amazing! 

P.S.   Could you send me the directions to making an origami paper heart?   I forgot how :( THANKS! :)))

I love you all sooo much, and I am so grateful for all of your support and love and just everything you do for me. I could not do it without all of your prayers and support. I am so excited to keep going out and being a full time servant of the Lord and am so proud of all of your work for Him as well!! I have never felt so strongly about this work and how important it is for everyone to know how much their Savior and Heavenly Father love them and that the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is restored (along with all the accompanying blessings) and is here waiting for them. 

Love you all soooo much!!!!
Com Muito Amor, 
Sister Yoshimoto :)

Top picture : 

The Herbine family and the missionaries!!!! :)
Keri, Janice, Grace, Will, Hannah, Jack Herbine.

Bottom picture:  The Meharg Family:   Kristi, John, Deviney and Evalynn

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Snuck Up on Me

So, sorry I'm emailing so late.  We had a crazy day. This WEEK was crazy!! WOW I can't believe it's already almost Christmas!!  I seriously can't believe it.   It just SNUCK up on us!! WOW!  IT's already CHRISTMAS EVE EVE! 

First of all, I want to thank everyone soooo much for the cards and the letters and the packages!! Wow! I can't even read them all yet. but I will definitely send the thank you's soon!  P-days are soooo stressful but I will get them done eventually.... haha. I got the cute little presents for me and Sister Jen-Coon!  They are under our tree :) Waiting for Christmas!  Woohoo!  So anyway, The cookies from Mary Ann and Sister James are soooo good!   mmm   There is just NO hope for losing weight on a mission in December... so why try? :}

So, I will start with letting you all know that I will be on Skype at around 11am here on Christmas! I hope that works for you all!!   We'll be at a member's home so we can probably use google +  and do the conference call with Cami/Jeremy and Kei!! Is Kei going to be in Provo still??? :(( She will be in the call too right? and Cami/Jeremy are in AZ?  Well, hopefully they can all be there on Christmas!!!  I'm excited to see everyone and RUSTY! :)))

Soooooo I met some people from Hawaii!  There was a guy named David Silva and he said he knew a Lynn Okazaki!   I don't know if that was mom or not though.. He said she got divorced soooooo  I'm guessing it's NOT mom hahahah.   But he said she was a waitress in High school.  I asked if he called her Onion and he said no and looked at me funny haha.   Sooo it's probably not you.  But he said she went to Baldwin.  Was there another Lynn Okazaki at Baldwin?

This week started off really weird, by the way.  2 of our missionary companionships in the zone got their places broken into at the same time and in the mission/area There's been 2 or 3 other ones as well.  Apparently the missionaries are being targeted here and so we got this huge impromptu training by this Special Forces member on how to be a hard target and be safe and stuff.   It was pretty intense.  But we're fine, everything's good.   I was just thinking I could get a bat.  It was just a pretty adventurous week. I feel bad for the 2 elders who got robbed :(   It was sad.  An iPod and iHome were stolen and ALL the presents that the primary sent the missionaries. SO SAD hahaha.   I feel like the person who stole it was probably a desperate father who wanted to have presents for his kids or something.... so he took them :(  I was like YOU CAN HAVE MINE!!! ... just let me know what was inside.   Cause honestly, I think that would kill me the most, not ever knowing what was inside the pretty little wrapped box. :( oh, the suspense......

Wow, this week is going to be rough!   No one is in town (especially the YSA) and the ones that ARE here are sick or with family.  It's really kind of frustrating hahah.  It's so weird.... holidays are the worst as a missionary!!! haha.   Anyway, we're excited because one of our investigators is Bryon Graham.  We met him on accident when we were going to go see a less active.   We asked if we could come back later and set up a time.  We came and started teaching and WOW.   Talk about GOLDEN!  He listens so intently and really reads and understands.  The second lesson was amazing -- The plan of Salvation.  He just listened and answered questions and then at the end, he was kind of quiet, we asked him what he thought of it and he said it answered his biggest question of his life that he never understood about heaven and hell … The Spirit world and the three kingdoms.   Wow!   I've never had someone accept it so readily and so fully.   It was pretty amazing seeing how prepared he was.   It was such a testimony to me that there really are so many people who are searching for answers but just don't know where to find them--or that they even CAN find them somewhere in this life!  It's so crazy to think about it!  These answers aren't supposed to be so hidden!   Yet, no one even knows the answers are there! 

Well, I will keep this short, because we started soooo late... but I’m sending my "Christmas present" soon!!   Love you allll sooo much!!! 

I hope you all have an amazing Christmas season where you can truly appreciate the reason for this Holiday and how we can really give back to Our Savior.  Elder Ballard challenged each of us to reach out to just one other person before Christmas and as a result, millions will have been able to feel/receive the love of Christ into their lives. Have you been able to do so yet? 

Imagine the difference we can make in the world, just one act of service at a time. 


Com Muiiiiito Amor!!
Sister Yoshimoto

Monday, December 16, 2013

Amber's Baptism Was Amazing

December 16, 2013

Oi minha querida Familia!!!! 

This week has FLOWN BY!!!! I feel like every week flies by faster and faster!!  It's already been 3 weeks of the transfer!!  I hit my 6months mark this week... the Year countdown begins... and I still feel like I just got out here!!  I can't believe how fast the mission goes!!!  IT'S KILLING ME thinking how SOOO soon, all of this will be GONE!  :( I can't wait for April's General Conference when they announce that Sisters can extend to 2 years!! :)  yay! hahaha.

Anyway, this week! wow!!! 
Amber's baptism was the most amazing, spiritual experience I'd ever had in my entire life!  I can't even express how strong it was! Unfortunately, our investigators couldn't attend.... Darn Adversary starts putting other things in the way and distracting them with work or school or friends..   :(  Only becuse he KNEW how life changing this event would have been for them... sigh, but keep pressing forward.

So, as you all know, her 4 years of investigating on and off all of a sudden she is here at this big day!  We had an AMAZING lesson with her the day before the baptism and talked about how this step would be that light and shining example for her present and future family and how much they are thanking her right now. She already knows everything an investigator and a longtime member knows about the gospel but I think this hit her more than anything since she's having a hard time with the fact that her mom is not even interested in learning about the church, however she is now very supportive of her decision :)  Anyway, at the baptism, we had amaaaazing musical numbers and talks and then it was time for her to be baptized and she practically skips to the font.  She's soo excited!  Then she gets in the water and as they get into position, she just starts bawling!  Man the Spirit was so strong I tear up just thinking about it.  You could just tell what was going through her head right then.  All of her investigating and studying and learning and praying culminated to this one amazing, life-changing moment. Then she took a breath and he said the prayer and baptized her. Wow. what an amazing experience seeing her there coming out of the water, knowing that she was born a new person in that moment. We talked to her after and asked how she felt.  She simply said, I feel WHOLE.  Man, I'm so excited to have her come with us to other lessons and share her spirit with them.  It was amazing.

Last experience:  We received a training last Thursday on the Blessing Contact. This is where we meet people on the street and tell them that we're here to bless the people here in Las Vegas like Jesus Christ would. We offer to leave a blessing in the form of a prayer in their home with their family.  When we do, we pray a blessing on them to invite comfort, peace, and the love of Christ into their homes and lives. It is seriously the most amazing, inspired contact ever.  People are not threatened because it's just purely to bless them.  And every time we left a prayer in a home, the Spirit is sooo strong and the people feel and recognize the spirit so easily, because their walls are down and they are looking for it.  It's sooo amazing. wow.  I will never do another contact without that blessing contact.  It is truly inspired.  Do they do that in SJ? because they should do that everywhere!!

Anyway, in the Training, we learned that and after the training there was a Christmas Program thing with some missionaries talent showing ish and then at the end, President and Sister Neider dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and came in dancing to Jingle Bells and stuff hahahha  It was sooo funny!!  Then they let us take pictures with them!  I sent it!  It was sooo fun hahahah!  I LOOVe our mission parents! hahahha. 

Anyway, I got the package!  Woo hoo!  Thanks so much!   I'll open it at home!  It's like Christmas early!  yay! :))  I will be sending some Christmas cards and stuff soon! haha.  I can't wait for Christmas!!!   I get to SKYPE!   How cool is that??   Fancy I remember getting the phone call when Keilyn and Travis were on missions.   Now, I actually get to see your FACES!   Then if Em goes out, it'll be like Hologram calls!  hahaha. 

Anyway, I Love you all soooo much and am soo grateful to be out here and for all the sacrifices that you make for me to be here.  I truly appreciate all you do for me and the prayers and support and love. it goes so much further than you can imagine.  I love you all and pray for you every night!

Com Muito Amor!!!!!1
-Sister Yoshimoto

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Our Teaching Pool Has Exploded!

December 9, 2013

Oi minha familia!! 

Soooo I officially sent off the FBI stuff (for the visa)!!  It will be sent to you and then you guys have to send it to the Salt Lake to the travel office?   I'll send an email that has the directions and stuff. wooh!  On my way! haha. no

OH!  So, good news!  This week, the best thing ever happened!!! WE FOUND A BOBA PLACE!! WOOOOOH! It's not the best boba, but hey!  Beggars can’t be choosers right> haha.  I was sooo happy. Sister Jensen-Coon was a little weirded out, but it's okay. I didn't think she'd like it haha.

Also, we found a little Japanese food place called Midori's!   haha!  Tell Aunty Midori to take the family there--has to be pretty good, huh?:)

WOW! Let me just thank you all again!!  You have nooooo idea how much you saved my life with the coats and warm clothes! (I got the box from Bishop.  Wow! whatta present haha :))) ) thank you tons!!!  I am nice and toasty!!  It is FREEEEZING and seriously, I would literally be a little Sister Yoshi-sicle with out all the clothes! so seriously, from the BOTTOM of my no longer frostbitten toes, thank you soooooo much!!! Aunty Midori, Uncle Jimmy, the Arima family, and Family at home!  I love you all soooo much!!!<3

So, cool thing I found out about this week was about something called Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar and if you mix it with honey and a drop of olive oil and something else--check the internet I guess haha--and it suppsed to be super good for kidney stones! and for everything else too!   So it's like another healthier airborne!  haha. Sounds gross though. but yeah, it has to be Bragg's!  I just thought of Dad.  Fun little home remedies!

So, I realized last week sometime that I have been a horrible letter writer home! haha. I like seriously don't tell you anything about any of my investigators!! :( Sooooo, for some reason I just assume everyone knows who I'm teaching! I will just start by saying that our investigator board has EXPLODED!!!   At the end of last transfer, it just exploded in our area!  We found amazing people! I'll just briefly tell you about a few:

Amber Romero. She's been kind of an etern-agator.   She's been investigating the church since she was in high school --almost 4 years ago.  She was being taught by the home ward missionaries and finally wanted to be baptized, but she wanted to go to the single's ward, so she's going to our ward and we're teaching her and helping set it up for THIS SATURDAY! woohooo!   She's so awesome!!  She's basically a member.  She's gone to church her whole time with her friend who's a member.  And she knows the lingo, the way things happen in the church, she prays like a pro.  You would literally think she grew up in the church if you didn't know she was getting baptized!  So crazy!  She's seriously the coolest girl ever and just so down to earth!   I love her!! :)  So that's super exciting!!! yay!! 

Another amazing new investigator is DJ!!!! MAN!  So his story is sooo cool!   We had a potential written down from a while ago in an apartment complex and so we knocked on the door and this guy answers and says she moved a while ago--which happens a lot.  And we, as usual, contacted him and introduced ourselves and what we do and what we were here to tell Ellis--the girl we were originally planning to see--and before we could invite him to learn about it, he was like "well, yeah, she's not here-- but you can tell me!"  We were like what....... uh YEAH! and he was like yeah,  I've been looking for the truth and just trying to figure out why there are so many different ones, like what makes you different, and how am I supposed to know what's true?" We were like........what. omg it was like the GOLDEN CONTACT!  Literally.   So we explained about Joseph Smith and how he had the exact same question and what the Book of Mormon was and how he could really know  and we set up a time to meet him that weekend.  He ended up not being there, and it was someone else's apartment.   It was seriously the saddest let down.   He was sooo perfect and I was soooo excited to teach him!! butttttttttt..... last week, the other sisters ran into him and referred him to us.  We were SOO excited!!  We finally got to see him and he is soooo awesome!   He is seriously looking and thinks soo deeply.   It's amazing. we'll read a scripture with DJ and he will really break it down and be like woah, well if that means this, then that means that, and then that and then... but what about this. and then we'll keep reading or give another scripture and it just answers it and he's like wow! No way!  This is soo cool,   I'm going to read these more later!   He's this 22year old gangster kid.   Ahhhh he's sooo amazing.   And every time we talk to him it's just like more and more clicks!   The only hard part is that his girlfriend, Chansity, is really cool too but just really quiet and will just sit there and listen, doesn't like to talk or answer anything, but will kind of take notes and stuff which is really cool. but the only hard part is that he doesn’t have a phone so we have to go through her and she's not quite so interested as he is so they won't go to church!!!!   We’ll have a ride set up for them and we'll call or visit Sunday morning and she'll answer and be like he won't be ready in time, he's tired, etc. and we're like NOOOO he's NOT!!  :((( He's seriously soooo excited to go to church!  He's like telling us what he's going to wear and asking if his shoes are okay for church and stuff!   He's like it's okay, I'll just figure it out and make it work.   It's church.   I just want to teach him EVERYDAY, but finals are this week and it’s sooo hard to meet with people especially with the Christmas season coming....   DJ's leaving for 3 weeks back home to Texas.... soo  HARD achh!!   Darn holidays. worst enemy to missionaries!! haha. but DJ is soooo great.   We're soo ezcited for him!! ahh!   I'll keep you updated. 

I think the biggest lesson I learned from this week is really, the power of the scriptures. Even just from DJ, seeing how the scriptures really solidify what we teach.  The spirit is just sooo much stronger when we read the scriptures and then expound with our testimonies.  It's really kind of amazing how so much power and Spirit can be contained in this one tiny little blue book.   It literally has the power to heal you, to make everything clear, to answer the questions of the soul, to lift you up and to save us, to give us that comfort, the peace, the peace of mind, the strength and everything we would ever need in this life.  What an AMAZING gift from our Heavenly Father.  The power we get from reading everyday is seriously such a spiritual recharge.  It's so cool to compare to physical food.  We can feast as much as we want and need to one day, but no matter how much we feast today, tomorrow we'll be hungry again.  So we need to feast again.  Every day, we need that Spiritual food just as much as we need the physical food. 

I would like to challenge all of you, just like we have been this whole week with those strong members we meet, to read from the Book of Mormon or other scriptures every day.  Even if it's the busiest day in your life, read one verse and think about what is means, what you can learn from it and how you can apply it in your life--then DO IT!  There was this super cool picture --kind of a joke--that had a pic of Mormon that said “Oh, you don't have time to read your scriptures today? That's okay, I only spent my WHOLE LIFE putting them together for you.”  hahhah I thought that was soo funny but yet sooo true! Mormon spent his whole life on the Lord's errand to bring us this collection of records.  So every time you read, think about WHY Mormon was inspired to choose this passage, out of allll the records in their history, to be in the one record that would be preserved for this day--for YOU. and I can promise you all, as a representative of Jesus Christ, that you WILL feel the power of the scriptures in your day.   You will literally sense the Spirit more present in your life.  There will be a strength to go on even when the list seems too long and the path ahead is too rocky.  The strength and time and energy and help will be there seemingly from nowhere, but you'll know where it's from.  I don't even know if I'm allowed to promise blessings to people not in my assigned area, but I just know that this is all true, because I've been able to see it in my own life, day to day.  Even before I had a real testimony of the Book of Mormon or of the church at all, I did notice a difference when I read the Book of Mormon.   I didn't realize it at the time what it was or that it was even really that different, but looking back,  It definitely is [a testimony].  Obedience Precedes Understanding, and it truly does.   As we obey the commandments and even just “experiment on the word”  like in Alma 32, we will grow that understanding and spirituality and that testimony!   It's amazing how it really works on that little speck of faith--or even that DESIRE to have faith, that desire to believe. The Book of Mormon holds so many precious treasures.   So enjoy them!  Show our Heavenly Father that you appreciate His Love and Gifts and help by using them! 

I just want you all to know how much I truly love this Gospel.  I guess, looking back, there's always been a part of me that knew this was true, I had my doubts and my times of rebellion, but I can now say that there is not a single part of me that doesn't know this church is true.  I have never known anything so much in my life and I'm so happy to know that I can have my family forever.   Emily, I hope you're reading too!!   Because it's really amazing what you can learn from reading, and not just reading, but studying and really thinking about what it means. I am sooo happy to hear from Cami and Jeremy!   Thank you for writing me!  It means soo much to me to know that you're doing well and staying strong!   I will write again next week and let you know how the baptism went and if I got the package!! 

I love you all soooo much!!!
Com Muito Amor!
-Sister Yoshimoto

I love you all!   I want you to know how much I appreciate the prayers and thoughts and support and love that I feel from you all every day and that keeps me going. You are all in my prayers every night.