Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Week 22 - Kichijoji, Japan

Well Hello All!

We don`t have much time today, a good thing, but I have lots to tell you so things just won`t be in too much detail!
Last Zone Conference President Albrecht mentioned that he got a letter from a companionship of elders saying they were so busy that they didn`t have time to take a P-day, do laundry, go grocery shopping, etc. And President Albrecht said that`s a good thing, and it is! Well today that is us! Wahoo! Kind of difficult not having a full p-day, but it`s something I`m truly grateful for...looking back at last transfer everything here has completely changed!

In exciting news I received my Alma O. Taylor award! Which means absolutely nothing to you, but it`s good. It`s something our mission does for new missionaries, you have a series of guidelines and things you have to do, like get a certain amount of phone numbers from talking to people, teach all the lessons by yourself, etc. It`s a lot of things, and since my first transfer, we weren`t teaching and had to do a lot of finding, and had time for mogi`s I was able to finish it fast...I now get to wear a nice little pin on my nametag :) if you want to know who Alma O. Taylor is you can probably google him. He was one of the first missionaries in Japan and translated the BoM into Japanese.
Speaking of google, if you google Kichijoji Eikaiwa Japan, and search for the church`s eikaiwa you should be able to see pictures of me teaching, but you`ll have to wait a bit, we haven`t put the pictures up yet, I have reviewed it though, so you can see my review.

So Elder Holland CAME!!!! Exciting and absolutely amazing!!! We had conference with him and Elder Rasband and got to shake their hands, tell them our names and where we`re from. Elder Holland did tell me I have a cute dimple and Sister Holland gave me a hug! Later I found out, from Sister Albrecht that I was on Elder Hollands list to speak if there was time for missionaries to talk! A little scary, but really cool to know that Elder Holland was thinking about me! Later that night we had 3 investigators come to his talk in Kichijoji, because we live in Kichijoji and had to be at the church anyway, we were able to save seats on the 2nd row for them! Really cool and great experience! the Musashino Stake (Kichijoji and Suginami ward`s Stake) President asked all the missionaries to sing in the choir too, so for the conference I was sitting 2 rows and 3 seats away from Elder Holland, right behind Elder Rasband!
Sadly, no Shimoyachi san didn`t get baptized this past Sunday. We`re still teaching her and she`s doing amazing!!! Completely amazing, actually! However, her parents own a buddhist temple and are completely against it. Even though she`s 20, and wants to be baptized, she won`t until her parents are okay with it. Which is how it should be, we`re not here to break up families, we`re here to build them. So we`re continuing to teach her and working on building her faith. We`ll see. All our other investigators, including Megumi san are all still doing good!

In other completely different news, I found out something Japan doesn`t have...deoderant! Yeah, who would have thought! Luckily I found this out from Sister Adams, before I ran out (sadly, she suffered a different fate..) And yes only a year...strange huh, my one year left date is in 2 weeks, strange how things go like that! Transfers are this week too! Utsumi shimai and I honestly have no idea what will happen, we could both stay, or because we both came in at the same time either one of us could leave, most likely one of us is definitely leaving though...sad. Plus I don`t want to leave our investigators, I can`t, not yet!!!
mom, dad, thanks for the Valentines Card! I found it very ironic that mine was written in Japanese and Sister Utsumi`s in English, but it was great! We still could both read them!

So much for quick and short!
Haha! Love you all so much!!!
Sister Erin Benne

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 22 - Kichijoji, Japan

Okay, I know at this point your now looking at your calendar and wondering, wait what day is this? Haha, but yes you are correct it is Monday (or I guess Sunday) and yes it is Valentines Day! Now you may be wondering, oh does Erin get to write specially on holidays? and sadly the answer is "No", it just so happens that this lucky day you get to hear from me is Valentine's Day! So why am I writing on Monday and not Tuesday, well here's some exciting news for you! Tomorrow Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder Rasband are coming to Tokyo! YAY!!!

So tomorrow, my normal P-day, we have a mission conference where we will get to listen to them, maybe take a picture with them, shake their hands, who knows...they've told us to be prepared for anything, it all depends on what Elder Holland wants to do. It's going to be really good I think, a little scary though, I'm sure we'll learn a lot about what more we need to do! But more training to be a better missionary, especially by General Authorities, is an amazing opportunity. What's even more exciting is that night, Elder Holland is coming to Kichijoji to speak to the members! I told you Kichijoji is THE place to be! We're expecting people from all over Tokyo to be coming so our church has been a hubbub of craziness as we try to get everything ready, cleaning, setting up tons of chairs, and so on! It's a great opportunity for our investigators too! We've been inviting everyone! Everyone; people on the street, people in's a chance for them to hear a messenger from God, everyone should get the chance to hear it!
So that is in short why we are taking our P-Day today! Good reason isn't it?!

In other news, we have snow in Tokyo! Well sort of... It snowed a lot (all day Friday, and then it's been on and off since then) and if Kichijoji/ Suginami weren't all metal and asphalt it would have stuck (it's on the one or two bushes that you can find in Kichijoji!), just too many people walking around all the time, for it to even have a chance on the ground! I will say though that bike riding while it is snowing is absolutely miserable, so therefore from now on, until I get back, I don't like snow (as devastating as that is to say). However, I just put a smile on my face, sing a happy warm song, and pedal hard! So it's all good, and not too bad!

Also this past week, we had a 3 Zone Conference and I got to see Sister Adams and Sister Lynch!!!! We were the only English speaking sisters there! How lucky that it was us 3!!! It was funny we were talking so fast we definitely got a few, whoa! looks. Haha, it was good to see them!
Love you all!
Sister Erin Benne

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week 21 - Kichijoji, Japan

Well Hello Again!
How`s life? From everything it sounds great! Snowstorms, meeting celebrities, missionary firesides! So exciting! I love hearing everything that`s going on in your life and the random stories each of you have! Always so much fun!

So this week we had an earthquake!!!! So exciting! Actually it wasn`t really bad at all, I was just sitting at my desk, studying and then everything started moving, I didn`t realize what it was until Utsumi shimai was like EARTHQUAKE! Haha and then of course I got really excited and she made fun of me and then it was over...not very long, but still cool to feel. Since it was during language study I even learned the word for earthquake, `jishin`, perfect timing, however I think I would have learned the word even if it wasn`t during language study. Anyway I guess I shouldn`t be too happy about earthquakes, every now and then they cause a lot of damage here, so I need to be careful. However this one, as far as I know, you don`t get much outside information as a missionary, didn`t cause any damage.

Today we got to go to the temple again as well! YAY!! That`s why I`m emailing so late, but that`s always a good thing! It`s so nice to have 2 hours where you just can relax and feel the Spirit! The temple's cool, it incorporates Japan culture in the design and decoration!

Japanese is coming along, I still have days when I get really frustrated with what I can`t say, but I know I`m progressing each day, and that the Lord is definitely helping me, so I just need to go at the pace He wants me to be learning at. I can get around pretty well with what I know now, but still have a lot of difficulties when we talk about non church stuff or questions that don`t come up on a regular basis.

Utsumi Shimai as always is doing wonderful! She`s an amazing missionary and example. and so funny. I`ve noticed I`ve started picking up some of her mannerisms, she`s always making funny faces or jumps up and down and waves her arms when she`s excited or has an idea. I tell her everytime, you say Hi to her in a letter or email and so she thinks you all are so nice :)

Well that`s all from here for today!
Love you all so very much!
Thanks for everything!
Sister Erin Benne

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Week 20 - Kichijoji, Japan

Hello Lovely Family!!!

It's been another fantastic week here in Kichijoji/Suginami! We have our first baptismal date!! and another that is tentative! The official one is for the 20th, with Shimoyachi Ryoko san! She's 20 years old and super cute!!! Please pray that it won't fall through! She's going to need all the help she can get as we work towards that date!

Over this past week, I've really been thinking about what missionary work is all about. Our Zone's motto this transfer is "Be His Hands" and we've talked a lot about figuring out why we're here on a mission, in Japan, in our area, with the companion we have, etc.. And as I've been thinking, I've come to this realization, missionary work is completely and totally, 100%-ly about love. Love and nothing else. We missionaries come out to serve because we love God. We love the message of this gospel that's been given to us and because of that we want to share it with others; others that we love. We have the knowledge that each one of us is a child of God, therefore we are all brothers and sisters. Because we are God's children and He loves us, that should be enough for us to love our fellowmen. We're called on missions to teach that love, to share the love that God has for each of His sons and daughters with people of the world. When we love people, truly love people, we forget about ourselves, we look for opportunities to help others grow and ways to serve them. We become less selfish, and more happy. You can't not feel love and not feel happiness. It's not possible.

Love is the key to missionary work, it's the only way it can be done. Pres. David O. Mckay said, "True Christianity is love in action. There is no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for your fellow men. This is the spirit of missionary work." How true that statement is. If we love God, we will love our fellow men.

Let us each try to love each other a little bit more, and I know we will all see miracles in our lives!

Love you!
Sister Erin Benne

Oh exciting news, February 15 Elder Holland and Elder Rasband are coming to the Tokyo Mission!!