I hope you`re all having a great week! I want to say, first, Happy Birthday to Grandma and Grandpa Giles this last week! I`m so grateful to have a family calendar that conveniently has everyone`s birthday`s and Anniversary`s on it! I`m so blessed to have such a supportive family at home and I know all of your prayers have blessed me so much on my mission. I just hope I can be a good example and maybe shed some light onto what I`ve been experiencing during the best ten months of my life! This really has been awesome. I forgot this last week as well that it was my tenth month mark. It`s so weird to think I only have fourteen more to go.
The Z's have been driving around the mission the last few days saying goodbye before they head out in a few short weeks and we welcome President W to Kobe. It was tough to say goodbye to the Z`s. A lot harder than I would have ever imagined! They really have blessed my life so much. I have learned so many things from them that I know will continue to help guide me as I move on to later stages in my life. I wanted to give them something in return of all the good things they have given me. I found a little statue of some sheep that I thought would be perfect for them. I gave it to them last week when they said goodbye and it brought tears to Sister Z's eyes! They loved it! President Z likes to build furniture and he told me that he was going to build a maple stand to put it on when they got home. I was way excited! I love the Z`s.
This week was definitely a building week for us. We`re currently trying to clear out our teaching pool to make room for more elect. We`ve been teaching a few people lately that just haven`t been progressing at all and it`s time to exercise our faith by giving them what they need to come unto Christ, or letting them go. I think that`s one of the toughest things about being out here in the field. You really do start to love these people, but sometimes you just have to let them go and find the ones that are prepared and ready. We had a baptism planned for yesterday that fell through, but we`re going on with the attitude that we will just go find another one. We`re working really hard and I know we will be lead to those that are currently perishing in unbelief and being kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it.
During our Weekly Planning Session I had the idea of something we could do to build our relationship with the members in the Ward. I thought that we could make a calendar and pass it around Priesthood and Relief Society and have them sign up for days that they would like us to come do service for them and share a spiritual message. Because the people in this country will never accept if we ask them if we can help them with anything, we thought this would be a good idea for them to invite us. In talking with the Bishop last week about this I said, ``Bishop, right now, sadly, we`re not teaching a lot of people or finding a lot of people that are interested in the Gospel. You`ve seen the quality of people that we are able to bring to our meetings on Sunday and we will absolutely agree with you that they are not those that will strengthen this ward. I feel like if we can help serve the members and share spiritual messages with them they will be more inclined to refer us to their friends and people that will build up and strengthen this ward.`` He was right on board. I`m excited to see what kind of effect this has on the area and the ward!
I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday on the Word of Wisdom. I did pretty well with working on it throughout the week but I guess old habits still die hard because I still had to stay up late Saturday night and wake up early Sunday morning to get it finished in time for sacrament. I didn`t have time to get it checked for mistakes so I just did the best I could at translating it into Japanese and really just tried to focus on speaking by the Spirit. Apparently it was really good despite not having my Japanese mistakes corrected by someone who know`s more than I do so I took that as a sign that I`m improving in my language capability! One of the Sisters of the ward came up to us after Sacrament and asked us to come with her to visit one of her friends so the ward is starting to open up as well!
I`ve grown to love this area and this ward so much. I said in my talk yesterday that even though I`m from Utah and I can`t really communicate that well with all of the members, I still felt like it was my home ward. I guess being in the same area for a long time isn`t that bad after all. I love Sakai!
I`ve learned this week that the work will progess whether we like it or not. This is the work of God. We win in the end and that`s what`s important. I feel so privileged to be on the front lines of the battle with Satan and I`m just trying to do what I can every day to help people to come unto Christ. I love this church. I know it`s true. I just work here and I`ll do it until I drop. I love you all!