Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Week 75 - Senzokuike, Japan

Hi Family!
Well, I guess this will be the last letter I write to you from Tokyo, my last one... that still hasn't quite sunk in yet, I don't think.
We went to the temple today, I love the temple. It was bitter sweet though, because I know it will be probably the last time I'll see most of the missionaries who have become such dear friends and people I highly respect.
Looking back on my mission, things have gone by way too fast, I've learned so much, but feel I now have so much more to learn. My last day of actually being in the field, occurs exactly one year after the earthquake and tsunami. So many things have happened since then. I never could have imagined the point I'm at now during those unsure days in Kichijoji.
During my mission I've kept a quote from the TV show "Scrubs" above my desk. In it one of the characters said, "Nothing in this life that's worth having comes easy". How true this is. I've seen investigators, members, people I care about struggle over different things, but if they have the desire and they've fought for what's right, each has overcome. My mission has by far been the hardest thing I've ever done, and yet from it has come the greatest rewards.
I've come to know for a surety, that God knows and loves each and every person in this world, even if they turn their backs on Him. His arms are always outstretched in mercy towards us.
I've learned that if you rely on God and pray for His help, you can get through anything.
I've learned that even on the coldest of days, a smile can melt someones heart.
I've learned that no matter how much you wish you could sometimes, you can't change other people's opinions and you can't force yours on them. God has given each of us freedom of choice and we have to respect when others choose something that breaks our heart.
I've learned that everyone needs a friend and someone to love them. And most of the time, those people who really need that friend are too sad to reach out.
I've come to know that families are a gift from God and that mine is one of the best!
and I've learned never to say something is impossible; somehow I learned Japanese.
Heavenly Father lives and He loves us. He gave His perfect Son for us, so that we too may be made perfect. He wants us to live with Him again and the only way to do that is by following the path that Jesus Christ laid out for us.
I know my Redeemer lives and that He is always with us.
I love you all and I'm so thankful for the support that you have given me on my mission. Your emails have lifted me up and helped me through the storms.
While I'll miss Japan and hate to leave so many that I love, I am looking forward to seeing you all shortly!
Until I see you in America (or Mom and Dad, Japan!)!
Love (for the last time),
Sister Erin Benne

Monday, February 27, 2012

Week 74 - Senzokuike, Japan


I don't have much time today, but I just wanted to say hi!

This week has been great! We had the conference with Elder Oaks and he talked about receiving revelation and how a lot of people misinterpret revelation. It was cool to get an apostle's take on how to receive revelation from our Father through the Holy Ghost.

Also, on Saturday, I had the opportunity to go to a wedding reception. One of the members in my current branch got sealed to one of the members from the Kichijoji Ward. Miki helped me out so much when I first came to Japan, reminds me so much of Beth. Anyway, it was such a happy occasion and I'm so happy for her! It was fun too to see quite a few Kichijoji members as well! Good little reunion!

Anyway I love you all!
Sister Erin Benne

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week 73 - Senzokuike, Japan

Hello Family!
How's it all going? Did everyone have a good Valentine's Day?

In Japan, Valentine's Day is a little different. On Valentine's Day, girls give things to the boys. However, there is a whole other seperate day called, White Day, where the boys then in return give things to the girls.

Anyway, it's been a good week. We got a little bit of snow the other day, but it quickly melted.
Tomorrow, Elder Oaks is coming to Tokyo to speak to our mission. I'm so excited, it will be really good!
Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well!

Sister Erin Benne

Week 72 - Senzokuike, Japan

Well Hello Family!

This week has been a good one. It's starting to warm up, which is REALLY nice, but well, it's still February so most likely it'll get cold again (oh and when I say warm, it's been in like the 40's maybe 50's). However, people are a lot more willing to talk to you on the streets when it's warmer out, so we've been able to talk to some really great people this week and found a new investigator! I'm excited to see where she goes. One of the goals Sister Edstrom and I are working towards this transfer is just coming home happily exhausted every single day, and it's been great! I'm exhausted, but happy, so I think we're doing pretty well on it!

Next week Elder Oaks is coming to our mission and we will have a conference with him! I'm excited! How lucky I've been since being here. Exactly 1 year ago Elder Holland came and spoke and now we get to hear from Elder Oaks! Cool!

Anyway I hope everything goes well for you this week!
Love you!
Sister Erin Benne

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 71 - Senzokuike, Japan 3=3=『( ・_・)』(running man)


How was everyone's week? Dad said the Super Bowl was this past Sunday. I forget like things like the Super Bowl happen as I'm here.

Missionary life has been good this past week. I absolutely love Sister Edstrom, we're having so much fun as we're hitting up the streets searching for people to teach. It's amazing how many miracles we've seen. I love it! I'm just trying to work so hard these last few weeks. I want to make sure I didn't miss anything I was supposed to do or anyone I was supposed to talk to while here in Senzokuike or Japan. It's like with cross country. You've run the race, you see the finish line flags, but you haven't made it across the line yet. All that's left for you to do is to dig down deep and give it your all, sprinting, pushing against all pain so that by the time you finish you have nothing left. You do this so that when you cross that line you can say honestly say you did your best and you have no regrets. That's what I want to do for my last little while here in Japan as a missionary. I want to give it my all, sprint to the end, so that when I'm done I can look back and say I've done my best, I have no regrets.

On another note, I think you will be proud of me. Why? Topic: Sushi. So most missionaries when they come to Japan have the chance to eat sushi maybe 2-3 times. It's expensive so it's not on a commonly eat list for missionaries. Somehow, however, this is not true for me. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to eat sushi on my mission. Today, was no exception. For lunch we went out to eat with some members and a potential investigator to a sushi restaurant. We received a nice big bowl of sashimi (slices of raw fish) over rice. And guess what, for the first time it wasn't horrible. No I still will not go out on my own to buy sushi, however, finally after over a year in Japan, I was able to get down a whole meal of sushi without gagging! Count that one for the record books! As we persist through hard things, miracles happen. Sometimes, it takes a month, to overcome it, sometimes a year, sometimes more. But as we persist, we can in the end overcome.

Sister Erin Benne

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Week 70 - Senzokuike, Japan ( ^ _ ^ ) v Peace!

Well, Hello There!
It's always a happy day when I get to read your letters! So I guess the big news for this week is transfers. You'll never guess where I am! Okay, maybe you will since I think the only places in Tokyo that you know are areas that I've been, but still... Anyway to finish things off, I will be staying in good old Senzokuike! That will make a total of 7 1/2 months being here! I was really happy about that, it would've been hard to leave this area with only 6 weeks left.  My companion however did change. I'm now with Sister Edstrom. She's way cute, from Utah, and has just this awesome bubbly personality. She's on transfer 3, and transferred from Kichijoji, so we share the same first area! I can already tell this is going to be a fun and miracle filled transfer.

It's funny to think how the first half of my mission, I jumped from place to place so quickly, but I've stayed in one area for the last half of my mission (I've now seen 4 companions come and go here  ). I think there is definitely things I needed to learn from all the moving around. Hopefully I learned everything I was supposed to.
I hope you all have a great week!

Love you lots!
Sister Erin Benne

P.S. Today is my half-birthday! It's a good day! hehe  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Week 69 - Senzokuike, Japan \ ( ' --' ) /

Hello Family!
So the subject line, I'll quickly explain. It's a Japanese emoticon (?), they're a little different than American ones, but can you see it? It's a face with arms stretched up like saying Hello! or ready to take Christ's outstretched arms of mercy, which ever way you look at it. Hehe...!
Well, this week it snowed for the first time this winter! Brrr! It didn't stick, but well, it still wasn't the funnest to ride my bike in. I love snow, however, so I happily danced around when I saw the flakes falling. It was definitely worth the frozen face. I have come to really love those moments where I could be bitterly miserable due to the cold, rain, or other circumstances and yet choose to laugh and be happy. There comes great power in how we react to our surroundings and the choices we make when not neccessarily the most comfortable thing or our personal preference happens. We, ourselves choose our attitude. We choose whether we want to make the best of our situation and continue pushing on with a positive attitude or if we want to grudgingly finish our task. Today, we were out about 30 minutes by bike from our apartment when it started raining. Neither Sister Barbour or I had our rain gear, but we needed to get back home and the only sensible way was on our bikes through the rain in the cold. When we got to our apartment all I could do is laugh with amusement as I rung my skirt out and peeled off layers of tights, socks, etc. I think back to a year ago and wonder would I have found it as amusing, or more miserable. One thing I love about what my mission has taught me is how to laugh at the difficult things that you can't change. There is no point in being unhappy about something that you have no control over. I hope I can continue to remember that even after I come home from my mission.
This weekend is transfer calls. Next week starts my last transfer. It's a scary thought. It all goes by so fast, everybody said it, but I never believed it.
I love you all!
Hope you have a good week!
Sister Erin Benne