Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's me again

Hey all,

I started that email the way Jeff would always start the group texts he sent out to the track team. I've been thinking a lot about track lately, especially since I've now come to the point where I only have 3 months left, and it's sprinting time. I think my mission has somewhat followed the pattern of my 400-meter race.
  • First 4 months (Not including the two months of the MTC) - tons of excitement, energy, nerves for what was ahead. It seemed like my mission would last forever, and it'd be hard, but I was excited and took off out of the blocks.
  • Second 4 months - lots of new stuff thrown at me at once, combined with the cold winter snow, made me slow down the pace a bit. I studied hard and worked at becoming a better, more proficient missionary - lengthening my stride, if you will. The original excitement was dwindling but I had stability, and kept chugging along.
  • Third three months - Coach Yamauchi encouraged me to pick up the pace. Together we worked hard to build up an area that had been struggling before, and saw so many miracles. Similar to when I'd quicken my stride and go faster, faster, faster around the second turn of the track.
  • And now - the finish line is in sight.
I've been thinking a lot lately about what my "finish line", or end goal, is. It's not going home. It's seeing a Christmas miracle of Tomi and Yu and her children and all my friends I love so much here be able to invite blessings into their lives by being baptized. So now I'm sprinting, and if I don't fall across the finish line as my lungs and legs give out I'll know I could have done more. Trying not to let myself hold anything back.

Maybe that was a bit dramatic. But it's what I thought of as I sat listening in Zone Conference this week. I listened to all the soon-to-be returning missionaries give their final testimonies, realizing that next zone conference I'd be doing the same thing, and realized it was time to give myself a concrete, specific goal that I could visualize. Just like Jeff told us to visualize ourselves winning a race, I'm visualizing my friends in white, smiling from ear to ear. It's why I came here to Japan. I remember the intense love I felt before I came for people I didn't even know yet, but I DO know them now. Everything's clicking together.

And slowly, those dreams are becoming reality. We gave Tomi a Book of Mormon last week, all marked up with our favorite scriptures and our testimonies written inside. She looked really excited to read it! And Yu surprised us by coming to church with all four of her children last Sunday, even though we hadn't heard from her at all. Actually we saw lots of miracles at church that day. Both Elders and I all gave talks in sacrament meeting (strange that they would schedule so many missionaries on one day), and we all had lots of people come and listen. Su, our favorite stubborn Atheist with a heart of gold, came by bicycle. And so did the Wats, a way funny couple that come to our Saturday morning Eikaiwa. They constantly bicker and make fun of each other and we can't tell if they actually can't stand each other or are madly in love. Sometimes they ballroom dance after class. Anyway, we invite them every week, and every week they say no. But then they just showed up, dressed in church clothes, and sat themselves down! It was sweet.

Other adventures this week include Sister Jones' bike tire going flat while we were out in the middle of nowhere, and meeting a super cool girl who just got back from living in London as a professional contemporary dancer. We met her as we were walking (from being bikeless) so maybe the tire decided to pop at that time for a reason?

We also went to the temple this week. Here's me with the roomies - Sisters Cheney, Chandler, Jones. Not a super flattering shot but it's all I have.

Love you!

Sisters Cheney, Chandler, Jones and Anna at Tokyo temple.

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