Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Final week in Maebaru! (wk 12)! - Week 30

Tuesday November 3, 2015
This has been one of the craziest, most nerve wracking weeks of my mission. Let me tell you the story of this week:
Tuesday Morning: I get a phone call from the Mission President, President Egan. This is super rare  because there are a lot of missionaries (like 250) in the mission and President is super busy. So I was really surprised! He asked me how I was doing, I told him it's been difficult but I am okay. He said well I just wanted you to know that I was thinking about you, and you should get excited for this next transfer because there are some exciting changes was super brief and unexpected so I wasn't quite sure what to think about it. 
Thursday night: Packard Shimai hands me the phone and says its President Egan. He gets on the phone, asks me some questions and then asks me if I would accept the call to become a trainer! A trainer means that my next companion will be straight from The Missionary Training Center in America and I will basically teach her how to be a missionary in Japan! I nervously but excitedly accepted the call and when Packard Shimai came back in the room she said he had asked her the same thing! We found out we would both be trainers!! So then we wondered if one of us was going to stay here in Maebaru or both of us leave. But we if one of us was staying we wouldn't find out who until Tuesday (today) 
Sunday Morning: President calls us again and tells us that neither of us will be staying in Maebaru, we are both transferring out! Which means we need to let the people we are teaching know and introduce them to the others sisters before we transfer on Thursday. But at this point we still didn't know who was going where, just that we were both leaving!
Monday: we had training from President about how to be a good trainer
Tuesday (today): we just got the call.... And on Thursday I am going to transfer to Naha!! That's in Okinawa!! I can't believe it. I have always wanted to got to Okinawa but I never thought it would actually happen! I'll be training a new missionary in a new area in Okinawa. AND Packard Shimai is going to Okinawa too! She'll be in a different part but still! CRAZY! Now the last piece of this crazy puzzle is finding out who I will be training, which will happen tomorrow night after President has interviewed all the new missionaries. 

The stress of not knowing and the nerves of being a little worried and feeling incompetent have peaked this week. I have felt very humbled that the Lord trusts me with a new missionary to teach and lead and help. In many ways I feel very unqualified. But I know that the Lord qualifies whom He calls. I know that as long as I rely on Him for strength and guidance as I have so much in the past, He will qualify, strengthen, and bless me. I am so grateful for my savior Jesus Christ and for the opportunity that He gives me to overcome my weaknesses and become more like Him. As scary as this is, I am so grateful for this opportunity to grow and develop!

Thank you for the love and Support!

  I decided since we bow so much here I should just put my badge on my
head so it's easy to see!

We had a picnic with some foreign friends from Iran, China and Egypt!
 Maebaru Relief society!
 Mission coordination meeting with Kobe Kyoudai!

Our ward Halloween Party was so much fun!  Above are Kawaida and her children, Packard Shimai and me. Right are my three sister missionary roommates. Below are our investigator Sumie and her kids!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Great week in Maebaru! (wk 11) - Week 29

Monday October 26, 2015

This was a week full of great things, i don't have a lot of time but here's the run down:
  • Sunday: We met a SUPER awesome Lady named Yurika, who just walked up to us smiling and told us she was Christian too! We were able to meet with her on Tuesday and Wednesday and she is the sweetest lady I've ever met. We found out today she's on bed rest because she's having a baby in two weeks, so we may not be able to see her for a little bit.
  • Monday: The Zone Leaders have an awesome friend who invited us over for dinner. Turns out he is a famous chef and has owned several prestigious restaurants that only famous people or politicians went to. Now he's retired and loves throwing food parties! We had fancy expensive Japanese food like snail and a variety of raw fish. It was so cool!
  • Tuesday: We had an awesome lesson with a sweet lady we met a couple weeks ago. 
  • Wednesday: We met a lady from Egypt that moved here three weeks ago, doesn't speak any Japanese and was looking for a phone. So we walked with her to a couple of different resale shops looking for a cheap phone and then went to a phone store to buy a plan and SIM card with her. She literally speaks no Japanese, but she tries to talk to the Japanese people in English and is flabbergasted when they don't know what she's saying. It was so funny! I don't know how she would have done that if we hadn't stopped and helped her! By the time we finished it was 8:30 pm and she said she was just going to find a bus home, but all the bus stops are in Kanji and are super hard to figure out. So we called a friend who was able to drive her home. That was exciting!
  • Friday: the Sister Training Leaders came and went on Splits with us and I got to go with my Trainer Klein Shimai! It was so fun because now I can actually kind of speak Japanese!
And today, we are going to the beach with all of our zone! And Transfer calls are next week and I feel like something is going to change!

I love you all! Thank you for the love and Support!
  my trainer Klein Shimai and I reunited!

Maebaru (wk 10) - Week 28

Saturday October 17, 2015

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here. It's getting really cold at night but really nice during the day! The trees and everything are really beautiful too.

The past couple of days, Packard Shimai and I have really been trying to know what we can do to be better missionaries. We've been working really hard and meeting a lot of really cool people! Unfortunately this week none of the people we have been teaching were able to meet with us, but we were able to talk to a lot of really cool people anyways. Yesterday we met a lady, when we started talking to her, she crouched down (they do that a lot here, just sit on their ankles kind of) and we felt awkward standing up, talking down to her, so we knelt down too, and talked about our message for about 15 minutes, just kneeling in her doorway. I love Japan! So many unique experiences because of the differences in culture! It's awesome. Packard Shimai and I have also been eating Nato (fermented soybeans) for breakfast. It's a Japanese favorite. We've just been eating it with a fried egg on top, but the real Japanese way is put the Nato over rice and then crack a raw egg over top and eat it! I've been hesitant to try it, mmm raw eggs and fermented soybeans just doesn't sound appetizing, but! I think I'm going to try it this week!

Today we got to go to the Temple to see Mari!  It was her first time in the temple and she was sealed to her parents! Pretty much everyone from Nagasaki came up to support her and her parents so I got to see everyone again! It just made my heart burst seeing them again. I love them all so much! And then knowing that I probably won't be able to see them again, not for a long time, kind of broke my heart! But, being able to go to the temple was so awesome. It's amazing. The peace and love and instruction we receive there is truly celestial. 

Maebaru (wk 9) - Week 27!

Monday October 12, 2015

General conference was so good! I love it so much! How amazing is it that three new apostles were called!? I cannot even imagine the sacred revelation the prophet must have received. Something I felt a lot as I watched was that self reflection is really important. In that Heavenly Father wants us to take a step back and ask, what can I do more? What is keeping me from progressing? That can be a scary question sometimes but I love how one of the speakers emphasized that He doesn't expect us to be perfect all at once, but instead work on one thing at a time. There was also so much about how life is hard, but it's worth it! And we have an amazing way to make the most out of life and that is through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ felt the agony of every mistake, weakness, feeling of inadequacy, we have ever felt. Because of that I know that as we turn to Him, trust in Him, rely on Him for strength, He will bless us with the strength that we need.

Something I've been thinking about a lot lately is Charity, the pure love of Jesus Christ. Last week when we had interviews with our Mission President, his wife Sister Egan gave us this Poem about Charity:

Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other,
when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give
each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet.
Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses and
shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down or
resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle
something the way we might have hoped.
Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weaknesses and
being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us
Charity is looking for the best in each other.
-Marvin J. Ashton

Man, if everyone could be this person, the world would be a much happier place. Of course it's easy to be charitable to those we love or get along with. Christ's challenge to us is to have charity even
for those who get on our nerves.

This was a good week! We had a first lesson with a man we met while housing a couple weeks ago. His parents were Christian but he never really practiced. But after a variety of really difficult experiences, he really wants to know how to follow the example of Jesus Christ and become a better person. He had so many questions when we met with him! We had to tell him that we can't answer them all right now, but I felt so confident promising that we could answer all of his questions with
our message, the teachings and church of Jesus Christ. We are so excited to start teaching him!

We had a really awesome lesson with another lady we are teaching named Sumie. We taught her about the Spirit. We taught about how Heavenly Father answers our prayers through the Spirit, and how the Spirit can tell us when what we are learning or doing is good. She seemed to understand it really well! We helped her recognize the good feelings she has during our lessons is the Spirit telling her this is true. It was such a simple and powerful lesson!

We went to see some scenic parts of Itoshima! Izumi Shimai is on the
left and Megumi Shimai is on the right
 We got was weird Japanese pizza...Chicken and mayo and some
kind of white sauce! It was weird!
These are the women that Packard Shimai and I share an apartment with.  
Magleby Shimai (left) and Komatsu Shimai (right)

Maeburu (wk 8) - Week 26!

Tuesday October 6, 2015

I've been studying about people in the scriptures and their different experiences. There are a lot that have similar experiences to us as missionaries. So many Book of Mormon missionaries went out to preach the gospel and people rejected them. But, Jesus Christ never left them. He was always there to give them strength and encouragement even when His missionaries were getting spit on and cast into prison. It's really helped me put into perspective that this work has never been easy. Even Jesus Christ the Son of God was rejected, even killed. I know that He doesn't want us to give up or be discouraged. I know He wants us to put ourselves aside and rely on Him. And when we do that, we will always be successful in His eyes.

We had interviews with our mission President this week and it was exactly what I needed. He reassured me that I was doing well and that as I focus more on those I am serving, the Lord will be able to make me a tool in His hands.  I am working hard to become the missionary He can always rely on.

We have an investigator, Sumie that is really cool. We taught her the restoration on Wednesday and she was so accepting of it! She really understood why having prophets is important. She also came to a ward activity we had on Saturday, we had dinner and watched fireworks with the ward members, it was so much fun. The ward members here are awesome. There are about 12 active families in our ward and most of them are over 50 years old. But they are all so willing to help us in our missionary work, coming to lessons with us and fellowshipping our investigators. They are so wonderful.

Also, we had an awesome opportunity to see two baptisms on Saturday! Klein Shimai and our Zone Leaders each had an investigator be baptized! It was such a sweet blessing to see. It really changed my perspective. Being in Japan, I don't really expect to see a lot of people receive baptism, but during the baptism, I felt so strongly that the Lord really is preparing His children here to make these sacred, eternally essential covenants with Him. It's our job to find them!

 We visited a Buddhist temple, one of the oldest in Japan!

 Our zone when we went to the mission home/
temple for interviews with our mission president!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Maebaru (wk 7) - Week 25

Monday September 28, 2015

This last week has been super interesting! It was transfer week and we thought none of us were transferring since they just put us here but one of the other sisters did transfer! So we helped her get ready a lot! In her place a brand new missionary from America came! She worked in the MTC [Missionary Training Center] cafeteria with me! I didn't know here very well but still a cool coincidence! Her name is Magleby Shimai. From Arizona! On Wednesday we went to Fukuoka, where all the new missionaries are before they go to their assigned areas. After their training on
Wednesday, we took them out into the city and talked to people! I went with Sister Walker; she's from New Zealand, and was really excited to talk to people! It's hard though because MTC Japanese doesn't help a whole lot with talking to people briefly on the Streets, I tried to involve her as much as I could! It was cool though to see how much I can speak now, compared to 5 months ago when I first got here! I can hold real conversations with people! My voice was so tired though! I basically spoke Japanese for like 4 hours straight! We came home exhausted, but it was a lot of fun.

Friday was an interesting day! We went out to explore a new area and ended up biking to the other
side of our area, almost to the ocean! We had no idea though. We ended up in the middle of nowhere but we found a HUGE junior high school. We needed to use the bathroom and there was a business close by so we went there, it turned out to be an essential oils place where you can make your own lotion! It was so bizarre because it was the middle of nowhere!! It was an interesting and fun day! We also met someone from Argentina this week! That was cool.

Thank you for the love and support!

Lowe Shimai

Packard Shimai and I helped out with Sumie sans Eikaiwa class! They
were really embarrassed about talking to us in English!
We went and saw some really pretty rice fields 
Me and the new missionary Sister Walker met some girls
doing hip hop dances in the park!

Packard Shimai and I went to Izumi Shimai's little garden to help her get ready to plant
some new stuff! It was so fun to do this kind of work! Izumi Shimai is
so awesome. She's 75 and comes out here every morning by herself! The
last picture is of a fig she grew and bean milk she gave us after
helping! They were both delicious!

Maebaru (wk 6) - Week 24

Tuesday September 21, 2015

It's transfer call week so that's why I'm emailing today. We haven't gotten the call yet but we are pretty sure we are staying together. We will see!

This has been a tough week. We hit a high with several investigators that we thought were solid and several promising new ones, but by the end of the week, our two solids, Elnaz from Iran and Son from China, both told us they didn't want to take the lessons anymore. That was kind of rough, but I have faith that as long as we work hard Heavenly Father will never be disappointed with what we do. We made some really high goals with how we want to be better missionaries and I know that
as we put forth our effort and faith, our work will be pleasing to Him, even if we can't see the immediate results of our efforts right now.

Thank you for all your love and support!

Lowe Shimai

Beautiful Maebaru!
We met a 70 yr old man who loves flowers and he showed us his backyard!
He did this all himself!

We met really nice people on our way to a new place!

Maebaru just gets better! (wk 5) - Week 23

Monday September 13, 2015

It's been a really good week! 
On Thursday we had a lesson with a young mom that went really well. She was really easy to talk to, which was nice. And then we were supposed to have a lesson with someone we had met the day before but she ended up not showing up. But! There was a mom walking in front of the church and so we went over to talk to her and ended up inviting her into the church and we were able to talk about God and how His teachings really bless families. When we invited her to learn more she said it seems important so yes I want to learn more! We were so excited! And then! To top the miracle day off with another miracle, that night we knocked on a lady's house who invited us right in to talk! She had just gone to the Grand Canyon and was really excited that we were from America. She has coworkers that are members of our church and she said she's seen the Boy missionaries and has always wanted to talk to them! We are going back to teach her tonight! That all happened in one day! It was so good. There are so many days that nobody really wants to hear what we have to say and then Heavenly Father blesses us with days like Thursday ☺

We saw a another really cool miracle on Saturday, we were coming home from a lesson that didn't work out and we stopped to talk to a girl. She had to catch a bus but she gave us her number so we could meet again. Then just an hour later she called us to see if we had time to meet that night! So we met her and talked about what we do as missionaries and shared a simple message about who God is, and we invited her to come to church, and she came! She grew up in Iran and has really strong belief in God. Packard Shimai gave a talk about the Book of Mormon, and after church we were able to teach  her about the Restoration. She is really interested in learning more! 

Unfortunately Edward was busy this week and couldn't meet or come to church, but hopefully this week we will be able to teach him soon.

I love reading the scriptures! I know that is such a missionary thing to say, but I really do! I look forward to reading them everyday because everyday I find something that helps with something specific every time. I'd like to share a scripture I found this week. It's in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 26:11 the Savior Jesus Christ says "I will try the faith of my people" that really stuck out to me when I read it. It is a declarative statement. We can expect to have our faith in Christ tried and tested. We can expect to have difficulties that may cause us to question whether He really is there, or if this is all worth it. But I know that as I have and will continue to have trials of faith, that He is always there to help me through them. The test is whether I will reach out for His help or not. But I know that when we rely on the Savior for strength in difficult and easy times, He is always there to help.

Until next week! Thank you for all of the prayers and love and support!

 This is the girl from Iran that we met on Saturday and then she came to church with us 
on Sunday (see 1st pic above)! She is so awesome!

 Izumi Shimai (next to me), gave me the shirt I'm 
wearing in the picture! So nice of her!
Our missionary board! 4 sister missionaries!

We found a bat by our bikes and we didn't want him to get smooshed so
we put him on our porch, but I think he flew away.
 Beautiful Maebaru

Packard Shimai got pooped on...

We found a Hard Rock Cafe in Fukuoka when we went for a district meeting on Tuesday. This may look normal to you folks back in America, but it's been so long since I've seen this kind of delicious good ol' American food! It was so much fun! And since we were foreigners, the waiting staff kept coming over and asking questions, you can tell they love foreigners coming in!

This is just a part of the Fukuoka Mission! The couple in front row on the left is
our Mission President and his wife; on the right is Elder Choi from the 
Asia North General Presidency and his wife. 
Where am I? Can you find Clements Shimai and Klein Shimai too?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Maebaru (wk 4)! Week 22

Monday September 6, 2015
I want to tell you about Eduardo! So we found his number in our phone last week, we use the same one as the Elders before us. And we felt like we should call him. When he answered he said something in English and it turns out he lived in America for like 15 years! So he is fluent! He said he had met a couple times with the Elders but they ended up transferring and he lost contact with them. So we asked if he would like to meet with us and learn more about God. He said yes! So we got to teach him on Saturday, in English! It was so awesome to understand everything being said. Which usually isn't the case! He is really impressed with the dedication of our church members, especially the missionaries, giving up such important years to teach people about God. He says he feels like it's too late to change and that he's made too many mistakes but we were able to testify boldly and simply that he can know this church is true and that God loves him and that he can become clean from his past mistakes. It was such a great lesson! He said he will try his best! And he came to testimony meeting yesterday! After Packard Shimai bore her testimony, she playfully said to Eduardo, that it was his turn! Not really but if you want you can! And he did! He got up there and told everyone how impressed he is with the church and he hopes he can become better, it was so awesome! He's already making good friends with the ward members. We are so happy to be teaching him! 

Also, we had a training from Elder and Sister Choi from the North Asia General Presidency. It was so awesome. And exactly what I needed. He really focused on how when we elevate our thoughts, by thinking positively and about the good, it leads to a change in our actions which changes our habits which changes our character which can change our destiny. This really hit me hard because I've been struggling a little bit lately. Maebaru is small and it's hard sometimes to get excited about going out. But! I know that as I focus on the positives about Maebaru, the Lord will strengthen me so that I can enjoy the work here! I have felt His strength so much the past couple of days. It really is the simple things of praying and reading scriptures that opens up our hearts, humbles us and let's the Savior in. I have felt that so much this week.
 Beautiful countryside of Maebaru!

The picture is kind of blurry, but this a Fayette County license plate from Kentucky!! So random!
We had a ward activity and made yakisoba! It was delicious! It is basically cooked soba noodles, cabbage, carrots, onions and bean sprouts

 Packard Shimai and I found this cute Takoyaki place and got some
ice cream, they wanted to take a picture with us!

This is Eduardo's beach house, and the view from his back porch! The floors are marble! And the couches are all super nice!
Packard Shimai and I went to Starbucks for lunch, it was nice to have something familiar (a veggie wrap and vanilla frappé (no coffee I promise!)) and the lady was so nice and wrote welcome to Japan! It
made us laugh :)
We went on splits with the other sisters, this is Chapman Shimai, she
was Klein Shimai's MTC Companion and then was in Nagasaki right before I transferred there! It was so fun to get to know her!
On splits, we got caught in the rain with a 20 minute bike ride home! We got soaked!