^ this phrase has replaced "konnichiwa" here in Osaka. It means (it's so hot, isn't it!) and it's actually really funny how many times we hear it every day. We say "konnichiwa" to people amd they don't even say it back to us anymore, they just say how hot it is and continue on their way. oh Japan.
But they're right, it's hot! I'm getting some really nice tan lines/ sunburns because the sunscreen just gets sweat off, and people here are not hesitant to tell me how red I am. Haha gotta love them. But we're surviving, and we're seeing lots of good things every day!
From this past week:
- we had an appointment to visit a member, but she ended up being late
getting home. We started talking to one of her neighbors who
approached us by saying "gaijin san?" (Foreigner?), and now we're
having dinner with her tonight! So yay for God who makes the best of
our human tendencies to run a little bit late.
- I finally met the Faiza family! cutest little pakistaniani girls
ever. Their mom loves the missionaries and loves our family English program, so we'll be working with those cute girls a lot more. Also,
if anyone knows how to teach English to little kids- I'm open for ideas, I have nothing.
- we got to meet with our phillipino investigator and his wife this
week, and it was so good! Last time we gave him a Book of Mormon, and
asked him to read a 3 nephi chapter11- when we visited again, he had
finished 3rd Nephi, and was reading all over the place! He loves the
Book of Mormon. His wife doesn't have a Christian background like him,
but she had a really cool experience when she heard the story of the
first vision. We asked what she thought, and she thought for a while,
and said "I didn't know Jesus Christ was still alive.". We were able
to testify that He is there, and he is guiding His church today. They
are such a good family.
- at the beginning of the year, the ward in the area next to ours was
closed, so all of the members had to choose which of the surrounding
wards they would go to. It's pretty far for them, and they were really
sad when the ward closed and missionaries left the area. It became our
area after that, so we are actually over Higashi Osaka and Habikino
areas. We have been going down to Habikino twice a week to try to
re-build the ward back up, but up until this past Saturday, we haven't
seen much success. BUT. this past Saturday, we were able to meet with
a family who had met with the missionaries before- we shared a
message, and they agreed to meet again- which means we finally found
an investigator in Habikino! After that, we stopped for some dinner at
an Okonomiyaki place, and struck up a good conversation with the
couple who owns it- we were able to share the Book of Mormon with
them, they were really excited to read it, and they said we could
share a message again sometime- another new investigator! We were so
excited. There is hope for Habikino!
Finally, one last experience from this week.
One of my favorite conference talks ever is called "Glimpses of Heaven" by Spencer W. Kimball. I highly recommend giving it a read- he speaks of the times he has found heaven in everyday life. following his example, I have started to collect 'glimpses of heaven' that I have been privileged to see. I only have a few so far- I'm still not very good at recognizing them- but I saw it in my last branch, among the faithful families and individuals who attended church every week. And this week, I was able to catch a glimpse again as I observed a couple in our ward.
Brother Hirano used to be the bishop of this ward. About a year and a half ago, he suffered a stroke, leaving him physically and mentally impaired. He has made a lot of progress in that year and a half, but he still has a long ways to go. This week was his birthday, so we visited him with his wife. As I watched the way she interacted with and expressed love for her eternal companion (not to mention the fact that she has been in that hospital nearly every day for a year and a half to spend time with him) and as I saw him do his best to do the same, I felt like i was catching a glimpse of heaven. And I felt so thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. What else could bring such hope and patience and strength during such a hard time? What enables her to carry on and help her husband put on his shoes and say "I love you" even though he can't say it back? What enables her to look forward with a positive attitude, despite the long road ahead?
Because of Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father`s plan of happiness is fulfilled. As part of that plan, the Hirano's have been able to be sealed together for time and all eternity. They can look forward to the day when the weaknesses of our mortal bodies will be no more. They are able to recieve the help and support that they need. They are able to find heaven, even amidst the trials of this life. That's what the gospel of Jesus Christ is for- yes, it prepares us to return to Heaven. But not only that- it prepares us to live there. And that is something that those who truly live the gospel of Jesus Christ are able to experience now, in this life.
Heaven is all around us, and I am thankful for the glimpses that I have seen. It makes me want to help others do the same. :) may we all be able to catch those glimpses of heaven in our everyday lives.
Habikino has nature:,) and tambo's! (Rice fields.) Ohisashiburi! (It's been a while)