9:06 PM

August 18, 2013

Dear all,
First, I want to relay an experience that has been going down for about two weeks.

So we had this investigator. Her name was Izumi-san. When we met her, she was very anxious to learn about the church. She went to a Catholic Kindergarten, so she had studied the Bible before and was familiar with Jesus. When we started teaching her, she was SO receptive. She readily accepted that Joseph Smith saw God, and she was excited to read the Book of Mormon. (When she gets excited, she moves her head in circles like a bobble head and goes ''ehhhhhhhhhh???'')

I mentioned a few weeks ago the trouble I had sharing a scripture with her. She couldn't understand 2 Nephi 2:25 which talks about Adam falling and us getting joy. (''So..... no one gets joy?'') Well, that was just the beginning of a long battle of misunderstanding with the scriptures.

On our second lesson with her, we invited her to be baptized. She didn't say no, but she definitely thought it was too soon. She thought she would have her whole life to decide which religion to join. But she wanted to try so she asked us to give her ten important places in the Book of Mormon to read. Challenge accepted. We gave her the goods. The money's worth. All of the most killer scriptures that the Book of Mormon has we gave to her. She read all ten chapters within the week. (For those Mormons out there who are interested: Alma 7, Alma 32, 3 Nephi 11, 3 Nephi 17, 2 Nephi 31, Ether 12, Moroni 10, Helaman 5, 3 Nephi 27).

The next two meetings with her just kept getting worse. The first of those was still, like, okay. But she was really struggling to understand the scriptures. She was scared of God. She thought that God sounded mean. She said that the God in the New Testament could not possibly be the same as the God in the Book of Mormon because the BOM God was too cruel. The following visit was just worse. I wanted to shoot myself forty times over the lesson went so poorly. She was there to fight. She was there to tell us that the Book of Mormon was not the word of God. It was not possibly written by a prophet. She said it could only have been written by cruel, evil men.

The woman that we met several weeks ago and the woman at that lesson were two different people. Where once she was seeking to learn the truth, she had transformed into a woman whose heart was hardened. She didn't want to hear the truth. She didn't care. She just wanted to tell us that the Book of Mormon was blasphemy. The verse in Moroni which says, ''For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God,'' was a particular stumbling block for her. She just kept saying that there is no way that Jesus would say such a cruel thing to us. She just talked about how beautifully the New Testament was written and how she loved the parables.

I used a great analogy of how God speaks to us sternly just as our parents might speak to us sternly sometimes. They love us so they give us correction. God has the right as our father to command us to do things and he tells us straight up how it is. She didn't really even listen. I don't know if she really listened to us at all.

She told us she would never join the church because of this book.

Well, though all I really wanted to do was just slap her silly and then leave forever, I was able to talk to her a little bit. We finally asked her to just come to church ONCE. If you don't like it, that's fine. It's your choice not to come back. But if you do then you can keep learning. But there's no way she'd given us a fair shot yet.
She agreed to come to church.

She didn't come to church.

But she set up another appointment with us.

We knew that this next lesson was our make it or break it lesson. I've never studied harder for someone that I did for Izumi-san. We took the entire morning and afternoon to prepare this lesson. And man, we prepared a good one. We had great scriptures connecting the New Testament and the Book of Mormon... we had great questions... we had great testimonies... we're super pretty (JK, that's a lie)... we had it all going for us.
I'll just tell you how it ends now. Izumi-san didn't want to listen. She was done. She had hardened her heart towards the Book of Mormon. She refused to believe that this book could be the word of God. She told us she would never change her mind and so she couldn't keep learning.

This story isn't all bad - though it was kind of a depressing experience. But I have no doubt that our experience with Izumi-san was for us. Because here's the thing - the New Testament ISN'T like the Book of Mormon. The New Testament sugar coats things. Christ speaks in parables so that the wicked would not be condemned. But the Book of Mormon just tells us how it is. And Izumi-san couldn't handle a book which told her so straightly what to do and what not to do.

But through this experience, I can guarantee you that us three AmeriCanadian gurlz have a whole lot stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have no idea why Izumi-san chose to meet with us again. She wasn't going to change her mind. She was done. But she did. And that's because WE needed that experience. Olsen Shimai bore the strongest testimony I've ever heard her say ever - maybe even ANYONE say ever. We all grew in very specific and individual ways.

So that was cool, or whatever.

On a happy note - both Yusei and Anju are getting baptized! August 31. They are the cutest kids ever. I have no doubt that their mom will follow eventually. Unfortunately the baptisms is after transfers and I'm pretty sure I'm heading out of here. But we're super busy this week getting them ready. It'll be so good for Hofu to have a baptism.

We also got to go to Hiroshima for a Zone Conference and I got to dendo in Hatsukaichi! I was so pumped. It was the weirdest train ride ever - I felt like I was going home - to my Hatsukaichi home. I got to see my dear, dear Dorothy. It was a great experience. She told me about how she's going to the temple in a few weeks. My little converts are growin' up!

Here are two great recent quotes from Eikaiwa:
''Sister Olsen has many kinds of tenderness.''
''My aunt lives in Hofu because her child loves mountains and parks so very interesting are those hamburgers it is but this beautiful piano sleeps bad condition and bad life while painting.''
(We were playing a word game).

I'm sleeping not super okay. I'm pretty stressed out. But it's okay. It's missionary life or whatever.

I never know what to say in these emails. Every week is such a blur to me. Like, lots of significant stuff happens but it's all just blehhhhhh. Any questions? I'll answer them.

I love you guuyzzz!


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