Monday, March 31, 2014

Exciting Last Week of Work in the USA. Ready for Brasil!

Mar 31, 2014

Oi Familia e amigos!! :)

This is the last PDay in the US.............. I thought I was fine with going and okay and good and everything, but all of a sudden yesterday I had a freakout moment and now I feel like it's actually happening....... and it's really scary...... AHHHHHLASJDLFK...

But I'm just going to enjoy today (and get a blessing from member) and deal with it tomorrow... on the plane... haha. jk.  I'm good.

I woke up at 3 this morning and couldn't do anything but lie there and try to shut my brain off.   I laid there for almost an hour and a half just tossing and turning.   I didn't think I was so nervous. And I don't even know why I'm so nervous!  :( 

I guess I just feel like I'm completely starting over and I kinda don't want to.  I just have to remember that this first mission DID count and it DID happen haha!  I don't know why I feel like I'm starting over instead of starting again, but I'll get over it.  Lots of prayer and study and work!

Something that was pretty awesome this week was on Friday, we got 3 missed calls different times throughout the day from a weird number--like 1144387340519.  Seriously like that, and it said from New Jersey.  So weird.  When we tried to call back it said, the number you're calling is not real.  Call a real number hahahahhaha.  I was like WHAAT are you doing! 

Then they finally called when we saw and got to answer and a man says Is Sister Yoshimoto there? and i'm thinking..... what.... but it was a teacher from the CTM  in Brasil and he was calling to "Check my Portuguese"....... HAHA OH BOY.   So we set up a time the next day that he could call back and we could talk.  It was right after the baptism. so I was kinda freaking out. When he called, and started to ask questions and such, it was the coolest thing!  I could understand him!  Granted, he was talking childly slow  :) --  and I could respond. and by the last question, I felt so comfortable and at ease just talking.  I almost didn’t want to hang up and talk English again.   But it was at that moment that I realized, the gift of tongues is soooo real!  I have been trying my best to study the language and grammar and everything (mostly thanks to Elder da Conceicao) that when I needed it, it all came together and flowed -- still limited vocab since I haven't actually been using a lot of vocab -- but that words I knew and the grammar I've studied were all there.  It was the most amazing spiritual experience.  I could literally feel the spirit stringing the words together smoothly for me.  It was the most amazing comfort that I needed knowing that as long as I can continue learning the language, especially in this 2 weeks intensive language program at the CTM, and I can live worthy for the Spirit, I will be able to teach in the language.  It'll still be super hard, no doubt, but it was enough of a confirmation to me that I felt a little more ready.  Ever more tender mercies of the Lord. 

But the BAPTISM!!!  WOW!!  SO amazing!!!  I'm sooooo excited!!!  Tami and Alexis are now official members of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!!!!!!!!  AND WHAT'S EVEN COOLER??!?!?  MATT ALLEN BLESSED THE SACRAMENT AT CHURCH AND GOT UP AND BORE HIS TESTIMONY!!!!!!  It was the most amazing thing to see.  I seriously was tearing up during the prayer asldkfjlskjfdl!  I love him soooo much!!  I seriously can't wait to go to their sealing.  They are the most amazing, spiritual, intelligent, yet humble people in the world.  I am so incredibly blessed to get to know them so closely.  What an amaaaaaazing AMAZING blessing from the Lord.  WOW!!!!!!  There's just no possible way I could ever deserve this.

But sorry, back to the baptism on Saturday!  I'm so soooo happy!!  Just being able to see such strong changed people finally able to take that step.  I can't wait for Eric to join his family so that they can be sealed for eternity in the House of the Lord.  I hope HOPE I can go to the temple at the CTM.  I love it so much now. I hope I will NEVER take the temple for granted, again.  What a blessing it is!

This Friday, another family of ours is getting baptized. a part member family so the Mom, Toni Jackson, and her son, Elijah who is 9 will be baptized!!  I am SOOO bummed that I can't be there for it.....  It was so cute, they were originally set for the 12 but they found out I was leaving and was like we can move it up!  Let's do it the week before!  They are totally ready, but we weren't going to do it today or tomorrow morning haha.  That'd be sweet, but I know it wouldn't work the way it should, especially shouldn't be rushed just for me.  But I'm so excited that they are deciding to take this step this Friday.  It will be such a great blessing  -- they know it already too. We only met them about a month ago, and she already knew she wanted what the other LDS families she's seen have.  She is reading everyday from the Book of Mormon and they have family prayer and scripture study every night -- better than most MEMBERS haha -- and she testified that it truly does bring more peace in their home and their kids get along more and they learn and love learning!  It's amazing the fruits of the gospel.  I am so excited for them!!!  I will have to make a cardboard cutout of me and put it in the baptism for pics and stuff  :)  hahaha jk. but I know I'm definitely coming back in a year or so to see all these amazing families get sealed!!!  I CAN’T WAIT!!!! 

Man, missions are seriously the best! 

I just can't express enough how incredible a mission is.  My testimony is actually a testimony now and it is probably one of the most precious gifts in my life.  I can never explain how dear it is to me or even how dear Vegas is to me now.  This place is hallowed ground to me.  I love it with all my heart.  And I can't wait to share the same love for those in Brasil.  It will be hard leaving, but I know with everything I am that I have done what I needed to do, and I have learned what I needed to learn here in Vegas.  I'm now ready to take my call and follow the Lord to Brasil.  I know there is so much waiting for me there -- even MORE challenges, triumphs, disappointments, successes, and priceless experiences awaiting me there.  So many more things for me to learn and I can't wait to see the refiner's fire I have to look forward to!  ahah.  I will never forget the amazing people and experiences here in Vegas. What an incredible BLESSING. 

I love you all sooooo much!!!  I could never get through all of this without you!!  The prayers, love and support are constantly lifting me up when I feel like I can't take another step.  I pray that Heavenly Father blesses you all with the support, strength and guidance you need for the sacrifices you make for Him and this work. 

Sister Yoshimoto


ps. I have a gianormous box of things to leave at the mission office......... could we possibly have Uncle Jimmy or someone pick it up and store it somewhere out of the way?  I feel bad it's slightly large.  It's an old car seat box.and has mostly winter clothes and letters.  Thanks!!!!!

I'm not sure what time I’ll be at the office, but it'll be tomorrow morning. 
Love you byeeeeee

Monday, March 24, 2014

Um Semana Estranha..... (a weird week)

Mar 24, 2014    Subject: um semana estranha..... (a weird week)

Weird.... I literally just typed the first few sentences in Portuguese haha! Then I realized what I was doing and erased it... I think I'm psyching myself out!   But it's awesome seeing this past week I've already begun to see the Gift of Tongues in myself-----BUT the real problem is the Gift of Interpretation of Tongues..... I have no idea what is being said hahahahah. I'll just have to say what I feel is right and bear testimony and pray they weren't talking about yesterday's leftover sandwiches. 

I'm super nervous about the flight and stuff.... I seriously feel like my mission is over but not really haha.  It's super strange... I'm so conflicted because I really don't want to leave--especially in the middle of all these amazing families and individuals we're teaching!!  But at the same time, Heavenly Father has been working overtime helping me feel comfortable and ready to go. Sooo many things have been happening.  OH! but one great one! haha,   This was a super weird, "final destination" moment for me last night:

So, we were walking back home from our last appointment and we were talking with our member who came out with us and I stepped on some rocks (they're everywhere) and felt something get stuck in my shoe--it's a lace-up shoe so it happens.  Haha.  I thought it was like a piece of tanbark or something wedged in my lace so I tried to kick it out while walking and talking and it was still there. so after a while I tried to reach down real quick and just take it out and it was sharp (it was dark so I couldn't see what it was)!  I was thinking “what is this,” .... so when I got back home I looked down and it was a nail!!  In my shoe!!  I was like WOAH!  It didn't even scratch me.  I felt nothing and it was bent so it literally just pierced through my shoe and around my foot and out the other side..... IT was a miracle!!! CRAZY!
There's more.... after I took some pictures (and thanked Heavenly Father for sparing my poor foot),  I pulled my foot out... AND MY SOCK WAS STUCK!! THE NAIL WENT THROUGH MY SHOE, THROUGH THE SOCK, AND OUT THE OTHER SIDE!!! and I didn't even get scratched!!!
I seriously felt so spared!   Hahahaha.  Wow.  I know it's so small and seemingly insignificant, but to me I literally felt like this was God helping me realize that He does need me in Brazil. If I had gotten stabbed in the foot, I would probably have gotten tetanus and gangrene and an amputated foot and died or just stayed in Nevada. LOL.  J/k.  Seriously, though, if I got hurt I may not be cleared to travel to Brazil.   I know it seems silly and God didn't put the nail there, but it was just a bunch of little events lined up that allowed me to realize that GOD SPARED MY FOOT so that I could go to Brazil and work there. If nothing else, it was a reminder and a blessing.  I definitely feel muuuuch better about the fact that I truly am needed in Brazil and I'm done here and it's time for other missionaries to take care of this area :(( as sad as it is.....

But other than that.... I can't remember what happened the rest of the week .....  Oh yeah!  An awesome guy came to church and said he was just looking for a church and wanted to come every week!  The Staffords are going to get baptized this Saturday!!!  I'm so excited!!!!  I'm also being super rushed to end emails so I will have to update next week!

I am packing slowly and grudgingly.... but it's happening.  I 'll leave it at the mission office and hopefully my bike as well.... LOVE YOU SO MUCH
I am so excited to meet those in Brazil that God has prepared me for. I can't wait to be completely immersed in their culture and language and life. Knowing Elder da Conceicao has helped sooo much in preparing me and I can't thank him and God enough for allowing me to know him. Even just knowing him has gotten me soo excited to meet more of his friends and family. I look back at my life and realize that I've been preparing for Brazil since HIGH SCHOOL!  When I met that girl from Brazil who was an exchange student, up till I worked at the MTC cafeteria and met people from Brazil and was friends with them and those who tried to teach me Portuguese! haha.

I know Heavenly father is soooo much more acutely aware of me than i ever knew. I am so grateful for His infinite love that HE would even care about one insignificant being as myself.. it's so incredibly comforting knowing that and that He cares just as much for everyone else around me. I love this gospel and this amazing opportunity to serve to give my all to Him and His children around me. I love you allll!!!!

Have a greaaat week!!
You are all in my prayers daily!!!<333
-Sister Yoshimoto

Monday, March 17, 2014

What an amazing blessing this gospel of second chances truly is for everyone!

March 17, 2014

Oi Familiaaaaaa!!!!

Hmm. So where to begin.... THIS HAS BEEN AN INSANEEE WEEK!

Soooo, I've been getting weird feelings and "promptings(?)" that my mission was over.  It was super stressful and discouraging at times but I worked on.  I also got stressed because there are sooo many inconveniences of being a visa waiter and I didn't want to leave anyway so I told sister Nilson -- mostly joking -- if I don't get it at 9 months, I'm calling President and I'm telling him to cancel my visa app! ..... mostly joking .... but all of a sudden, the morning of my exact 9 month mark, I get the call from the office.  It didn't really hit me.  It was weird.  I heard what she was saying but it felt like I already knew and it was like old news.  Then I hung up and Sister Nilson was freaking out for me and I was like hmm.  Okay.  I seriously felt like I didn't even realize it was real.  I felt like it wasn’t for a while.  I kept going like nothing happened and she kept asking if we were going to tell people and I was like what?  Tell what?  Oh, no.  Not yet. I kept forgetting, but not really.  It was weird.  I still kind of haven’t told anyone but missionaries. I don't want to tell anyone, but I think it's really bad for me cause when it hits me it’s going to be even worse of a reaction.  I feel like I still don’t realize what’s happening.  I keep having weird images of airports and MTC rooms and airplanes and things pop into my head and I push them away.  Most likely the Spirit is trying to prepare me for it so it's not so crippling of a shock, but I'm being stubborn as usual and resisting reality....... hmm.  I'll work on that.

Still as I tell you this I feel like it's not real, but yes I agree with Travis, at least I can make it for the WORLD CUP!! :))) and sweatiness mmmmm.... yuck.   At least I missed their Summer!! :) yay! haha.  I just can't believe that it's literally at my half mark I'm leaving.  I have 2 missions... so weird.  haha.  :P

ANYWAY!!! The crazy part is this isn't even the highlight of the week!!!!

BRENDA AND MATT ALLEN WERE BAPTIZED THIS PAST SATURDAY AND CONFIRMED YESTERDAY WITH THE MUNCY GIRLS!!!  IT WAS SOOOOO AMAZING!!!  I was crying ... a lot ... haha.  But it was just sooo amazing!!  I drew them a picture of Joseph Smith's First vision....  I was super rushed with the Godhead part soooooo... it's real bad.  hahahah.  but she really likes pictures and likes the first vision because she read so many Near Death Experiences where they mentioned the orbs of light coming down.  And we got him a tie because he has one -- a Harley Davidson tie.  hahahah.  Now he has a nice tie.
But wow....  it was soooo good.  He stood up and bore a 16 minute testimony and was crying and it was touching.  It was sooooooo insanely good.  Best baptism ever.  And the Staffords came and … This week was just amazing.  Eric, who is also really hesitant was there and he confessed that his main holdup is he doesn’t want a huge service making a spectacle of it.  Soooo we're working on having a small service for him with just family and close friends there and then right after with Tami and Alexis they have their huge one that they want. :)))) SO HOPEFULLY THAT FAMILY WILL be BAPTIZED TOGETHER (Tami and Alexis are going to with or without Eric ... but we want the whole family to do it together!!!! :))))) ) ON THE 29THH!!! MY LAST SATURDAY HERE!! I'm SOOO EXCITED!! This is the BEST TRANSFER EVER!!!!!! :)

Basically, it was the best weekend.  oh man. Their confirmation blessings both said they'd be a huge example and missionary for their immediate families, who they are really nervous about finding out because they were both raised super anti.  Basically at this point, if their families find out, they will be condemned by their family and church........ bible-belters … and so that in their confirmation blessing was suuper powerful. also, it talked about the work they will do for their ancestors (which they’ve already gotten some names ready for the temple!! WHAT hahahah) and that Matt will have many responsibilities in the Priesthood and the Church. I just KNOW he will be some kind of general authority or something haha.  He's sooo powerful and humble and smart and spiritual.  It's insane and she is his spiritual rock.  The kind of support a GA's wife needs to be.  It's going to happen.   haha.  But man, I feel sooooooOOOOooo incredibly blessed to be a part of their journey.  I feel like my testimony and spirit and mind have ENTIRELY grown to a new stage because of them.   The kind of investigator where you KNOW this had NOTHING to do with me.  I did NOTHING because it was ALL them and the Spirit.  But what an incredible blessing for me to have been able to witness it and come to know and love them so incredibly much!!!  I will never EVER forget this area. I swear if I get in an accident and get amnesia, this experience will be the one I'd still remember.  haha.  It's just been such an amazing spiritual journey and now they've just begun the rest of theirs!  :)  I CANT WAIT to come back for their SEALING!! :)))

On another note this week, not quite as amazing as this last story, but still pretty interesting....... SO on exchanges this week with my Sister Training Leader, Sister Stoker, (she also went to BYU, lived at Liberty, and knew quite a few of the people I knew there haha), we had some visitors from Salt Lake -- the photographer and reporter for the Deseret News. I don’t know what that is but some news in SLC I guess haha.  And they wanted to interview the STL's and see what it's like to be a sister missionary!  lol.  So they took pics but I was on exchanges and not even with my companion but they were like OH what a great story!!  STL.  On exchanges with a VISA WAITER who has been here 9 MONTHS!  hahahahha.  So they took pictures, but the BEST PART IS..... they wanted us on bikes...............................................................................................................................................
......................................................awesome..... the ONE thing I'd prefer for no one in the world to see will be on the Newspaper for ALL to see...... hahahaha.  Our AMAZINGly attractive alien-head helmets and bike skirts going across the Vegas skyline.  Epic.... hahahahah. and then also pictures of us contacting some people at a garage sale haha.  It was pretty fun!  So yes, if you see the General Conference Edition of the Deseret News, We may possibly be on it. Look for the Sisters on Bikes.  lol.  Woohoo for Sisters! :)

Other than that, this week was quite normal!  :) SO GREAT!  I'm super excited for this next week! We've been baptizing almost weekly here!  hahahaha. jk. but it's just been the most amazing rewarding experience being here in Vegas. Serving in my own language and loving the most diverse people.  I will never see others the same.  I've had a taste of what Heavenly Father feels for me and for those around me and I hope and pray that it will become a part of who I am so that I can Always keep that with me.  Love is so risky. You will get hurt and you will grieve --it's the price for loving, but in the end, it is SO much more worth it than the risk. I've never gotten my heart broken more than on a mission, but in the process, I've gained compassion and understanding and a home here in Henderson and Kingman.  9 months and never served in the city.  haha.  But man, missions are amazing! I can't wait to see the new adventures and growth and love and PAIN I'll have in my next mission!  As hard as it is, I KNOW that I was called here for a reason and that now I'm being called there for a reason.

I've gained so much trust in my Heavenly Father and His higher ways and understanding. It's something I will treasure for the rest of my life. I know He has such an intricate plan for me and for every single person He's created. He's prepared/preparing us for so much more and I can't wait to see what that is!! I love this gospel soo much.  I've never been so happy and fulfilled and so filled with peace in my life. The stress and hard work and exhaustion and pain and weather, it's no sacrifice compared to the blessings and growth and happiness I receive.  It's so true -- God will never be indebted to me. I can give him 10000000% of me, and I will still get 100 fold in return.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to be here in this mission, and even ON a mission at all. It blows my mind that I'm a missionary. I still freak out sometimes -- I'm a missionary!  haha. but I am so grateful for His infinite mercy in snatching me out of the world and my past sins and life, "not of any worthiness of myself" (Alma 36:5) but solely by His grace and mercy. And I hope to be like Alma the younger when he says, "yea, from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste" (Alma 36:24).

What an amazing blessing this gospel of second chances truly is for everyone!  What Good news it really is!!

I love you all!  Thank you for your support and prayers and love!!  I could never make it without you all<3333
You’re in my prayers every night.
Ate Brasil!!!!
-Sister Yoshimoto
ps. no Sister Nilson hasn't gotten her visa yet.  She has to take care of the area when I'm gone!!!! :)
But one of the other missionaries from my MTC district is leaving the same day as me!!!  How cool!  haha.

pics: Brenda and Matt Allen<3
You know you're a missionary when.... someone gives you flowers and you only have your old water jug to cut up and use as a vase.  hahahha

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hastening and Hastening in Calico Ridge

March 10, 2014

[Lynette wrote of an experience of our dog showing he is afraid of spiders.  Really afraid.]

HAHAHAH!!!! I just read Mom's email!! LOL! Rusty is SOOO funny!!  I miss him sOOO much!!!   So many dogs here and they all love me but I'm like awwww you’re cute.... (but not as cute as Rusty...)  I whisper to them -- Rusty's better! jk.   haha.  But seriously. haha!  Never met a dog with such personality and unique-ity haha! 

I'm glad you got the letter from Elder da Conceicao!  He's seriously the sweetest guy!  He is sooo full of love for everyone he meets. It's so awesome.   I sure hope I can serve in his home ward in Teresina!!!

Wow!   So yesterday, our investigator, Sonya, and her little sister Mercedes Muncy got baptized!!!! 10 and 8years old. WOW!  It was the most amazing thing ever!  They are SO smart and amazing, we never thought this would happen because of how little discipline they have, it's really hard to teach them. They’re mom is super less active and on disability--some mental thing where she's basically like a child as well and their step dad -- he was SUPER anti-Mormon until we talked to him and really got to know him and showed him we're not as scary and mean as he thought haha.   Soooo basically, this week, a few days before their baptism, we found out that HE was baptized with his mom years ago!!!!!! WHAT! WHAAAT!! and as we were going to the baptism and he was like hey,  Sister Yoshi -- can I ask you something..... how can I get like... RE-baptized?   I feel like it's right now.   I want to be re-baptized because it's been so long since I went to your church  (He's the one who goes to Central Christian and was adamantly like THAT's the only church I will go to).  And we were on our way out, so we BARELY got to explain about the sacrament, etc. but WOW!  We NEVER thought that would happen!! This family, who we thought had barely a chance to, can now SOON go to the temple!!!!  They could get SEALED!!!!  WOW!!!  I seriously .. wow.   It was soooo amazing.  They may move in the summer to Cali, and I'm super scared they'll go inactive if the father isn’t supportive of going to church, but I just KNOW that no matter what happens, Those girls will remember the feeling they got when they were baptized. They will remember their new favorite song--I am a Child of God--and will always have that to lean on if they get lost and will have the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide them back to the truth.   I hope and pray that they will always remember the time we got to spend teaching them. Because I know I will!!! They are crazy girls, but I just LOVE them to death!!!! 

Also...... UPDATE ON THE ALLENs!!!! We had a BOMB lesson with them and the Spirit and the testimonies and everything were soooo amazing!!! They hardcore committed to baptism on 15th!!  This Saturday, they'll be baptized!!!! WOW! I can't believe it!!  It was seriously sooo incredibly insane how MUCH Satan worked on them -- both of them.  wow.  It's been quite the battle!  But he's finally felt it!  He knows and they are ready!  I can't wait.  It's going to be seriously the most spiritual crazy amazing baptism!!  I just KNOW I'm going to cry hahhaha.... yuck.  But anyway, he was awkward ish because he only has one tie -- a Harley Davidson tie -- and finally bought one other one haha!  So we got him a tie today.  I wanted to get him a zip tie.... but we didn’t.  I kind of wish we did now hahah!  It fits his personality heheheh.  They’re soooo incredibly great!  They literally asked us HOW they can share the gospel with others.   They are already soooo missinoary minded its hilarious!!!  wow!  I wish you could all come see it.  it's amazing.  This is the most amazing month ever!   We will almost have a baptism weekly this month -- still might.   The Staffords are hardcore set for the 29th! but Brother Stafford is still struggling with his commitment.  We want him to come to the Allen's baptism because we KNOW this will be a huge spiritual confirmation for him to know that THIS is what he needs and wants as well.  His family is soo excited for it, it's just him taking his time so we know it might just be a pride thing, or nerves. but the big reason we will find out this week!!!!  Because we have been praying and fasting a LOT for this.  I’m so excited!!!  I love how prayer and fasting work miracles in God's time. 

This week, Sister Nilson made a comment that made me laugh that I felt I needed to share with mom hehe.  We were at home making calls before we go out and she stopped before taking the phone from me and was like ... "you know, I noticed that every time we need to text someone you do it super fast and so well put and everything, but as soon as we need to call someone, somehow the phone is in MY hand and I'M making the call.... how does that happen everytime???  " LOOOOL! I was laughing so hard!! My sneaky skills have been paying off so well on my mission!!!!   hahahahhahahah.  Sister Jensen-Coon never even noticed.   heheheheh.

Anyway, this week, was another great week.  I've never done so well in an area before and it blows my mind how fast the work is moving!!  I KNOW it's because the Lord trusts this ward enough to allow such amazing new people to pop up everywhere!!!  We are teaching soo many families!!  This ward is just sooo warm and loving and welcoming and ready to help!!  It's soo great!  I can't wait for this amazing work to keep going!  I know that as long as we keep working hard and are keeping ourselves personally and as a companionship worthy, the work will continue to carry on!  I'm so excited!!  And I’m also really sad and slightly unwilling to receive my visa yet......... haha. soooooo I’ll just keep working and pretending/wishfully thinking it will not come yet! :) 

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCHH!!!!! Keep working hard at home and at school and work! 
I got the kala brazileira and the letters/talks from dad!  Thank you so much!  That's one of my favorite talks ever!!!!  I will write the thank yous today! 

Amo voces MUITOOO!!!!  Tenha uma MUITO BOa E MARAVILHOSA SEMANA!!!! :)))
Com muito amor, 
Sister Yoshimoto<3