This week was insanely busy but I had enough energy because Sister Nagano is letting me sleep. I should refrase - I always am able to sleep more if I need to, I just needed to call her everytime. This week she told me to sleep for 1.5 extra hours every day because that is about what I normally need, and then she will call weekly to check up. I feel so much better now so hopefully this system will continue! Also, apparently Sister Doll was told in an interview with President Nagano, "Sister Atkinson is going to try to work herself too hard - you need to tell her to sleep". And she does. But she is also super tired becauss it is the end of her mission so we are just falling apart as a companionship.
Speaking of our companionship, everyone thinks we don't like each other which is crazy because we have a great relationship! We laugh all the time, dendo super hard, and love our investigators! But people always ask how our comp unity is! We think it is so funny, so recently we have been helping the rumor along a little bit with things like: "our weekly goal is to pray to love our companion" or "we started buying groceries separately" (which that last one is true - but just because I can't eat fish and lettace for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - she really does eat it all the time. I need my bread.)
Lots of things happened this week - helped clean at Maihama Beach again, forgot we had a lunch appointment so we ate twice, had exchanges in Nakano and did the Free English Challenge and had a dinner appointment go until 9:15 and so we had to bike 2 miles home, up a giant hill in 15 minutes (I died).
- kneeling in Japan is a widely known sign of respect and humility, so I have never yet had to explain why I am asking investigators to offer a kneeling prayer - they just understand
- we went to an International store, and they had Pringles for FIVE DOLLARS - that is 5 times more expensive! We are planning to go to a Costco next week though (they do have those here)
- when a truck is backing up, everyone yells at the top of their lungs "HAI!!!" to tell the driver they are good
AOI GOT BAPTIZED!!! This day was seriously one of the greatest days and it was like watching a drama. First, let me tell more of the story of Aoi: She has a friend who is a member - they studied abroad together and he invited her to one of his Christmas concerts. He didn't share the gospel with her then but felt bad about it for a year and then left on his mission. He then got permission to message her and then Skype her and taught her the Restoration. She was then referred to us! And she is the most golden golden investigator that ever was. So the morning of the baptism, Elder Sasaki (the friend)'s mom calls us and says that she is coming to the baptism! Sister Black and Sister Bede came back to see it because they taught her earlier, and the service was the most beautiful thing ever. Also, Elder Sasaki's mission president told him that he had to give a testimony at this baptism, so he Skyped in and it was beautiful and Aoi cried (we want them to be sealed in the temple). All of Aoi's church friends participated in the program and the baptism was fantastic - and everyone gave her so many presents at the end and it was beautiful. She gave such a strong testimony at the end and even posted on Facebook the next day about her experience! WE JUST LOVE HER SO MUCH!!!
Anyway, I am having so much fun losing myself in this work. I honestly cannot believe how much the Lord has blessed me to be able to physically and mentally so this. I have been asking myself the past few weeks the question: "if I went home tomorrow, would it have been worth it?" Not just because of Aoi's baptism, but all the other good, hard work I have done - I think I can say it would have been worth it.
I love all of you so much! Thank you for everything!- Atkinson Shimai
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<b>Japan Tokyo Mission</b>