Sunday, May 31, 2015

Nagasaki Wk 7 - Mari's Baptism

May 24, 2015

Start of my Second Transfer!

So much to say and so little time!

We had an awesome week this week! The two highlights were Mari's Baptism and the Church Open House!

Mari w/ Parents
Mari is awesome! She is shy but super funny! Her baptism was this Friday and it was amazing! Her dad recently became active and was able to baptize her and they plan to be sealed as a family this October!  During the service a couple members from the Branch spoke about baptism and how it is such an important step in following Jesus Christ. And even though I cannot understand a lot of Japanese, I was just thinking about how awesome it is that this gospel of Jesus Christ is the same around the world! Everything that I studied in America, and that I study in my English scriptures every day is exactly the same as what the wonderful church members in Japan are studying too! And that has been such a testament to me that this truly is the Church of Jesus Christ. 

The awesome members of the Nagasaki branch! So many came to see Mari be baptized!
We also had an awesome Open House at the church where we simply explained our beliefs and what we do, and we made ice cream all together! It was so much fun! Some moms from Eikaiwa [English lessons that we teach] came and seemed super interested in learning more about the church!

Sorry it's short this week but I love you all! Thank you for all the prayers and support!

Lowe Shimai

Mari always bakes us treats; so we bought her an apron.

 I bought a Kimono this week! At the last Eikaiwa of the transfer all the missionaries wear Kimonos!

Making Japanese food w/Keiko!

                                                              Nagasaki Missionaries!

                                                        "spectacles bridge"; Built in 1634

Klein Shimai and me :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

He inviteth all to come unto Him - Wk 6

May 19, 2015

End of my first transfer!!

Hello Everyone!

So, the mission is split up into 6 week periods, or Transfers. And every Transfer there is the possibility of moving to a different area within the mission...or not! Today we get our transfer calls. Most likely I will stay here with my Trainer Klein Shimai, but you never know! 

This has been another great week in Nagasaki. Earlier we had an appointment with a Mom of four that we made a month ago, and had forgotten to get her number so we couldn't confirm the appointment. Well she ended up calling us to confirm!! We were so grateful! A lot of times, people just don't show up or aren't home when they say they will be, so we were so happy that she called! She is a super nice lady and I look forward to teaching her!

Also this week we went to Kurume so we could go on splits with the Sisters there. That was really fun, I went with Stevenson Shimai, and It was just neat to see how other missionaries do missionary work! We all have the same purpose but there are so many different ways to accomplish it! I learned a lot from them!

We also served with the local lions club, we pulled weeds outside of the train station and then afterwards went to a really fancy restaurant! So yeah, that was pretty cool. 

Some cool miracles we saw this week:
  • So a while ago we taught a really awesome girl named Mihara, she came to church, but she has been really busy with school and hasn't answered our phone calls, BUT! We were riding to the church and I saw her backpack from across the street!! So we hurried and crossed and caught up with her, and we are meeting for dinner this Saturday!!! I am so excited, she is really special. 
  • A couple of days ago, we were knocking on Apartment doors and we met a family from Myanmar! (Close to Thailand) They invited us in right away and it turns out that the Father is really interested in learning more about Jesus Christ and about the Bible! They are Buddhist but he said he wants to learn from the good things that are in the bible. We are teaching him for the first time this week!
  • Also, we were walking around the College and we found a girl from China, we gave her a Book of Mormon and we testified about the peace and happiness we have felt from our message and she agreed to meet with us again next week! 
*Funny note, right after we talked to the Chinese girl, Zhou, a security guard came up and asked what we were doing...yeah apparently proselyting on Campuses is yeah we won't be doing that anymore!

This week I have been reading in 2 Nephi, which is just all awesome! I would love to share with you all part of a scripture that really stuck out to me, its 2 Nephi Chapter 26:33 -He inviteth all to come unto Him and he denieth none that come unto Him- How powerful is that!! Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, invites all people to come to Him and He will not turn you away! I know that this is true. I know that no matter who we are or what mistakes we have made, the Savior will always embrace you with his arms of mercy! 

I love you all! And I love this work so much!
Next week I will try to send pictures!
Love! Lowe Shimai

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week 5 - Nagasaki

May 10, 2015

This past Wednesday, we had a special training about how we can be better missionaries. The training concepts were super simple but as Klein Shimai and I have used them this past week we have seen amazing miracles! We talk to so many people every day and before, we would only be able to testify and teach maybe 3 or 4 people but now we are testifying to about 10 or 15 people every day! Its been so wonderful!

Family Home Evening with member family & investigator
In a couple weeks, one of the ladies we are teaching is getting baptized! She is awesome, she reads her scriptures and prays every day, and everything we teach her she is totally fine with. She's hilarious too. It's been so fun to teach her about the principles of this gospel, and then see how they are blessing her life. 

One of the lessons we taught this week was about President Uchtdorfs Talk "Recognizing Principles of Truth and Light" *I think thats what it's called. It is so amazing!  Heavenly Father really does want to answer our prayers. And we just have to show Him that we want to know. 

Today, one of the ladies from the English Class we teach is teaching Klein Shimai and I how to make Miso Soup and Sushi from scratch!! I am super excited for that! 

Any questions about Japan or what I do here? Please email them to my mom and she can forward them, Id love to answer them!

Lowe Shimai

Such a beautiful scene! I love the Nagasaki Mountains!!
One of the ward members, she gave us garlic pickles!
This is ChomPon, basically like noodles and veggies, it was delicious!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Week 4 - Nagasaki

May 3, 2015

There was no letter this week, but Sarah sent a ton of pictures!  I can't wait to skype with her on Mothers Day!

My bike! I call her Lady bug (:
View from the apartment window!

My futon! This is where I sleep!!

 We had FHE with some members! 

and these are two sons of a Recent Convert!

 we hiked and hiked and hiked and got to see this beautiful view!
View from the top of a Ferris wheel! There is one at the mall here!

 Klein Shimai and I inside the Ferris wheel

  there was an awesome ship festival here!!

Some girls from the English Class we teach!
all of the different coins they use here! 
500; 100; 50; 10; 5; 1

Week 3 - Nagasaki, 12 total :)

April 26th, 2015

I don't have much time today but I wanted to share a few things. First just some funny quirks of Japan:
  • Almost every house has a glow in the dark key hole so that at night you don't scratch up your door trying to get in the house! Genius!
  • Almost every house has a doorbell with a camera and microphone and sometimes a light too, so we never know if the person is looking at us or not. So I just pretend they are and smile ignorantly at the camera until no one answers or they tell me to go away ;P
  • Also, almost every new house here looks super modern and really cool on the outside. But when you get closer, the material is like cardboard. It looks like its nice hardwood or red brick, but really it's just painted to look like it.
  • Our Landlords have our household name as Jesus because we have the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on our front door. 
  • Politics just ended but they've been going on for a while now. Their politics here are very interesting. The politician endorsers drive around with a megaphone shouting their position. They have the car full of people in colored jumpsuits indicating the politician whether its bright pink or baby blue. The people in the car are wearing white gloves, waving to everyone as they go by. It is quite obnoxious. But, the people are fun to wave to because they get really excited and over the megaphone say: Thank you Foreigners! (in Japanese) Its been fun to wave at them.
On a more spiritual note:

I have been reading in 1 Nephi of the Book of Mormon and it just amazes me that Prophets prophesied of events 2000 years before they even happened! in 1 Nephi 13, Nephi prophecies about Christopher Columbus and others coming over to America. It even talks about the battles for independence between Britain and the Americans. It just strengthened my testimony so much of the truthfulness of this gospel! I am so grateful to be sharing this message with the people of Japan!!
We taught our new 15 year old investigator, Akane Chan, two lessons this week! She said yes to baptism and as soon as we can meet with her again we plan on setting a specific date. 
Last week on the street we met a 21 year old girl named Mihara. She is in her first year of college and is studying Economics. She showed up to the first lesson and said that she had read 25 pages from the Book of Mormon; we had only asked her to read the introduction! We taught her a lesson about God, Jesus Christ and baptism. She said that her heart became warm during the lesson and she said yes to the baptismal invite!!

Lowe Shimai
 Temple trip w/Klein Shimai

 Our Mission Car - just kidding!  Just some random Ferrari in our parking lot

Cool fish kite things they hang for a holiday called Kids' Day!

 Making Japanese Donuts

Week 2 - Nagasaki

April 17, 2015,
I am emailing today (Saturday) because we are going to the temple with our branch today (it's a 2.5 hour drive) and whenever we go to the temple we have to count it as our Pday for the week.

I really love it here in Nagasaki! The people here are so nice! Even though a lot of people we meet  aren't interested, they are always super polite. We have seen a couple really neat miracles this past week. We were talking to people in the street and we met a really nice lady who said her father was christian but she couldn't remember what church he belonged too. We ended up chatting for a bit and exchanged phone numbers. She said she would call us later to set up a time to meet again. Then later that night we met another lady who has met the missionaries before in Fukuoka at the free English class the missionaries taught there. She said she didn't remember a whole lot about their message, but that she would be interested in learning more about it! She was so nice and inviting! We set up a date to come back in a couple weeks because she's really busy right now. But I am so excited to teach her! Just after we left her house, the lady we met on the street called us back and said that her Dad was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!! Klein Shimai and I were so excited!! She said that we can set up a time to talk later! 

Besides that, I have loved just talking to people on the street. Getting to know a little bit about everyone is really cool. And we get to teach little bits of how people can feel more happiness in their lives! It's been really neat. 
I still don't understand a whole lot of what is being said around me but I am picking up bits and pieces here and there. My trainer is really encouraging and is helping me feel confident in using what I do know in Japanese. It's interesting here though because a good number of signs are either in Romaji - Romanized version of Japanese Characters - or just plain broken English like "Smile Drug Store" or other funny things like that! A lot of people will pretend like we aren't speaking Japanese to them; they'll either say, in Japanese, I don't speak English, even when we are speaking Japanese to them or they'll say, in English, Sorry, and just walk away. We get a lot of funny looks from people probably for a lot of reasons. 1. Because we are Americans 2. Because we are wearing big white helmets 3. because we are biking in skirts and 4. because we talk to random people on the street!! I love it though, it's been so great to be here and I look forward to the many weeks to come!
BTW - The produce here is SO Expensive!! A cantaloupe is 30$, a little thing of grapes is like 3$...its crazy. But yeah, we are doing our best to eat healthy (: 
All my love!
Lowe Shimai
-- Sarah's companion's mother also keeps a blog; last week she shared a cool story and said some really nice things about Sarah so I have included those here:
On Thursday, I picked up my new companion straight from the MTC, Lowe Shimai! She is from Lombard, Illinois, is 19, and is such an awesome missionary. I love her personality and we get along really well!  She loves to work and has lots of confidence with her Japanese, which will help her SO much. She is so willing to try new things and is such a good example to me. Lowe Shimai and I have already seen lots of success since she got here 3 days ago! On Saturday night, we came back from general conference and had 20 minutes left before 9pm. We decided to go an area by our apartment and met a really neat lady that had lots of interest about eikaiwa [English lessons]. Always work 'til 9pm because it's always worth it!
Last night, we didn't have enough time to go to the place we originally planned to go to, so we prayed on the street and asked where we should go in order to find a new investigator. We saw an apartment [building] and felt good about it, so we started to house [knock on doors] there. After three floors of straight kekkos [I am satisfied], we prayed again and asked the Lord if He would have us stay there or if we should go to a different apartment [building] altogether. After we prayed, we looked up and saw an apartment across the way and felt really good about the 2nd and 4th floors. We had no success on the 2nd floor and then prayed again before we housed the 4th floor. Well, on the 4th floor we met Kaere Chan. She is 15 and had lots of interest about the Book of Mormon.  She became the new investigator that we were searching for! It was actually Lowe Shimai that suggested the 4th floor!!! 
-- Ok, now for Sarah's pics...
One of my new favorite restaurants is Sushiro! Plates of sushi come around on a conveyor and you can just take them off. Each plate has two sushi pieces on it and is one dollar! it's delicious!!

This is the Story Book Museum, we didn't go in but it's so beautiful on the outside!! We visited this on our Pday on our way to the Oura Church.

The Oura Cathedral, the first Christian Church in Japan, also known as the Church of the Japanese Martyrs. It was really neat to go inside. It was rebuilt after being destroyed by the bomb in Nagasaki.

Ice cream w/Klein Shimai

A local market

Week 1 in Japan - My first area is Nagasaki!

I still kind of can't believe I'm in Japan!!! (ps this keyboard is stupid so if there are capitalization errors, just bear with me!) 

soooo....traveling was kind of stressful!! but we made it safe and sound. our plane from seattle to tokyo was delayed for an hour which made us miss the original flight from tokyo to fukuoka, but luckily when we arrived in tokyo, they had already rescheduled our flight to fukuoka and there was a nice japanese lady to guide us to customs on the other side of the airport. when we got there, there was a man frantically spewing japanese words trying to direct us but it was so confusing and a lot more stressful in japanese!! he stopped yelling after a while and we were able to figure out what we needed to do. we received residence cards so now i am officially a resident in japan!! after that we picked up our luggage and passed through customs which was easy enough. then we made our way to a bus to take us to our right terminal. at this point our group of 25 ish was split up and we weren't really sure if they knew where they needed to go, i was kind of worried they wouldn't find the gate. we got to the gate 7 minutes before we boarded the plane, and luckily the second group got to the gate right as we started boarding (i think that was a miracle!).  All together we were traveling for just over 24 hours!

so fast forward, we spent some time at the mission home, just wednesday, then thursday we had breakfast and all went our separate ways to our different areas. i had a 3 hour bus ride to....drum roll please.... Nagasaki!! my area is the southern most part of the nagasaki zone!! It is so beautiful here!! It's the areas with all of the hills which hasn't been too bad so far! so my trainer and some members picked me up from the bus station drove us to the apartment with all of my suitcases. And yeah, now I am officially a missionary in Japan!

My Trainer is Klein Shimai, She's from California. She is super nice, and has been really supportive and helpful. 
We went to go order my bike, we walked about 4 miles there hoping that we would be able to just have them assemble it and give it to us right then. Unfortunately though, they said the bike wont be ready until the 18th. So a member is going to pick it up for me next saturday. Until then I've been using the Sisters bike that was here before me. Thankfully everything has been working out! 

These past few days have been amazing! There is one lady who has a baptismal date but she calls it a goal instead of like it's actually going to happen. So we've taught her 2 lessons since I've been here and both have gone so well! We taught her about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and about the Plan of Salvation. She was so excited to learn that she can be with her family forever! Klein Shimai says that this lady has changed so much since she first started meeting with the missionaries. She has become more confident, less shy and definitely happier! It's amazing how the gospel of Jesus Christ really does change people's lives! Most of our extra time we use talking to people on the street and knocking on apartment doors. Before my mission, I thought that this was kind of odd, and I was nervous about talking to random people about Jesus Christ. But after being out here and really starting to share his gospel with everyone we see, I realized that I shouldn't feel nervous about it. That is exactly why I am here! I have been set apart by someone who holds the priesthood to teach people about Jesus Christ. Because of that, it is so important for me to talk to everyone so that I don't pass by the person who is ready and willing to accept His gospel. Even if I talk to hundreds of people who aren't interested, it will be worth it to find the one that is. It's worth it because I know that Jesus Christ lives, and is our savior and loves us no matter who we are or what we've done. And this knowledge has blessed me immensely in my life and I want to share those blessings with everyone!

I love it here, its absolutely wonderful, I love my cute little apartment, my trainer, and my calling to be the lords servant right now!  I am so excited to see the miracles of these next 16 months in Japan!!

Mail and packages go to the Mission home and then they send it to me. Here is my mailing address!

Sister Sarah Anne Lowe
Japan Fukuoka Mission
9-16 Hirao-josuimachi,
Fukuoka-Shi, Fukuoka 
810-0029 Japan

*Phone is only needed if sending packages: 81 92-525-8264
Lowe Shimai
On the train on the way to the Salt Lake City Airport we met a gentleman who served his mission in Japan almost 30 years ago!  He took this picture and emailed it to my mom!
First meal in Japan!
Here are some pictures of my apartment and Trainer, Klein Shimai!! I took them real quick this morning, I'll take some better ones of the view when it's sunny.
There's not really a 'bathroom' so to speak, everything is separate. We don't use the tub, just the shower part, its like a shower room! Our 'bathroom sink' is just outside of the shower room.

This is where I sleep, the bedroom, followed by the view from the bedroom! This is my Futon, all folded up so that mold doesn't grow!