12 June 2016

Konnichiwa from the Other Side (ただいま!)

Returning missionaries compare going home from the field to death, which is rather dramatic. We have built this new life, and sometimes a new person based on that little white book and big-deal of a blue book. We are on a now-familiar, stringent 16-hour work schedule and most of us have come to really enjoy it. We are blessed with plenty of time to study the gospel and many opportunities to bear testimony.
You are doing all that one day, and then tomorrow comes and you step off an airplane into another world, different from the new environment and loved ones you have grown in and close to. It's all snatched away at once.
It's kind of like...going on a mission in the first place! Ahahaha, everything is an interesting eternal round. I didn't quite feel like I died coming home, but it was very strange. The mission seems like a short, wonderful, weird dream I had. 

The good news is, it was real! Real, just like real life; the mission was exciting, beautiful, very difficult, confusing, strengthening, challenging, loving, and full of evidence of God. 
As a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I was called to serve in Nagoya, Japan. The cities I worked in were Okazaki, Kariya, and Toyohashi of Aichi Prefecture; and Nagano and Matsumoto of Nagano Prefecture. 
The weather was similar to Utah, four seasons with increased humidity. We traveled by bicycle, train, and a good amount of sweat or rain! My companions and I met and taught many humble, kind, passionate, Christlike Japanese people, along with people from Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, China, Korea, Vietnam, Egypt, the Philippines, USA, Thailand, and Morocco. I proselyted in Japanese, but was also assigned to study and teach in Portuguese for the last three months of the mission.
My mission presidents: President and Sister Yamashita, and President and Sister Ishii, are each native to Japan and provided excellent examples of the type of missionary I wanted to be. I remember consistently feeling immense love from them and learned much about diligence, consecration, love, and teaching from them. I served with nine different companions, learning something important about Jesus Christ from each of them. I can honestly report that I love each of my companions dearly.

A highlight of my time as a full-time missionary was the opportunity to testify of Jesus Christ every day. I am grateful for truth to testify of, and doing so gave me an electric feeling I absolutely love. Feeling the Holy Ghost with people, watching Christ change them, therefore being inspired by them. That's magic!

What anyone will tell any "discouraged" missionary is that your efforts are not measured by your results. Of course not. We can't make any conclusion like that because we have such a minuscule view of this thing as humans. No one can or does promise you "baptisms" as a missionary. As a missionary, your purpose is to help people develop the faith to be baptized, and keep those commitments eternally. No one my companions and I talked to or taught have been baptized yet, and sometimes that made me feel like a lousy missionary. Somedays, I probably was a lousy missionary. That's why I am grateful for repentance, and the Atonement. God commanded me to do something I wasn't able to do as a missionary in Japan. Though it meant I failed, if I didn't put all I could into accomplishing that purpose just because I knew I wouldn't be able to do it, I wouldn't have done what He needed, become what He needed me to do. If I knew I wouldn't see baptisms, I wouldn't have worked for baptisms, and learned so much on the way. That's also not what we're working for, baptisms. We are working for people, for Christ. The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. (Doctrine and Covenants 3:1) 
I testify that what He commands us IS what is best and right and eternally progressive. He can see it. He lets us see what we need to as we grow along. He teaches us the answers to the questions He will ask us. 
Going on a mission was a rewarding experience and the right thing for me. I am grateful for the way it has influenced my character and decision. I am happy to be back in the SLC and love being a muggle as well! I hope to always be a missionary. I love God and His many creations. Jesus loves us, He is among us.
Brooklyn 姉妹