Monday, February 24, 2014

It is Fun to See the Lord's Hand in the Work

February 24, 2014

Yay!!! I'm glad you all got home safe!

You asked who Zane is.  Zane is Michael Okazaki's friend whose mother we were teaching.... “were” as in not anymore :( She dropped us, but i'm POSITIVE she will investigate again. When it's on her own terms.  She's so sweet and Zane is such a great kid.  I want to see him on a mission sooo bad!  He's soo incredibly prepared. He's going to change Mexico!  It will be awesome !! :)

I'm sorry to hear about Brother Maurer, but also I’m pretty happy for him!  He's doing great work up there already, I'm sure!  … and he's probably soo incredibly happy to be with his wife again in peace and happiness :)   If there's a memorial service, I'd like to have one of the programs or something. :)   I'll never forget his sweet spirit and how much he loved us as kids … teaching us the thumb twiddle and “see you later alligator! “  :)

So this week was really good. To answer mom's questions: The lady with Brenda at the Fireside was Sister Jenny Hammond, she's an AWESOME member!   She's sooo great and seriously one of the best member missionaries!!!   She is always so willing and soooo friendly and loving to all who are new.  She is awesome.   Brenda and Matt are doing soo great!   Brenda literally said she could get baptized today. but she is waiting for her husband to be ready.   He is so ready and knows it’s true and wants it, but wants to read the whole Book of Mormon, first.  He's halfway through Alma.  But, honestly, I feel like it might be some excuse.  We will need some real inspiration and inspired questions for him to figure out what the real concerns may be.   Also, the amazing Stafford Family is on the same boat really, she's ready to do it and so excited and always telling people she's about to get baptized when she introduces herself to the ward.  She literally said “I'll wait for him and if I feel he's close to being ready by the date (March 8), then  I'll hold off, but if not, I’m not waiting forever.  I want this done!”   :)  She's so amazing. He wants to be baptized, too, he's just nervous or something.  We also need to figure out about his true concerns.  This is the fun part.   Learning to allow the spirit to really work through us to help us uncover what might be holding them back, because we only see the surface, but God knows exactly what they need.  We just need to find that out and catch up!  We'll update next week!!!

So, for the past couple of weeks, I've been slightly freaking out because of how well this area is doing...... IT SCARES ME!!!   We've been getting the BEST numbers I've ever experienced --including Kingman!!!!   which was like the promised land!!   It's INSANE because this area has been slow and dead and really hard since it's been here.  When we were getting 4 or 5 or 7 lessons a week they said it was the best numbers this area has had for a looong time.   Now I've literally seen this area EXPLODE and it's moving so fast and people are coming to church, progressing, meeting with us, CHANGING!   It's amazing. what an incredible blessing it is for ME to see this transformation and amazing growth in this area -- honestly because of the members and the incredibly prepared people searching for the truth  and really willing to hold on to it!!  Heavenly Father never ceases to amaze me with His power and love and hand in ALL things.  It's literally one of my absolute favorite things ever!!!  That is, going to a new area, seeing how rough and tough it is, and working really hard to see the powers of Heaven take over and allow it to bloom and grow.   I feel so incredibly privileged and blessed to be a part of this work.  There is absolutely NO way this is anyone's work but God's.  There is just 100% NO possible way that we alone could move this work forward.  If anyone--ANYone just took the time to look into it and even just logically see how it works, how the church works, the FACTs, there is no way it's anyone's work but God's.  And yet, without all those facts and temporal knowledge, the Spirit is here and it's impossible to deny. 

I can't believe how much I've grown in such a short period of time. I was reading my journal from the beginning of the mission, MTC and Kingman.  Wow ...  I struggle with the same things, yet have grown in so many areas.  I read the advice I got from all of you and wow, I can see how each thing has played into my journey so far – and even saved me – I can't believe how blessed I am to be able to go on a mission.  I honestly HONESTLY would be lost and wandering still, if I didn't come on a mission.  The testimonies I've gained are priceless.  I am SOOO incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be out here.   I can't say it enough.   I can see my patriarchal blessing being fulfilled like a prophecy!!   It's unreal!! but soooo darn cool.   I can't wait to see the rest come true as well.. well most of it …  hahahha. jk.   I feel like I'm 5 again haha. I’M SO GLAD I’M A MISSIONARY.  )   Perfect. 

Well, I have to end now but I LOVE  YOU ALL SOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! <3

Com muito amorrrr!!!<3
-Sister Yoshimoto

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Heavenly Father Is Aware of Us and Knows Our Struggles

February 17, 2014

[Note:  The Yoshimoto family is in Henderson, Nevada for our biennial Okazaki family reunion.   Sister Yoshimoto was given special permission to call us, let us take her and her companion to lunch and to invite us to a special fireside to meet her investigator.  Sister Yoshimoto and her companion were also able to teach her uncle and aunt and their daughter!]

Oi todo mundo!!!!<333

WOW! WHAT an amazzzing weekend!  I can't believe it actually happened!  haha, It was SUCH a blessing to be able to see you all.  Wow!  I canNOT believe I was allowed to do that!   It was seriously such a miracle and I'll tell you why.

Story time: 

So this week was a looooong week.  It was fine.  I was excited and ready to find out the new transfer!  On Wednesday, I got a phone call from Sister Jensen-Coon in Green Valley.  Apparently, Mason--I don' t know if I wrote about him before--passed away from a drug overdose.  He had a lot of drug problems and was in jail, but we were allowed to write letters to him and keep in touch and keep teaching through letters and help uplift and what not.  He was seriously so awesome.   He had a hard time, but I truly got to see his true change of heart.  He believed it all with all his heart. bore testimony to us and was just so amazing. He had gotten out the day before and then was found dead of an overdose.  They don't know what happened but believe it was an accidental OD....  It seriously broke my heart.  It was harder, because I wasn't with Sis Jen-Coon so the memories of Scott Bybee came flooding back and no one around really understood.  Then a few days later, Friday, I found out another of our investigators passed away from a motorcycle accident.  It was just one hit after another and I seriously felt like I was drowning. It felt like everyone I grew to love so much and felt so connected to and had put so much into, was failing. and I felt all of the struggles of this area and just my situation and personal trials, added onto this all,  I just felt numb. I felt like all of my motivation and drive just left me and I couldn't grasp onto my purpose anymore.  It was a scary week.   I was seriously just numb and on autopilot and the work wasn't doing anything for me anymore.   But basically, not to be all down and gloomy, the cool part of the story followed!!!

[Note:  Scott Bybee was a former investigator who took his own life.]

Earlier in the week and then on Friday afternoon, we were talking to Zane about my family reunion and he was like yeah! ask President!  He will totallly let you go!  And I was like haha that'd be cool. but I was pretty much 100% not going to call him or ask or anything.  I thought it'd be not allowed and just not something he should have to worry about.   But Friday night, the night before anyone ever finds out about transfers, President calls and just tells us we're staying in the same area … same companionship.  Kind of a random, almost unnecessary call, and he asked is there anything else you might need?  Sis Nilson and I looked at each other and so we just asked if we could have you come meet our investigator at the fireside.   He said Of course!   And have them take you out to lunch or dinner! :) WHAT!!!   It was awesome!!!

And basically, this whole visit. WOW! The handbook says not to because it gets people trunky and homesick and everything, but to be completely honest, it had the very opposite effect on me.  It was seriously, exactly what I needed.  It was like I had my fire relit and the drive and motivation and everything just came flooding back!   I remembered my purpose!   I got to remember really what I'm doing here. Who I'm here for. Why I'm here!  To help others have the amazing family (or close) that i have!  :)  When we were able to teach the Plan of Salvation to Aunty Megumi and Uncle Chucky,   It was the most amazing moment of my mission, even though it wasn't the best I've ever done as a teacher.  I was nervous and kind of off my game still -- but it just all hit me.  I want them to have each other forever. They deserve the happiness this gospel  has to offer -- the peace, the joy -- and so does everyone in this area; everyone out here.  I remembered exactly why I'm out here.  Even though those investigators didn't get to accept the gospel in this life, the opportunity to do so is still there in the Spriit world.  In that moment, I KNEW that the Plan of Salvation is real.  That I AM doing what I'm supposed to be doing out here, no matter what the outcome,  I've done my part and the Savior knows their situations and what they knew, wanted, and loved.  They are taken care of and I can still help others out here inspite of this and because of this experience.  Wow! My testimony of God's love and awareness of ME has shot up.  I know that even when I was so numb and empty, He knew me and was right there.  He understood what I was going through and DID hear my prayers.  He KNEW what I needed and what needed to happen to make it happen.  The timing, the phone call from President, everything.   It all fell into place and I can never deny the miracle of this week. I KNOW this gospel is true. I know more than anything that God loves me and everyone I meet, that He is so incredibly aware of every little thing that happens to me.  Whether I stub my toe, or I lose a loved one, He is there holding me up, whether I realize it or not. 

On top of all of that. it was SO amazing to see you all and to spend time with you all!  I love you all sooo much!!!  YOU are all so much my motivation to be out here.  I love you all and you are ALL in my prayers by name every night.  I love you sooo much!!  I know you are doing so much good at home and where you all are.   It's the best motivation in the world!!!!


-Sister Yoshimoto

Monday, February 10, 2014

I Want to End the Transfer in Calico Ridge with a Bang

February 10, 2014

Oi familia!!!!!

Sooooo, I can't believe another transfer is coming to an end!! :(  Time flies sooo quickly.  This week was a rough one though.   I don't know what it was but I've just been feeling sooooo bogged down lately. Maybe I just haven’t recovered fully from being sick last week.   But I don’t know what it is!   I'm super excited for this week though!   We're going to end this transfer with a BANG!!  We have sooo many great appointments already and new part member families that we're teaching now and it's sooo exciting!!  Yay! 

So first of all the pictures here are of Bryon and his friend who's the member, and of my Green Valley zone!! :) Right before I left :( 

But anyway, I will send more pictures. in a separate email.

So, this coming week will be really great!  We met a suuuper awesome and amazingly prepared family that I told you about before -- the Staffords --  and we set them for the 15th (you can all come to the baptism!!!  haha),  but DARN SATAN is throwing so many obstacles already. Sickness, busy schedules, etc. so we haven't been able to see them.  So we're seeing them tonight and will hopefully be able to either push the date to the 22nd or cram the lessons in if we can meet with them every day before this Saturday.  However, they were a little unsure because the date we felt was super close -- so we asked them to pray about it and we'll see how they feel about it today.  We KNOW they're ready and totally able to be baptized by the 15th but we want them to make sure it's their decision and that they feel right about it as well.  When the spiritual confirmation is personal, that's when true lasting conversion is achieved. and that's what we want for them.  They are an AMAZING family.  Wow!  I can't believe Heavenly Father trusted US with them.  It’s probably because He realized they’re so incredibly prepared that there's no WAY we could screw this one up!   haha! 

Yay!  It rained here as well!  Suuuuuper random!  Like seriously.. there was a week of super cloudy and windy and like for sure a storm coming then it was blue skies.  Then all of a sudden RAIN.   What?   But yay!  I'm glad it's raining there too!  I prayed it wasn't just Nevada haha. Gotta feed those tomato plants! or something.  I'm not sure how bad the drought is. but I'm grateful for the rain! :)

I'm not sure what happened this week.   It really just flew by, but I’m glad its over.  It was a tough one.  But this coming week will be GREAT!  I've learned so much already and can't wait to find out about Transfers this Saturday -- when you all are here..... WEIRD. but it'll be interesting to see what happens.  haha.  Transfers: the most stressful excitement of the mission.

Tell everyone we said Hi!! I love you all!!!  Tell Maryann I said Hi!
I miss you all!!  Hope all is well and you are all in my prayers by name every night!   Sorry I can't keep up with individual emails :(( 

Safe trip here and tell everyone I said Hi and save me some food and don't forget to kidnap me hehe. jk. AMO VOCES!!!<333333

Sis Yoshimoto

Monday, February 3, 2014

This Area is Exploding!

February 3, 2014

Oi Minha Familia!

Oh man ... so I feel like as long as I'm in this area, I'll have absolutely no time to read any of these emails.... :((( Anything more than like a paragraph or 2 I have no way of reading it :( 

I'm SO SORRY!  I read and try to respond to as much and as many as possible but I literally just have no time to and no way to print it.   Sighh.  I think you can all still send it and I can let it build up until I go to another place and print out 100 pages haha. :)

But anywayyyy...... I asked President and he said I could see Michael!  But he's out of town and probably won't have time to meet up.   haha.  lame.   But it's SUPER COOL, because guess what??

We got a referral for a part member family and we went over and met this lady, Tracy who is the nonmember part.  And she is GREEAT!   She doesn't feel ready to change or anything, but really truly needs the atonement and the healing it can give her.   And she at least feels open to discussions. so we're suuuper excited for that!   But her son--the member part of the family-- he was baptized 4 years ago and referred her.   So he doesn’t go to the single's ward or to the ward he lives in but goes to the Desert Rose ward so I asked if he knew the Okazaki’s and APPARENTLY, he's suuper good friends with Michael!!   HAHA!   SO RANDOM! but suuuper cool!   All these really cool connections! aRRyone knows the Okazakis!  Can't wait to hear THESE stories!! ;D   Just wait til I tell them the stories WE have! HAHA. jk. 

Hey, Raina's been on my mind lately, how is she doing? How's Uncle Chucky and Aunty Megumi? 

I got Kei's Letter!!! AHHH!! I Want to write back sooo badly!!!! I don't have time!!! BUT WHAT !!! I want to know what's going on!!!! How did WED go????

I will write a letter today.... .I think. AH!   And Travis is getting stalked?   What's new with Cami and Jer? and EM? haha. I feel lke everything is changing!!!! 

Man, it's going to be super weird when you're all here next week. or week after. I don’t rememeber. this transfer is almost over and I'm freaking out.... it's week 5!!! WHAT! aghh...

Well, wow, I really am so excited about this area. I feel like that after a long time of hard work and little success, the area has truly been growing, but WOW this week has shown us that not only is it growing, it's EXPLODING!!!   Instead of the tons of new investigators--sketchy and open, but not quite prepared yet--but now we're truly finding the elite!  WOW!  It's amazing just seeing that come into works.  It's amazing.   All over, we are finding those who are truly looking for something more, have done their research, or knew people, or just want to know.  I can't wait!!!!!   There's a family, the Staffords.  They have been going to church and finally decided they want to get serious.  They are so open and have read the Book of Mormon and are sooo incredibly prepared and ready for this gospel--mostly for their family. they seriously LOOK  Mormon already.   WOW. They should be ready within the month to be baptized so they can be well on their way to the temple in a year!!! :)   I’m so excited for them!  

Wow. the gospel is AMAZING!!!!!  haha.   I can't write everyting out right now and I feel like I might not be able to ever because I’M SO STRESSED WITH HOW LITTLE TIME WE HAVE!  AHHH!!!

But I am just so incredibly grateful for the mercy of God that He has allowed me to repent and be prepared and worthy to be here on a mission!  I am grateful to be able to learn and gain so much for myself as I put in my all for those He puts in my path. I'm soooo grateful for the sacrifices and support from all of you at home that truly keeps me going and allows for me to even be here at all.  I am so insanely grateful for the chance I have to meet all those put in my path. This ward is amazing. I am so privileged to be here in this area at this time in this mission. What a blessing it is for us to be entrusted with this amazing work---which really just shows how much it isn't our work at all.  There's no way possible we could do anything like this at all.  We are instruments in His hands.  My favorite analogy is the Potter and the Clay.  I can't wait to see the results of our efforts in this area! I love you all soooo much!!!!!

Tenha uma grande semana!!!!
-Sister Yoshimoto