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!

Typhoon in Maebaru (wk 3)! - Week 21

Monday August 31, 2015

On Tuesday there was a typhoon! Which is basically really really strong winds and a lot of rain! Because of the Typhoon our mission president told us to stay in our Apartment until 6pm. It was crazy, and loud, but thank goodness we were safe! Our neighbors' fence got blown down but our Apartment was fine. It's funny having nothing to do as a missionary because we get really excited for the extra time to study Japanese and the scriptures!

That night when we went out, it was still kind of windy and rainy but we went out anyway. We found a really nice man who is interested in coming to church. And later that night we were talking to a really nice lady when all of a sudden, a cop car pulls up in the neighborhood. I thought I really hope they aren't here for us!... But they were! They asked to see our residency verification and where we were from, what we are doing, all that good stuff. We were really nervous. After about 15 minutes of questioning us they told us we should go home. When they left, the lady we had been talking to said that someone had called because we had knocked on the door and it was late and it startled them. In Japan, they mostly use doorbells but we usually ring the doorbell and then knock. So it scared them that we knocked. Oops. So that was a first!

We went on companion exchanges with the other sisters from Fukuoka. My Trainer Klein Shimai and Chapman Shimai (Klein Shimai's MTC companion, and they were companions in Nagasaki before I transferred there) came with their new companions. We Had 8 Shimai in our Apartment! It
was kind of crazy! But luckily in Japan, we sleep on futons, which is basically a really thick comforter. So we just laid them out in the kitchen for people to sleep on!

It was a really good week; this Thursday Elder Chie, a General Authority of the Church is coming to speak to our entire mission! I am really excited!

This week I studied a lot of different things but one of my favorites comes from Doctrine and Covenants 50:43-44. The Lord says "I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd...He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall" I know this is true, I have seen it so many times in my life. As I build my foundation on Jesus Christ, I always have clear direction and purpose in my life.

Thank you so much for the love and prayers and support!

Lowe Shimai

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Music - The International language! Maebaru (wk 2) - Week 20

Monday August 24, 2015

Man. Starting from scratch in a new area is hard! But I am so grateful for Packard Shimai, because together we are so excited to work hard here in Maebaru! We have met some really cool people this week! On Friday we decided to bike out about an hour to a newer part of the city. We packed a dinner so we could stay out there all day. On our way there we randomly found a beach, so we came back and ate our picnic dinner there later! It was so beautiful!

We got to one neighborhood and heard really beautiful piano music. Packard Shimai is really musically talented and loves to play the piano, so we followed the sound of the music to a house and rang the doorbell. These two young moms came out and were immediately super friendly! We chatted about piano and where we are from, what we are doing as missionaries. One of the moms lived in Schaumburg when she was little! That's about an hour from where my family lives now! We asked to come in and listen to them play the piano and they let us right in! We talked some more and they said we could come back anytime! They were super nice! I sent a picture of them, Shoko and Yoshie.

So this morning we decided to tackle the rest of the junk that the Elders before us had just put out on the back porch. It was gross. There were moldy rags, milk cartons from last year and a lot of other random stuff. We bagged it all up and took it out to the garbage, and then scrubbed the mold off of the concrete! It is so clean now! We are so happy! The apartment finally is junk free and clean!

Packard Shimai and I are loving finding new things to cook together! It is so awesome to work with her! Sorry it's a little short but these were some of the highlights this week!

Lowe Shimai

 There are a lot of beautiful rice fields like this in Maebaru!
 Beautiful Japan!

 We did our best to make Pizza! We made our own crust, and didn't have
cheese, but it was still good!

 A member took us to a cute family restaurant! We ate raw stingray (below)!

I love making trail mix with the stuff mom sends me!

Maebaru Shimai before Stake Conference yesterday!

 Pineapple bones!

A members' cute grand daughter!

 Narata Shimai! She's hilarious!

こんいちわ! Konnichiwa! Maebaru - Week 19

Monday August 17, 2015

To everyone - みなさんへ

On Thursday I transferred to Maebaru district, but it's actually in Itoshima Shi. But this wasn't just an ordinary transfer, they call it white washing. White washing is when they take out both missionaries
and put in new ones from different areas. So before us, Maebaru had two Elders, but this transfer they took them both out and put in four new Sisters! All of us are from different areas and have never been to Maebaru before!

My new companion is Packard Shimai! She is super awesome, we are really similar which is a lot of fun, we both love to cook so we are looking forward to recipe swaps! We are getting along really well. She is a super hard worker and is always doing her best!

Our Zone Leaders had told us the Elders had worked hard to clean the apartment for us, but when we got there...that didn't seem to be the case! They probably just packed their stuff and left! They did leave some groceries in the fridge which was nice of them. So we spent the rest of the day cleaning the apartment (it wasn't disgusting but it was pretty gross), moving random stuff they left behind into one area of the apartment, and made a list of cooking utensils that they must not have needed! Like spatulas and frying pans... Silly Elders! We haven't even touched the balcony yet, it is full of old junk just sitting out there!

Then the next day, Friday, the Elders had set up a lesson for us but they only left us the address. And we don't have our bikes yet so we used theirs...I don't know how they got around on those things! The tires are super flat, the gears don't change, it's all rusted. But! We worked with what we had and 45 minutes later made it just in time for the lesson, except we couldn't find the right house! The house numbers weren't marked so we started knocking on doors and asking people what their address was and if they knew where this specific house is. No one knew! After an hour of searching almost every house in the neighborhood, we were walking back to our bikes to just go home when a guy we had asked earlier comes out and says, I found it! So we followed him to the only house we hadn't knocked on and sure enough! We found the house of  who we were supposed to teach but his wife answered and said he had waited for us but ended up leaving because we were too late. So yeah! That was an adventure!

We still don't have our bikes so the past couple of days we've been walking around to members houses, getting to know them and introducing ourselves. The members here are super nice! They are all really excited to have sisters here, they haven't had sister missionaries here for 13 years! It's a really small town, a lot different from Nagasaki. In Nagasaki there were always people to talk to on the street, but here there aren't very many, which means a lot of knocking on doors! But that's okay, because I know we will be able to see miracles here in Maebaru. I know that the Lord wouldn't send four missionaries to a new unfamiliar area if He wasn't preparing people for us to find. I know that the Lord is at the head of this work and that He is preparing His children to open their hearts to receive His teachings. I am so grateful and so blessed to be His missionary.

Lowe Shimai

First Days in Maebaru!
 There are so many rice fields here, it's absolute gorgeous!

 Me and Airi chan, pronounced eye-dee. Her birthday is just one day
before Emily! She turns six September 27th!

 Delicious meal with the Kobe family!

 When we transferred to Maebaru we had to carry all of our
luggage with just four of us onto a train and then switch to a subway,
we made it!

Last days in Nagasaki! I love these people so much! I am going to miss them like crazy.
Keiko (left) & Matano (right)  Shimai, 
two of the most awesome people I've met!

 Jenni! We cooked Chinese food together!